471: A Surprisingly Decent Proposal

on December 13, 2010 in Book 16

In Which Failure Is An Option

Lunch was… lunch.

It was bizarrely normal, if that wasn’t a complete contradiction in terms. Steff was off spending time with Viktor according to Amaranth, but she came and went anyway. The fact that Ian had pointed out the folly of trying to have private conversations about serious matters meant that neither he nor I told Amaranth about Mariel, and while I was burning with the need to do so for the first several minutes, the urge quickly passed. I would tell her some time when I knew we were alone, or at least far away from anybody who might know what we were talking about.

It was possible that the ancillary lesson to the one about there being no real privacy on campus was that we were spending too much time on campus… and so much of that time going between the same few places. I went to my classes, I went to the library, I went to the union… and mostly just the lunchroom… and I went to my dorm, where I pretty much just hung out in my room. Going downstairs and sitting in the hallway had been like a major event.

It was weird to think of my life as humdrum or repetitive when so many things happened in it. Even before I came to school, my life had been anything but uneventful or ordinary, but when I looked back on the preceding nine years I found them tedious. I supposed this made the supposed ironic curses about having an interesting life or living in interesting times sort of off-the-mark… calamities weren’t usually boring when they happened, but a life full of calamity wasn’t necessarily going to be all that engaging.

On the other hand, the events that had followed from the last evening showed how good it could be to be shoved outside my comfort zone in ways that weren’t exactly world-shaking. Yes, the thing with the fish-beast and the owl-turtle thing were weird and crazy and completely unlike anything I’d ever experienced… but the thing that had really had the most effect on my day was that I’d woken up with Ian, in his room.

We’d ended up spending the morning together, without any plans or discussion, it had just happened. It was sort of weird that it hadn’t happened more often, with us having a long lab class together twice a week. I just felt really comfortable with him, to the point that I didn’t even have any awareness of being comfortable or being with him. His presence felt as natural to me as bath water did after the initial shock of hot water and cold air subsided and things had evened out and it just felt like you were floating in… well… nothing at all, really.

It was like the difference between someone surrounding you like a cloak and someone surrounding you like nudity.

I had a dim recollection of the ridiculous owl-turtle thing… who seemed even more ridiculous when considered by the light of day… saying something about an “intense connection”. Or had that been something Dee had said, in her explanation of what had happened? My memories of the shared dream were kind of fragmented, and it felt a bit as though my mind was actively resisting filing them away in the usual way. That might have been part of why I didn’t feel weirder about the whole thing.

My enchantment lab was a welcome piece of familiar normality in the middle of the afternoon… a class I was good at, one directly connected to my major, and one that I didn’t share with anybody that I knew. While it had led to my pleasant morning with Ian, having classes with people who knew me seemed fraught with complications, and it didn’t seem to matter if they were friends, enemies, lovers, or Sooni.

That was something I’d want to keep in mind during registration for the next and future semesters… while I liked spending time with Steff, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have any more classes with her. It would be nice if there were a way to avoid sharing a classroom with any La Belles.

It was kind of depressing to realize that there were more fellow students I’d want to avoid having classes with than there were teachers… but once I’d thought about it some more, I decided that this was a good thing. For the most part, I was getting along with the people who could actually have some direct impact on my academic standing and my future. Aside from Callahan, there wasn’t a single teacher I currently had that I really had a problem with, which worked out nicely because she was the one I was least likely to have any other classes with in the future. Conveniently, she was followed in that measurement by Hart, who I could also avoid if his caustic nature became too annoying.

I was stuck with Callahan for the rest of the semester, though, and it was too late to do anything about that. Okay, yes, I realized she was not out to get me… more so than anyone else with a pulse… and that she had actually been pretty generous in her treatment of me, but that didn’t mean that I liked her or enjoyed spending time with her. It being Thursday, it couldn’t be helped. After my second lab ended, I headed over to the fitness center and Kessherrakh Salle… getting hug-groped by Steff in the hallway outside it.

“Don’t sneak up on me like that!” I said, after shrieking my lungs out. Her hands were really freaking cold, and she’d managed to get them under my coat and clothes and into a couple pretty sensitive spots. “Do you know what I could do to you if I lashed out in surprise with all my strength?”

