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Issue 0019, July 2018

Sovryn Tech Newsletter


Greetings, programs! Woo...boy...been a rough past month. From Harlan Ellison dying to other things, it always seems like a summer never goes as planned, does it? Did I ever tell you about that one time I ended up in Yellowknife of the Northwest Territory in Canada years ago in the middle of August? WOOOO...that was something else. And if you know Yellowknife, you know what I’m talking about. But if I didn’t tell that story, I think I’ll save it for another time.

Bottom line, thank Satan for friends.

So I want to dedicate Issue 0019 of the Sovryn Tech Newsletter to a couple of people (NOTE: There are already a couple of people that I dedicate every issue of the Sovryn Tech Newsletter to, these are extra). The first is a one-time friend, mentor, and hero to me: Harlan Ellison.

I’ve already talked a lot about what Harlan Ellison meant to me personally, so I won’t retread that here. But what I want to achieve in this dedication is telling you how Harlan made me realize the importance of short stories (a major feature of every Sovryn Tech Newsletter). I don’t think we think about it much, and when I was a young man I thought that anything less than an opus the size of Dune of or the Foundation series was a colossal waste of time. Harlan proved me wrong. There is a beauty in the “quick shot” and even lack of descriptiveness that makes short stories a creative volcano that we never knew needed to explode to dwindle the human race down to a couple thousand people to survive...err...wait...that’s uhh...pay no attention to that. What I’m saying is, there’s a unique flavor to short stories that you just can’t get anywhere else, in literally any other type of medium, and you can swallow them down easily enough, too (which can often be a challenge, know what I mean?). But I would have never appreciated the power of the short story without Harlan.

The second person I want to dedicate this newsletter to is William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman, psychologist, and activist. I’ve only recently discovered so much about his life and his lovers, but he is already motivating me in ways that I can’t begin to calculate. His process of using his real-life ideologies and real-life...other matters...to bring his stories to life has been nothing short of inspirational. And, of course, I’m forever thankful for his creation of the character of Wonder Woman; a character that pretty much owns the comic industry once again (just as she did under Marston’s writing). For Sovryn Tech Patrons on Patreon, I’ve recently been releasing my recording of the audiobook for his book on DISC Theory: Emotions of Normal People. If you’re not a Patron yet, you might want to jump on that, along with 1000’s of hours of other content.

Both men and, more importantly, the women in their lives are a major part of why I love doing short fiction for this newsletter every month. Look into them, and perhaps you’ll be equally inspired to create. There is a unique joy in being an artist, after all.

 

~BBS

 
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HERE'S HOW TO MAKE YOUR TWITTER ACCOUNT SUPER SECURE WITH A YUBIKEY

 

Do you use Twitter? I’ve backed off significantly from it and don’t really tweet anymore, but I still keep an account for “homesteading” purposes and when I’m trying to find out when something is happening quickly (say with certain torrent sites, or Nintendo, etc.), and I do like it as a well-implemented messaging service. I’ve said often on Sovryn Tech that Twitter is literally the modern phone book, and unless you have a well thought-out plan to not have an internet presence, it’s not a bad idea to have a Twitter account (more so than having a Facebook or Facebook-related account). Until we arrive at the future where everyone is rocking private, NAS-powered clouds and using built-in encrypted messaging services on those, well...Twitter is here.
 
So you should probably lock that shit down.
 
Motherboard recently wrote-up an excellent tutorial on how to lockdown your Twitter account using Two-Factor Authentication (“2FA”), and how to do so without using the completely insecure method of getting an SMS message on your phone with a code. The guide linked to below will explain how to lockdown your Twitter account using a Yubikey (or similar device) so that you can have some of the best protection the world provides: an entirely separate hardware device. If you don’t know what a Yubikey is, the link explains everything--and importantly, where to buy one--so that you can get onboard with this excellent security tool. I carry one with me everywhere I go, and I suggest you do the same. Using it for Twitter is a great place to start.
 
Click the button below for more.

FULL STORY

THE ROSETTA IMAGE ARCHIVE IS NOW COMPLETE AND FREELY AVAILABLE, SO YOU CAN SEE A COMET LIKE NEVER BEFORE

 

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was one for the ages, providing an unprecedented look at this oddly shaped celestial object. The Rosetta probe captured nearly 100,000 images over the course of its mission, all of which are now freely available to the public in a single Rosetta archive.
 
The Rosetta Image Archive is now complete, as the last set of images taken by the Rosetta probe from late July 2016 to the end of the mission on September 30, 2016, have been processed and uploaded to the Archive Image Browser and the Planetary Science Archive. All images are available under a Creative Commons license, so you’re welcome to copy, share, and tweak to your heart’s content (you could have done that anyway, you beautiful anarchists!).
 
Over the course of its 12-year mission, the Rosetta probe captured thousands of hi-res images with its OSIRIS camera (weird name, huh?). The photos sent back to Earth were truly jaw dropping, revealing surface features such as tiny rocks, boulders, craters, cliffs, sinkholes, and dust jets. Some photos were taken as close as 1.2 miles (2 km). As the probe made its final descent, it even took a final photo just 90 feet (20 meters) from the surface.
 
