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Today it seems like not my day,

I tried all possible way,

Recalled the words I didn’t say,

Picked the pieces I didn’t lay,

Tore up the bills I couldn’t pay ,

Broken records I couldn’t play,

A lover who didn’t stay,

Fallen hair, they’re all grey,

Bones they all decay,

Memories they outweigh,

Days they replay

Tainted God, I mustn’t pray.

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“You look good,” Jack said, glancing over the Heroes leader in front of him, who was dressed in a fashionable and elegant black tuxedo.

“Really?” Alex said, looking at his own face in the mirror.

“Yeah, I can’t tell it’s you.”  

“Are the contact lenses irritating your eyes?” Skye asked.

“No, they’re fine.” The captain responded, examining the reflection of his eye. The iris was now a brown color instead of its natural olive green.

“What about the makeup? And that fake scar?”

“Also fine, it’s not bothering me.”

“Ok, that should be enough to keep your true identity hidden from prying eyes at the party.”

“Besides,” Jack chimed in “people tend to see uniforms, not faces.”

“Are you sure this is going to be enough?” Captain Boehm inquired “my face has probably been plastered all over Chinese territory we’re heading into, as ‘public enemy number 1”

“Don’t worry, it’s plenty enough.” Skye said, “we do this all the time, there are billions of mammals in this world, some people are going to look similar to others.”

“Everything else is ready.” Jack said “Our false party invitations are set, and so is transport. The generals we’re after are confirmed to still be in attendance.”

“We can’t being weapons, so we will have to take them out paw to paw. Or rather…. hand to paw in your case, Alex.”

“Now we’re just waiting for our 4th member.”

As if on cue, the 4th member of their infiltration team entered the room.

“How do I look?” JayJay asked. She wasn’t dressed drastically different from her normal self. She sported a red dress, however, this one was longer, and wasn’t ripped in places as part of a fashion choice. This dress also had a shiny exterior that made it look like it was made of crystals that shimmered in the light.

JayJay’s fur was also different, instead of being dyed blue, it was a cream color.

“Wow, you look good.” The Heroes captain said, giving a thumbs up. “I like the dress.”

The wolf blushed as red as her dress and thanked him for the compliment.

“I agree.” Skye said “a fashionable outfit that’s perfect for a mission like this. And the different color fur dye should also help.”

“Oh, this isn’t dye, this is my natural fur color.”

“That’s your natural fur color?” Alex asked.

“Yeah, what do you think?”

“I like it, but in my mind, I will always remember you as having blue fur.”

JayJay blushed again, this time not as strongly.

“Ok lovebirds,” Jack said, “if your done flirting, we can get to our mission.”

“Oh hush Jack,” Skye said, “You flirt like this with me almost all the time.”

Now it was Jack’s turn to blush as Alex and JayJay chuckled.


The boat ride to the Taiwanese shore had gone off without a hitch. Although there were some Chinese patrol boats in the vicinity, the Chinese were eager to protect their recent conquest. Searchlights and machine guns trained back and forth as the vessels meandered through the water. Fortunately, the typhoon was secluded away from prying eyes, with the necessary precautions taken to make sure it stayed hidden.

Now the 4 heroes were walking down a brightly lit street, nearing a large and fancily decorated community building, which was swarming with photographers and partygoers of all species. Large Chinese flags draped down from the building, as people talked, ate, and drank, with everyone dressed in elegant clothing.

Pairs of bodyguards stood to watch at different size doors corresponding to different sized animals. A tiger and human stood outside a door for medium-sized mammals, which Alex and JayJay moved towards. Meanwhile, Jack and Skye moved towards a door for smaller mammals, which was guarded by a pair of goats.

The pairs held up bright red and gold invitations on expensive paper, the items having been generously provided by the ZIA. The guards patted the heroes down, making sure they were not carrying any weapons, before waving them through into the building, where the pairs rejoined each other. After passing through a small atrium, the group emerged into a large party area, which was packed with partygoers. More Chinese banners and bright lights hung down from the ceiling. Mammals chatted and socialized or visited the bar, which had an expansive menu of liquor behind it. The whole room was alive, and a dull roar of sound was constantly present.

Waiter mammals in formal attire rushed to and fro with plates of hors d'oeuvres and glasses of liquid, making sure the guests were satisfied. Some mammals rushed over to present the 4 operatives with these appetizers, to which they declined.

The 2 couples split up again, as not to draw attention. Jack and Skye mingled with some of the mammals, while Alex and JayJay hung out near a staircase that led to an upper balcony.

