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That is, as long as you're healthy and beautiful. But those who are deformed, flawed or misfit in any way are destined - or is "doomed" a better word? A qualified member of the expendable Explorer Corps due to her untreated facial blemish, Youn Suu sets out on a standard suicidal mission. Along with her partner, Tut, Youn is tasked with investigating a sudden infestation of the Balrog--a sentient red moss that can form parasitic, symbiotic relationship with its host--on the home world of the Cashlings.

The mission takes a turn for the worse when Suu is infected with the Balrog. Aboard an Outward Fleet starship, they find that the Balrog is far more intelligent and sinister than they ever could have imagined. It is only then that the scope and danger of this nightmare is truly revealed. Book 1. In Expendable, the first volume of the League of Peoples, Festina Ramos is assigned to escort an unstable admiral to planet Melaquin.

More featuring extraterrestrial life. Now, exhausted from their journey, the crew of the Phoenix yearns for home. But when the ship makes the jump into atevi space and contacts Alpha, they learn the worst: that supplies to the station have been cut off; that civil war has broken out on the atevi mainland; that the powerful Western Association has been overthrown; and that Tabini-aiji, Bren Cameron's primary supporter and Ilisidi's grandson and ally, is missing and may be dead.

And with the atevi world at war, the only safe landing strip lies on the human colony at Mospheira. Although there are many dangers inherent in bringing a powerful atevi leader such as Ilisidi onto human lands, Bren realizes they have no other choice. But even if they safely survive their landing, will Bren and Ilisidi together prove strong enough to muster the remaining shards of the Western Association and regain control of their planet? The long-running Foreigner series can also be enjoyed by more casual genre readers in sub-trilogy installments.

Destroyer is the 7th Foreigner novel, and the 1st book in the third subtrilogy. Book 8. In a desperate move, paidhi Bren Cameron and Tabini's grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, along with with Cajeiri, Tabini's eight-year-old heir, make planetfall and succeed in reaching the mainland.

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The brilliant and forceful Ilisidi seeks refuge at the estate of an old ally, and Tabini-aiji arrives at the door. As word of Tabini's whereabouts circulates, clans allied with Tabini descend upon the estate, providing a huge civilian presence that everyone involved hopes will deter impending attacks by the usurpers. But as more and more supporting clans arrive, Bren finds himself increasingly isolated, and it becomes clear that both his extremely important report of alien contact in space, and even his life, rest on the shoulders of only two allies: Ilisidi and Cajeiri.

Can one elderly ateva and and eight-year-old boy—himself a prime target for assassination—protect Bren, a lone human involved in a civil war that most atevi believe he caused? Pretender is the 8th Foreigner novel, and the 2nd book in the third subtrilogy. The Fall of Hyperion. Book 2. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing—nothing anywhere in the universe—will ever be the same. Book 9. The usurper, Murini, has escaped to the lands of his supporters, but the danger these rebels pose is far from over.

Ilisidi, Tabini's grandmother, the aiji-dowager, has returned to her ancient castle in the East, for she has powerful ties in the lands of the rebels, and she seeks to muster whatever support for her grandson that she can from among those enemy strongholds. In his father's tightly guarded headquarters, eight-year-old Cajeiri is horribly bored. Two years on an interstellar starship surrounded by human children have left him craving excitement.

But unbeknownst to this dissatisfied youngster, he has become a target for forces bent on destroying his father's rule and everything it stands for. Though still a child, Cajeiri embodies a unique threat to the venerable, tradition-defined lifestyle of his people. Jack McDevitt. The Nebula Award—winning author of the Alex Benedict novels and the Priscilla Hutchins novels returns to the world of Ancient Shores in a startling and majestic epic.