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, much to our surprise, featured two large lobes, hinting at the complex ways in which comets form. Instruments onboard Rosetta also revealed the presence of organic materials, bolstering the idea that comets and other celestial objects were responsible for delivering key building blocks of life to Earth. It probably didn’t give us the octopus, but the concept of panspermia is certainly standing taller by the day (and the mission).
 
Check out the entire Rosetta Image Archive by clicking the button below.

FULL STORY

BANJO-KAZOOIE 20 YEARS LATER


Ever wondered why on Sovryn Tech when I say the phrase “alphabet soup organizations” that I will mention the CIA, NSA, FBI, and...wait for it...AT&T?! Well, here is part of the proof. Recently The Intercept put out an article claiming to reveal what it describes as secret AT&T facilities across several American cities that are "central to an NSA spying initiative." The point? AT&T is effectively a government organization, reporting everything and anything to the government, and giving it full use of its facilities and buildings.
 
Of course, this shouldn’t shock you, because you know that we are living under a concept known as “corporatism” (and don’t think the other telco’s aren’t playing the same game). Corporatism is simply the fact that businesses and the government are in cahoots and working together to screw the individual six ways from Sunday. So when you hear some Republican or Libertarian say that businesses are screwed by the government--oh sure, to some degree some smaller businesses are--and that government is the problem, they’re really only seeing half the picture: many businesses are just as unethical and as much a part of the problem as any government is.

And in the article linked to below, you get to see what these buildings that prove the point look like. Don’t think that these buildings are only a recent outcropping. Oh no, we’ve known since at least 2003 that these sorts of corporatist privacy-thrashing spy-holes have existed from AT&T (SEE:
Room 641A). Regardless, take a good look. Like the old Thufir Hawat saying goes: “The first step in avoiding a trap, is knowing of its existence.

FULL STORY
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THE VIDEO DIMENSION

 
This is the section of the Sovryn Tech Newsletter where I share various videos from all kinds of sources: videos of things that I've found either entertaining, informative, or trailers of things to come...maybe even documentaries of the strange and unknown!
Interdisciplinary team cooks 4000-year old Babylonian stews at NYU event


Okay, wow, this is insane. First off, little known fact about me (I feel like all of you know so much about me and I know so little about you), but I listen to ancient Babylonian and Sumerian music all the time. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t want anyone else to have the edge that it gives me in clarity of thinking along with its other health benefits (I’m self-interested that way), but suffice to say that if you listen to it, you know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t listen to it...well, that’s why you’re reading this newsletter instead of writing your own, know what I mean?

I kid! I kid! Sorta…

Anyways. One thing I’ve yet to do is actually try some ancient Fertile Crescent cuisine from 4000 years ago. But at an event at NYU this year, that very thing was done! Now all I want to do is find the recipes (without having to read them in cuneiform off of clay tablets...not that such is impossible for me) and try out these amazing stews myself! You’ll have to watch the video above to see these incredible foods of our ancestors brought to life. And yes, they are just simple stews, but they look so tantalizing! I don’t find it uninteresting that one of the three stews made here is vegetarian. Kind of reminds of some stories from Babylon in the Torah for some reason…

As one of the women in the video says, “Cooking and eating and using our senses is such a basic human experience, and I think it gets at a profound sense of deep history.” There are few ways to connect with the past so vividly as to eat the same foods as our ancestors, and as is pointed out in the video, our modern tools and methods make this process so much easier and faster than it was for them! Despite the fact that it took an interdisciplinary team to decipher the ancient tablets and bring the soups to life. Check out this video to discover a couple of the interesting and unique recipes from the ancient Babylonian people.

GOG: Preserving Gaming's Past & Future


Confession time: I had no idea that gog.com was pronounced G-O-G.com instead of just the word “gog” (like “Magog”). Well, after watching the above documentary, now I know. I also know a lot more about a company that I am a huge fan of, because they preserve and provide something that I’m a huge fan of: classic games, PC or otherwise. I think GOG (which stands for “Good ‘Ol Games”) is an unsung hero and sleeping giant in the games industry, even though many have played their in-house developed games such as the Witcher series and more. Really once you realize what this company does, and the yeoman's work they’ve put in, I think you’ll find yourself loving them, too. And you might just pick up a few classic games from them while you’re at it.

I don't think most people realize the importance of what GOG does. I think the first thing for me when I think about GOG is how everything (well, pretty much everything) is DRM-free. DRM--Digital Rights Management--is what keeps you from making your own copies of your game, or what requires you to connect to a game company's server elsewhere for verification that you have a "legitimate" copy of a game.
 