“Aww, no dance floor?” JayJay whispered, putting on a pouty expression.

“The idea is not to draw attention to yourself.” The Heroes captain whispered back.

“I know, but I love dancing.”

“I’m noticing security cameras set up around this place,” Skye said over the radio. Their frequency was encrypted, making sure no Chinese forces would be listening in. “We’ll need to disable them before we do anything.”

“Do that later.” JayJay said, “that way they won’t have time to fix the cameras.”

“Clever wolf,” Alex said.

“Alright, then now we just wait,” Jack said.

“Say, Alex, JayJay, Jack and I were wondering something,” Skye said. “Do you think there is evil Jack and Skye out there somewhere?”

The human and wolf thought for a moment. They had considered the possibility of more dark counterparts existing. But the origin of such counterparts still eluded them, and they knew very little of their dark doubles, which was a scary thought.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if such entities existed.” Captain Boehm said.

“But we would have seen them by now.” JayJay chimed in.

“Yeah, unless they are working behind the scenes or something. But still, we would have seen them by now. If there is an evil Jack and Skye somewhere, it’s not here.”

“What about somewhere else?” Jack asked.

“…..Probably. But where that is, I have no idea. This is why we have to stop our counterparts and the Chinese. We can’t let some dark and twisted versions of ourselves wreak havoc.“

"I wish I could get my hands on my counterpart,” JayJay said, shaking her fists as some of her rage from the past bubbled up to the surface.

As the agents continued to wait, Jack and Skye mingled a bit, trying to blend into the crowd, but being cautious not to make themselves to memorable to other partygoers. Alex and JayJay on the other hand just rested in random spots around the room, completely keeping to themselves as not to draw any attention. Everyone else was too busy socializing and drinking to notice a pair of mammals just standing there. JayJay did keep mentioning wanting to get on the dance floor, but the Heroes captain was able to keep her in check.

At long last, the 4 operatives noticed Chinese soldiers roaming through the party, looking at tables, walls, and furniture, along with other objects and structures. They even talked to some people.

“What’s that all about?” JayJay asked.

“Maybe they’re securing the place for the generals.” Jack hypothesized. “Stay low, don’t draw attention to yourselves.”

A human Chinese soldier with an SMG strapped across her chest moved towards JayJay and Alex, keen eyes scanning for any danger or something out of the ordinary.

JayJay gestured slightly to the approaching Chinese soldier.

“I know, incoming.” The Heroes captain said as the trooper moved closer, going through the crowd. “I have an idea.”

The two Heroes operatives leaned in close, closed their eyes, and gently locked lips in a loving kiss. The party going on around them seemed to move away, the two only focused on each other.

The Chinese soldier continued to scan the area and saw the pair of mammals, but she quickly turned and left the immediate area once she saw what the two were doing.

As the trooper moved away, the human and wolf broke the kiss. The latter participant smiled at what had just occurred.

“Public displays of affection make people uncomfortable.” The captain said.

“Huh, smart move. Feel free to use it again sometime.”

The Chinese troops moved towards the main door and disappeared from view. Shortly after they left, 3 figures entered the room, consisting of a red panda, a tiger, and a human. Each of them was dressed in an extremely formal military uniform that was dark green in color, and adorned with ribbons of honor on the chest, along with stars on the shoulders.

“There they are,” Skye said.

The trio of generals chatted and started to mingle. Getting refreshments & speaking with other guests.

“Tail them.” Jack said, directing his eyes towards the red panda that was his target. “keep your eyes and ears peeled.”

“Roger, I’ll get the tiger, Jay, you keep your eyes on the human.” Captain Boehm said, separating from the wolf he was with.

“I’ll go take care of the cameras now,” Skye said, leaving the main party area and entering a set of hallways that went throughout the community building. The hallway walls and the carpet on the floor were deep shades of red, and circular stone columns of similar color were positioned at regular intervals. Paintings and artifacts were also situated throughout the hallways, giving people something to look at. However, there were no other mammals in this area of the building. Everyone was busy socializing in the main area.

The ZIA agent kept walking, pretending to look at the artwork on the wall, but also making sure to be aware of her surroundings. Skye noted a metal electrical box on the wall and quickly recognized it as part of the security system. Thankfully the box was at the right height for a mammal of her size. The agent noted the warning sticker symbols on the metal that gave away the object’s nature as something that only security personnel should work on. Along with the box’s sturdy nature that was designed to avoid tampering.

