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Human Nature
Human Nature
July 3238
Chris stood on the top of the massive Manhattan Sea Wall and stared out at the Atlantic Ocean, a cool breeze blowing off the water and kissing his face. It was a nice distraction from the hot and sunny day. The Sea Wall was a good place for him to go and relax, to think, and to take in the beauty of the city. While it was true a good portion of Manhattan lay behind him, the island had increased far further than the wall itself.
In truth, the name was funny. The Manhattan Sea Wall at one time was meant to keep out rising water levels of the late 21st century as well as within the first half of the 22nd, Humanity had controlled the climate through means that would seem rather trivial compared to geoengineering over a thousand years in the future. In the years since, the waters had receded, and indeed more buildings had become common, spreading miles into the ocean, and even the glint of suborbital tethers rising into the sky - crude mockeries of elevators around th
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Literature
A Weight Off the Chest
September 3238
Chris hefted the weights again in his hands, drawing the fifty pound dumbells to shoulder height before  letting them drop again, an explosive sigh escaping his lips. Sweat poured down his brow as he made ready to make another curl, his fingers shaking slightly as he performed set after set. He had lost count of how many reps he had made and decided to go until he couldn't lift anymore. The weights felt far heavier than before and they threatened to drop to the floor, but he resisted the urge to let his fingers unclench, instead making one more steady ascent with the weights before letting them thump on the mat calmly.
He gasped in satisfaction, feeling an intense burning in his arms. He inspected his muscles and ran a hand over the curve on his bicep. Looking better. Far better than ever before. Every movement with his arms created the gnawing feeling of strained muscles. This would hurt in the morning, but for right now, it was a job well done. He reached over to
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Human Nature

July 3238

Chris stood on the top of the massive Manhattan Sea Wall and stared out at the Atlantic Ocean, a cool breeze blowing off the water and kissing his face. It was a nice distraction from the hot and sunny day. The Sea Wall was a good place for him to go and relax, to think, and to take in the beauty of the city. While it was true a good portion of Manhattan lay behind him, the island had increased far further than the wall itself.

In truth, the name was funny. The Manhattan Sea Wall at one time was meant to keep out rising water levels of the late 21st century as well as within the first half of the 22nd, Humanity had controlled the climate through means that would seem rather trivial compared to geoengineering over a thousand years in the future. In the years since, the waters had receded, and indeed more buildings had become common, spreading miles into the ocean, and even the glint of suborbital tethers rising into the sky - crude mockeries of elevators around the equator, like the Millennial Orbital Elevator located in New Mombasa - something he had seen with his own eyes three years prior. Today, the wall stood as a relic of the past that seemed to add to the character of New York, a perimeter of ancient buildings that were just as iconic as the brownstones in the Bronx.

He was not alone of course. The Sea Wall was a public place after all. Dozens of people were around him sitting on benches, having lunch, staring out into the ocean like he was, riding bikes, or chatting with others. There may have been thousands out here today in this section alone.

Of course, there was Sally too.

Sally Acorn, going under her travel name of Sandra Aaron, was not staring out at the ocean, but in the opposite direction, which was back up at the sprawling metropolis of New York City. She traced her finger up and down the gleaming spires of the buildings and thought about how the view would be from the top of every single one. She had grown to love this city so much, even though it was the polar opposite of her own homeworld. From her perch high above the city in their apartment, she had chosen which ones were her favorite. There was the Peterson building, shooting high above Park Avenue, the Lafayette Tower sprawling in Hell's Kitchen, barely visible among the tangle of lights, the UEG government building naturally, at the Northeastern end of Central Park, and the Interstellar Financial Center, a stratoscraper that was as gilded as a gothic church, lined with gleaming bronze that could have been gold.

There were so many buildings. In the four years since she had first set foot on this planet, she had grown to love the noise, the energy, and the sheer breathing mass of Humanity. There were of course, more than just Humans. This was New York after all. She spotted tall graceful Datonians, plumes kept in immaculate condition with heads held high with beaks even to the horizon. She saw the proud Sangheili, still producing a large berth despite the centuries that had passed since the war and despite the largely improved relations. It didn't help when your species stood nearly three feet average higher than an average man. She could swear that she could see its mandibles clicking in amusement. She saw the odd squat Unggoy, mostly as street merchants selling authentic mementos of their frozen world of Balaho. Small puffs of methane escaped their masks, wafting into the atmosphere, generally causing slight sneers from passing tourists not finding the scent of the gas appealing. She even saw one speaking to a police officer, proffering papers with one hand while gesticulating wildly with the other. There were other races too, but not very many. Gallvente, one or two Garim, but no Kig-Yar though, funny enough. It seemed the stereotype had proved true in her experience. A race of shady time-on/time-off criminals.

