GESTURES OF APPRECIATION
Because we're all fans at heart
I guess it's not too early to put up a thread for it, is it? No, it's not.Just announced today, by director Bryan Singer:
Jubilee's going to be in it. And hopefully as a main character, and not the lame-ass cameos she got in the first two movies. This makes me ecstatic. Maybe even X-static.
The confirmed cast
at present:Charles Xavier / Professor X:
James McAvoyErik Lehnsherr / Magneto:
Michael FassbenderRaven Darkholme / Mystique:
Jennifer Lawrence (who apparently is bowing out after Apocalypse )Moira MacTaggert:
Rose ByrneHenry "Hank" McCoy / Beast:
Nicholas HoultPietro "Peter" Maximoff / Quicksilver:
Evan PetersEn Sabah Nur / Apocalypse:
Oscar IsaacScott Summers / Cyclops:
Tye SheridanJean Grey:
Sophie TurnerOroro Munroe / Storm:
Alexandra ShippKurt Wagner / Nightcrawler:
Kodi Smit-McPheeJubilation Lee / Jubilee:
It's also being rumored that Hugh Jackman will make yet another appearance as Wolverine, but that hasn't been confirmed (yet).
I paraphrase. Somewhat.
Breitbart News wrote:
Obama Floats Mandatory Voting: ‘It Would Completely Change the Political Map’
by Breitbart News | 18 Mar 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — They say the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. President Barack Obama wants to add one more: voting.
Obama floated the idea of mandatory voting in the U.S. while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday. Asked about the corrosive influence of money in U.S. elections, Obama digressed into the related topic of voting rights and said the U.S. should be making it easier — not harder— for people to vote.
Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.
“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it potentially transformative. Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”
Disproportionately, Americans who skip the polls on Election Day are younger, lower-income and more likely to be immigrants or minorities, Obama said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” he said in a veiled reference to efforts in a number of Republican-led states to make it harder for people to vote.
Statistically speaking, Obama is correct. Less than 37 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the United States Election Project. And a Pew Research Center study found that those avoiding the polls in 2014 tended to be younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse.
At least two dozen countries have some form of compulsory voting, including Belgium, Brazil and Argentina. In many systems, absconders must provide a valid excuse or face a fine, although a few countries have laws on the books that allow for potential imprisonment.
At issue, Obama said, is the outsize influence that those with money can have on U.S. elections, where low overall turnout often gives an advantage to the party best able to turn out its base. Obama has opposed Citizens United and other court rulings that cleared the way for super PACs and unlimited campaign spending, but embraced such groups in his 2012 re-election campaign out of fear he’d be outspent.
Obama said he thought it would be “fun” for the U.S. to consider amending the Constitution to change the role that money plays in the electoral system. But don’t hold your breath.
“Realistically, given the requirements of that process, that would be a long-term proposition,” he said.
So let me see if I've got this straight. We should make voting mandatory, under penalty of law. But we absolutely cannot allow any sort of voter I.D. laws, because that's racist for some reason, and the Justice Department under Eric Holder has actually taken action legal against states attempting to implement such laws, at Obama's direction. So this would be enforced...how, exactly?
Answer: It wouldn't be. And that's the point.
If he's going to be this open and obvious about enabling, supporting and advocating massive election fraud on a scale previously unheard of in this nation's history, why doesn't he just whip out his pen and his phone and simply declare that Democrats win every election from now on, the end. It would save us all the hassle of having to show up for what would clearly be a contrived farce.
This man's mindset is totalitarian, and he's no longer even making the slightest effort to pretend otherwise. The same can be said for his party, all of his supporters, and the American Left in general.
March 12, 2015
I must confess that I haven't been watching Gotham
. I should probably go back and remedy that.
Because as surprise character introduction scenes go...? Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn
I could have mentioned this guy on What the F&%$, but really, this living, breathing wrecking ball of a person deserves his own thread.
He's the current Prime Minister of Australia, although how he got to that position is a subject that still leaves me in a disbelieving stupor. You think Obama's bad? Try having someone like this as leader of your country, representing your nation on the world stage. object The World cries tears of laughter. Australia quietly cries tears in a corner.
