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 Thundershock

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PostSubject: Thundershock   Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:25 am

Fine Fantasy is a unicorn, slightly above average height (mostly thanks to her legs) and noticeably below average weight. Her coat is extremely pale, just barely colored enough to not be pure white, and her mane and tail are short but thick and curly, dark auburn with a vibrant sapphire blue streak. Her cutie mark is a white quill.

She had been on a luxurious cruise ship in the tropical region of the Celestial Sea, dancing and singing and making friends and eating a lot of food. Then disaster had struck.

BOOOONG!

Fantasy screamed as the pod tumbled through the air, the thunderbird having not actually seen its position due to it being stuck and concealed in a cloud, and just grazed it and sent it flying those extra yards needed to get Fantasy into the city and within safety's reach. It bounced on the airborne ground like a rubber ball, clanging loudly all the way, and finally rolled to a stop under a tree.

Fantasy groaned. She was on her back, staring at the seats (one of which had been smashed in half), and probably definitely bruised in a lot of places. She slowly rolled over and got up to her hooves, nearly banging her head on the slanted floor, and crawled out of the pod through the windshield.

She looked around. She was in a park, definitely, given all the trees and flowers and the pond and streams, and benches. Unusually empty for a park, though: only a few earth pony gardeners and a pegasus guard of some kind. Definitely not a royal guard. Beyond the park, she could see... well... a lot.

The park seemed to be part of a very distinct subsection of the city that was full of bright, colorful buildings and spires, decorated with banners and flags and flora and fauna and precious metals and gems. It was stunning, and almost festive.

Surrounding this subsection, from the air, reminiscent of an amphitheatre, was what she could safely assume was the pegasus subsection of the city. The houses got bigger and more elaborate the higher they went, and one part in particular looked to be very important. Was that the town hall? It looked like a government building, but it was pretty clearly only accessible to pegasi. Were pegasi the ruling class here? Could also explain the weird structure of their subsection: it seemed like they were looking down on everypony else, watching them.

Fantasy reconsidered the excessively colorful and festive buildings. Oh fuck, is this going to be a dystopia thing? She wondered how much more of this city there was to see. Slums? An underground, for slaves or rebels?

A screech reminded her of the thunderbird chasing after her, and she rushed to hide in a bush. The giant bird landed roughly on the ground in front of the wrecked pod, sniffed it, then smashed it underclaw. It exploded, blasting the bird back and causing it to screech in pain as its foot was injured. It fell onto its back and scrambled up, then took to the air and flew toward the presumed town hall.

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:23 pm

Northern Wind is a Pegasus guard in this dystopian city.  He'd have a rather bulky build, but only slightly taller than average for a stallion.  His coat would be a smooth grey, short cut and nicely trimmed.  His wings would be significantly larger than what would seem normal for his size and they'd appear to be incredibly well maintained.  His tail would be a mix of blue and dark purple, neatly split down the middle.  His mane would be the same color, though short cut and hidden under an ornate helmet.  He'd be wearing a set of silver-tinted metal armour with a helmet, chest plate on his midsection, and boots.  His flank would be mostly exposed, though there would be a strange absence of a cutie mark.

He had been keeping watch in the garden as Fantasy made her rather explosive entrance.  After the pod had exploded and the thunderbird had flown off he took to the sky, glancing over to the earthpony gardeners.  He'd speak loudly and sternly to them,  "Don't stop working!"  before flying over towards the destroyed pod.

He'd inspect the pod for a few moments before looking around, trying to see if he could find any ponies or perhaps bodies.  He'd slowly circle around the pod from the air for a few minutes before lowering to the ground.  He'd clear his throat before announcing loudly.  "If anypony is around, make your presence known this instance!"  His tone would sound very authoritarian.
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:41 pm

The gardeners fearfully turned away from the disturbance. The pod scraps continued to smoke and some pieces were still on fire.

Fantasy remained hidden in the bush, wondering what to do. She could just reveal herself, simplifying and potentially clearing this up in a matter of minutes. However, she didn't know how she'd be received: as a unicorn, as an outsider, or as a potential threat. She could try to sneak away... no. She couldn't quietly move through the foliage as quickly as the pegasus could search them. Hm...

"I-i-is it gone?" she stammered from the bush.