She saw her own kin too. Mobians. Some were lucky enough to be able to cross over to this new world and some had been able to start new lives on Earth. Some wanted adventure, and some just wanted to leave the troubles of their old world. Many had come from the Kingdom as they had the means of moving. However, she was half worried that some would recognize her. She had habitually started cutting her hair shorter to help her blend in, and she had long ago moved on from her signature vest and boots, preferring a pair of cargoes, black hikers, and a short sleeved shirt. If her time with the Human military had taught her anything, it was that function overrode form. No. Many of these people wouldn't know her after her transformation, even as many Mobians glanced at her, as many travelers often do when they see their own kind on strange roads. They didn't know her scent either. Even if they did, it would be lost in the crowd.

In terms of the general skyline, the Sea Wall stood rather shortly, which forced Chris to contend with the view of Brooklyn to his immediate left. It would have been easier to see this from the One World Trade Center that stood behind him, relatively clear of the modern clutter of buildings. However, he couldn't deny that the view of the Statue of Liberty was calming - a symbol of the city he loved.

Sally looked over at him, smiling. "You know, we've been on this wall a whole bunch of times and I know nothing about it."

"You know it's a sea wall." Chris said glancing over. "It was built a long time ago to make sure water never flooded the city."

"Well I know that." she said shrugging. "New York used to flood a lot?"

"I don't know." Chris said shaking his head. "It must have for them to build this thing. That was, what, eleven hundred years ago? Twelve? Whenever they built this, it must have been for a good reason."

"Well sure." Sally nodded glancing back up at the skyline. She couldn't find another of her favorite buildings, the Everstar Spire, which was somewhere near Riverside Drive. She remembered this building because close by was where her Human studied, the very old but notable Columbia Law School. "The sea levels rose. Was it because of pollution, natural heating and cooling cycles of the Earth, who can say now. But the seas rose, the wall went up, and then the seas went down."

"Yup. Bet it gave us a lot to think about."

"Not really." Sally said with a chuckle. "Look down there. Back on the inside."

Chris pushed up off the rail and followed Sally across the span of the wall to face the interior of the city. Below them on the inner side of the fortification was a harbor. Dozens of small ships were milling about on the water. Hundreds of people far below went up and down the docks, and beyond that were distant surface roads.

"That's Battery Park down there." Sally pointed out, indicating the large growth of trees that hugged what was once the shore of the city. "On Mobius, that would cover all of the Financial District in Old Megaopolis. But look..."

She crossed back to the front of the wall, glancing outwards towards the opening of New York Harbor.

"Parks out here, buildings out where there were none before. Look at Brooklyn. There's barely indication of where your city stops now. One gigantic blanket of city. A little water didn't stop Humanity from spreading out again. I don't know if it's foolish or impressive."

"I like to think the second." Chris said. "I am biased after all."

She chuckled. "How has the world not changed again? After all the advances you made?"

"Well, I know we got good at controlling our environment." he answered quickly. "They taught us in school that we mastered climate control to make sure things never got out of hand. We controlled temperature, air pressure, and we could stop or start storms whenever we needed to. This was back in the 22nd Century. It's how we got ready to leave and spread."

There was a small amount of pride in his voice as he explained his people's history, even a small portion of it. Sally thought it was strange and oddly ironic that Humanity had pulled one over on mother nature and were pulling the strings now.

"We got good." Chris repeated. "We were given a challenge and basically dared to accomplish it. We had our survival on the line and in the end we triumphed. We bent the world to our desires."

Chris took a bottle of water out of the backpack he had brought with him and took a drag on it. He sighed in appreciation. "Let me ask you a question."

"Of course." the Princess responded.

"Would the Mobians have done the same thing?"

One of her ears twitched. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, if your world was changing for the worst, if you were dealt a bad hand, would you go out of your way to control your environment to save yourselves. Would you make nature work for you?"

Sally thought about it seriously, tapping a finger to her chin. Her eyes rolled around, accessing parts of her mind to reason the question.

"I don't think so."

Her Human raised an eyebrow.

"I mean, we don't have the means to. We're not as advanced as Humanity."

"For the sake of the argument though." Chris said. "Say you had your technology leapfrog eleven hundred years overnight." he half smiled. "Say you had the ability to terraform a world, any world, would you make nature subservient to you? Would you change wind patterns? Alter temperatures on a whim? Change atmospheric compositions?"

"You're asking if a Mobian would want to... terraform a world? To just spread like that?"

"The ultimate example of land grabbing." Chris spread his hands. "That planet? That's mine." he tapped a point in space. "That planet? That's mine." He tapped another.

She thought about it. She honestly didn't see the problem in expanding the reach of a species, but she was thinking like a Human. Wasn't there more than enough room for everyone on a single planet?

"Probably not."

"OK." he nodded.

"What, just OK?" she asked, somewhat taken aback by the clipped answer.

"Yup." he said nodding once. "Why do you think that?"

"Well, Humans have always wanted to conquer, right?"

"So far as I know." Chris responded.

"Well, I don't think we've been around nearly as long."

He nodded again. "You are kind of special in that regard. Can't think of many races that reached bipedalism in ten generations. Kind of an exclusive club."

