60 Second Binary Options Strategy: the complete guide

[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
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[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
Next Chapter
submitted by LiseEclaire to redditserials [link] [comments]

Discord Conv. 12/11

Disclaimer: This is my editing, which definitely reflects my personal views about the drama.

Just for those who don't have time to scroll the discord and want to have a quick glance about this drama.

12/11
David SønstebøYesterday at 8:23 PM We are progressing well
David SønstebøYesterday at 8:27 PM @Werner Today's medium post by the Semkos explain why it did not happen. We as a non-profit Foundation who has the mandate of developing an open source permissionless technology could not sign a unilateral NDA with a for-profit company. Today's blog post by the Semkos really reveal why they wanted this, they plan to patent technology.
WernerYesterday at 8:28 PM Patented technology has a way harder way to reach global standards...
David SønstebøYesterday at 8:28 PM It never will.
David SønstebøYesterday at 8:30 PM The Semkos failing to get patents won't affect IOTA.
David SønstebøYesterday at 8:31 PM It seems Nikita is Economic Clustering (they even use this term), so it's prior art.
David SønstebøYesterday at 8:48 PM I have consistently defended the Semko brothers against accusations that they are exploiting our community with the intent of backstabbing it. We have offered the Semkos flexible positions in the IOTA Foundation to compensate for their work, which they have declined. We have always held both Roman and Vitaly in high regard, but knowing the 'behind the scenes', reading today's blog post and their Phybr website, leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. They have made a name for themselves and got followers based solely on IOTA, and now they are going in the direction of trying to patent what is by all signs IOTA prior art. They also explicitly state that they intend to support 'multiple coins'. This looks like classical manipulation of the community, keep mentioning IOTA enough to keep the community interested in what they are doing, while in reality attempting to disrupt the same community. Open Source lives and die by its communities. Now that the ICO craze has finally faded, it is time to consolidate around projects, not to fragment them. To be sure, whatever Phybr is, it does not threaten IOTA, IOTA is lightyears ahead of anything they could even theoretically have, even piggybacking on IOTA's work, but it is a distraction and confusion for the community. Given that they have now revealed that they do intend to patent their technology and have refused all attempts at official collaboration, I hereby advice the community to be very skeptical of the Semko's intentions until they prove that all their promises (which they have even accepted donations for) of working to increase the adoption of IOTA are true.
WakanDanYesterday at 8:58 PM They had this strategy before asking for a meeting. This was all a PR stunt after all
David SønstebøYesterday at 9:10 PM @RicardRoyo Not at all, they can't patent prior art. Let me make this clear: IF has always valued the Semkos as community members, but they are not in any shape, way or form critical to anything related to IOTA's success. However, them piggybacking on the IOTA brand (they even renamed to DevIOTA when starting work on Nikita) and causing confusion and disruption in the community, is not something we can support.
Mr GlassYesterday at 9:16 PM David, do you think they maybe would use the meeting to claim to be authors of their idea, which is probably very close to CfBs EC? With a NDA signed you could get in trouble for doing similar work, right?
David SønstebøYesterday at 9:17 PM @Mr Glass I won't speculate on what their intentions were with the unilateral NDA.
David SønstebøYesterday at 9:21 PM @Deep_Sea_Hopper I highly doubt that scenario. EC is known, EC is implemented in code etc. I am not at all worried about that. What I dislike is distraction and fragmentation of community, which is why I am forced to take a harder stance right now. IOTA made the Semkos, and now the Semkos look like they are exploiting this trust and support that you - the IOTA community - have given them. Roman's latest tweet re: Coordicide is quite revealing, they were offered to work together with our vast team, with very good salaries, on Coordicide, but instead they elected to decline that under the guise of wanting to be 'independent', which is fine, but now it is made obvious that this independence is less about creating a thriving and healthy community, but more about maximizing profits. In general, there is nothing wrong with a for-profit model, within IOTA there are tons of for-profit opportunities, but when they start talking about patenting consensus and piggybacking on their trust within IOTA to also on the side 'support multiple coins', that enters an uncomfortable territory for me.
citrullinYesterday at 9:25 PM @David Sønstebø Hi David. I talked to some people about this. And I don't have a good feeling about the Semkos things either. But some people mentioned concerns about the ternary and the whole story behind it. (I don't think that a lot of people question ternary itself, more the incensive and private company behind it). I think it's more the intransparency about everything regarding this topic. So, from my perspective, I think it would help to be more transparent about this topic to strenghten the IOTA community. Especially the IOTA developer community. But, of course, I can understand when there are valid reasons against it. I just want to tell your my opinion. I currently see a little risk of splitting the community and I don't want to see this happen.
David SønstebøYesterday at 9:28 PM @citrullin Ternary is mathematically superior, this is something the universe decided on when it created itself, there's tons of research on ternary, ternary is a very hot topic in Machine Learning, and there are multiple companies developing ternary hardware in some form or another. IOTA is not 'bound' by ternary, this is a myth that seems to be spread by FUDsters. IOTA is simply optimized for that future where IoT devices need absolute optimization, for legacy binary it does not matter at all that IOTA is ternary, these devices can afford the overhead.
Deep_Sea_HopperYesterday at 9:39 PM Hey, Remember when PEAQ said they were pro IOTA, weren't going to ICO, and weren't in it for the money!!! hahha
JimbobYesterday at 9:39 PM @Deep_Sea_Hopper 100% we will see a fundraising effort before any whitepaper.
citrullinYesterday at 9:41 PM @David Sønstebø That is totally true. I already used it on my Bluepill (STM32F1). So it's proven that we can use IOTA on small Microcontroller. My statement was not about any technical facts. Not questioned that at all. It's more about peoples feelings. Especially trust. Since not everything is transparent, people might fear that the IOTA protocols design decisions are based on commercial interests. So, I hope you understand why this is currently more present than ever. In context of the Semko brothers. So, it might give people more trust in IOTA to be more transparent, open about this topic.
KiLLuYesterday at 9:42 PM @David Sønstebø are there any plans to do a board ama again on youtube? The last was a few months ago, so i think there is a lot to say.
David SønstebøYesterday at 9:44 PM @citrullin Thanks for the support. IOTA has always been about pushing the boundary for the future. We do have a ternary series planned that explain why we chose ternary, the history of ternary, ternary vs binary vs *ary, what the current status of ternary in the wider industry is etc. But that requires time @WakanDan To be honest, the Semko drama is not significant to the IOTA program or project. It's about how they are using you - the community - the IOTA Foundation has never depended on the Semkos for anything. So I won't be making any tweets from my account about it, this is a community matter. @KiLLu YES
WASSIMATHIMNI[FREE CARLOS]Yesterday at 9:45 PM Community sent them raspberry pis for their own profit What a shame
David SønstebøYesterday at 9:51 PM Sure, my sentiment has always been that Open Source is dependent on communities, so I will always fight for the rights of the community that has built around IOTA. The community deserves to know if they are being exploited or not. However, when it comes to this specific matter, I am not going to throw gasoline on the fire on twitter, as twitter is more external. I am not at all worried about the industry or investors seeing this, I mean all it shows is that the IOTA Foundation has been working to support the community and assist community developers.
DariusYesterday at 10:01 PM David said it yesterday in context of the NDA thing. Te IF feels committed to the “contract” with the community to stay focused on open source. In the same way, the Semkos may have entered a “contract” (not legally speaking, just morally) with the community members that donated to them to contribute directly to the Iota protocol. If now people feel that this “contract” is breached by the Semkos, the community should get together, form one voice and express their opinion publicly. No need for the IF to get into that imho.
HagiYesterday at 10:02 PM not planning any ICO and saying "not our prioretiy at this moment" are basically different shoes lol
Deep_Sea_HopperYesterday at 10:08 PM I think many people forget as well; though Nelson helped bring attention and grow the community, Nelson actually works against the Tangle and is not in the vision of the IF. Even though CFB discussed this with Semko, they kept straight on their path disregarding the big vision. Not to take away from them... they helped the community grow, but the truth is they always kind of did their own thing and disregarded the Tangles vision.
Deep_Sea_HopperYesterday at 10:11 PM I believe it was that Nelson doesn't consider topology, and because it constantly changes neighbors. Topology of the network should be in a way geographical I guess, rather than criss-crossing around the world. I'm not that technical, so I'm sure I'm messing it up. Also, I believe Field created an issue as well... can't remember how though.
Deep_Sea_HopperYesterday at 10:14 PM It solves the immediate issue of maintaining good neighbors... but I think as the Tangle evolves there will be a replacement or simply it will fade away. Just my guess
HagiYesterday at 10:16 PM Semkoin?
limo_tangleblogYesterday at 10:16 PM I received them yesterday.
KiLLuYesterday at 10:16 PM so they dont a own ico but selling icos
limo_tangleblogYesterday at 10:17 PM anonymously of course, sheds a different light on all of this.
Deep_Sea_HopperYesterday at 10:18 PM The other thing is, everyone thinks Semko Brothers are amazing! and the community is lost without them. They are good for sure, but hey, there have been many Semko's... thing is, they actually decided to work for the IF because they believe in the vision. Semko didn't believe in the mission, so he stayed as a non-affiliated community member. Which means, there will be another Semko in the community, just as Microhash came after him. Microhash joined the IF.. and soon there will be another amazing community member. And at some point the IF won't be able to hire more employees... hahaha
David SønstebøYesterday at 10:21 PM @PergamumTJ All the tokens were up for sale, not a single iota was 'premined' for anyone Now that https://twitter.com/tangleblog/status/1072116857912680449 Tangleblog.com (@tangleblog) @RomanSemko @benjamim Well, pardon me, no ICO (your website indeed states that) it's a separate coin (Semkoin), it has, apparently, been shared with many VC's weeks ago, and your website has been created in November. I received that presentation anonymously yesterday, incl... Twitter Has come to light, I feel that the truth is out. The Semkos has clearly been talking with two tongues.
t00kYesterday at 10:22 PM @limo_tangleblog are you sure these "prints" are real?
HagiYesterday at 10:22 PM lol if thats not a fake, im losing the faith in humanity
limo_tangleblogYesterday at 10:25 PM if it's fake? we will see when the Semkos react, that's the reason I shared them publicly under our discussion on twitter. If it's fake, I apologize, if not, everything is said and done.
Grobian - IOTAshops.comYesterday at 10:29 PM A community can build you, but a community can also tear you down. Just saying. I don‘t know if it‘s a smart move to fool such a big and enthusiastic community.
ricardosnowYesterday at 10:30 PM It's true that he always seems friendly. However he never told us about their agenda. People donated to him thinking that was for the benefit of IOTA itself as an open source, and that's sad. I didn't donate, but if i did I would like to receive the money back.
Slavik ButalikYesterday at 10:31 PM i want my field donation from last season already, give it to the sheeps and then uninstall field and nelson.
capre IOTAYesterday at 10:32 PM So basically people who donated with iota tokens, did devaluate their own coin in a way, with supporting the semko's.
BuckfuddyYesterday at 10:33 PM Semko already losing followers on twitter
David SønstebøYesterday at 10:33 PM I encourage everyone to be civil, and remember that even though this is upsetting, it does not affect IOTA in the slightest. IOTA has never depended on the Semkos. I have always defended the two based on believing that their intentions were honest, but I can't fault the community for feeling betrayed after this. You can't mislead a whole community and piggyback on it to make a name for yourself, and then go behind their back and expect them not to be upset. The good thing is that this Semko-fiasco over the last days has brought the community together to reject this sort of exploitation of itself. This is healthy.
PatriQYesterday at 10:34 PM @David Sønstebø Do not worry about IOTA reputation, facts are out now, nothing to worry about...its clear
2pacYesterday at 11:31 PM @muXxer and people are free to criticize them for how they go about it
muXxerYesterday at 11:32 PM But i hate this negative witch hunt everytime
Jacq IOTAYesterday at 11:32 PM I believe many people are duped into donating to them. They aren't forthcoming about their goals before accepting other people's donations.
citrullinYesterday at 11:34 PM @Jacq IOTA That is what I crisis them for. And I understand why the people feel like the Semkos just used them.
Deep_Sea_HopperYesterday at 11:34 PM MuXer... it doesn't worry me, and I actually am glad the IF has a little bit of competition. What I hate about the whole crypto-space is the lies and misleading social media posts. Such as: we won't ICO, we don't want to be like them.... then truth comes out and they are going for the money
David SønstebøYesterday at 11:37 PM @muXxer The community is pissed off precisely because it seems what the Semkos were planning was actually fragmentation of the community, rather than consolidation No one is pissed at the Semkos for doing for-profit ventures on the side
MuanhYesterday at 11:39 PM I mean that is even how semkos started. They wanted to create a for profit iota hardware wallet but needed autopeering So thats why they created nelson
