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13 July 2006 @ 10:05 pm
Slashy Awards 148: We Remember What May Have Never Happened  
I don't think I've ever had a set just...push itself into my hands like this. It was as though the universe deeply wanted me to post a second set of things that never happened stories, and was going to keep throwing stunningly excellent ones at me until I gave in. (Yes, there was a brief temptation to keep resisting and see how much great FF I could drag into existence, but I decided not to toy with the universe, on the grounds that it could, if shirty, revoke a number of privileges I enjoy a lot, like existing.) So, here we are: TTNH, part 2. (I'm assuming I don't need to go through the warnings and such again, since they are, shall we say, very available to the non-legions of you who missed round 1 but are reading round 2.)

The One That Makes It Clear That Some People Got Sent to Pegasus Because They Had Gone Beyond the Reach of Mere Earth Psychiatry. (Also Known As: John Sheppard Is the Goddamn Batman.) Five Ways John Sheppard Gets Laid, by dirty_diana. Stargate: Atlantis, and you probably don't need to know anything about the canon to read this, but I would think it would help. If you're short on time, I have a handy summary for you.

So. On the previous post, cad27 was the first (but by no means the last) to complain that there was no SGA story in the set. To which I had, as it happens, an obvious and easy response, namely: there was supposed to be. But this story wouldn't load, and it was getting late, and the post was already long enough that most American high school students would just buy the Cliffs Notes for it, so...I left it out. I see now that I was wrong to do this.

But if this had been in the previous set, it would've probably been the most classic TTNH story in there. It's five variations on a single theme, which I assume I don't need to explain, what with the title. (There is Sheppard. There is sexin'. Aaaaaand now most of you have already stopped reading this rec, leaving me free to just say random shit, not that I don't take that freedom regularly anyway.)

What I love about this story, about the use of the TTNH concept in this particular way, is that it undercuts my resistance. Because, okay, I know that the writers and (apparently) Joe Flanigan believe that Sheppard is a nuclear warhead of libido with the launch sequence down to 10 seconds, but - if he is, someone, likely Rodney, totally cut the red wire. Or, put it this way: if Sheppard is Kirk, he's Kirk in a chastity belt that can only be unlocked by Ancients, and even then he mostly looks kind of scared, like he'd really rather keep it on and just play a nice game of Go Fish instead.

My point is that he's got a weird - I don't know. Asexual chemistry? Like, he seems to get along with most people, at least superficially, but it's hard for me to imagine him having sex with them. Jerking off and thinking about them, maaaaaaaybe, but actually touching them and being touched by them? For me, that doesn't so much work, except with McKay, who seems to have a free pass into the Sheppard No Touch Zone. So when John switches on Love Monster Mode (and you can, like, see him switching it on, like it's almost physically painful for him to do it), my disbelief starts rattling its chains.

But if you frame Sheppard getting laid as a TTNH story, then it's suddenly all better. I don't need to worry about my own personal Sheppard Vision Statement, and I can just enjoy. And I do enjoy all these stories, because they are all so perfectly fucking in character. See, once I get into the story, my disbelief stops screaming, because the Sheppard No Touch Zone is in full and perfect operation here, just...well. With sex. You'll see. And then you, too, will say: "Oh, John. It's totally too late for therapy, isn't it?"

The One That Reveals to Me That Either Jack O'Neill Is a Cock-Eyed (Shut up. You Know What I Mean.) Optimist or I Am. I'm Not Sure Which Proposition Is Scarier. Five Holidays Jack O'Neill Never Celebrated, by cofax7. Stargate: SG-1. I have no idea if you need to know the canon here. I can tell you that I didn't let a lack of knowledge stop me, though.

Also in the comments to the last post, cofax7 said, basically, thanks for the rec but, well, I think my Jack O'Neill TTNH story is better. To which I said, "I like the story and I am doing the judgment-making around here and so you will kindly take your authorial opinions and...wait. You wrote a Jack O'Neill TTNH? I...huh." So then I had to go read that, obviously.

