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Favourite Season Finale Cliffhanger!

This is easy.

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Best of Both Worlds ended season 3 of TNG on an incredible note. Captain Picard had been captured and assimilated by the Borg. The Borg ship was on its way to earth, intent on wiping out humanity, and the crew of the Enterprise had one chance to stop them. Commander Riker gives the order to fire… And To be Continued appears. Pure television gold.

Before I begin in earnest, lets post the conversation I had over at a site called ‘Stefs Cave‘.

My posts will be in green, theirs will be in pink.

Good afternoon,

I think both MRAs and MGTOWs (to be honest, they are very similar in a lot of respects) are pushing back against something that isn’t actually there, except in a few isolated instances. The worst elements of radical feminism (which should not be taken as feminism as a whole, and for that matter, not even as radical feminism as whole) can easily be seen as misandry – I have read some very disturbing posts from radfems along exactly the lines that you describe – are terrifying, but feminism has a number of forms.

Liberal feminism is, if you like, the moderate voice, whilst radical feminism is well, radical. Most feminists would probably identify as liberal and liberal feminism can include men. Radical feminism tends to exclude men from the discussion completely. Liberal feminists don’t shout as loud as radical feminists, and therefore their voices are not always heard, but in my view they represent a genuine force for equality and the protection of women.

It may be a hard pill to swallow, and I know MGTOWs and MRAs will argue in this world that it just isn’t true, but if you’re a white male, you are privileged. Recently Brock Allen Turner was given just six months for raping an unconscious woman at a university campus – his own father argued for a light sentence because it was just ‘twenty minutes of action’. The idea of male entitlement to female bodies still exists, and can be seen in every instance where a man catcalls or wolf-whistles at a woman in the street, or expects a woman to stop and talk to him, getting aggressive if she doesn’t want to spend time with him.

What MGTOWs see is radical feminism, which is the angry side of the movement. Some of this anger might well be justified, some of it won’t be. Unfortunately it creates the impression that feminism is out to undermine men, and MGTOWs (and MRAs) see themselves as ‘fighting back’. Except they are lashing out at phantoms. They’re trying to paint a picture of themselves as the oppressed when in fact what they fear is losing their privilege. If women are equal to men then men cannot own a woman’s time or bodies, and this is what truly scares a MGTOW.

So I would urge both the article’s author and anyone reading this comment to remember what feminism actually ‘is’, rather than only seeing its worst side. I would urge them to remember that MGTOWs and MRAs seek to maintain a status quo that, far from oppressing them or hurting them, actually supports them. The trumped up ideas from these groups are exactly that – blown out of all proportion.

What you’re suggesting is a no true Scotsman fallacy. Most feminists actually support the rampant misandrist ideas that modern feminism espouses, and these liberal feminists (the more accurate term is choice feminist) are in the minority, and thanks to people like Anita Sarkeesian, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who’ll take any feminist seriously, whether they’re liberal or not. You must be some kind of feminist apologist, or just ignorant of the illiberal nature of feminism as it is today. Also, MGTOW’s and MRA’s are completely different. MRA’s simply want men to be treated equally to women, while many MGTOW’s, as I mentioned earlier, want to separate from women entirely. If the MGTOW’s have any point that can accurately be made, it’s that there is in fact a gynocentric bias in society. If anything, women of all races are more privileged than white men because they can play the victim card and make false rape allegations, and be believed without question (for example, the Duke lacrosse case, and the Rolling stone “Rape on Campus” article).

If in doubt, read this: http://www.realsexism.com/

Hello again,

I am puzzled as to in what way I am employing the No True Scotsman fallacy – you are making statements without providing validation. This is equally true of the idea that most feminists are misandrists and would identify as radfems. This argument is dependant upon a strict sampling bias – which has then been expanded upon to apply to feminism at large.

Your link does likewise. Is it true that men are more likely to die in war? Of course, but then, men are more likely to sign up to the armed forces (historically women have been denied roles in the armed forces, and even after being admitted, denied frontline service). Men are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents at work but once again, men are more likely to take these jobs and these jobs may well have been off limits to women in the past.