A working stargate dating back more than ten thousand years has been discovered in North Dakota, on a Sioux reservation near Devils Lake. Travel through the gate currently leads to three equally mysterious destinations: 1 an apparently empty garden world, quickly dubbed Eden; 2 a strange maze of underground passageways; or 3 a space station with a view of a galaxy that appears to be the Milky Way. The race to explore and claim the stargate quickly escalates, and those involved divide into opposing camps who view the teleportation technology either as an unprecedented opportunity for scientific research or a disastrous threat to national—if not planetary—security.

Me and Lynn: we were the instigators. Things always worked that way. Lynn had long been in flaming staunch-hearted love with me—the only smudge of lunacy in her character because otherwise she had brains and cool and common sense. God, if I could be as serene as Lynn for a single day! I envied everything about her Of course, she envied me back: "For being insane," she said, "for letting yourselfbe insane Our typical working arrangement, "Lynn, I want this.

The sort who giggled comfortably in bed. With Angie baiting our marital hook, Lynn and I could reel in blessed near any man in town. And half the women. Barrett Arsenault, because he was just as gorgeous as Angie, and wild as squidge-weed. Never turned down a dare, no matter how crazed Peter Kaluit, because he was funny. By Christ and all the saints, he was funny. Wicked but not snake-mean.

He played keyboards too, and wrote songs that would have you laughing yourself wet. To my teenage mind, it didn't hurt either that he was hung like a bear. Winston Mooney, because he knew how to get things done. He knew the angles. More than once, when I'd got myself in trouble with the law or harsh company, Winston would squeak me free from the jaws of disaster.

He was mad-jack in love with me too, and it would be a slap in his face if I didn't invite him into the scrum. Darlene Carew, because she was timid and lonely. Not whiny or pathetic, but sad. A bony-thin girl as pretty as porcelain, but who never got asked out; who never dreamed of doing the asking herself; who wrote poetry and listened with shiny eyes whenever I recounted my latest slap-and-tickle adventures.

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I figured Darlene could be my personal project—cut her in on a piece of Barrett, Peter, and the rest, give her some new experiences to put in her poems. Finally, Egerton Crosbie Sharr's brother , because he was good-natured and built like a streetcar. Without him, I'd be the brawniest one in the household There: my husbands and wives. Cajoled, enticed, teased, negotiated into a grand old MaryMarch union.

The idea shocked the people we wanted to shock—my mother, for example. She wasn't even of Covenant descent Dads met her at medical college on New Earth , so our announcement struck her as flat-out perverse. Longtime MaryMarchers had a milder reaction, but still considered the marriage in bad taste: using a respected-if-not-respectable religious institution just to annoy our elders.

Which was bang-on-the-head true. Still, we had the aroma of legitimacy on our side: like someone who fasts on Fridays or wears a crown of real thorns to the Atonement service. People moan, "We don'tdo that anymore! Deep down, there's always a knot of guilt that they've abandoned the old ways. That they've settled their butts in a padded pew and made themselvescomfortable.

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So the eight of us married. Started our own family compound: eight small domes ringed around a bigger central one. For a while, of course, it was sex, sex, sex—what do you expect from nineteen-year-olds? We had no other ideas about what marriagewas. I took all seven of the others into my bed, individually, or in threesomes, foursomes, more-somes Faye being bad. Playing musical beds, not for any healthy reason like love or pure wet lust, but mostly just to be wicked. To get revenge on my mother for all the things she'd once imagined about me.

To shock the rest of the community. To trivialize myself. But the free-for-all burned itself out after a few months. Egerton and Darlene began pairing off together almost every night. Then Angie and Barrett. The other four of us stayed more loose and lubricious, occasionally showing up at each other's door on nights we wanted comfort, but sleeping more and more on our own as time went on. When Lynn got pregnant, both Peter and Winston claimed to be the father. Not fighting over it; just both of them volunteering, eager to be dads.

Which put Lynn, Peter, and Winston together, didn't it, even if Lynn occasionally planted me a fierce kiss as she padded past—the three of them cheerful parents-to-be, then overjoyed parents of Matthew and Eva. Naturally, the story went that Peter fathered one of the twins, while Winston fathered the other That would only spoil the solidarity. I was happy for them, truly. And I wasn't so cruelly cut off on my own. As the months and years trickled by, from time to time any one of the seven might show up at my dome near bedtime, saying, "Faye, you looked so lonely at dinner Sometimes they stayed the warm-flesh night.