This is a guy who has gained power by destroying his opponents in Parliament. But that is his only talent. He is, as I said above, a living, breathing wrecking ball, who is hard at work demolishing Australia's standing in the world and obliterating foreign goodwill. Just ask Indonesia
, where protesters are returning the $1 billion in aid that Australia gave when the country was hit by the Boxing Day Tsunami because he butted in on the Bali Nine controversy, in the most assholish way possible. Or what about Russia, where his attempt to "shirtfront" Putin (an total prick, but an infinitely more savvy and powerful man) backfired when Putin just sent a fleet of warships off the coast of Brisbane during the G20. Hell, just ask Britain and Australians themselves what they thought when he knighted the Duke of Edinburgh
... ON AUSTRALIA DAY.
I could not make this shit up if I tried.
I could go on for weeks about him, because his list of astonishingly bad gaffes is a mile long... my god, he's going to kill ANZAC Day next. The 100th anniversary of Gallipoli is coming next month, and I just KNOW he'll fuck something up spectacular! He'll start a fucking war at this rate!
In case you weren't aware, Leonard Nimoy died this morning.
I assume I don't need to tell anyone who he was.
has published an exceptionally thorough and comprehensive examination of the so-called Islamic State
, the roots of their ideology and their ultimate goals. It's too long to quote here and I strongly disagree with several of author Graeme Wood's conclusions, but nevertheless, I would urge everyone to take the time and effort to read it. It's extremely informative, and more than a little bit sobering.
This will also serve as the dedicated thread for all future discussion pertaining specifically to ISIS, going forward.
It sounds like this is for real.
Titans TV Series Roster Reveal
By Andrew Steinbeiser
A leaked script from TNT’s Titans series has potentially revealed the lineup for the DC Comics television adaptation of the Teen Titans franchise.
Heading the team, unsurprisingly, will be Dick Grayson. According to the pilot’s script, Dick will begin the series as Robin following a recent split with Batman, but will eventually grow into the mantle of Nightwing as he did in the comics. Dick will set up the Titans’ shop in Boston, which is a departure from the Titans’ New York City roots.
Joining Dick from Gotham City will be Barbara Gordon. In this version, Barbara will be Oracle in everything but the name. According to Nerdist’s report on the script, Barbara will be in a wheel-chair and operate as the Titan’s information source, but she will not officially go by the Oracle moniker. This will be Barbara’s first time as a member of the Titans in any medium.
Next are Raven and Starfire, who have been anchoring member of the Titans since Marv Wolfman’s and George Perez’s New Teen Titans series. According to the script, Raven will carry the Rachel Roth alter-ego that Geoff Johns introduced during his run on the Teen Titans. The script didn’t provide any illuminating details on Starfire, other than that she wouldn’t appear until the Pilot’s finale.
Finally, Hawk and Dove will round out the Titans’ initial roster. Hawk will be Hank Hall and Dove will be Dawn Granger, the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths version. The report says that Hawk and Dove will be romantically involved with one another, as they were in the comics series.
Missing from the roster were other Titans stalwarts Beast Boy and Cyborg. While it's possible that they could join the series eventually, according to the report, their inclusion remains uncertain at this point. Beast Boy seems like an eventual possibility, but it's likely that Cyborg will remain off the table. Warner Bros. probably won't want contrasting versions between a television Cyborg and the big screen version that will appear in Zack Snyder's Justice League and solo Cyborg film.
Can't help but notice that the proposed starting roster is overwhelmingly female...also not sure about the inclusion of Hawk and Dove, though the rest sounds pretty promising.
Rooster Teeth announced today that Monty Oum passed away this weekend. He was a hell of an animator and very creative. If you haven't seen it, check out RWBY, which is the creator for. So very good. object
This isn't the sort of thing I usually devote much thought to, and in fact I deliberately refrain from doing so. However, I'm bored and there hasn't exactly been a ton of discussion around here lately, and for some reason it has
been on my mind (probably having something to do with me being a slavish ME fanboy)
, so I figured I'd go ahead and toss it out.
Obviously I'm not trying to predict the actual casting of the eventual Mass Effect movie
, whenever that does come to fruition, assuming of course that it eventually does. But purely for the purpose of my own entertainment, and possibly/hopefully that of others, I'm going to go down the cast roster and name some actors and actresses who I personally think would be a good fit for some of the characters. Anyone else is also invited to offer their own comments, supporting or competing suggestions, should they feel so inclined.
