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Heritage (4)

First Chapter
Previous Chapter
The view of Sanctuary was made even more impressive as An’Ra and his team waited in the V-Lift. Through the window, they can see the ornate streets curving through resplendent pools underneath, dotted by the occasional fountain.
“I hate this.” Vora groaned, dressed in a soldier’s standard battle uniform. “Why are we here, Commander?”
“We were investigating genocide and possible use of bioweapons,” Sonak explained, “Even without the first part, Strain Y is going to scare a lot of people. I think it’s reasonable for the Council to take a personal interest in this. Besides, I think the real issue here is the fact you might actually have to speak to the Council.”
“But...ugh, fine. Yes, I wasn’t mentally prepared for it when An’Ra came along and went, Party’s over, ass to the Council, now.”
“Hey now.” An’Ra feigned offense, “I didn’t say it that way, did I?”
“Kind of close, Commander.” Sonak chuckled.
“But still, I think that this isn’t about keeping the galaxy safe.” Vora sighed. “I think the Council’s keeping an eye open for any opportunity to to convince the galaxy they’re still in charge.”
“Or maybe they genuinely want to make sure that we’re not at risk of dying a horrible death by watching our own bodies melt.” Sonak shrugged. “Strain Y doesn’t care if you’re an officer or infantry.”
“That assumes the Council cares about what’s going on outside of these walls.” Vora glanced over, wariness in her look.
“Either way, we’re going to get our answer. Eyes open.” An’Ra said as the V-Lift doors parted ways, revealing the same ornate architecture within. Trees and grasses stole the eye as they walked through the hallways, various government officials from the myriad races conversing and conducting whatever business they were doing. After walking up some steps, they arrived at the large double-doors that lead to the Council Chambers. Standing on each side were the guards constantly on watch for any potential attack. Both of them Anaran, as expected. On approach, the guards opened up the doors to allow An’Ra and his team in.
When they entered, the room was probably more magnificent than they expected. A grand, curved window dominated the view. An unintrusive look into the beautiful splendor of Sanctuary. Directly in front of An’Ra and his team was a pathway that led to a semi-circular desk, standing in front of the raised platform that the Council sat, who had just now noticed the arrivals and are settling themselves in.
And it was there An’Ra got a good look at the Council. Four of them, half Esti, half Huak. An’Ra secretly never liked the Esti, the way he could see menacing fangs when their flat mouths opened, or those flaps of scale that expands outward into a hood. It just unnerved him, a reason he could never really find out. As soon as he sensed that they were ready, he walked up to the desk, wearing his officer’s dress uniform, comprised of a fine, smooth fabric shirt, adorned with a fluffy sash that went from his right shoulder down to his left side, shoulder pads accented with shining studs and finished with awards placed on his top-left chest, awards hard earned back in the Great War.
“Commander An’Ra.” The Huak councilor on the far right side, Neual, began, thick fingers interlaced together as he rested his hands on the desk. “Thank you for agreeing to this unusual request, we are very appreciative.”
“It’s no trouble, Councilor.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “How can I help?”
“We’ll start at the beginning.” The first Esti councilor, Zhur, stated, holding up a secure datapad to ensure the information is easily accessible. “Strain Y. Your report says that while there is confirmation it was used, it was not used in significant quantities. Can you elaborate on that for us?”
“Previous uses of Strain Y all had one thing in common,” An’Ra began, “The amount deployed saturated the atmosphere of the planets they were used on. This is because, despite its lethality, is not actually that infectious. In order to guarantee the total elimination of a planet’s population, you will need to deploy it in such large numbers that everyone will be infected within minutes of deployment. In this case, for Planet 3, there simply wasn’t enough to reach that threshold.”
“At which you go on to state that thermal weapons were used in a state of panic,” Yhiz, the second Esti councilor, added, “Can you explain your reasoning for us?”
“As established before, Strain Y was used on the planet. My working theory is that, when they discovered that they grossly underestimated the amount needed, they panicked and used thermal weapons to both try and burn out the supplies used and finish the genocide they started.”
“But if thermal weapons were indeed used, how did you confirm Strain Y was deployed?” Zhur spoke up.
“We found pieces of Strain Y’s genetic material on the planet’s surface.” An’Ra glanced over to Zhur’s direction. “And as I arrived back in the system, I received a quantum packet from the expedition, stating that they have confirmed that Strain Y was indeed used. Adding that with the obvious use of thermal weaponry, I concluded that the attackers didn’t use enough of the weapon to guarantee extinction.”
Zhur leaned back in her seat, scarlet eyes fixated on the desk. An’Ra couldn’t tell if she was trying to find a counter argument or just processing the information.
“Have you found any evidence that can tell us if there’s more of the strain out in the galaxy?” Neual asked after giving a sigh through his wide nostrils.
“I’m afraid not, sir. All I can definitively say is that this planet fell victim to a biological Cruel Weapon.”
“I’m more concerned about the native life.” Ghala, the final and second Huak councilor, stated after being silent. “Are you absolutely certain that none of the planet’s indigenous life survived?”
“The scientific team said that there’s a very low chance of that.” An’Ra’s ears flattened. “And after seeing the surface myself, I must agree. I don’t think we should wait for a miracle.”
“Ah...I see.” Ghala leaned back in his chair, obviously disheartened. “Even if the planet is now incapable of supporting life, we still wish to move forward with a more symbolic gesture and statement by declaring Planet 3 of System AQ 115-4A illegal for colonization.”
“But let’s move onto what I believe is the most pressing issue: the identity of the attackers.” Neual leaned forward. “Based on your report, you and the team have found nothing that neither confirms nor clears any potential suspect?”
“That’s correct, Councilor.” An’Ra nodded. “We’ve found nothing, within the system and on the planet itself, that tells us anything about who did it.”
“Are there any surviving infrastructure on the planet?” Ghala asked, straightening his posture. “Even if there isn’t much, maybe the natives’ equipment has something we can use?”
“As established before, the planet was devastated terribly. There are indeed ruins of their civilization, but whether or not we can salvage anything from them is a different story.” An’Ra answered with a sigh.
“So in that case, the Qu’Rathi are still the likely aggressors then.” Zhur stated.
“I’m not convinced.” An’Ra shook his head. “Everything we have so far is just circumstantial, nothing solid.”
“Yes, that proves they did it. But looking at it from a different perspective, nothing that proves they didn’t do it either.” Zhur countered, her eyes squinting some.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to press forward with what I think you’re planning, Councilor.” An’Ra leaned forward on the table, ears flattening back. “If you do, and we uncover evidence that clearly proves their innocence, you will be pushing an innocent race away.”
“But if we uncover evidence that proves their guilt, then the trial will be much more expedient.” Yhiz joined in, his eyes also squinting slightly.
“With respect Council, I still think that’s the worst decision you can make.” An’Ra’s teeth began to bare as he spoke. “We can’t make any decision until we acquire more evidence.”
“Nothing we have proves that Strain Y is permanently removed as a future threat.” Zhur started, “Nothing we have proves that the Federation did not do anything. Right now, we have the threat of a Class 4 Cruel Weapon looming over everyone’s heads. People will start becoming scared, start wondering if their shadows will melt them at any time.”
“I know that Councilors!” An’Ra raised his voice. “Give me time! I’m not saying this is over yet, just let me keep looking!”
“We aren’t stopping your investigation, Commander.” Neual said, holding his hand up slightly. “We’re just informing you that you may not have the time you thought you had.”
“What does that mean?” An’Ra’s ears stuck out at an angle, mixed between stiffening and anger.
The councilors looked at each other for a few moments before Zhur stood up and took in a deep breath. “Commander, based on both the collected evidence so far, and lack of any other evidence, the Council has decided to proceed with charging the Qu’Rathi Federation on counts of Genocide, possession of a Cruel Weapon, and deployment of Cruel Weapons with intent for malicious harm. Out of respect for your efforts, Commander, we will give you eight months to continue your investigation. Beyond that, we will close your investigation to allow the courts time to process and review what has been collected.”
“Are you insane?!” An’Ra shouted. “Do you even realize what would happen if you’re wrong?!”
“We do, Commander.” Zhur nodded. “But the risk is just too high. The safety of the galaxy and justice for the inhabitants of System AQ 115-4A must be our top priority. This debrief is over.”
An’Ra stood in complete and stunned silence, watching the Council casually get up from their seats and dispersing to their own private offices. It wasn’t until that they have fully left the chambers that An’Ra finally found the will to move and regroup with Sonak and Vora, both of whom are also equally stunned.
“Those ekas!” Vora exclaimed. “It’s bad enough to be quick at accusing someone, but how dare they claim this is for those humans!”
“And here I thought all those things the news were saying was just to get people to watch them.” Sonak muttered softly. “Commander, obviously this is bad.”
“I know, Sonak.” An’Ra crossed his arms, ears now pointing straight back and teeth fully bared. “We can’t let them do this.”
“But what can we do?” Sonak exclaimed. “What options do we have?”
“Alliance Enforcement!” Vora declared. “Commander, what if you filed a complaint to the Lord-Enforcer? Tell him what’s going on?”
“That’s a good idea actually.” Sonak nodded. “If we convince the Lord-Enforcer that the Council is being too hasty with our investigation, which shouldn’t be hard, he just might deny the Council’s request for prosecution!”
“I can’t imagine the Lord-Enforcer approving this even without our complaint.” An’Ra replied. “Still, never hurts to be prepared. Come on, let’s get to it.”