But that would not stop Skye. There was a camera positioned above her, but it was panning left and right down the hallway. Meaning the camera wouldn’t be able to see her for a couple moments. Taking careful note of the timing of the camera, Skye reached into her dress and pulled out a small multi-tool that she had smuggled into the building.

When the camera was facing away from her, she inserted an implement into the lock on the security box and managed to unlock it. The camera started to pan back towards her, so the cunning fox immediately turned towards one of the paintings on the wall. She put on an expression that made her look like she was deep in thought and gazing at the artwork. When the camera panned away from her again, the agent moved towards the box once more.

Skye opened up the metal door of the box and found a security interface. She took out her phone and popped off the back of the device, revealing the computer chips and circuits. She then pulled out one of the chips, which in reality was a separate device entirely that had been hidden in the phone. She plugged it into the interface and set to work, the device linking the interface to her phone

“Ok, I’m in the camera network. I can shut down the cameras from here.”

In the security room, a trio of guards looked over a set of screens that depicted what was going on in the building. Guests conversed and socialized, staff moved back and forth with trays of food and drinks.

All of a sudden the screens went black, and a message saying “signal lost” displayed over every screen. The guards groaned, this happened all the time. Their security system desperately needed an update, but unfortunately, they could never get someone out to actually work on it.

“Cameras down,” Skye said.

Captain Boehm followed one of the generals, a tiger, into the bathroom, which was unoccupied at the time. He locked the bathroom door behind the two, so there would be no interruptions. As the Tiger adjusted one of his cufflinks, the Heroes leader quickly disassembled his watch, rearranging pieces and turning it into garrote wire.

While the tiger turned his back to the captain, Alex struck, getting the wire around the general’s neck. The Chinese general tried to yell, but he couldn’t get any sound out as he was pulled into one of the stalls.

The general’s hands flailed, trying to pull the wire off his neck, and trying to reach around to attack the captain. Boehm slowly felt the tiger’s strength weakening, and eventually, he stopped resisting and went limp as he passed from the world.

The captain slowly guided the tiger’s fall to the ground, so he landed on the toilet in the stall. Alex then turned the garrote wire back into a watch and adjusted the general’s body a bit so it looked like he was just using the bathroom. The young warrior then locked the stall door, and slipped out under the divider, leaving the restroom and rejoining the party.

Elsewhere, the human general walked down an unoccupied hallway, examining some paintings hung up on the walls. Skye had linked up with JayJay, and the pair followed the general at a distance, pretending to talk amongst themselves.

The Chinese general turned to examine a painting of the Great Wall of China, and the duo made their move. The pair moved up to the human and attacked with ceramic knives that they had concealed on their persons. Rapid strikes hit the general, much too fast for him to react and fight back. Within seconds he was down, and thankfully the red carpeting helped conceal what had just happened.

“Broom closet,” Skye said, pointing to a door with the symbol of a broom on it.

The ZIA agent went to open the door, while her companion picked up what was left of the general and dragged him across the hall. The pair placed the downed enemy behind some objects in the closet, making sure to obscure him from view. Once they were done, the closet door was shut, and the pair moved on, their job complete.

The third Chinese general, the red panda, was outside, relaxing in a decorative garden adjacent to the building. Jack was also there, keeping to himself, but making sure he always had an eye on the general.

The red panda General was leaning against a low wall, on the other side of which was a beautiful pool of clear water, teeming with plants and Koi fish.

Jack slowly walked up behind the red panda, on the way he picked up a rock from a decorative ring of stones that surrounded a potted plant. For a brief moment, he held it in his hand, feeling the weight.

The rabbit moved closer and brought back his arm, before swinging it forward and hitting the red panda general in the head with the blunt object. The general lurched forward, going over the railing and landing in the decorative pool.

Jack looked around, making sure no one saw what just happened, before looking at the Chinese general, finding him facedown in the water. The ZIA agent took out a napkin he had and dipped it in the water before wiping the rock. He removed any fingerprints that were on the object, before gently placing it in the water pool, and walking off.


Alex and JayJay were examining a decorative vase sitting on a pedestal. It was pale marble white, with green jade crisscrossing over the surface of the object. Almost like deep green cracks were running through it.

Skye was next to the human and wolf pair, looking at a similar vase that had pink cherry blossoms on it. Jack joined his fox, the two locking arms before the rabbit spoke, loud enough for long four mammals to hear.

“I think we should get going.”

“Nothing more to see?”

“Nothing more to see.”

