(Ch. 5: "Dial M for Murder")
Characters/Pairings: James T. Kirk, Nyota Uhura, Spock, Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott, mirror!Marlena Moreau, mirror!James Kirk, Christine Chapel, Hikaru Sulu. Kirk/Uhura, Scotty/OC, references to a couple other pairings.
Summary: After four of the ship's officers never returned from an away mission, Spock reluctantly assumed the role of captain on the Enterprise while mourning the absence of his closest companions. Jim Kirk is meanwhile becoming the Terran Empire's most wanted fugitive in a slowly transforming mirror universe. Both of their fates may be affected by the self-fulfilling prophecy of a man who has very little to lose.
Overall Warnings: Violence (including some torture), secondary character death. This has been a WIP for a long while so it will have some inconsistencies with STID and onward.
Previous: see SERIES MASTER POST.
read @ AO3 | read @ LJ
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Last week, Politico reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was set to employ a “run out the clock” strategy, declining to respond to recurring controversies even at the risk of seeming nonresponsive. In the abstract, such a strategy could make sense. Clinton has a fairly clear lead in the polls. There are only 10 weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election — and less than that until early voting, which begins in late September in some states.
But Clinton shouldn’t get too complacent. After mixed evidence before, it’s become clearer, at least according to our forecast models, that Donald Trump has regained some ground on her. Clinton’s national lead in our polls-only forecast has gone from a peak of about 8.5 percentage points two weeks ago to 6.5 percentage points as of Sunday evening — that is, a 2-point gain for Trump over two weeks. Correspondingly, Trump’s chances of winning the election have improved from a low of 11 percent to 19 percent.
Trump’s gains have been more modest in our polls-plus forecast, which discounted Clinton’s early August polls because of a potential convention bounce and which anticipated that the race would tighten. In polls-plus, which forecasts that Clinton’s margin over Trump will narrow to roughly 4 percentage points by Election Day, the clock is more of an ally to Clinton and an enemy to Trump. Still, Trump is keeping slightly ahead of the pace of improvement that polls-plus expected of him. His chances of winning are 27 percent according to polls-plus, up slightly from 25 percent a week ago and from a low of 21 percent earlier this month.
None of this is to say that there’s been some game-changing shift toward Trump. There probably hasn’t been, and you wouldn’t necessarily anticipate one given that, after such an action-packed period earlier this summer, there have been a lot of slow news days amid the August doldrums. Generally speaking, polls don’t move suddenly without a good reason.
But the polls can move gradually, whether because they’re reverting to a previous mean (a convention bounce wears off) or because of the cumulative effects of the campaign (an undecided voter finally makes up her mind). Lately, that movement seems to be slightly toward Trump.
The clearest case for this is in a set of daily and weekly tracking polls, several of which — including the Morning Consult poll, the UPI/CVoter poll, the Gravis Marketing poll, and the Ipsos/Reuters national tracking poll — show Clinton at or near her post-convention lows (and in some cases, within the margin of error of Trump overall). There are also a couple of exceptions: The Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports poll showed Clinton gaining ground this week, and the Ipsos/Reuters 50-state tracking poll, which has a considerably larger sample size than Ipsos’s national tracking poll, showed Clinton steady to slightly improving from the previous week.
But a candidate doesn’t need to gain ground in every poll to gain ground in our forecast, just in the preponderance of them. If the race shifts by 7 points toward a candidate essentially overnight, as it did toward Clinton following the Democratic convention, it’s going to be obvious in almost every poll. But such moves are rare, and a gradual shift — like Trump gaining 2 points over two weeks — will manifest itself in fits and starts in the averages.
A concern for Trump is that these gains haven’t been as apparent outside of those national tracking polls, all of which are conducted online or by automated script and several of which have a Trump-leaning house effect. The most recent traditional telephone poll, from Quinnipiac University, had Trump down by 7 percentage points — or down 10 points without third-party candidates — a poor result for him given that Quinnipiac had been one of the better traditional pollsters for Trump earlier in the cycle. There haven’t been very many of those traditional polls lately; it’s been a few weeks since we got numbers from any of the five major national surveys that will be used to determine eligibility for the debates, for example.