It is statistically the case than men are more likely to commit violent crimes: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/men-more-violent.htm

Is it true that men are more likely to be the victim of violent crimes? It is true that men are more likely to commit violent crimes against other men, and that men commit more violent crimes against women than women commit against men or other women. Once again, your link reflects a sampling bias and does not explain the facts behind the numbers.

You believe that women can more easily play the ‘victim card’. How does this explain the case of Brock Turner, who got a six month sentence for raping an unconcious woman? This young white man got off easy – do you think he will be alone?

Do you believe we should be teaching women to avoid rape or teaching men to control themselves better, not make assumptions, and not rape?

In calling out the no true Scotsman fallacy, I suggested that you imply that radical feminists are not feminists at all, a common misconception employed typically by those desperate to defend the indefensible (the same logic is used by AJ+ to gloss over Islamic terrorism). Also, I don’t think we should be teaching anyone not to rape, nor to avoid rape, because this should be common sense. Teaching men not to rape is not only patronising but demeaning (surely they know there are laws in place), and teaching women to avoid rape is equally ludicrous because surely they would have already been taught by their parents not to go alone at night, especially not in dark alleyways. I also think Brock Turner is an isolated incident, one that could never prove the existence of a rape culture in the United States. If we lived in an actual rape culture that benefited white men (as you feminists would describe), rape would not be illegal, and people like Brock Turner would never be arrested nor publicly condemned. You’re also very keen to ignore the higher male suicide rate in the link I provided because it doesn’t confirm your biases. Surely you should have gathered that in our increasingly gynocentric society, men are increasingly undervalued compared to women.

Your implication through the allegation of a fallacy made a presumption, one which is not true. I did not claim radical feminists are not feminists. I merely claim they are not representative of all feminists and all feminism. Your setup of the No True Scotsman fallacy could easily be taken as a strawman fallacy (building an argument that isn’t there and attacking that).

You think there is not a rape culture because rape is illegal? Something being illegal doesn’t automatically mean it doesn’t happen. Should a person (male or female) not be free to walk down the street at night without fear of being attacked? Should a young woman not be free to have a few drinks without the fear that someone might take advantage of her? These are ‘not’ isolated incidents. The idea that it is in any way shape or form the victim’s fault if they get raped or assaulted IS rape culture – and it’s more endemic in society than you think.

You say I’m keen to ignore suicide statistics. I say you are keen to ignore the points I raised regarding dangerous jobs and war. You haven’t addressed either of those. Furthermore, would you care to explain how suicide statistics are linked to a bias towards women in society?

In no way did I imply that this is the victim’s fault. I was arguing that people should take responsibility for themselves. Am I therefore endorsing rape culture? If rape is illegal, that means if you are caught you can expect to be punished for it if found guilty, therefore there is no rape culture. Whereas, in the Islamic world, a rape victim can be convicted on charges of adultery, while in some Islamic countries, the rapist can avoid punishment if he marries his victim. That is what you would call an actual rape culture, not America. This video should prove why “rape culture” is a myth:

(there’s a video that I can’t embed for some reason, but you can see it here)

In response to your question about male suicide, I feel that male self-doubt is the key to understanding the high rate of male suicides, and I feel that this can be caused by how boys are treated in school. This video from Prager University, featuring the respected choice feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, should illustrate the kind of gynocentric culture we have in education in America, and her suggestions for reform.

(another video here)

Thank you for addressing the suicide point (although I note the ongoing lack of acknowledgement regarding war and job fatalities). Speaking for the UK, there was actually a fall in male suicide last year, and an increase in female suicide.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/12/number-of-suicides-in-england-and-wales-last-year-reaches-20-year-high

In the US, the rate of female suicide is increasing faster than male suicide: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/22/us-suicide-rate-30-year-high-growing-epidemic-across-america

Neither article makes assumptions about the reasons.

