August Third - 11 days after 0026 incident
On the advice of a superior, I have decided to start keeping a private journal. He mentioned something while we were going through all that paperwork about the importance of recording your progress. I mean I guess I wouldn't want to forget all that's happened. Then again, I don't think I'm gonna forget any of this for the rest of my life. I don't exactly know when this all started, but I guess the most important part was when I got my new assignment.
They gave me some files and told me I was being assigned to this new unit. I kinda felt there was something strange going on before all this from what was going on, but I had no idea what I was in for. I read up the reports they gave me and learned about what really happened on SC-0026. Turns out a terrorist organization sabotaged the colony. Some group called TRE. Some of the survivors, not much younger than myself, were enlisted into the military to help stop them. Apparently this new group I was to join up with helped save an Admiral's life from TRE and helped evacuate the colony. They got sent to another colony to investigate more about this group. Apparently they got some good info out of it, but fell deep behind enemy lines and barely managed to escape. Glad they got out of that unharmed. When I heard about that, I thought they must have been one heck of a team to get through.
Next in the documents was the results of that mission, the intelligence they managed to dig up. A lot of real odd characters in the top brass of TRE. They seem to have some kinda Megalomaniac leader obsessed with overthrowing the government to gain independence for the outer colonies. I knew things weren't as good in the outer colonies as closer to earth. Heck I had to quell more than one riot out there. But I know that these guys aren't doing things the right way. If they really wanted peace, if they really wanted independence then they wouldn't have done what they did. These people are a sick cult. I read what they were saying to their members. It's a textbook case of indoctrination. I haven't read the textbook, so I had to hear that from somebody else. But really it means that they're making those people think they need to do this and that there isn't another way. But I know there's another way. A better way. Much better than what they're doing. They don't want peace, they want control. They're giving phony promises of peace and independence to their members, telling them their whole lives are going to be fixed if they overthrow the government. They're telling them that all the evil things they do, all the innocent lives they take are justified by what they'll have after they win. They say the earth military is corrupt, incompetent, and evil, and that they're really the good guys. They want them to think that if they're the good guys, they can't be doing something bad. It's a complete and total load, and every single one of their soldiers seems to buy into it. They say if you're starving, even a piece of moldy bread will start to look like a gourmet meal. I know the Military may not be Filet Mignon, but it's better than the poison TRE has been feeding them. I swear I'll stop them no matter what it takes. I won't let them get away with killing innocent people and brainwashing their members to fulfill their own selfish desire to have their Damascus Dynasty rule the solar system. The military isn't perfect, but I believe in them. I believe in the man who risked his life to save my parents from that building collapse on that horrible day. I believe in the comrades I worked alongside in the military, and how we all joined up to protect people. Most of all I believe in myself. I know I'm willing to do whatever it takes to protect peace and the life of all mankind. Lately I guess I've had my doubts if everyone feels as strongly as I do, but I don't care. I'm sticking to my beliefs until the end, and that means there's always going to be one man who is always willing to give his life for peace. And that keeps me going.
Man I was rambling like hell there. Oh well, it's my journal so I get to do what I want. So I guess after I finished reading all those files and memorizing that got dang list, I went and met Doctor Turtle. I kinda like this guy. He looks a bit crazy and he's real enthusiastic, but I like the way he talks and how he's always so interested about everything. Sure I don't get half the things that come out of his mouth but boy if he can't make it sound like it's Christmas come early. He tells me there's this kind of power I have that all the members of this new team have. It's called Awakened Colonists or Newtypes or something like that. They all got different kinds of powers, but really I just wish I knew a bit more about my own. All I can figure out is that I have a special way of talking to people that helps make people trust what I'm saying. Being told I have this power makes me wonder just how long I've had it. I always used to think I was good at talking to people because I try to be friendly and empathize with everyone instead of making enemies. What if I always had this power? What if the only reason I got the friends I had was this weird ability? How can I know if I'm manipulating people with some kind of unfair advantage or if they really like me? It makes me feel like its a lot harder to believe anything now. Like if I'm really as good at empathizing with people as I thought. Is it just this crazy power that makes me think I am? I don't even think the Doc knows for sure. I hope one of these days I manage to understand just how it works. It'd help me understand a lot of what else has been going on. I'll try to make the best of it for now though.