Oh, and I'm only applying this to the human and reasonably human-like characters; for the "more alien" characters such as the turians, salarians, quarians, krogan, geth, etc. I think the ideal approach would be full-CGI with the already-established voice actors, or something very similar to that, anyway.
In their latest bloodthirsty attack against Anyone Who Dares To Think About Anything We Find Displeasing, three mask-wearing, heavily-armed Islamic supremacist cowards stormed a newspaper office in Paris yesterday and murdered twelve people.
Gunmen Kill At Least 12 In ‘Terrorist Attack’ At French Satirical Newspaper
January 7, 2015 1:30 PM
PARIS (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — Three masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people, including its editor, before escaping in a car. It was France’s deadliest postwar terrorist attack.
CBS News’ Elaine Cobbe reports that, according to witnesses, two armed and masked men walked into the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and opened fire in the entrance hallway, killing people as they saw them. The gunmen reportedly sought out members of the newspaper’s staff by name during the rampage through the 2nd floor office, which lasted between five and 10 minutes, according to witnesses.
Security forces were hunting for the gunmen who spoke flawless, unaccented French in the military-style noon-time attack on the weekly newspaper, located near Paris’ Bastille monument. The publication’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed have frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims.
President Francois Hollande called the slayings “a terrorist attack without a doubt,” and said several other attacks have been thwarted in France “in recent weeks.”
France raised its security alert to the highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation. Schools closed across Paris, although thousands of people jammed Republique Square near the site of the shooting to honor the victims.
Top government officials held an emergency meeting and Hollande planned a nationally televised address later Wednesday evening.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which also left four people critically wounded, and was condemned by world leaders as an attack on freedom of expression, but praised by supporters of the militant Islamic State group.
Clad all in black with hoods and carrying machine guns, the attackers forced one of the cartoonists arriving at the office building with her young daughter to open the door with a security code.
The staff was in an editorial meeting and the gunmen headed straight for the paper’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier – widely known by his pen name Charb – killing him and his police bodyguard first, said Christophe Crepin, a police union spokesman. Minutes later, two men strolled out to a black car waiting below, calmly firing on a police officer, with one gunman shooting him in the head as he writhed on the ground, according to video.
Ten journalists and two police office were killed, Crepin said, including one assigned as Charb’s bodyguard and another who had arrived on the scene on a mountain bike. Among the dead were Bernard Maris, an economist who a contributor to the newspaper and was heard regularly on French radio, and Georges Wolinski, a celebrated cartoonist who also worked for Paris Match magazine.
“Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hebdo,” one of the men shouted in French, according to a video shot from a nearby building and broadcast on French TV. Other video showed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of “Allahu akbar!” – Arabic for “God is great”- could be heard among the gunshots.
The video showed the killers moving deliberately and calmly. One even bent over to toss a fallen shoe back into the small black car before it sped off. The car was later found abandoned in northern Paris, police said.
Luc Poignant of the SBP police union said the attackers switched to another vehicle that had been stolen.
A reporter for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in Paris told Sky News that the first two officers to arrive, who were apparently unarmed, fled after seeing gunmen armed with automatic weapons and possibly a grenade launcher.
Corinne Rey, the cartoonist who said she was forced to let the gunmen in, said the men spoke fluent French and claimed to be from al Qaeda. In an interview with the newspaper l’Humanite, she said the entire shooting lasted perhaps five minutes.
The Guardian reports a witness in the office building said one of the gunman asked where Charlie Hebdo was located.
“Then someone opened the door to our office and asked where Charlie Hebdo was. He had a rifle. We backed away. Afterwards he left, we heard gunfire. We went to the windows, there were two men running with guns, speaking in bad French … They were shouting outside, and shooting again. Afterwards I saw someone leaving the building with his hands covered in blood,” the unnamed witness said, according to The Guardian.
The security analyst group Stratfor said the gunmen appeared to be well-trained, “from the way they handled their weapons, moved and shot. These attackers conducted a successful attack, using what they knew, instead of attempting to conduct an attack beyond their capability, failing as a result.”
