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Hey all, I’m deciding between the X-T 5 and the X-T 30 ii as my first camera. My main goal is to take pictures, but I might dabble in video later.
In Seattle the rainy weather is concerning due to the X-T 30ii not having WR, is this worth the extra $600-700? Or is the X-T 30 most likely ok as long as it’s not directly in the rain?
Also, if anyone has a lens recommendation I’d appreciate it. I was planning on starting with the 27mm f2.8 but I also saw the 23’m f2, only downside of it is that it’s a bit bigger.
If you're aware of the ball inside a box analogy, you should give it a quick read, especially if you've experienced loss.
I'm a 27M, currently studying in uni here in Canada. Average looking guy, unironically have too much money to spend for my own, I have my own house and a good job. I'm living an introvert's paradise. But it's starting to take a toll on me.
I have bestfriends and family, but I'm always alone. I'd like to think that it's not too hard to get a date for me since I've tried, managed to hook up once in a while but it's always unsettling for me. Not just for me but my partners. I feel like I could be so much more and is still capable to be in a good relationship, there's just one problem. My ex wife ruined me and it scares me to no end that people are just out to take advantage of me.
Let's jump back about 12 years ago when we first became boyfriend and girlfriend. She is a mega stacy, malakas mang okray, and just the worst and also the best person I ever met that time. Half of our college life, I spent courting her friend who never reciprocated my feelings. It was okay, I was young, I went after the cutest girl in our room, it was a love based on looks i guess. So when her friend got a boyfriend, I gave up and just focus on my career. She was always my wingman so nung na busted ako, she just laughed at me. She's the worst person afterall. On our 3rd-4th year, we became close friends, best friends in fact. It was hard to say that I love her romantically because I see her as a tropa or maybe kapatid, or maybe I just distanced myself from her enough to avoid it, but I can tell it's there. She's not a very romantic person either, she loves kpop, very girly, but not the type of girl who has crushes on guys. She's also an introvert like me so we had the mutual boundary respect going on.
A month before we graduated, my papers to move to Canada as a permanent resident was accepted and we had to move on the next month right away. That's when I first realized I'm going to have to leave her and the thought nearly broke me. This is the first time I realized I actually love her. If her friend was 9/10, she was an 8 in appearance but is an 11/10 on everything else. So I confessed, I told her I love her and her reply was basically "I think I love you too but we're about to enter an LDR so I'm really not sure. Let's just stay the way we are and see where it goes."
6 years later we're still going strong. Everything I did for the past years was all for her. I got my first house, I saved tons that it's enough to let us travel to different countries after she accepts to marry me. So I went back home in PH, asked her to marry me and she did. I saved for a church wedding too but first we agreed to get a civil wedding first just so I could process her papers and bring her to Canada with me. It was the best time of our life and we're both happy. Until we're not.
Maybe the trauma clouded my memories, even as I type this, I'm trying to remember the events that concluded before the day I lost her. June 2019, 3rd month after our wedding, we're still happy, but I'm back to Canada and grinding for more savings. We were so contented and just waiting for her papers to be processed. November 2019, something happened to her relating to her sister's husband trying to make a move on her. Pina demanda nmin and I remember being so mad. December was hazy, we were both so stressed, winter weather is adding on to me, I'm always tired and cold. January 2020, 2 months before the start of pandemic. I remember I had a few arguments with her that wasn't really anything major. I got upset and decided it's my turn na babyhin, because I would always apologize to her when we argue sometimes. Initially I planned to see how long it'll take for her to text me. Little did I know that, it was the last time I would hear of her ever again.
During this time, I planned trips to surprise her. I booked us a flight to France by february, we'll spend a month there and go to Japan by March para tumira sa relative namin. By April we would go back home to PH and spend more time there together. But covid had other plans for me, by other plans I mean, it literally just kept me from seeing her.
February is fast approaching, and she's still not messaging me. At this point I've already been spamming our messenger for weeks. I've contacted her friends, sisters and mother and they won't tell me anything aside from just "give her time". Our trip to France was set and I went there myself, spend 2 days alone in a hotel before I decided to cut it short and go home. (I got lucky because the next day, they closed down the whole country). So I'm back here in Canada, waiting and just working. Worried sick and full of anxiety.