t00kYesterday at 11:39 PM They are allowed to do other stuff, and you too, of course. I think people feel deceived when they donate (either money or Pi's) thinking it would be useful for the community. And then weekly updates with how good it goes, that they are gonna meet up with the IF.. Then all of a sudden Semkoin drops
MuanhYesterday at 11:39 PM But they said or where implying they were creating a new consensus algo for iota and accepting donations for it the donation part is the important part
David SønstebøYesterday at 11:44 PM This drama was unfortunately real. ICOs and Trojan horsing ones way into a community under the guise of supporting it, when the real intent is actually fragmenting that community into a separate patented for-profit network, is not how one achieves a standardized open permissionless ledger. The ICO nonsense of 2017 set the entire cryptospace back over a year. I am very happy to see that the community takes a strong stance against that.
Trill Pill [Roman Scamko fan]Yesterday at 11:46 PM roman and his brother should refund any donations theyve received, what kinda fucking business practice is to accept donations from community members under the premise that youll develop for this community and then change course and do your own thing but keep the donation, honorless bullshit
https://twitter.com/tangleblog/status/1072116857912680449 https://twitter.com/tangleblog/status/1072117068277927936 https://twitter.com/tangleblog/status/1072117319537778689
WakanDanYesterday at 11:48 PM Thanks @limo_tangleblog for sharing the investor deck. It's a real shame they tried to mask their true agenda. Their comments today remind me of the saying "It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it." What makes IOTA great in my opinion is our community, partnerships, superior tech, vision and the growing IF team of talents (and spec). I don't know any other project capable of boasting of all of these. Some may try to seek short-term gain, regardless of potential impact to the community, but this shouldn't distract us from IOTA's vision and valuing what we have.
citrullinYesterday at 11:50 PM @muXxer That's not the point. But accepting donations, tweeting about: Hey, we need some Pis, in hope that the community will donates some etc. is not a nice way to do that. As it looks like, they used the Pis just for they own profits. I understand why people are not happy about this.
Come-from-BeyondToday at 12:03 AM @muXxer For me it seems some people are pissed because they do for profit stuff There are nuances. When I saw that fancy GIF with the Semko testing their variant of consensus on Tangle I liked it, because it looked exactly as Economic Clustering. Their reinvention of EC means validation of my work. I didn't patent EC because I wanted the whole mankind to benefit from my invention. But then I got info that the Semko are patenting the tech. And are planning to earn money on that. Isn't it normal that I'm a little bit upset with how the things unfolded? Now I'm waiting for their patent details to be published, if their tech is actually EC then I'm afraid we'll see more drama. Because I want the tech to be kept in the public domain.
David SønstebøToday at 12:05 AM Of course Semko is no threat This is not about that
David SønstebøToday at 12:07 AM Of course @gusp There's been numerous clones of IOTA already, all are dead
David SønstebøToday at 12:08 AM The Semko's got exposed to the community before they could fragment the community. So the threat is over.
capre IOTAToday at 12:08 AM If your not being cloned, ur doing something wrong.
AconitinToday at 12:09 AM @David Sønstebø I'm not in legal, so I wonder - What would happen to the IOTA development if the Semkos patented EC? Wouldn't it forbid IF's further development on the technology then?
David SønstebøToday at 12:09 AM @Aconitin You don't get prior art patents
Trill Pill [Roman Scamko fan]Today at 12:10 AM All the raspberry pis, iota and money thats been donated to them should be refunded, because of their dishonesty about their true intentions the iota community essentially funded a competetior, they're scammers in my eyes, saying theyll develop for iota and then doing the opposite was a false premise for everyone that was kind enough to donate resources and they mustve known they were lying for a while alreeady
David SønstebøToday at 12:11 AM This is untrue. The Ecosystem Dev Fund was not yet legally set up, which we informed the Semkos of. Furthermore, a prerequisite of EDF grant is that your work is open source, theirs is not.
Come-from-BeyondToday at 12:14 AM @w4lker [semkofork liason] [could the patent legally prohibit d IF to work anymore on EC's?] The prior art already exists on Tangle (couldn't resist temptation to protect my know-how, as usual :trollface: ), but proving that involves a lot of legal work.
Deep_Sea_HopperToday at 12:16 AM @Buckfuddy at the time Field wasn't open-sourced. Even on discord IF dev's asked Roman to open-source the code. He kept stating he was cleaning the code.
David SønstebøToday at 12:18 AM @Matin That paragraph summarizes this whole endeavor beautifully. When did the Board ever say that a line of their code was ours? Never. We have stated the fact that the Semkos built their name on the IOTA community, branded themselves as "IOTA Dev" and"Tangle Researchers" when they began work on Nikita, they have continuously communicated on Twitter that they are working on different ways to optimize the Tangle etc. etc. etc. This incessant lying after today's revelations makes it impossible for me to take them serious. This blatant lie is just as bad as the misleading of the community that they did.
Come-from-BeyondToday at 12:20 AM @diskings Are there actions that can be done right now... dunno, I'm busy with coding Ict and other stuff, waiting for the patent and then sending C&D letter seems to be the cheapest option now
David SønstebøToday at 12:20 AM The Semkos were never in IOTA's roadmap, we have very solid paths to Coordicide and have a dozen researchers working on the most optimized direction
Come-from-BeyondToday at 12:21 AM I hope they will be honest with potential investors and warn them about the risk of IP infringement...
raphiToday at 12:21 AM @David Sønstebø did any of you ever see a line of their code?
David SønstebøToday at 12:22 AM @raphi No. AFAIK, no one has. We respected them as community members prior to today, but they have never even been remotely equated into anything R&D IOTA-wise.
FredericToday at 12:23 AM @David Sønstebø Sorry for disrupting semkoin drama... Will the ~95 non-chosen brainstorm submissions be published by IF? They might be a solid base for lots of community projects in 2019. Would it be even possible to apply for ecosystem fund and implement someones idea (open source) ?
David SønstebøToday at 12:23 AM @Frederic Yes they will, and yes.
David SønstebøToday at 12:25 AM There is really nothing more to discuss. The Semko brothers got exposed, they exploited the community, and continue to lie in their 'clarification blog post'. As far as I am concerned, they are history. Per Lind 2.0
Deep_Sea_HopperToday at 12:30 AM David, I remember you writing a great blog post about what was completed in 2017, milestones etc., and a very general outlook on 2018. Will you do another 2018 recap article similar to the 2017 one?
David SønstebøToday at 12:31 AM @Deep_Sea_Hopper 2018 Year in review, 2019 Year in preview yup
David SønstebøToday at 12:34 AM Me pointing out the objective fact that the Semkos are demonstrably lying about IF board statements in their desperate damage control campaign takes me approximately ~5 seconds, that does not at all stress me. If anything, I am relieved that the community found the truth and thus the confusion over the Semkos is history, making IOTA's community more focused and no longer vulnerable to being confused.
Come-from-BeyondToday at 12:37 AM Does anyone know if the Semko control that autopeering service? I'd like to remind that I warned against using it. I sent a whitepaper to @Vitaly Semko asking to change it logic (which was ignored). Now, when it's clear that the Semko used IOTA mainnet as a testnet for their Phybr project, maybe we'll reconsider our approach to node peering?
svenger87Today at 12:40 AM [I read anywhere it finds the truth in 100ms] @Marc Lopresti CFB debunked it already with the speed of light
IOTA IS KING! 👑Today at 12:47 AM 2 devs looking for their own financial gain vs group of scientists, engineers and other qualified individuals trying to implement an open universal standard for all.
GeorgeToday at 12:47 AM Do you think Semkos have patented EC? If that is true, the meeting with IF was a trap.
Ralf Rottmann [IF]Today at 12:47 AM I just now learned about the SemkoDev pitch deck and the idea to create a SemkoCoin / ICO as a segue-way to building their own brand on the working body that has been established by this community. Now I finally understand the motivation behind trying to trick me into signing a unilateral NDA, with fines for just one of the two parties and making it super difficult getting two of the founders into the meeting remotely. So far, I had perceived Roman as a very reasonable person and was wondering, why making this so complicated. Well, if one plans to exploit the IOTA community for your own at least questionable ICO all along, it suddenly explains just everything. One less question-mark, although a sad one. Wonder how potential investors see this and what it means for IP related claims down the line.
David SønstebøToday at 12:55 AM The only threat that existed was the community continuing to be exploited, that is no longer possible. So the whole saga is really over.
Roman SemkoToday at 3:13 AM I will say it here once, and will not discuss. As know there are plenty of maximalists in the community which will not react to any reasoning. I truly hoped that IOTA community was different. Yes, we are working on commercial projects besides IOTA. This should not be a surprise. It was even communicated at our last call with David almost two months ago. Our aim was to find a way to apply our know-how to IOTA on a fair basis. This was also the reason why we postponed any PoCs we planned related to Nikita as far as we could. As the meeting with IF was cancelled, due to time constraints, and after announcements that IF probably has a 4th solution for the coordinator, we had to accept the PoC. This has nothing to do with IOTA. It is not an ICO and I do not see it as a competition to IOTA. For us, it’s our daily business. The deck? Yes, you somehow have to present a potential party the way how this new project could be sustainably financed. What is wrong with that? Regarding our IP: it is our IP and is NOT based on any work done by IF. It will be obvious soon enough. Latest, when we publish the details and open-source our work. Obviously, we cannot rely just on cooperation with IF and had to take measures in case we will be applying Nikita on commercial PoCs. Exactly this is what happened. I understand the emotions in the community, people fearing competition, fearing the fate of their own investments. I understand founders’ fear of competition and a better product. Steps have to be taken to discredit other’s work and reputation. We have been there before when IOTA was shitstormed by other Cryptos one year ago, remember? I just hope that this community was different. There is probably nothing I can say to convince everybody. A fate of public position is that whatever you do, there will be someone who does not like it. Maybe just that we still do not consider us a competition to IOTA. We still hold IOTA and want to continue development of IOTA-based solutions. There are no ICOs planned. And we truly hope for a productive and constructive 2019.
Jacq IOTAToday at 4:07 AM Wish the people who donated to you saw the leaked slides. I am sure they want in on the “spectacular ROI”.
dtToday at 4:09 AM @Roman Semko Do you plan return donations? RPi, money etc?
David SønstebøToday at 4:12 AM I will write this one final response to Roman's message: Roman, you are attempting to twist reality here by pretending that you are a victim of "IOTA maximalism" for simply being for-profit. As recent as yesterday I was defending you in this very channel against the community's suspicions that you had shady intentions of exploiting the community. One of the arguments I used to defend you was that I was under the impression that your DLT for-profit activities were to strengthen IOTA's ecosystem. No person in all of IOTA has echoed the need for for-profit independent community members than I, so I encouraged people not to get carried away with fear-driven speculation and instead trust the commitments and comments you have made publicly regarding your devotion to the IOTA project that made you relevant. You declined to join the IOTA Foundation (twice) to work compensated alongside the army of researchers and engineers on Coordicide. We naturally respected this. Then we went out of our way to find some way to work professionally with you guys, not because we believe you have anything unique (random GIFs don't impress experienced researchers and engineers), but because we thought you to be valuable community contributors and dedicated developers, and we wanted to compensate that. We were met with demands of high sums based on literally GIFs; you wanted us to sign a contract without you having to disclose ANYTHING upfront. Then the unilateral NDA comes for a meeting that was intended to compare our approaches to discover whether there was synergy, so you and your brother's claims that you would of course not have proposed a unilateral NDA if both parties were going to display their approaches, is just a flat out lie. Just like your medium post today included lies about IOTA's board. You exploited the IOTA brand by renaming yourself to "IOTA Dev" and proclaiming to be "Tangle Researchers" and gaining a significant following based solely on this while behind the scenes you were circulating a pitch deck. In this secret pitch, you make false claims of having "better than IOTA" tech and talking about an entirely new token, all the while stringing the community along, accepting their donations, having them support your work under the guise of it being for IOTA. It is this betrayal that is the reason why the community is pissed off.
PatriQToday at 4:14 AM @Roman Semko Just in case you didn't see the above message by David
pvaldenegroToday at 4:17 AM @Roman Semko Hey Roman, its OK to make money, we all want to overcome the need to pay bills and just relax doing what we love. Those who do not get that are way lost. HOWEVER, and this is a real question. How would you feel if someone starts asking for contribution and donations to develop something that sounds like it could help the project backed by that community (i've read your entire twitter page like 5 times now, and it is without doubt a phishing move), and then come up with this NEW project that separates everything with a closed source approach? If you have no problem with that, i've (and many here) to review my judgement, because i really, really thought you shared the vision of empowering this ever growing project. Good luck on your projects, but don't do that again, it is a piece of shit move. You keep saying that IT WAS CLEAR FROM THE BEGGINING. Well my friend, i love to read, and from reading your posts, it is far from clear. Thank you anyway. This day has been interesting.
submitted by btlkhs to Iota [link] [comments]