Are you really going to trust The Guardian? The most biased news site in the whole of the UK? They literally push an agenda of social justice, and they write some of the most ridiculous articles ever (with such colourful articles as “our philsophical attitude towards poo needs to change”). But the statistics may support your case. These come from the Samaritans website: http://www.samaritans.org/about-us/our-research/facts-and-figures-about-suicide

Dismissal of a source through an ad hominiem attack on the source doesn’t actually constitute a rebuttal.

Says the person who spells ad hominem incorrectly, and dismisses his critic ad hominem as a right-wing reactionary. You have already dismissed my sources plenty of times. I have no reason to take your argument seriously, now good day.

Nitpicking spelling errors and dismissing sources because you don’t like them, rather than because you’ve demonstrated them to be wrong, means the ad hominem fallacy very much applies. Your insistence upon seeing feminism through a ‘very’ specific lense and your increasing aggression as this discussion wears on do indeed make this impossible to take seriously.

I said (this is mean’t to read ‘I never said’) you personally believe in blaming the victim. It does however, happen, and it is indicative of the idea that men should have unrestricted access to women’s bodies, and that men carry less responsibility for our actions. THIS is rape culture.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5440553

Rape culture doesn’t have to be an overt setting that’s legal for it to exist. It can still exist even if rapists get caught and prosecuted. It exists whilst men assume they have the right to women, and whilst women have to stop and carefully consider every action, lest they be accused of being provocative or ‘asking for it’. It exists where men are not taught (not nearly as much) to think about their own behaviour.

“Rape culture doesn’t have to be an overt setting that’s legal for it to exist.”
That literally makes no sense. There is a myriad of evidence to suggest that we do not live in a rape culture, but because feminism depends on the existence of a rape culture, you seem incapable of letting go of that idea. I’ve already disproved the idea of a rape culture in the United States, and you try to counterargue with a Huffington Post article – a site bound to confirm your biases (the Huffington Post is notorious for its bias in favour of social justice leftists and the Democrats).

Once again you employ the dismissal of the source because you don’t like it, rather than because you can address what it has to say. You fail to understand what is meant by rape culture as well. 

(in response to another set of comments) MGTOWs are ultimately cowards that want to retain the right to see women as objects and will do whatever it takes to view them as disposable. They drum up false ideas about ‘tyranny’ and frankly, they ARE crybabies.

Now hold on a moment. MGTOW’s may have some views I may disagree with but not all of them are cowards, and certainly not Tim. You’re looking at someone bold enough to hold my article to scrutiny and try to debate my ideas, and yet you call him a coward by virtue of calling all MGTOW’s cowards. SJW’s and feminist apologists are the real cowards. Not me, not Tim, nor anyone brave enough to question your feminist dogma.

I stand by my comments. MGTOWs AND MRAs are rallying against equality. They don’t want to lose their privilege. I have read enough MRA and MGTOW sites to see exactly how they view women and want to continue seeing women in that fashion. They have taken a very skewed view of feminism, treated it as a blanket position and run with it. Ironically, their attitude greatly fuels the worst elements of radical feminism.

It doesn’t fuel the worst elements of radical feminism, it is fuelled by them. The radfems have taken over the establishment and mainstream media, and the end result is young men dropping out of society and embarking on the Sexodus. Just go to any left-leaning media outlet, and you’ll find that they talk of “toxic masculinity” (which in reality is healthy display of masculinity that is being vilified by the left-wing press). They view all men as potential rapists, and automatically privileged and thus their opinion is somehow invalid. Compared to them the worst of MGTOW are not as bad as you may think. The difference is that you feminists have mainstream backing while the MGTOW’s don’t. Also, the MRA’s want equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome, as you do.

What you speak of is scare mongering. I tend to find this is the case of the reactionary right. Anything that is even remotely suggestive of equality suddenly becomes an attack on the poor, maligned white male, who is emasculated and in need of help to fight an oppressive regime. It simply isn’t true. It is, as I said before, a reflection of a sampling bias.

