This blog is mainly MCU focused, with Star Trek (Original Series) scattered in as well as a few other fandoms I’ve loved and enjoyed, plus a good helping of US politics and salt as needed.
I’m on AO3 as Aliset, and Twitter as @Aliset74. Glad to see you here. ￼
But first, the six sentences, from my RBB:
“Art school. Can I…do that? I’ve got a high school diploma from 1935 and a baptismal record instead of a birth certificate because I was born at home,” Steve answered. “None of which I can actually show to anyone because nobody would believe it.” He remembered that particular conversation with one of SHIELD’s liaisons vividly (“We’re just here to help you, Captain Rogers,” said in a way that had set off almost all of Steve’s alarms) and it was probably no coincidence that the same liaison had balked at returning what remained of Steve’s property (dog tags, Peggy’s compass) from the Valkyrie because he needed to “learn to live in this century.”
And now for updates:
Chapter Ten (the LAST CHAPTER...I think...) of "The Ability to Stop" now has a title ("Every New Beginning") and is...not anywhere near done. I don't expect to get much done on it until after I finish my RBB.
The RBB story is currently 11,613 words and 28 pages long. Which, considering the hellscape that was my life in the last couple of weeks, is something of a miracle. I think I have one more chapter on that too, then the epilogue. :)
My Super Fluffy Stucky Story (for Escapologist's Birthday,) "Illuminated Cities at the Center of Me"...is at least started. :)
Hamilton was between eight and ten years old when we adopted him, so he was between fifteen and seventeen when he passed. And the last month or so, it was really becoming obvious that his decline was beginning to accelerate. Late Tuesday night it looked like he'd had (or was having) a small stroke and we realized that he wasn't going to pass gently---that he was suffering, even if he himself was no longer aware of it. We made arrangements to let him pass painlessly at the vets, but when I woke up early Wednesday morning, he was gone.
I hope he knew how much I loved him. How much we all did. I've been crying off and on for the last few days, and I don't expect that to stop anytime soon. He wasn't the first companion animal I've lost---but every one leaves a hole in your heart that's exactly their shape.
A dear friend suddenly lost her orange tabby a few days before Hamilton passed; she says that she bets they're hanging out together in the sunlight, two old men, resting. And that's probably true. Hamilton was the least combative cat I've ever met, and I bet he'd share.
Until we meet again, my friend. <3
The music on the truck’s radio was low in the background, some jazz station out of NPR. It wasn’t the jazz from his time, not really, but he found that he liked it---similar enough to take the edge off the worst of his thoughts, new enough to remind him where he was. And so he let himself think of Bucky and Peggy for the first time. He knew Peggy was still alive, that she’d married a few years after his death, had a couple of kids even, but her marriage hadn’t survived past the mid-1950s and Peggy’s deepening involvement in what became SHIELD. He could call her, maybe, but did he even have the right after so long? She’d lived her life and it had been a full one, from what he could tell. And like Jim, she must be in her 90s now.
And it hurts. Because I know what's coming. I've seen it happen before. At some point, we all get here with our beloved companion animals---the end of the line. And I will miss him so. All he ever asked from us was a warm lap, cat food, and some catnip now and then. And what he's given us, and gives us now, is so much more.
Right now he's asleep on my lap. I'm not going to move him.
And with all the pre-movie publicity comes the usual fandom wank. Here's some of mine:
1) Velvet pants are fine. They're especially fine for petting. No arguments there. :D
2) Everybody has an interrupted character arc. Some more than others (*cough* Tony *cough*) in which their characters should have been allowed to grow and mature but instead were felled by sloppy writing or a simple lack of continuity. Acknowledging that doesn't mean you hate the character. (Though..um, I'm gonna confess right now that the "billionaire playboy" trope really hasn't aged well. At all. Neither has the sexism or misogyny. Don't @ me.)
3) In a different universe, we're all probably talking about how we finally got to meet Sarah Rogers---clearly a huge influence on her son--and what a wonderful end to the Captain America trilogy Cap 3 was. That universe is not this one. IOW, I'm going to continue to remain grumpy about CACW.
4) Captain America/Steve Rogers in all his MCU incarnations is and always will be one of my favorite fictional characters. Full stop.
“I’ll never work for SHIELD again,” Clint answered, picking at a splinter on the table. “Not in the same capacity, not in any situation where someone would have to trust me. There will be an investigation about Loki’s invasion. It’ll conclude that, brainwashed or not, I helped kill SHIELD agents and aided an enemy army. I will be given two alternatives: a quiet retirement, my silence and my pension, or a bullet to the head and a hole in the ground. I’d prefer to keep breathing, thanks, so from here, it’s retirement.”
I now have a title for Chapter 10 of "The Ability to Stop," which I think might be the last chapter of that story. Now that I have a title, I can start writing. It won't be ready for a long while, because finishing the RBB is my priority, but...things are progressing. :)
This is the story that spawned no fewer than three other series, with complex, fallible and believable OCs; highly competent women; a Bucky who is damaged, but who also realistically recovers in fits and starts, with backsliding and surprising leaps forward (and backward); and a Sam Wilson who (as one of the author's tags puts it) has Steve's back but also has his own life. And a Steve who is also dealing with his own issues while he's trying to help Bucky with his...and is called out on it too.