And my immediate reaction was: wow, she's right. I mean, the Teal'c story is excellent - I said it and I stand by it - but this one is even better.

Cofax seems to use TTNH as an opportunity to tell mini-stories, and I love the five stories she's telling here, because: oh, Jack. This is Jack through and through. The first one, in particular, has a kind of lingering sadness to it, at least for me, because that isn't quite the Jack we know. He's the Jack from before the stargate, the Jack he'd be if everything from the movie onwards had never happened. And I just find it sad that - well, Jack had to lose everything to become the kind of guy who could appreciate what he'd had.

And I find it interesting that - well. I said in the last post that TTNH stories tend to be sad and disturbing, that they are by their very nature prone to sadness and disturbance (that's not the right word, but you know what I mean), but - this one isn't, even though some of the scenarios really should be, and again, I attribute that to Jack. (Okay, to Cofax's writing skill, too. But I'm talking about Jack, here, and if I get off-topic, there's really no hope for any of us.) He's such a survivor - and he has such a long history of winning against long odds - that I fully expect every segment in this story to end happily (except the first one). The happy ending is implied, at least in my happy-ending-fixated brain, because Jack doesn't give up until there is one. And oh my god I love him so much for that.

So love is my basic reaction to this story. (Plus jaw-dropping astonishment that I missed it until now, but I'm choosing to focus on the love, here.)

The One That Proves Definitively That Some Frogs Really Are Princes, and I Just Have an Unrefined and Superficial Way of Judging People. Aliens. Muppets. Whatever. King of Infinite Space, by Hossgal, aka leadensky. Farscape. I've seen, I think, five episodes of the canon now. (It would be more, but the Farscape people apparently think subtitles are optional on a DVD package. And they are very, very, very wrong.) I know just enough to know that I'd get more out of this if I'd seen more. Doesn't matter. There's something here for everyone.

After Cofax introduced me to the story above, I said, "Hey, I'm halfway to another set. Know of any good TTNH in Farscape?" And she said, "Why, yes. I do." And she gave me this link, which blew my mind. I just...oh, wow, and also, holy shit.

Because, see, I don't like Rygel. (Rygel is the subject of this TTNH. Did I not say that before? He is.) I want to. I've tried. But so far...no. He's just not clicking for me. (Best Beloved, who does like Rygel, has taken to highlighting Points of Rygel Interest in the episodes we watch together, sometimes even rewinding so that we can relive particular moments of glory: "Look! There! He does care, and - okay, you can't blame him for that, because...look, let's just rewind for the good part." and "See? Brave! He's being brave! Are you surprised? Do you like him yet?" I have every faith that BB will eventually win this battle - it's, shall we say, a safe bet, as BB is another person who doesn't give up until the ending is a happy one - but the subtitle problem makes it a very slow war of attrition. And if you're wondering what's dying off, the answer is: my neurons, mostly. They die of stress, overwork, and unaccustomed exercise, because I need subtitles, people. I can't be expected to watch and listen at the same time; my brain is just not set up for that level of cognition.)

Anyway. My point is: I don't like Rygel. But this story made me love him. This is just - this is so absolutely and unquestionably Rygel, and it's not like he's not all the things I don't like about him, here. It's just - he's so human. More human than John or Aeryn (both of whom I adore), in fact, because this story is in large part about a very human pastime: turning strength to weakness and weakness to strength. His greed becomes courage, his pride becomes inspiration, his selfishness becomes love. And I cannot resist that kind of rags to riches to story. Never could. And with this one, I don't even try to resist; I just want it to go on and on and on.

I don't know if this story will make me love the Rygel I see onscreen. But it made me understand him, and I think that's even better.

The One with a Subtitle That Is So Much Fun to Say That I Think I'm Going to Just Repeat It 50 Times and Call That the Summary. Metonymy (The Ragin' Meijin Remix), by mousapelli. Hikaru no Go. Do you need to know the canon to read this? Hmmm. Maybe not. But believe me, this is a canon you want to know, and there are about a dozen ways for you to get it for free in the last post and in the comments, and for those of you who already downloaded the first two volumes of the manga there, here's the third: 9-12.