Victoria’s Secret: Have the Angels Fallen from Grace? (Interesting article on how the Epstein saga has affected the VS Brand)

Link to article
Link to archive of article: (I recommend archiving every article you come across. I usually use www.archive.is because I find it more user-friendly than The Wayback Machine.)
TEXT OF ARTICLE
Victoria’s Secret: Have the Angels Fallen from Grace?
by Dimitar Ganev | Oct 2, 2019

Victoria’s Secret, the largest lingerie retailer in the US, has been one of the most iconic apparel brands since the 1990s, not least because its sexually charged imaging set the industry’s standard for decades and exerted a strong influence on body image norms. But since 2015, the shares of its parent company L Brands have been dropping as sales keep taking hits from shifting consumer tastes, executive turnovers and emerging competition.
The Victoria’s Secret brand, built on skinny girls and scantily clad lingerie, is now largely perceived as inadequate for a time when consumers’ preferences have moved away from sex appeal and towards empowerment, inclusiveness and comfort. To many, the brand’s traditional marketing strategy, which bets on fashion shows where supermodels walk in stiletto heels and angel wings, seems tone-deaf in the era of #MeToo, which condemns all forms of objectifying women and imposing hard-to-achieve beauty standards.
The Victoria’s Secret Angels, once considered symbols of sexiness, have now started to alienate consumers: a recent study found that 68% of them like the brand “less than they used to” and 60% feel that Victoria’s Secret is “forced” or “fake.” Demand for its products has cooled as up-and-coming rival brands have become more attractive by promoting themselves through unedited images featuring women of more diverse shapes and sizes. The retail giant reported that it will close 53 stores in North America this year, citing a “decline in performance.”
The brand itself admitted that it relied on hypersexualised imaging for far too long and it needs to rethink its identity. At L Brands‘ recent investor day, John Mehas, head of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, asserted that the company needs to evolve and to reconnect with consumers by launching new products, hiring new executives and using new marketing strategies.
An essential part of the narrative shift would be a more diverse group of models, improving the merchandise, replacing the brand’s marketing chief and “rethinking” its annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, the only fashion show regularly broadcast around the world, whose ratings keep falling. The brand hinted that network television would no longer be the “right fit” for the event, which has been criticised for being focused on empowering the models who walk in it instead of trying to relate to consumers.
Inclusivity, Diversity and Epstein
Many specialised fashion publications and business outlets embarked on questioning how the once-beloved brand managed to garner such a bad reputation. Analysing the media conversation around Victoria’s Secret in the top-tier English language publications from October 2018 to September 2019, we found that the most often discussed topics were body inclusivity, the company’s ties with Jeffrey Epstein and gender diversity:
The strongest coverage drivers for both the “Body inclusivity” and “LGBTQ+ diversity” topics were the comments which 71-year-old chief marketing officer Ed Razek made in a 2018 interview with Vogue that quickly went viral. Razek, who reportedly has final say over who’s in the televised fashion show, said that he didn’t think Victoria’s Secret‘s fashion event should include transgender or plus-size models because it is supposed to be “a fantasy”.
“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he said. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.”
The remarks prompted a strong backlash from consumers. As with the most severe social media crises, Victoria’s Secret was embroiled in an outrage cascade — outbursts of moral judgment which start to drive the conversation around brands, their products and their corporate messages. In these cases, the virality of moral judgements is facilitated by the fact that most of the content on social media feeds and timelines is sorted according to its likelihood to generate engagement.
The fact that fashion brands in particular face a growing number of crises could be explained by the supposition that fashion items are often taken to be markers of cultural and social identity, and thus are susceptible to be perceived as controversial across social networks. For instance, designers often draw inspiration from other cultures’ traditions, which has recently given rise to accusations of “cultural appropriation”.
Razek later used the company’s Twitter account to issue a formal apology, saying that his remark “came across as insensitive.”
In August 2019, Razek retired just days after the lingerie brand hired its first openly transgender model for its teen label PINK: Brazilian Valentina Sampaio. The hire was generally welcomed by commentators – for instance, Kendall Jenner, daughter of trans icon Caitlyn Jenner, posted “celebrate trans women” to her 98 million Instagram followers.
Meanwhile, media monitoring organisation GLAAD, which deals with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, said Sampaio’s move comes as transgender people are becoming more visible in advertising. Examples of the trend include recent campaigns by Calvin Klein, Gap and H&M, while Playboy’s first transgender Playmate appeared in 2017.
Another strong coverage driver within the ‘Body inclusivity‘ topic was the protest outside Victoria’s Secret‘s store on Oxford Street in London, in which protesters stripped to their underwear and held signs demanding more diversity in fashion. To address such concerns, the latest investor meeting saw Victoria’s Secret deciding it will no longer rely on a small group of supermodels to promote its sexy lingerie, in a bid to use more inclusive marketing.
An example of this new strategy was an Instagram post of model Barbara Palvin, which was celebrated for being more body-inclusive, as social media users perceived Palvin to be curvier than the other supermodels. The post received over 780,000 likes in two days, generating 4.2 times the average number of likes, with users commenting that the model looks “normal” and “healthy”.
But the brand wasn’t that successful in managing another crisis: the widely publicised ties between L Brands founder Les Wexner and financier Jeffrey Epstein, an accused child sex trafficker who committed suicide in jail. Although Epstein didn’t actually work for Victoria’s Secret or L Brands, he had control over Wexner’s finances and personal life, according to reporting by The New York Times, and used his connections with Victoria’s Secret to facilitate his alleged crimes.
L Brands tried to distance itself from Epstein, saying it had cut ties with him nearly 12 years ago and disclosing that it had hired outside counsel to review the case. Wexner said: “Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved, is something that I’m embarrassed that I was even close to. But that is in the past.”
In many media reports, the ‘Epstein ties‘ topic was closely related to the ‘Sexual harassment‘ topic, which was dominated by a petition urging Victoria’s Secret to take a stand against sexual harassment and violence. The open letter was addressed to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas and signed by more than 100 models, many of whom have worked with the brand in the past, and also by the Model Alliance, an advocacy organisation in the fashion industry, and the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment which was founded in response to the Weinstein effect and #MeToo.
The petition cited “numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models”. Several of the company’s photographers have been accused of misconduct, on top of the links with Jeffrey Epstein. A Victoria’s Secret spokesperson said the firm has been in conversations with the Model Alliance “for some time”: “We are always concerned about the welfare of our models and want to continue to have dialogue with the Model Alliance and others to accomplish meaningful progress in the industry.”
Crisis mode
Ed Razek‘s aforementioned controversial comments regarding transgender and plus-size models made him the most often quoted spokesperson in the discussion around Victoria’s Secret:
Razek’s dominance in the conversation underlined the crisis of perception the brand suffers: his remarks were taken by many media outlets as a sign that the brand is unwilling to adapt to the current sociocultural climate. Models who have previously worked with the brand and who had a relatively large share of voice in the media conversation were quick to criticise him. For example. Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge posted a photo reading “Trans and GNC [gender non-conforming] people are not a debate” to their Instagram stories.
Karlie Kloss was one of the most vocal critics: she recently told Vogue that she had decided to terminate her relationship with Victoria’s Secret because the image was not “truly reflective” of who she was and the “kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful.” Model Tess Holliday was harsher, leaving a message to Razek on Twitter following his Vogue interview: “Who needs VS anyway? They never supported plus ladies & now they are trying to dis my trans sisters? Hell nah. Kiss my fat ass, [Victoria’s Secret].”
The majority of media reports on Razek’s retirement announcement cited these remarks as one of the key points in his career and highlighted that he was one of the main figures in the highly sexualised beauty ideal put forth by the brand. The crisis of perception was also emphasised by the fact that L Brands CEO Les Wexner, another major corporate spokesperson in the conversation, was quoted primarily in relation to the Epstein scandal.
However, some of the spokespeople portrayed Victoria’s Secret in a positive light. Adriana Lima, one of the best-known Angels, quit the label after two decades and 18 fashion shows with the brand, sharing the news on Instagram with a heartfelt caption: “Dear Victoria, Thank you for showing me the world, sharing your secrets, and most importantly not just giving me wings but teaching me to fly.”
And while she presented the brand positively, some media publications reminded their readers of a an interview she gave to Grazia in 2011 in which she outlined the physical challenges she went through in order to be in shape, especially after her pregnancy.