Jack and Skye walked away, through the assembled mammals and heading for the door. Alex and JayJay followed suit soon afterward, meandering through the crowd and continuing to keep a low profile.

The group made it back to their transport boat without any trouble, but they made sure to be alert. Getting into the small watercraft and maneuvering it away from the shore, the team noticed a trio of Chinese patrol boats racing towards them at top speed.

“Stay calm people,” Skye said.

The team prepared themselves in case a firefight began, but at the last second, the trio of boats turned away, steering out of the path of the agent’s boat and racing by.

“I think they finally caught on.” Captain Boehm said as the patrol boats blazed into the distance.

“Not bad you two,” Jack said to JayJay and Alex. “A textbook mission, and not to mention a valuable victory in this war.”

The Chinese had just lost 3 of their most talented generals, and their efforts in the conflict would be severely hampered.

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Slavoj Zizek
The explosive rise of populism all around Europe, simply fills in the void of the Lefts failure. We are just caught in a vicious cycle which I think can be broken only by a new re-invented Left, and unfortunately we all know what lies ahead if this new left will not appear. A new authoritarian capitalism which is now spreading all around the globe, from Trump to Putin, from Turkey to China.
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Wood with aluminum💡#wood #woodworking #instagram #woods #woodworking_art #woodcraft #kuwaiti #artist #usa #war #الكويت#السعوديه#عمان#البحرين #قطر #مصر #لبنان#العراق#فن#wood#hobby#construction #buildsomething#etsy#lowes #dewalt #investor#ad#forest_masters (at Kuwait City)

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أما يحزننا أن المدينة التي كانت لؤلؤة الحضارة وكان من يحكمها يحكم العالم القديم … صنفت بالأمس كأسوأ مكان للعيش في العالم؟

جسر الثورة، دمشق في تشرين الأول 2020
Al Thawra St, Damascus in October 2020

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Day 5: War

War, Mother - a migrated fic from me and @theleakypen

💮 Outsider POV

💮 Jiang Yanli and Yu Ziyuan

💮 Preparations for a coming calamity

At the Hour of Our Death by NevillesGran

🗡 canon divergence from the Pledge Conference at Nightless City

💔 Wei Wuxian is NOT letting Jiang Yanli die

This is the first in a series I HIGHLY recommend!

Ring the Bells (That Still Can Ring) by Shadaras

🔥 Wen Qing & Wen Ning intend to sacrifice themselves to avert war against Wei Wuxian, post-Qiongqi Dao

💮 Jiang Yanli has a better idea

brave enough to breathe (and) to do whatever must be done by Sour_Idealist @souridealist

🗡 the fall of Lotus Pier goes differently

🔥 the Yunmeng Sibs go the war — behind Sect Leader Jiang Yanli

💜 twofer rec!

Do note that some of the other fics in the series are not gen. This is, however, one of the best Sunshot Era canon divergence stories I’ve had the pleasure to read, with EXCELLENT political maneuvering!

the sun rises by tangerinechar (orphan_account)

💜 Jiang Cheng, at the start of war

⚡ introspection and character study

🗡 the bloody birth of Sandu Shengshou

or podfic by @fensandmarshes here:

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Personally, I find it difficult to visit a city or country or wherever and not visit a museum or gallery, mostly because I enjoy learning about the history and culture that built a specific society into what it is now.

The purposes of museums are many, including teaching about the events of the past, displaying significant artefacts and relics, sharing scientific knowledge or creating a shared memory.

Martyr museums, specifically, are museums that have been created with the aim of memorialising and commemorating martyrs* by creating a shared memory, and can be found predominantly in Iran but further afield in other Muslim countries also. One of the largest of these is the Holy Defence Museum in Tehran and houses many items and stories of martyrs from the Iranian Revolution of 1979 as well as the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.

The following are photos taken by Philipp Breu at the Holy Defence Museum (unless otherwise stated):


1. This is the first hall of the museum and is called the “Hall of Butterflies”. It is explained that the butterflies, for their love of the light, go towards it. This is likened to martyrs who, for the love of their country and faith, go towards God and the afterlife. It is the love they have that consumes them entirely.


2. This is a photo taken of a room aptly named the Bombardment Simulator. The room is dark, save one wall that plays footage of a street in Iran that experienced Iraqi attacks including bombing. The room thunders with the sound of explosions and shakes to give the sensation of having been attacked. The clip follows through the street to show a market that is covered in corpses. In this particular photo a group of school children attend as part of a school trip.