One of the things I love about the TTNH format is how it can be stretched and twisted to produce a story that is still reconizeably a TTNH even though it's almost entirely unlike one. Here, Akira loses four and a half times (as the author says, the last one is still up for debate), and these things could easily have happened in the canon or in the canon time line, so easily that by themselves they'd each make a normal fan fiction story. Taken together, though, they're definitely TTNH, because they're a series of stories that make a larger statement about some aspect of the canon. In this case, they're about Akira and how Akira fights over the course of his life.

Of course, given that I am who I am, what I love most is how clearly this reveals the effect that Hikaru has on Akira. Because by the end of this, Akira has found something more important than winning.

Which isn't to say that he doesn't want to win. He just wants the Hand of God more. (Well, actually, if you took an inventory of Akira's wants, it would probably look like this, in order: Shindou, Hand of God, Go, Winning at Go, More Go, and Also Go. Hikaru's would be: Touya, the Hand of God, Sai, Go, Winning at Go, and Ramen. And that's how we know Hikaru is the healthier character: fully one of his main motivations is unrelated to Go.)

This story also hits one of my personal kinks, which is people saying "I hate you" and meaning "I love you." I don't even like it when most characters say "I love you," because it's just - it sounds weird. (Except with people like Jim and Blair, who could seriously say everything you find in your average romance novel and not even come close to being out of character. Actually, now that I think about it, some of the canon dialog may in fact have been lifted from a romance novel, but that's obviously a whole other story.) Plus, well, I know I'm reading the good stuff when "I hate you" is obviously "I love you" - I mean, that's a fairly impressive display of showing rather than telling, right? (And, okay, also this may happen to hit the same kink that makes me spontaneously combust when people shoot each other out of sincere love. I...I don't know. I'm just going to blame society or my parents or something and move on, because I don't even want to know why I feel that way. My point is, it is also a hallmark of quality writing such as can be found in this story, so I have a perfectly rational reason to like it, so there.)
 
 
 
Dessie Octavia: Eroica: Forbidden Dreamsdessieoctavia on July 14th, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
Plus, well, I know I'm reading the good stuff when "I hate you" is obviously "I love you" - I mean, that's a fairly impressive display of showing rather than telling, right? (And, okay, also this may happen to hit the same kink that makes me spontaneously combust when people shoot each other out of sincere love.

If that's what you like, you really need to join the From Eroica With Love fandom. ;-)
tried to eat the safe banana: please stand bythefourthvine on July 14th, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, it sounds like totally my thing, but...I downloaded the first couple volumes of the manga, and I can't even follow them. The art is...confusing, I guess. So my question to you is - is there anime? Is there another way to do this? Or will it get easier if I persevere for a few volumes?

Because I want to be in the fandom, but the canon is not at this time cooperating with me. *sad*
(no subject) - dessieoctavia on July 14th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: boyfriendsdramaturgca on July 14th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC)
We haven't seen any dS recs for awhile...Might there be one coming soon to an LJ near you?
tried to eat the safe banana: Fraserthefourthvine on July 14th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
*thoughtful*

Wow. You're right. It's been eight sets since I did one. (And it occurs to me to wonder - you know, I haven't seen much in the way of TTNH in dS, and that's...odd, don't you think? Or have I just missed them?)

So. I'm easily suggestible, and thus I say to you: yes, indeed, there will be a dS rec coming soon.
(no subject) - futuresoon on July 15th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 17th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
inappropriately bibliophilicraucousraven on July 14th, 2006 06:24 am (UTC)
*gleefully grabs manga dl* TANK OO. *retreats to fandom-cave to commence with the addict-like reading*

Oh dude, mousapelli's Ragin' Meijin remix! FAVOURITE. Especially Isumi's last line, which never fails to destroy me with laughter. It's interesting to see this one classified as a TTNH, although it fits the parameters quite nicely; for me, this is one of the fics that has a canon-weight veracity of feeling behind it, and its function as TTNH is a product (artefact?) created by its metonymic nature. The subtlety of that metonymy is what moves this piece for me from entertainment into the strata of genuine delight. And, see, for Touya, Shindou IS his chance at the Hand of God. So those two may not be separable for him!