Jur’El leaned back in the puffy seat he was assigned to. The restaurant he entered had a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The lighting was dimmed, which complimented the dark but cozy ambiance of the room. The walls and floor each had a dark-themed color scheme, the seats were of a different scheme but not too different to oppose the goal set by the designer. And although the building was packed with customers, their conversations did not threaten to turn anyone deaf. It was a quiet and relaxed experience, something he needed desperately.
Even now, as hard as he tried to focus on how delicious his food was, how balanced the flavor and texture of it was, he was still forced to relive what happened on Planet 3. He could hear the sudden screams of his colony group. The scientists who were first awoken that wanted to find out why their Life world was so different to the data they were given. To the families and menial workers who were just talking amongst themselves and organizing the supplies when those machines stormed the ship. And what still terrifies him, still sends his heart racing, was when that one machine entered the control room, blood drenching its chassis. Bits and pieces of Qu’Rathi innards on its cold mechanical manipulators. How it just stared at him, lifelessly, with a rifle aiming right at his chest. And those drills. Those ghenning drills.
He was forced out of his torment by the rough poking of his shoulder. When he looked, it was another Qu’Rathi. “Captain Jur’El, right?”
“Uh..yes, who are you?” He nodded in confusion.
“Jhen.” She introduced herself, quickly taking a seat opposite from him. “I need to talk to you.”
“About what?”
“The expedition to that system deep in the Dead Zone.” She glared at him, mandibles tense. “The same system who’s Life world had a native population, the very same world being investigated as a genocide site, where your expedition went to settle.”
“Jhen, please, we had no idea what was going on.” Jur’El leaned back, hands raised in a defensive posture. “All we were told was that this was the most pristine and beautiful Life world ever discovered in a system rich with stellar bodies.”
“I don’t care about that. What I care is how you seem to be the only one who came back.” Jhen started raising herself from her seat. “I’m pretty sure that anyone who attempts to colonize a freshly cleansed world is forcibly removed from that planet and returned to their respective people. So where is everyone?”
Jur’El’s eyes went wide. He knew exactly where this was going. “I...I can’t tell you.”
“Don’t you dare.” Jhen snarled, now leaning over the table. “I’ve heard enough of that from the company, I’m not here to be force-fed more of it!”
“Just...trust me,” Jur’El spoke softly, shakily leaving his seat, “You don’t want to know.”
“Don’t you ghenning walk away from me!” Jhen shouted, grabbing Jur’El’s shoulder firmly, the other patrons now locking eyes to the two. “Two of my sons were on that mission! What happened to them?!”
Jur’El clutched his head with a hand firmly, feeling tears exploding out of his eyes. His mind rushing back to those scenes. The sounds, the smell, the fear. Everything crashed into him all at once. And they’re not just memories now. They’re all coming back to him as if he was transported in time and placed back to the exact moment it started. Back to the moment where he was screaming for his wife and son to hide, to find a corner of the ship that was hard to see and to stay there until the shooting stopped. How he felt his heart give out when he heard them beg for their life when they were found, cut short by the merciless cracks of their alien weapons. How every possible feeling melted away when the clanking of the machine’s walking approached him, when he realized there was no nowhere in the control room to hide, not with how thorough those things were being. The frantic, mindless begging he got into when he saw the blood covered machine hold that weapon to him.
“You’re safe!” A voice rang out. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to come back. That scene melting away back into the restaurant. All those smells and sights to be gone. When he was certain that it was over, he looked around. There was Jhen, face beaten and currently being restrained by a blue-furred Anaran. And in front of him was another, gray-furred one. “You hear me? You’re safe now!”
“I...wh-what happened?”
“We saw what was going on. The Qu’Rathi over there? She was just screaming down your throat, all while you were just on the floor. Ken’A there nearly caved her face in by the time we got some distance between you two.”
“Th...thank you.” Jur’El muttered, shakily getting himself back on his feet with the help of the gray Anaran. Jur’El was just about to walk away when the Anaran firmly, but not threateningly, gripped his shoulder.
“I know the signs, friend.” He began softly. “Your soul is badly wounded and is bleeding heavily. Just like a doctor if you’re shot or cut, you need to find someone to talk to, get your soul back together.”
“As long as I don’t run into another person like her, I’ll be fine.” Jur’El countered, trying to walk away still.
“No, you won’t.” The Anaran still held his grip. “I need you to trust me. With how bad your soul is right now, doing anything other than talking to someone will just make it worse. And when your soul dies, well...believe me, it’s not a good experience, for anybody.”
Jur’El stared into the gray Anaran’s orange eyes for a moment before he let out a sigh. “You’re not going to give up, are you?”
“I’ve seen what happens too many times. Good Battle-Brothers, completely different people. Either they’re just shadows of themselves, or doomed to forever relive their horrors. If I have the chance to prevent it happening again, I’m giving it my all.”
Jur’El looked aside for a few moments, internally fighting himself as to whether he should comply or keep resisting. He finally reached his decision when he became certain that the Anaran would most likely hunt him down as a life mission if he didn’t seek therapy. “Fine, I’ll do it. Got anyone in mind?”
“A dear friend of mine. He’ll get you back on track, promise.” The Anaran patted Jur’El’s shoulder a few times before proceeding to lead him, motioning for Ken’A to let go of Jhen and follow.