3. The bridge to the final hall (known as the Hall of Martyrdom) is lit up in red with dog tags of the martyrs hanging from the ceiling. On the walls there are photographs of martyrs projected that travel up towards the ceiling (representing heaven) and turn into stars as they do so. The Hall of Martyrdom itself located at the end of the bridge is covered in gold and represents the paradise that the martyrs shown in the bridge can expect.


4. In this part of the museum, photos of Iraqi soldiers are displayed as infidels, showing them to be looting and drinking. They are thought of as being non-Muslims (though the majority of the Iraqi army were in fact Shia Muslims) but as infidels and particularly non-religious. This comes from Saddam Hussain’s Ba’athist party being non-religious and Hussain’s insistence on religion being kept out of politics.


5. The following is a photo of a shop in Qom that sells various children’s toys including pseudo weapons. Although I acknowledge that it is very normal for children to play with toy guns (water pistols or not), this kind of weaponry is rather different, including selling lunchboxes for children in the shape of bombs (not pictured). The toys coupled with the experiences of visiting such museums at a young age promote the normalisation of war and violence as well as the idea of dying for one’s country and faith very early on.

The memorialisation and commemoration of martyrs already has a strong tradition in Iran. It is common when an individual has been martyred to publish their names and stories in newspapers, magazines and books. In some instances, they are mentioned in poetry and music. For those that are acknowledged as making unexpected sacrifices (perhaps due to their age or particular actions) they are celebrated even more so with ceremonies and parades, or having locations named after them including schools and roads, an example of the latter is Mohammad Hossein Fahmideh.

Fahmideh, who was thirteen years old at the time of his death, fought side by side with older men. On an occasion where the Iraqi forces pushed the Iranian troops back, Fahmideh wrapped himself in a grenade belt and threw himself beneath and Iraqi tank. This explosion was one of the first uses of “suicide”** attacks. Because of his actions, Iraqi forces believed that the Iranians had mined the area and ceased their advance.

The idea of using “suicide” was starting to become normalised and those who undertook such attacks were praised for their bravery. “Suicide” attacks were viewed as having many benefits including

  • relatively low expenditure (compared to other military equipment)
  • eliminating the need to plan an escape route following an attack
  • no danger of capture, interrogation, torture etc.
  • element of surprise, accuracy and shock etc.

Dying in this way acknowledged you as among one of the highest regarded martyrs. You not only received the gift of paradise in the next life, but also the love, respect and honour of your country and people. The death of the martyr was commemorated and their legacy lives on in martyr museums.

The aforementioned are, of course, not the only reasons for seeking martyrdom but I have chosen only to mention these for now as they are easy to explain (I’m aware this post is getting a little long already and imagine attention is now waning). I will *hopefully* write a follow up post that explains the other social factors that make martyrdom an attractive prospect to some.

I thought I would share this little corner of research I’ve been doing lately for my PhD because the difference between museums in the West and this is worlds apart. The museums in London that focus on war such as the IWM although may have displays of items from WWII, the emphasis is very much on shock factor. I recall visiting and seeing a room filled with shoes that belonged to the people killed in concentration camps and being shocked. The take home message from this was very much “look at this thing that happened in history, we never want this to happen again”.

Although these Martyr Museums are also war museums, the emphasis is very different. Though it also contains “contact items” (this being items that would have been in possession of martyrs at the time of their death, such as helmets, guns, shirts - often blood soaked etc.) the items are almost worshipped for belonging to an individual who is destined for paradise. The take home message is more “look at this thing that happened in recent history, and this is why your country needs you if it happens again”… which is very different.

You may ask “but how do you know that they’re viewed as being holy?” to which I will point you to a paper written by Christine Gruber. She spent some time in such museums collecting information. On one occasion she witnessed a large group of ladies arrive (as part of a small pilgrimage). She notes that some would walk over to these glass cases that contain the contact items, photos and short biographies of martyrs and cry while stroking the case. When she asked these women if they knew the martyrs, the answer more often than not was a resounding “no”.

I’ve already written more than I wanted to in just wrapping it up, so I will let you get back to your browsing. If you made it this far, thank you. :*




*in this context, the term “martyr” does not refer solely to “suicide” bombers but to all individuals who willingly gave their life in the fight for their country and faith.

**”suicide” I use the word in quotation as this is a contentious topic. Some view it as suicide because you are essentially killed yourself and harming others in the wake of your death. Others view it in the same light as using a gun and dying in the cross fire. There are many views on whether or not this constitutes a suicide.

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Apocalypse Now (1979) - trailer

A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.

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