Here's one of the primary problems with DRM in gaming. Sure, it can prevent piracy, but if a company shuts down a game's server, or the game company itself shuts down, your totally "legitimate" copy of a game that you paid good money for becomes completely unplayable. There are other issues, but simply put, DRM is as anti-consumer as government regulation. So GOG sells games without DRM, and usually gives you a ton of extra goodies (wallpapers, scans of guidebooks, soundtracks, etc.) with the games so that you'll want to buy them from GOG. And some of those goodies are worth the price of the game alone, they're that precious. Of course does this mean people can just share with the whole world the copy of the game they just bought on GOG? Yes. But it's a risk they're willing to take to be pro-consumer and differentiate themselves in a very competitive market. Granted, this keeps them from getting games from big publishers like Sega, but it also gives them one of the most loyal customer bases in the world.
 
Add to that the amount of reverse engineering and rescue that they do with classic games (that have technically become "abandonware" by shut down companies, or game companies don't want to bother to update the code to re-release the game on modern PCs), at their own expense...and you have a winner of a company. The documentary above shows the absolute labor of love that they put into making these classic games work with modern systems. The only thing I can compare it to is like a museum restoring a classic Da Vinci piece. These games are that important to our history. Art is the very heart of the human condition, after all, and games are art. GOG is one of the rare companies that takes classic games that seriously, and I love them for it, because I sure as Hell don't have the patience to go through that much code (an artform in itself as you'll see in the documentary).
 
Then after all that...oh ho...then...you might realize that modern games aren’t worth the turds that flushed out of their production houses. But EA wouldn’t want you to realize that, would they?

The Ideology of the First Order
 

This is a fascinating video, to say the least. Yes, it’s Star Wars (and I’m coping with my feelings about Star Wars overall right now, so bare with me). Yes, it’s trying to do a philosophical read on a series that just tosses in philosophies and ideologies like a Shepherd’s Pie on a Saturday night with little thought to what will come out of the oven when it’s said and done. And it’s pretty clear the the brilliant woman (I’m serious) covering the subject of ideology within Star Wars--particularly the First Order’s--isn’t exactly the biggest Star Wars fan, nor does she pay any attention to any of the extraneous canon material outside of the movies (but hey, neither does Disney, so…). But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some interesting things to say.
 
Science fiction & fantasy has long used a lot of real world symbolism to portray bad guys in its past, present, or future worlds. Not a damned thing new about that. But Disney--and really Star Wars overall--has a sordid history of literally selling this symbolism to you. From Galactic Empire jackets, to Stormtrooper children’s costumes, to action figures and more...the argument could be made that Disney is pushing fascism on little kids (and the young at heart), and in a way you are buying Nazi memorabilia.
 
Or are you?
 
See that’s the thing. It really is all just symbolism. I don’t think the people that write Star Wars outside of George Lucas have a fucking clue what they’re doing generally (except for Dave Filoni, who steers intriguingly away from a lot of this stuff), and George at least admitted that he was just making a Shepherd’s Pie. Point being...there really is no point to all of this other than it being a good yarn (though value is subjective).

This video kind of hints that such is the reality of the situation, but it also dances around it a bit. As Harlan Ellison would say, “Sometimes a cheesecake is just a cheesecake.” And Star Wars is just a cheesecake. Or a Shepherd’s Pie. Just try not to think too hard about what gets put in it.

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THE SOVRYN TECH BOOK CLUB



It's the Sovryn Tech First University Book Club! Wait...doesn't everybody have a fucking book club? Yeah, it seems like it. I find most of them annoying, but since so many Sovryn Tech Patrons asked for this, you're getting one from me too (by demand of the listeners), as a new feature in the Sovryn Tech Newsletter!
 
But understand, I don't expect you to follow along and read (or listen to) all of this at the same speed I do. I and the other members of the Sovryn Tech Cabal (my lovely co-hosts) may never talk about these books on air, but if you want to see what we're taking in on our leisure (or not-so-leisure) time, below, every month, will be the books that myself, Stephanie, and Ellen had read for that month, or are in the middle of reading. Most likely though, we'll have completely gone through it if we're going to even mention a book here.
 
So enjoy, turn your screens off, and flex your mental muscles for a journey in the literary world!
 
And don't forget you can download wild and free out-of-print eBooks from
http://books.zog.ninja!


FICTION:
 
Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances by Timothy Zahn
Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space: Books 1-6 by Tom Huddleston
Star Wars: The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear by Tom Angleberger
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Moving the Mountain by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
With Her in Ourland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
 
NON-FICTION:
 
Wonder Woman Unbound by Tim Hanley
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
Cryptoasset Inheritance Planning by Pamela Morgan
Woman and the New Race by Margaret Sanger
Reality, Art and Illusion by Alan Watts

 
GET READING!
 

SOVRYN TECH T-SHIRTS, MUGS, AND STICKERS!


 
It's true! You can now get Sovryn Tech t-shirts! But now there's not just the shirt with the retro Sovryn Tech logo on it, there's also the first gear from Sovryn Tech First University...STFU!

Available in sizes S-5XL, as well as in unisex t-shirt and women's shirt styles, you only get one color choice: triple-black, baby! But then, what other colors are there, really?

Also available are Sovryn Tech mugs with the same design, a hoodie, and even stickers! Don't miss out on getting some of the coolest swag in the universe! All in our new Sovryn Tech Gear store!
 
