An Introspection into Ink

This is non-writing related, but it has a connection with my blog’s name.

The term “neck plugged” is a tribute for my favourite anime: Ghost in the Shell. The philosophical implications of what being human is, the technology that has potential to be reached by our current innovations in the next few decades, and the sheer kick-ass action of Major Makoto Kusanagi are what drew me to this series. My current thesis project is also a direct inspiration from this.

I am thinking of a further tribute for my love of GiTS. For years now, I have been pondering on getting a tattoo. I’ve always wanted to get one, but I know that I should not be getting one just for the sheer heck of it. Having something permanent in your skin is not an easy thing to consider. I’m not sure my pain threshold includes having a needle slightly stabbing into your skin in rapid frequency, as well as the concerns on just really how long I can stave off not donating blood in case of emergencies are some of my other hesitations.

But now, I’m seriously thinking of getting one: the neck plugs in GiTS. These are the two designs I’m considering:

I like the shading in this design, giving it a 3D effect. Thing is, this is definitely more complicated and would take a longer time to finish.

This is a simpler design, but I find it TOO simple. These are the two best neck data ports I can find in the net.

What if I choose something that is a crossover between the two? Is it even possible? I need some thoughts out there, please! I’m thinking of doing this as a birthday gift to myself. 🙂

Speculations Reprise

This piece is inspired by another friend’s wordpress.com post. It was utterly strange to find a pair of shoes on the sidewalk, seemingly forgotten despite it’s apparent sturdiness and lack of wear and tear. But then again, I like the strange and weird. This is a flash fiction based from that one picture. I hope you enjoy. 🙂

****

He wasn’t running fast enough.

He rushed past people along Alabang-Zapote Road, past the jeeps stalled with the forever traffic from the Toyota area until Molito mini-mall, past the motors and bikes ka-zooming in and out of the jeeps, trying to get ahead.

They’re still after you!” Jenny’s voice buzzed in his ear. He slammed the earphone further into the ear canal to keep it from falling off.

“No shit,” he panted. They’d been chasing after him for at least 15 minutes now, and while he could still hold out, he wasn’t sure how much longer. He had already thrown several spells at them in an attempt to distract them, to no avail. He could feel the chill that emanated from the Beasts, creatures that forever hunted his kind. He could feel the deathly cold even when they were a kilometre away. And still they were coming after him.

“How can they find me?” he demanded. He heard clacking noises in the background –  Jenny’s fingers flying over three keyboards, with two extra at her feet where her toes were just as frantic in typing. “Wait up! Calculating!

“Calculate faster!” he screamed. He had now turned into Investment Drive, where the traffic was lighter. He got stares from the traffic enforcer who sat at the corner of the street, resting from the heat under the tree. He didn’t care; humans would never be able to understand as they wouldn’t see nor hear the Beasts anyway. He could already hear his breathing getting heavier. This was bad.

Got it!” Jenny said. “Get rid of the shoes!

“What!” He was about to turn left into Trade Avenue.

Just get the shoes off! Trust me!

He swore with a gasp. “And these were just bought last month!” he muttered as he wriggled off from them. With that, he ran off once more.

Go to Page One! NOW!

He turned into Acacia and skidded to a stop in front of the building. Wheezes clambered out of his lungs as he willed his breath to calm down. He glanced up and saw the Beasts just reaching where he stopped and removed his shoes. Their huge maws nearly touched the ground as they sniffed the shoes, but then he could hear their growls of frustration before running off again.

The Beasts turned right into Acacia and he readied himself. He didn’t want to fight them here with civilians still around, but he’ll have to if need be. The Beasts passed him with nary a glance. He stared at the retreating figures before they disappeared left into Commerce.

Wow. It actually worked.” Jenny’s voice was wistful, almost amazed. His eyes went wide as the moon.

“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

 

Protection

Hours later, Joshun came down from the second floor of their sleeping quarters. Immediately, Aishinn stepped in front of him and bounced on the balls of her feet, looking at him in anticipation. He nodded his head in the direction of Anya’s room, and she quickly scrambled upstairs with a wide smile. Later, he would find her curled up with Anya, fast asleep. Their fingers will be intertwined as they held hands in slumber.