Both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have repeatedly threatened to attack France. Just minutes before the attack, Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of the Islamic State’s leader giving New Year’s wishes:
Charlie Hebdo has been repeatedly threatened for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and other sketches. Its offices were firebombed in 2011 after an issue featured a caricature of the prophet on its cover. Nearly a year later, the publication again published Muhammad caricatures, drawing denunciations from the Muslim world because Islam prohibits the publication of drawings of its founder.
Another cartoon, released in this week’s issue and entitled “Still No Attacks in France,” had a caricature of a jihadi fighter saying “Just wait – we have until the end of January to present our New Year’s wishes.” Charb was the artist.
“This is the darkest day of the history of the French press,” said Christophe DeLoire of Reporters Without Borders.
The last tweet from the magazine came less than an hour before the reports of a shooting. It was a picture depicting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, with a message wishing him, “Best wishes.”
“The motive here is absolutely clear; trying to shut down a media organization that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad,” CBS News security consultant and former CIA deputy chief Mike Morell told “CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose. “What we have to figure out here is the perpetrators and whether they were self-radicalized or whether they were individuals who fought in Syria and Iraq and came back, or whether they were actually directed by ISIS or al Qaeda.”
Morrell added a warning that law enforcement and intelligence agencies would need to “worry about copycat attacks, not only in France but in the rest of the world, and I would even say in the broader world to include the United States.”
The New York Police Department released a statement, saying it had a detective stationed in Paris and “will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
“There are standing contingency plans in place to adjust police deployments based on any unfolding situation in the world. That includes how we use and where we position and deploy specialized police resources, said Deputy Commissioner Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller.
In the winter 2014 edition of the al Qaeda magazine Inspire, a so-called chief describing where to use a new bomb said: “Of course the first priority and the main focus should be on America, then the United Kingdom, then France and so on.”
In 2013, the magazine specifically threatened Charb and included an article titled “France the Imbecile Invader.”
An al Qaeda tweeter who communicated Wednesday with AP said the group is not claiming responsibility, but called the attack “inspiring.”
CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate also noted on “CBS This Morning” that “France has been dealing with the problem of French foreign fighters flowing into Syria and Iraq and coming back into France.”
He says it may be more likely, however, that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was carried out by “self-radicalized individuals, individuals who take their prompt from the propaganda of these groups and took it upon themselves, perhaps, to attack.”
Zarate pointed to the attack by young French Muslim man Mohamed Merah, who shot up a Jewish community center in the country’s south in March 2012, as an example of this sort of violence.
“France is not new to this, and the perpetrators could be a wide spectrum of individuals who were inspired to attack fellow French citizens,” said Zarate.
President Obama said he has reached out to Hollande to express his sympathies for the attack in Paris Wednesday. In remarks before a meeting with Secretary Kerry and Vice President Biden, Obama called the shootings “cowardly and evil.”
“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, an attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech, freedom of the press,” Obama said.
He continued, “A universal belief in freedom of expression is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.” The president promised the U.S. would stand with France and said that U.S. counterterrorism was providing assistance to the French to help hunt for those responsible for the shooting.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country stood united with France,
“We stand squarely for free speech and democracy. These people will never be able to take us off those values,” Cameron said in the House of Commons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also condemned the attack as a “cynical crime,” and pledged cooperation in fighting terrorism,
Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French mosques, condemned the “hateful act,” and urged Muslims and Christians “to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue, to make a united front against extremism.”
On social media, supporters of militant Islamic groups praised the move. One self-described Tunisian loyalist of al Qaeda and the Islamic State group tweeted that the attack was well-deserved revenge against France.
Elsewhere on the Internet, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie was trending as people expressed support for weekly and for journalistic freedom.
In a related story, libertarian cult figure and noted isolationist crackpot Ron Paul was quick to blame France's foreign policy for the attack
in what is surely a strong contender for the most delusional public statement on international affairs he has ever issued.
I'll just leave this here.
And these don't even touch on their egregious and abusive legislative records.
Yeah...I guess it's 2015 now, isn't it?
All things being equal, I have to say that the last several years have really been pretty lousy. So let's hope things start to turn a corner and look up, eh? I mean really, it's 2015, what's the worst that could...
Still don't own Teen Titans.
