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Monday, December 17, 2018

M³ Tactics Over Brutality


            So, on one level, we have Diomedes kicking ass, and we’ll get back to the main man after this, but first we have to deal with a subtler battle. Who is the better god of war? In the red corner, we have Ares, God of War. In the gold corner, we have Athena Goddess of Wisdom (and war, and crafts, and a few other things).
            Since Ares only has one specialty, it would be easy to think that he’d naturally be better at it, and he’s quite good at laying waste to people on the battlefield. But the Greeks are also commenting on the nature of warfare when it comes to the Iliad. Ares has no finesse, he’s waded onto the battle field and killing the enemy, indiscriminately.
Athena, however, is much more precise in her targets. She wants Diomedes to keep an eye out for Aphrodite and take her out. After that, it’s all about Ares. This is good tactical sense, using her best resources against the enemy’s strongest warriors. Before Diomedes confronts Ares, the Greeks “always backward / gave way, as they saw how Ares went with the Trojans” (V 700-701). The god is just too much to stand against and will eventually demoralize the Greeks to the point of full retreat if left unchecked. Areas must be dealt with, and it will take the best the Greeks can send against him, which is Diomedes. Not Achilles.
Diomedes could have done the same thing, waded into the fight in a different place to simply massacre the Trojans, but this would be tactically unsound. Though battle lines fluctuate back and forth, they don’t often bubble. Armies give ground as a whole because bubbles can be cut off from the rest of the group and destroyed (what should have happened to Jon Snow, don’t get me started).
In order to win, Ares must be dealt with so that the entire army can progress. Athena’s choice is clear. Zeus even knows this as he “set[s] against [Ares] the spoiler Athene, / who beyond all others is the one to visit harsh pains upon him” (V 764-765). With just these few words, it’s clear that the better god of war is the goddess Athena. Ares makes war through the use of overwhelming force in either raw ability or numbers. There is no finesse to his fighting.
As the goddess of wisdom, Athena’s game is nothing but finesse. She could have chosen to do like Ares. She could have taken the guise of some Greek warrior and led a direct battle against Ares, but this was not her way. Instead, she stood by Diomedes and let him bet the one to challenge and dispatch Ares.
I don’t know if she could have taken on Ares directly because that’s not her way of war, it’s his. As the goddess of wisdom, she is deliberate in her actions, which are often not direct. She confronts him in her way, indirectly, wisely, and with the best warrior the Greeks can offer, whose only talents for direct battle are enough (with a little lean-in from Athena) to drive Ares away.
In a very real sense, this is an evaluation by the Greeks that tactics and strategy in battle will always win out over blind force. This will later be borne out as the Greek victory comes from the deception of the Trojan Horse, an indirect strategy as opposed to open warfare.
Athena is, by far, the more deadly of the gods of war. Superior tactics and strategy will overcome even armies of greater numbers and strength. Diomedes’s defeat of Ares on the battlefield demonstrates this understanding.



Friday, December 14, 2018

F³ The Vote


            I sat in a circle of other men, most of whom had their needs tended to by statuesque women in tight, revealing clothing. One man sat at the “head” of the table with a gold-bound gavel. I was dressed in the expensive suit I had bought just for coming into the Fairhaven Club, which I only did when absolutely necessary.
            My membership had first been bought by Max Auron to conduct business, but had been perpetuated by Nikki, which was why I was here, today.
            Two ceremonial raps of the gavel by the chairman. “Let us come to the last order of business.” He added an unhealthy cough, reminding me of the age of everyone here.
            The white-haired and balding men grumbled among their ranks, while the younger crowd looked determined.
            “Once again, the issue has been raised whether to open membership to women. Having heard all discussions, I call the vote. Is there a second?”
            Several men quickly chimed in with their “Second.”
            “Point of order, Mr. Chairman.” The young man three down from me stood for emphasis. “I object to this vote being held in the absence of our sole female member, Ms. Alexander.”
            Grumbles from the old guard started to rise and the younger started speaking loudly, but the gavel cut off the uprising before it become a full-on shouting match.
            “Your objection is overruled Mr. Hansen. Mr. Allen, there,” he pointed at me with the gavel, “carries Ms. Alexander’s proxy.”
            That caught Hansen completely off-guard as he slapped the table for dramatic effect, then opened his mouth and stared at me, dumbfounded.
            “I withdraw my objection,” he finally got out.
            Beside me, one of the men nodded in my direction.
            “All in favor,” the chairman said.
            Hands went up on the side of the younger men, but not mine.
            The friendly nod before turned into a scowl.
            “All against?”
            I raised my hand.
            “Ayes 9, nays 10. The issue is denied,” the chairman announced, tapping the gavel. “You and your allies may bring the issue again according to the bylaws, Mr. Hansen.”
            Hansen and his allies stormed out as the older crowd passed congratulations among themselves.
            I shook my head and walked out, wanting to be away from the idiocy of the Fairhaven Club.