The Sovryn Tech Merchandise Store Page: http://store.sovryntech.com
 

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STAR TREK: FORBIDDEN FRONTIERS
A SHORT STORY

"Another Side of Paradise, Part V"
by Brian Sovryn


 
Admiral’s Log, Stardate 2269.70
 
USS Atlantis, NX-2012, Sydney-class prototype, assigned to Section 31 Science Division, Admiral Theresa Shelby commanding. The experiment that Section 31 began with the Omicron pod plants on planet Sappho III has continued. After taking command of the vessel approximately a month ago following the simulated Romulan attack, our research has continued as planned, with remarkable--albeit degenerate--findings.
 
The test subjects--Captain Damien Ivanov, Commander Varese Jenn, and Lt. T'Lana--continue to be unaware that they are part of the experiment to discover the long term effects of Omicron pod plant and spore exposure on Federation member species, and that the Atlantis has continued to be in orbit the entire time. Their ignorance of these facts has been essential to the experiment carrying out as planned, though we never guessed as to what extent the spores would affect them after this period of time.
 
The effects have been particularly interesting on the Vulcan Section 31 agent in the experiment. Lt. T'Lana's brainwave patterns and biological response has surprised all of the scientists aboard Atlantis, and has made me decide that what was originally meant to be a one month experiment will become an extended one. For the good of the Federation, I have decided that even if this experiment becomes lethal to our Section 31 agents, it is worth the risk. I never liked Captain Ivanov's team or his style, anyways. Too progressive.
 
Computer...erase that last part of the log entry.
 
At this time, we are preparing to use a sonic wave on the three agents on Sappho III, similar to the one devised by Captain Kirk and Commander Spock during the original encounter with the pod plants on Omicron Ceti III. This sonic wave is designed to induce anger and strong emotions to potentially lessen the effects of the spores on the host body, or remove them entirely. Future log entries will reflect the results of this next phase in the pod plant experiment upon our agents.
 
*****
 
Admiral Theresa Shelby shifted in the spartan command chair on the Bridge of the prototype starship, USS Atlantis. The headrest of it was pushing against her neck and driving her lengthy blonde hair in a direction she didn't appreciate. She brushed it back and smacked the headrest in annoyance. After realizing the rest of the Section 31 crew on the Bridge was looking at her, she glared at all of them around the Bridge, giving them a look that said without hesitation or good reason she would phaser them out of existence, just because she felt like it. Her commanding presence was accentuated by the crows feet around her eyes and the deep jowls of her face, giving her an even more contemptible demeanor.
 
The older woman then pulled down on her uniform shirt and pressed her pants. The uniform--like all Section 31 uniforms--was completely black with Starfleet cues to it, but unlike other women officers, she wore a shirt and pants compared to the more athletic and comfortable mini skirted women's uniforms. To her own mind, she thought the women that wore those uniforms--Starfleet or Section 31--looked like "hussies" or "sluts," and weren't befitting of belonging to the glorious Federation that Section 31 did everything and anything to protect. And while as an admiral in Section 31 she held a high position in the secretive organization, she was not the Director, and so could not enforce her own conservative beliefs on everyone, as much as she would have liked to. But Admiral Shelby could control what uniform she wore, and so went with a much more austere look.
 
After the admiral felt as comfortable as she could in the command chair--being accustomed to much more lavish arrangements aboard her own ship--she spoke, her gravelly voice sounding significantly older than her body already betrayed, "Lt. L'ressa, what is the status of the sonic spore disruptor?"
 
From a scanning station on the Bridge to the admiral's right, the Caitan Lt. L'ressa turned to face her, reporting with purr in her voice, "The sonicccc ssspore disssruptor is ready, Admiral Shelby. It should induce the prrrroper malicious emotional efffffect on the agents on the surrrrrface."
 
Admiral Shelby looked at the Caitan woman that responded. She was covered head to toe with a light brown fur, with eyes and ears like the cats of Earth but in a bipedal, feminine shape, long brown hair almost like a mane, and her long cat-like tail protruding from under the miniskirt of her all-black Section 31 uniform. Another whore, Shelby thought angrily. The admiral thought back to her husband, who she had executed after having an affair with a similar looking Starfleet officer--Lt. M'ress of the Enterprise--that was also Caitan.
 
The admiral barked an order that she realized even for herself came out to strongly, not sure why she was filled with so much anger at that moment, "Activate the sonic spore disruptor, Lieutenant!!"
 
Lt. L'ressa jumped at the order, not sure what she could have possibly said or done to hear such vehemence from the admiral, but quickly turned with her cat-like reflexes and activated the invisible sonic waves, transmitting them down to the location of the three Section 31 agents on the surface of Sappho III.
 
"Sssonic ssspore disruptor activated, Admiral," L'ressa stated, bracing for another seemingly irrational outburst from the admiral.
 
Instead Admiral Shelby spoke with a still gravelly but cool tone, and a grin on her face, leaning back into the chair she found so uncomfortable, "Excellent, Lieutenant. Now we'll see how much more fun those degenerates get to have on the planet..."  
 