Now, if I were more clever I'd have posted this last
year, when I wrote it
Anyway...I wanted to try writing a holiday fic that didn't suck. I'd recently finished Shadow Play
, but that had a holiday (Halloween) as more of a background detail than anything else, so I didn't feel that counted. It turns out my
family's Christmas get togethers had stopped after my
aunt had died, so I was like "hey, put that on a character and make a fanfic out of it!"
So I did.
I may have taken liberties with Argent's background...but with as little as she actually appeared in the series, I think that's kind of unavoidable.
The twin doors slid open, allowing Argent to walk into the ops room of Titans Tower.
She had expected at least one of the Titans to be there, since it was the middle of the day, but the room appeared to be unoccupied, like the rest of the Tower. And what she did see, she would never have expected.
Not that she was unfamiliar with Christmas trees, or the arrays of lights and shiny ornaments that identified them as such. Nor that she was surprised to see such a tree at Christmas time. But this tree was a branch-less trunk, with a cluster of large fan-like leaves coming out of the top.
"Is that a Christmas palm tree?" she skeptically asked no one in particular. Jump City was well in range of conical needled trees that were standard Christmas trees, she'd seen them the last time she was here.
A pink shape leaned out from behind the trunk, eventually revealing it to be someone sitting on the couch on the opposite end of the room. Meaning technically, there was one of the Titans there, after all.
"Oh hey," Jinx said. "Need some help?"
Argent tilted her head slightly, and tried to maintain a relaxed posture. "Why would you say that?"
Jinx lowered an eyebrow. "If it was an emergency or typical social call," she said with some annoyance, "you'd have called ahead. As it is, I'm guessing you want to make an imposition, one important enough that you need to present it person. Would also explain you trying to dodge a simple question."
Argent froze for a second. She certainly hadn't intended to ignore the question...."No, I don't need any help; I happened to be passing through and thought I should stop by. You're right though, I should have called ahead."
Jinx's expression relaxed. "Not like I'm Miss Manners," she replied with a shrug. "Anyway, Robin and the rest should be back in...less than an hour, I'd guess. So come, have a seat, I'm getting tired of talking over the width of this room."
A knot started to form in Argent's stomach as the thought of spending an hour alone with Jinx came to mind. She thought of how to get out of the uncomfortable prospect. "Thank you, but I should probably be on my way if they aren't here."
"If you came in the front door, they'll know you were here. And if you're gone when they get back, I bet Starfire'll track you down. Probably better if you wait for them to show up."
Maybe coming here wasn't a good idea, Argent thought. "Maybe I should call them now, instead?" she asked with a slightly sheepish tone.
Jinx's face took on a full-fledged frown. "If you have a problem with me," she snarled, "spit it out."
Argent's eyes widened in surprise. Was it really that obvious? "Of course not!" she proclaimed indignantly. "I just...." She paused to take a deep breath. No sense not talking about it now...."I thought you'd be cross about the misunderstanding with Kid Flash," she added with a hint of dejection.
Jinx took a deep breath of her own. "I'm not upset about it anymore. And I was never mad at you, in the first place. Now, sit."
Argent sighed. Great, now that she's being gracious about it, I'm just an arse if I refuse. She flew across the room, giving the unnatural-looking Christmas tree a wide berth, and alighted near the right end of the sofa before sitting.
"FYI," Jinx said nonchalantly, "I don't bite." She then turned back to the book in her hands, which hadn't been visible from the opposite side of the room.
The front cover of the book was easily visible from where Argent was sitting. "Jekyll and Hyde? A fine story, but don't you think it's a bit peculiar for Christmas reading?"
Jinx glanced up at her. "I guess, but I need to fit in my reading whenever I can. Kid Flash is lousy at 'quiet'."
"I'll bet he is," Argent agreed. "Is he with Robin and the others? What are they even doing, anyway?"
"Kid Flash is doing...some sort of 'family time' thing back in Keystone City. Robin said the rest of them were getting some last-minute decorations."
Argent had been trying to ignore the arboreal monstrosity in her peripheral vision. "Please tell me they're getting a better tree."
Jinx snorted. "I wish, that thing looks miserable. But Cyborg said this was their compromise with Starfire, who wanted some sort of alien shrub instead. I wouldn't put any bets on a replacement this year. I'm...just going to enjoy the utter lack of snow around here."