Terra smiled a bit. “Aishinn has always adored Anya,” she murmured. “It’s like having another baby sister.” Joshun sighed. “Good lord, not another one,” he muttered. He allowed the twins and Drugar to leave and report back tomorrow, but Slynn and Terra stayed with him. Joshun busied himself with putting the lanterns up and getting dinner ready. 

“So, you’re really doing this?” Slynn asked Joshun as they ate in the quiet of the incoming evening. “You’re really going to block Pleoz from seeing her?”

“He should be thankful that’s all I’m doing,” Joshun said. He tore off a piece of bread with his teeth. “You’re taking this all too personally, Joshun,” Terra cautioned. 

Joshun stopped chewing and slowly turned his head to regard his second. He swallowed as he bore his eyes into her. “My little sister almost DIED just a few hours ago, Terra,” he said in a low voice. “You tell me if I won’t be taking what he caused in her personally, because it’s fuck like I will NOT.”

Terra put her hands up in mock surrender. “I’m merely saying that Daron is influential, even with the Emperor himself. And EVEN without his father’s help. He could very well ask the Emperor to place us in some kind of restriction.”

“He won’t do that, not if he’ll bring up what he’s just done as well,” Joshun replied. “He’s too damn arrogant and proud. He’ll try to work it out on his own. I know his style.” Slynn lifted his mug to them. “Hear, hear. I concur. He thinks he can do everything by himself.”

“What bothers me is how he’s so set on seeing her, now that there is talk of him getting engaged. Won’t that jeopardize what he has with that noblewoman?”

“Anya is now seen as a challenge, and Daron HATES to walk away from challenges,” Joshun growled. “Especially now that he knows of her feelings for him. He doesn’t let women get away from him easily.” Slynn nodded again. 

Terra coughed a laugh while she sneered. “That’s so chauvinistic,” she chuckled. “Well, he’ll have to deal with the ever-protective older brother then. As well as us.”

“Thank you,” Joshun said. He looked at Terra and Slynn. “Aishinn will have to stay with her for a while. She presents the least amount of threat, at least visually. I’ll allow her to go back to the royal laboratories. The rest of you will go back to the usual posts to make sure that Daron thinks he has a chance.”

“Are you sure she can handle it? Anya?” Slynn asked. Joshun nodded. “She may be heartbroken, but she’s strong. She’s stronger than me.” With that, he took a long draught from his ale. The rest of the dinner continued in silence.

Homecoming

The crowd looked on, curious with Commander Joshun as he carried his sister Anya in his arms through the town streets. No one could see her face, as it was buried in his shoulder and the Commander’s grim expression prevented anyone from looking straight at them. Terra and Slynn followed closely behind, their own faces tense. As soon as they passed, though, the murmurs flew. 

In the Commander’s house, Joshun laid his sleeping sister in her room. She had cried herself to sleep as they were hauled up from the cliff and transferred onto solid ground by the rest of his men. Daron had long disappeared by that time, and it was a good thing too. If Joshun saw him still waiting there, a sword would have stuck through him by now, politician’s son or not. 

Outside, Terra and Slynn lounged by the door. There were also a handful of his other trusted men along: Kep, Drugar, Aishinn and Tolt. They all made sure that their Commander had utmost privacy to take care of his sister. No one was to be granted entry, not even the Emperor himself. 

Galloping could be heard in the distance, and the knights looked up to see Daron rushing across the hills to the house. Even as the horse still cantered, Daron leapt down a few yards away and ran towards them. “Anya!” he cried. “Is she alright? Is she–” He stopped as two very sharp swords met just a hair’s breadth from his throat.

“You don’t need to see her,” Terra said, her voice low and soft. Her face was calm, but there was steel in her eyes. Slynn’s expression was the same. “In fact, it’s better that you don’t ever see her again.”

“What?” Daron hissed. He looked at the two soldiers. “Release your blades. You’re threatening a High Noble!”

“You’re just a man like anyone else,” Slynn grated. “And like any man, easy to kill.”

“Anya’s my friend, you idiot!” Daron cried. “I want to see her!”

