Face full of protein, shake

Sometimes the name for a recipe just writes itself. Do I really need to say anything more?

Face full of protein, shake

INGREDIENTS:

  • two scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein Gold Standard slow release protein (vanilla)
  • 16 oz water (or no fat milk if you need the extra calories or calcium)
  • 1 avocado (pitted)
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed oil

METHOD:

  1. place all ingredients in a drink mixer or blender
  2. mix for one minute
  3. pour into glasses

Casein proteins are my new favourite thing. They are a slow-release protein, meaning your body stays anabolic for 24 hours, which is awesome. I chose avocado because it’s an excellent MUFA source (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid), which aids specifically in targetting belly fat. The flaxseed oil is also another great MUFA source, as well as omegas 3-6-9.

The vanilla protein is incredibly thick. When mixed with milk alone this is almost like trying to drink pudding. Combined with the surprisingly enjoyable taste of avocado, this is a fantastic, refreshing, and healthy summer drink.

Enjoy your face full of protein!

I’m sorry, forgive me

We’ve all had moments in our lives we wish we could back and change. A simple word, a careless action; usually something much more complex and painful. Often there are entire segments of our lives we desire to simply erase, to hit the reset button, to undo something we did, whether purposefully or accidental.

But we cannot. Despite all our technologies, all our advancements, time will only move forward for us. Yet our memories can dwell infinitely in the past, reliving those moments of pain, embarrassment, humiliation, holding us eternally bound to that moment in time without hope of escape. We alone prevent ourselves from breaking free of these self-imposed prisons and learning from those moments, growing from those opportunities, with the hope to not make those same mistakes twice, to not allow history to repeat itself.

I’m haunted by such moments …


PATOR V (Vakir)
REPUBLIC FLEET LOGISTIC SUPPORT

I was crossing a few city blocks within the station as quickly as I could along the pedestrian walkway; I was going to miss the next (and last) express magtrain to the outer station ring if I didn’t hurry, and I had an appointment there I intended to keep; a very important meeting.

As I traversed a vehicle laneway on the appropriate signal, and had almost made it across to the next pedestrian walkway, a large vehicle diverted suddenly from its path, and would’ve hit me had I not reactively jumped out of the way. I landed on the ferrocrete, hard on one knee, my hands scraped, but otherwise intact. I heard the vehicle come to a quick halt several meters behind me, and wondered if an accident had occurred; if the driver and other motorists were injured. My mind always tried to rationalize answers of irrational situations.

I rose slowly, doing an internal body check to make sure I was intact. As I turned I could hear shouting, someone yelling my name, which I found odd. When I had fully turned to analyze the situation, a large Caldari grabbed my jacket lapel with his left hand, clenching his right hand into a balled fist cocked high above and behind him.

“I always hoped I’d run into you again.” he barked. “You ruined her. You completely destroyed her life.”

I had no idea who he was, only that he was a potential threat. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking Roc, this guy has you by the coat and is about to punch you a good one, and you’re saying he’s just a potential threat? Are you kidding me? Stop pretending you’re such a badass. I’m not pretending. Most males are all about posturing. They want to feel big, look important, sound tough; they rarely know how to follow through. It’s our alpha instincts.

“Who?” I asked calmly.

“You don’t even know?!” he screamed incredulously. “You don’t even recognize me? I was the guy who tried to clean up Daena’s life after you were done with her; tried to put the pieces of her heart back together, to mend her soul. You completely emptied her, left her a shell of the woman she was! I’m going to mop the street with you!”

In the twinkling of an eye, it all came back to me. Daena.

“Here you go, darlin.” I said, handing the contraceptive device to the young, hot brunette standing in front of me. “We’re trying to promote sexual awareness in your university. You’re a looker, so you might need a few extras.” I winked and handed her some more. She didn’t blush. She didn’t look away. She held my gaze with those smoldering brown eyes, and I knew this was a woman I could see myself spending many years with.

A few hours later, we engaged in some oral foreplay in a nearby university washroom. She was incredible. Even looking down on her from this angle as she knelt, gently moving her long flowing brown hair out of the way, she was beautiful, energetic, exhilarating and eager.

I couldn’t believe I had been involved with the same woman exclusively for five months. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy her, I did; perhaps too much. I could feel my heart starting to slip away. After Mihan’s death, I had promised to never genuinely love again. I owed Mihan that much. So instead of letting our relationship flourish, Daena and I fought almost constantly, over the stupidest things, and almost always it was my stubbornness, my ego that started the arguments, and ended them. In retrospect I came to understand that it was less about honouring Mihan, and more about not allowing my heart to be vulnerable.