*****
 
The nude Betazoid woman bent down to pick up another of the green fruits that she was collecting, a smile of contentedness on her face as she brushed away the long, curly locks of her dark hair. “Sometimes I think the spores chose us...that this wasn’t by accident,” Varese Jenn said to the Vulcan woman nearby her who was also collecting fruit for the day’s meal.
 
The Vulcan woman raised an eyebrow, and took a moment to take in the sight of the powerful body of her Betazoid lover. T’Lana smiled, “They did choose us, Varese. We didn’t spray ourselves with the pod plants to become infected with the spores. Only Damien can claim that.”
 
Varese stood back up and looked at the lovely Vulcan, T’Lana, with a playful annoyance at the Vulcan’s matter-of-factness. “That’s not what I mean, T’Lana, my love. I mean that maybe we were meant to be here. That we were meant to do this and be infected by the spores. To be more than we are. To spread their love.” Varese paused for a moment, taking in some of the psionic visions that the pod plants and their spores communicated to her and T’Lana recently. “The pod plants have travelled through space, you know. And they do communicate with telepathic species. What if somehow they called us here?”
 
The Vulcan woman reached down to pick up another green fruit, brushing the light dirt off of it on her bare breast. She grinned as she noticed Varese staring at her breasts jiggle a bit from the act, and then gave the Betazoid a joking look that said “my eyes are up here.”
 
T’Lana responded, “Highly improbable, Varese.”
 
Varese looked away for a moment from the beautiful Vulcan near her. “You’re probably right. I just have this feeling I can’t shake that us being here and being infected by the spores wasn’t an accident.” She looked back at T’Lana then with a lustful smile, “Not that I’m not pleased that it happened.” Varese moved in next to the Vulcan, raising her hand to caress T’Lana’s lithe body, kissing her neck and nuzzling away the Vulcan’s shoulder length, dark hair. Her hands now went up T’Lana’s thighs, “If we weren’t infected, I would have never been able to experience you, and you would have never been able to love me. I didn’t realize until we came here just how much I needed you in my life. How much I need you to love me.”
 
They kissed passionately, T’Lana running her hands through Varese’s hair. With her enhanced Vulcan hearing, she thought she heard a low whining noise in that moment, but wrote it off as the buzz of love she was feeling.
 
The Vulcan gasped out between lip locks, “I...love you...I didn’t know...how much I needed your love...and Damien’s…”
 
Suddenly, T’Lana felt pain.
 
Varese whacked away the Vulcan’s hands going through her hair, then stomped away from her, and turned back to T’Lana, pointing at her, “How dare you take Damien away from me! The Captain is mine!”
 
T’Lana stood frozen in shock not only at the physical act against her, but also at Varese’s tone of voice, her yelling, and at Damien being addressed as “Captain,” which she hadn’t heard in months. Something was wrong, and she tried to reach out to Varese’s mind through the spores and her own telepathic abilities.
 
Then T’Lana felt more pain.
 
It didn’t come from the Betazoid woman that continued to berate her, it came from in her own head. And then she felt anger, and lashed back verbally at Varese, “I wasn’t trying to take him! I want both of you! What is wrong with you?! The spores don’t allow for jealousy…”
 
“Don’t lecture me about emotions, Vulcan!” Varese screamed, and continued the verbal onslaught.
 
T’Lana’s head was swimming, unable to focus. She felt a thumping of pressure and pain throughout her entire body. All she could think to do was get away. Her arms outstretched to try and maintain balance as everything she saw seemed to spin. She turned away from Varese, and began running, as fast as she could while trying to stay stable.
 
T’Lana didn’t know how far she had gotten, but she felt as if she had been running for hours. The world continued to spin. She had hoped to find pod plants, assuming they could help with whatever was happening to herself, and to Varese. The whining sound she had heard earlier continued in her ears, and became even louder inside her head, making her vision swim.
 
Until she passed out.
 
*****
 
Before T’Lana opened her eyes, she felt a silk-like fabric cover her, and she found herself enjoying the embrace of the material on her skin until the memory came back of her lover, Varese, yelling at her for reasons she couldn’t understand. The memory startled her and she awoke, opening her eyes and sitting up.
 
But her surroundings were like nothing on Sappo III, nor anything that could be on Sappho III. After looking around her for brief moments, she recognized exactly where she was, and she realized it was also a matter of when.
 
It was a lavish room made up of ornate stone walls, with flowing curtains showcasing gold-trimmed windows, and a balcony overlooking red-tinged, mountainous terrain, with a darker sun than she was used to shining, through. It looked to be an ancient palace, and she recognized the sun shining into it, and the musical note-like script on the walls. The writing was ancient Vulcan. And the sun was Vulcan’s sun.  
 
She was on Vulcan.
 
Still nude, she kept the silky sheets she was covered in around her as she got up from the luxuriously pillowed bed she found herself on, and began inspecting the writing on the walls, and the scenery outside of the room. She stepped out onto the balcony, and looked down at the mountain range. She could hear screams and grunts, the sounds of battle. And then she saw them.
 