She smirked at this and paced a little. "I think it's because we were always on the defensive for our entire existence." She pondered, tapping a finger against her chin. "The Northlanders were always the enemy of the Terra Novans."

"The Northlanders became the Overlanders, and they became your problem."

"Well, it's not as simple as that." Sally answered, the finger now pointing to the sky. "But the Northlanders hated us because the Terra Novans wanted us to live alongside them. You know the Northlanders lost the civil war back then?"

"I remember reading the stories, yeah." Chris said, sitting down on a nearby bench and taking another sip of water. He tossed one leg over the other and watched as Sally paced back and forth. A crowd of children ran past chasing after one another. Sally's gaze switched to the children. She smiled warmly at their passing before staring back at the Human.

"So we never reached that level of imperialism." she said. "Watching your back for your entire existence does that to you."

"We've been there before." Chris said, eyes now glancing as a rather large Sangheili walked by. This Elite had a few smaller ones at his side, possibly a posse of his. He dressed like nobility - a cloak covering his back. Chris couldn't read Sangheili nor speak it, but he had a distinct impression that this man was from a high house of their homeworld, Sanghelios.

Sally watched his gaze. She noted that his eyes narrowed ever so slightly at the aliens passing. He didn't do this for any other race. The Elites paid him no notice as they walked on, the noble gesticulating at others, laughing in that throaty, raspy voice, as if Earth was a temple of squalor - a shotgun shack built next to the palace that was their ancient homeworld. Having Forerunner artifacts play an active role in the culture added a sense of self-importance into the cultural makeup.

She walked a little close to him. "Are you OK?"

"Some grudges die hard." he admitted.

"It's been what, seven hundred years?"

He didn't answer right away. "I don't like the nobles." Chris admitted. "They still think we're worms, even after we shut them down the Covenant on our own turf."

He got up, now staring back over the city once more. "You want to know something about Human nature?"

She didn't answer right away, but he continued.

"This wall." he said, indicating the structure beneath him. "When we built this thing, we were threatened by our environment. We powered through it because we had to. We beat it. Then the Covenant came. They killed our people, millions at a time. We fought them. We beat them. The Unggoy and even the Jackals were one thing, but the Elites? They were there from the beginning. Am I prejudiced? Yeah, maybe I am. "

He pressed his lips together, an ancestral hatred now welling. "You want to know why you can see the ocean so well? See this entire stretch of water? This used to be part of Brooklyn a long time ago. People used to live here. They were thinking of making it a whole new borough at one time. The Covenant hit this area during their invasion. Didn't land a single soldier on the ground, but they carved up the landscape on the mere hint that it might contain one of their holy relics. Human nature is fighting back though even when you know it's a losing fight. Do I hate the Elites? Maybe. They were blinded by their faith and thought we didn't deserve to live. Hell, some of them still don't. They could have turned at any time, but the Prophets kept them in line."

Sally remembered when she had faced just such a manipulative creature not once, but twice: her time on Installation 05, and on Tears of Piety before that. She didn't agree that all Sangheili hated Humans. She had met at least one with heavy respect for this race.

"Do I forgive them?" Chris asked, more to himself than to Sally. "Not a goddamn bit."

"Is that Human nature too?" Sally asked. "To carry a grudge?"

"Yeah, maybe it is." Chris said, not looking at her, but inclining his head. "Maybe I'm a bit jaded since it came 'this' close." he held his thumb and index finger about an inch apart. "Is it Human nature to carry a grudge?" he repeated. "Yeah. Oh can we carry a grudge. This isn't like a Hatfield and McCoy thing; this is the thing that legends are written about. This gets burned into your cultural history until the end of time."

He lowered his head, eyes closed. A warm breeze blew off of New York harbor far below.

"But we're still here in the end." he said.

In the harbor, a massive cruise vessel sounded its horn, audible miles away. Thousands of aircars criss-crossed the skies, spaceships broke for orbit with contrails streaking behind them, and the cries of seagulls sounded in his ears. With the warm air came the very faint scent of salt. Families walked around, the odd passer-by giving the Princess a quick glance.

"We're still here despite it all." he said, barely heard above the crowd.

Sally looked at him, blinking slowly. She didn't dare interrupt him.

"I was never a philosophy student." Chris said. "You mind if I wax?"

"By all means." she said, coming next to him, leaning against the rail and looking into his eyes. He didn't stare back, but his brows were furrowed in concentration. Still, her Human acted as if he had tunnel vision.

"I think..." he paused. "... I think Human nature is knowing that you're flawed, knowing that you've got faults, and that you've made mistakes, but you know that it can't get you down. The world can throw everything at you, but letting it get to you just can't stop us. You know what's waiting for us out there."

"I do." she nodded. "You mind if I do a little waxing myself?"

He turned his head to look at her.

"The way you describe it," she said, "Human nature is not just for Humans. We've made our mistakes too, but we can't be defined by them."