And just like that, I lost my wife and never heard of her again.
Of course I went through the stages of grief. I was in a loophole. Maybe she just needs more time.. Maybe she cheated? Maybe i fucked up for not apologizing to her on our last argument 6 months ago. By the end of 2020 I was in deep depression and I never really attempted suicide but the thought to this day lingers. It's just that, everytime the thought of killing myself becomes ripe, my bestfriends would always be there to distract me and give me a good time. Seeing my mother helped a lot too. I can't break her heart so I mostly fought for her. I haven't given her a proper gift since I was born because I didn't had a job back then and when I did get one, I was already so focus to my wife. The last thing I could do to her is give her a dead child. It was a harrowing 2 years of knowing nothing and just moving in autopilot. The box was so small that the ball just keeps bumping that button and it always fucks me up when it does. In those 2 years I've also burned through my savings building my expensive ass PCs, games, alchohol, weeds and traveling across Canada to hook up.
It was only last year when I finally got tired of my loophole that I finally started dragging myself to move on inch by inch. I started working again and got a good job. I'm making new friends and pursuing my career. I made peace with my unresolved past and each day, the box grows bigger for me, giving me more time and space to breathe on.
Today my ball hit the button and my world was falling apart until I got this off my chest by writing this. Thanks for reading.
Big thanks to u/Killsode-slugcat
for helping me with proofreading and editing.
--- SUBJECT-DESIGNATION: Admiral Marcus Miller LOCATION: Earthen Orbit, Atlantic Citadel DATE: EARTH-TIME [Wednesday, August 23, 2186]
I stood above Earth, gazing down upon her bright blue brilliance from the comfort of my personal quarters.
It was odd to think that just five hundred years ago, humanity had been scared of the darkness that lingered at the forest’s edge. I couldn’t imagine that those born during that time could have ever imagined the heights which we would rise to. My only hope was that our vast distance from the ground of primitivity wouldn’t lead to a devastating fall.
Already it felt like a lifetime ago that my crew and I had braved our own dark forest—the endless expanse of space beyond our system’s heliopause. Now we knew of the devils that rested at the edge of those shadows. The fires of Sol and the shield of our Oort cloud were all that now stood between us and them. At least in the process of our journey, we had met another group of weary travelers. We now knew that we were not alone.
The reaction to our discovery of the Khimrox—or perhaps their discovery of us—had actually gone over quite well with the global population, though some fringe groups chose to remain skeptical for reasons I couldn’t fathom.
Following the acceptance of the Khimroxian people as refugees, I was rather quickly promoted to the position of admiral. Despite it being an honorary title for the time-being, it was one that I wore with pride. Besides, considering how things were currently going among the leadership of the UEN, it was my guess that we would soon need all of the fleet commanders we could get.
Being separated from my crew though, it was certainly an ordeal. For over a year, we had trained and prepared for our journey aboard the Challenger, all the while forming a strong bond—the bond of a crew. It was them who had kept my mind from plunging into the hopeless darkness that threatened to envelop my mind back aboard the ruined wreck of our exploratory vessel.
Liz and Garth had been reassigned to finally fulfill their true calling as biologists. Together, they dove head-first into in-depth studies of Khimroxian anatomy and physiology. Sid had opted to assist in the deconstruction of the Ignis
, allowing its analysis by a team of scientists that included Lee. As far as I was aware, they had so far produced staggeringly impressive results in regards to potential military applications. Jake was probably the wisest among us, choosing to enter an early retirement, which I quite honestly considered the smartest move. Each member of the Challenger had essentially become an influential celebrity overnight. If any of us chose to, we wouldn’t need to work another day in our lives.
Nia had taken an extended leave of absence following our return and chose to take up temporary residence within the Khimrox colony. Darius was perhaps the only one that had stuck with me. Due to my request, he was to be the chief navigational officer of a brand new fleet that had been promised to me—an experimental UEN fleet by the name of Vengeant Dawn.
Though word hadn’t yet officially been released, some part of me could sense the storm approaching on the horizon. War was coming. The only questions that remained were when and how it would be waged, one of which we were currently working to answer.