My husbands, my wives, my lovers, my friends, my teammates, my safety lines to the world. It wasn't so bad being the odd woman out. You can learn to live with anything when you've developed the notion you don't deserve more. Meanwhile in those years after the plague, Demoth was going through a merry old flap-up of reshuffling. With only a sliver of its former population, the planet didn't have nearly the same mineral needs as before. All but one of the mines around Sallysweet River closed, but that was no hardship—so many Ooloms had died, there was work to be found all over Great St.

The government spent prodigious amounts on retraining; my spouses all got good educations, then good jobs. For a while, it still looked like Demoth might need a splurge of immigration, just to keep things running. Add it up, and we only had six million inhabitants on the entire planet—blessed near empty, even by the sparse standards of Fringe Worlds and colonies.

But the humans and Ooloms who'd come through the plague didn't want newcomers barging in: people who'd act sympathetic about the die-off but wouldn't know. So we buckled down hard and pulled things together on our own. Our eight-in-hand family eventually moved from Sallysweet River to the poky urban sprawl of Bonaventure Caspian Island, but out on the ocean coast. Less moss, more bare ice-scraped rock.

By mainstream Technocracy standards, the city was a fiddly-dick clump-hole, population only 50, But with Demoth severely depeopled by the plague, Bonaventure was the twelfth largest metropolis on the planet. A major hub and port town: where supertankers dropped off raw organics harvested from the Pok Sea algae flats; where the spunky Island Bullet loaded and unloaded its railcars after running its circuit of the mining towns in-country.

Bonaventure also had an up-sleeve to the North Orbital Terminus One of the great charms of Bonaventure—you could leave the place so quickly. Pre-plague, the city had an Oolom name, but that got changed when humans took over. The Ooloms wanted it that way. They still outnumberedHomo saps overall on Demoth—roughly five million of them to one million of us—but most surviving Ooloms could afford upscale residences in the Thin Interior, playground communities nestled in the skyscraper trees of ancient forests and jungle. They had an unshakable passion for the deep woods; so they hired us humans to work in Oolom-owned offices and factories, while they retired to soar through the canopy in genteel indolence.

For them, any job in the Big Green was better than facing the urban gray. For twenty years after the plague, then, Demoth sorted itself out Ooloms settling down in their posh isolated villages, whileHomo saps found their own places on islands and coastal plains—anywhere close to sea level, where the air was thick enough for human lungs to bite into.

And for twenty years after the plague, I sorted myself out too I'd had jobs before. I'd also had "Faye" jobs like prancing the puss in stripperamas, or nude modeling for local artists. A lot of sculptors loved the button scars on my arms, where I used to have freckles. But mostly I bared the butt for Ooloms. Oolom men found human women outrageously, capaciously sexy because we were sobig.

Torso big, I mean—they couldn't care less about cleavage or crotch, but they turned goggle-eyed at the expanse of a human back. Their own Oolom females were so much thinner Gives a whole new meaning to calling women "broads. Considering my own mesomorph build, I could have been the choice rumpus room of the back streets I'd take off my clothes for money—where was the crime in treating myself like meat? They were my family. I could devalue myself, but not them. Which meant that as years went on, as Darlene and Angie and Lynn all had children, I gradually spent more time home helping with the kids than playing Miss Udder around town.

The children called me "Mom-Faye" Even just being Mom-Faye changed me in time. You say, "I'll cheapen myself tomorrow" Such a shock. That your soul may not be an irredeemable cesspool. Then quick, while you're still brave, ask yourself what you'd want to do with your mortal existence if the universe weren't a total dog's vomit. What do you want? To live in the real.

