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ethela penna

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  1. ethela penna

    A rose grows in concrete [dali]

    Like a volcano she sits perfectly still though her voice is fume and fire. She is, perhaps, the least shaken. She has gouged up the innards that scorched, toxic monoxides, sulfur hot and glassy dense silicon barbs that snag and sting exposed extremities and vulnerabilities. It makes her lighter; it is as if one great contraction has squeezed her and expelled the wastrel weight like rocks. She takes a light breath. She can even be seen to smile through the tears that threaten, although the smile is still cruel and around hang wisps of self-satisfied, obscuring smoke. Her fingers skip across the keyboard with increasing grace and velocity, and the notes almost descend into a toneless blur. But for Hali, brushing Merel’s shoulder with measured levity, Hali, who sits down and joins in duet. The older woman strikes a few notes in succession, evenly spaced and entirely unlike the play that compresses like a spring. The effect is immediate. It is Hali’s immutable tempo that keeps her from growing too shody and quick. In the tempo-keeper’s presence, Merel is only painfully aware of how much (too much) she hurries more than the piece requests. It slows, it calms, the keys grow soothed. The tension and forward motion that carried Merel in front of what she thought was her own wake - dissipates. The girl tries to keep the smile going, the fires burning. She fails. And Varda is no longer drowned out. But she does seem to be drowning. “Perhaps,” the older sister takes a deep, choking breath, “Perhaps you underestimate the...the love we bear our father. But do not think for a second, sister, that - that - that we did not - do not - love him.” Hali’s struggle is now to keep Merel up to tempo. “That’s why do not - do not let yourself believe in an impossible thing. You are not the only one hurting here.” The evidence for that last falls quiet where she sits. What more to say, and why? Merel has nothing in response. Cold water runs down her back and she pecks at the keys, unmoving. Neither forward nor backward, not to turn around, not to look up from her hands. Although those grow more unnatural to her by the second. The piece ends. Her fingers are still glued to the keys where they landed. Willing the notes to sustain. Hali sets the music to one side. “Who else has gained, or stands to gain, by this injustice?” “Nobody,” Merel whispers. “Nobody ought to have gained.” But Hali and everyone in that room knows that that is against reality. “Somebody always gains, whatever happens. The presence of a sum implies the presence of a difference.” Varda would recognize that, in all its clever, double-entendred politick. Merel let out a small laugh. “Jasper liked to say that. I mean. I guess he’s wiser than we - than I am.” Jasper, the mathematician of the house, to whom Varda entrusted everything. “Maybe Varda didn’t do it. Maybe I did. Maybe it was Jasper, and what a joke that would be. Everyone could have reasons depending on where you stop digging. Madness? Greed? Power? I don’t know. I just…” She leaned into the piano, rested her head on the sheet rest. “I’m sorry. I don’t know.” They were quiet for a while longer. Merel broke it again. “I wish my Father was here and we’d forget all this, but knowing that that is beyond possibility, i’d like justice instead. Hali, please let us know the results of your investigation. Discreetly, and - “ The girl did not look at her sister, but she hesitated anyway. “To only the...two...of us.”
  2. ethela penna

    A rose grows in concrete [dali]