I should ask the Doc if I have super rambling powers or something next time I see him. Anyway after spending a few days with the Doc and doing a little training while I waited, I got to meet the 4 members of my new team. My first impression? Hard to say, but I think they all showed that they had some pretty strong spirits. Sam and Teresa seemed really dedicated to the safety of their adopted daughter, Sparrow. Leo was a bit stoic, but I could tell he's got a good head on his shoulders. He's a very practical guy. Kazuma was a lot more emotive. He seemed very brave and very reliable. He felt like a born fighter to me. Not necessarily a soldier, but definitely a fighter if that makes sense. Well… I guess it makes sense to me and that's what matters.
So we finally made it down to the colony together for our first mission as a team. I did a little recon at some of the stores - didn't find much that was useful. So we made our way over to this fountain where I managed to find someone to get a little info out of. Me and Kazuma teamed up in a fight. I was right about thinking of him as reliable. He pulled off some great teamwork for our first fight together, allowing Elvis to make it through without a scratch. I feel like I got a little rough on our opponents though. I started thinking of our mission, and when he started blaming his own pokemon like that it really made me get serious about it. I hope they're both all right. Anyway, after we beat him we ended up learning about this tournament Ariel was holding for her birthday. The winners got to challenge her and get invited to her party. We all decided this was gonna be a good way to get close to her, so we each entered. I made it through the first round no trouble. That Pachirisu was no match for Elvis once he started on the offensive. That Nidorino of mine is some kind of wrecking machine. Which of course means he isn't exactly good at holding back. So went I got to Teresa, there was no way I was going all out like that. She had a better chance against Ariel than I did. My Olivia could have gotten seriously hurt fighting her, and Elvis could only do so much on his own. So when she sent out her Vulpix against me, I left it all up to chance. I knew I probably wasn't winning it, so I tried to see if she could get lucky enough to pull through Olivia's lockdown combo. I figured if she got off one attack that'd be it for me. Surprisingly, she made it through two, but in the end I wasn't unsatisfied with the loss. I wanted her to win for the sake of the mission, just thought I'd test her luck first. I was a little worried Olivia might get hurt at first, but I decided to go ahead and trust Teresa to not hurt my girl too badly.
Of course, what I really didn't expect next was for Sam to go on and beat Teresa, then beat Kazuma and go up against Ariel. It wasn't exactly as planned. To be honest I didn't think she'd stood a chance but she proved me wrong. I should have believed in her from the start. She was part of my team and I should have supported her but I didn't. I don't know why I didn't. Of course she didn't win, but she did more than anyone even thought was possible. It was one of the most incredible things I'd ever seen. Ariel seemed to think so too, because she counted it as Sam's victory. Gave her the prize money and two tickets to her party. Four of us picked up some eggs too as a reward, but more on that later. We used some of Teresa's family connections to get the rest of us into the party as civilians rather than military personnel. Probably helped us blend in a lot better, which is good I think. Of course while we were shopping it seemed like a couple of them were having some kind of crisis with their newtype powers. Also, Kazuma seemed to be hiding something from us regarding what he asked Ariel. I hoped he was just trying come on to her but at the time I was pretty worried that whatever secret he was withholding from us might have been something big enough to jeopardize the mission. Leo reassured me a bit about that though, and I calmed down enough to focus on the rest of the mission.
Once we got to the party… boy so many things happened I hope I can get them all down. Well let's see… we tried to mingle around a little bit, but couldn't get a whole lot out of that. But once we started the dancing things picked up. I don't think any of us get how he managed it, but Leo snagged a dance with Ariel herself. I managed to get a little close to them and overhear their conversations. The things she said… I really felt for her. She seemed so sad about everything. It must be so tough to have to deal with what she'd been through. And to have to endure all that and keep smiling and acting that way around all those people must really tear her up. After she talked to Leo, she left to go take a call. Sam went ahead and decided to tail her while nobody was looking. A dangerous move since we didn't know where she was, but one that paid off in the end. She caught the conversation between Ariel and Freya, and found out that she was there on the colony. So I went to confront her about it with the rest of the team. She didn't seem ashamed to admit her connection. She was mostly cooperative, but she refused to sell out her friend completely till the very end. At first I thought I'd failed and that my powers really couldn't make a difference. But then something about the garden she said stuck with me. Turns out she was giving me a hint for my efforts. I guess she didn't give up on her friend, even if she wasn't willing to tell us where she was. It just made me wonder… would Josef do that for me? Would I do that for him? I kind of hope I never have to find out.