Sla'arth, the Ancient Vigilant

To name the lies. Wa supesh i rabi ganosh. An aspiration you haven't let yourself think about for twenty years So why in the name of Mary and all her saints don't I get off my cowardly butt and make this happen? They accepted everyone's application on the spot. If you weren't proctor material, they had seven years of brutal training to weed you out. A student of the College Vigilant. Just like that. My family treated it as a lark. The younger kids giggled about Mom-Faye getting into politics, the older kids did impersonations of me losing my temper at a bureaucrat "Oh you think you're a clever little man, do you?

I studied. Classes, sims, direct info braingrabs. Most of the work I did over the world-net; but when I needed face-to-face, I turned to the proctors in town, the ones who scrutinized Bonaventure City Council—a dozen sharp-witted people, generously serving as teachers and mentors during my seven years as student.

Three were human; the rest were Oolom, living amongHomo saps for the good of the Vigil. The Ooloms treated me with sunbeam kindness They knew the Vigil had to build back its numbers, and that meant encouraging anyone who could grit through the training. Even with two decades to recover from the epidemic, the Vigil was running strapped, barely enough proctors to scrutinize the governments of our world.

I grew stronger, more disciplined. That was the easy part. The hard part was yanking myself out of a pit of cynicism twenty years deep, up to a place where maybe I could believe in an ideal or two. When I talked to fellow students, lots of them felt the same way. They'd gloated when signing up for the Vigil: keen for the chance to rip into politicians, to show up important people as fools and to tell the world, "There, you blind buggers, that's the brainless corrupt government you elected. The Vigil wasn't about humiliating bad guys.

It wasn't about punishing bureaucrats if they disregarded the side effects of some proposed bill. There were no scorecards, no banners, no late-night celebrations where senior proctors offered you champagne toasts for making heads roll. When you succeeded, government worked better. Passed good laws. Met the public need. That was your sole reward—real people became better off. Safer, or more prosperous, or more blessed by intangibles. Clean air.

It takes time to shift your outlook: you start by thinking all politics is rat puke, all politicos are hypocrites, and oh, it'll be rare delicious to kneecap the bastards; but you end simply looking at laws, not lawmakers, and believing there is such a thing as attainable good. I, Faye Smallwood, was capable of idealism. It surprised the bejeezus out of me. I graduated from the College Vigilant in the twenty-seventh year after the plague. Standard Earth Technocracy years, not local ones: a.

I had just turned forty-two. Of course I knew the party was coming—our whole blessed household tittered with whispers, conversations stopping or lurching to silliness when I walked into the room—and I grumbled to myself about the obligation to act surprised when the moment came. Didn't I have other things to do? Weren't there a million last-minute details before heading for the Vigil Proving Center?

But I should have known better than to get the growls. My family made me happy When the lager'n'biscuits ran out, the other women shooed the men away, declared it "Sleepover Night for the Fortyish Fraus," then took me jointly to bed. And here I thought I'd have toact surprised.

‎Vigilant: League of Peoples, Book 3 (Unabridged) on Apple Books

Twenty-four hours later, my skull top was missing, and I had far too clear a view of my own pink brain. In a mirror. While surgeons planted a link-seed in my corpus callosum. My second birth. All those earlier years of training were skim-milk rehearsal for the real transition:Homo sapiens toHomo vigilans. Becoming a different organism. Blessed near a different species.

Here's the thing: joining the Vigil rewired your brain. Years ago, I'd wondered how Zillif could link to the datasphere when she was paralyzed. How did she work the keys on her access implant? Answer: there were no keys. The implant was a link-seed, embedded directly inside her head. And now I had one too. The creepers were electrotropic, drawn by EM sparks; they'd infiltrate the regions of my gray matter where neurons fired most profusely.

The LGN and visual cortex. Broca's and Wernicke's language centers. A smattering of sites in the so-called reptile brain, controlling my heart, lungs and digestion. Once those major roots were established, the link-seed would take its time spreading into areas of lesser activity. My memory. My muscular coordination. My dreams. Two weeks to a brand-new me. And the moment the surgeons closed my skull, a ruthless black clock started ticking. Tick took, tick lock, adapt or die. They laid me in a room with cool blue walls.