You sir are a moron. I don’t oppose equality (unless it’s equality of outcome, which is essentially the idea that everyone should be made to live under the same conditions with the same amount of wealth), and I am certainly not a right-wing reactionary (I’ve opposed them since I was a teenager I’ll have you know). I am in fact a libertarian, and as such I oppose authoritarian philosophies of all stripes, and that includes third-wave feminism. My musings on radical feminism aren’t based on scaremongering. They are based on the reality of what they have brought onto the world (campus censorship, trigger warnings, rising promiscuity, rising depression in women who work, the #KillAllMen hashtag). What men are concerned about isn’t equality, it’s about feminists poisoning gender relations in their pursuit of female supremacy over men, and you have yet to convince me otherwise.

Your aggressive attitude and lack of any meaningful counterpoint is certainly in keeping with the behaviour of right-wing reactionaries, so you are doing an excellent job of mimicking them.

You have latched on to one aspect of feminism and blown it out of all proportion. You don’t understand that feminism has different forms.

 

Linda had waited with baited breath outside the small hotel that she and David had called home for the past few days, not at all certain that the promise of $30,000 would convince the owner to get her a truck. It was then a great surprise to see such a vehicle trundle down the beaten up road toward them, and better yet, it wasn’t simply some old, rusted contraption, but instead a clean, red lorry. The hotel owner had even organised a large trailer (probably wants to impress me).

The driver waved a hand at her and Dave as the truck came to a stop. Unlike the man in the hotel, he was clean-shaven, with short black hair and a look of pure delight to be in the company of westerners, which became all the more obvious when he jumped down from the cab.

“Greetings, I am Hassan! Wherever you need to go, whatever you need moving, I will do.” The young man took Linda’s hand and shook it vigorously, before doing likewise with Dave.

Linda smiled. “We need to go here.” She slipped her map from the pocket of her khakis, pointed to a spot in the desert. “About fifty miles south of here.”

Hassan turned his chocolate eyes upon her with a view of confusion. “My lady, there is nothing there but scorched sand and rock.”

“I have some friends out there who need something moved, no questions asked. Can you help us?”

Wariness replaced enthusiasm on the man’s face. “I don’t handle drugs or weapons.”

“Don’t worry, it’s neither of those. It’s an archaeological dig.”

“I don’t know this word, my English… it’s okay, what is, archaeological?”

“We look for bones.” Said Dave.

“Ah, I see… wait, why does he have a gun?” Concern re-entered Hassan’s voice.

“For protection. If it helps…” Linda took a wad of dollars from a pouch on her waist. “Will this serve as enough danger money?”

The promise of hard currency on top of whatever cut he was getting from the hotel changed the look on Hassan’s face once again. “Yes, yes, that will cover any risk.” Linda grinned. He hadn’t even counted it, though there was roughly $2,500 there.

“Can we leave right now? My friends are anxious to load something up and move it on.”

“Yes yes, please, get on board, I have cold drinks!”

To Linda, with the sun rising higher as midday approached, that was going to be a godsend.

******

Mark felt reasonably confident that the specimen could now be moved, but he could feel himself shaking. He wanted to keep it concealed as much as possible, but sooner or later, this discovery would go global, and he knew what would happen.

Studying the pictures as best he could on the small display of the camera, Mark had come to realise that his first conclusion was shaping up to be correct. The little ‘device’ the remains held was no mere stone or rock used by a primitive ape. There were criss-crossing lines and circles all across the surface. Symbols of some kind.

Closer study of the skeleton had changed his outlook still further. The large skull, the small body yet long arms and legs… it seemed absurd, it was absurd, and yet, the more he looked, the more his brain made the connection.

Jeremy had not yet figured it out. He’d loaded the jeep up and was now sat in the driver’s seat, eating a sandwich. If he’d been bored before, he was positively weary now.