“Miss?” Steff said. She giggled. “Don’t mind me, I’m just ridiculously, obnoxiously happy today.”

“Yeah, well… I doubt you’d be so happy if I didn’t miss,” I said.

“Are you kidding?” she said. “I’d be positively beside myself.”

I rolled my eyes.

“For that one, I might hit you on purpose,” I said.

“Save the violence for the classroom, where it belongs,” Callahan said, passing us briskly on the way to the salle. “And where you belong, for that matter,” she added over her shoulder.

“Come on,” Steff said. “I hate being late for an ass-kicking.”

“Yours, or someone else’s?” I asked.

“I’m not picky,” she said, and we headed into the large room that nevertheless seemed a bit undersized for a whole large fighting class. While the open field we’d traded away for it had lacked in environmental niceness, it had given us a lot more room to spread out.

“Okay, listen up,” Callahan called out once everyone had their weapons mocked. “We’re past the introductions. Everyone is as up to speed on the basics of attacking and defending as they’re going to be, and we have slain the god of pain… so today we’re going to begin focusing on the ‘mixed’ part of the class a bit more. This is when your training begins in earnest. When this semester is over, you will not only be able to hold your own against a variety of opponents using different weapons and styles, you will be able to do so with any weapon that’s at hand. For today, though, we’re going to stick with our own weapons. When I call your name, come forward.”

She began calling out names in staccato bursts of five. There was a brief delay before anyone in the first group responded… probably because we weren’t used to being addressed by our actual names.

“You’re a group,” she told them. “Now get out of the way.”

She continued putting everyone in a group of five. I was uncomfortably reminded of earlier group-based activities in the same class… the others had been less than pleased to have the semi-infamous demon girl of Harlowe thrown into their group, and Callahan’s teaching assistant of the time had taken their side.

This time, my group mates didn’t look particularly happy or comfortable… but it was hard to say if that had anything to do with me.

“Through the end of next week, these people are going to be your fighting partners,” Callahan said. “Remember who you’re grouped with, because it will be your responsibility to find them at the start of class. After today… which is going to be a bit of a wash no matter what I do… we are going to waste as little time as possible with the fucking preamble. Within your group, you are going to do five minute fighting drills, with one person fighting one other person. The other three watch. When it’s over, you spend five minutes talking about it… what you think each person did well, what you think could be better, what you would have done in their place. Then two more of you fight, and you do the same thing again. This is what we call ‘peer-guided learning, and I earn seventeen hundred thousand bullshit teacher brownie points for incorporating it into the class, or something, so don’t screw it up. The mock boxes are set to ‘pain only’, fading in five minutes time, so you’ll be fighting unwounded and you’ll always be fighting fresh.”

My group consisted entirely of people who had long hafted weapons: a girl with a trident, a guy with a long axe on a pole, another guy with a spear, and a girl with a long scythe. I assumed the similarity wasn’t a coincidence… a quick glimpse around the room confirmed that like weapons had been grouped together.

“Come on, get to it!” Callahan called out. “Any group that needs more specific prompting will receive it!”

Everybody in my group was standing around… I wondered if they hadn’t caught the implicit threat, or if they were just that confident that someone else would catch it and step forward. It seemed silly… there was still over an hour left to go in the class, so we’d all have to fight a little before the end of it. The “little” part appealed to me… I was personally relieved to hear the format of the “peer-guided learning”.

But even if it was just for five minutes at a time, I’d made a commitment to apply myself to fighting, and I would honor that commitment.

“Well… I guess I’ll go first,” I said. I looked at the others. I hadn’t really caught the other names that had been shouted along with “Mackenzie”, and I wouldn’t have been able to match them up with the individual faces if I had.

The guy with the spear stepped forward.

“Guess it’s us,” he said.

“I’ll keep time!” the girl with the trident said quickly.

“My name’s Mackenzie,” I said. I felt kind of lame introducing myself, but it felt weird getting ready to fight someone who I didn’t know, especially as we were expected to talk about it afterwards.

“I know,” he said.

“If you’re fighting, fight… if you’re not, pay attention!” Callahan yelled.

So much for getting to know each other, I thought… though maybe it would be better if I did just focus on fighting.