Five years we’d been at this: Caring for each other, being with each other, fighting with each other, hating each other, making up with each other, multiple times. There was some unexplainable chemistry between us, some insatiable lust that kept us coming back for more. Or was it something else? Was it co-dependency? Did broken attract broken? Or did we break each other along the way? Or was that just me rationalizing the way I treated her? I certainly didn’t feel broken, just miserable.

“I don’t really care. It’s over.” I said without a single hint of emotion in my voice.

She stood before me, crying, but I had grown cold to her tears long ago. “But I only told you so you would forgive me, so we could have a clean start!” she sobbed.

She had just told me that she had been cheating on me for the last year with several partners, her way of retaliating for all the horrible and malicious things I had done to her, of which there were many. But she had seen me not stay stuck in my ways. She had witnessed first hand as I had learned from my mistakes and grown into a better man. She wanted to be a better woman. She wanted to give us a better relationship.

We had broken up. We had gotten back together. We did that for another year until she ended it. She held the power then. She was the alpha. I furnished a small apartment for her, helped her financially where it was needed, and was always there for her when she needed to talk. She had started dating someone from school she had known before that day she met me, and I looked her up once out of curiousity, only to discover they had married. Well, good for her. At least she had stopped calling me, torturing me in retaliation for the years of her life I had wasted.

A few years later, while serving in the Tribal Liberation Force, I looked her up again. Maybe I still held unresolved emotions? Perhaps I needed closure? She had divorced, moved on, and had become pregnant with someone else’s child.

That was the last time I looked her up. Apparently closure was only something needed in romantic comedy holoreels.

“Daena.” I said quietly, though he failed to hear the sadness and regret in my voice.

“Yes!” he screamed, and I knew he was going to punch me then.

A part of me deep inside believed I deserved it, believed I deserved whatever punishment came my way for the mistakes I made with Daena. Another part of me cried out in protest, reminding me of the man I had grown into, of all the good I had achieved in this universe, of all the lives I had made better through my words and actions. A third part of me merely shot adrenaline through my body, and urged me to survive.

An unskilled opponent reveals themselves in many ways: the way they pull back, winding up for the punch, incorrect stance and feet positioning, leaving them off balance. Still, anyone can get lucky, so best not to give your opponent the chance.

I stepped forward into him, driving my knee into his groin. My momentum, combined with him pulling back his fist, carried him to the ferrocrete, where he landed hard on his ass, clutching himself and wincing.

I leaned over him, but not close enough for him to lash out at me.

“I’m honestly sorry. More than you’ll ever know, friend.”

With that, I stood up and walked away, checking my chrono.

I still had time to catch my train.

The Long Road Home – I

PROLOGUE

MISSION LOG 0340 HOURS

We’d lost Reco during our orbital insertion. Bull reported in from the crash site citing technical malfunctions due to adverse atmospheric conditions. Everything about this hell hole had been adverse so far. I contacted each remaining member of the team to meet at emergency checkpoint alpha one: Dervish, Goggles, Flint, and Maggie, who hated call signs so just used her own name, all had acknowledged the command. That was fifty minutes ago. When we signed on for Operation Frisbee, we were told it was going to be another walk in the park; grab the object, run back with the object. Of course, a park is typically envisioned as a lush field with clear skies, not a hot, humid, alien jungle with an atmosphere that wreaks havoc with all your electrical systems. I could barely maintain a signal planetside; contacting HQ offworld? Not a chance.

We’re on our own. It makes me glad I had demanded fifty percent payment up front for my people, especially given we’re working for a nameless employer with impressive, if not alarming, military contacts, but had I known then what I know now, I would’ve asked for triple to do this one. Of course, they always say hindsight is 20/20.

PERSONAL LOG 0341 HOURS

I fucking hate bugs. They ain’t natural with their creepin’n’crawlin’n’shit. What kinda fucked up God would make such little shits, with their fangs’n’venoms’n’bullshit. Fuck that Amarr shit right in their candy asses.

My name’s Amos Floyd, shit, I mean, Bull. Use your callsign, goddammed idiot. No wonder they’re always picking on your dumb Brutor ass. I’m all feverish’n’fucked up right now; can’t move my legs. Some goddamned motherfuckin’ centifucking thing crawled right up my boot when I wasn’t paying no mind. I felt it’s prickly legs up my pant, but by the time I looked down and said ‘What the fuck?’ the motherfucker had dug himself in for a snack. I unloaded a full mag into the motherfucking bitch whore. Between waking up every sneaky fuck predator in this jungle and announcing where I was, I nearly shot my own leg off. I hate this place. It’s fucking stank. Is making me sweat my balls off, which makes me smell like stank. Fuck the jungle, man. Seriously.