Thousands of Vulcans, swords and shields in hand, killing each other.
 
Months ago should would not had been able to express the horror she felt at the sight of such bloody war between her own people, but since being infected by the spores, the tears and terror could shine through.
 
“No!” she cried.
 
This was ancient Vulcan, she realized. This must be around 2700 BCE, she thought. Thinking back to that era of Vulcan history, it was a time when her people were wildly violent, more so than even the Humans at that time. War after war and king after king came and went. Millions died, and continued to die even centuries later when they would perfect space travel. Before Surak showed them the way of logic.
 
There was no logic here, she knew, nor was there love. T’Lana wanted to run down to the battlefield and embrace all of the warriors and try to show them not logic, but the love that she learned from the spores. To let them experience the harmony she felt inside since she became love, and allowed the powerful emotion to consume her every fiber. But she knew she would be killed in the attempt.
 
T’Lana felt alone, and scared.
 
Then Spock walked in.
 
Her shock was audible, and she ran to him, pressing herself against his body. She paid no attention to the ancient Vulcan leather armor he was wearing instead of his usual blue Starfleet uniform. She paid no attention to the slight grin on his face. And she paid no attention to the fact that it was impossible that she was here, and impossible that he was here. She just cried into his armored chest.
 
“Stop them, Spock, stop them! You can do something!” she cried.
 
His voice had a warmth she never expected, but the statement also came with a coldness that wasn’t from the Vulcan she knew, either. “I will not stop them, my queen.”
 
My queen, she wondered in her mind? T’Lana began to come to her senses from the strangeness of it all, “Spock...how are you here? Why are we here?”
 
The Vulcan man looked at her with a sense of pity, and a haughtiness that was betrayed by his still wry smile, “This is for you, T’Lana. There is a war within your mind. Out there on the battlefield of Vulcan, I am protecting you. From the invaders.”
 
T’Lana wondered who “the invaders” were, but then put his words together and realized he must be talking about the spores, and that this was all in her mind. She quickly remembered the visions that the pod plants had given her and Varese in the past, and considered that this could have been one of them. She also remembered that those visions could be deadly if not taken seriously.
 
“Spock,” she looked at his armor as she began to speak, realizing he was wearing the regalia of an ancient Vulcan king, “King Spock...what are you protecting me from?”
 
“The future, T’Lana,” he said matter of factly. He walked past her, looking out at the battlefield. “I can protect you from it. From the invaders. Their ideologies of free love and empathetic expression are a danger to our very existence. We cannot allow it to overtake you, or the universe at large.”
 
She found the metaphors of his statement tough to navigate, but she tried to stay within them, “Are you saying you are fighting for logic, King Spock?”
 
He turned to look back at her, his gaze looking her barely covered body up and down with what T’Lana thought was lust, “No, not for logic. For Vulcan. For everything that makes us what we are. And what we are. To keep us from becoming something else in the future.” He walked up to her, his tall frame a head-and-shoulders above her, his hands caressing her arms. The mental visage of Spock continued, “Here, in this palace, as Vulcans, we can explore our passions. We can develop logic. But these new concepts of love, of empathy, that the invaders are spreading. This is not Vulcan. These emotions--these ideas--are tearing you apart inside. I can keep that from happening. I can protect you with the largest force in Vulcan history at my side.”
 
The pain returned to T’Lana’s head, this time even more fiercely. Instantly, all she could think is that she wanted it to stop. She would do anything to make it stop. Spock was right, she thought.
 
“Please Spock...my king...please...make it stop,” she cried as she fell to her knees.
 
Spock dropped to a knee and held her, putting a hand to one side of her face. She could feel Spock’s mind enter her own from the simple action that created the mind meld. The pain subsided almost instantaneously, but she felt something else enter her. It was a new feeling. A feeling of wild, violent lust. As the two sensations replaced one another, a brief moment of clarity came to her, allowing her to realize that this is what the ancient Vulcans must have felt like before Surak’s teachings. Now all she could do was act upon the violent lust within her.
 
She grinned at Spock, almost grating her teeth. He stared back with acknowledgement, saying, “Yes...yes, you feel it now. We must destroy the invaders. Embrace the passions of our ancestors, T’Lana. Embrace me.”
 
At his command, she lunged upward, holding Spock and pushing him down onto the bed that she had recently awakened upon. She threw the sheet that was covering her aside, her naked body and impressive bosom now on full display for the Vulcan king to see. With her Vulcan strength she removed the loincloth from his waist quickly, powerfully, sending it across the room. Spock’s cock was already at full erection, ready for her.
 
Before she could act upon it, Spock stood up from the bed and grabbed her from behind, pulling her to the edge of the bed where he now stood, her back against his still armored chest. His hands roughly went up and down her body, till they ended at her breasts, groping them, even giving one a smack, pulling at the nipples. One of his hands then ran up to her face, his index finger caressing the soft skin of her cheek as he said, “You are mine now. You belong to your king.”
 