We both had similar reach with our weapons… it occurred to me that anything that I could do with my staff, he could do with his spear, and then some. But if he wasn’t used to stick-fighting with his spear, it could be awkward for him to try to block my staff… that had to be different than slapping aside a sword or slipping past an axe. There were a few things I could try, anyway.

I shifted my spear into the long, swinging half-staff grip. My first attempt was meant to be something like a feint, just bringing the staff down in an arc just to see what he’d do… I wasn’t even close enough to hit more than maybe his arms. It apparently caught him off guard, though, and my staff ended up swatting his spear down. He kept his grip on it and lunged forward once my staff slid off it, bringing the tip up as he went. I jumped aside, and he ended up grazing the outside of my thigh.

I took a step back. It wasn’t a great beginning, I realized. The problem? I hadn’t had anything planned past that first clumsy swing… I’d wanted to put him on the defensive, but I hadn’t kept on the offensive, so he’d had an opening, if a somewhat imperfect one.

For the next exchange of blows, I started by swiping at his weapon from the side, and then just basically battered the fuck out of it. When he’d almost completely lost his grip on it and it was way off to the side, I tried to bop him with the end of my staff, but he stumbled backwards out of the way.

It would have been a good time for me to press forward, but I was a little bit off-balance myself. We repeated that a couple more times, though he was a bit more cautious and I wasn’t able to overwhelm him so completely. Each time, I had to break off my assault when he lashed out with a lightning-fast thrust of the spear. One time he missed me completely. The second time, he traced a line of jagged fire across my arm.

The next time, instead of lashing out at his weapon, I did my best to aim for where his fingers were curled around the spear. It wasn’t the cleanest of hits, but with my strength, it didn’t need to be. He cried out. The spear went out wildly to the side as he let go with his injured hand, which he gave a reflexive shake.

I noticed the perfect opening a little quicker this time, though not fast enough to take advantage of it. I was beginning to see the wisdom of fighting practice, beyond the mere learning of techniques… to be useful, this sort of thing needed to be reflexive, second nature.

After that, he changed his grip on his spear so that he was holding less of it sticking out in front of him. I kept a wary distance, knowing how fast he could lunge with it.

“Time!” the girl with the trident called, and we stopped fighting.

“I’m seeing a lot of circling around and not a lot of fighting,” Callahan called out. “That’s fine for now, but get it out of your systems… by the time we start again next week you need to be able to jump in and start swinging. We’re going to be making the most out of the least time.”

Apparently we hadn’t been the slowest group to get started fighting. We weren’t exactly quick off the mark at the critique, either. No one immediately jumped forward with insightful commentary, and I could see what Callahan meant by the day being a wash… we didn’t know each other, and we weren’t used to operating like this.

“Um… I thought you spent too long trying to hit his weapon instead of him,” the girl with the scythe said to me. There were a couple of nods at that.

“Well, I think he actually had the advantage in reach, given that he only has to hit with the tip of his spear,” I said. “I’d have to be holding my staff up by the end of it to match it. So I was trying to disarm him, or at least knock his weapon away.”

“That’s not a bad start,” Callahan said. “You need some practice at actually doing it, but attacking your opponent’s weapon isn’t a bad move if it’s the only thing you can reach. Not a bad start. Not great, though. Take a walk with me, Crybaby.”

“Um, okay,” I said, and let her lead me around some of the other groups, out into the hall. “Aren’t you supposed to be teaching the class?”

“‘Peer-guided’,” she said. “The first day of something like this, there’s going to be a lot of standing around and fumbling with things no matter what I do, so I like to space out the yelling in order to not appear completely impotent. Which I’m not. I’m just completely powerless to change the nature of eighteen-to-twenty-year-olds. But it’ll start to come together near the end of the period and after the weekend break we’ll come back and this’ll seem normal. Anyway, I didn’t bring you out here to explain my school strategies to you… I wanted to talk about yours.”

“What do you mean?”

“How did you end up in this class?” she asked.

“I quit Basic Knife and transferred in here,” I said.

“How did that happen? Why?” she asked. “What was the chain of events?”

“Well… Basic Knife wasn’t much more than Introduction To Sharp Object Handling, and… my friends thought I needed something a little bit more… well, more,” I said.

“By ‘friends’, I take it you mean that Johnson had something to do with this,” she said.

“Well, yeah.”