“Really? Didn’t look like you were a friend to her a few hours ago,” Terra growled. “And I doubt that even if you get past us, you’ll get past the Commander as well. You’re now branded, Daron of the Pleoz clan. I suggest you heed our warnings if you want to remain alive.”

Daron was about to say something else, but he noticed that the others were circling around him. He may have had military training, but these were the BEST. And six against one was not fair game. He frowned. “This isn’t over,” he said. “I do care for Anya.” With a final defiant look at the group, he turned for his horse. The group watched stoically as he rode away.

Tolt looked up to see a shadow disappear from a window and he pointed. “Yes, we know,” Terra replied. “The Commander is aware as well. At least Anya’s safe now.”

“We’re really going to keep that noble from seeing Anwu* Anya?” Aishinn piped up, her eyes huge with curiosity. Drugar nodded. “We keep her safe from that womanizer,” his soft voice rumbled from his huge frame. “It’s our duty.”

“Yay!” Aishinn hopped. “She won’t see that bad man any more! She won’t cry again!” 

“Doesn’t mean—” Kep began.

“That Daron will stop trying,” his twin Drugar finished. 

“Then we’ll block him at each chance,” Terra said. She smiled. “We’re the Imperial Paladins, after all.”

*Anwu = older sister, like “ate” in Filipino

Safety

The fog swallowed Anya up, and she welcomed the chill that embraced her. She actually had a sense of satisfaction in seeing Daron’s shocked face as she stepped off the cliff. At least it will be over soon. She closed her eyes as she fell to her death. She was ready for it. She deserved it. She…

She fell on a net of steel that made her bounce slightly as soon as she landed. She gasped in shock. How? Who?

“Got her!” a voice cried out. Then, she felt movement on the net, as though someone else was on it and moved towards her. From the fog, she could see a man’s silhouette that slowly cleared. She gasped as she saw who it was. “Joshun!”

His eyes blazed with fury. She could only lie on her back and stare at her older brother as he loomed over her. “What were you thinking?” he demanded. “What do you think you were trying to do?”

“Joshun, I–“

“What am I to gain with your death, huh? TELL ME!” he roared. “What would I gain in losing you? Where’s the equivalent exchange there?” Her eyes widened as she saw for the first time: tears that rolled down her brother’s cheeks. 

Her own eyes shimmered. “I’m sorry!” she cried. Her hands covered her face as she sobbed. “I’m sorry!” Joshun’s arms went around her and pulled her to him. “You’re my only family left,” his voice cracked through his tears. “I cannot allow you to die like this. Never!”

At the cliff trees where the nets were hooked, Slynn and Terra looked at each other in relief. “We got to her in time,” Slynn remarked. “It was a good idea to trail her.”

Terra sighed and rubbed her shoulders wearily. “I’ve never seen the Commander like that,” she said. “Goes to show that he’s human, after all.”

“Only with his sister around,” Slynn said. He looked at her and grinned. “That’s a nice bargaining chip, don’t you think?”

Terra chuckled. “Not unless you want your balls chopped off,” she retorted. She looked at how brother and sister clung to each other, suspended over more than 50 feet from the jagged rocks below. She smiled. “Let’s give them a few more minutes, then let’s haul ’em up. I want to go home.”

Falling

She looked at him with a gentle smile on her lips. The sun was settling down for the night, and its rays warmed one half of her face while the other half remained in shadow. That would be the last time he’d see that expression. It was the gentlest, loveliest sight he ever saw.

“When you find that someone who will make your heart open again, that’s when I disappear.” His expression changed from anticipation to dread as he stared at her. “What… What are you talking about?” he demanded.

Her smile widened. “It’s equivalent exchange. You will always lose something in order to gain something. An alchemist like me will always follow that rule. You’ve found someone to love, Daron. Someone who isn’t me.” 

She took a step back. “NO!” he shouted.

“I’m sorry, Daron,” Anya said, “but I must be the one to break your word. You’ve already lost me the moment you said you’ve fallen in love. When I was just right here, waiting.

“Goodbye, Daron. I’ve always loved you. Be happy.”

With one final step backwards, she fell from the cliff.