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:47 pm

North would lift his head up upon hearing Fantasy's voice. Taking a step back from the wreckage to avoid the heat from the small fires. He'd turn to face the bush where he heard it from, moving closer to it though remaining at a distance for now. He'd tilt his head a bit before speaking. "Please come out of the bush this instant. What happened here? Who am I speaking to?" His voice would still sound stern, though less-so than previously.
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:20 am

Fantasy slowly crawled out of the bush and stood up. She was still soaked, and covered in welts, cuts, and leaves and dirt. She briefly considered giving a false name, but then thought that'd be entirely pointless, as they wouldn't recognize her with her real or fake name. Then again, if she gets in trouble here and somepony wants to come after her...

"U-uh... P-Penstroke." Fantasy answered. Should she add a "sir" or an "officer"? Did they call them officers? Probably best to remain silent and avoid accidentally saying a foreign word or phrase. The pegasus would probably correct her, anyways. As for everything else... how did she explain... herself? "And I... there..." She pointed at the pod's remains. "A pod... flew up out of the clouds, and the thunderbird followed it, and... I got scared, and jumped into the lake, but I couldn't hold my breath long enough and I jumped into the bushes." As she spoke, Fantasy's body language became progressively more hesitant and meek, her voice flat but quiet and her head hanging more and more from timidity and faked embarrassment.

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:51 am

North's face would turn a bit sour at the lack of a 'sir' as Fantasy gave her 'name' though this expression quickly changes to confusion as she begins to detail what happened. His head would dart from the wreck, to Fantasy, then off towards the government building the Thunderbird flew off towards. He'd seem to be trying to take in and piece together all the information, though it only makes him more confused. He'd look back towards Fantasy, speaking in a softer tone than previously. "W-where are you from, Penstroke?"
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:59 am

OH GOD SHIT WHY'D HE HAVE TO ASK THAT OH NO. "Uhm- H-Horseshoe Avenue." she tried. It could've been a street here, and if not she'd try to pass it off as a new street.

God, if this backfired she was going to have to find a good disguise.

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:04 pm

North would look away, seeming to think before looking back to the mare. "Uhh... I don't recall that being a street in the unicorn district." He'd begin to give the mare an inquisitive look, seeming to not really buy the story she's currently making.
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:34 pm

"I-it's a new one." Fantasy stammered, smiling sheepishly.

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:55 pm

North would raise an eyebrow at Fantasy, seeming to not really buy this story too. "Well then, you wouldn't mind showing me where it is then, would you?" He'd smirk slightly as he says this before glancing back to the wreckage. "Well, after I deal with this mess."
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:44 pm

Fantasy blinked. "Sure!" Shit! "After you deal with the... that, of course." Okay, run now? While his back is turned? No, he'd probably be checking on her, and he could definitely catch up to her. Probably better to lose him in a crowd.

Once he started his work, Fantasy looked around some more. Wouldn't hurt to make sure that running now was out of the question. The park was well-maintained and had two halves to it: one more of a high-end garden (with some pegasus-centered garden art) and the one she and the guard stood in a little more wild and natural. The wild part was rather dense in some areas, which could make for good cover if Fantasy could make up for the loss of speed that would come with maneuvering through the foliage. Which she couldn't. She was about as graceful as a drunkard.

Fantasy noticed that her commotion had also drawn attention from not just the pegasus guard: a few earth pony gardeners were staring at them, or at least definitely hadn't been staring whenever Fantasy or the guard looked their way. They looked miserable: their manes were gone and tails cut as short as possible, their colors were desaturated, and they looked like they had about as much self-esteem as Fluttershy. One of them, a brown blank-flank mare with a hint of rusty orange on her head and saddlebags over her back, seemed especially interested in Fantasy, so much so in fact that she didn't seem to fear Fantasy catching her in the act, judging by her slower reactions.

Fantasy looked back at the guard every now and again to check his progress, but looked at the brown mare a few more times; she was pretty.