So after all that we had to make our way through this garden, get this sudowoodo out of the way, make it through this hedge maze, and climb down some maintenance tunnels to make our way into the private docks. I started getting really worried once we stopped getting responses to the messages we were sending though. They wouldn't tell us anything except for a real short message we got from those twins that said "Keep Going". So that's what we went ahead and did. Before that I was feeling concerned that we made the wrong choice. Once we got to the docks, things started to get a bit… rough. Sam tried to sneak on ahead of us instead of waiting and she ended up getting spotted by a guard. She tried to talk her way out of it, but no luck there. I was about to try to intervene, but before I could try she started attacking the guard, so I had to go with that. Still, went a lot better than it could have considering I was the only one armed. Other than the 4 guards with assault rifles of course. I had to pull out my pistol and start keeping two of them at a distance while Olivia tried to put them all to sleep. Kazuma and Sam took out the other ones and we had a little help from Teresa's psychic powers too. Managed to get through everything without any casualties thanks to Olivia. I hope she understands why I had to use her instead of Elvis. I didn't want to hurt them more than we had to. Not without giving them a chance to surrender first.
After we took the guards out and did some sabotage on the controls to try to make sure the ship couldn't leave with us on it (after all I'm sure once is enough for all of them) we headed into the cold ship and sort of stealthily wandered around for a bit. We heard some of the guards talking about Freya on the ship. Calling her names and resenting her like that… I hope that's not the way we're treated when we aren't around. They were complaining about having to near freeze the whole ship just for her sake. And when we got to her, it made a lot of sense why they had to. Even with the rest of the ship the way it was, the room right by her was burning up. At this point, everything really started going wrong. Maybe I should have taken charge then, or maybe it really wouldn't have made a difference. Teresa started trying to use her psychic powers to help us plan everything out, because Sam had a pretty good view of what was inside. I was trying to get across a good plan with what little information I got, but Sam had other ideas. Apparently she thought it was gonna be too hot inside for Olivia. Too hot… who does she think she is trying to tell me what my pokemon can't do? I've been partners with Olivia ever since I was a little boy in that forest trying to make friends with a caterpie. I'd never send her into a situation where I thought she might be in real danger if it wasn't the best option we had. Where does she get off telling me my partner doesn't have what it takes? I tried to communicate this to them and tell them I wanted to at least try to reason with her if we weren't going to try to take her out without fighting but I dunno if they didn't want to listen or they just didn't get it in time. No, instead she tried to tackle her while she was asleep. Which woke her up and got her real pissed off.
That right there was when I started to doubt Sam's leadership ability. We'd been mostly going by her plans since I guess nobody else wanted to make the decisions and I didn't want to impose authority on everyone. But that was really foolish in my opinion. We'd read on the dossier that she had some kind of control over fire. And we could feel that too the closer we got. Why did she think getting close to her was a good idea? How was she not expecting to get burned like that? I wanted to try to tell Freya to think about how she's making Ariel feel with what she's doing. That she should come back to the right side before it's too late and they end up hurting more people. But it was too late for us; we were already in the middle of that fight. Freya had a lot of strong pokemon, but the way she acted she seemed more confused and scared, which wasn't good. No way I was sending Olivia out into that kind of fight. She'd been in more danger than I'd have liked already. Elvis did a great job of stopping her pokemon, but then something went wrong while the four of them were focusing on subduing Freya. The heat from Freya must have set off the gun on Sam's back, causing it to misfire right into Leo's chest. We were all shocked when it happened. I told them that he'd be fine and they needed to focus on taking down Freya, but really I didn't know that. I had no idea whether Leo was going to live or die from that wound. I couldn't even tell if he was alive right there or not. I just knew that we needed to finish our mission no matter what and that's what we did.
Freya eventually passed out from the heat right as we were finishing the last of her pokemon off. Right after we ended it, we heard some people trying to get into the door. We were already pretty exhausted… and here I thought the rest of the TRE troops heard the commotion and was coming to capture us. Much to everyone's surprise, it was the cavalry coming in. While we had our hands full with Freya they came in behind us and captured the rest of TRE, taking over the ship. I don't think any of us expected them to come in after being out of contact so long. Morale wasn't at its highest at that point I'd say. But still, they managed to get Leo to the medical bay in time and remove the bullet. He's doing okay now thank goodness. We all went to get debriefed, got some sleep on the ship, and headed back up to the ocean blue the next morning.