Polls in swing states were all over the place last week, meanwhile. In Florida, for example, we saw surveys showing everything from a 14-point lead for Clinton to a 3-point lead for Trump. If you squint, you can perhaps perceive some movement back toward Trump in some of the red-tinged swing states, such as North Carolina. But it’s hard to say for sure. A lot of the swing state polls released last week were from pollsters surveying the states for the first time, meaning that they didn’t have trend lines, or if they did have trend lines, they didn’t show much change from the previous version of the survey. The pollster that had Clinton up by 14 points in Florida, for example, had her ahead by 13 points when it previously surveyed the state in June.
How the clock does and doesn’t help Clinton
It’s nice to have a model at times like these, instead of just throwing up your hands (or worse, cherry-picking polls to suit your case). And that model, as I said, shows Trump as having gained about 2 points over two weeks. If Trump keeps gaining 1 percentage point a week, he’ll beat Clinton by a couple of percentage points on Nov. 8. Hence, Clinton should probably not be picking out the White House drapes just yet.
Continued gains may not be so easy for Trump, however. He’s still at only 37 or 38 percent in national polls that include third-party candidates. That might seem like an easy number to improve upon, but his favorability rating is only about 35 percent, meaning that he’s already relying on support from a few voters who don’t like him but may vote for him to prevent a Clinton presidency.
Clinton also has some work to do. She’s at about 43 percent in national polls and in polls of key swing states — not enough to clinch victory, even if 6 to 10 percent of the vote eventually goes to third-party candidates, as appears increasingly likely. She’ll need to persuade a few undecided voters toward her side or get some of those third-party voters — more of whom have Clinton than Trump as their second choice — to turn out for her.
Our models rely on both the number of days until the election and on the number of undecided and third-party voters to calculate the uncertainty in the race. Because the conventions were held early this year, it can be easy to forget that it’s still just August. (On this date four years ago — Aug. 28, 2012 — Republicans were holding their convention in Tampa and the Democratic convention hadn’t even started yet.) Meanwhile, there hasn’t been much of a decline in the undecided or third-party vote. As compared with July 17, the date before this year’s Republican convention, Clinton has gained only 2 to 3 percentage points in the polls and Trump hasn’t gained at all.
Toward the end of the 2012 campaign, we frequently emphasized the distinction between closeness and uncertainty. President Obama led Mitt Romney by just 1 or 2 percentage points nationally, according to our models, throughout much of the stretch run of that campaign — a close race. But between Obama’s consistently strong numbers in the swing states, the low number of undecided voters, and a strong alignment between polls and economic “fundamentals,” there was a narrow range of plausible outcomes for that election, with most of them resulting in a second Obama term.
This election, at least for the time being, presents something of the opposite case. It isn’t all that close — Clinton is up by around 6 percentage points as best as we can figure, a larger lead than Obama had at almost any point in 2012 or until the very end of the 2008 campaign. But it’s August, and the number of undecided voters is high, and so the outcome remains fairly uncertain. Furthermore, while the state polls are fairly good for Clinton right now, we don’t know how they’ll react if the race tightens further. We’re going on three weeks without a live-caller poll in Pennsylvania, for example.
Coincidentally or not, the Clinton campaign was more proactive last week. It pushed back quite aggressively at an Associated Press story about donations to the Clinton Foundation. And it instigated a fight with Trump over his connections with what Clinton called “the emerging racist ideology known as the alt-right.” Clinton remains in a strong overall position, but she shouldn’t be playing prevent defense yet; we’re still in the equivalent of the third quarter.