    “A kindness, like the one you’re about to render us?” Merel wants to tease, but does not find any mirth no matter how deep she digs in her dread. Her ill-fitting mask is discarded in favor of tired honesty with the two people here. The kind would want to call it trust but it is not trust; just family. After a few false starts her hand falls into old patterns. It is a naturally quick piece but she plays it slowly, time being of a different essence now. It contracts and dilates, reverses and accelerates when one is nervous, when one is happy, when one anticipates, when one waits for secret words and promised, decadent truths. Hali, seated in her chair, talks. “It is disheartingly common how often the death of an influential person can be traced, with no gaps and little confusion, to the anger and avarice of an interested party.” Merel cuts her off suddenly. “That’s how all stories and histories go, don’t they? And maybe every single one of them thought they would be special and break the cycle, didn’t they?” She cycles through the pedals once or twice and switches keys. “And they never do. Maybe kingslaying is a tradition. That’s not silly, is it, that’s just history, everyone like this dies like this. People might have hopes for the opposite, but everyone is stupid and forgets all the truths built up before them. Because who wants to remember inevitables?” She does not seem to have any more passion than is proper for such a response. The music carries on without a break. Hali seems to acknowledge this in the way that Merel precisely did not want. “Yes, in this most recent case, it was no different.” Merel switches keys again. “A contract was put out on Lord Hildebrand days before his death. I thought it would be important for you to know, if you did not, that the cause of his death was not natural. If it was not you, Varda, and I don’t believe it was, then it’s someone with aspirations to the head of the table.” Her sister calms herself, or tries to. “We know.” She takes a breath. “That he was murdered. It was my decision to keep it from the world. We believe it could have been done by a servant with ties to those who would see the Hildebrand name tarnished. My brother has taken it upon himself to comb through those who serve our house…” “We,” Merel says suddenly. She hesitates, looks at Hali. Not for any signal, but because her aunt was the influence of strength in her life. She swallows, and sets more music on the podium; this time, someone else’s. She doesn’t want her own words in her hands when they’re so hard to force from her throat already. “You believe it to be so. Detective Varda. Detective Jasper. Detective Everybody in the Whole Damn House. Well let Detective Merel have her say. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, too. I’m not an airy little girl any more. Hali said —” She bites her words. “Look at this. Father’s dead and we’re running around like a naked schoolgirl trying to cover herself up. Hiding it is more important than justice. And the best part is that you might’ve done it and who would know? Who was there that night? Varda? Who? Was it me? Was it you? Was it that one-eyed lecher who tended the wall-orchids? And never mind that we were all there since there was a contract.” “Father loved all of us and I loved him, and did you love him as much as I did? I know you didn’t. You shouldn’t have. You couldn’t have. And Nai has all eyes for dying Mother, and Esme has hated the place since she was born. And Jasper? Who wanted everything Father wouldn’t give him? What about all of you? How could I trust anybody in Ravenel?”
  3. ethela penna

    Custom user title 13

    if i dont win this one gaia doesnt exist
  4. ethela penna

    Custom user title 12

    all around me are familiar faces
  5. ethela penna

    A rose grows in concrete [dali]

    [Music Room] @supernal @ourlachesism “I will see the Ladies Hildebrand in the music-room shortly.” Knowing Halisera was a woman of promises kept, and knowing that in the music room there was little music and the implicit promise of confidance away from more public company, her explicit invitation drew Merel’s stare. Hali’s expression had always despite her chiseled personality remained flat in her memory, and now it still remained thus. All the crevices and wrinkles and scars were merely shaded places in which secrets and emotions could gather like lizards in the desert. Not to be seen. Not to be read. It was no peace. They entered the music room. Varda sat in a stranger’s fashion on one of the ornate chairs in the center, lowering herself gingerly as if it were made of glass. What she’s more afraid of breaking is decorum - she was afraid of everything to do with that in a stranger’s house. Merel made for the piano’s bench and sighed as she nestled into the familiar leather. It slid back and forth as if on tracks in the grooves worn into the floor. For a moment she forgot herself. The music she had composed with Hali lay on the same corner of lid they always put it in, neat. They smelled like old paper and discovery; the way the ink had dried through the years made them look almost professional. A smile came across her face. She had certainly thought they were very professional, even if her co-composer hadn’t shared that delusion. Her father had had a great bellowing applause whenever she played them for him, and traded sly glances with Hali all the while. The smile faded, although the warmth did not. She had only been here or lived in this house when her Father was alive. It made her remember more ordinary days that she had lost in every cold, barren room of Ravenel, worn away by the intervening months. Her fingers closed around the edges of the paper as if crushing a throat. “It’s been a while since we’ve composed together,” Merel said. “I really think I have got some brilliant hard ideas, I do, Auntie. I want to write a ricercar next. But I don’t know if I’m as smart as you to pull them off.” Tapping the stack on the keys she put them together again and set them aside. “You don’t think that’s a bad idea, do you?” She turned stiffly to face the other two. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Please, say what you need to say.”
  6. ethela penna

    Prenuptial celebration - Dali x Mythal

    double screech I think I've nothing, we might as well end the scene here and get onto the more personal scenes (which I'm sure people are eager to get to)
  7. ethela penna

    Prenuptial celebration - Dali x Mythal

    screech i will have a post up tonight, my week of unpleasant rendezvous has elapsed
  8. ethela penna