"I know what you mean, it was getting muggy on the other side of the equator."
Jinx sighed, then set the book down beside her. "Not so good with quiet yourself, are you?"
What the...."Excuse me?!" Argent yelled, pushing herself onto her feet for good measure. "You tell me to sit with you just to be quiet?! Who do you think you are, telling me to sit down and shut up like a dog?!"
The frown had planted itself on Jinx's face while Argent was still talking. Jinx hissed in annoyance, just before covering her eyes with her hand. "You're right," she admitted with a sigh, "I'm sorry."
A voice in the back of Argent's mind reminded her that she'd usually accept a sincere-seeming apology like that one. But this was hardly a normal scenario: There wasn't any good faith established between the two of them, and she had already tried to be nice, just for Jinx to want her to be quiet. Four words of apology weren't any more respectful than what Jinx was apologizing for. "Why don't you tell me what's got you in such a mood, then?" Argent countered, not quite managing to keep the growl out of her voice.
At that, Jinx practically jumped off the couch into standing position herself. "You have no idea what you're talking about," she sneered, "and it wouldn't be any of your business if you did!"
Which was true, but also kind of the point of asking in the first place. "So you're apologizing for the way you normally act?"
Jinx growled, before she started blustering sentence fragments. "I'm trying to—I can't believe—you have no right—"
It took most of Argent's willpower, but she managed to fight the instinct to shout back over the top of her, silently frowning at her instead.
"FINE!" Jinx suddenly yelled. "I came here specifically to avoid being around Kid Flash's family, okay?" she explained as she plopped back down on the couch, looking sullen.
Argent was stunned for a moment. She hadn't really expected it to be something she could relate to. "Why is that?" she asked calmly as she sat back down on the couch, an inch closer to Jinx.
Jinx frowned at her, then rolled her eyes. "Sick of feeling like I'm just an extension of him. Is that so wrong?"
"Honestly...I'm avoiding my own family for similar reasons," Argent answered, looking down at her knees.
Through the corner of her eyes, she saw Jinx blink a couple times. "Really?" she asked, puzzled instead of annoyed. "You...don't seem the type."
Argent looked back at her, ignoring the urge to challenge her on the basis of her correct assumption. "I know, I'm a little embarrassed about it myself. But it isn't as if I....I guess need to explain now, don't I?"
Jinx waited as Argent took a deep breath and mentally arranged her thoughts. Argent was a little surprised that she'd managed to talk herself into edging out of her comfort zone, again. But she had gotten Jinx to talk, however briefly, and it was only fair to do the same herself.
"It's been rough. A few years back my aunt and uncle died, and since then their families have been drifting away from each other. Used to be that we'd all have a big all-day get-together on Christmas. It became Christmas morning with Mum's family and Christmas evening with Dad's. Both wanted me to swing by, which I thought was nice...until this year. Now Mum's family is living on a different continent, so it wasn't even possible for me to go to both places at the same time."
"That's gotta suck," Jinx offered sympathetically.
"Yeah. For the past month they've each been trying to convince me to join them on Christmas, they know I can travel on short notice. But I realized a few days ago that they're really sniping at each other. Being fought over as a prop instead of a person doesn't make me feel good about myself, if you know what I mean."
"Yeah," Jinx said softly, "I do."
"I'd just go to my parents'," Argent continued, "but they said they'll be celebrating with Dad's family so I'd still be picking a side. And I'm not asking them to change their plans for me. So I decided to put a lot of distance between myself and all of them."
The next few seconds were filled with an awkward silence, as the two of them stared out the large window of the ops room. Argent hoped Jinx would say something, since she didn't feel she had anything else to add, but it seemed both of them were at a loss. Although it was a vast improvement over the yelling match they'd had just a minute ago.
Argent took a deep breath through her nose. "But enough about my problems," she said as she turned to face Jinx. "Tell me about you and Kid Flash's family."
Jinx turned to Argent...or more accurately, turned her head towards Argent's general direction while avoiding direct eye contact. "After hearing about your family trying to tear you in half, mine feels really petty."
Argent shrugged her shoulders. "Doesn't bother me. Please, go on." Even if she had been feeling less charitable, she wouldn't have let Jinx get out of it so easily.