An electronic nurse clamped itself to my wrists and ankles—if something went wrong, mere human reflexes wouldn't be fast enough to save me. Three times out of a hundred, electronic reflexes weren't fast enough either. There's one brutal reason why few people on Demoth or elsewhere have direct brain-links to the datasphere. The technology is centuries-old, simple, inexpensive Each year, for example, a handful of ambitious business execs bribe some less-than-scrupulous surgeon to plant link-seeds in their brains. The witless saps dream of getting an edge on the competition; they salivate at the thought of instant data access, with no risk of being overheard whispering to a wrist-implant.

Two days later, all blissful confidence, they try their first unfiltered download. A market quotation on some stock they think is important. Which drags along quotations on related stocks. Then the whole financial sector. Then the entire planetary market, and markets on other planets, and every corporation prospectus registered with the InHand Exchange, and quarterly economic statistics on every planet in the Technocracy, not to mention major trading partners and up-League envoys Like trying to sip from a firehose.

Only in this case, the firehose sprays info-acid all over your hippocampus. The condition is called "data tumor. If I was lucky, the electronic nurse would raise a baffle field before it was too late. Block the incoming flood by broadcasting static—jam me into radio isolation from the datasphere till the surgeons could remove enough of the link-seed that it stopped working. If the nurse was a microsecond slow in detecting a tumor bloom, I would sit there stat-shocked while the link-fibers in my brain got toasty warm from the electrical activity of downloading reams of bumpf.

What do you think happens when a network of molecule-thin wire heats a few hundred degrees inside your brain? Blood brought to the boil. High-pressure juices squirting out the edges of your eye sockets. The College Vigilant had made me watch a doc-chip of patients collapsing in data tumor. Don't ask me which was worse: the sights I saw before the camera lens got blotted red, or the sounds I heard after. But neither the sights nor the sounds were pleasant things to remember while lying in a cool blue room.

There was precious little time to feel my way forward—the link-seed spread its tendrils unstoppably, connecting to new neuron clusters every second. Sixty seconds every minute, favoring me with a tinnitus of hiss in my left ear, then a spasm of muscles in my lower back, then a flash enhancement of color sense in my right eye.

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Cool blue chilling left, electric blue stabbing right. Lying in an empty room, clamped down by a nurse machine that loomed over me like a spider I want to tell you how it changed me. But like making love or throwing punches in a fistfight, some experiences can't be broken down into words.

There's no way to tell everything, everything all at once. You have to pretend there's a throughline, a sequence Sensations in your body, in your eyes, in your ears, bristling along your skin, rasping in your throat, pressing sharp on your stomach, squeezing around your temples, burning in your chest. And those are just the chance physical offshoots of becoming a link-trellis, transient side effects of the tendrils snaking through your mind. There's also the gasping moment when a vine tip pierces a pleasure center. Or a pain center. Or, by ugly coincidence of timing, both at once.

Emotions float up. You find yourself crushed with soul-ripper grief, weeping in heartbreak for ten bleary seconds till suddenly everything switches to funny, which infuriates you, which depresses you, which bores you, which makes you feel wise as an angel, then wicked as an imp. All you can hold on to is your Vigil-trained discipline: keep breathing, one breath at a time, take in what's tearing you up without trying to fight it.

Observe it without trying to process it. Get out of your head, because your head is damn-fool busy. Let everything come, let it pass, let the changes happen. The seconds pass, sixty seconds to a minute. What you are is just what you are, not what you have to be. There's no linear unfolding.

With a link-seed, input comes to your brain in gestalt, an instantaneous neural activation matrix: not this-then-that, but a billion neuron clusters simultaneously receiving their piece of the whole, a single gush of comprehension. Battered weary by emotions, delusions, physical jiggery-pokery itches, stabbing pains, dead numbness , wanting to shout, "Stop, leave me be, let me rest! Green and gold and purple and blue, a hundred eyes wide-open, watching me with all the calm in the universe.