I got about five feet before my legs gave out, and down I went, cursing and screaming like an Amarr choir boy getting priestly mentoring. My comm ain’t picking up shit for static, and I would say it looks like I’m on my own except for the fact that about two dozen of those multi-legged fuckers have been crawling out from under every fucking thing and moving towards me. A few flares have kept them at bay for now, but I’ll be out of that shit soon, then I know I’m bug food. Fuck. What a way to go.

PERSONAL LOG 0342 HOURS

No visible moons beneath the dark electric storms, yet the predators don’t seem to mind the thunder and lightning. Interesting; must be a constant here to which they have adapted. Gravity feels lighter than 1g; should let me make use of some advanced acrobatics training I learned a few years back from an operative I hooked up with for a few months. She was good, and young. Young and good. Sounds like the lyrics to a good song. Comms are down and useless at this range. Will check again when 100m closer to the rendezvous point. Very hot and humid; my envirosuit says it has another 2 hours of charge left. I adjust it to the minimum setting to maximize its longevity, and my comfort.

Longevity, our vain pursuit;
To live immortal amongst the gods of man.
What wonders dost (doth, doest?) hath our eyes done seen,
Eer life to life, death to death?
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust?
I’ve lost where this was going. Ironic.

I hear the faint footsteps on the padded soil 15m to my left. I do not move. It’s big, feline. I can sense it settling into a crouch, digging the pads of its paws deeper into the ground for an optimal attack launch. I breathe in deeply, sharing in this moment of exhiliration; man vs beast vs man. To be alive, to be … alive. A live. Olive.

We both leap. The carnivourous cat tries to adjust its flight midair unsuccessfully. I land 6m above, on a firm, yet soft tree branch. The cat turns to pursue, not realizing I’ve already shot it between the eyes and that it is dead. Ah, now it understands.

I drop to the ground, and hold the mighty beast in my arms as a mother shushing its babe to sleep. Rest now, dear child. Carnivourous cat; that was some pretty good aliteration.

Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
If that mockingbird don’t sing,

I look at my chrono and realize I’m late for the rendezvous.

PERSONAL LOG 0343 HOURS

You have to wonder why we bother making personal logs; I mean who is going to find them if we die? We’re mercs for crying out loud; who would send a rescue team? Alive, I’m credits on a job. Dead, I’m someone else’s cut. Besides, the governments keep track of us anyway. You know what I’m talking about; the chips they put in our brains when we’re born. You know, the ones that let the powers that be know who to keep in the slums, who to manipulate for gain, and who to quietly dispose of?

Not me, man; I carved that tech outta my head the first chance I got. Well, sure I didn’t actually find anything, but that’s because they’re hard wired to self destruct, disintegrate if exposed to air. They don’t want to leave a trace so you can prove they’re doing, right? Smart ones, but not as smart as me.

What is that smell? Oh man! I stepped in it. That’s disgusting. How am I going to get that off my boot? Sigh. I hate planet missions. Plug me in, upload me, let me get my cyber self on, that’s where I’m happiest, but money is money, you know what I’m saying?

Alright drone, let’s head to the rendezvous. Stop recording.

PERSONAL LOG 0344 HOURS

Maybe lighting my cigar with a flamer wasn’t my best idea. Sure, it worked, but the foliage surrounding me lit up dry in a flash. I’m kinda impressed how fast it spread; gives a new meaning to the term ‘wildfire’. Course, I’m trapped in my own oven, but what the hell, it’s a good cigar. Might be late for the rendezvous.

PERSONAL LOG 0348 HOURS

This team has been my life for the last eight months, since my husband was killed. He was a good man, in the sense that he knew who to fight for, but a bad man in the sense that he did terrible things to those whom were his enemies. It still amazes me to this day that he kept it all secret from me. Who am I kidding? I suspected something was up years ago, but didnt’ want to pry, didn’t want to ask, didn’t want to see the money disappear. The early years of our marriage had been hard financially, but when he started his new ‘job’, things started looking up. We had the sweet life. That we did. Then he was killed by a damned capsuleer who thought she would grace us with her ‘vision’ of what a better planet could be; essentially us working her factories for cheap, and we couldn’t exactly say no.

My husband led a group of rebels, and did quite a bit of damage both financially and to the morale of the capsuleer’s ground team, but it wasn’t enough. It never would’ve been enough. For a few ISK, nothing to an immortal god, one of my husband’s most trusted lieutenants sold him out. They were both hanged publically, to set an example.

I wipe a tear away from my eye.

The only example ever set was that the strong impose their will on the weak, and I had grown tired of being weak. I trained my mind and body hard, pushing myself further than even I knew was possible doing this job, and I was damned proud of the woman I had grown into. I hoped Jacob would be too.

Of course, given the nature of this work, I might get to ask him in person just soon enough. And maybe, just maybe, that’s why I do it. I miss you, honey.

TO BE CONTINUED IN: THE LONG ROAD HOME – II