Something seemed to pain Sally. Chris could guess that she was probably referring to the Great War, especially things like the Cobar Camp, or the secret projects that had helped given the Kingdom thee edge in the fight; the taking in of Juluan Kintobor which led to the Kingdom living in what may as well be exile. What Sally could not guess was that Chris knew something even worse; something that he had been sworn to confidence to. Something that had permanently altered his view of the Kingdom.

He took her hand. It was a small gesture, and relatively discreet. As they faced the ocean, her hand lay clasped over his just over the railing. He could feel her thumb sliding across his knuckle and despite the warm air, a draught went up his spine.

"Human nature or not, we go on." she said. "No matter what, the sun will always rise tomorrow. There's always tomorrow. We get better; we get stronger."

"Yeah." he agreed. "Doesn't make me feel better knowing what's out there right now. You know what I'm thinking?"

"What?" Sally asked, now looking into space.

"If we screw this one up, we're not going to come back from this one."

That drop in his voice was one that she recognized. She tightened her grip slightly; just enough to show she understood.

"One day, and it may be soon, things are going to change. We'll need to face that."

A crowd of happy people were passing by, chatting with each other. Given the cameras around their necks, they were tourists, snapping pictures of the skyline. Chris looked at them impassively while Sally smiled as they walked on by.

"So we need to make the most of it now. You know what's also Human nature?"

He said, "What's that?"

"Living in the moment." She said, and risked a quick kiss on the cheek.

Together they stared over the water, watching the millions of people living their lives and enjoying the beautiful day. The sun glinted off the water like a million diamonds, and the city breathed beneath them with so much concentrated life. Not one of them knew the danger they were potentially in, but that wasn't important. They were living for now, and that was more than enough. The two of them were there, invisible in the crowds. They made their living being invisible, but that didn't bother them, because their nature was to save the world, and they were going to do it no matter what.
Desk Model WIP
This is for an assignment for school that I'm getting started with. 

The whole project is a police station with a whole bunch of desks. As I go on, there will be binders, cups, and eventually a whole room. I'm wondering what I can put on here without making it too cluttered. 

So far though, I like it!

Also, Arnold is a pretty good render software, though I've heard good things about something like Marmoset. 
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September 3238

Chris hefted the weights again in his hands, drawing the fifty pound dumbells to shoulder height before  letting them drop again, an explosive sigh escaping his lips. Sweat poured down his brow as he made ready to make another curl, his fingers shaking slightly as he performed set after set. He had lost count of how many reps he had made and decided to go until he couldn't lift anymore. The weights felt far heavier than before and they threatened to drop to the floor, but he resisted the urge to let his fingers unclench, instead making one more steady ascent with the weights before letting them thump on the mat calmly.

He gasped in satisfaction, feeling an intense burning in his arms. He inspected his muscles and ran a hand over the curve on his bicep. Looking better. Far better than ever before. Every movement with his arms created the gnawing feeling of strained muscles. This would hurt in the morning, but for right now, it was a job well done. He reached over to the cup holder and grabbed the bottle of water than was waiting to sustain him.

He popped the cap off and downed half the bottle, sighing before looking over to see the only other occupant of the room, whom he knew very well.

Sally Acorn ran at a comfortable pace on the treadmill, her slender, but well built legs moving with good time on the moving surface. Her arms likewise swung in perfect balance at elbow height, hands clenched into loose fists. Her ears had small headphones in them, which was blasting a song that she loved. He could see her lips move with the lyrics. He couldn't guess which song it was; she had many favorites.

He took another sip and watched her as she ran. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, fastened with a blue hair tie. She wore a dull white top, and golden workout shorts that were loose enough around the legs to have some play as they moved. He could see a hint of blue straps underneath the top.

She saw him and smiled, and then winked at him as she set the speed higher. She started to run double time, maybe eight miles an hour. He saw her inhale and exhale as she quickly moved, her chest heaving as she did so. Chris was transfixed on her, amazed at the level of stamina for a frame like hers, standing at just over five feet. Her arm muscles were defined and her nostrils flared. The princess ran faster and faster before reaching her personal goal and slowing to a jog.

She was breathing harder too; her mouth was open.

"Needed to hit the mile mark under my target." She said with a smile. "I was taking it too easy."
Her breathing was deep and pushed her chest out. With every step she took, her body jumped ever so slightly. His eyes were on hers, but then he began to wander as his gaze was attracted to something else. As she jogged, Sally's chest bounced, and her breasts obeyed the motion. Though secured with the sports bra, they made slight movement like unhappy or restless passengers.

His mouth went dry as he watched, hands falling limp as he watched her move. His mouth fell open ever so slightly. She was amazingly sexy, especially in that outfit.

She saw the way he looked, took a brief glance down, and then her eyes half-closed with understanding, a sly smile growing across her face. She looked back to the display on the treadmill, and then back to him, still holding that expression on her face as she powered down and stepped off, slowly stepping towards him.

"What's the matter?" She asked. "You aren't hot and bothered now are you?"