Some remained skeptical, but me, I had been waiting since the day I first heard of that wretched name, the one which hid behind a thin and lustrous coat. They would pay in blood for what they had done to our Khimroxian friends and to all of the scion species that they considered beneath them. Speaking of those pricks…
I turned from the window to look back at the objects of interest.
We had already begun to install improvements and replacements for our own technology from what we had researched so far. The holo-table of my room was one such improvement.
Atop it, hovered three ire-inspiring figures—the bastards of the Orion Arm.
One was what looked to be a molluscoid. Twelve long and winding tentacles stretched from its body. The creature’s skin could possess a wide variety of colors, but this one took on a dark shade of blue. Atop its head—or back, I still wasn’t entirely sure—was a large circular shell that spiraled backwards. The shell itself was fairly reminiscent of an ammonite, with the notable exception of its golden sheen. A green pair of eyes with slitted black pupils could be found at either side of its face. At the end of each of its limbs were a strange bunch of contraptions that were barely recognizable as the manipulators they were. To support its spineless body—and perhaps its brazen cowardice—was an exoskeleton which covered the length of its tentacles, allowing it to rise to an ironically respectable height. The Dodektopi.
The second was a shape that made no sense according to what little we apparently knew regarding the formation of life. The figure of flames was somewhat humanoid in shape, but distinct enough to separate it from ourselves. A frenzy of dancing plasma licked across the surface of its shape, occasionally whipping out from its body in flares of solar activity. Centered within the fiery specter’s face was an unfamiliar symbol forged out of a sleek black metal that did not burn with the being’s body. Its hands and feet that connected the body were made of similar steel and seemed to hold the shape together with the help of the head. The Novari.
Last but most certainly not least was a chillingly familiar shape. It was an ancient and terrible legend made manifest. The draconic figure before me bore ebony-black scales. A wicked pair of gold curling horns rose from the tyrant’s skull, covered in rings of that black metal that wrapped around them. Cryptic runes—whose mere existence denoted their ancient nature—were etched into the bone of these very same horns. Surrounding its head were countless quills that reached back behind the skull. From its oddly placed back pair of shoulders sprouted leathery wings that curled around the body, nearly encircling it in a hug. A long tail whose spiked end was covered in yet more of those sleek black rings fell behind them. The creature wore nothing more than a red ornamented kilt, bearing the same symbols as those etched upon its body across the sashes which held it in place. Its imposing physique was proudly put on display and an amber pair of greedy eyes rested behind its black maw of terrible teeth.
At the second and frontward pair of stubby shoulders, a shimmering pair of auric arms, engraved with yet more of those runes. I could have recognized their design anywhere. They bore an uncanny similarity with those utilized by our Khimrox friends. The three primary differences between those of them and those that belong to our friends were the sheer quality of the design, the notable exception of their shimmering sheen and their lethal talons that had been sharpened to a shining point. The Aeryvyn.
The terrible triumvirate mocked me with their mere presence, but I couldn’t tear them away from my sight. It’s fortunate that something else did it for me.
A ping that rained from the speakers in my ceiling heralded the incoming message. “All UEN personnel with alpha clearance please report to the briefing room.” Two more times, the soft and purposefully inoffensive voice repeated itself.
With a sigh, I shut off the display and marched to don the new garb that matched my position. When my door slid open, I saw several others stride through the long hall of yet more doors that matched my own.
The familiar scent of ozone had been a relief following the unnaturally clean air of the Ignis. That ship was no longer the home of the Khimroxian refugees, so I had little care for its continued existence. By now, it was a skeleton of alien alloys.
Our straight, gray walls and steel-vented floors were showered in warm light. Compared to the Ignis where the too-white surface where wall and floor blended together, the scenic viewing ports and recognizable craftsmanship felt like the warm embrace of a long-lost friend. Speaking of friends, I wonder if I’ll see Saffan.
Weeks had passed now since I last saw the captain-ambassador. His new position ensured this was so.
A stream of gray-coated senior staff flowed through the doors to the briefing room. At the entrance, a full complement of soldiers outfitted with Styx suits stood guard. That generation of armor would soon be outdated in comparison to the schematics I had seen prepared.