And, um, about Pru's 19x19 AU -- I was thinking. (I'm out of practice, so please bear with, but it's a fic worthy of sustained consideration, no?) Out and out changing Shindou into a girl throws all our shadow-subtext into the bright glare of canonicity; with that one revision, Shindou becomes the focus of intense media scrutiny and Touya is Shindou's rival-or-more, while the relationship with Akari shifts into an entirely different register. The immediate casting of Touya as girl-Shindou's love interest by everyone around them, combined with the comparisons to shoujo manga and bad love comedies, really demonstrate the deterministic aspects of gender in the world Pru constructs. I don't know, but I do suspect that the intensely disorienting aspects of the genderswitch come from Go's primarily male-centred image, both in life and HnG, Umezawa-sensei notwithstanding.

Also, cofax7 likes to break me into small pieces. Her Jack certainly did.
tried to eat the safe banana: Gothefourthvine on July 14th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
You know, it's sad. I'm so busy dling the anime that I've totally fallen behind in my manga uploading. The life of a person suddenly obsessed with Hikaru no Go is a very hard one.

*looks pathetic*

Out and out changing Shindou into a girl throws all our shadow-subtext into the bright glare of canonicity; with that one revision, Shindou becomes the focus of intense media scrutiny and Touya is Shindou's rival-or-more, while the relationship with Akari shifts into an entirely different register.

Yes, exactly! The subtext becomes the focus of interest for everyone around Shindou and Touya. One of the things I find fascinating is how Go is lost in all this; Shindou posing with Go-themed items really draws this home, that she is the subject and Go is just - her gimmick, basically, in the eyes of those around her. When Shindou is male, what matters is how he plays; when Shindou is female, what matters is what she looks like and who she dates.

It's incredibly patronizing, and it really says a lot about gender roles in the world Pru's writing about. (It's a whole other discussion whether or not that world is a decent simulacrum of ours.) Which is why I love and worship Touya in that story; he's the only person who gets that their Go is what matters, what's at the center of their relationship, and he values Shindou without reference to gender. Sure, there's attraction, but he knows he'd feel the same way about her if she was male, and that's...that's incredibly sweet. And also incredibly - hmm. Whatever the opposite of patronizing is, which I can't think of this fine morning.

(I don't miss the subtle commentary on fandom as a whole in this story. Well, not all that subtle, actually. Nor do I miss that I'm doing exactly what I'm complaining about.)
(no subject) - raucousraven on July 15th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - raucousraven on July 16th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
cad27 on July 14th, 2006 08:57 am (UTC)
I still maintain complete and total innocence. If you hadn't sucked me into fandom, I wouldn't be desperately pleeding for fixes politely begging for recs, would I?

SGA: I liked the simple fact that each individual story got longer as you read them, and perhaps relevantly, the longer ones were more the ones that I actually see, through the goggles of my limited involvement, as the most likely to happen. John/Rodney, to me, is far more realistic than John/Elizabeth. It was good, slightly dirty fun. You can't go wrong.

SG1: In the first one, did Jack’s son inexplicably remind anyone else of Daniel? I mean…I dunno (Oh look! Eloquence!) but something just struck me as vaguely Daniel-like, which I found highly amusing. These were very well written, although the canon did trip me up a bit for some of them, but in the end, they were so shiny and fun that it didn’t really matter.

The Farscape one did need a bit more canon, but was, especially in the first story, so well described it didn't matter. I mean, I was kind of vague on what was going on, but I was enthralled either way.
tried to eat the safe banana: Sea vinesthefourthvine on July 14th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
I liked the simple fact that each individual story got longer as you read them, and perhaps relevantly, the longer ones were more the ones that I actually see, through the goggles of my limited involvement, as the most likely to happen. John/Rodney, to me, is far more realistic than John/Elizabeth.

