May. 12th, 2017

solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
The news is a flood. I finished today's and I am already well behind.

Cultural War: "MISSOURI: Republican Lawmaker Declares There’s A “Distinction” Between Human Beings And Gays." Even the locals are "what." And "A New Wave of Bills Takes Aim at Science in the Classroom" - it's not that the are new in terms of what they're trying to do; they're not. But more are getting through.

Political repression: "President calls for criminal investigation of senator who criticized him for firing FBI director (also smear is BS)," "Democracy in Crisis: Inauguration Day Protesters Face Decades in Jail," and "West Virginia journalist arrested for asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question." This is a terrible trend.

The Russian News Service in the White House, while American news services barred. "Did a Russian Photographer Smuggle a Surveillance Device Into the White House?," "Presence of Russian photographer in Oval Office raises alarms," "Why do none of the Trump-Russia leaks come from Russia?" and "Russia’s Oval Office Victory Dance" tell the story.

Relatedly: "Senate intel panel subpoenas Michael Flynn documents."

The rest is Comey. And there's a lot, and it's all bad. Possibly the worst: "In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred." This really is Trump following Hitler's path, as one of the first things Hitler did as Chancellor was require oaths of personal loyalty from everyone up and down the line. Not entirely dissimilarly: "Comey infuriated Trump with refusal to preview Senate testimony: aides." If true, that means Trump was testing his personal loyalty, and found it wanting.

Two on Rosenstein: "THREAD: The key player here is Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Rosenstein. I spent 5 yrs in the DAG’s office under Obama. Please indulge me." and "Rosenstein takes heat over role in Comey firing."

Other reports about specific triggers: "Days Before He Was Fired, Comey Asked for Money for Russia Investigation," "Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia," "Comey fired for intensifying investigation of Trump, Russia ties: report," and "In interview, Trump contradicts Pence on Comey."

"Blumenthal: Comey firing 'may well produce impeachment proceedings'" doesn't matter unless the Republicans are forced to it, and, well, see the previous news post about that.

But where it matters:

"Kellyanne Conway creates alternative reality to defend Trump’s firing of Comey"

"McConnell rejects calls for special prosecutor"

I don't know if they can bring themselves to admit what they've done.

Good luck out there.

It's May 12th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (tracer)

"I've made him," said Venom, subvocally, over coms. Her goggles shifted in place, forming lenses, zooming in. "Right on time. He's got his best three bodyguards with him, too - guess he wanted the A team along for the ride."

"Acknowledged," replied Widowmaker, coolly - all business, inside, and out. A small part of her could still scarcely believe this was happening, but she kept it in check - pleasure before pleasure, no? "I am in position."

The three bodyguards scouted the empty restaurant storefront as a stocky man in his late 40s sat behind very strong and very darkly tinted glass. C'mon, you bastards, thought the former pilot, everything is just fine, everything is just like you expect. Take the bait.

They'd arranged a small trade, of course. A trade of extremely important data about Omnics captured from a murdered engineering delegation, in exchange for an attractively low, but still quite substantial, amount of money. Intelligent machines for cash, slaves for Renminbi on the barrelhead, who is going to be the wiser?

A job for the police, Oxton had said. We can give them what we know, a trial would be better for relations anyway. And then Amélie showed her the list of the dead from a previous investigation, and Lena knew it wouldn't.

A blink, and she's half a block away, on another rooftop. C'mon already, give your boss the all-clear and open the bloody door.

One of the guards looked up at where she'd been, seeing nothing, and looked again, and saw a subtly different nothing. Just in time, she thought, but she was wrong.

The bodyguard turned towards the car, quickly. Widowmaker's voice, on the coms: "Merde! Now he's made you. Plan B."

Bugger!, thought Venom, False start. Don't let's cock this up twice!, and she dove in, using all of her teleport charge, taking three tenths of a second to close the distance. Stinger bomb under the car, right on target. "Gotcha!" she shouted, as Widowmaker's first shot took out the first guard, and she simultaneously emptied both clips of her pistols into the second. The third - Pilar, the best of them - had her semiautomatic at the side of Venom's head, the trigger half-pulled, when the younger assassin jinked backwards in time, just far enough to reload and shoot the third down exactly as she'd shot the second.