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:57 pm

North would be using his wings to put out the remaining fires. The task would take him several minutes though he would eventually put them out.  He'd start clearing a bit of wreckage before looking towards the Earth ponies.  He'd halt his work and fly over to them, landing in front of them and clearing his throat.  "Since you all seem to distracted from your jobs I'll give you a new one.  Start clearing this wreckage!  And you!  North would point to brown mare.  "Go notify the other guards of what happened here, then come right back and help the others clear this!"  He'd turn to Fantasy, speaking softer to her.  "Penstroke, lead me to your home... if it exists.  If it doesn't then I'm going to have to take you for questioning.
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:20 am

Shiiiiit. Fantasy gave what was meant to be a confident smile, but instead came out incredibly nervous. "Of course, sir. Follow me." She started walking, heading for the nearest way out of the park and into the city... and as soon as she made that plan she realized she didn't know a thing about this place. Regardless of her intentions to lose the guard, her wandering would tip him off eventually to the fact that she had no idea what she was doing, and if he spoke up in the middle of a crowded street there could be a lot of witnesses to her guilt, making disguise and escape all the more difficult...

Maybe it would be best to just tell the truth. Explain that she wasn't from here and had wound up here because of a thunderbird colossus and a pod in a lighthouse... she'd explain it better than that. There was still the issue of possible xenophobia that reached such extremes as to see her guillotined at the first opportunity, but maybe she could convince them to let her go. After all, she had no idea where she was and wasn't exactly interested in becoming a citizen (or a rebel), she just wanted to go home. Although, the thought of leaving the earth ponies under this oppressive regime without even a real effort to help them gave her a little more than a twinge of guilt.

She tried to look back at the earth ponies one more time, hoping that they'd provide a solution some way, but she ended up meeting the guard's eye by accident and quickly faced forward again.

As she wandered the streets of the unicorn (sub)city, Fantasy couldn't help but gawk (or sometimes cringe). Many of the sidewalks were painted, sometimes a different color of the rainbow on each brick, or elaborate swirls of color, or one solid color for an entire block. Some sidewalks were even closed off for re-painting, which was carefully done by unicorns. The buildings were also colorful and elaborate, usually, and the decoration seemed to be themed after whatever service the building provided (a lot of these were businesses, and usually for entertainment or products at that), leading Fantasy to believe that the majority of the bold colors and gorgeous (or inadvisable) decorations were mainly for advertisement and standing out, which turned the city as a whole into a huge mess of colors where nothing truly stood out because everything was designed to.

In regards to the citizens, Fantasy was reminded of Canterlot, in that many ponies wore expensive-looking clothes and had their manes perfectly styled. Well, many unicorns. The earth ponies were bare and maneless, many of them were desaturated, and Fantasy saw more than a few blank-flanks. Some of them were pulling chariots, others were holding trash bins (in their mouths, ew), many of them were cleaning something and a few were following unicorns or sometimes pegasi around, very focused on the pony if they were speaking or staring at the pony's hooves if they weren't.

A few times, Fantasy forgot that she was supposed to be heading somewhere, and eventually she sighed and stopped near a busy outdoor diner. "Okay, I'm done." She turned to face the guard. "I don't know where I'm doing or if there's a Horseshoe Avenue. I'm completely new here and I wound up here by accident because of that giant thunderbird and the pod was also an accident but if I hadn't found it I'd be dead right now and I don't know what this place's policy is on foreigners and I lied because I was scared and didn't want to be executed on the spot because I really want to go home."

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:43 am

North would stop in his tracks as Fantasy, rather quickly, throws a ton of information at him. He'd tilt his head for a moment, the gears in his head screeching a bit before he fully takes in what she said. He'd then seem to become nervous, his eyes darting around as he tries to remember something. He'd give up and look into Fantasy's eyes. "Y-you're new here? What do you mean by that? How could you-" He'd pause as it finally clicks in his head, his expression going blank. "An outsider..."
He'd take a big breath before taking on the same stern, authoritarian voice he used for the Earth Ponies. "You're going to have to come with me right now. If you resist you'll only make it harder."
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:47 am

Fantasy jerked back, her ears immediately flattening against her head. She stammered and squeaked, and eventually got some words out, "D-d-d-don't hurt me..."

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:52 am

North would sigh, losing the 'officer voice' for a moment. "If you comply I won't hurt you. I'd be lying if I said this is common. You need to come with me so we can... figure out what to do with you."
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:04 am

Fantasy nodded slowly. "Okay. Okay then."

North's "authority" voice had attracted the attention of a few diners and bypassers, and the crowd of gawkers multiplied by the second. Just by the end of their little exchange a clog in traffic had accumulated around them, and as the bystanders realized the event was over they moved quickly to continue their own business and avoid inconveniencing the pegasus guard.