My heart warmed involuntarily as I entered the room. Saffan’s bright eyes of perpetual wideness stared back at me. I shouldered my way through the convening crowds of admirals. Each spoke with a weight of self-importance that I couldn’t have cared less for.
When I finally reached him he called my name. “Marcus!” The captain extended a hand. Wait, what?
I wasn’t sure whether to be more confused by his use of the gesture or his new set of arms. They were admittedly simple compared to the prior pair and they were coated with a blue shine that matched his eyes. The digits no longer took the shape of those reptilian claws, instead forming an approximation of human fingers.
The hands locked perfectly with my own. “Saffan, good to see you again. How are things going?”
“Wonderfully. Though I must say, you humans seem to have more countries than you know what to do with.” Saffan folded his arms. “I’ve visited thirteen nations already and I still have over a hundred that have sent me visitation invitations.”
A scoff escaped my throat. “Yeah, that’s us for you. Needlessly overcomplicated.”
I took a step forward and placed a hand on a brilliant blue arm. “And these! When did you get these?” Saffan practically beamed at my inquiry.
“Elizabeth and Garth actually helped design them! They’re exceptionally lightweight compared to my last pair and they can fold to not hinder flight.” As he said this, the two artificial limbs pressed up against his body as he fully folded his wings in a similar manner. With both arms and wings folded, he would have looked like a great horned owl if not for the obvious discrepancies of his size, his horned head and the swirling patterns that covered his wings.
“That’s enough about me though, how have you been? What have you been up to?”
“Ah, not much,” I said, rubbing the back of my head. “Paid the family a visit a week back for the first time since the Challenger. For the most part though, I've been training on the battle sims these last few weeks. If I’m to be an admiral, may as well try to play the part.” Saffan slowly nodded. I got the feeling that he too sensed the approaching storm.
“This family of yours, I’d love to meet them some time.”
“Oh, I’m sure they’d love to meet you I…”
“Attention!” The stern sound cut me off. The rippling chorus of speech died down almost immediately as the call demanded our undivided focus. I could’ve recognized that voice anywhere.
“Thank you for joining me, my friends.”
“You’re a smart bunch of people, so I’m sure you’ve gotten the sense for what’s been going on by now.” Redd took a deep sigh and looked around the room at the entirety of the UEN navy’s command structure.
“Ever since the Khimroxians arrived, we’ve been faced with a choice—a choice that must not be taken lightly.” The captain turned our way and gave Saffan a nod.
“When the brave souls aboard the Ignis
saved the crew of the Challenger
, they showed the true character of their people. They were faced with hard decisions—for our people and theirs—but they chose to push forward and in so doing, saved not only the lives of those aboard the Challenger, but all of Earth from falling subject to their lords. After due deliberation with the council-members of the United Earthen Nations, we have decided to follow in the footsteps of our friends and take such a risk.”
“As of right now, we are at war with the Alliance of the Aurum Arm.
” The room fell into deafening silence.
“Each member-state of the UEN will alert their people in due time, but for the moment, not a single word heard within this meeting must be uttered outside of this room.”
Admiral Sturm, the very man who had been my commander not all that long ago, spoke up. “With all due respect, Director, we don’t have the means to wage such a conflict.”
“That's why we’ll create the means. For once, I’m glad to say something good came out of the Kuiper War.” This derived a few nervous laughs from the audience. “With the production facilities appropriated from the (x corporation), and with a few adjustments, we have the potential to create the most powerful fleet of human-made ships to ever enter space.”
“Unfortunately however, we do not have the means to reproduce the white hole drives utilized by the Aurum vessels, or even the dark matter used to stabilize the damned things.”
“Saffan, this is where you and your people will come in. If we are to stand a chance of waging war on such a scale, we will need intelligence and lots of it.”
“As difficult as it may be, we need information; without it, we’re dead in the vacuum of space. We will
need volunteers to go behind enemy lines and retrieve plans, schematics, layouts, anything that we can get a hold of that may provide us an advantage both strategically and technologically. Would your people be willing to go to such lengths?”