T’Lana, wanting him in a way she had never felt anything like until now, moved her head to suck on his index finger, taking its length into her mouth, then gasped out, “I am...the king’s...whore...do with me as you will…”
 
With her insistence, and his loincloth already removed, Spock pushed her down onto all fours at the edge of the bed. As his member only touched her pussy, he could already feel the extreme wetness between her thighs, allowing him to enter her, welcoming him. His thrusts inside her were powerful, and slow at first, purposeful. She moaned with every thrust.
 
“Yes...my king...Spock...fuck...me!!” she yelled out, the echo of her sounds of her pleasure going throughout the stone-walled palace bedroom. “Keep...giving me...your...cock...please...I have to have it…deeper...”
 
Her lustful begs guided him, his thrusts now faster and harder into the lithe young Vulcan woman’s body. He grinned as she noticed she was moving her own body, pressing it even harder against him as he thrusted. Spock leaned over with his tall frame, putting one hand to the side of her, and the other groping her breasts as they continued their sexual escapade.
 
“Yes! Yeesssss!!” she cried out between the sounds of skin crashing against skin from the powerful thrusts.
 
Spock then stood back up, he could feel his orgasm getting close. He grabbed her hip with one hand, and then grabbed a fistful of hair with other, pulling on her hair and bringing her even closer onto him.
 
Her breathy words continued, “Yessss...Spock! Use me! Use me like the whore that I am!!”
 
Before he came, he pulled out of her, his hands still on her hair as she continued to moan from the lingering feelings of his cock inside of her. He looked down at her, and spoke with a cool, commanding tone, “Kneel before your king.”
 
She obeyed. A part of her wondered why she submitted so quickly, but with the rush of ancient Vulcan passions running through her, it somehow felt natural.
 
On her knees, she watched as the Vulcan man stroked his cock in front of her. She knew what was coming. She hefted her breasts up, showing him where she wanted what she was about to receive.
 
And then she received it. The Vulcan cum ejaculated from Spock onto her breasts, covering her skin with white. Some of it landed on her lips, and so instinctively licked it up, looking up at him as he groaned in pure lust. As he finished, she presented herself to him, showing him what he had done to her, and that she enjoyed it. He looked down at her, pleased. She looked down at her own covered breasts, pleased, as well.
 
As she took her finger and began to wipe the cum off of her breasts, licking it off of her finger as she did so, she looked back up to him and saw that he was gone. Looking around the room, she saw that he went back to the balcony, and he was laughing.
 
What about me? she thought, suddenly exasperated at her own lack of sexual climax. Spock was laughing. “Spock…” she tried to say coyly.
 
“King Spock!” the Vulcan man barked, turning to her. “What do you want, wench?!”
“I…” she was startled by his changed demeanor, “I want to...cum.”
 
“You are a woman. Your pleasure is not important,” he retorted.
 
This is not Spock, she thought, This is not right.
 
“The invaders will not win this day!” the Vulcan man exclaimed from his balcony, raising his hands in a triumphant pose.
 
As if the universe were responding to the boastful Vulcan’s cry of victory, the door to the palace bedroom burst open, with a man of equal stature to Spock, but with a much wider frame, significantly more muscular--almost as if a monster--charged in.
 
“T’Lana!” the charging man called out. He wore leather armor like Spock’s, but it was entirely black, and he had a bald head without pointed ears. “T’Lana, I’m here! It’s going to be okay!”
 
The Vulcan woman recognized him instantly: It was her Section 31 captain, and lover since they had been on Sappho III, Damien Ivanov. The Human male grabbed her and lifted her surprisingly easily, taking her towards the door, some of the cum from her breasts now noticable and smearing against his all-black armor.
 
“Unhand her, rebellious invader filth! She is mine! She has rejected your insidious ‘way of love’!” Spock ordered. Damien continued to run with T’Lana now over his shoulder. Spock caught up with them quickly, and pulled T’Lana off of his shoulder and down to the floor with a thud, with no regard for her safety or health. He then grabbed Damien’s shoulders, an attempt at a nerve pinch, but couldn’t successfully apply it due to the large musculature of Ivanov’s trapezius muscles and shoulders.
 
Damien pushed the Vulcan man off of him, with Spock then throwing a punch which Damien quickly blocked with his forearms. Spock looked stunned, not expecting the Human to match his generally superior Vulcan strength. The moment of confusion is exactly what Damien needed, and he turned to one of the statues of pagan Vulcan gods by the doorway, pushing it down with all of his might and as quickly as he could onto Spock. It fell, and Spock fell with it.
 
Ivanov reached out his hand to T’Lana, who still laid on the floor from Spock’s attack, and pleaded, “Don’t give up yet, T’Lana. You’re still becoming…”
 
The plea didn’t make sense to her, until she considered that the visage of Damien could have been the spores talking to her. But she was becoming what, she wondered? What were the spores doing to her, or trying to do?
 