"Lead the way." Fantasy said, nodding in the general direction behind North. "Uh... sir. Uh, is "sir" the correct term here?"

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:26 am

North nods to her in acknowledgement. Yes, uhh, 'sir' is usually what I'm called. He'd lower himself to the ground, motioning for her to hop on his back. "You're going to have to ride on my back for the trip. Might not be the most comfortable way, but you don't really have many options."
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:36 am

"Yeah, lack of wings and all." Fantasy agreed, climbing onto his back as gently as she could. "So where exactly are we going?"

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:00 pm

North would shift a little under the new passenger, though it doesn't take him long to get to a comfortable position. He'd extend his wings out before leaning his head back to speak to Fantasy. "You'll see soon enough." He'd take off, flying at a steady, though not fast pace off towards the Pegasus section of the city, specifically towards the government building Fantasy noticed before.
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:43 am

The amphitheatre style of the pegasus section turned out to be only a small part of the whole. As the guard took Fantasy higher and higher into the air, she could see that the clouds leveled out at the top. Buildings beyond the central bowl formation varied more in size and style, and there was sometimes significant space between each building. The buildings were elaborate like below, but in very different ways as clouds are generally very monochrome and there was very little non-cloud material around: the structures were outrageous and relied heavily on shadows and varying cloud densities, and a lot of rainbows depending on where you looked. It was a cloud city, a city for the elite, all but entirely separate from the unicorns and earth ponies down below.

North took Fantasy to one of the highest buildings in the amphitheatre, a moderately busy one with a few prisoners, mostly earth ponies and a few unicorns, going in and out, although some of the ones that came back out went around to the back of the building, to a cloud mound that strongly resembled a miniature cumulonimbus with...

...with the thunderbird sitting on top.

Fantasy decided not to watch the thunderbird. She'd seen enough of what it did to ponies already. She could still hear it, though, faintly...

They arrived at the steps of the building, which were made of white marble so Fantasy could get off of North. She shifted her weight experimentally to test the integrity of the marble, not that it looked unsafe but that Fantasy had an innate distrust of thin platforms hanging over a great height. She looked up. The building was very Greek in style, mainly in the columns, and was very notably un-outrageous. She saw a golden insignia (that was the word for it, right?) of a scale with the thunderbird sitting on top of it, wings fully extended. So... apparently this bird played some vital role to their government. That wasn't foreboding.

They walked in. The interior was huge, large enough to comfortably shelter a dragon. Everything was mostly made of marble and steel (or a material that looked like steel), obviously designed to make ponies feel small and cold. It was also, like the building's exterior, rather plain, with metal trimming and the marble's own imperfections making up most of the decoration. Excepting this were the mirrors and the ceiling.

The mirrors covered the walls on either side of Fantasy. She wasn't sure if they were meant to make the building seem even bigger, force her to look at herself, or both. She thought they were very good for the former, though: it was almost dizzying looking in either direction to see infinite ponies and pillars reaching all the way into the distant pitch blackness that wasn't truly there.

The ceiling was very similar to what Fantasy might expect to see in an old English Catholic church. The entire thing was painted with painstaking detail, depicting pegasi making clouds and cloud buildings and holding scrolls and talking amongst themselves, surely about important matters, while unicorns stood on cloud-cradled platforms and sang, danced, jested, painted, or performed pretty magic, and earth ponies tended to crops, performed custodial duties, and sometimes stood close by to personally assist a unicorn or pegasus in menial ways.

There was some nice layering to it, too: in the center was the pegasus amphitheatre, outwards from that was a beautiful borderline-abstract depiction of the unicorn sub-city, outwards from that were farms and simple huts where most of the earth ponies seemed to work and live, with the occasional pegasus guard or weatherpony who would be assisting a farmer, and outwards from that was another ring of clouds, depicting the residential part of the pegasus city. The final layer, at either end of the long ceiling, depicted the thunderbird soaring down from dark storm clouds, talons outstretched and shooting lightning from each claw, its wings and glowing eyes crackling with electricity, and screaming at enemy ponies below it who were either on land or aboard a ship, depending on which end of the ceiling you were at.