“Well, if I had one thing to say about Johnson, I’d say she’s enthusiastic,” Callahan said. “And if I had two things to say about her, I’d say she’s not that fucking bright. Enrolling you in this class was over-correcting… there’s a whole planar cosmos of classes between Basic Knife and Mixed Melee, and you would have been better off starting somewhere in there. Bladies For Ladies isn’t badass enough to do you much good, but you’re not badass enough to get the most out of this class.”

“It’s an entry level course,” I said.

“Yes, under the assumption that anyone who’s grown to the age of majority and graduated high school in this culture is going to know something about handling weapons and fighting,” Callahan said. “It has what we might call ‘unspoken prerequisites’, and you don’t match them.”

“And you decided to have this talk with me after the point of no return?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “Because if you’d dropped the class, there wouldn’t be any point to it. And it’s not that you won’t get anything out of this class, or that it’s any skin off my back if you leave here underprepared for fighting, or if you don’t get out of here with the best grade. And that’s the thing: we’re getting to the part of the year where I have to start making up grades for people in order to be able to cover my ass and pretend I’ve actually been grading you all along. And if there’s one thing I pride myself for when it comes to my bullshit scoring system, it’s that I always arbitrarily assign the score that people deserve, mostly.”

“So you’re going to fail me,” I said.

“Not if you keep going the way you’ve been going,” she said. “I can see you getting a high C at best, if you dig deep and apply yourself and all that crap… but whatever you get from me, if it isn’t the lowest grade on your report card, it will be because you’re being lazy and careless in your other classes. Whatever grade I give you, it’s going to be dragging your GPA down. I don’t give a shit about that, but I assume you do. You look like a scholarship student to me.”

“I am… but if you’re committed to giving me a low grade, I can’t really do anything about that, can I?” I asked.

“No, of course not… I’m only bringing it up to rub salt in the wound,” Callahan said. “Anyway, I’m committed to giving you the grade you deserve, and that’s a better deal than most teachers would give you. If I had actually been grading you all along, you’d have enough zeroes and failing days that nothing you’d do would pull you up to a C. But I don’t care how you get there, I only care where you end up, and I could see you coming out of this class an average-ish fighter, or slightly below.”

“So, you’re letting me know that I won’t have a lot of leeway when it comes to my other classes if I want a decent GPA?” I asked. “I’d already figured that out… but thanks anyway.”

“You could save your GPA if you made this a pass/fail course,” she said.

“Isn’t it a little late for that, too?” I said. “I’m pretty sure that you have to decide that when you register for a class, not when you realize it’s pulling you down.”

“Rules like that only exist so that everybody and their brother doesn’t abuse things all the time,” Callahan said. “It’s really not a problem if somebody or her sister does every once in a while, though. I have a little bit of pull with the administration. Well, it’s not so much ‘pull’ as it is ‘shove’… the point is, I can get the registrar to change this to a pass/fail class for you. You still show up. You still try. You still learn. But at the end of the semester, your showing here doesn’t hurt your final grade any.”

“Even if that rule is bullshit, required classes can’t be taken as pass/fail,” I pointed out. “And not to doubt your… diplomatic abilities… but I’m not sure I trust that four years from now, somebody who’s never met you and doesn’t care about your threats won’t be telling me that my credits don’t add up right to graduate.”

“There are only two majors that specifically require Mixed Melee, and I don’t think you’re going for either of them,” Callahan said. “So, no problem there.”

“But weapon proficiency classes are required to graduate.”

“Right,” she said. “But not this weapon proficiency class in particular.”

“So this class wouldn’t count for anything?”

“The knowledge of fighting you’ve learned wouldn’t fall out of the back of your skull or anything,” Callahan said. “And in terms of things you care about, I guess you’d have one less bullshit-nothing-class like history you’d have to take to graduate. I mean, you’d still have three credit hours.”

“I like history classes,” I said.

“You would,” she replied.

“And I’d still have to take another fighting class later on?”

“Only if you want to graduate,” she said. “And here’s where we come to the condition of my generous offer: I want it to be one of my classes.”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather never see me again?”

“It’s possible,” she said. “But I’m really not sure. You bore me to tears, Crybaby, but you’ve got the look of something that could get interesting, one day. So I’d like to keep my eyes on you… and nudge you a little, if I can. When I can.”