Angel Behati Prinsloo tried to defend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show against the criticism for its lack of transgender models and diverse body types. In an interview with Elle, she explained what the show stands for: ‘There’s a lot of talk about everything but I think people need to also understand that it’s a show. It’s not saying negative or positive about any body type, it’s ‘this is who they are’.”
In the meantime, Barbara Palvin was named as a Victoria’s Secret Angel after the successful Instagram post which customers perceived to be more body-inclusive. She announced the news to fans also via Instagram and her hire was generally interpreted by the media as a sign that the label is finally starting to listen to its critics.
CEO John Mehas‘ comments about the brand’s marketing shift were met with similar enthusiasm, especially his plans to include messaging that responds to the #MeToo movement. But the most warmly welcomed move was the hire of Valentina Sampaio: although some publications suggested that the brand’s first openly transgender model came too late, most commentators said that the retailer has finally moved in the right direction.
Lingerie wars
While Victoria’s Secret is caught up in a fierce discussion, L Brands‘ other flagship label, Bath & Body Works, a personal-goods retailer, continues to report strong earnings, supporting its struggling parent. Many reports on Victoria’s Secret‘s controversial reputation outlined this development, making Bath & Body Works the most frequently mentioned brand in the conversation:
While L Brands is firmly focused on the Victoria’s Secret turnaround story, Bath & Body Work is perceived as staying relevant with updated stores and new product tests, maintaining a wholesome image as “America’s sweetheart of beauty brands.” Its loyal core consumer base of millennial women is boosted by fan blogs and YouTube accounts dedicated to sharing new products. The brand also plans to ramp up volume by having a digital makeover for the first time in India.
Investors have even started pressuring L Brands to make Bath & Body Works a standalone company which would not be associated with Victoria’s Secret. Hedge fund Barington Capital, whose CEO James A. Mitarotonda was one of the few corporate spokespeople in the conversation, sent a lengthy letter to L Brands CEO Les Wexner arguing for a spinoff.
But after Bath & Body Works posted its first unchanged quarter of store traffic in five years during 2019’s second quarter, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik suggested that the best days for the bath and candle retailer may be over. Konik also said that the teen brand PINK is the next sore spot for L Brands, with sales falling by low double digits in the fourth quarter, as the label is “without fans and rudderless.”
ThirdLove, American Eagle Outfitters and Savage X Fenty were identified as the main competitors which have capitalised on Victoria’s Secret’s reputational struggles. ThirdLove, an online bra startup which was launched in 2013, was perceived as coming head to head with Victoria’s Secret as it focuses on inclusive sizing and marketing, which have helped its annual sales to grow at a rate of 180% for the past four years.
The brand opened its first pop-up store in New York in July 2019, putting itself in direct competition with Victoria’s Secret as the lingerie giant had a store less than a 10 minutes’ walk away. ThirdLove also joined the discussion around Razek’s comments, taking out a full-page ad in The New York Times, in which co-founder and co-CEO Heidi Zak said she was appalled when she read them: “I’ve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I’m even angrier. How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements?”
When asked whether Victoria’s Secret was worried its customers might now be looking for something different, Razek mentioned ThirdLove: “We’re nobody’s ThirdLove,” Razek said. “We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning.”
American Eagle Outfitters was also viewed as one of the main companies to break Victoria’s Secret‘s grip on the apparel industry by offering fitting bras and using messaging which pitches inclusiveness and comfort over sex appeal. Its activewear and lingerie brand Aerie has built an image of an “anti-Victoria’s Secret” label with untouched ads featuring models of all shapes and sizes. Kyle Andrew, American Eagle’s CMO, said the company’s success is due to its willingness to experiment and find ways to better listen to its teen customer base.
Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty recent show, streamed on Amazon Prime, has been making headlines everywhere, with commentators saying it was everything that Victoria’s Secret’s annual runway show wishes it could be by featuring models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, with a clear focus on body inclusivity and acceptance.
Meanwhile, retail corporation Target also tried to capitalise on Victoria’s Secret’s struggles with a strategy similar to ThirdLove, American Eagle Outfitters and Savage X Fenty: it launched a new bra and underwear brand called Auden with a campaign featuring women “in all different shapes and sizes.”
Nike was mentioned as one of the brands which have gotten ahead of the curve with their socially-conscious marketing efforts featuring ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had participated in racial justice demonstrations during national anthem ceremonies. Fast-fashion brand H&M got involved in the discussion for selling a $199 bra similar to Victoria’s Secret’s $1 million Fantasy Bra as part of its collaboration with Moschino.
Victoria’s Secret‘s reputational woos come at a time when the fashion and apparel industries occupy a central place in the extensively covered #MeToo movement and play a major role in ongoing media discussions around gender and identity. Since such issues naturally polarise consumers, brands which are dealing with products directly related to them are regularly caught up in fierce debates.
The growing importance of the debates around gender in the fashion industry has also been highlighted in the accelerating gender-neutral trend. The latest seasons have seen luxury brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent and Haider Ackerman combining menswear and womenswear runway shows, Others, such as Proenza Schouler and Rodarte, have started showing women’s pre-collections or women’s ready-to-wear during the back-to-back menswear and couture calendar. Meanwhile, fast-fashion labels such as Zara started releasing ungendered collections with models of both sexes dressed in the same clothes.
There are also a growing number of new brands like the Phluid Project, Agender and Rebrand which are built around the concept of non-binary dressing. Beyond fashion houses, the trend has also been recently reinforced by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which added a unisex/non-binary option for New York Fashion Week. Spokespeople for the CFDA explained that this decision came as a response to “a growing number of designers whose collections are not delineated by gender”, which “reflects the cultural momentum.”
submitted by ALiddleBiddle to Epstein [link] [comments]

"Of Nen and Zen". A short essay concerning the eastern philosphy and mysticism in hunterxhunter.

Soo.. this has taken a lot longer than anticipated, but I think it is ready.
.
I believe I found something that shines a new light on togashi's nen system(maybe somebody already pointed this out but, maybe not. Either way this will be my own spin on it.) This will take some time to explain and is not the easiest of topics to convey with words, but I'll try my best. So bare with me. It will be worth it I promise.
Oh and by the way, I'm not a native speaker, so there are probably many misspellings and grammar fuckups included. I tried my best with what I've been taught, but yes there probably will be A LOT. :D
If anyone would like to help improve the grammar of this post, please message me.

- The book of changes -

how two makes four

So, I'm really interested in eastern philosophy and mysticism and while researching the four basic elements, I came about a system that goes up and beyond. It's kind of like the binary system actually. It starts with 2 components, light/hard and dark/soft. Those would resemble the dual level represented by 1/0 or yin and yang. They are portrayed as a continuous line **--- for yang(light)**and a discontinuous line - - for yin(dark). It's a bit un intuitive as they are drawn in black, but what can we do. While it doesn't visually fit with light and dark, there is another property included that is portrayed better through the lines and that is --- yang(hard) and - - yin(soft). The space really helps in conveying the soft quality at least. But enough critiquing of ancient peoples work. I really like to believe they wanted to do better, but just couldn't get their hands on that white ink. So let's cut them some slack and move on.
There are many things in nature that share a dual relation like that, to name a few: cold/warm, fast/slow, night/day, male/female and also to heaven(天) and earth(地) as in spatial directions. They're relation might seem opposite at firs,t but only on the conceptual level. In nature its an ever flowing and changing process.



Yin, dark, soft (female) - -
Yang, light, strong (male) ---
https://preview.redd.it/qqc7wzuv8av21.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=d239c1dc11520a33e78c0d7a07cce70d7eb8d388
So, right now we have only 2 distinct states, but if we add another line to the image we are suddenly left with four different states (in mathemathical terms this would be 2^2[ two exponent two] in this case 2\2, the first number being the possible states of the unit and the exponent being the number of units combined.* It's neat to see this, but if you totally loathe math, just ignore it, it's not needed to understand this.)
Anyway, I think these are the ones most people are familiar with: air(wind and sometimes wood), water, fire, earth also called: old yin, young yang, young yin, old yang. They make up a continuous cycle while inheriting and recombining the above properties and are fundamentally described like this:

Wind, (風)

dry, subtle, coldest (male)

Water (水)

most humid, dense, cold (female)

Fire (火)

dry, subtle, warmest (male)

Earth (土)

humid, densest, warm (female)

That's already pretty interesting I'd say, but what I really want to show you goes one step further. If we now add one more line (2^3), what we get are called the "8 trigrams". I first learned about these in German and now upon taking a closer look at the English versions out there, I chose to take the best from both worlds and use what I can.
Also, from here on out I can include the corresponding Unicode symbols (yes, they really are included, but unfortunately pretty small. But it's nice they don't count as images that way, curse you image limit!)