Jinx gave her a skeptical glance for only a second. "Well, they try to hide it, but they're clearly uncomfortable around me. Which I can understand, they look like an ordinary 80s sitcom family and I don't exactly fit in with my skin and hair color. I feel out of place around them, and I'm not even sure how much of my past they know about."
"What would your past have to do with it?"
Jinx frowned at her slightly for a few seconds. "You don't know, do you?" she asked skeptically as she relaxed her eyebrows.
Argent cocked her head to side. "Know what?" she responded, perplexed.
"Let's...just say I kicked the Titans out of the Tower we're sitting in a few years back. I'm new on the 'hero' side of things."
"Really? Does that mean you're one of those antiheroes?" Argent asked, hoping her enthusiasm wasn't apparent in her voice.
Jinx put a hand to her chin. "Can't say I really thought about it before. I'm gonna say...maybe."
"Cool!" Some of Argent's pre-adolescent fascination with 'dark and edgy' had clearly been retained.
Jinx rolled her eyes.
"Er, sorry to interpret," Argent said sheepishly.
"At least she took it in stride," Jinx muttered under her breath. "Anyway, " she continued, "they walk a little faster and less casually when I'm around. Their familial cheeriness grows quiet when I enter the room. And they talk to Kid Flash or...well, Flash....about me when I leave the room, instead of talking to me while I was there."
"Flash? They're relatives, then?"
"Yeah, he's Kid Flash's uncle, I think. He's not bad, though I'm sure he's gotten used to...unusual characters over the years. Has a way better sense of when not to joke than his nephew, that's for sure."
"That doesn't sound like a difficult accomplishment, to be honest."
Jinx snorted. "No, it isn't. But yeah, the rest of them are treating me like an extension of Kid Flash, instead of a person in my own right. I don't think you need me to explain what that's like."
"No," Argent agreed, "I don't." She sighed. "Bloody holidays, why do they have to cause problems like this?"
Jinx shook her head. "I...don't think it's the holiday that's causing the problem."
Argent lowered an eyebrow at Jinx. She was pretty sure the Christmas gatherings had a lot to do with Christmas. "How do you figure?"
"Well...The stuff with Kid Flash's family has kinda been there the whole time. We've just all been able to avoid each other until the holiday season came along. The holiday didn't cause any of it."
"I suppose so. But it still seems a little silly to have a holiday to emphasize it in the first place. The togetherness thing is supposed to be happening all year, not once a year."
"I think the two of us have our own examples of the 'togetherness' failing. The way I figure it, without a recurring event to remind people of the idea it'd be far too easy to forget about it entirely. This way, maybe a few of us will realize when something's missing before it turns into a disaster. Or at least I hope you aren't estranged from your family."
It was a thought Argent didn't really want to contemplate. "I...hope not, too," she said dejectedly. "This is literally the first year I can remember where I haven't seen all of them on Christmas. I have no idea how they'll take it." She took a deep breath. "Do you think I made the right decision?" She wasn't entirely sure she wanted to know the answer, but the guilt had been gnawing at the back of her mind for hours, she needed a second opinion.
Jinx looked at her for a second. "Are you sure you want to be asking me? I'm not exactly known for my congeniality."
"You seem fine enough to me," Argent replied with a slight shrug.
"Huh. Well, from what you've told me, there really isn't a right option. Both sides of your family have arranged it so at least one of them is going to be disappointed, and I think that in itself makes you unhappy."
Argent had expected to hear something of the sort. But Jinx continued.
"But if you're asking what I'd do, I'd ditch both of them just like you did. It's not like anyone can make you choose not to be who you are. You're a part of your mother's family, and a part of your father's family, and your own person. If neither side of your family will accept that, well, to hell with them; stick with who isn't trying to coerce you."
Argent breathed a sigh of relief. "That makes sense. Thank you." She still felt it was a selfish decision, but hearing that Jinx would've come to the same conclusion eased her worry that it was an irrational decision, particularly since she could accept Jinx's reasoning. At the same time, she didn't want to make another selfish decision and let her own problems dominate the conversation. "So what are you going to do?" she asked.