I...hmmm. I'm obviously viewing the canon through a certain lens myself - and I'm not viewing the whole canon, either, which definitely affects my opinion - but...yeah. I can see John/Elizabeth happening in disaster AUs, especially ones like in LTLJ's story, where Elizabeth is a Goa'uld. But for me it has to be a narrative about unequal power and the abuse of same (side note: that's one of the reasons I like the John-written-as-a-girl theory). But John/Elizabeth in the canon as we know it is tough. Actually, John/anyone is tough, but...I especially don't see John/Elizabeth.

John/Rodney, well, at least Rodney's got a free pass into the Sheppard No Touch Zone, and that's got to help.

So in my opinion they do get more likely as you go on, although I would say the John/Teyla is an exception to that; I'd consider that about as likely as the John/Ford scenario she describes.

In the first one, did Jack’s son inexplicably remind anyone else of Daniel?

*thinks*

I totally didn't get that, but now, obviously, I'm going to re-read it with that in mind, 'cause that's an interesting statement.

I was kind of vague on what was going on, but I was enthralled either way.

Most definitely. The one thing I think you really need to know to get that story is that there's a bodyswap episode of Farscape, in which John -> Aeryn's body, Aeryn -> Rygel's body, Rygel -> John's, Chiana -> D'Argo's, D'Argo -> Pilot's, Pilot -> Chiana's. If you didn't know that, I would think the last one would be...a bit bewildering.
rahm, baby, rahm!: john/rodneyelbomac on July 14th, 2006 11:34 am (UTC)
I know that the writers and (apparently) Joe Flanigan believe that Sheppard is a nuclear warhead of libido with the launch sequence down to 10 seconds, but - if he is, someone, likely Rodney, totally cut the red wire. Or, put it this way: if Sheppard is Kirk, he's Kirk in a chastity belt that can only be unlocked by Ancients, and even then he mostly looks kind of scared, like he'd really rather keep it on and just play a nice game of Go Fish instead.

Hee! You are awesome and this is a great start to my Friday morning. Can't wait to read this one.
tried to eat the safe banana: SGA smart/prettythefourthvine on July 14th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad I could get your Friday off to a good start. (Mine is going pretty well, too. Thus far. *looks around suspiciously*)
Basingstoke: robot pornbasingstoke on July 14th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
*beams like a proud grandma*
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on July 14th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
As indeed you should. You are the foremother of an entire genre of fan fiction!

*thoughtful*

You should really get, at minimum, a statue; people get those all the time just for, like, dying in battle and stuff, and obviously this is way more important. So, for the record: where do you want the commemorative Statue of Basingstoke to be placed?

*is prepared to make notes*
grime and livestockcofax7 on July 14th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
::blushes madly::
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on July 15th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
Now would be the perfect time to say, "In fact, you have totally missed out on [story X], which is by some miracle even more fabulous than any recommended here."

*is entirely prepared to play the game of escalating excellence for all eternity*
(no subject) - cofax7 on July 15th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cofax7 on July 26th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
Kitayama might be taking a picture of this: hand of godmousapelli on July 15th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)
!!!!!!!!!!

*blushes furiously* oh, you do go on. Thanks SO MUCH for the rec and for the very, very kind words.
tried to eat the safe banana: Gothefourthvine on July 15th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
And thank you for providing me with happy hours of reading Hikaru no Go fan fiction. Hours, I would note, which are tragically all in the past, as I think I've read all of your stories.

*drops stunningly subtle hint*

*looks very hopeful*
(no subject) - mousapelli on July 16th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
in a sexy Wayalpheratz on July 15th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
This story also hits one of my personal kinks, which is people saying "I hate you" and meaning "I love you."

Oooh, yes. That's something you don't see too often in fic, but it's delicious. I have to say, Hikaru No Go sounds... well, appetizing.