Monday, December 10, 2018

M³ Ares v Diomedes


            In the case of Ares v Diomedes, Athena represents the butt-kicker, err, the defendant. The plaintiff contends that because he is a god, he will automatically win any battle with a mortal. Furthermore, he seeks to provide evidence of this with his willful slaughter of many, many Greeks on the field of battle outside of Troy.
            For the Defendant, Athena seeks to prove that Ares is a blundering idiot who only knows how to swing a sword or jab a spear while invisible to the eyes of the Greeks, and that a hero of sufficient courage can defeat the god.
            Sorry, no, Zeus is not presiding over this case, we’re doing this old-school, trial by combat.
            Ares takes to the battlefield and just starts slaughtering Greeks wholesale, and they have no idea who or what is doing this because all they can see is that soldiers are getting cut down by something they can’t see. They just try to avoid the area, but Ares keeps wading into them. Well, everyone avoids him, even Diomedes.
            No, he’s not afraid, Athena told him point-blank that he was only allowed to go after Aphrodite. But now she rescinds that order. In fact, she hops into the chariot with him and aims for Ares. Somehow, she also has gotten the helmet of Hades, and makes herself completely invisible to Ares.
            Ares, though, sees Diomedes, and likewise charges him. They’re both going full-tilt at each other. Ares stabs out, and Athena deflects the blow. Diomedes stabs, and Athena helps by leaning into it. And boom, “Ares the brazen bellowed with a sound as great as nine thousand men make, or ten thousand” (V 859-860).
            And then he’s gone. He doesn’t stick around. The god of war is unused to being injured and can likewise not handle it. Yes, Athena helped a little more this time, but, really, Diomedes could’ve done the job himself. She only leaned into the blow. What’s truly impressive is the fortitude of human beings vs that of the gods. Two gods can only take one injury before they go running back to Olympus.
Diomedes is not a perfect warrior. Before Athena found him again, he had been “cooling the wound that Pandaros made with the cast of his arrow . . . and wiped the dark blot of blood away” (794, 797), but he did so with style, not really noticing anything other than an entire day’s exhaustion from fighting the Trojans, Aphrodite, and Apollo. He’s just taking five and doesn’t hesitate to answer Athena’s call to do battle with Ares. He’s all in.



Friday, December 7, 2018

F³ WIP Getaway Driver


            The car raced away, slamming me into the door before I could brace myself. Nikki continued to to give her impression of a street racer, tearing into turns and squealing tires. I fumbled my belt on, then took a look at Reese, who was like a doll in the back seat, sliding around, boneless. Her eyes were open, making the effect particularly creepy.
            “Reese! Wake up!”
            Nothing.
            “Your efforts to rouse her can wait until we have secured our escape, Matthew.”
            My eyes went up to the rear window, scanning for signs of another car or even a will o’wisp dancing in pursuit.
            “I don’t see anything,” I told Nikki. “You might want to make us more discreet.”
            “Blend in as it were?”
            “Yeah.”
            “Not easy to do so long as we are in a Lexus in Shoreward.”
            “Yeah, but I don’t think the fae woman is up on which car models belong in which part of town. They can probably hear squealing tires, though.”
            “A valid point.”
            Her driving became more commuter and less racer, and I settled back into my seat.



Monday, December 3, 2018

M³ Lover Not A Fighter


            We’ll get into why Athena wants to hurt Aphrodite, later (it’s a really good story with appropriate trash-talk). For now, however, all we need to know is that Athena has authorized the use of force against Aphrodite. She does, indeed, take to the field of battle. She has no actual interest in the outcome of the war. Instead, she’s there to protect her son Aeneas because Diomedes will wreck him. Actually, he pretty much did wreck him. He smashed his hip joint pretty badly. He was going to die.

Friday, November 30, 2018

F³ WIP A Hasty Plan


            Nikki covered my mouth with her hand after my jaw had dropped open. She put a finger to her lips, reminding me of the need to be quiet.
            What the hell is Reese doing here? How did she know to come here? I sent her out of the room when I took Collins’s call. Same with Nikki’s. She may have been able to tail me to Nikki’s, but she wouldn’t have seen us leave in her car. Forget it. That’s for later. Need to focus. If she’s lucky, the drug dealers will just kill her. If she’s very unlucky, Daniels or the fae will deal with her.
            I nodded to Nikki and she pulled her hand away, but she leaned in right next to my ear. “Who is she?” Her whisper was barely audible.

Monday, November 26, 2018

M³ Diomedes's Gifts


            We cut away from Zeus for the moment to tackle an important myth that will directly relate to him. We’ve seen some things about Zeus over the years, going all the way back to Prometheus, but also manifesting in subtle ways with Perseus and Hercules. We’ve also encountered the other gods, which have their impact on this.

Friday, November 23, 2018

F³ Celestial Thanksgiving


            The crew of Calypso gathered in the common area for a sumptuous a spread as they ever truly had. There were no special delicacies, but some good home cooking as well as the crops from the hydroponics bays. The highlights, of course, being the two pies, apple and pumpkin, that perfumed the entire room.

Monday, November 19, 2018

M³ Zeus's Job


            So, now that Zeus has established that he will no longer be a tyrant, what, exactly, does he do as king?
            Pause for jokes about who Zeus does.
            You got it out of your system, yet?
            Okay, I’ll wait.

Friday, November 16, 2018

F³ Birthday Wish


            It’s my birthday, not Matt’s (which is in April), but I feel like writing this.

            The phone rang entirely too loudly and too early in the morning. I fumbled in the dark for the phone, finally pulling the cordless receiver to my ear.
            “What?” I growled.
            “Happy Birthday, Uncle Matt!” came an enthusiastic, teenage girl’s yell from the other end.
            I pushed the receiver away, trying futilely to muffle it.