The 8 trigrams


Parents:

☰ Kiën (乾 qián),

the creative, is the force, is strength, is the sky, the father

☷ Kun (坤 kūn) ,

the receptive, is the field, is devotion, is the earth, the mother

Children:

☳ Dshen (震 zhèn),

the thrilling/exciting, is movement, is shaking, is the thunder, the oldest sun

☵ Kan (坎 kǎn),

the abysmal, is danger, is deep water or clouds, the middle son

☶ Gen (艮 gèn),

the solitary, is serenity, is standstill, is the mountain, the youngest son

☴ Sun (巽 xùn),

the gentle yet penetrating, is the wind or wood, the oldest daughter

☲ Li (離 lí),

the adherent, is radiant, is conditioned or bound, is the sun, the flash or the clear flame, the middle daughter

☳ Dui (兌 duì),

the joyful, is happiness, is the lake, the youngest daughter

These archetypal forms of energy or emotion are also in a continuous cycle just like the four elements, having additionally gained complexity and character, they inherit everything from their ancestors. At this stage they take on a more personal form. Atleast the 6 children that is, as the parents are still pretty much yin/yang and are, because of that, "out of the picture". They somehow stand above and influence all six, while not descending into their play.

As you probably have noticed this can be done another time creating now 16 variations, but let's not go there, the really important ones right now are the 6 children. Because, you now what also comes in the package of 6?

Yes, Aura types.
Could it really be possible to match these with our 6 categories of nen? Well I have tried. Tell me what you think:

Btw: This is my first drawing since like 10 years and that was highschool art class, so please spare me. If anyone wants to improve this. please do. :D The color grading is still pretty on point though and I wouldn't change that much about it if I did another one. Also this was born directly out of my inspiration when I found out about this, so it kind of grew on my heart. So shush! :P

- Wheel of emotion -


https://preview.redd.it/xbk15ksis9v21.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=069ead2f6d93e12b7179b8da51e0803d50c28e9d

Note: This is my own system of ordering it. I choose it to match togashi's system and also because I think it's the most fitting when looking at personal energies. Only in this order you can really show the flow of energy visually. The original from the book of changes which is funnily called the "I Ging" (at least in German it is. I think there are different pronunciations out there) includes all 8 trigrams, but leaves out circular motion. (I will add that too as reference) .

So what does that jumble mean?
Basically, one could look at it as an age cycle of energy. from young age "Li" all throughout the maturing process right into old age "Gen". But there are many things happening in between that can be looked at.

To get a better understanding and overview, let us first look the symbols in the corner that represent our previous four basic elements:

alternate symbols

fire > passion, action

water < flow, emotion

air ^ renewal, intelligence

earth v courage, memory


The second part of this attribution comes from the yogic sciences, where there are four pillars of yoga.
Yoga however does not mean "twisting your body". It means unity and is the path of seeking inclusion.
I included them because they are the only 4 sources you can use to enhance your self.

Fire: Karma yoga. The yoga of action. Using your body and your movement to generate energy.
Water: Bhakti yoga. The yoga of emotion. Using your emotion to include something into your self.
Air: Kriya yoga. The yoga of life energy. Bringing change to once own life energies.
AiEarth: Ghana yoga. The yoga of intelligence, Using your mind to penetrate the world and become something more.

This is how they get extracted from the geometric hexagram:
https://preview.redd.it/o3izr2k5bav21.jpg?width=186&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=cecb97951ad379f0aca1bc77b964850a3890765b

There's also another symbol right at the bottom (where gen is), that looks at bit weird.
It's the lesser known fifth element:

Akasha or Aether


It's somewhat mysterious and hard to describe as it is invisible in nature.
It's below and above the other four elements in the way that all of the other elements happen in it. It is:
Space.
No, not the literal space out in the night sky.. whereby it's often used as a visual representation, but what it really points to is the space that's all around us.
There are things in space and there is space. That's akasha.
There are different symbols used to represent it. In nature it corresponds to the universe, plasma or the color purple


https://preview.redd.it/5cq8wv2at9v21.jpg?width=509&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=30c627c1b302ec90ea5a9cf2689086fb13443550

So far we've seen only the main attributition. Here's a more in-depth list of personal traits and correspondences for the four in their pure form. If we look at them in the dynamic spectrum they can mix quite heavily. Aether is not really relevant in that sense, but I think it's important to know its there.
(It's interesting how akasha is not really an element and specialisation is not really a class. But still I fail to see a direct connection. Also the symbol of the hunter association looks very similar.)

https://preview.redd.it/pq0nro4tbav21.png?width=200&format=png&auto=webp&s=b12c84b25d6aee9e7fb8260f790bf6fc4d76a7ed

Elemental correspondences:


The element of fire (choleric)
Positive qualities: vigorousness, zeal, enthusiasm, courage, decisiveness, power of creativity, daring, sedulity...
Negative qualities: quarrelsomeness, irritability, urge to destroy everything, passion, immoderacy, jealousy, voraciousness, vindictiveness, violence, hate, anger, sudden ebullition...
The element of air (sanguine)
Positive qualities: clarity, intelligence, vigilance, care-freedom,diligence, kind-heartedness, swiftness, clarity, lightness, independency, dexterity, optimism
Negative qualities: overly intellectual, lack of perseverance, dishonesty, gossipy, cunningness, garrulousness, inconstancy, touchiness, prodigality...
The element of water (phlegmatic)
Positive qualities: understanding, placidity, mildness, trusting nature, devotion, mercy, forgiveness, modesty, compassion, , pliancy, meditativeness, internalization...
Negative qualities: corruptness, lust, depression, indifference, heartlessness, laziness, indolence, rigidity, lack of daring, lack of concern, unstableness, dejection...
The element of earth (melancholic)
Positive qualities: consistency, conscientiousness, perseverance, punctuality, caution, resistance, responsibility, carefulness, firmness, reliability, sobriety, ambition, respectfulness, matter-of-factness...
Negative qualities: stuffiness, superficiality, laziness, indifference, cumbersomeness, touchiness, lack of conscientiousness, irregularity, timidity, scornfulness...

Somehow they also relate to the four major principles, but I haven't found a way too assign them sufficiently. This is all I got so far:

Technique Main element -> properties Supporting -> properties
Ten Water control of flow, serenity, rest in emotion earth steady, calm, balance, unmoving
Zetsu Earth no outflow, contain, rest, - -
Ren Fire power,strength Wind growing through change, tempering of will (objective)
Hatsu Fire aggression, release, outward projecting, ready, decisive Wind movement, change
While not perfect, there's definitely a tendency to be seen here. Most noticeably that ten and zetsu both employ "female" qualities, while ren and hatsu are dominated by "male" qualities.


While being more subtle, correspondences like that can also be found for each of the trigrams. I haven't found a source for that so I'll list all that I picked up:

Trigram Nature correspondences Properties
Li flame, flash, sun radiant, clear, light, adherent, bound, conditioned, steady
Dshen thunder, quaking, roaring movement, action, agitation, thrill, excitement, loud, rash, energetic, rushing
Dui lake, swamp, spring joy, innocence, open, light hearted, happy-go-lucky, avid, kind
Kan abyss, deep water, gorge playful, versatile, trickster, hidden, danger, knowledge of evil, corrupt
Sun wind, wood, tree soft, balancing, understanding, knowledgeble, intelligent, calculating, penetrating, strict
Gen mountain, rock, stone independent, strong, firm, solely, serene, unmoving, still.

Now that we got ourselves acquainted with the elemental 101 we can go and look deeper into it.

- Relations between children -

(I advise to keep the image of the wheel of emotion open in a sidetab, so it can be looked at while reading the explanation. Otherwise you'll need a very good memory or an avid scrolling finger, But it seems i can post it one more time, so here you go:)

https://preview.redd.it/drvjr4z1s5b31.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e70992e5977a6ca650471474fcef25b4dbd1f57d
The arrows in the middle that form a hexagon display the hierarchy from oldest to youngest child of each gender and also indicate the parents from which they inherit. As you can see male and female alternate with every image. While not a classification on their own they have a subtle impact on all six. However, one can't simple say that dshen is purely male as these "borders" get washed out increasingly through generations (if there ever were any).
The neighboring images are balancing each other, as one seems to always want to reach into the next.
Progressing like: -> li - dschen - dui - kan - sun - gen -> into li again.
There are many interactions seen in this: The stable earth (gen) wanting to become energy (li) -> pure energy becoming excitement (dschen), energeticness wanting to get a taste of colorful emotion (dui) -> the resulting happiness longing to become deeper emotion (kan) -> deepness becoming gentle and intelligent (sun) -> then growing strong and independent (gen) and finally the lonesomeness wanting to become warm again through communion with the outside world (li).
This example is arbitrary and also you can't really set boundaries on this. I just did, so you have a general understanding of the flow that's being portrayed here. The early form of a trigram differs so heavily from its late version, it could be a new classification on it's own. But more on that later. First let's look at some rules in relation to the hunterxhunter system:

Adjacent categories have a 80% learning capability and are always the ones, that are, not of the same age group and also of the opposing gender. Admittedly, it's a bit difficult to see, so here's an example:
specialization/gen (youngest son) 80%-- conjuration/sun( oldest daughter) 100%-- transmutation/kan (middle son) 80%
When the classification that is looked at for adaptibility is conjuration, which is a daughter, then it would mean the most promising categories will be the sons of a different age group. (Okay.. and what does that mean? I don't know, but that's how it is.) And that's also were the natural balancing flow of energy wants to go:
The strictness and composure of conjuration(sun) wanting to become free through the unbound emotional deepness of transmutation(kan) and the burden of the working intelligence wanting to become cool, steady and lonesome through specialization(gen). While there's a definite tendency towards clockwise progression, it's fair to say that change and interaction can be noticed in every direction. For example the gentleness of sun can calm the troubled waves of kan.

2.
Categories of the same gender always have a 60% learning capability.
If the classification look at is again Conjuration/Sun(oldest daughter), then it would be the other both daughters manipulation/Li(middle) and enhancement/duì(young), that can be learned at a 60% rate. They form a triangle and always have a son in between.
same sex=same rate

3.
The polar category is the one that has the same age, but is of a different gender. I sometimes look at it as the archenemy category, because it's so opposing. If we look at conjuration(sun) again our counter would be emission(zhèn). Heavy planning and thinking and perfectionism against well, Leorio.. :D If one wants to wield the other there is bound to be chaos. And maybe that's why its 40% only,
Here are some Nen users that share this connection.

Gon & Pitou
Leorio & Kurapica
Netero & Meruem
Killua & Illumi
Hisoka & Illumi

Here's a chart that brings all aura types into perspective

Aura type Abilities, Talents Tendencies Real world professions (allthough any can be all) Sin
Manipulator influence, control, govern, guide, teach outward, change/love teachers, parents , leaders, politicians, malevolence
Emitter being heard, bringing change, enforcing will outward, justice/ truth speakers, politicians, dancers,singers, police forces wrath
Enhancer physical, simple approach, improving, strenghtening outward, courage/carefre athletes, labourer, dancers egoism
Transmuter bending energy, keeping flow, shifting states, jokes, wearing a mask inward, love/change comedians, trickster, actor, artists, singer, dancer, writer, poets insanity, lust
Conjurer understanding the world and it's rules, living by it and creating something from it -> strategy, science, math, writing, poetry inward, truth/justice investigator, strategists, professors, academics, poets pride
Specialists doing everything alone, special talents who have to be seen, unique inward, carefree/courage people who need nobody yet attract others because of that, types you just can't label. Know'em when you meet'em. indifference

You could look at it for days in this way and find harmonies and disharmonies, it's quite beautiful. For me it has become more than an anime fighting system. Its energy and emotion in the play of life. While you certainly can't just pull out hatsus in real life there are some overlappings with the realm of talents and mastery of the real world. It really makes you wonder. But to spare you from my fascinated rambling, I will now move on unto the next thing I have found.