Jinx sighed. "While today was a nice break from it all, I think I have to suck it up and head back there for tomorrow. There's no way they're going to get used to me as a person if I'm not even there. And as much as I'd love to avoid the issue, that'll only make him have to explain why his girlfriend won't spend time with his family. And that's not fair to him. Just because I'm myself doesn't mean I'm not his girlfriend, after all. Kinda like how that tree behind us is a symbol of the Titans' willingness to compromise, but that doesn't mean it isn't hideous. And I'm not going to let the arboreal abomination be more accommodating than I am."
Argent was slightly amused at the tree alliteration, but she suddenly got the feeling she was missing something significant. "So what are they doing tomorrow?" she asked.
Jinx suddenly stared at her, eyes slightly widened.
"What?" Argent asked after a couple seconds, hoping she didn't sound as annoyed as she felt.
"You came over here from...Australia or somewhere around there?"
"New Zealand, yes," she answered, confused at the apparent change in topic.
"So you crossed the International Date Line getting here?"
A light went on in Argent's brain. "...It's Christmas Eve here, isn't it?"
"Sod it," Argent muttered as she shook her head. How did she manage to overlook something as obvious as the date? She'd felt a little relieved once she thought it was too late to get to England in time for Christmas morning, but that wasn't the case now that she found an extra 24 hours. Plus, she'd need to arrange for some type of overnight accommodations now.
"I won't tell you forgot if you don't," Jinx offered, as she picked up her book and continued reading.
On the other side of the room, the doors slid open.
"Argent!" Starfire exclaimed as she flew across the room. "How joyous to see you here!"
"How unexpected, too," Raven droned.
"Er, sorry about the lack of notice," Argent said as she stood up and turned around, "but it's been a...complicated last few days. Speaking of which, I just found out this turned into an overnight trip and...I need somewhere to sleep."
"Oh?" Robin said. "Well, we do have spare quarters here in the Tower."
Argent wasn't thrilled with the quality implications of the word 'quarters'. "Well I don't want to impose on all of you," she tried to backtrack.
Jinx exhaled sharply, still looking at her book. "Sound a little more gracious, will ya?" she said in a hushed tone.
"Well if you'd prefer," Cyborg offered, "I bet we can find you a spot in one of the hotels around here."
"You don't think they'll be fully booked this close to Christmas?" Raven asked.
"At least one of them's got to have a suite free, right?" he replied.
Argent lowered an eyebrow in disbelief. Was that supposed to be less imposing? "I...think I'm OK staying here. But I do appreciate the offer."
She saw Jinx nod slightly in her peripheral vision.
Robin looked like he was about to say something, but Beast Boy stepped in front of him. "So what do you think of our tree?" he asked.
Argent had actually been trying not to look at it. "I think it looks...distinct."
"Huh, that's what Jinx said." he replied.
"Exactly what Jinx said," Cyborg added as he gave a skeptical look in Jinx's general direction.
Jinx didn't bother looking up from her book. "I promise I did not use the word 'distinct' when I was talking to her."
Cyborg rolled his eye, as Argent failed to suppress her smirk.
"Well anyway," Cyborg continued, "let me show you to your room. Ma'am," he added sarcastically.
Argent shook her head. "Please don't tell me I come off like that."
"We won't tell you," Raven said flatly.
Before Argent could decide whether that was a joke or not, Cyborg exaggerated the sound of clearing his throat, before slowly walking towards the door. "If you'll follow me please," he said in what Argent assumed was his best concierge impression.
Argent walked around the couch to follow Cyborg. "Merry Christmas, Jinx," she said sincerely before directly following Cyborg.
Jinx looked over her shoulder, an almost imperceptible smile on her face. "To you too, Argent."
As she followed Cyborg at his mock-formal pace, she heard Beast Boy's voice.
"Hey Jinx," he was saying, "what do you think about the Carol of the Bells...sung by gorillas?"
"Meh," she said.
From time immemorial humanity has created great heroes and diabolical villains through mythology, legend, and fanfiction... which are all really the same thing.
And for just as long, people have always pondered the same thought: how gruesomely can we kill them off against other heroes and villains?
And how much can we enrage the fanbase of the loser?
Screw Attack has been doing these Death Battles for years, and for this latest fight, they've really shown how far they've come in terms of animation. They're also set on finding out once and for all who would win in a fight to the death: Deadpool or Deathstroke? You'll love it Corey... or might you hate it? object
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