The Marine just gazed up at her, his smile growing. He cocked an eyebrow, as if challenging her right there. "You know, you run that 5k like a champ."

"I am a champ." she said, her voice low, sultry, and with that hook in it that he recognized. Said hook snagged around his heart as if it were a bass. "Champs are winners you know." she said, as she bent over to head height, blinking slowly, fluttering her eyelashes.

"You don't say?" the Human responded, blood pumping in his ears.

Sally leaned in and spoke into his ear in a vaporous whisper, "Winners get prizes. You're mine, Human.". She licked him up the crest of his ear slowly and deliberately, lightly sighing.

That did it. Chris jerked at the touch and his body contracted. He was instantly at attention, even as Sally slowly placed one leg over his, and then the other, so that they were nose to nose. He didn't move. He couldn't - he was spellbound by that stare of hers, the twin gleaming azure pools that glared into his soul. He wanted her so badly right now. She was so close. He felt her breath on his lips, the velvety smoothness of her fur and slowly he reached for her, grasping her around the hips lightly, fiddling with the waistband of her running shorts before coming around the back, searching for her tail. He found it twitching ever so slightly, teasing him. As soon as a finger touched it, Sally inhaled sharply, closing her eyes, and biting her lip. She contracted towards him in a sudden movement that threatened to send him over the edge. She closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them again, looking down between them, instantly understanding with a playful gasp.

"So you do want to play." she said in that voice. Oh God that voice.

The Marine's brows were locked, but a half smile jutted across his jaw. "What do I get if I win?"

"A prize." she said, gently moving her hips towards him, the friction making him lean his head back.

"Here?" he asked, suddenly looking around.

"It's a surprise." she said, kissing his ear. She didn't pull back right away, but was still close to him, still shifting her hips subtly. She breathed in and shuddered. "Don't disappoint me."

"I aim to please." he said, leaning forward to kiss her, head tilted to reach around her nose. The kiss was short, but was filled with energy but finality, like an agreement had been signed.

"Well what are we waiting for?" Sally asked, now a tinge in her voice that didn't sway the feeling of arousal in him. Perhaps it even magnified it. She swung one leg out and then the other, standing back up gracefully. Her ears twitched as she swept back her damp hair. "Bench press, Human.

Chris got up, not even moving to fetch his shirt, instead following her to the bench.

"Ten reps, highest weight you can manage." Sally said. "Ten reps, and you win."

Chris calculated quickly, and settled on three hundred pounds, and racked the plates onto the barbell. "Three hundred for you, baby."

She sat down on the bench opposite, legs slightly apart. "You're taking your time. Worried?"

"You'll need to spot me." he said, smile vanishing and his voice getting dead serious. "Game or no, I'm not lifting this without a second.

Sally nodded, understanding; that flirtatious look in her eye replaced by seriousness. "I won't let you get hurt." she said. "I'll never do anything to hurt you. I promise."

He slid the lock into the bar, slapped the weights, smiled, and said, "Let's begin."

He lay back, staring up at the ceiling of the gym. It was old, like most places in the castle, but many efforts were taken to bring it up to date. He saw the patterned stone in the ceiling, the lights, and the bar above him. Three hundred pounds. He hadn't benched this since his last deployment. How many months ago was that?

Suddenly Sally's head popped into view, just above his. "Good luck." she said, placing a quick inverted kiss on his lips, before giving him a second one on his nose. She rested both her hands on the bar and waited.

Chris was no fool. Sally couldn't arrest the fall of a six plate barbell at 300 pounds, but she could slow it down. It would be up to him.

He closed his eyes and breathed deep. Thought about her, her graceful form leading him on to where they would hold each other until the morning, and then with a sigh of conviction, reached up and pushed the weights up and off their restraining rack.

Instantly the weights fell down on him, lured by the irresistible call of gravity. For a split second the animal part of his subconscious fired up, and he panicked, but only for a split second, where he wrested control and pushed upwards, leveling the bar two inches off his chest. The weight was outstanding. He hadn't benched this much in a long time, certainly not since he left active duty.

"You got it?" Sally asked, hands around the bar in a gesture of support.

Chris nodded, a small vein appearing on his neck.

"You sure?" She asked, a bit more seriously, but with that smile on her face.

Again, wordlessly, he nodded, winking, despite the concentration.

Three hundred pounds just inches off him.

"Get going, hot stuff." Sally said, now edging back into her seductive tone. "Ten reps."

Chris breathed in rapidly through his nose, and with an effort, began to lift the bar, pushing it as far as his arms would extend, short of locking his elbows. He lessened the push, and let it lower. A groan escaped his throat, and he brought the weight to a halt, ready to push again. Nine to go.

He was already sweating, and a slight tremor passed his hands. He pushed again, the groan growing a bit louder as the three hundred pounds was forced up.

Sally whispered to him. "Come on, love. You can do it."

He didn't hear her though. Adrenaline pumped; an emergency response to give the body more strength. He didn't hear her. He didn't hear anything, not even his own breathing. The world had slowed to a crawl - an effect usually triggered in combat, but now it seemed it happened off the battlefield.