Her stinger exploded as the car started to move, throwing the vehicle into the air, compressing it, the windows shattering outwards. "One shot..." called Venom, as she flew backwards on her grappling hook. Magnified through her vizor, she saw the shocked look on the target's face obliterated, as Widowmaker laughed delightedly in the coms, "...one kill."

"Nice one," Venom said over coms, as she reset vision.

"Get back here. This got noisy, and we need to leave - quickly."

"Already here, love." Venom leaned forward from behind the senior assassin, and gently kissed the back of Widowmaker's neck.

Amélie gasped - no one surprised the spider. No one.

Except her.

[some months earlier]

"Is this some kind of would-I-kill-baby-Hitler question?"

Amélie laughed, lightly, putting down her glass of dessert wine. "Don't talk nonsense, of course not. A bébé is a bébé, innocent, and easily redirected." She picked the glass back up, and with a cool smile, said, "Although perhaps you might choose to kill its parents. Perhaps they are assholes."

Lena stabbed her fork into a second slice of bananoffe, cut a portion with a knife, and stuffed it into her mouth. It takes a lot of calories to fuel her biology now, thought the spider. "And if they aren't?" Lena asked through crumbs, voice muffled.

The blue woman shrugged, perhaps a little disappointed the ever-so-earnest Lena didn't seem to see the humour. "It doesn't matter. To elaborate, following along the lines of your question - I am not asking, 'would you kill baby Hitler;' I'm asking, perhaps, would you kill Reich Chancellor Hitler, in, say, February of 1933.'"

"Not good with dates, luv," she said, with just a trace of irony. Ah, there is hope for you yet, thought Amélie.

"I should have known, it is fitting. So," she took another sip of her Chateau d'Yquem white, "in 1933, his goals were stated, and he was just appointed the position he needed to follow them through." She gestured aimlessly with her glass. "Oh, there were arguments about what he 'really' meant, perhaps - he was an extraordinary liar. And there were those who insisted he would moderate with power. He, himself, swore his restraint. But - to a clear mind, one that can see the strands of history - everything was laid plain."

Another sip. Lena toyed with her slice of pie, cutting it into smaller pieces, thinking, and took another bite.

"A single death," said Amélie, "could've changed everything..."

Lena looked up, asked, "Had he actually killed anyone yet?" and looked back down, seemingly deeper in thought.

"Does that matter? I don't think so. But fair enough, let us say that it does. March, then, of 1933. The first concentration camp opens, in Oranienburg. All perfectly legal, all perfectly murderous, the first rendering of the first blueprint of the great slaughter to come."

Lena poked at the remaining pieces of her pie, smaller and smaller.

The assassin leaned forward. "Now it is April. The Enabling Act has passed, a bill gracing the Reich Chancellor with unlimited power - but there are still other political parties, to resist. Do you take the shot?"

Bananas. Cream. Toffee. Crust. Divided. Tracer, quiet, focused on the mess before her.

Windowmaker leaned in, still further, speaking quietly. "May, the tenth. Jewish-owned shops are boycott. The first book burnings, targeting 'degenerate' works, science. Perhaps not yet, at Oranienburg, the first death, but they will come. All legal, at least, to some degree."

"And at the heart of it all, one man. There are many others with him, but he is the genius, the crux - the one who truly matters."

With one finger, she appropriated a dollop of cream from Lena's dessert plate, lifting it from the plate. "The one whose death could change everything."

The younger woman looked up, earnestly, into the assassin's eyes. "If I know... if I really know..."

Venom took Widowmaker's hand with her own, and, with an unfocused half-grin, licked the cream off the other woman's finger.

"Everyone seems to forget..." she said, distantly, savouring the sweetness, "...I'm ex-military." She smiled broadly, eyes suddenly bright. Gotcha. "Fighter planes don't shoot kisses, luv," she laughed. "Of course I take the shot."

The assassin's refined pose collapsed completely, and a single, quiet, ha! escaped her lips. "Oh, you horrible woman! I thought we were having a meaningful conversation."

"Gotcha."

"Yes," said the spider, smiling, and feeling it, almost - but not quite - giggling as she leaned back into her chair. "You did. You have me."

Completely, she thought, sipping from her glass.

Damn you. You have me.

Completely.

July 2017

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