* American Gods (mific)
* Kingsman: The Secret Service (dancing_serpent)
So while we already have some recs to look forward to in September, it would of course be awesome if we had more recs. There is still plenty of opportunity for you to jump in and volunteer to rec next month (or to convince your friends to do some reccing). And many cheers for all of our members who volunteer to rec, especially if you rec regularly. Your valiant repeat efforts keep the comm alive.
Looking even further ahead so far NO reccers have volunteered for October, so that month definitely still needs some love (and recs! *g*) too. So please consider reccing in a fandom of your choice, whether small or huge, and comment on the sign-up post and volunteer for September, October or even further ahead if you are so well organized, that you know your fannish interests and time commitments in advance. It's only four recs as a minimum, and you can rec any genre or rating. Or promote us to your friends or in your favorite communities so others do the work.
No Open Rec period this month, because this post is so late, and few seem to use these anyway.
(Comments here are disabled, because I want to bundle volunteering in the sign-up post so that nothing gets lost, and you can see the list of claimed slots there too.)
⌈ Secret Post #3525 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
( More! )
Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 42 secrets from Secret Submission Post #504.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
That Sunday Jessica drove the old ladies over to Meeting at Thirsk, where things were quite chatty – Meeting had quite a few ministries, some focused on the need for Peace, others on Easter, in semi-contradiction of the minute on Times and Seasons ☺.
They stayed to be sociable, and then went over to Byass’s to abandon Cerian to looking over a horse that the owners of the stables were thinking of investing in. Cerian was well known in these parts as a judge of horses, having backed a number of winners in her time, and owned the same in younger days. She was still riding semi-regularly, still supple with a good seat, carefully re-spiking her hair after wearing the regulation riding hat when she’d finished her rides, and settled her mount. She liked to say that she could take on the Queen in an over-80s riding competition.
Jessica and Clara went over to Kilburn to admire the work of the Mouse man, and then wound through the hills, chattering as they went, oblivious to the lack of mobile signal, and enjoying the views, the weather and the people that they met.
One of the things that had come up was the upcoming change to the Marriage Act, and there was great rejoicing among the Quakers that Cerian and Clara would be among the early adopters of same-sex marriage ‘upgrading’ their civil partnership of several years earlier. Jessica and Clara had reminisced about the civil partnership and how Clara and Cerian at eighty-mumble had been dancing light-footedly around the floor while the younger generations looked on exhausted, and the youngest generations had found favour with their favourite great-great-aunts by bopping along to the latest hits, jazzed up by a local band. Many of the older generation had withered – hate had killed them where love kept the two old ladies alive and laughing in a way that many envied and all hoped to replicate.
Clara and Cerian had danced with the littlies until some spoil-sport parent had decided it was bedtime for the children, and dared to suggest that perhaps the Cs might do likewise as it was getting late. With their usual asperity they had suggested that perhaps that parent might like to remember that oldies such as themselves needed less sleep than the average adult and would be quite happy continuing until the band dropped.
The band were up for this challenge, and for a while no one could see either side giving up, until the venue manager stepped in and pointed out that his staff (who were enjoying the party themselves) might like to go to bed at some point, and besides they didn’t wish to breach their license.
The reminiscences flowed as Clara recalled the imposition of section 28 and the decision to give up teaching as a result. She was old for a teacher, even then, but she hadn’t wanted to give up, loving her classroom life alongside her poetry, teaching surreptitious Welsh and other modern languages – in every school she’d taught at she’d established language clubs to further the study of those languages not on the curriculum, and to encourage people to read literature in both the original and in translation.
Gradually they got back to the conversation of the last few days, and the poetry that Clara had written in response to the stories that she had heard over the years, and the attitudes that people had espoused in reality compared to the rose-tinted views they had of themselves. Of course everyone had supported the refugees, and of course they had believed the stories about the holocaust at the time. Of course they hadn’t been buying the Daily Mail with its headlines about ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ among others.