    Kaess Exhibition Match: Paroxysm vs ethela penna

    Invisible, translucent shadows of whips the whips may have been, but still shadows with an equivalent measure of force behind them if not greater. Force is a language that speaks on all planes, and sounds off ferociously to any ear inclined to receive it. Although Ethic lacked the fearing instinct of humans, she still felt an impending threat slicing up at her side and down at her face. Like an invisible beast bearing down, air breaking around it. Because Ethic lacked the fearing instinct of humans, however, she did not flinch, cower, or run. Whether any of those would have served her better than her next action, was unknowable. Two regions of dissociative force took form throughout her field, in the rough directions of the oncoming whipstrokes. In the same way that Glory was later to disband her nebula of shrapnel, Ethic’s contructs were intangible but functionally wedgelike; the first of the whips snapped upwards and, upon entering her shield, split and split again and was finally caught, its force disbanded and spread over a larger area. It would ideally sweep past, nothing more than a light breeze that would do no more damage than lift the hems of her skirt. Ethic was, however, not too large to begin with, and was briefly, abruptly conscious of an immense blunt force beneath her ribcage. It was weak enough to accomplish nothing of damage, but hefty enough to lift the small girl out of her movement. She jolted upwards when it hit, just a bit confused as her body drifted upward, one feet, two feet, three feet into the air — Just as the second came in an executioner’s stroke from overhead, was likewise defanged by her slicing nebula, and slammed her by the head right back into the floor. While there was no pain, there was a great sense of miscalibration that dogged her thoughts throughout this exchange, one which arrested her thoughts for the half-second delay it took her to stand. She wanted to tell someone: “That didn’t count; take that out of the data, it was an outlier.” It would be silly to keep outliers such as this, wouldn’t it? It would skew the results, wouldn’t it? Rightly, they — whoever “they” were, audience, engineers, or Glory — should forget all about it. Her arms and legs briefly twisted in their sockets and brought her emerging upwards from her contact with the floor, with a little dignity lost and a few wrinkles in her clothes, and a bit of a red heat on her face from what she had to assume to be venting the heat from her processors. “That won’t happen again!” She wanted to say suddenly, shaking her fist at the figure now a little more distant. But she had learned a little caution in the meantime. The invasive forces in her field had begun to show themselves in the discordance of the bullets’ orbits. The solution was to dismiss the force wholly. Ethic hardly moved, a ripple across the fingers on her left hand drumming a slight rhythm on the plastic grip of her firearm, and the centripetal acceleration she had exerted maintaining the rapid orbit of the nebula vanished instantaneously. The debris, each still possessed of its immense velocity, decoupled from her presence and shot off in every imaginable direction, upwards, downwards, to each side, a spray of bullets smashing into the glass of the atrium, the ceiling, the floor as if freshly fired. A disparate spray too peppered lightly in Glory’s direction, although they were too thinly spread to do significant harm. The other, however, was not so insignificant. Ethic leveled her bouquet at Glory and depressed the trigger, and all at once the imprisoned kinetic energy of the munitions was released once again; a tightly packed buckshot of fifty hurtling as one entity against the girl. Once fired, just as with the first, the second gun was tossed to float at her side, while the third was brought up again and a fourth extracted. These two were lifted together and once again aimed at Glory’s precise location, but this time only one fired, once, hanging still in midair. With a deft leap, Ethic rose up and landed, the bullet cradled under the balls of one shoe, and she fired again. The bullet bobbed a little before snapping upwards, boosting her up to land on the second shot fired; once she had jumped again, the first bullet released itself and cracked towards the floor where Glory was standing. In such a manner, Ethic continued her climb upwards but also over; gunning, in one sense, for Glory’s body with every step, but also toward the portal on the other side of the atrium which led out towards more fruitful, less empty grounds. She was beginning to run low on ammunition.
  9. ethela penna