Right now, Mark’s greatest fear was someone else arriving to claim the discovery for their own. The site wasn’t unknown for intriguing finds of human civilisation, so there was always the chance someone might show up, stumble upon Mark and Jeremy, reach the same conclusions and make a grab for the prize. Mark was therefore spending half his time keeping an eye on the horizon, whilst willing the phone to ring.

“I guess this thing is pretty fragile if we need a truck to move it.” Remarked Jeremy. Mark didn’t reply. Statements of the obvious annoyed him.

Thankfully, he didn’t have to worry about an awkward silence. Jeremy took another bite of his sandwich and carried on looking into the distance.

Time seemed to move slowly. It always did when things needed to happen urgently. Mark resisted the urge to return to the remains, instead drinking some more water. It never ceased to amaze him that even on the edge of the Sahara one of the most inhospitable places on earth, humans had managed to build lives for themselves.

“Professor, over there!” Jeremy’s voice punctured his thoughts. Following Jeremy’s finger, Mark saw in the distance a trail of dust and dirt, that almost certainly signified an incoming vehicle. He was about to get Jeremy to hide their find, when his phone started to ring.

“Linda?”

“We’re on our way, not too far out now. Switch on your GPS and we’ll zero in.”

“Got it. Jeremy, switch on the GPS please. Linda, do you have us?”

“We have you. See you soon.”

“Jeremy, do you mind driving the jeep? I need to stay with the specimen.”

Jeremy’s eyes lit up. “Not a problem Professor!”

“Drive carefully Jeremy. It’s not a sports car.” Mark could almost hear his eyes rolling in response. “Are we all packed?”

“Yup.”

It took a few more minutes of waiting, but the arrival of the bright red truck (that seemed to direct yet more sunlight straight at Mark) and a big, spacious white trailer was very welcome. The big rig seemed to snarl as the driver slowed down and stopped, and then one of nature’s greatest miracles stepped down from the cab.

Even in long khaki sorts and desert camo shirts, and despite the intense heat, and even after being rattled around in a truck for the past hour or two, Linda managed to look radiant. Not a lock of her wavy blonde hair was out of place, and she looked beautiful. No time for regrets Mark…

“Welcome to the dig site.” He said, smiling. Behind Linda came ‘Dave’, and a young local man who he didn’t know.

“Nice to see it, would be nicer if I knew what the hurry was. This is Hassan, he drove us here.” Linda gestured in the direction of him and Mark stepped forward, shaking his hand.

“Thank you for getting here on such short notice.”

“My pleasure. Your colleagues have been pleasant travelling companions. We had an enjoyable journey.” Linda shot Mark a look that suggested the exact opposite was true. Dave just looked impervious to anything.

“So Mark, let me see what the fuss is about.” Linda was direct as always.

“Here, follow me.” Together they strode past the jeep and toward the little area marked off with a small barrier. Mark waved a hand at it. “Take a look.”

Linda gasped.

 

 

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Welcome back Germany! Last season F1 missed off this iconic location due to financial disputes – in 2016, the racing returns to one of its most historic venues – Hockenheim.

The track itself is much-changed from its earlier incarnations. At one point the track was over 4 miles long, stretching deep into the forest, and the circuit was fast. Nowadays it retains only part of that original design, and some would argue it has lost some of its charm and challenge as a result. Nevertheless, Hockenheim is a welcome return to the calendar.

Coming into this Grand Prix, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has snatched the lead of the world championship for the first time in 2016, having won last time out in Hungary. Nico Rosberg, heading into his home Grand Prix, will be determined to halt Hamilton’s momentum. Meanwhile Ferrari will be looking over their shoulders at the onrushing Red Bulls, who are now only one point behind in the constructor’s championship.

Confidence is going to be key at this stage of the season. Rosberg will be all-too aware of what happens if Hamilton gets any wind in his sails, and Hamilton needs to build a buffer before he takes an almost inevitable engine penalty later in the season. The last time this race was held, Rosberg won from pole, whilst Hamilton, starting from the pit lane following car trouble, managed to climb back to third.

 

For a little while I used to regale my readers with ‘site stats’. Little updates and the like. I stopped doing this ages ago, but I thought it might be interesting to revisit the idea, at least once in a while.