Michael, accompanied by his newly founded Praetorian Guard, continued his leisurely stroll down the surprisingly spacious corridor. The hallway itself was typical. All-metal construction with evenly spaced rows of blue-white lights.
The Praetorian Guard themselves are comprised of those Servants who display both extreme scores in combat efficiency and effectiveness in defensive situations. Armed with the absolute best in magnetic-ballistics, the most impenetrable of armor designs and the highest optimized combat-frames, even a squad of these guards can hold off a virtual army, provided they aren’t subjected to bombardment or heavy ordinance.
Just as Michael was about to enter the main command center of the station he was touring, Central contacted him on a private channel.
“Master? Your new administration is ready.” He declared proudly.
“Alright, let’s begin the introductions.” Michael replied, signaling the guardsmen that he’s about to enter a meeting. Although unneeded, the Guard promptly took up a defensive formation around him. He assumes this is mostly to keep unwelcome guests from interrupting him.
The scenery of the tranquil design of the corridor melted away into the virtual world built by neon-blue blocks, the same visual that he witnessed when he first received the interface. After a few moments, several other Servants materialized and stood attention in a semi-circle in front of him.
“My Lord.” The first Servant bowed, its voice deep, if gruff. “I’m Supreme Commander Schwarzkopf, in charge of managing our armed forces and overseeing the grand strategy of the Imperium.”
“I am Secretary Elizabeth.” The second spoke with a calming, soothing feminine voice. “I’m responsible for ensuring our economy runs perfectly. In short, I make sure every project gets the hammers and resources it needs.”
“I’m Foreign Minister Edward, at your service m’Lord.” The third, with a distinct British accent and of a composed, controlled voice. “While regretfully I’m useless at this stage, the moment we initiate contact with xeno species, I’ll handle diplomatic affairs and achieving our goals through negotiations when possible.”
“No offense, but I thought every Servant wants to see aliens dead?” Michael spoke up with slight confusion.
“Oh, of course. The very idea of ripping out the entrails of a xeno and suffocating them with it brings such joy it’s therapeutic.” Benjamin replied. Michael was unsure if he was joking or not. “I was appointed because I displayed the most effective ability at hiding such feelings.”
“Ah...good to know.” Michael nodded dryly, not exactly assured. “Back to where we were?”
“Yes, Lord. I’m Director Mansfield.” The fourth spoke with an eloquent-sounding voice. “I’m in charge of Imperial Intelligence, running operations abroad and managing counter-intelligence on the homefront. I give you my word that we will know everything about the aliens and they will know nothing about us.”
“And that leaves me, Master.” Central began. “As a result of this delegation, I now possess more processing cycles towards research and development. That means that I’ll be in charge of ensuring Imperial dominance in technology. I will also act as your adjutant, filtering out information that does not need your attention.”
“Well...shit, this sounds like an actual government I’m in charge of.” Michael gave out a nervous chuckle. “All the more reason to get down to business though. Let’s start with the first matter. Schwarzkopf, how’s our military coming along?”
“It’s growing rapidly, your majesty.” He answered with distinct pride. “Already we have several hundred frigates, fifty light cruisers and twenty heavy cruisers, with the first wave of battleships due to exit the drydocks within a few days. Additionally, we have established four different army groups with fifty divisions each.”
“I thought we’d take a lot longer.” Michael stated with no hidden amazement.
“There’s great benefit in our workforce able to operate at a hundred percent every hour of the day.” Elizabeth commented, her emotion-flags also indicating pride. “And speaking of which, our population of Servants grows geometrically. That benefits both our economy and the military. Our economy by providing more workers in skilled and unskilled labor, and the military by providing more crew members and soldiers.”
“So in short, it won’t be long before we become a virtual powerhouse.” Michael said, arms crossed.
“Especially if we continue expanding.” Elizabeth nodded. “On that note, we have already claimed several dozen more systems.”
“With Rigel and Betelgeuse selected as naval bases.” Schwarzkopf chimed in.
“So we’re expanding in all the ways, got it.” Michael nodded. “Now the second matter. Terraforming Mars.”
“At present, there are two issues that must be resolved.” Central answered. “The first problem is the planet’s lack of a magnetosphere. Without that, any and all organic life would perish under lethal bombardment of the Sun’s solar wind, in addition to any sustainable atmosphere being lost to space. The second problem is Mars’ inability to retain heat, the cause for it’s known low planetary temperature.”
“And knowing you, you already have possible answers?” Mansfield shrugged.
“Correct. The heat issue is rather trivial to solve. Mars already has an abundant amount of carbon-dioxide within the atmosphere, a well known greenhouse gas. Combined with even more of the gas locked planet side, once temperatures begin to rise, we will set off a snowball effect. However, that is all for naught if the atmosphere is allowed to escape into space by solar wind.”
“So basically the key here is the magnetosphere.” Michael added. “Build that and everything becomes simple.”
“Exactly.” Central affirmed. “Already there are two main methods. One is to build superconducting rings around the planet and drive them with direct current. With enough power, we can generate magnetic fields strong enough to form a virtual magnetosphere.”
“And what’s the second?” Elizabeth said.
“The second is to construct a station at the L1 Lagrange Point that will generate a dipole magnetic field, diverting the solar wind around the planet instead of into it. Although it was simulated using slower, binary processing, the results indicate that Mars would gain half the atmospheric pressure of Earth’s within a few years.”
“So then, the main focus is building that magnetic shield.” Michael spoke firmly. “Elizabeth? Let’s get the ball rolling. Coordinate with Central as needed.”
“At once, my Lord.” Elizabeth bowed.