- And Zen what? -


As I have said before it's possible to add another line to the informational pool to achieve 16 variations(2*2*2). But that's not whats being done by the book of changes. It skips this stage entirely and directly combines two trigrams into one hexagram. If this is done for every possible combination there are suddenly 64 hexagrams. They create a much bigger array of possible states and changes between them, but to be honest that's too much work to show and explain right now. For one, this is no taoist university (I wonder if there really is such a thing) and it also goes beyond of what is useful for our purpose here. If you are really interested, look into that on your own. It's not that it's not worth it, but I don't want to infodump you to death.

I will now look at some specific constellations of the hexagrams that are of direct importance for the hunterverse. First we have the 8(6) "double images". It's obvious that when recombining all of the trigrams, we should also be left with 8 images that are a repetition of themselves. They give some new insight and add on on what we already now. The quality of amplification and repetition shines through in their meaning.

Note: All of the description that will follow are from a collection of sources. "Buch der Wandlungen"(book of changes from Richard Wilhelm). Excerpts used and translated into english by me.
original: https://schuledesrades.org/public/iging/buch/?Q=5/1
Quotes and descriptions from different english sites.
And infoormation and symbols from this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram_(I_Ching))

But now, let's get started.

離 (lí), "radiance"

Other variations include "the clinging, fire" and "the net". Its inner trigram is ☲ (離 lí) radiance = (火) fire, and its outer trigram is identical.
The origin of the character has its roots in symbols of long-tailed birds such as the peacock or the legendary phoenix
Fire has no definite form, it adheres to things and burns that way. Like water raining from the sky, fire blazes upwards. Everything that is shining in the world is bound to something that it adheres too, only in that way it can shine on. For something to shine endlessly, there surely needs to be tenacity.
The clinging means resting on something. When the waters of the Abysmal flow into the pit, we search for something to cling to." Li is the image of the Clinging Fire, formless except the essence of fuel that keeps it burning.when undergoing drastic changes on the outside the only footing is the reference point of the personal self.
What emerges from any difficult transition is the discovery of that thing which will guide and support you when all else is taken away. This is like a light that is always burning in the darkness. Although events ‘out there’ orchestrate the changes, they merely lead you to cultivate a shift of awareness ‘in here.’


震 (zhèn), "the shaking"

Other variations include "the arousing (shock)" and "thunder". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☳ (震 zhèn)
This movement is so intense it's frightening. The image is the thunder who burst out from earth and by his quaking causes fright and trembling. While initially dreadful the uproar ensures renewal and success in the future.
It's the oldest sun, who vigorously seizes power. A taking of charge. A new status quo. -
When children ride roller coasters, they discover that allowing fear to have expression is energizing. If only we could always remain joyous in approaching our fears as we move along our dusty road. Unfortunately we grow complacent and seek security and stasis. Anything in nature that becomes stagnant will be re-energized by the unexpected. “Shock brings success. Shock comes – oh oh! Laughing words – ha ha!” Whether hurricanes balance ocean temperatures or tumultuous autumn and spring storms invigorate new growth, nobody can hide from nature’s power to keep all things thriving. The Shocking can symbolize the unexpected things that generate emotion and wake us up.
The feelings arising are quite unfamiliar but refreshingly new. What worked in the past will no longer do. The two words most associated with Zhen is ‘uh oh!’ However, it should be viewed in the same laughing sentiment as children riding a roller coaster. Something is coming that is unexpected but is meant to awaken you to how you hide. Each day we witness the mutability of nature and fail to recognize it in our own life. No matter the event, the pace may quicken and you may suddenly find your heart racing and a smile on your face.


兌 (duì), "the joyous, lake"

Other variations include: "open", "usurpation" and swamp. Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☱ (兌 duì).
The happy mood is contagious, that's why it's prevailing. But joy needs a foundation of stability, so it doesn't degenerate into utter foolishness. Truth and strength need to dwell in the heart, while meekness is for all to see. contrary to intuition joy is not the result of the softness of the topmost line. The property of the soft/dark principal is not joy, but melancholy. The real joy comes through it's inner toughness and strength, which shows itself through the means of softness.
The repititon: The happy mood is contagious, that's why it's prevailing. But Joy needs a foundation of stability, so it doesn't degenerate into utter foolishness. Truth and strength need to dwell in the heart, while meekness is for all to see. -

More often than not it's inner opening rather than the effort or movement to change outer events that has led to joy. Often we feel the opposite of Joy in the form of unhappiness and see it as something negative. Unhappiness is the hunger pain for change so how can it be bad? The saying, “if you never fail, you will always succeed” means that if failure is taken in stride as a prerequisite to success it isn’t really failure. This accepting outlook leads to joyousness on the journey.
“Content in your circumstances and genuine in kindness, you are the expression of the love that renews all things.”
While we can do little to change the events that unfold around us, a change in perspective can magically change everything. Be Joyous in thought and action and celebrate others. Since life is your mirror it will reflect joyousness back to you.


坎 (kǎn), "the abysmal"

Other variations include "Gorge" and "repeated entrapment". Its inner trigram is ☵ (坎 kǎn) and its outer trigram is identical.
Through repitition of danger there is accustoming. Water serves as a good example in these kind of situations. It's always flowing and ever only fills all those gaps that its flowing through. It's not leaving out a single dangerous spot, fears no ledge or fall and is in that way always staying true to itself. If a situation is handled internally, there's a good chance it will sort itself out externally. To fully prevail through danger, there needs to be thoroughness, so that everything that needs to be done, gets done and there is no chance of succumbing to the danger. -

For the benefit of the flowers, we water the thorns too. – Egyptian Proverb

Can one honestly look back and not see the meaning for any of challenges that were had in the past? Going through the danger is necessary to discover who we are, what we really need and what we are capable of accomplishing. There is great power and realizations to be obtained when confronting fear in the deep waters of the unconscious. The dangerous flow of water can lead somewhere beneficial if you just relinquish control and let go of your fear.
Without trusting in the flow of events, many situations can seem threatening, but only in proportion to the disparity that exists between the necessary transition and the fear of going there. When you recognize the things that you cannot change, you discover life's power to lead you. The path is frightening but a commitment to move forward and jump into the flow leaves no option of turning back.


巽 (xùn), "the gentle (the penetrating, wind)"

Other variations include "ground" and "calculations". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☴ (巽 xùn).
It's image is wind or wood, it's property is gentleness and yet it is penetrating like the wind or the wood with it's roots. In nature it's the wind, which is clearing the clustered clouds and enabling the sun to shine through. For humanity it's the penetrating clarity of righteous judgement, which knocks out all ulterior motives. In society it may be the influence of a powerful figure, who reveals and disperses any and all shady schemings
.
When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze. – Thomas Carlyle

There is gentleness and enormous power associated with the hexagram of penetration. Like the wind blowing over vast periods of time against a mountain, the smallest influence when applied with a steadfast attitude can break down any barrier.


艮 (gèn), "the mountain"

Other variations include "keeping still, "rooted" and "stilling". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☶ (艮 gèn)
True peace is holding still when it's due and moving forward when the time to move forward has come again. In this way, rest and movement is in balance with time and it's necessities. The image is end and start of all movement. As a symbol it could be the spinal of the human body. In it, all nerves controlling movement join together. If there's a seizing of action for all of these nerves, total standstill of the system will be the consequence.
If now a human becomes this still on the inside, then he may face the uneasy and quarrelsome world. He will not get dragged into the fights and upheaval caused by it's inhabitants and has the necessary calmness needed to comprehend the great rules and workings of the world. He, who is acting from this place of deep rootedness, doesn't make mistakes anymore.
In the book of changes rest is described as a polar state, only achieved through the constant counterbalancing with movement.


So there's that. I would like to continue here, but apparently there's a 40.000 character limit. So the continuation will be in part 2.
And that's also where it really gets interesting.

https://www.reddit.com/HunterXHuntecomments/bixqj0/part_2_of_nen_and_zen_a_short_essay_concerning/

See you there!

submitted by Valiant-Turtle to HunterXHunter [link] [comments]

The book of changes and the flow of the world.

Soo.. this has taken a lot longer than anticipated, but I think it is ready.
.
While the I ging probably is known around here, I tried my best to put all my understanding of into in a neat form, so that anyone can benefit. But this is not only for starters, I go very indepth, too and in the end I will go into a matter, that probably not even a self proclaimed expert will know about.

https://www.reddit.com/HunterXHuntecomments/bixkze/of\_nen\_and\_zen\_a\_short\_essay\_concerning\_the/
If you incidentally have watched the anime "HunterxHunter", read this version instead the link is marked as a spoiler above this. If you havent, just ignore this and move onto the first segment:

- The book of changes -

how two makes four

I'm really interested in eastern philosophy and mysticism and while researching the four basic elements, I came about the I ging, a system that takes all of this on another level. But let's start from the very bottom:
The I ging is kind of like the binary system actually. It starts with 2 components, light/hard and dark/soft. Those would resemble the dual level represented by 1/0 or yin and yang. They are portrayed as a continuous line
--- for yang(light) and a discontinuous line - - for yin(dark). It's a bit unintuitive, as they are drawn in black, but what can we do. While it doesn't visually fit with light and dark, there is another property included, that is portrayed better through the lines and that is --- yang(hard) and - - yin(soft). The space really helps in conveying the soft quality at least. But enough critiquing of ancient peoples work. I really like to believe they wanted to do better, but just couldn't get their hands on that white ink. So let's cut them some slack and move on.
There are many things in nature, that share a dual relation like that, to name a few: cold/warm, fast/slow, night/day, male/female and also to:

heaven(天)

earth(地)


as in spatial directions. They're relation might seem opposing at first, but only on the conceptual level. In nature its an ever flowing and changing process.


https://preview.redd.it/ln1rj22y9ib31.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=d9dc036e1d430e07bf6e07a66ea1e98801d937c0
Yin, dark, soft (female) - -
Yang, light, strong (male) ---

So, right now we have only 2 distinct states, but if we add another line to the image we are suddenly left with four different states (in mathemathical terms this would be 2^2[ two exponent two] in this case 2\2, the first number being the possible states of the unit and the exponent being the number of units combined.* It's neat to see this, but if you totally loathe math, just ignore it, it's not needed to understand this.)
Anyway, I think, these are the ones most people are familiar with: air(wind and sometimes wood), water, fire, earth(soil) also called: old yin, young yang, young yin, old yang. They make up a continuous cycle, while inheriting and recombining the above properties and are fundamentally described like this:

Wind, (風)

dry, subtle, coldest (male)

Water (水)

most humid, dense, cold (female)

Fire (火)

dry, subtle, warmest (male)

Soil (土)

humid, densest, warm (female)

That's already pretty interesting I'd say, but what I really want to show you goes one step further. If we now add one more line (2^3), what we get are called the "8 trigrams". I first learned about these in German and now upon taking a closer look at the English versions out there, I chose to take the best from both worlds and use what I can.
Also, from here on out I can include the corresponding unicode symbols (yes, they really are included, but unfortunately pretty small. But it's nice they don't count as images that way, curse you image limit!)