Some interesting tidbits: In 2015 my site had 4,222 views. So far in 2016, it’s had 3,964 views. 2016 is shaping up to beat 2015 quite easily.

Per country, the majority of views are from the UK, with 1,376 views, with the US close behind on 1,332 views. In third place, but some way back, is Australia, with 374 views.

Not counting search engines, Twitter is the top referrer to the site, contributing 445 views. The WordPress viewer is next on 127 views, and Facebook is third on 55 views.

The most viewed page (if we don’t count the home page) is ‘Why Meerkats?’ on 139 views, with my page on Ayrton Senna second on 108 views, and ‘The Scary Side of Radical Feminism’ sits third with 70 views.

“Hello?”

“Linda, is that you?” Asked Mark.

“Yes, it’s me, I was about to call you, you should have checked in twenty minutes ago.”

“Sorry, I was a bit wrapped up in something.”

Mark heard Linda snort. “You always are.”

“Linda, I’ve found something, or at least, I think I’ve found something. I mean, it might be the biggest find…”

“Mark, cut to the chase will you?” Linda was, as always, direct. It seemed so strange for such a soft voice to carry such a hard edge.

“I can’t talk too much over this line, I need you to get a truck and get it here asap.”

“Just like that?”

“Yes, just like that. Use my account if you have to pay the locals. Pay them whatever is needed.”

There was a brief pause. “This is big isn’t it?”

“If it’s what I think it is, yes. Linda, don’t tell anyone else about this.”

“I won’t. Switch on your GPS when I call you next, and I’ll find you.”

“Got it. See you soon.” Mark cut off the call, wishing the satellite phone had a more secure connection, but he’d been as discrete as he could.

“Jeremy, start loading the gear in the jeep please.”

*****

Linda switched off the phone and looked up at the stuttering ceiling fan. Then she looked at the man seated behind the plain grey plastic desk, who looked very bored. He scratched at his beard and occasionally adjust his khaki shirt, and every now and then looked at her with a certain… resentment? Linda wasn’t too sure. He’d spoken barely two words to her since she, Mark and Jeremy had arrived in Marzuq, and not for the first time, Linda was grateful to the hired help – an Englishwoman, alone in a small Libyan town, was potentially inviting trouble.

‘Dave’ stood nearby, a tall, muscular guy who wore clothes that were always a size too small, thus showing off how defined he was. At first Linda had thought him a preening Alpha Male type, but he’d shown no interest in returning the affections of women who’d flirted with him when they’d flown out from Heathrow, and instead had diligently served his purpose – security. The Glock 17 pistol holstered at his left hip served as a reminder of this. Deep blue eyes scanned the room – and anyone who entered the little ‘office’ that doubled as the base of operations – carefully.

“Dave, we need to head out, I need to get a truck and get to Mark and Jeremy.”

“Got it.” He replied with a clipped New York accent. He shot a glance to the man at the desk, who idly picked up the desk phone.

“You need a truck? When?” He looked at Dave when asking, no doubt a deliberate move to irk Linda, so Linda stood between them, forcing the man to look at her.

“Right now.”

The man sighed lazily. “That won’t be cheap. $20,000.”

“Not a problem. If it’s fully fuelled and ready to go when it arrives, I’ll give you $30,000.”

The promise of extra money for little work made the man sit up. All of a sudden, he had more respect for the Western woman.

“I will make some calls and get it done.”

 

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Day 27 is ‘best special effects’.

There have been a lot of FX in various genres that can best be described as mesmerising, albeit for different reasons. The work across the various Star Trek shows could be considered ground-breaking for their time, and the FX used on action shows like Spartacus deserves a mention for the way in which they managed to depict gruesome deaths without actually killing anyone!

In fact, Spartacus deserves a lot of credit here, for the show’s seemingly basic appearance defies deeper, more subtle work. A lot of effort has gone into some mightily difficult scenes, many of which are chaotic.