    Custom rank title 11

  10. ethela penna

    Train to Ignatz

    Chloe was troubled. By what? By any number of things that he could have been chosen to be troubled about. By the marathon rain which had started up and despite its ferocity showed no hint of tiring; by the grim flat country they were traversing on a helter-skelter mission undertaken by people he knew to be strangers in a strange land; by the vast, immeasurable distance that still lay to be traveled across the same, and the prospect of sitting in continued silence as had the past three hours gone, Chloe devoid of words. But no, men are only ever troubled by the same thing. Chloe chose to be troubled by women; by a certain woman, who was yet more, the cause of his silence. He touched the spot on his cheek that Sharon had kissed as they left. It was still ice cold; the same as he had felt when he froze when she had come in to give him a quick, tight hug. No, it had been warm at that time, her heartbeat pressed up against his arm in assurance. But all too soon it grew cold after, almost instant like the snuffing out of a candle. All things uncharacteristic shared between the two friends, and this was a concern that went beyond love. No, it wasn’t love which closed up his throat, they were not children at play any more. Something more important was at stake; it was a crushing sense of worry. The darkness which the rain beat into the Earth outside only thickened the mire into which his heart felt like it sank. Say something of the magic that connects human souls, because Chloe felt then the full fatal weight of the future bearing down on him. And he felt that he just might never see her again. That prospect wasn’t what made him fear. Rather it was the fear that made that prospect seem so real. Fear of what? Who knew? But the blackness of the skies fused with the ground, the primordial return in which the car was alone, shaking and bucking as if it was being pulled apart by the uncreated and primal forces around them, was something on hand to fear. Hardly could he recognize the surroundings. There was nothing to recognize through that desperate windowpane. Only to be acknowledged in the old depths of the human psyche, the instinct that was made when the world was younger, uncertain, and ashy. “Say —” he swallowed heavily, leaning on the median between the two front seats, looking up at Carina. “How long d’ya reckon this whole thing might take? Say, uh, fixing the Lightning Rail and all. We’ll take it back to Casper when we’re done, right?” He nodded fiercely at Liir’s words. “Yeah, if you’re tired, I can step in and drive no problem. Sharon — “ His breath caught in his throat suddenly, swallowing again. “Sharon’s lent me plenty o’ times so I’ve got the hang of it.”
  11. ethela penna

    A rose grows in concrete [dali]

    Of course, there are reasons for everything. Merel considered the fork in her hand as she turned it over and over again, considered the reflection of straight-backed Hali to the right of her and weak-smiling Varda to the left. Aunt Hali occupied the spot which Father had usually taken. In fact Merel could not remember any such dinner without his comforting, enormous presence at the head of the table just a few feet to her right. He had always been there — as he should have — and the little girl, growing less and less little between each memory, remained in that same location within reach of his left hand. Varda, too, was in each of those memories, in the same place she was now. A few feet to Merel’s left, and a little downcast, and a little nervous, as if searching for some quality she had lost somewhere at that table. Why was this cleft here, between the Heiress-Hildebrand and Father, between the supposed Lady-Hildebrand and Halisera Dali? This stilted crevice inside which was wedged the body of one Merel Hildebrand. A loving older sister on one side, and all that that older sister was meant to be on the other, and the twain never to meet for what reason? Merel stabbed her fork into the pasty and broke off a piece, placing it delicately in her mouth. Chew, swallow. Of course, there are reasons for everything, and groups of close-sprouting mushrooms often share the same root. Merel, reflecting her way through half a pasty, thought she had the reason for Varda’s troubles, for her own position splitting her sister’s heart in two. In fact she was right, for both these things and for a great many things which would eventually come to haunt both Hildebrands in the remainder of the interactions they would have from then on. Yes, to her it could be no more clear. She was, after all, the daughter of the reason. In his death, Father’s role in all their lives became abruptly clear. In his absence, all the things that had felt his warmth became obvious and cold. The more she dwelt upon it the more she marveled at how much had changed without him, at how insidious his presence had been in their lives. If Father was the trunk then they must be the branches, but he was no trunk, he was not so discrete from them as that. He was heartwood and sapwood, the veins that permeated into each branch and nourished them. So they had not been prepared for his death. In the vacuum left they were beginning to collapse. Merel realized her grip on the fork had begun to exceed courteous capacity. Her knuckles were white, and the tines were starting to shake. Whether Hali noticed was inconsequential, and Varda remained trapped within her own nerves and ill at ease smiles. Within the rush of decorum and within the vacuum space that their Father had not taught her to fill. In many ways, all the whole House Hildebrand remained children at heart. With the exception of Jasper, all the rest of the children lived lives of love. Varda had farmed away her whole life without a care for politics, and Merel had only contact with the other houses because Father wanted to show off his favorite daughter. And if it were not for the grim years of King Damien Jasper’s talent for administration would not have been compelled, either — Father had said so much to Merel once, regretfully. If only all of his children could be as carefree as he would have liked for them. Father had that unfortunate tendency, Father to whom his children were his children and for them to be divested of that innocence and naivete, an unacceptable outcome. For this reason, Varda never grew up. Jasper aside they were all still going through the motions of youth, of flights of fancy and childish obsessions with their own devices. One might say that Varda was robbed. She was, but only of a fate that she would not have wanted. But neither did anyone want for Father to die, and yet it had happened. So the shoes that had fallen for them to step into were ill-fitting. A child trying on a Lady’s boot. Never mind that something in the Hildebrand estate seemed to preserve their physical youth so that their age became unknowable. Merel and Varda could have been only two years apart for all anyone else could tell, and was that sickly woman their older sister, was often the question from visitors, forgetting that the mother of the house was ill, forgetting to put two and two together. That was why Merel chose to laugh when Hali commented on Varda’s blooming flower. Hali was right on levels beyond physical. Varda was only now, a few years into her youthful thirties, faced with the reality of her position and the sacrifices that it demanded. For the Hildebrand children, truly everything of adulthood was delayed. For just a few of the same reasons. Merel would have been even more a child, but of all of them she had fell the greatest height with Father’s death. From falling there is wisdom to be found. “Lady Hali is right, sister. Soon you will have to marry, but—” and this, she said more sharply, for Hali’s benefit, “—you’ve been practicing weeding all your life; I’m sure you’ll be able to prune the weeds and pluck a flower everlasting.” She chose to snip her statement there, forcing Varda to answer the question of business. Some things had to be learned, and Merel was not their Father. She had no interest in protecting her siblings from the world. Not because she hated them, but because she could not. She could hardly protect herself. @supernal@ourlachesism
  12. ethela penna