The 8 trigrams


Parents:

☰ Kiën (乾 qián),

the creative, is the force, is strength, is the sky, the father

☷ Kun (坤 kūn) ,

the receptive, is the field, is devotion, is the earth, the mother

Children:

☳ Dshen (震 zhèn),

the thrilling/exciting, is movement, is shaking, is the thunder, the oldest sun

☵ Kan (坎 kǎn),

the abysmal, is danger, is deep water or clouds, the middle son

☶ Gen (艮 gèn),

the solitary, is serenity, is standstill, is the mountain, the youngest son

☴ Sun (巽 xùn),

the gentle yet penetrating, is the wind or wood, the oldest daughter

☲ Li (離 lí),

the adherent, is radiant, is conditioned or bound, is the sun, the flash or the clear flame, the middle daughter

☳ Dui (兌 duì),

the joyful, is happiness, is the lake, the youngest daughter


These archetypal forms of energy or emotion are also in a continuous cycle, just like the four elements, having additionally gained complexity and character, they inherit everything from their ancestors. At this stage they take on a more personal form. Atleast the 6 children that is, as the parents are still pretty much yin/yang and are, because of that, "out of the picture". They somehow stand above and influence all six, while not descending into their play.

As you probably have noticed this can be done another time creating now 16 variations, but let's not go there, for now the most importan ones are thethe 6 children.

Btw: This is my first drawing since like 10 years and that was highschool art class, so please spare me. If anyone wants to improve this. please do. :D The color grading is still pretty on point though and I wouldn't change that much about it if I did another one. Also this was born directly out of my inspiration when I found out about this, so it kind of grew on my heart. So shush! :P

- Wheel of emotion -



https://preview.redd.it/qkw9sasu9ib31.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b54035b3b6c992392d6239eb82f4693a80848cc9

Note: This is my own system of ordering it. I choose it to match togashi's system also because I think it's the most fitting when looking at personal energies. Only in this order you can really show the flow of energy visually. The original from the book of changes(I ging) includes all 8 trigrams, but denies circular motion. (I will add that too as reference) .

So what does all that jumble mean?
Basically, one could look at it as an age cycle of energy. From young age "Li" all throughout the maturing process right into old age "Gen". But there are many things happening in between that can be looked at.

To get a better understanding and overview, let us first look the symbols in the corner, that represent our previous four basic elements:


https://preview.redd.it/mcz1wwdw9ib31.png?width=2048&format=png&auto=webp&s=1f457bc3cc31d3f91cb127f2dc64a4b5a73442b5

fire > passion, action

water < flow, emotion

air ^ renewal, intelligence

earth v courage, memory


This attribution comes from the yogic sciences, where there are four pillars of yoga.
Yoga however does not mean "twisting your body". It means unity and is the path of seeking inclusion.
I included them because they are the only 4 sources you can use to enhance your self.

Fire: Karma yoga. The yoga of action. Using your body and your movement to generate energy.
Water: Bhakti yoga. The yoga of emotion. Using your emotion to include something into your self.
Air: Kriya yoga. The yoga of life energy. Bringing change to once own life energies.
AiEarth: Ghana yoga. The yoga of intelligence, Using your mind to penetrate the world and become something more.

This is how they get extracted from the geometric hexagram:

There's also another symbol, right at the bottom (where gen is), that looks at bit weird.
It's the lesser known fifth element:

Akasha or Aether



It's somewhat mysterious and hard to describe as it is invisible in nature.
It's below and above the other four elements in the way that all of the other elements happen in it. It is:
Space.
No, not the literal space out in the night sky.. whereby it's often used as a visual representation, but what it really points to is the space that's all around us.
There are things in space and there is space. That's akasha.
There are different symbols used to represent it. In nature it corresponds to the universe, plasma or the color purple


https://preview.redd.it/gzkenhv3aib31.jpg?width=509&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1b8e42ce5c6eeb68cf555cafaf19fc58613e972f

So far we've seen only the main attributition. Here's a more in-depth list of personal traits and correspondences for the four in their pure form. If we look at them in the dynamic spectrum they can mix quite heavily. Aether is not really relevant in that sense, but I think it's important to know its there.
(It's interesting how akasha is not really an element and specialisation is not really a class. But still I fail to see a direct connection. Also the symbol of the hunter association looks very similar.)


Elemental correspondences:


The element of fire (choleric)
Positive qualities: vigorousness, zeal, enthusiasm, courage, decisiveness, power of creativity, daring, sedulity...
Negative qualities: quarrelsomeness, irritability, urge to destroy everything, passion, immoderacy, jealousy, voraciousness, vindictiveness, violence, hate, anger, sudden ebullition...
The element of air (sanguine)
Positive qualities: clarity, intelligence, vigilance, care-freedom,diligence, kind-heartedness, swiftness, clarity, lightness, independency, dexterity, optimism
Negative qualities: overly intellectual, lack of perseverance, dishonesty, gossipy, cunningness, garrulousness, inconstancy, touchiness, prodigality...
The element of water (phlegmatic)
Positive qualities: understanding, placidity, mildness, trusting nature, devotion, mercy, forgiveness, modesty, compassion, , pliancy, meditativeness, internalization...
Negative qualities: corruptness, lust, depression, indifference, heartlessness, laziness, indolence, rigidity, lack of daring, lack of concern, unstableness, dejection...
The element of earth (melancholic)
Positive qualities: consistency, conscientiousness, perseverance, punctuality, caution, resistance, responsibility, carefulness, firmness, reliability, sobriety, ambition, respectfulness, matter-of-factness...
Negative qualities: stuffiness, superficiality, laziness, indifference, cumbersomeness, touchiness, lack of conscientiousness, irregularity, timidity, scornfulness...




While being more subtle, correspondences like that, can also be found for each of the trigrams. I haven't found a source for that so I'll list all that I picked up:

Trigram Nature correspondences Properties
Li flame, flash, sun radiant, clear, light, adherent, bound, conditioned, steady
Dshen thunder, quaking, roaring movement, action, agitation, thrill, excitement, loud, rash, energetic, rushing
Dui lake, swamp, spring joy, innocence, open, light hearted, happy-go-lucky, avid, kind
Kan abyss, deep water, gorge playful, versatile, trickster, hidden, danger, knowledge of evil, corrupt
Sun wind, wood, tree soft, balancing, understanding, knowledgeble, intelligent, calculating, penetrating, strict
Gen mountain, rock, stone independent, strong, firm, solely, serene, unmoving, still.


As I said, because they are more varied and differentiated then the four elements, these signs almost seem too resemble human beings, or atleast certain people come to mind when reading the above properties. Could it be possible to also see them as personality types, by which you can order people?
We'll I've never been a friend of pigeonholing people. You can fall into stereoptyping easily and in that way just loose touch with the ever flowing play, that is reality, but there seems to be some truth to these categories as it feels like they really seem to apply a lot of the time.
So what to do with this predicament?
Maybe we should see those just as general guidelines, as a thread. A reason to look deeper at the person before us, when we notice certain traits. Even the total cliché might suprise with another layer, if we keep looking with an open mind.
So does this mean everyone falls into just one of these categories? As you can already guess after having read so much of the Book of Changes. The answer is: No.

As practical as it may be to have compartments in life. It is advisable to have them as loose and open as possible, or you'll just be stuck opening and closing them all the time.
Someone else might say "What a mess! How can someone live with all those open drawers!" , but hey, It's your own and personal cabinet. Be free, because life doesn't like boundaries.
But don't go all the way and trash your wardrobes and cabinets. You'll definitely need the things you've aquired. Just be open to change your style now and then or you'll become outdated soon. So, let's blow the dust of our files and get back into business!

With the right state of mind the following classifications can be a powerful tool to look at other people. No one will ever be purely one of those, but still you can use it as a starting point.
We may come with a certain package or tendency, but what we make out of it is totally our own thing. Overidentifying ourselves with a certain type and saying: "This is what I am!" is just limiting our freedom and potential. A backpack should help us on our journey and not weigh us down constantly.
So prepare to err, because without exceptions there who would care for a rule.


Classification Trigram Abilities, Talents Tendencies Real world professions (allthough any can be all) Sin
Manipulator Li influence, control, govern, guide, teach outward, change/love teachers, parents , leaders, politicians, possesivenes, malevolence
Emitter Dschen being heard, bringing change, enforcing will outward, justice/ truth speakers, politicians, dancers,singers, police forces wrath
Enhancer Dui physical, simple approach, improving, strenghtening outward, courage/carefre athletes, labourer, dancers egoism
Transmuter Kan bending energy, keeping flow, shifting states, jokes, wearing a mask inward, love/change comedians, trickster, actor, artists, singer, dancer, writer, poets insanity, lust, malevolence
Conjurer Sun understanding the world and it's rules, living by it and creating something from it -> strategy, science, math, writing, poetry inward, truth/justice investigator, strategists, professors, academics, poets pride
Specialists Gen doing everything alone, special talents who have to be seen, unique inward, carefree/courage people who need nobody yet attract others because of that, types you just can't label. Know'em when you meet'em. indifference, arrogance


Now that we know all of the children personally, we can go and try to look into what ties them all togehter.