Likewise, Game of Thrones deserves a mention here. The huge landscapes, the dragons, massive fleets of ships and the Walkers are all incredible to look at, and represent how CGI can combine with good old-fashioned sets to create a living, breathing world.

I would actually go as far to say that Game of Thrones takes the crown today, for its incredibly detailed worlds.

 

Mark Bryant used the back of his hand to wipe the sweat from his brow and returned to using his brushes to carefully sweep the sand from the skeletal remains at his knees. The snake pit of nerves in his stomach seemed to churn faster as more of the bones were revealed and he had to compose himself, taking deliberately slow sips of water from his flask, lest he rush things and ruin the find of the century.

The desert sands were now in his shorts and in-between every one of his toes, and probably in places he hadn’t thought possible, but Mark didn’t care. Every new stroke of his brush revealed more of the revolutionary remains, and he would endure every discomfort thrown at him for this. Not even the intense Sahara sun could stop him, even if his previously white shirt was now a deep grey where sweat had soaked it.

“Can we excavate yet?” Asked his tired assistant. The younger man was holding up a shade, looking bored.

“No Jeremy. I don’t know how fragile the specimen is.” Mark replied, without looking up from his work. It was a struggle to keep the annoyance from his voice.

“Oh come on Professor, we can’t do all this just to leave it here!”

Mark closed his eyes, suppressed a sigh, then opened them again, looking up at the young man. It was a good thing Jeremy had his looks – one young woman had described him as a Gérard Butler/Tom Hiddleston hybrid – because his academic acumen needed shoring up.

“I don’t plan on leaving it here Jeremy. I plan on making sure it can moved safely, which means making sure we’ve unearthed all of it. If you’d spent more time at my lectures and less time as a fashion model, you’d know this.”

Jeremy harumphed but didn’t reply. Mark was grateful for the quiet; refocused, he continued to clear away and clean the skeleton.

Large cranium, big eye sockets and a small body. A missing link perhaps? The idea was an exciting one. To be the one who made such a discovery… Well, it would mean plenty of grant money at least, maybe a Nobel Prize…

Focus

The arms were next to unveil. The left arm was first, and it struck Mark has being quite long. He was wondering where the hand was, when he finally came across it.
Six fingers, weird… Mark stopped abruptly as the brush swept over something smooth and polished.

“What is that?” Asked Jeremy.

“I don’t know… Jeremy don’t!” Mark snapped. The young man had been reaching out for the item.

“It looks like a little metal ball.”

“I can see that Jeremy. What we most certainly shouldn’t do is touch it, not before we have some idea what it is.”

Jeremy looked suitably chastened and recoiled from the little metallic sphere. The sun glinted off it quite sharply, which yet another reason to consider it remarkable.

“Jeremy, fetch my camera please.”

After a few moments he’d returned with the camera, and Mark immediately started taking pictures, zooming in to get close ups of the thing in the skeleton’s hand. For good measure, he added to the photos he’d already taken of the skeleton itself. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Jeremy take a few snaps on his smartphone, but he didn’t mind – it wouldn’t hurt to have extra images.

“What do you think it is? A tool, like a rock that a chimp would use?”

Mark had already considered and disregarded that idea. His heart was racing, and he suddenly felt entirely out of his depth, but there was no point in alarming or exciting Jeremy.

“Maybe. Grab the phone would you please?”

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Favourite sci-fi show!

Now we’re cooking. Where do I begin?!

There’s the venerable Doctor Who, with the mysterious figure of the Doctor and his adventures.

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There’s Babylon 5, which delved into mythology in a clever way.

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There’s Stargate SG1, one of my all-time favourites.

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The winner though, is the Star Trek show that broke the rules – Deep Space Nine. What becomes the supposedly perfect society when its back is against the wall? How does a commander and his crew keep the peace and cling to their ideals when on a space station at the edge of the frontier, in a war-torn system, surrounded by others who don’t share those ideals? What is the professional and personal toll upon the crew in those circumstances?

DS9 wins.