When we headed back up to the ship, I kept worrying about that accident. The way Sam rushed after Leo like that, I could tell she probably felt responsible for that misfire. There's no one person you can blame for something like that though. Accidents happen and there's not anything you can do about it. There's no way to go back and undo an accident, but we can try to make sure it doesn't happen again. Personally though, if I had to choose someone to blame it would have been the Captain. He knows I'm required to carry a gun, shouldn't he also know better than to have an armed soldier in a group that hasn't been trained in gun safety? Especially if we're expecting to fight armed combatants. Combat groups are supposed to be aware of gun safety rules even when they're not going to fire their guns. They need to know basic rules like to maintain awareness of who's armed, treat any weapon as loaded, never get into the path of an idle gun… I don't even know if she knew how to operate the safety. They always taught us that any person uneducated in the use of weaponry can pose as big a threat to themselves and others as the weapon itself. I thought she knew what she was doing when she picked up that gun, I thought they told her what to do with it how to use it and everything but they didn't and she ended up making a mistake because of it. It wasn't her fault. It was just a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Some are harder to make right than others. I just hope I can right the mistakes I made though.
After that, we got a chance to interrogate Freya. I wanted to go alone, but Sam insisted on coming with me and then the rest of them followed. As I thought, they didn't help much. Freya seemed really riled up when she saw them. Seemed pretty upset. And how can we blame her? The four of them tried to tackle her and beat the tar out of her while she was sleeping on a bean bag chair listening to music. Kazuma was trying to calm her down, but it clearly wasn't working so I tried asking him politely to let me try. That wasn't working, so I had to tell him a bit more forcefully to step back and let me do my job. I dunno how that made him feel really but I was just sort of snapping at him because I was stressed from the mission and I was eager to make things better. I guess I kind of succeeded. She was really hostile to everyone else and still seemed ticked off, but I got her to listen. I got to talk to her about her friend Ariel. I got to convince her that the military and all of us really don't mean her any harm. We want to help her. It made me feel uncomfortable knowing that's probably the same thing TRE said to her when they recruited her. But I know we mean it. I know I mean it. I could tell that TRE was doing exactly what I thought they would. Promising her control but really just using her. I made a promise to her too, but I intend to keep mine no matter what. I decided that from that day forward I'd do whatever it took to make sure I fulfill that promise to her. To everyone. I'll help her. I won't let it become a lie. I can't tell for sure whether she believes me or not. But I believe in myself no matter what.
After the interrogation I told Sam to meet me at my room to go somewhere. Once she did, I led her to the gun range and a whole big disaster started. I must have severely misunderstood her feelings. All I wanted to do was to explain to her how to use a gun personally and maybe that would make her feel better about what happened since she'd know how to keep it from happening again. I also didn't want her to end up feeling afraid of guns and having some kind of trauma with them. What if she freezes up next time someone pulls a gun on her? Or on Leo? I figured it'd be a good way for us to get to know each other too so I could rebuild my trust with her after what happened. She seemed to think it was enough just to never touch a gun again. I disagreed, and it seemed so did the captain because someone from the range came out and started talking about the lessons for her that he scheduled. Hindsight's 20/20, huh captain? She went in anyway, but I didn't get to follow her. She made it pretty clear she didn't want to see me for a while. This all just confuses me so much. I don't know why she reacted the way she did. Do my powers just not work on her? Do they not work all the time? Was I just doing something wrong? Or was it just that I was so wrong that not even my powers could do anything to help the situation. In a way I almost feel better knowing that I don't just hypnotize people into liking me and thinking the way I want. But not really. I just feel a lot worse. Morale is at an all time low and so is unit cohesion. First time this has really happened for me.
Later that night, we got our full debriefing. We got a lot of surprises there too. Apparently they had orders from someone even higher than the Admiral (the fleet admiral?) to not communicate with us to apparently test how well we worked under pressure. There's a damn time and a place for those kinds of tests and it's called basic training, not the damn field. Still, I knew better to question orders from my superiors out loud. The rest of the team seemed pretty outraged, and I was surprised to see the Captain actually apologized for those orders. I really didn't know how to react there… it's something I'd never seen happen. Everything that's been happening just keeps flying in the face of everything I was trained for. As if things weren't confusing enough, Sam started mouthing off to the Captain, questioning him and asking if he's going to start giving them orders to leave men behind. I thought that was going a bit too far… but then the Captain went even further when he punched Sam right in the jaw. I was shocked. I started to say something but… I didn't really know what to say. Did I say anything? I don't even remember. Things were such an insane blur that day. I don't know if there was really anything I could have said there. After all that was over, I decided to clear my head a bit.