All eyes in the room turned to the ambassador-captain. “I—I don’t know. I will consult with them, but do I have your permission to speak freely about what you have told me?”
The aging man rubbed his orange-brown beard. “Yes. Yes that would probably be for the best wouldn’t it. Very well, just do your best not to allow it to reach other ears.”
“As for the rest of you, allow me to detail the plan we have so far.”
“Though most of the security council members are not tacticians, they have agreed to the plan that I and a few of my most trusted consultants have prepared. Right now, the nearest sector with a habitable planet is known as Mortamis. This was the last jump point for the Ignis
before it intercepted our distress signal. The tentative plan is to begin our expansion across their territory with the capture of this world to act as the staging grounds of our forces. However, until we receive more information regarding the exact layout of their defenses, we cannot commit to such an invasion.”
“From there, we will split up the UEN fleets into separate groups across the Orion arm and take out these tyrants by bleeding them of their most precious resource. Scions. Every world we take is an addition to our numbers, our production capacity, and our ability to fight.”
“Our end-goal is to capture the planet-capital of the alliance, Petris, and demand liberation of all species under control of the Aurum Alliance.“
“We do have a few major concerns however. According to the information provided to us by the Khimrox, a majority of Aurum vessels contain some form of scionic crew complement. Under no circumstances unless express consent is given by the command admiral of the fleet are we to attack a vessel with the intent of destroying it. We must first weaken and disable the ship’s defensive systems before boarding and liberating the captives.”
“I know that this flies in the face of all conventional battle tactics, but this is no conventional enemy that we’re fighting here. If we do not adapt, we will fail and all of humanity will be forced into scionship.”
“Keep in mind, this is a very brief version of our prepared plan. Each and every aspect of it is subject to change. We will
discuss this in further detail later, but for now, that is all. Any further questions?” Once again, silence. “Very well then. This council session is now adjourned.”
Other than the shuffling of feet exiting, all was silent. We had known it was coming, but to hear it confirmed…
“Marcus.” The director approached, placing a heavy hand on my shoulder. “Go ahead and join Ambassador Aeax, why don’t you? Might help some of those Khimrox to see a human face that they’re familiar with.”
With a snappy salute, I responded with, “Yes sir.” His words were certainly a surprise, but a chance to join the Khimrox that had saved us was not one I would pass up easily. He may as well have just given me a week of leave considering the excitement that bubbled up within me.
Together, I and Saffan made our way to a nearby shuttle bay headed directly to the Khimroxian colony. Surprisingly, I hadn’t yet paid a visit to the settlement placed within the province of Hunan, but I had seen some images on several media platforms.
The trip was a quick one. Our transport plunged into the atmosphere, kicking up flames all around the outside of the cabin. Soon enough though, the flames of our descent died out and were replaced by the darkness of night.
Even with the slight turbulence, Saffan seemed deep in thought as his eyes stared at nothing in particular.
“Hey, you good?”
That seemed to snap him out of it. “Wha—oh yes, sorry.” A look of focus still remained on his face. For a moment, he continued in his silence before posing a question. “What if my people decide not to volunteer? This entire plan could fall through in an instant.”
“You don’t give your people enough credit, my feathered friend.” Saffan gave me a narrow-eyed look before letting out a cluck of a chuckle. “Redd was right in what he said. I’m sure your people will make the best choice for all of us.”
“For both our sakes, I can only hope that you’re right.”
Our Harpy gently sailed over mountains and treetops, slowly sinking to a stop within a secluded area of trees that were foreign to me.
Only I and Saffan left from the Harpy’s bay and stepped off onto the tarmac. Behind us, the cargo-door closed with a hiss. As we stepped out from underneath our cover, light droplets of water pattered against my skin.
Seconds later, the Harpy’s thrusters kicked in and the ship took flight. The heavy hum and glow of burning hydrogen accompanied the bird as it flew away. In mere moments, it was gone, though the distant boom
of it breaking the sound barrier was audible enough.
Looking around, I saw a few of my fellow men and women unloading supplies from a parked Harpy onto a militarily designed transport truck. Dimly lit orange lamps shone down and around us, illuminating nearby hangar bays with their closed doors and rounded ceilings of corrugated metal.