Colors fanned over every grain of my vision; I couldn't feel my body, no artificial prod to laugh or cry, nothing in me but the sight of that tail, reaching high as the stars and low as the planet's core, filling my thoughts, my world. And the sound of it: feathers rattling, demanding attention. Look at me. Even affectionate. I don't know how long the moment lasted. Long enough. The peacock eventually fractured into another donkeydump of sensations, smells that whistled, bright kicks to the stomach each one a different color At the time, it puzzled me why the eye of my personal hurricane was a peacock's tail.

I didn't have long to ponder the question—too many distracting fireworks going on inside my head. Later, looking back, I shrugged off the vision as random mental floss, some piece of neural flotsam my brain happened to seize on as a life preserver. I was flagrantly, hubrisly, witlessly wrong. Not boiled in its own juices. And cleaned-purged-regenerated, the way you feel after a pummeling-hard work out. But different. Link-seeds do more than just provide passive information from the world-soul. More even than giving your senses a friendly boost and speeding your reflexes cat-nimble.

Those are minor perks, side effects of having new, electron-fast pathways routed through your brain.

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Here's the thing: a link-seed destroys your capacity to ignore. As simple as that. As devastating too. That's why you become a new person. Why the Vigil works, without turning petty or abusing its power. When I download information from the world-soul now, it becomes a direct part of me. I can't skip past any parts that jar with my vision of the universe. I can't discard facts I'd prefer not to know. They're all incorporated, instantly-directly-viscerally, into what I am. Into the physical structure of my brain. The primal configuration matrix. Unlike bits of info I read or hear through conversation, a direct linkload is unmediated.

Undeniably present.

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Unavoidably transformative. I can't pretend new data doesn't exist—it's already changed me. It's molded my thoughts, reweighted my synapses, overwritten whatever I was before. I can't evenwant to ignore the input, because it's already there. No sublimation. No turning a blind eye to unlikable facts. The link-seed left me wide-open. Vulnerable to storms and stars. And that openness gushed over into the rest of my life. Not just with dry downloads from the datasphere, but things that were already in my brain. I couldn't dismiss them for my own smug convenience. I couldn't look away. Someone immune to the blind wishful thinking that infects all politics like the clap.

Someone who doesn't just call a spade a spade, but whosees the damned spade is a spade, without thinking maybe it could turn into a backhoe with the right tax incentives. It's not virtue or saintliness; it's just the way my new brain works. Of course, there are still thresholds—I'm not mesmerized by every speck of dust that drifts past my eye, nor do I think deeply over every word and inflection that reaches my ear.

I no longer ignore the obvious.

here I'm mentally, physically, incapable of that. Selective inattention is for sissies. I shiver brain-naked in the data flow. Aware to my very gut that actions have consequences, and unable to dupe myself otherwise. A member of the Vigil. Recovery time. Rearrangement time. A chance to clear the decks. I no longer needed the electronic nurse perched over me, but data tumor was still a possibility. A white-knuckled looming terror if the truth be told. And data tumor was just the messiest way I could stop being me; there were other more subtle ways the link-seed could wipe out the Faye Smallwood I'd known.

Facts and memes infecting my unprotected brain. Long-loved perceptions swept away, erased by casual input Of course, I'd fretted over the same dreads before getting the link-seed I could watch the doc-chip of that data-tumor victim spewing blood out his eyes, and I could say, "He must have been a weak-willed mook. And I was scared, scared, scared. The day I came back from the Proving Center, Angle's son Shaw asked me to do a trick—to show off what the new Mom-Faye could do, tell what the weather was like right now in Comfort Bight.