Unlike the Council chambers, the office of the Lord-Enforcer was much less opulent and more pragmatic. After going through the receptionist area, An’Ra and his team were escorted into the main office itself. However, just like the chambers, a large window dominated the view on entry, granting another view of a city district on Sanctuary.
And sitting in the more rectangular desk was the Lord-Enforcer himself, Dura. Blue eyed, with a fur of dull-orange it reminds of a sunset. As soon as An’Ra and his team walked into the office, the Enforcer sat up, tail wagging.
“Commander An’Ra, in my office!” He exclaimed, arms out to his sides. “Forgive me sir, but I never thought I’d see the day!”
“A pleasure to meet you, sir.” An’Ra replied warmly, greeting the Enforcer with their fists clasped together and pulling themselves inward, shoulder to shoulder.
“Please, no need to be formal with me.” Dura chuckled. “Sit down, what brings you here?”
After taking their respective seats, An’Ra looked at Dura grimly. “I’m here to file a delay on a request for prosecution against the Federation.”
Dura’s ears angled themselves in a mixture of stiffening and lowering. “I just got the paperwork from the Council. And I can tell you that won’t be needed. I’ve already submitted my rejection.”
“With respect, sir.” Sonak spoke up. “I get the feeling that the Council might fight that.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to present my back to them just because they ask.” Dura gave off a grin. “I might be some paper-tosser now, but that just means the battlefield is different. Don’t worry Commander, as long as I’m here, you’ll get the chance to finish this investigation properly.”
“Thank you, Enforcer.” An’Ra smiled as he got up from his seat. “With any luck, you won’t have to fight long.”
“Oh, take your time!” Dura replied with an inflection of humor. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve had in years. Was just about to smash my head on this desk any day now actually.”
“Wait, really?” Vora asked, ears stiffened.
“It’s just a joke, Vora.” Sonak assured dryly.
“Oh...” Her ears flattened as the team exited the office.
When they arrived in the main plaza where the Enforcer’s office is located, they congregated in a small collection of benches nearby an ornate fountain that commemorated the Anaran defense of Felaal IV, largely considered the turning point of the Great War, which further enhanced the beauty of the surrounding scenery of floating walkways above crystal-clear waters.
“Well, that’s a relief, hopefully.” An’Ra began, letting out a decompressing sigh.
“I meant what I said earlier, An’Ra.” Sonak said. “If the Council are determined to charge the Federation, which I’m sure they made abundantly clear, they’re not going to let the Enforcer drop mines in their path just like that.”
“Which just means we can’t lose our focus.” Vora replied sternly. “So, what are our options? We can’t exactly go back to Planet 3, there’s really no leads there.”
“What about that Detective we met when we arrived?” Sonak suggested. “He was handling that whistle blower. Maybe that’s something worth looking into?”
“There’s also the Nav-Net.” Vora said. “All we got right now is that the Feds were at that location, but what if we look at the rest of the network? Try and trace their path?”
“The network doesn’t extend into the Dead Zone.” Sonak countered.
“No, not like that. We look at the network across Alliance space. We start with the logs that end at the Dead Zone, and we try to backtrack their route.”
“We’ll need to obtain legal authorization for that, Vora.” An’Ra stated.
“Actually, if I could add something.” Sonak said with his arms crossed. “If the Federation didn’t actually do it, then that questions the credibility of those codes. I think there’s a question that hasn’t been asked yet. And that is, are those codes faked?”
“That’s...a good point actually.” Vora acceded. “If we get the legal permission to examine the NavNet logs, then if the Federation didn’t do it, the logs across the network won’t support it. Think about it. You need a big fleet to do what just happened, and that fleet has to come from somewhere.”
“And that would mean if this was a frame job, they need a way to account for that.” An’Ra continued, confidence flaring. “It’s one thing to trick a single Nav-Buoy, but I really doubt anyone is capable enough of affecting the network itself.”
“We still need the Enforcer’s help to get access to the network.” Sonak reminded.
“Let’s go get it then.” An’Ra stated firmly. With that, the team left their meeting spot and began returning to the Enforcer’s office.
With confidence in their step, the walk back to the office was much shorter compared to before. However, things took a turn when An’Ra and the team noticed a large gathering of officers around the office entrance. They didn’t have to time to wonder when a group exited the office, dragging a combative Dura out with them.
“Commander, this isn’t good.” Sonak growled under his breath.
An’Ra simply stepped forward and grabbed one of the arresting officers. “What in Arenar’s Sword is going on here?”
“Dura’s under arrest on suspicion of corruption.” The officer replied flatly. “Lil’Al has been appointed as acting Lord-Enforcer.”
“The Council’s behind this, Commander!” Dura shouted, his feet literally dragging along the floor as four officers were taking him away. “Don’t believe a word they say about me!”
An’Ra and his team just stood there in stunned silence, watching and hearing the Anaran official being dragged virtually kicking and screaming. By the time they returned to their senses, hushed conversations was populating both the room and outside.
“We’re not going to get in the network, are we?” Sonak asked, still recovering.
“We still have to try, come on.” An’Ra said, already moving. When the team returned to the office, standing next to the desk was a slender Esti. No doubt Lil’al. She was looking out the window when she turned around upon hearing the encroaching footsteps.
“Yes, may I help you?” She began.
“Acting Lord-Enforcer Lil’Al?” An’Ra began, trying the diplomatic route first. “I’m Commander An’Ra, investigating the genocide by use of Strain Y. We’d like to request legal authorization to examine the logs of the Nav-Net.”
“For what purpose?” She replied, taking her seat.
“We believe that it may hold evidence that either confirms or disproves the Federation’s alleged involvement in the attack.”
Lil’Al leaned back in her seat, staring at them. “The Nav-Net is the lifeblood of, well, everything. Commerce, tourism, law enforcement. It holds great information about who has gone where, and in what ship, Commander. You realize that, don’t you?”
“I do, and what you’ve said precisely states how important that is, how important the potential evidence is.”
Lil’Al stayed motionless for a few moments, her long, lithe fingers twiddling about that indicates her thought. “Very well, I’ll start the paperwork to get you authorization, just be mindful of what you’re about to analyze.”
“Thank you.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “In addition, I’m not sure if it’s been passed along, but Dura has rejected the Council’s request for prosecuting the Federation. Can I assume you’ll uphold that?”
“I’m afraid not, Commander.” Lil’Al replied flatly. “The galaxy has suffered a great loss through the genocide of a race who’ve suffered the universe’s cruel sense of humor by being placed both far away from us and deep within an almost uninhabitable region. I have overturned Dura’s rash decision and accepted the Council’s request.”
“Then I’d like to file a delay on that decision, immediately.” An’Ra replied, ears flattened back.
“On what grounds?”
“Lack of decisive evidence, to start.”
“Same could be said on your side, Commander.” Lil’Al let out a sigh. “Yes, all the evidence collected thus far is not...ideal. However, the most significant points at this time are that a young race who was just about to leave their homeworld was exterminated through the most horrible of all options. We cannot ignore that.”
“But we also can’t rush to conclusions. We need to continue investigating and only go after someone if we have at least one crucial piece of information.” An’Ra countered, arms crossed and his teeth starting to bare.
“And I agree, that’s how it should be done.” Lil’Al replied. “But if we do, we risk dragging out an investigation to such a length we may end up forgetting this tragedy. We cannot allow such an insult to Planet 3’s memory. I’m sorry, but I must reject your petition for judiciary delay.”
Next Chapter
AN: Every single time I paste this in, Reddit is just determined to put it in some code block. Anyways, As of now, I've finally completely locked in the plot for this story, just one major question that could've changed a lot was on my mind for a while. Enjoy!
submitted by SynthoStellar to HFY [link] [comments]

A lengthy response to essenceofthought's video: "ContraPoints Is Making The Left More Toxic, Not Less - A Non-Binary Conclusion" -- PART 1

note that this is so big I will probably end up editing it just to fix mistakes in using reddit's markdown. I can only beg your trust that I'm not doing anything shady.

Tardyness

This is about the fourth time I've tried to get through this video. Formally I've only watched less than 9 minutes. First, because I really disliked how much I had to say about that much alone. I didn't like a punch in the gut I felt. Second, I felt I had to get through a real review of Natalie's Cancelling. Third, an uproarious thread on breadtube about Graham Linehan aka glinner threatening to sue EoT over his video exposing glinner for wanting to eradicate trans children. I finally got through all that Sunday night, and now I have chance to start this review.