One of the things I appreciate most about this series is that the author has put a LOT of time into patching holes in canon that we as readers might not even have considered. For instance, this story is canon divergent after TWS---so, in a scenario where Bucky comes to live with Steve in a condo in Brooklyn, exactly how was the CIA, FBI, etc persuaded NOT to go after him? The answer may surprise you---and the real effect of all of this is to ground the events of TWS and post-TWS in a more realistic universe. I thought often when I was reading (and re-reading) that if the MCU existed in the real world, I could see it happening like this.
So, you know. Go and read the thing. It can be sad in places (and there's the canon-typical Winter Soldier trauma umbrella) but it's worth the read.
For the RBB, I just hit the minimum word count yesterday. The story is 5414 words and 12 pages and counting.
For "The Ability to Stop"---it's...temporarily on the back burner while I get the RBB story done. But at least the readers are used to (I HOPE) a long delay between chapters...
And my 3rd WIP (because I'm nuts like that) is a fluffy Stucky story written for Escapologist's birthday---which she'll get late, but she won't care. ;-)
It took three days for the first hit to come in. Tagged on Instagram as a #celebritylookalike, it was a picture taken by a college student who’d blown a tire on her way to visit her grandmother in the hospital. “This guy who looks just like Steve Rogers helped me change my tire!” she’d captioned. “Thanks, Grant!”
“Grant?” Clint asked.
“His middle name,” Natasha replied. “Look, she got a picture of him standing next to his car’s license plate. There’s enough for a partial plate.”
Clint mulled that one over. “I think he wants to be found. Maybe.”
One of SHIELD’s first actions, after they had retrieved him from the isolated cabin, was to install him in a small apartment in Brooklyn. Even that had felt like the worst kind of manipulation---here you are Captain Rogers, here’s an empty apartment in a city you no longer recognize--- but at least he’d been allowed to live somewhere that wasn’t the SHIELD barracks or, worse, that cold and isolated cabin.
Steve hadn’t been born in the 1820s; he was well aware that SHIELD had an agenda. It was clear enough when they talked to him; they spoke of “Erskine’s great gift to the nation” and what it would mean to the country to have him alive and allied with SHIELD and all the “greater good” his presence represented…but Steve had been born at the beginning of one war and sacrificed himself to end another and he was done. He was also not nearly dumb enough to tell them so outright, not until he got his bearings in this strange new century.
His apartment, Natasha found, was vacant. Though perhaps it had always looked that way; it certainly lacked any sign, save the lone cup and plate drying on the counter, that anyone lived here. She quickly silenced the bugs (her later report would blame this on a “mechanical malfunction”) and saw the spotless bedroom, the clean, unwrinkled bedding as a sign, and not a good one. Steve Rogers may have lived here, but he hadn’t been alive here. There were no signs of someone who was sleeping well enough or long enough to rumple a pillow. No pictures on the wall, nothing out of order the way a lived-in place would get.
“I could have called you home,” T'Challa said in a tone that said he’d strongly considered it. “But Baba…he was so proud of the work you were doing. He would have wanted you to stay there.”
Nakia turned to quirk an eyebrow at him. “Your father… he did not want Wakanda openly involved in the outside world, not until the aid mission to Lagos.”
T’Challa acknowledged this; he’d attended the same council debates. “Yes. But… he was proud of what you were accomplishing. And he would have wanted you to stay and finish. So…I did not call you home.”
It would have been disastrous had he tried, Nakia knew. She and her team had had months tied up in the op---investigations, planning, false IDs and covers, all the logistics involved in breaking up one of the largest trafficking rings in Africa. Had he called her, she would have gone, and willingly, but…Nakia was suddenly glad he’d made the decision for her. “I understand,” she told him. “And it pleases me to think your father did as well.”
My favorite there was a 1:1 scale model of Voyager 1, the deep space probe which launched in 1977 and which is still sending information back to JPL after all this time. Now, I don't remember Voyager 1 launching (I was...um, a little young to remember that, but not by much) but I am a second-generation Trekker, and in "Star Trek: the Motion Picture," Voyager 1 was V'ger, a probe which was taken over by an alien intelligence.
Voyager 1 launched with a disc containing music, sounds, pictures and so forth intended to be read by any alien intelligence. One of the pieces of music was by a blues composer, Blind Willie Johnson. Who I had not (at all) heard of before I read a throw-away line in spitandvinegar's "Ain't No Grave (Can Keep My Body Down)"
Funny, where fandom can lead us. I first learned of a deep space probe because of a movie, and I learned of a long-dead blues musician because of a fanfic. :-)
T’Challa slept beside her, warm and very deeply asleep. Nakia smiled; she doubted he’d had much rest lately. She rose from their bed and dressed. There were the morning prayers to be performed, but Nakia was not particularly devout and Wakanda’s gods had never been the type to demand unconditional obedience anyway. But there was the ancestral altar, and she winced, thinking of how she hadn’t been able to be there for T’Chaka’s funeral--- T’Chaka, who had accepted her fully as his third daughter. Bast, but she missed him.
She washed her face and her hands, activating the small candle on the altar that flickered to life with a holographic flame. “I am sorry,” she murmured. “I should have been there. I should have---” her voice choked on the words.