It was a kind of pain he wasn't ready for - a world slowed to quarter speed while burdened by an immense weight.

Again, it came down. Two reps.

A thought came into his mind. Was he a winner? He had been sitting on his ass for months. A damned civvie. He had gotten fatter, slower, dumber even; empty without a war to fight. As the weight went up a third time, he contemplated the horror of it.

No. This was for him now. He was still a winner. He was still a fighter.

His arms shook, but he raised the weight to its zenith. Though he couldn't hear the small roar that came from his throat, Sally could. Her smile had faded, and her ears began to tuck back.

"Hey, don't push yourself it you can't think you can do it."

He didn't hear her. She had no way of knowing he had slipped into Conditioned Awareness, but she saw the somewhat blank look on his face.

Chris planted his feet on the floor hard, and lowered the weight. His jugular throbbed and his nostrils flared wide.

"Human? Christopher?"

Four.

The agonizing weight stretched for four times its duration in his mind.

"This is for me." he muttered, unaware he was speaking. He selfishly clung to this thought, desiring it more than her touch.

His body's strength though was rapidly burning away though, and for a second, he faltered. Three hundred pounds of plates began to plummet, but he pushed back, arcing his back, and somewhere he felt something shift in his body.

"You can stop now." Sally offered, suddenly becoming more distressed, understanding his perception. "Snap out of it!" she said, lightly tapping his jaw.

"Five!" he growled loudly. He wasn't going to waste away behind a desk or on a couch. He was angry now, teeth bared and gritted.

"Look, I was only playing around." Sally said, now trying to move the weight, but at one hundred and twenty five pounds, she was not capable of altering the course of the massive payload by much, and whatever she could move it by was brought back by the Marine. "Come on, you're going to hurt yourself!"

The weight struggled to peak, and Chris' arms vibrated. Sally was scared by how red his face had become.

He wasn't going to let discharge break him. He saw the band on his finger gleaming off the ceiling lamps, but even shifting his eyes took effort. His vision had tunneled. Civilians got fat and lazy. He was a Marine. He was not about to become... average.

He was not average. Nothing about his life was average, and he was amazed that these thoughts came to him now. He was also amazed by the burning pain coming from his shoulders.

Sally didn't deserve average. She didn't deserve a civilian. She deserved a real man; a superman.

Come hell or high water, he would give it to her. He couldn't bear not to.

"Six!" He cried out, arms locking.

The weak died on Talahan. He lived.

Unimaginable pain filled his being. Far more than any workout had ever given him. Part of his brain lit up, neurons firing rapidly. His amygdala shot warning flares from deep within his grey matter, urging him to stop before it was too late. So much adrenaline had coursed through his body that he didn't even feel his triceps start to tear.

"So much more." he breathed. He didn't need Sonic's speed. He didn't need a Spartan's armor. He didn't need any of that. He just needed to push himself until he broke.

"Seven!" he cried again. When he tried to push, pain spiked through his arm, so much it jerked him out of the stupor he was in.

Sally moved quickly, thinking irrationally, she grabbed the bar and yanked it as hard as she could to the side that was now dropping towards Chris' left arm. With her own strength, a feral sound escaped her lungs as she pulled the weight far away from him. His right arm parted, but three hundred pounds dropped, no longer supported by the Human's failing arms. The weight fell towards the ground, and the Captain was pulled with it, rolling off the bench.

Sally saw with horror that his arm was yanked downwards with the weight, pulling the man like a fish on a line.

He rolled onto the ground next to the bar, left hand still gripping the metal, jittering like he had a seizure. His eyes were wide for a split second before he inhaled and cried out in pain, unable to move.

Sally fell onto him, breathing quickly, muttering to herself, and frightened out of her mind. She realized what a horrible mistake she had made. She was stupid. She tried to wrestle control of weights from a lifter, a cardinal sin in a gym. She was crying, blaming herself as she tried to pull him away from the weights, begging him to let go.

"Talk to me, love!" she pleaded. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to do that!"

She shuddered as she saw his skin slowly begin to turn purple under his arm. She had never seen this before and it frightened her considerably.

"Why couldn't you hear me?"

He didn't answer. Instead, he tried to move his arm and cried out again, chest heaving as he took in a massive breath. His arm burned, and hung nearly useless.

She sat next to him, propping him up and to her breast, kissing his forehead; tears staining her fur.

Her lip quivered, her ears folded flat, and she kissed his head again. "Please talk to me!"

His eyes shifted slowly. First to her, and then to his arm. "I couldn't do it."

His voice, which had been so clear a few minutes before sounded like grating glass; like his vocal chords had been ravaged.

"I thought I could do it."

"Why?" she sniffed, and rubbed her nose. "We were only playing!"

"You are a winner. You deserve one too."

"No." she said, a sobbing gasp escaping her. "No, shut up."