Title (and thesis?) of EoT's video

ContraPoints Is Making The Left More Toxic, Not Less - A Non-Binary Conclusion
Pure reaction: Hard no, says I. Paying attention to the controversy surrounding Vaush, and the fact that Lily Orchard has a following, PigPuncher's shitty video on EoT themselves, and the self-hating army of Blaire White who like to inject themselves into all other trans people's business, I just cannot say there's anything Natalie has done that's special. This sphere of left-twitter and left-tube would be inundated with the same nastiness whether Opulence happened or not.

The Road Bump

The following between the lines is largely copied from my Cancelling review.
First, EoT says that Natalie is only talking about post-Opulence backlash, and thus accuses her of lying about a timeline on some tweets. They're just wrong.
Second, EoT says "Natalie has a fragile ego."
In the very least, this line is hack. Everybody's ego is fragile. That's freshment psychology 101, it's how egos are, it's a feature. It's just saying somebody is being too fragile, and that's an attack on character.
Second, it's fucking mean. It's mean in a general sense. And it's mean in a more personal sense, and I'll tell you why.
I'll mention this later, but I was what I call a first-generation youtube skeptic/atheist. Youtube was founded in 2006, and by 2008, peaking around 2010, we had a thriving group of what the media would call "New Atheists" on youtube. I can drop you a huge list of names, and it's still at most 20% of what was out there. I never made a single video, though I did have a webcam for a short while and regularly hanged out in Stickam with a dozen members of the Rational Response Squad. At first I fell for Pat Condell's shit. I was a big fan of Thunderf00t until his feud with DawahFilms. I apologize to the world. Sincerely. Look, what I want you to take from this is that I've come to be seen as redeemed by many feminists on reddit and beyond, and I think that Natalie is even more redeemable than I. I'm not trying to be a hater. This is constructive criticism.
But also back then, there was Natalie. Under a different channel whose title contains her deadname. I've linked to three different videos on parasocial relationships. Lemme tell you, I've been through 'em. Some that have had intense influence on my daily life, many others not so much. Natalie was, until she started Contrapoints, somewhere in the middle.
From what I've seen over the last 10 years, Natalie has every reason to be sensitive. Fragile, even. I've seen Natalie make meatspace friends with a few of these fellow atheist/skeptics, and they traveled and dined and chilled with one another. They even pulled a couple New Atheist stunts that backfired. Even contributed to a musical collab, which is still funny.
I've seen the community fragment and bubble and burst and burn and mutate. Basically I've watched Natalie lose friends and get hurt, as with many others. And with 10 years of experience, I can look back at old videos where Natalie's old self can be found, and see the unhappiness that she's described.
EssenceOfThought pulling the "fragile ego" line is frankly toxic. EoT only has 2 years of very hard work to look at, and 2 years of public transformation and transition. And EoT seems to assume that the quality of work a youtuber puts out is porportional to how head-above-water they are when it comes to stress levels and strength of will, and wealth of support. And that's wrong.
It's callous. You can't just assume things about people's accumulated life trauma. Calling people fragile as an insult, I've come to find, is morally wrong, because it calls that we celebrate stoic strength as a virtue. And it's always punching down. Every time it's punching down. Looking at somebody who's feeling vulnerable, and going "gross, you're vulnerable!" And EoT has done this despite listening to Natalie talking about a lack of friends in the world. I can't actually name many meatspace acquaintences of hers, much less good friends, besides {Theryn, Olly, Lindsay Ellis, Jenny Nicholson, other people in the few photos with Lindsay and Jenny maybe, Riley and Fiona, Chelsea Manning, Dan Olson, innuendostudios, hbomb...}. Can you? And how long distance most of those are! Almost all of them are expensive-distance. It sucks.
I stopped watching EoT's third video shortly after 8 minutes when they said that, becuase I was just disgusted. And as I said in Chrisiousity's comment section, it looks like a sign to me that in EoT's focus on Natalie the past month, Natalie has evolved in their mind from a popular creator with a specific and powerfully effective flaw, to an outright Adversary, capital-A included. And that's sad. It's the wrong way to go. In early drafts, I refrenced the first two videos because there's a lot of good points made in them. But EoT grows more combative over time and by the third video steps out of line.
Finally realizing what a down-punch the "fragile ego" schtick is, and coming to hate it, just might be the last vestige of being a first-generation youtube atheist/skeptic fan leaving me. I've upvoted this behavior a ton in the past, but I plan to never support it again in the way it's happened here. It's one thing to criticize a political party for being toadies to a man with an actual stereotyped fragile ego, because that's dangerous. It's another to say it to declare a hurt person's vulnerability a crime.
Whatmore, the accusation coudl just as well fit the people he speaks about in the beginning of the video, who lock down their twitter accounts at the mere knowledge that Cancelling was published. Does it just not occur to EoT that Natalie flinches and dodges certain kinds of attacks because she too can predict the punches that come next?

Shutters and Shitters

The first signs I saw that Contrapoints had published her video on cancelling were a number of nonbinary people who I know on Twitter locking their accounts.
How does EoT do youtube? Subscriptions aren't necessarily endorsements. It's like an RSS feed. Does EoT wait for friends to watch and react videos before they watch them? Seems like a good way to always be primed a certain direction.
It's really amazing how different people can act vs. how they see themselves. The cancelling of Natalie on twitter is full of piss and bile, raw hateful reactions and lots of people who have not really read into what they're mad about. But Natalie publishes a video about being hurt by it, and they slam their shutters and nail 2x4's across their doors. EoT has told us they've done this in anticipation to attacks from Natalie's fans. The stans.
The timing EoT describes here indicates that none of these people wish to watch or listen to Natalie's video. They are riding on three claims:
  • There mere existence of Natalie's video is a directive from Natalie to attack nonbinary people.
  • Implying Contrapoints Stans will attack before they've actually watched the video.
  • Admitting that the content of Natalie's videos have nothing to do with her supposed influence?!
Dealing with this takes us on a journey. One I suspect contextualizes a whole lot of problems we're going to see in the rest of the video.

Gamification, cults of personality, stans, armies, and fault.