- Relations between children -


(I advise to keep the image of the wheel of emotion open in a sidetab, so it can be looked at while reading the explanations, otherwise you'll need a very good memory or an avid scrolling finger, ,but it seems I can post it one more time, so here you go:)


https://preview.redd.it/lm8y5kkxbib31.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=89b4af56bcb6988f423e6837a76d5500461ea2e8
The arrows in the middle, that form a hexagon, display the hierarchy from oldest to youngest child of each gender and also give a hint to the parents from which they inherit. If you look closely, you can see male and female alternate with every trigram, because the hexagon consists of an upward female triangle, conjoined with a downward male triangle. While not a classification on their own they have a subtle impact on all six. However, one can't simple say, that dshen is purely male or sun female, as these "borders" get washed out increasingly through generations (if there ever were any). They might get more differentiated, but on the other hand seem to loose definition as either of the two genders.
The neighboring images are balancing each other, as one seems to always want to reach into the next.
Progressing like: -> li - dschen - dui - kan - sun - gen -> into li again.
There are many interactions, that can be seen in this: The stable earth (gen) wanting to become energy (li) -> pure energy becoming excitement (dschen), energeticness wanting to get a taste of colorful emotion (dui) -> the resulting happiness longing to become deeper emotion (kan) -> deepness becoming gentle and intelligent (sun) -> then growing strong and independent (gen) and finally the lonesomeness wanting to become warm again through communion with the outside world (li).
The properties used in this example are arbitrary,also you can't really set boundaries on this. I just did, so you have a general understanding of the flow that's being portrayed here. The early form of a trigram differs so heavily from its late version, it could be a new classification on it's own. But more on that later. First let's look at some other relations between the six children.

If someone has a certain tendency these rules of thumb seem to apply alot of the time. (The percentages are not exact, but I don't think I have even to say this anymore.)

Adjacent categories have a 80% learning capability and are always the ones, that are, not of the same age group and also of the opposing gender. Admittedly, it's a bit difficult to see, so here's an example:
specialization/gen (youngest son) 80%-- conjuration/sun( oldest daughter) 100%-- transmutation/kan (middle son) 80%
When the classification that is looked at for adaptibility is conjuration, which is a daughter, then it would mean the most promising categories will be the sons of a different age group, which are always the nieghbours. (Okay.. and what does that mean? I don't know at all, but that's how it seems to be.) And that's also were the natural balancing flow of energy wants to go:
The strictness and composure of conjuration(sun) wanting to become free through the unbound emotional deepness of transmutation(kan) and the burden of the working intelligence wanting to become cool, steady and lonesome through specialization(gen). While there's a definite tendency towards clockwise progression, it's fair to mention that change and interaction can be noticed in every direction. For example the gentleness of sun can calm the troubled waters of kan.

2.
Categories of the same gender always have a 60% learning capability.
If the classification look at is again conjuration/sun(oldest daughter), then it would be the other both daughters manipulation/li(middle) and enhancement/duì(young), which skills can be learned at a 60% rate. They form a triangle and always have a son in between.
same sex=same rate

3.
The polar category is the one that has the same age, but is of a different gender. I sometimes look at it as the archenemy category, because it's so opposing. If we look at conjuration(sun) again our counter would be emission(zhèn). Heavy planning and thinking and perfectionism against well, untempered hotheadedness.. If one wants to wield the other, there is bound to be chaos. And maybe that's why its 40% only,



You could look at it for days in this way and find harmonies and disharmonies, it's quite beautiful. For me it has become more than just a system. It's energy and emotion in the play of life. It really makes you wonder. But to spare you from my fascinated rambling, I will now move on unto the next thing I have found.



- And Zen what? -


As I have said before it's possible to add another line to the informational pool to achieve 16 variations(2*2*2). But that's not whats being done by the book of changes. It skips this stage entirely and directly combines two trigrams into one hexagram. If this is done for every possible combination there are suddenly 64 hexagrams. They create a much bigger array of possible states and changes between them, but to be honest that's too much work to show and explain right now. For one, this is no taoist university (I wonder if there really is such a thing) and it also goes beyond of what is useful for our purpose here. If you are really interested, look into that on your own. It's not that it's not worth it, but I don't want to infodump you to death.

I will now look at some specific constellations of the hexagrams, that are of direct importance for us. First we have the 8(6) "double images". It's obvious that when recombining all of the trigrams, we should also be left with 8 images that are a repetition of themselves. They give some new insight and add on on what we already now. The quality of amplification and repetition shines through in their meaning.

Note: All of the description that will follow are from a collection of sources. "Buch der Wandlungen"(book of changes from Richard Wilhelm). Excerpts used and translated into english by me.
original: https://schuledesrades.org/public/iging/buch/?Q=5/1
Quotes and descriptions from different english sites.
And infoormation and symbols from this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram_(I_Ching))

Now, let's get started.

離 (lí), "radiance"

Other variations include "the clinging, fire" and "the net". Its inner trigram is ☲ (離 lí) radiance = (火) fire, and its outer trigram is identical.

The origin of the character has its roots in symbols of long-tailed birds such as the peacock or the legendary phoenix
Fire has no definite form, it adheres to things and burns that way. Like water raining from the sky, fire blazes upwards. Everything that is shining in the world is bound to something that it adheres too, only in that way it can shine on. For something to shine endlessly, there surely needs to be tenacity.
The clinging means resting on something. When the waters of the Abysmal flow into the pit, we search for something to cling to." Li is the image of the Clinging Fire, formless except the essence of fuel that keeps it burning, when undergoing drastic changes on the outside, the only footing is the reference point of the personal self.
What emerges from any difficult transition is the discovery of that thing which will guide and support you, when all else is taken away. This is like a light that is always burning in the darkness. Although events ‘out there’ orchestrate the changes, they merely lead you to cultivate a shift of awareness ‘in here.’


震 (zhèn), "thunder"

Other variations include "the shaking" and "the arousing (shock)". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☳ (震 zhèn)

This movement is so intense it's frightening. The image is the thunder, who burst out from earth and by his quaking causes fright and trembling. While initially dreadful the uproar ensures renewal and success in the future.
It's the oldest sun, who vigorously seizes power. A taking of charge. A new status quo. -
When children ride roller coasters, they discover that allowing fear to have expression is energizing. If only we could always remain joyous in approaching our fears as we move along our dusty road. Unfortunately we grow complacent and seek security and stasis. Anything in nature that becomes stagnant will be re-energized by the unexpected. “Shock brings success. Shock comes – oh oh! Laughing words – ha ha!” Whether hurricanes balance ocean temperatures or tumultuous autumn and spring storms invigorate new growth, nobody can hide from nature’s power to keep all things thriving. The Shocking can symbolize the unexpected things that generate emotion and wake us up.
The feelings arising are quite unfamiliar but refreshingly new. What worked in the past will no longer do. The two words most associated with Zhen is ‘uh oh!’ However, it should be viewed in the same laughing sentiment as children riding a roller coaster. Something is coming that is unexpected but is meant to awaken you to how you hide. Each day we witness the mutability of nature and fail to recognize it in our own life. No matter the event, the pace may quicken and you may suddenly find your heart racing and a smile on your face.


兌 (duì), "the joyous, lake"

Other variations include: "open", "usurpation" and swamp. Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☱ (兌 duì).

The happy mood is contagious, that's why it's prevailing. But joy needs a foundation of stability, so it doesn't degenerate into utter foolishness. Truth and strength need to dwell in the heart, while meekness is for all to see. contrary to intuition joy is not the result of the softness of the topmost line. The property of the soft/dark principal is not joy, but melancholy. The real joy comes through it's inner toughness and strength, which shows itself through the means of softness.
The repititon: The happy mood is contagious, that's why it's prevailing. But Joy needs a foundation of stability, so it doesn't degenerate into utter foolishness. Truth and strength need to dwell in the heart, while meekness is for all to see. -

More often than not it's inner opening, rather than the effort or movement to change outer events that has led to joy. Often we feel the opposite of joy in the form of unhappiness and see it as something negative. Unhappiness is the hunger pain for change, so how can it be bad? The saying, “if you never fail, you will always succeed” means, that if failure is taken in stride as a prerequisite to success, it isn’t really failure. This accepting outlook leads to joyousness on the journey.
“Content in your circumstances and genuine in kindness, you are the expression of the love that renews all things.”
While we can do little to change the events that unfold around us, a change in perspective can magically change everything. Be joyous in thought and action and celebrate others. Since life is your mirror, it will reflect joyousness back to you.


坎 (kǎn), "the abysmal"

Other variations include "gorge" and "repeated entrapment". Its inner trigram is ☵ (坎 kǎn) and its outer trigram is identical.

Through repitition of danger, there is accustoming. Water serves as a good example in these kind of situations. It's always flowing and ever only fills all those gaps that its flowing through. It's not leaving out a single dangerous spot, fears no ledge or fall and is in that way always staying true to itself. If a situation is handled internally, there's a good chance it will sort itself out externally. To fully prevail through danger, there needs to be thoroughness, so that everything that needs to be done, gets done and there is no chance of succumbing to the danger. -

For the benefit of the flowers, we water the thorns too. – Egyptian Proverb

Can one honestly look back and not see the meaning for any of challenges that were had in the past? Going through the danger is necessary to discover who we are, what we really need and what we are capable of accomplishing. There is great power and realizations to be obtained when confronting fear in the deep waters of the unconscious. The dangerous flow of water can lead somewhere beneficial if you just relinquish control and let go of your fear.
Without trusting in the flow of events, many situations can seem threatening, but only in proportion to the disparity, that exists between the necessary transition and the fear of going there. When you recognize the things that you cannot change, you discover life's power to lead you. The path is frightening, but a commitment to move forward and jump into the flow leaves no option of turning back.


巽 (xùn), "the gentle (the penetrating, wind)"

Other variations include "ground" and "calculations". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☴ (巽 xùn).

It's image is wind or wood, it's property is gentleness and yet it is penetrating like the wind or the wood with it's roots. In nature it's the wind, which is clearing the clustered clouds and enabling the sun to shine through. For humanity it's the penetrating clarity of righteous judgement, which knocks out all ulterior motives. In society it may be the influence of a powerful figure, who reveals and disperses any and all shady schemings
.
When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze. – Thomas Carlyle

There is gentleness and enormous power associated with the hexagram of penetration. Like the wind blowing over vast periods of time against a mountain, the smallest influence, when applied with a steadfast attitude, can break down any barrier.


艮 (gèn), "the mountain"

Other variations include "keeping still, "rooted" and "stilling". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☶ (艮 gèn)
True peace is holding still when it's due and moving forward when the time to move forward has come again. In this way, rest and movement is in balance with time and it's necessities. The image is end and start of all movement. As a symbol it could be the spinal of the human body. In it, all nerves controlling movement join together. If there's a seizing of action for all of these nerves, total standstill of the system will be the consequence.
If now a human becomes this still on the inside, then he may face the uneasy and quarrelsome world. He will not get dragged into the fights and upheaval caused by it's inhabitants and has the necessary calmness needed to comprehend the great rules and workings of the world. He, who is acting from this place of deep rootedness, doesn't make mistakes anymore.
In the book of changes, rest is described as a polar state, only achieved through the constant counterbalancing with movement.


So there's that. I would like to continue here, but apparently there's a 40.000 character limit. So the continuation will be in part 2.
https://www.reddit.com/taoism/comments/cfq3en/the_book_of_changes_and_the_flow_of_the_world/

And that's also where it gets even more interesting.

See you there!

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