“Let’s get going. I’m sure you don’t want to stay in the rain long.” The rain was enough to notice, but it wasn’t unpleasant. I gave a brief nod and we set off on the nearby road.
Though clouds of rain covered us, the light of the moon joined us as we walked to the village. The setup looked pretty standard from what I knew of modular UEN architecture. It was clear however that great care had been put into its construction. The rain kept most of the residents indoors for the time being, but through the windows of nearby buildings, I saw the illuminated interiors of cozy hostels where families and friends gathered together.
We passed another Khimrox while wading through the rain—one who held its head and horns high, walking with a cheery gait despite the gloomy weather. Compared to the stale and oppressive atmosphere aboard the Ignis
, the settlement brimmed with life, even amidst the darkness of both night and storms.
Saffan led me forward to a quaint home with a metal awning that covered the railed porch. We walked up the steps and Saffan rapped on the door with his cobalt colored knuckles.
I hoped for Nia’s sake that her time away from the military had treated her well. Lord knows she deserved some respite. The door opened and Nia's face peeked out to greet us. “Saffan! Marcus! What are you two doing here?”
Saffan answered as I silently sat by. “Oh we were just passing through. Thought it might be a good idea to stop and pay you a visit.”
“Well don’t make yourself strangers. Come on in!” Saffan sat behind as I walked forward and gave his whole body a shake. Droplets flew from his body and slid off his slick feathers.
The home was a simple one, consisting of a main living room joined together with a kitchen. In the back of the home was a short hall leading to a middle door that stood between a pair of two others. In the living room, perched Tokieran, the same physician who had plunged into my mind to extract our language.
Immediately, he rose from where he rested and turned to face Saffan, “Captain!”
“Can’t be a captain without a ship, Toki.” The former captain waved away the words with a hand. “Saffan will do.”
“Oh. Uh, well, it's good to see you again, Saffan.”
“Likewise my friend. I’m certain you haven’t seen much of me considering your position during our time on the Ignis
. It’s a shame we didn’t brush wings more often. You seem like a fine fellow.”
As the two avians got to talking, Nia gave me a light punch on the shoulder. “So, how’ve things been going for you admiral
?” It was at this moment that I realized I was still in full military dress. Rather sheepishly, I pulled the hat from my head.
“Fine.” I muttered “You?”
A smile met her face. “Best I’ve felt since I enlisted.” She gave a look towards the two conversing Khimroxians. “It's still hard to believe any of this is real sometimes, ya know?”
I nodded. “Yeah. The Challenger
, the Ignis
, all of it. Feels like a dream now.”
Nia’s eyes stayed upon the owl-folk. “One of those dreams you don’t really want to wake up from.”
I gave a grunt of agreement. “I only wish all of the Khimroxians could share it with us.” This turned her towards me. Her smile curved down somewhat and she gave a slight nod. What the hell. She’s going to learn it soon enough anyways.
Rubbing the rim of my hat, I spoke softly. “Maybe soon, that will be possible.”
“The council’s declared war.”
Her eyes snapped to mine, the smile fully gone. The room fell silent. I hadn’t hoped the others would hear me, but those Khimrox had an impeccable sense of hearing. I shouldn’t have expected any less from them.
All eyes turned to me. “The Aurum Alliance is a threat to humanity, the Khimrox, and all of the other scions that we haven’t even met yet. I think we both know this was inevitable”
“No, I get it, it's just… Wow.” The woman ran a hand through her black, tied-back hair as she heaved a sigh.
This facade dropped almost immediately and Nia’s mouth turned into a wonderfully devilish grin. After a few light chuckles, she said, “Better late than never I suppose. Those spineless sons-of-alien-bitches’ll never know what hit ‘em!”
The expressions on the faces of both Saffan and Tokieran showed no less resolve. Even the formerly jumpy physician proudly displayed a newfound sense of will. “The triumvirate operates under the expectation that we won’t fight back,” said Toki. “They see us as little more than animals and It's time we took full advantage of that fact.”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” remarked Saffan.
If these willing warriors were in any way representative of the entire Human-Khimroxian collective, the battle against these golden tyrants would be over before we knew it.
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