I need to present these videos:
Like it or not -- see it or not -- youtube and twitter go together in a shit sandwich that has been gamified for toxic consumption by bad players for a decade. Breadtube is a loose coalition of fans who have a common agenda in that they are sick of how the alt-right benefits so much from youtube's algorithm and does so much harm to the world.
The way things have been going, all an alt-right youtuber has to do is make a video where they make personal attacks on a vulnerable channel, and without even having to explicitly order it (though often enough they will), their fans will en masse attack the targeted channel and their friends with repetitive harassment until they're forced off youtube and twitter, even if they have to abuse the reporting system to do so.
That last video by Skeptical Squirrel, an imaginitive parody creation by Kevin Logan, illustrates that despite what they say, alt-right youtubers and other youtube personalities of the reactionary type are completely aware of what they are doing. They are not pretending to order fans around in that video. They are practicing, and celebrating that they can. And when they make followup videos in which they laugh and praise "anonymous" and "uncontrollable" mobs for the way they've attacked the targets of their videos (such as Sargon Of Akkad "laughing" at "weaponize autism"), they are telling their fans that their harassment is good. They are rewarding it.
For years now, whether you're aware of it or not, dear reader, this is how fans come into it on youtube. It is a tacitly constructed facet of youtube fanbases that it is rewarding and expected to harass the perceived enemies of the youtuber. That Skeptical Squirrel video is from January 2017, about harassment Jeff Holiday and Bearing had been consistently ramping up against Kristi Winters for a year and beyond.
People have been saying that Natalie has been instigating harassment campaigns with her videos. And so has EssenceOfThought. I am hereby telling you: We are at a point where one can hardly be a popular youtuber without a massive group of fans behaving this way on your behalf. It takes real work to stop it. But there are definitely ways to tell that a youtuber is not intentionally doing it, and ways to tell that a youtuber is definitely trying not to. I do not see any sign that Natalie wants her stans to do what they do, and I definitely see in her videos that she does not make targets out of anyone.
I say to you all, that if you want to accuse Natalie of instigating harassment campaigns, by necessity with the way EoT talks about Natalie in their videos, EoT would have to be even more guilty. And I do say, regardless of that conditional, that the way EoT speaks is irresponsibly having a boosting effect on the twitter screamers who are witch-hunting Natalie. At 1:20 of this video, EoT says that enby people on twitter are responding to "her presence," and this shit just ain't true. They're anticipating other people attacking them. Which they will do regardless. EoT is equivocating Natalie with these toxic twitters, taking away the twitters' agency and giving it all to Natalie. Beyond bogus.

What has Natalie even done?

The focus is first on her association with Buck Angel. So far, the only things Natalie has done so far are thus:
  1. Receive and repay compliments when she was injured.
  2. Repay further words of kindness with a cameo without vetting.
That's it.

Wildly Disproportionate Response

She has refused to vet after Opulence not only because she (like so many of y'all) doesn't want to see people she's befriended as baddies, but because even if she does, she will receive no forgiveness when she issues an apology, instead receiving a tidal wave of I-told-you-so's and more harassment. They've made it perfectly clear that if Natalie works with anybody even one flaw away from Sainthood, they're going to do it all over again. Let it here be said that if you still want Natalie to disassociate from Buck Angel (and I do), then you must make it so that it's not a lose-lose situation. You can't punish somebody for something, then punish them again for apologizing, and that's clearly what you want to do. You showed it when you went after Lindsay Ellis, Hbomberguy, Philosophytube, and others. Clearly she is unforgiveable in your eyes. It's bullshit. You're assholes that deserve no fucking sympathy when you act this way. You were kicking her and are kicking her when she's down, and Buck wasn't, and that shit matters when you're in that kind of situation as much as it does Natalie. Buck was being better than y'all in the moment. Fuck. Off.
So I have a real problem (one I should've seen from the beginning) when over and over, EoT makes these videos and starts statements, ad nauseum, with "What Natalie is doing is..." It gives the impression that Natalie is out there on social media doing a thousand things. She's not. She's done the 1 thing that she's being cancelled for, the unvetted cameo, and she has not touched her twitter in a couple months. But EoT is making things worse, which makes the title of this video highly ironic. An honest way of going about it would be something like, "So this mistake she's made..." -- and you do need to describe it as a mistake and not a deliberate attack -- "... has had these x, y, and z consequences." It's hyperbolic at best and demonizing at worst when it's "She's doing this" on repeat. That's increasing toxicity in the discourse.
You're not started the fires, EoT, but you've tossed a lot of dry cow patties around. And you can only do this so long before we say yes, you are responsible for the direction a wave goes one of these days soon.

Media illiteracy or just plain propaganda?

As for the people who are hiding from Contrapoints Stans, nonbinary or not, even without the stans around, you'd still have received some backlash. Claiming the pronouns video was attacking nonbinary?? If a hundred people responded with "What the fuck you dumb shit," then tough cookies, because that is ridiculous. That section of the video y'all attacked is exactly the same as the tweet she covers in Cancelling. It had nothing to with binary or nonbinary, had nothing to do with actual validity of trans identity, but instead was about strong vs weak argumentation aimed at cis people. Have you have at some point in your life been discussing politics or scientific ignorance and had somebody bring up, "Well, it seems like this kind of argument doesn't work very well. But when you tell them this thing that way, they start to get it faster." That's what was going on in the video and the twitter conversation.
And then your opinions somehow transformed into thinking that same section of the video was truscum. As if many of you have decided that anything problematic towards nonbinary people is the same as truscum ideology. Sheer nonsense. It's the other way around. All truscum are anti-enby. But not all anti-enby are truscum. There was nothing about transmedicalism in that video no matter how you look at it.
The worst thing the Pronouns video did was not tackle the case of enby perspective. In fact, Natalie went out of her way to make sure people do not confuse the experience she's illustrating as applying to nonbinary folk, by including the modifier, "In a binary world." That's not an attack on enbies. And if she even tried to cover an enby perspective, it's likely you'd attack her for that, too. Lose-lose. That's not valid criticism, and no reason to initiate cancellation. Pro-tip: if everything your enemy can say is wrong, then you too also cannot be right. When everything is evidence of your claim (Opulent Girl Bad!), then nothing is.
As for The Aesthetic, Justine did not win the debate. Just because she got to have a long winded endcap does not mean she was indended as the winner. There's just about nothing to indicate that. Justine's position just needed a lot more words to convey. You may be used to upvoting and reposting videos where the protagonist "wins" a debate by having a long Final Attack on the antagonist that makes them sit down in shame. But you should be able to tell from Natalie's videos and tweets alike that she doesn't operate that way. You need to up your media competence, and ditch the prejudice against Natalie that has to exist to even make the erroneous leap in interpretation that you made.
So why would Natalie do anything different in this current situation? The same people who are attacking her for associating with Buck Angel are also the ones witch-hunting her based off of lies about her videos. I think you can see how one can easily begin to think that some of the claims of emotional injury caused by her videos are falsified.
And don't think I'm saying Contrapoints stans aren't a problem. They are. The people who hate enbies have swarmed to this bucket of chum fore sure. Some of them are attacking me because I want honest depictions of flaws of EoT's videos and I'm not willing to unsee Buck Angel's shittery just because they think doing so would make Natalie feel better and provide us all with a new golden shower, er, golden egg, er, video. Oh yes. There is indeed too many Contrapoints fans who've decided that they need to whitewash Buck Angel so they can kiss Natalie's ass, and part of doing that is attacking Buck's critics, which has indeed become an attack on nonbinary people themselves. Because this is how parasocial relationships evolve when the detached personality fills a very real need on the side of the consumer. Especially on youtube, where as I've said fanships enter into the situation with assumptions about how detractors are to be treated. Then everybody plays Not My Nigel.
Natalie isn't instigating, and she's not a "force of destruction." The force existed before her. If it wasn't Natalie, it'd be somebody else. It'd be more people like Blaire White, Shoe0nHead, Jaclyn Glenn, etc. I mean how the fuck has Blaire White become background noise in this obsession with Natalie Wynn. Blaire's the one that makes series of truscummy attacks on people.
Imagine thinking Natalie is inspiring more of these attacks on enbies than Blaire white. I can't. But you're doing it. Yer doin it, peter! Yer doin it! Go get that dastardly Captain Wynn Hook.
But I don't want to attack nonbinary people for being nonbinary. I want to rebuke some people who're the real culprits of toxicity.

We are in a wicked hive of scum and villainy.