“That’s…” It was among the more creepy things that anyone had ever said to me, and I’d had some pretty creepy things said to me in the past few weeks. “That’s, um… generous.”

“Not really,” she said. “Anyway, I have my reputation to think about. You’re not going to come out of this class a great fighter no matter what. This way we both get a do-over. That’s disgustingly close to fair, don’t you think?”

I thought it was a pretty disgusting proposition… but also pretty fair. I thought Ian and Amaranth would probably both approve of the deal, but I wanted the chance to get their opinions before I agreed.

“Do you need an answer right now?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “Just don’t take too long. I’ve seen classes get switched to pass/fail even after the term’s over… but I really can’t guarantee that I’ll give a kobold’s ass for this a week from now.”

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45 Responses to “471: A Surprisingly Decent Proposal”

  1. I shifted my spear into the long, swinging half-staff grip.

    I think you meant “shifted my _staff_”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Current score: 0
  2. Philbo says:

    A long axe on a pole.

    Do you mean a halberd?

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      Halberd isn’t the only pole-arm type weapon that could be considered an axe on a pole, a long axe is shorter than a halberd (3 to 4 feet long rather than 5 to 6) but is still a pole-arm and a Poleaxe is as long as a halberd but does not have the spear like point that a halberd has, and the bardiche is somewhere between the style of a poleaxe and that of a halberd. Any of those weapons would be described as a long axe on a pole, but the fighting style used would be slightly different (though close enough that familiarity with one would be easily adapted to the others which is likely why all of Mack’s team is wielding pole-arms) though I imagine if the exact type of long axe on a pole is relevant it will be mentioned in due time, after all Mack can’t be expected to have the weapons familiarity of a internet armed history buff that enjoys medieval warfare.

      Current score: 0
      • Hiinst says:

        She knows steff who is an ethernet armed “violence in all it’s forms” buff. Does that count?

        Current score: 2
        • Minion0ne says:

          also, keep in mind that this is from the perspective of Mac, who doesnt care enough about weapons to know more than their base names.(sword, spear, staff)

          Current score: 2
    • Kouros says:

      To someone who doesn’t care about weapons and dislikes fighting, a halberd is a long axe on a pole. :p

      Current score: 1
  3. Zathras IX says:

    Let’s waste as little
    Time as possible with the
    Fucking preamble

    (We want to get directly to the fucking)

    Current score: 3
  4. readaholic says:

    Om nom nom. MUppetite well satisfied. Scary as Callahan’s proposition is, (basically she wants Mack to be interesting to kill) it’s still a good one, as it will increase her chances of survival against anyone else.

    Current score: 2
  5. worriedrebel says:

    I like the sound of more Callahan in the future ๐Ÿ™‚ She has, as do many others, a lot of tantalisingly revealed interest, plus, y’know, badass. Thank you so much for the amazing stories! Please please keep ’em coming. xxx

    Current score: 1
  6. worriedrebel says:

    unrevealed sorry, but firefox spell checker like not this word ๐Ÿ™

    Current score: 0
  7. beappleby says:

    Were the comments coming up centered before now?

    Also, one line just did not compute for me:

    “…someone surrounding you like nudity”

    I do not comprehend the meaning these words were intended to convey.

    Current score: 0
    • Silverai says:

      When you are nude, you are surrounded by nudity. You’re not generally aware of being nude though (unless it’s that one dream where you’re in class/on stage and everyone’s laughing at you). When you are wearing a cloak, you are usually aware of the fact you are wearing a cloak.

      Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      The way bodies are made, versus how we choose to clothe them?

      Current score: 0
    • Oni says:

      The comments weren’t centered when the last story went up, though I can’t say that I checked recently to see if it was changed before now. It’s quirky, but not really in a good way. *shrugs* At least the comment box text is readable still.

      Current score: 0
  8. Morten G says:

    โ€œNo, of course notโ€ฆ Iโ€™m only bringing it up to rub salt in the wound,โ€ Callahan said.

    I did a facepalm here – I’m surprised Callahan didn’t ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Current score: 0
  9. zenjack says:

    beappleby – better then skin tight. very intimate.