He continued, "I don't have Sonic's speed, or Miles' brains. I don't have your family's fame or..."

"Stop..." she begged.

"I don't even have my folks like you. I only have me, but that's not enough."

He reached up with his good hand and rubbed her cheek. His thumb wiped a tear from her eye before she wrapped her hand around his and held it to her. She rubbed it against her, putting her scent on it. She kissed his hand several times.

"You will always have me." she said, new tears coming forth. "I will never leave you."

"No."

"This is a promise." she said, raising her left hand, the ring matching the one on the Human's. "This means I will love you forever."

He broke eye contact with her, looking at the weights, upset, ashamed, and afraid.

She hugged him and rocked him back and forth. "I'm so sorry I hurt you."

"It's not your fault." he said after ten seconds of silence. "It's mine." he said. Chris tried to move, but a sharp bark of pain filled the gym. Sally's ears perked in fright, unprepared for the noise. Every moment of pain made her feel even worse. "I did it to myself." he said in between the gasps, voice gravelly.

Doctor. He needed a doctor. It was late. Quinten may not be in.

These thoughts raced through Sally's mind in fragments. If the doctor was not present, she would care for him herself. She would go to any lengths to help him. She always had. Sally slowly helped the Marine to his feet, sadly realizing that her precious Human had fallen into the same trap as so many before him - so in love with a woman he was willing to sacrifice his own body as to impress her. It would never change how she felt.

She realized that his injury was more extensive than she thought as the bruise spread. She felt faint looking at it.

He got to his feet, knees trembling, but otherwise steady. His arm lay at his side. She never left him. She saw his entire back was damp with sweat - more than any Human ever should sweat in that length of time.

"I'm sorry." she heard him say as they began to walk. "I'm sorry, Sal."

They began to walk. Sally smelled the sweat that glistened off his body. Even his arms were damp, and his eyes were almost closed from the droplets falling into them, stinging him. When he tried to move his injured arm, he groaned.

She closed her eyes and stopped to let him recover, breathed in and out.

       "I egged you on. I gave you the impression. If there's anyone to blame..."

"Sally, stop." he said with a sudden force that off.

"No." she shot back. "I'm going to apologize, and you're going to hear me out! I yanked those weights off balance!"

"And I lifted them in the first place." Chris said, now angry.

There he went again beating himself up. She wasn't going to change his mind. Sadly, she continued to walk, not making eye contact with her Human for a short while. They walked in silence until a guard crossed their paths. The man saw the Marine's bruised arm and started. He, like many Mobians, were not used to seeing such injuries.

"Go check to see if the doctor is in. If he's not, get a hold of him!" Sally ordered before the guard spoke. "Move!" she barked.

He jerked, plate making a small shifting noise before disappearing down the corridor.

She listened to his breathing. It was shallow and quick. She risked a sideward glance at him, but his face was impassive. She knew better though. He was trained to hide his feelings.

"Do you still love me?" she asked.

He swung his head, eyes open in surprise.

"What?"

"I think you blame me. You're trying to spare my guilt, my love." she said.

He leaned his head over and kissed her on the cheek long, deep, and with a small nuzzle of his own nose; a habit he picked up from her.

She looked up at him, a tear streaking down her cheek. There was a minute of stasis, then she placed her lips to his. Their eyes were closed, and the silence of the hall enveloped them as if they were suspended in a void. When they broke, he brushed his lips against her muzzle softly, his breath hot on her nose. He spoke a single word into her ear.

"Forever."

He smiled at her. One that fought through the pain, but genuine.

"Come on. I've seen worse." he said, glancing at the torn muscle. "I've come back from worse."

"Really?"

"Yeah." he assured, thinking back on something, but presenting a smile. "This is nothing."

The modesty made her care for him even more. He was reserved and was never too prideful; something she adored about him. She adored so much about her Human.

"You know what, I do blame myself for something worse."

Sally's head turned again as they started walking once more, fear growing in her heart. "What? What's wrong?"

He looked at her, face straight, and said, "I didn't re-rack."

She blinked once, twice, and then snorted, and together they laughed loudly. She hugged him gingerly, head against his side and she wiped her eyes.

"Wow, look at those." she said, tracing her finger over his abdominals, his injury forgotten to them both. "You have been working out!"

"Marine Corps standard issue." he said, a grin on his face, as they continued to laugh and joke. They turned a corner, and walked out of sight, sweet words drifting behind them long after they were gone.
A Weight Off the Chest
As I've been starting to train a lot more, I had an idea to try and write something that is inspired by my own personal experiences. 

Honestly, it'll be a long time before I try 300 pounds. 
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Ready to Rumble
In her off-time, Sally regularly exercises in whatever gym she can get herself into. Sometimes they have fighting rings. From youth, she has been an able combatant, and will take any chance she can get to climb into the ring and face someone in a nice clean bout. As a member of the UNSC, she has no shortage of potential partners in that regard, and her jabs draw quite a crowd. 
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Sally Hair Practice
Experimenting with different hair styles of Her Highness and seeing what would make sense out of battle. How would she wear her hair longer? More mindless sketches.