Like I said, EoT calls Natalie
"...a force of destruction, all intention aside."
First of all, when you say "what she's doing" all the time, you're pretty well implying there's lots of intent.
Second, gosh, does this line sound famliar. Where's the last place I heard it? Oh yeah. When Lily Orchard attacked the Pronouns video as anti-enby and pro-truscum: "Glass of Water: Natalie Whinging" And it also reminds me of something.
Natalie has been made into a villain. No, really, that's what's happened with EoT's progression and with their phrasing. Since I've already used Extra Credits once, I'll do it again. Does it seem a little off, maybe a little condescending to compare these video essays to video game design? Maybe. But it's not wrong. Expository and argumentitive essays require world-building, it's part of the job. Me, Natalie, EoT, everybody.
EoT can't seem to make up their mind about what kind of villain they perceive Natalie to be. They actually said "force of nature," but the thing about force-of-nature villains (FONV) is they are a symptom of the system. Attacking them directly and holding them personally responsible for groups of people harmed is short-term good at best, and tacitly endorsing the system at worst. It's pointless to do just play whack-a-mole with individual FONV. Example: Trump. So why focus so much on Natalie and not the online community that is splitting over her videos on interpretations of them that are clearly a combination of error and invention? Going after the boss baddie is what you do when you have a narrative villain. EoT seems to think knocking Natalie off the stage will lead naturally to some end. There's a hidden teleology to it. And I don't think it goes where EoT thinks it does.
What we're seeing here is a system of discourse in which a person can be scapegoated for cycles of back-and-forth attacks as if they caused it, when in reality those cycles are automatic. A key in an ignition got twisted, but it wasn't Natalie who dun it and it sure doesn't make sense to point at her every time you don't like that the motor is still running.

Half a millenium in Natalie's mind

20 years ago in a human lifespan is a long time. It's not really doing any good to harp on Natalie for thinking so. EoT makes Natalie's argument against 20-years-back research as some kind of vapid and malicious thing, but it's not. Natalie argues against doing 20 years into Buck's past based on three possible points, and you'll find some over the span of the video and her recent appearances in the media such as her interviews by NPR, and The Hill's Krystal Ball (both of which I am sure were published while EoT was in post-production or after publication); a couple we can think of ourselves:
  1. People change so much in 20 years it's like attacking a different person.
  2. 20 years ago she was a child, and she wouldn't want somebody to do this to her. It would feel like endorsing the same be done to her.
  3. If somebody has genuinely changed, repented -- even if only in private -- then it's like double jeopardy.
  4. The majority of the time when we see somebody digging that far into the past for dirt, it's done for malicious reasons and serves deceptive purposes. Given the strawmen used to attack Natalie, it doesn't seem like the request for her to do so is in good faith, nor what has been presented by those attacking herself. The pattern of bad faith attacks on Natalie do not lend to trusting that the accusations against Buck are in good faith; they seem as disproportionately powered by gossip as anything else in the 2 years of attacks on her. So, it seems prudent to refuse humoring them.
  5. If the victims don't want want to bring it up, it's an invasion of their privacy as well. We'd have to ask them directly because evidence is scant. Sometimes you have to respect when the victim doesn't want to re-live trauma.
In order to have a good case, one has to argue against each of these in turn. Which EoT does not. All we get is "I don't give a fuck." So allow me to present the arguments.
  1. Buck was in his 40's when this went down. 40 year olds are well established generally, and Buck had already established his identity long before, beginning medical procedures at 28, and soon felt his transition was complete. Read his wiki. Analyzing the pathology of habits requires going back long distances in time no matter how proportionally large that time leap seems. If a wrongdoing done recently is the same kind of wrongdoing done long ago, then it's relevant, long ago or not.
  2. It's quite a human thing to forget important differences in the lives of people we've recently befriended, especially when we're hurt. We can only offer our personal promise to not do that, and discourage others from doing so.
  3. Buck has ever faced real consequences or learned.
  4. We can only offer our personal promise we are not doing that, and discourage others.
  5. Fine then. There's more than enough readily-available material to cancel him anyways.
See how that's reasoned and compassionate argumentation? Much better than "I don't give a fuck."
You can't argue justice from "I don't give a fuck," EoT.
Notice though that there were counter arguments people probably are making that I refuse to.
I will not dismiss #2 on the basis of being an appeal to emotion, because it's not one. Bullies argue that their behavior is justified by implied permissions, and I will not enable it. I will not signal to them that it's justified or excusable.
Also...