The biggest city on Demoth, ten thousand klicks to the southwest, sprawled around the mouth of the only major river running through the Ragged Desert. Shaw was just curious, an eight-year-old boy making a let's-see request I didn't want to let anything into my brain unsupervised, even a simple "Force one sandstorm, toxicity B, expected duration two hours The weather report had seeped in from the world-soul without me consciously asking for it.

My bout of the weeps got swallowed by cold, cold terror. I couldn't control the seed. Data tumor coming up. But nothing dramatic happened. Not this time, I thought after a full minute of waiting. Maybe the next. That night I got out my scalpel—the one I'd used when I cut off my freckles all that time ago. In the angry dark days of my teens and twenties, I'd sometimes just rest the blade against my skin, or trace little patterns I lost points if I actually drew blood. It'd been years since I last took out the knife. I'd pulled myself together, hadn't I?

There was nothing driving me to hurt myself now. And if I was scared to shivers about data tumor, surely I could find a more comforting talisman to hold than razor-sharp steel. Something I could sleep with under my pillow and not worry about accidentally nicking a vein. I sat naked on the edge of my bed and slowly laid the back of the blade onto my bare thigh—not the sharp side, just the back. That was all right, wasn't it? That was only goofing around. A link-seed means you can't lie to yourself.

I found my eyes filling with tears as I thought, "It was supposed to be all better now. After a while, I couldn't feel it anymore—light, thin metal, matching my body temperature Eventually I managed to put the scalpel away, without ever touching the sharp edge to my flesh. But I couldn't bring myself to stash it back in its dark, hard-to-reach hiding place at the rear of my closet. The poor knife would be so lonely back there.

I put it in my purse. Honest-to-God legislation placed in the fear-damp hands of Faye H. Smallwood, Proctor-Probationary. When I first started my studies for the Vigil, Chappalar had struck me as bashful near humans, always half a step back and matching the color of the walls. He windled around town on foot rather than gliding because it bothered him to be the only flying figure in the sky. Each time before a global election, he petitioned the Vigil for transfer to anywhere with more Ooloms Lately though, Chappalar had perked up something considerable.

Office gossip said he'd been seen sashaying with a silver-hairedHomo sap woman, variously described as quiet, chatty, or somewhere in between. Translation: no one had actually talked to her; people had just spied from a distance and invented stories to suit their own tastes. The usual naysayers tried to stir up a fuss about "mixed relationships," but no one paid attention.

Humans and Divian sub-breeds had been doing the dance ever since our races made contact centuries ago. Ever since You have so much in common! But continuous nudges from other League members pushed us out for what amounted to a set-up blind date: first contact on the moon of an ice giant halfway between our home systems. And surprise, surprise, we hit it off. Our two speciesare precious close to each other in basic anatomy, intelligence level, evolutionary history Yes, Divians change colors and have ears like grapefruit nailed to their heads; but when they andHomo saps got together, it wasn't like meeting aliens.

Piss poor planning leads to piss poor results. That is a fact of life, no matter what you are doing. Everyone on every level could have formulated a better plan. Starting with you. What have you taught your kids about how to react when this happens? What is your plan? Or are you waiting for the school, the city, the state, or the country to step in a make the plan for you? That's absurd, how many people have you spoken to in the past 10 years who have faith in our government?

Most likely big fat 0. So why in the hell would you want a broken system with no reliability that continually fails the citizens to formulate a plan to save you and your love one's life? Does this sound ridiculous to anyone else? Being prepared starts with YOU. No one cares more about the lives of you and your family more than YOU. I know everyone thinks I'm going towards guns are the answer. Everyone needs a gun to protect themselves. That's not where I'm going. The reality is most people will never be proficient enough to be able to perform an act of self defense in an effective manner under extreme stress.

Because they fail to work at it. So this is not the answer. Have you spoken to your family about any of these things? If you haven't maybe you should consider it. I just listened to the local news last night and I was disgusted. I'm sitting there listening to a washed up attorney backseat quarterback the tragedy at Parkland High School.

Her take on it Sure, they would have lost 3 or 4 but eventually they would have taken the shooter out.