    Love the storys.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      Huh. For me, nudity is by definition “nothing surrounding you”, so “surrounding like nudity” just… doesn’t work. The phrase really jarred me when I read it, because I couldn’t think of any way to look at it that would make it make sense.

      Current score: 1
      • Rey d`Tutto says:

        to some, nakedness is different than being “Sky-clad”, although both involve nudity.
        Being naked on the street is vastly different than being naked in your living room.

        Current score: 2
        • beappleby says:

          That is definitely a matter of opinion… My living room is all windows!

          Current score: 0
          • bramble says:

            Naked in your bedroom, then? Naked in your bathroom?

            Current score: 1
        • beappleby says:

          It’s partly just that I tend to be very literal. To me, nudity is not something that can surround a person. So I guess I can see what the sentence is supposed to convey, but only because I’m taking your word for it.

          Current score: 0
  10. Jennifer says:

    Yay! I had been hoping that there would be some excuse for Callahan to still be around for some reason after this semester of classes, and one has been provided! (yes, I realize that the current semester is likely to last several more years, considering the first half of it is about 500 updates. That doesn’t mean I can’t think ahead.)

    Current score: 0
    • cnic says:

      It makes sense that the meta-reason for this happening is to keep a popular (and useful) character still in the mix. Then again it would have been just as easy for Mackenzie to believe she needed to have bought into the idea she needs to learn more and take a focused or specialized class.

      Current score: 1
  11. Major says:

    “surrounding like nudity” makes perfect sense if you consider that we are all naked under our clothing. That molecule-thick sheath of dust, air and bodily fluids between us and whatever else may feel like it’s touching us is the nudity that surrounds us.

    Current score: 0
    • EvilToast says:

      Havn’t heard such a hippy-ish thing for ages, have a flower cookie

      Current score: 1
  12. Helen Rees says:

    “friends, enemies, lovers, or Sooni.”

    .sheldon snort

    Also, typo alert

    โ€˜peer-guided learning

    needs a close quoty thing

    Current score: 0
  13. Burnsidhe says:

    I perfectly understand the phrase “surrounding like nudity”. It just exists; you’re aware and yet not confined by anything. It’s a state of comfort and easiness.

    And I think Mack would be very well advised to take Callahan’s advice and go for it. She should be aware at this point that Callahan is willing to put in a little extra effort for her, and aware of how much she’s learned and could learn; I wouldn’t go so far as to call Callahan a mentor, but let’s hope her friends will tell her to accept.

    Current score: 0
  14. Steffen says:

    โ€œIโ€™m doing a workshop or conference or some other excuse on Thursday, so spend the week reflecting on the lessons youโ€™ve learned today and be back here in a week, when weโ€™re going to really mix things up. Emo Kid!โ€

    โ€œAnd you tell Johnson Iโ€™ll overlook it this time,โ€ she added, โ€œbut if I donโ€™t see her curvy ass in class next Tuesday, Iโ€™m going to have to mark her absent. Now go do something about that face.โ€

    Why is there a class today, on Thursday? (Not that I’m complaining, I find the combat and spellcraft to be the most interesting aspects, but, um there appears to be a story problem).

    Current score: 2
    • Karen says:

      This must have been rewritten because now it says there will be class on Thursday but not next week. This has been driving me crazy because in the next scene where Mack tells Steff to show up she says that there’s no class on Thursday.

      Current score: 0
  15. Bernie says:

    I don’t know why but every time we come back to classes, I seem to like these chapters better. I always like seeing Mack apply herself in ways she’s not used to, especially callahan’s. And plus actual fighting is fun because the way mack thinks means we get every lil in depth thing that occurs…which is awesome.

    Current score: 1
  16. I <3 Callahan ^_^

    Current score: 1
  17. forum solipsist says:

    It’s not hard to see why Callahan is such a good teacher. Weakness offends her. This makes her good because she attacks not the person who has the weakness but the weakness itself. I look forward to seeing Mack getting better at using one of the most traditional of Mage weapons. I look forward even more to her coin so where certain transgender half elves can’t see her improve. Someday Steff is going to get knocked onto her well used ass by Macks big stick and I for one loom forward to it immensely.