Moving on from the building itself (the ceiling proved to be distracting enough for Fantasy to bump into two earth ponies and a pegasus, who whapped her painfully on the horn for it), Fantasy found herself rather startled by the sentries here. They all wore dark blue armor and helmets modeled after their thunderbird (it actually reminded her of ancient Griffonian armor that she'd seen in museums), including gold-colored beaks and what she assumed were one-way mirror eye lenses. Impressive stuff, if not unnerving.

They reached a marble counter, waiting in line for a few minutes while a receptionist confirmed scheduled hearings and redirected ponies here and there and sometimes to the waiting bench to Fantasy's left (the earth ponies sat on the floor). When they reached her, the receptionist appeared miffed that they hadn't scheduled anything, until North explained that Fantasy was an outsider, which apparently made her case a high priority as they were sent directly to the courtroom... or rather, right outside the courtroom.

They had to wait three hours, during which time Fantasy heard many muffled sounds she wished she hadn't, for the courtroom's doors to open and dozens of pegasi and one unicorn to come trudging (and in the unicorn's case, be dragged, beaten, and carried) out. They walked in to see the judge leaving for a break... until North once again explained the "outsider" situation. Then the judge tried to order Fantasy executed, until sufficient explanation and begging got her to relent.

However, without maps, ships, or a willing crew, Fantasy would've had to stay in Pegasopolis forever. After more begging, the judge decided to see if she could pull some strings and get Fantasy a crew made up of some of their unwanted criminals, and a ship which would need earth pony labor to build.



Somehow Fantasy felt like she'd just gotten incredibly lucky, even as she sat in the middle of the busiest park in the unicorn sub-city (which she learned was called "Unicornia"), chained to a street lamp like a dog, muzzled like a dog, and wearing a sign that read "Outsider". Sure it was embarrassing, especially with the way the natives stared at her and talked about her as they walked by, but it could've been a lot worse.

North had been tasked with guarding and caring for Fantasy (they hadn't entrusted that task to an earth pony, oddly enough) until her ship and crew were ready to take her away from Pegasopolis, and he wasn't to leave her side. If they wanted food, tell an earth pony to get it. If either had to go to the bathroom, take the other with them. Only when North had to sleep was he allowed to leave Fantasy under the guard of another pegasus.

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:02 am

North sighed, his eyes darting around the park they were in.  He'd look around at the many ponies, his eyes training specifically on the ones that'd trot close towards Fantasy.  He was tasked with watching over Fantasy, but also to ensure nothing too bad befell her.  He knew an outsider wouldn't invoke happy thoughts in others, so he made extra careful to keep his eyes on the other ponies as they came towards her to make sure they didn't try anything nasty.  After a short lull in the excitement, he'd look over at Fantasy, his face expressionless as he talks.  "I'm still amazed you weren't executed... or tossed off the edge of the city.  You're one lucky mare, miss."
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:55 pm

Fantasy merely nodded in agreement. She'd been watching the Pegasopolians for a while now, as she had literally nothing else to do, and she could safely say that, at best, they were afraid of her; at worst, they approached with clear malice until North firmly redirected them.

Fantasy also noticed, eventually, that North wasn't exactly held in high esteem. She'd been chalking it up to the natives being bitter that she was under his protection, until one particular pegasus showed up (a rather important one, if the pressed suit with the red tie and golden shield-and-crossed-swords pin was anything to go by). North would recognize her as the Head of the Pegasopolian Military, expert combatant, one of the strongest mares in their military, and a pony who was none too fond of him and took every opportunity to remind him that he was a blank flank and that she felt he didn't belong among her real troops.

"Northern Wind?" The pegasus had done a double-take and was now in front of them both, standing tall with perfect posture, her chest stuck out and muzzle held up. Her eyes darted in Fantasy's direction once, then she raised an eyebrow at North. "Dare I ask?"

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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:30 pm

North would begrudgingly salute the mare as she approached, returning to the standard 'guardly' position after doing so.  He'd give a quiet sigh before replying.  "I'm in charge of watching over Penstro-  Ahem, this outsider, till a ship can be prepared for her, ma'am.  I ran into her during my usual shift and, well, brought her in once I learned she wasn't... from her, ma'am."  He'd seem to speak quicker than normal, as if hoping to end this conversation with the mare as quickly as possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Thundershock   Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:46 pm

The mare's eyebrow rose further. "I thought we executed outsiders, Wind. When did that change to 'let them in, give them our stuff, and spread our legs for them'?"

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