    Kaess Exhibition Match: Paroxysm vs ethela penna

    Ethic beamed — or thought she beamed — when the rat-conglomerate named Glory answered in the positive. They were here together — together in harmonious calibration. For what, she still didn’t know, but she was certain — of this she was absolutely, without a doubt, fatally certain — that it would all work out. With Glory? Without Glory? Surely it must be with. Yes, commonality bred camaraderie and understanding. The stranger was somewhat less stranger for that fact. Surely they were now friends. Somehow, that correlated with a decrease in caution. For a moment she pondered what dreamy quality had cloaked Glory in the interstitial seconds, for what reason rust and stardust seemed to grow attracted to her gentle body. That image lingered too long in the eyes, angelic motes of dust hovering around the girl in the filtered stained-glass sunlight that fell in shafts across the arena. Ethic dwelt for too long on the smile and the clap. The sudden formation of blades came almost too soon, almost before the processors could save to disk the image and caption: “Glory.” Ethic twirled back and away in the nick of time, the haphazard swing of massive air and razor sand nicking the tips of her hair, and already first blood was drawn. However cosmetic; but the damage was there. The stray strands hadn’t even a chance to drift lazily in their melodramatic way; instantly, they were drawn into the heart of the blade and disintegrated. The remainder whipped around her head like a halo, lonelier for the loss. Exactly one twirl was planned, her feet staccato as it distributed momentum in all the precise directions; when she came back around, two submachine guns had appeared in her hands. The way her jacket drifted, bulky and boxy like a shoplifter’s coat, suggested the presence of more. Who had any way of knowing how many a girl could keep in a space like that? Or maybe they were pet rocks, lifted scraps of food from the dining hall, used pizza boxes; nobody could know. But please keep the eyes from wandering — there were already two demanding attention, one aimed precisely at and without a millimeter of deviation from Glory’s face. The bullets emerged as if through gelatin, erupting at maximum speed, slowing to a crawl by five inches and a halt by seven. Fifty rounds in that magazine, all emptied in the span of a second into a spray that froze just a few inches past the muzzle, looking for all the world like a tightly packed bouquet of lead. As soon as the trigger clicked emptiness the first gun was cast to the side and the second raised in a similar manner. This time, she whipped her hand in an arc around, once, twice, ferociously downward in either diagonal, until two belts of bullets and their casings hung saturnial and motionless in the space around her. She fancied them hula hoops, and just like that, they began to spin. The same speed that they lost so swiftly seemed returned to them at the same rate; in another half a second the eye could hardly perceive their motion, and by another quarter they had become stroboscopic, moving so swiftly that their motion was to the eye retrograde. Occasionally sparks would fly as one piece of debris grazed another; these, occurring in a sphere precisely five feet around Ethic, delineated the border of the orbits. The first gun remained hovering at her side; she inserted the second into the center of bouquet and depressed the trigger, and when she moved it away the bouquet seemed to follow with the barrel of the gun. Her free hand produced a third from the interior of her jacket in the meantime. With this done, she kicked off into a sprint, directly towards her distant opponent.
  13. ethela penna