    Oh yes. I don’t often do this, but:
    @beappleby – stop being so pedantical. Just sit back, enjoy and if there is the odd poetic phrase that hurts your head because it is more poetic than logical simply edit it out and move on. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      Is the discussion bothering you? I find it interesting. Since the phrase just didn’t click for me, I am interested in what others interpreted it to mean.

      Was it being pedantical for the others to discuss whether the weapon was a halberd or a spear?

      Current score: 0
  18. Forum solipsist says:

    Curse you auto-correction!!!!!
    Curse you I say!!!!!!!!

    Current score: 0
  19. beappleby says:

    Just putting in a separate comment to clarify that I find the centered text *very* annoying.

    Current score: 0
  20. ShadowKat says:

    Is that how most colleges work? At mine, we usually have a pretty good idea of what our grade could be before the registrar closes the grade/pass/no pass option. Which is more ‘normal?’

    Current score: 0
    • mia says:

      depends on the class. for people who grade on severe curves, you may have no idea. Also, I had a class where you could just take the final and get a B — no other work needed.

      Current score: 1
  21. Forum solipsist says:

    Not bothering me.
    After all it would be a rather poor show to take issue with a reasonable opinion sensibly stated. ๐Ÿ™‚
    If anything I guess you could say that I worry when a phrase jars like that for someone for fear that it is spoiling their enjoyment of a very well written (IMHO) Story. I have a similar reaction when people say they don’t understand shakespear.
    As for the discussion regarding the precise type of pole-arm, someone else got there before I could point out that it was a Mack point of view description of the weapon.
    Also, I apologise for the accusation of pedantry. Anyone who can use the phrase pedantical right back at me is clearly not. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Current score: 1
  22. squidsinger says:

    The weird centering
    makes all of these, our comments
    read like bad haiku.


    Still loving me some MU, especially with random Callahan badassery.

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  23. Major says:

    Personally, I like the poetic turn of phrase “surrounding like nudity” much better than the jarring neologism “pedantical” for “pedantic” or EvilToast’s misreading of my callback to an old “Muppet Show” bit as “hippy-ish.” Does this mean “hippy” is the new “gay?” If you’re going to disagree or criticize, please do so with more than a disparaging label and a patronizing “have a… cookie.”

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  24. pedestrian says:

    If Callahan had found out about Mercy’s interest in Mackenzie and Mercy is the same person as Muir Sui, that would explain why the coach is actually trying to bring Our Mack up to speed on her survival skills.

    The hatred between the Callahan and Muir Sui goes back centuries. Which leads to the subject of Professor Ariadne Einhorn and her visceral bigotry against Mackenzie. For the murder, a couple of centuries ago of her husband, Einhorn, possibly by a demon.

    These two separate feuds are linked in that they are continually being refreshed by the participants and projected onto innocent people centuries later. Not that I have any problem with long-standing bloodfeuds, not with my family history.

    But I think these are displaying the trap of immortality or just living too many centuries. It wouldn’t take more then a couple of centuries to max out the memory storage capacity of a single skull. Remember brain memories are layers of sensory data NOT just a recording like a vinyl record or Hard Drive. Biological memory is much closer to RAM but with a lot more complexity.

    The three women, Callahan, Mercy, Ariadne seem to be trapped in their past lifetimes. They may have experience and knowledge, but they are definitely missing wisdom.

    I try to tell people not to get to excited over life-extension research and possible treatments for the various forms of dementia, but to little avail.

    Even if the human body can continue indefinitely, the personality of Now-You, that you are desperately seeking to preserve, will not survive past one or two centuries. There will be too many new memories drowning out the old and like a riverbank ripped apart by floodwaters Now-You will cease to exist as it is subsumed into the future New-You’s.

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  25. Cedjuct MacMan says:

    An axe on the end of a staff is a halberd. A sword on a staff is a naginata. Both are probably beyond a beginner staff user.

    One of the disadvantages of a spear that would take more skill than Mack has to use is that a broad spearhead has edges that are longer than the diameter of the spear. To make use of it requires touching the spear with the staff and sliding along it to hook the spear. Hooking last less than a second but it makes the spear more awkward for the spear user to use. Think if someone had a sword and was trying to cutoff the spear tip except with a staff.

    I learned a style of staff use that relied on only a half-staff stance.

    Current score: 0
  26. Anthony says:

    “I like history classes.” That line made me snerk!

    Current score: 0