BTW, my favourite TTNH fic is shalott's Three Ways to End an Acquaintance (well, and recently joandarck's Three Ways Fraser Didn't Tell Him, and Two More, which is all sorts of wonderful and you should read it), but I think you may have recced it before...
tried to eat the safe banana: Gothefourthvine on July 15th, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC)
Hikaru no Go is deeply interesting, in a way that a manga about a teenager playing Go just should not be. I suspect Obata of infusing seriously addictive substances into the drawings.

Three Ways to End an Acquaintance is an wonderful story, and if I haven't recommended it, I totally should have. (Although I may have been so distracted by Shalott's other M&C TTNH, which I may love even more than Three Ways, that I missed out. Boy howdy does Shalott know how to spin an AU.) And thanks for the link to the dS TTNH; I was just wondering why there's so few TTNH stories in the fandom. *clicks happily*
neetsnev_longbottom on July 15th, 2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised you didn't choose "Seven Ways John Sheppard Goes Home" as your SGA TTNH. I always found that story a good ten times more loving/wretching/powerful than "Five Ways John Sheppard Gets Laid."
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV menorahthefourthvine on July 15th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, I have many SGA TTNH stories, because that fandom is a total embarrassment of riches. And "Seven Ways" is most definitely one of them; I love that story. (Amusingly, that was one of the first stories I read in this fandom - in the first 20, anyway - and I knew absolutely nothing about the canon, so I came away from it pretty confused. Then I read more (a lot more, as I'm sure anyone who is in SGA fandom will understand) and came back to this story and...OMG. Destroyed me. But in a very good way.)
kate!greendreaming on July 15th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
Have you read cupidsbow's Mnemonic, or Four Ways John Sheppard Didn't Lose His Mind? It is my very favorite SGA story in the "5 things" genre: sometimes creepy and sometimes heartbreaking, but always fantastic.

And thanks, as always, for the recs! *goes off to read*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on July 15th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
God, yes. That's such a fabulous story, even if the middle two pretty much destroyed me the first time I read it.

And, now that you've mentioned it, I have to go re-read it. Again.

*loves to bits*
best_beloved on July 15th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Uhm, this is probably my fault, but when I try to read the Farscape story it's cut off. For some reason, I only see the first section and part of the second.
grime and livestockcofax7 on July 15th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
Shriftweb got hacked yesterday--all the Leviathan links are going to be shot.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on July 15th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on July 24th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you
I was off line/off lj for a while. My roomie c&p'ed this entry and emailed it to me. I printed it out and carried it around in my pocket.

For the record, "I don't know if I love him, but I understand him now" is pretty much the response I wanted to evoke. "King of Infinite Space" remains one of my best fics. The genre (format? style?) is brilliant, and to me, it never gets old, and I love it in many fandoms.

In addition to the "Seven Ways Sheppard Goes Home", I also rec a BSG one "Nine Ways Laura Roslin Doesn't Die". (Sorry, no link, bad reccer.)

- hossgal
4rightchords_ on August 7th, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
there are some really fantastic TTNH stories in sports night fandom - 12 Latin Phrases That Aren't Quo Vadimus and Five Things That Didn't Happen to Dan Rydell jump to mind immediately. another recs set would be simply madness, but you might want to check these out for your own pure joy. especially the first one.

also, we haven't seen much SN lately. just sayin'. =P
Qqe2 on August 10th, 2006 08:53 pm (UTC)
Because, see, I don't like Rygel. (Rygel is the subject of this TTNH. Did I not say that before? He is.) I want to. I've tried. But so far...no. He's just not clicking for me.

Holy God, I could not agree more. I can't STAND that character. I do actually like Farscape a lot - I watched some of it with a longtime very close no-LJ best friend (whom, in return, I turned on to dS s3, so it evened out), and more of it with half of the couple with whom I very nearly got involved earlier this year, and both times it grew on me with remarkable speed. (LIke, say, some kind of space fungus. But I digress.) Except for Rigel, for whom I think the most fitting fate would be to be locked into a very small space capsule with River wossername from Firefly and catapulted into the outer reaches of the Immense and Neverending Blackness.

Ahem.