She looked up at Damien. If this was the spores, they knew what they were doing, she thought. It was a face she had come to trust implicitly. It had a strength and earnestness she admired, but also a kindness that she couldn’t appreciate or see until herself, Varese, and Damien had become stranded on the planet Sappho III and infected by the Omicron spores. But she saw all those qualities in his face once again. It was going to be okay.
 
She took his hand.
 
*****
 
“T’Lana,” the man’s voice rang in her ears, “T’Lana, are you okay?”
 
The Vulcan woman opened her eyes, and felt grass against her skin. “What...what happened?” she asked as she recognized Damien kneeling beside her, holding her with the sun shining down from behind him; the sun of Sappho III.
 
“I’m not sure. For the first time in a over a month the tricorder you had setup on passive scan detected wave emissions from orbit. I came to find you to tell you about it, and I found Varese passed out, too.”
 
T’Lana’s memory of Varese being angry at her returned, “Is she…?”
 
Damien responded reassuringly, “She’s fine, she’s back at the lean-to looking over the tricorder readings.”
 
“I need to talk to her, something’s wrong…” Before the Vulcan woman could finish, Damien interrupted her. He has a habit of that, she realized.
 
“She wants to talk to you, too. C’mon, let’s get you back there.” With that, Damien lifted her and they began the trek back.
 
*****
 
Varese held the tricorder in her hands, intently looking over the readings it was presenting, trying to understand what those readings meant. Though she was well versed in scientific readouts, this one was baffling her. Or maybe it was not having looked at a tricorder readout in what seemed like forever to her. She felt so confused, she realized, that she didn’t notice the tricorder picking up the Vulcan woman walking towards her, and now kneeling down next to her with her hands on her naked thighs.
 
“Hello, Varese, how are you?” the young Vulcan woman asked with a trepidatious empathy.
 
“T’Lana!” Varese said excitedly, tossing the tricorder aside and hugging the Vulcan, tackling her to the ground with the hug and kissing T’Lana’s soft face.
 
T’Lana returned the kiss to her cheek, “Varese...I love you...are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” Varese said with joy. “I’m better than okay.”
 
After a few moments of hugging and rolling, the two sat back up, facing each other.
 
“I wanted to talk to you, T’Lana.” Varese looked down from T’Lana’s face for a moment. “Look, I don’t know what happened back there. And I’ve been trying to ask the pod plants if they could explain it. But something happened.
 
T’Lana spoke up now, “It’s as if something or someone got between us.”
 
“Yes,” Varese continued. “I’ve been trying to figure out what happened based on the recent tricorder readings. But I think there is more to this than I’ve been able to find so far.”
 
T’Lana looked at the Betazoid woman that she loved so much with an air of puzzlement.
 
“I don’t know what you experienced when you passed out, but the things I had said before that…”
 
“It’s okay, Varese,” T’Lana said, touching the Betazoid’s arm.
 
“No...no it’s not. Some of those feelings...what I expressed...the jealousy...and more...I think they were real. They were deep down, but they were real. Somehow they were shaken out of me.” Varese paused. “I want you...I don’t want them to build up like that again. I think the spores can blind us to those feelings sometimes. But they are still there.”
 
T’Lana had a look of compassion on her face for her, “What can I do, Varese? Tell me what I can do. I need your love.”
 
Varese returned the look of empathy, “I need your love, too, T’Lana. And to make sure we keep it...I need you...I need you to ask me. I need you to ask me questions...about how I’m feeling. Deep questions. A lot. We need to ask each other. Especially if I don’t respond...just keep asking me. I want you to know what I’m thinking deep down, even if I can’t always express it. I want you to be more aware and curious about what’s going on for me. And I want to know what you’re feeling deep down. I know you’re Vulcan and you’re still learning how to deal with emotions...but I want you to try. I want you to connect with me. I want to connect with each other on a deeper level. Try to see past the joy of the spores and ask each other what we are feeling underneath that. The spores don’t bury everything.”
 
The idea, what Varese was asking for, reminded T’Lana of what she experienced when she was passed out and on ancient Vulcan with Spock. All of that was underneath, and it was “at war” with the spores. She just listened to Varese as she explained what she wanted, and trusted not only the Betazoid woman’s capabilities due to her Starfleet and Section 31 training in psychology, but also trusted in Varese’s love for her.
 
She continued to listen, and saw the truth of what Varese was saying. “I hear you, Varese. I understand. We have to...integrate...those other emotions, and bring them together with the spores so that we can...connect.” T’Lana thought she felt a sense of approval from the spores inside her, but wasn’t sure. As Varese moved in closer again and hugged her, however, she knew they were on the path of what her lover was desiring: communication.
 
“We are mind readers, T’Lana,” Varese giggled at her own little joke about their Vulcan and Betazoid telepathic heritage, “but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t express it verbally. So we can hear it. So we know we’re understood on another level. It’s what the spores do in their own way. It’s what we can do.”
 
T’Lana smiled, “It’s what we will do. From now on.”
 
The two embraced each other once more, kissing each other lovingly again, feeling a connection deeper than ever before.

 
 
TO BE CONTINUED

 
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