Clara’s poems, as she remembered them, began with her own attitudes, and admitted that until Zia Rosa had got a hold of her she hadn’t thought about what was going on. Even when she had started to think about it, she had still tended to minimise what had happened, despite the stories of Soeur Marguérite inter alia. It had taken until her own war time experiences at Bletchley Park for it to sink to her bones and seize her.
They did not make for comfortable thinking about, certainly, and Jessica began to see why her Aunt had struggled to be published and acclaimed for the talented poet that she certainly was, deeply familiar with the literature and history of Wales, and her particular valley in the South East corner of Wales.
Clara paused and said ‘you should know that we’ve decided to make you our executor, particularly our literary executrice, as you above all seem to understand us.’ Jessica paused. ‘Thank you.’
There wasn’t really much else she could say to that.
They drove on in silence, broken only by the siren of an ambulance racing past them. Jessica crossed herself as she paused the car to let it go by, a habit that she had got into influenced by her more Catholic Methodist friends, of all people. That such people existed seemed strange to Clara, but she nodded her head in a brief prayer, and they continued, thinking that perhaps Cerian would be ready to be picked up by now.
Clara started detailing what being a literary executrice would mean – there was a small salary to enable her to put the estate in order to be deposited at the National Library of Wales. There were the professional archives of both women – the professor and the poet, and then the personal archives of two people who had kept diaries for most of their lives, although not necessarily in “proper” notebooks.
The cottage itself had some valuable antiques and pieces of furniture that they had picked up in their travels. They were to be divided as per their joint wills, and that would be straight forward. It was the paperwork with which the two older women were concerned, covering as it did things of great interest to many parties. As Welsh women, they were anxious that their stories be known by their own people, no matter that they had been in exile for 70 years. Although the university would quite like the archive for research interests, they were determined that they should be fended off, and would rather the collection went to Aberystwyth for nothing, than somewhere else for a princely sum.
Jessica nodded, and accepted the strictures with good grace. She could understand the desire to be buried, metaphorically, in their homeland, no matter than their homeland had rejected them repeatedly over the years, for their gender, their sexuality, their exposure of a darker history that some people wanted to gloss over.
They pulled into Byass’s yard to see the ambulance that had passed them earlier, a familiar spikey-haired figure being loaded into it, looking for the first time in her life frail and vulnerable, with an oxygen mask, blanket, and associated bits. The car had barely stopped when Clara opened the door and was rushing across the yard as fast as she could, her silvery-white hair flowing behind her, her stick tapping.
“Sorry ma’am, we’re taking her to hospital. You can’t come with us.’
“That’s my wife!” said Clara in her most stentorian teacherly tones. To his credit after the initial shock at being confronted by a tall, elderly, cross lesbian, he looked shame-faced and didn’t know quite how to respond. His fellow paramedic answered.
“We need to get her to James Cook as quickly as possible.” Jessica interrupted before he said any more “I’ll drive, Margaret, do you want to come with us and tell us what happened to Cerian.” Relieved the paramedic slammed the doors and jumped in the front of the ambulance. “See you there.”
Full blues and twos, the ambulance raced off. Margaret Byass meekly got in the back of the car, looking shaken as all hell. Jessica set off, not in pursuit, so much as following in its wake, straight up the A19 to the largest hospital in England.
Only when they were at the hospital and searching for a parking space did they ask Margaret what had happened.
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)"
Like most people, I'm over on imzy, which I'm really hoping takes off. It's a perfect low stress, low bandwidth place for communities. I'm not planning to move over there for my own blog, at least until the security functions update, but I'm enjoying it for book/comics/whatever discussions.
I mostly just wish everyone would move to DW, but if that's not happening (which it doesn't seem to be), I'll take imzy.
Done my pinch hit, so hopefully back to regularly scheduled plodding away on WIP.
Bought Supergirl on DVD, still mildly obsessed with Legends of Tomorrow, but otherwise am not feeling that fannish right now. I think my mind is in count down to Luke Cage.