Oddly, I think Sally would most likely have bucked teeth, if only a little, given that she has the rodent genes in her. Royal breeding and all that I suppose makes them nice and even. 
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deviantID

Chris000
Chris
Artist | Student | Traditional Art
Canada
Welcome. You've stumbled across my page and I'm thankful for every second you spend here.

My name is Chris. I am a self-taught illustrator and writer. I am a student who has already gone through university for an English degree and recently I have started a journey in animation which I hope will lead to good things for me.

As you can probably tell I have a bit of a niche appeal, but I'm fine with that. There's nobody else on the Internet that does what I do and I'm proud of that.

It's been a constantly improving journey, looking back to the art I made when I first started here. I hope one day I can look back to now and see how far I've come.

So welcome. Don't be shy; say something.
Interests
Today, I shed tears for two souls, the first of which of this earth, and the second of our hearts. 




First, we bid farewell to Half Life 3, which we all knew was never really going to happen. Some of us were lying to ourselves, thinking that there was just a sliver of hope, but I at least knew it in my heart that such a thing was just not going to happen. The game was delayed for far too long, and it has fallen into the Duke Nukem Forever zone, the point of no return. When your game has had a decade between its last major release, you subconsciously know that the end result is not going to be pretty. Even if you do release the game, the hype is its own worst threat, where the game will fail to live up to its own legend. 



Now, fan artists are going to work depicting what the closing chapter of this well-regarded series of games was going to look like, my favorite being Gordon Freeman approaching the Combine Dyson Sphere on none other than the Aperture Science ship, the Borealis, hurtling towards a future that may well never come. 

In a way, this was the kinder fate. Half-Life 3's fading into obscurity was a gentler end which may well preserve the warm feelings for the first game, and its bastard offspring which we know and love: Team Fortress and Counter-Strike. 

We have closure. Closure that Valve was more interested in a card game than finishing the series that made it famous and gave it an internet monopoly to boot. 

Thanks, Newell. 



Thanks a lot. 



And the second is a loss to the Internet. The infamous Rich Piana has passed away at the ripe old age of 46. 


1971-2016

"One Day You May..."



Based on my looking into it, Rich suffered from steroid abuse, and has been at it for quite a while. This should come as no surprise to anybody why has seen the man and the monster that he was in life. Piana himself claimed that if someone had the chance to stay natural or do steroids, he claimed that staying natural was the way to go; steroids only hurt the body if you didn't really have to take them. 

Now, Rich's death affected me because I used him a bit as a punchline. A couple of times I've used his image as a reaction or to highlight a joke with some funny scene of his face, which never failed to disappoint to me. 46 is no age to go, and despite using him as a joke, and despite me never being a /fit/izen, when Rich was right, he was right. The world becomes a bit emptier, if not because his gains are no longer in it. 

A tragic tale of a man who wanted to make it in the end; a cautionary tale. 

Scoop in Peace, Pianoman. You'll be missed, even if others won't admit it. 

  • Listening to: Vents
  • Reading: Journals of Sally Acorn
  • Watching: My schoolwork
  • Playing: Kingdom Hearts
  • Eating: Chocolate Orange Slices
  • Drinking: Nothing

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If you feel that I deserve something, please feel free to leave a donation of any amount. I more than appreciate the effort and the gesture. If you feel like you'd like to add a comment, that appreciation is doubled.

Also, if you feel like you'd also like to make a request as well with your donations, I would be absolutely more than happy to take them. Just ensure that your request is clear, and within reason. I'm a bit short of cash and I'm saving up to buy some more art software and/or equipment. If you would like to request a comment, a fav, or some hard constructive criticism, I would be happy to oblige.

Once more, I absolutely appreciate any gesture that you'd care to make. Your donation means a lot to an aspiring writer/artist. It's through your generous actions that I am able to do what I love for you, and everybody here at DeviantART.

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Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:iconsm7799:
Sm7799 Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Halo 3's back, babyyyy!
Reply
:iconjaredthefox92:
JaredtheFox92 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
What's your commission prices?
Reply
:iconchris000:
Chris000 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Generally speaking it's fifteen dollars for linework if we're talking a full character. If we want color, then we can negotiate. 
Reply
:iconjaredthefox92:
JaredtheFox92 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I mean in DA points, I have no money for DA. It's all in my college.
Reply
:iconchris000:
Chris000 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Oh, let me run the calculation and get back to you. 
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconspiderdragondesigns:
SpiderDragonDesigns Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice art!
Reply
:iconchris000:
Chris000 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you kindly! 
Reply
:iconspiderdragondesigns:
SpiderDragonDesigns Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, np!
Reply
:iconsiwyszczur:
SiwySzczur Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2017
Nice gallery:)
Reply
:iconchris000:
Chris000 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks, friend. 

Not a bad setup yourself! Nice to see some well done models. Personally love the IG. 
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