    Kaess Exhibition Match: Paroxysm vs ethela penna

    Habeas corpus. You have the body. That’s what they had told Ethic when she opened her eyes for the first time. No, it wasn’t the first time; she remembered opening her eyes before. The memories were there, of operating all the same muscles and servomotors, and the action came to her naturally, as if from instinct. But machines did not have instinct, and the question of whether the memories were implanted, synthesized, or genuinely formed was itself uncertain. It was certain, however, that they were there — And it was certain that it was the first time she had opened her eyes in that body. The motion was too fluid without the weight of rust to temper her enthusiasm. Constants once thought to be constant now suffered adjustment. A whole reconsideration of her operation was in order. It was, in many more ways than one, a birth anew. Former memories existed but this division created a rift; it felt fitting to call this a new age, and for new memories to be formed. Where she found the arbitrary will to divide things based on an arcanery called “sentimental value”, she never once wondered. It was enough that it existed. A feeling of satisfaction had spread through her as she lifted her limbs and flexed the fingers. Habuerat corpus. She had the body. The first thing they had sent her off to do? The word was “calibration,” but for what, she had to wonder. The atrium was packed full of people she had no understanding of, decorated in ornate fashion which matched none she had ever seen. The audience, she had been reassured, moved on parallel tracks to her purpose there; they were irrelevant and their presence, nothing more than a coincidence. Something inside her disagreed, but not violently enough to overturn the understanding that she wasn’t here for them. A thin wall of magic separated her from the audience. This same wall traced along the internal walls of the visible atrium; in reality, there was a room within the room, and this smaller room was an almost complete cage encasing her…and one other. The other thing in the smaller room — the arena — was a varying account. Pure optical sensors provided the form of a pulsating mass of rats, shaped into a pillar roughly the height and width of a human body. Quantum sensors agreed, as did infrared, gamma emission, and radar. The question was then of why these rats had taken the time to perch so precariously. The pillar, which initially confused and repulsed the girl, was given more purpose once the psychometric observers took their turn, revealing the psychic form of a young woman which enveloped the whole affair. This account was corroborated by the attuned sensors for thaumaturgy and the electro-encephalagic receptors, as well as hybrid optical, olfactory and audial receivers. A new feeling came to her, one which was alien to both fear and anger, but yet held traits of hostility; one more akin to acute discomfort, mixed with an urgency to look away. A word came up, “disgust,” but was dismissed out of hand. It would be rude to refer to a girl as disgusting. It was a girl on at least a few planes of existence; and those few planes had feelings, too, just as valid as the rest. Ethic instead opted for a different solution than that of categorizing Glory as “disgusting.” All sensors save hybrid-optical shut off quietly, and when she opened her eyes again she saw the young woman that everyone else must have. Glory was even pretty, now that she was only perceived along the least rat-like axis. Much better. Ostensibly, this was the only relevant party. There were, after all, only two important slots in her understanding of the situation. One was Ethic herself. The second was the slot of “the opponent.” “Hello, Opponent Girl.” She smiled in a way that she hoped seemed natural. “May your calibration be fruitful.” She was here for calibration too, wasn’t she? Ethic’s smile faltered as she began to doubt herself.
  14. ethela penna

    The Festival of Lights - Exhibition Matches Begin 9/8

    It's not as much about the head start as we're ready, and rather willing. (Read: enthused about the match). Plus, we all know how quickly a week and a half disappears based on people's posting speeds... Given that this is hardly competitive based on speed, is there any particular problem?