Buck's past IRL victims have not consented and IT IS NOT OK

I will not argue that invading the privacy of and subjecting the victims to reliving their traumas is necessary for the greater good, that the needs of the many (other for future victims) outweigh the needs of the few (which happen to be the ones I want to re-traumatize for my vendetta). One of my early favorite feminists Amanda Marcotte once made this mistake and argued that police were correct to arrest a woman and force her to testify in a trial against her rapist. Yes, this did happen to a real rape victim. She recanted and changed her mind after fellow Feministing contributor Alexandra Brodsky wrote the following article. Bold emphasis is from me:
edit: actually I've decided to try and using reddit's 'code' markup to change the font/background/spacing of what I want to highlight. - nevermind on that, I forgot what it does to linebreaks.
PUNISHING SURVIVORS WON’T STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Earlier this week, the Daily News reported that a Cowlitz County, Washington survivor of an alleged kidnapping and sexual assault, perpetrated by her ex-boyfriend and an accomplice, was jailed when she refused to cooperate with the prosecutors on the case. The story didn’t rise to the forefront of feminist news until feminist writer Amanda Marcotte wrote a defense of the decision, arguing that the County did what it had to do to stop future violence.
The Cowlitz County case is awful, and I disagree with Marcotte’s conclusion, but neither is really an aberration from how we view criminal justice and victimhood. Two worrying parts of Marcotte’s piece implicate our larger national conversation about sexual violence: we mistakenly think survivors are irrational girls rather than agents navigating impossible obstacles – but, simultaneously, that they have more responsibility to us than we have to them.
[heading:]Confused girls
Running through Marcotte’s piece is a common threads I hear in discussions of survivors of intimate partner: a belief that the abused are irrational. We see this assumption in the pathologization of “battered women’s syndrome,” where survivors’ self-defense is understood as a symptom of delusion. We see it in the patronizing explanations of “why they stay” that talk about women (always women) untethered from reality, tumbling without agency through cycles of abuse. We see it, too, in Marcotte’s characterization of the victim’s relationship with the defendant as a sort of blinder, distorting her view of the violence and so discouraging her from working with the prosecutors:
Research shows that a victim’s refusal to cooperate with a prosecution is more about her relationship to the abuser. In this particular case, the victim has a long-standing history with one of her attackers, which suggests that she probably doesn’t see this in the same way that someone kidnapped and assaulted by complete strangers would. While there are some interventions that can help reduce the problem of victims who recant out of these complex feelings, there’s no silver bullet of counseling that will get all victims to see things the way prosecutors want them to.
We don’t know if the survivor in this particular case was abused by her ex-boyfriend when they were together, so the analogy to research on intimate partner violence may not be relevant here at all. But the rhetoric is nonetheless eerily similar – and similarly destructive. Of course we hope victims leave and, if desired, take action to ensure their future safety and to hold their abusers accountable. But to pretend that survivors stay or refuse to cooperate with the police only because of “complex feelings” simultaneously ignores the very real restraints on their freedom and denies them the agency they’ve maintained.
Manipulation and emotional abuse can create undeniable psychological barriers to leaving or seeking help. These obstacles are no less real because they are not tangible; though they are complex and they are intimately felt, Marcotte’s characterization of these burdens as “complex feelings” belies their nearly physical weight. But we also must recognize the undeniable material barriers survivors face. For example, abuse often renders survivors financially dependent on their abusers (we can’t know if the survivor was dependent on he boyfriend in this case, but we do know she is now homeless). And a trademark of relationship abuse is isolation – as a result of the abuse, survivors often don’t have friends or family to whom they feel they can turn for help. To make matters worse, abusers often charm those closest to the victim, so that those who do reach out for support or who pursue prosecution are often met with disbelief and anger from those they love. Tragically, in these situations, the decision to stay or to forgo legal intervention may be the result of an impossible, but by no means irrational, calculus. The options and risks are unjust, but the agent isn’t erased.
We urgently need to change that calculus. It is essential that we provide professional and community services to help victims of IPV leave abusive relationships. That work is so important precisely because the restraints on survivors are more than just “feelings” — whether psychological or material barriers, they are very, very real.
So, too, are the reasons why most survivors don’t trust the criminal justice system to help them out. As I’ve written about previously, those who report to the police are more likely to find insensitivity or harassment than a conviction: is it really such a shocker that victims don’t want to cooperate with a system willing to lock them up, to criminalize their survival? Plus, while I definitely know some survivors comfortable with the prison system, others see incarceration as just another iteration of the violence they work to end.
Maybe victims don’t “see things the way prosecutors want them to” because they aren’t blind to the violence in their communities and in our criminal justice system that, yes, complicate the decision to cooperate with the prosecution of your ex. We should talk about what responses to interpersonal violence would look like in our feminist state, but that’s not the conversation we’re having here. Now we’re talking about how real people navigate real choices. And we can’t pretend real obstacles don’t exist.
[heading:]You owe us
Marcotte writes that “always erring on the side of victim sensitivity means putting some very bad men back out on the streets, where they will likely attack someone else.” I 100% agree that stopping perpetrators can help prevent future violence, which is one of the reasons I think it’s so important to provide survivors with safe, trauma-responsive accountability processes. The calculus, though, doesn’t have to boil down to us vs. her, our safety weighed against her comfort, because robust responses to violence centralize support for survivors as a collective responsibility that promotes the common good.
On the most basic level: I thought we’d been over this before: violence is caused by the violent, not short skirts or alcohol or confusion or, at least of all, victims. We usually talk about victim-blaming as putting the responsibility not to get raped on potential victims, rather than potential perpetrators. However, we see a similar logic in the insistence that it’s survivor’s job to stop violence against others, even at the expense of their own healing and safety. If they won’t make that sacrifice, we’re prepared to punish them. As much as the U.S. criminal justice system likes to pretend it can distinguish between imprisonment as punishment and imprisonment as logistical aid (see: pretrial detention), all time spent behind bars is punitive.
Also, even if you buy the carceral logic that prisons are our great hope, locking up survivors who report won’t help the courts catch rapists. As Melissa McEwan wrote at Shakesville, “If we’re really concerned about preventing future assaults, then we have to foremostly make it safe for multiple survivors to report—and publicly revictimizing one survivor in this way stands to discourage multiple victims from reporting. That is bigger than even this one rapist.” McEwan’s point rejects Marcotte’s belief that the interests of survivors and interests of the broader community are in tension: we are only safe as a whole when we support survivors. It is only then that victims can come forward and give us the chance to hold perpetrators accountable.
Stepping back, I resent the way this issue has been framed, both in media and private discussions, as one of individual vs. collective safety – as though survivors are unwilling to talk due to some deep selfishness – not only because its wrong but because it distracts us from the communal duty we’re so eager to ignore. Of course any feminist resistance to violence requires collective responsibility for the collective good. But our first question here should be what we, as a community, can do to support a survivor – not what the survivor should do to help us. What local structures can we set up to provide care to those who need it? How can we create safe opportunities for survivors to come forward? What community responses to harm can we build to hold abusers accountable in a country that has abandoned victims to a broken criminal justice system? Let’s talk about what we can do, rather than what any given survivor owes us.
Here’s the thing about violence: it’s hard to stop. That’s scary. I find it terrifying that we really, truly have not yet found ways to stop assault or abuse, or structures to respond to this violence when it occurs. I understand why many hold on to our belief in the criminal justice system when there aren’t alternatives onto which we can comfortably fall. I understand why we want to believe we live in a country where a victim would of course want to cooperate with prosecutors. I understand the temptation to count conviction rates and the clang of prison doors shutting closed like beads on a rosary, the comfort of pieces moving regularly, as they should, as though we’re going somewhere better. But when the methodical plodding ends with a survivor of violence in jail for choosing to deal with trauma on her own terms, perhaps its time we lose a little faith and rise up to do some good.
Now. Buck did not rape anybody. We are talking about the victims of invasion of privacy and public denegration. But this article says a lot.
I said in a youtube comment section that Buck deserves to get vetted "all the way back" because he considers himself a leader. And I'm ashamed to say that until I was writing those 5 arguments against digging up the dirty specifics on that divorce drama, I hadn't thought of this stuff either.
Nobody has asked Lana Wachowsky or her wife. They're not talking about it. And if they don't want to talk about it, then.. what? If you force that information out into the day, EoT, then you are punishing her. You are re-traumatizing them to fit your purpose.
Think about that. Look what this has become. The more you harp on Buck's marriage, the more likely somebody's going to violate that privacy and, dare I say, terrorize those two women with their personal lives, probably their doxx too, going public. Stochastic terrorism much? People have probably already tried to contact these people on social media. It's probably already started. They want to leave it behind and now y'all won't let them.
Can you really say you're doing this for the sake of victims?
Officially: the "investigation" into Buck Angel's divorce must stop right now.
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Israeli Woman Stands Trial for Defrauding U.S. Investors of Tens of Millions of Dollars Arrest of Israeli Binary Options Executive Signals Start of Major U.S. Crackdown Elbaz, who had been free on bail and living with a relative in San Francisco while awaiting trial, was taken into custody immediately after the jury’s verdict. Login with Google. Register. I agree with terms & conditions. A password will be e-mailed to you In a trial brief filed shortly before the Elbaz trial began, the US government set out how binary options fraud was generally perpetrated, describing how victims were approached, lured in, lied to An act to amend, repeal, and add Sections 1277 and 1278 of, and to add Section 1277.5 to, the Code of Civil Procedure, to amend Sections 103426 and 103440 of, to amend the heading of Article 7 (commencing with Section 103425) of Chapter 11 of Part 1 of Division 102 of, and to amend, repeal, and add Sections 103425 and 103430 of, the Health and Safety Code, and to amend Section 13005 of, and to The binary options market largely operates outside the US through unregulated websites. Its victims span the globe. In court papers, prosecutors said the payout on a binary option is usually

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Best Binary Options Signals -How to make $100-$4,000 Per Day!

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