I tried talking to Dr. Turtle the next morning, but he wasn't a lot of help. Even he doesn't fully understand how my abilities work, other than something about our psyches possibly interacting. It didn't make a lot of sense, but I just hope it helps me understand eventually. After that, I decided to clear my head. I spent a lot of time caring for my egg and helping an officer get caught up on paperwork. I needed a bit of time away from everyone to help calm down and make sense of the situation. I think it might have helped a little, because the next day I managed to get a good conversation in with Leo at the gym. Of course we were interrupted when the twins decided to give me a little interview. I gotta say I enjoyed it a lot. Made me feel a bit better to be doing something a bit more lighthearted than what's been going on. Something more simple. Of course then they started asking me about my deepest secret. I didn't quite know what to give them… I'm mostly an open book about my life. The only things I don't say to people are things that it's nicer not to say at all. Still, they insisted so I had to think of something. Eventually I got the idea that I'd tell them about the dream I decided I'd aim for ever since I talked to Freya. I hadn't told anyone yet so I figured it might count as a secret in that case. And I guess I've decided to keep it a little bit of a secret ever since 'cause I decided it couldn't hurt. Me and Leo both got roped into a double battle with the twins, and they were no match for our teamwork. Olivia locked them down just the way we like to do it while Zero went and cleaned them up with his attacks. It was a great experience for both of us. I decided to let him in on my little secret after the fight. I think he kind of likes it, even if it is a bit naive. But he seems to think I can do it and I'm grateful for that. I've been comrades with these four for about five days… but I think Leo is probably the first one I can really call my friend.
The next day, my egg ended up hatching into a Torchic. He was cute, but I felt like Kazuma would have wanted something like that more than I did. So I traded him for Kazuma's egg. I don't know what's in this one, but as long as Kazuma's happy with his, it's fine. Plus I think I may have been a bit rude to him before. I hope this helps make up for it a bit and gives us some of that unit cohesion back. I hope so anyway, 'cause it looks like we got something to do tomorrow. They have to go back to their colony and claim all the things they don't want to lose when they rebuild the colony. I feel a bit out of place going along. It's probably pretty traumatic to go back to their destroyed homes like that. I can only hope I can provide some kind of support for them. Also, an old classmate of theirs called Brian says he left his Magnemite back on the colony. I hate to see him forced to be separated from his pokemon like that. I promised to get it back to him, so hope I have a what it takes to follow through.
I've been saying that word a lot. Hope. Maybe a little bit too much. But I guess it's gotten me where I am now, so I've got no choice but to keep holding onto that hope so I can keep moving forward. And maybe I can prove how strong hope really is.
Ensign Thompson Roe
I wish I was better at keeping a journal. Maybe it would help me figure out just where I went wrong. Unless I've just been naive this whole time. Today… I don't know how to describe it. It's too hard to write about everything important. I'll just start from the beginning. We went back to SC-031. Same one as our first mission. I think I must have changed a lot since that. Everyone else probably has too. We went there and talked to Ariel about the Combees we needed her to take care of because we couldn't handle it ourselves. I managed to convince her to accept the burden. We showed her the pokemon we got from her, and she commented on how small Shannon was. Just what I needed, another reminder that my powers just force pokemon into doing something that could strain them and ruin them. And I lost, by the way. We all went in to rematch Ariel. Shannon got taken out first. She ended up fighting her own mother. I thought for some reason she might have liked it that way, but what do I know about what she wants? For all I know that fight was hurting her. Kazuma ended up pulling the rest of the weight.
After that happened we decided to try to go and participate in the pokemon contests. I won this paltry little contest. Bruce got his ribbon, which I guess is the only thing I could do for him since I wasn't doing a good job of keeping my promise to make him stronger. After that, we went up into the stands to watch the rest of the contests. Kazuma Teresa and Sam were in another one while me and Leo and sparrow were just watching. I don't know who won. Halfway through Leo got a call from Ariel saying she wanted to meet us. I went and we left sparrow with just a couple of pokemon because I'm a fucking idiot who can't resist getting his ego stroked. She thanked us for all we did, even though Freya is probably still suffering from her powers and unable to move out of that tank. When we came back Sparrow was gone. Kidnapped. By Ava. She took Sparrow from the bathroom and ran off with her. We had to hunt her down. Well we found her eventually. She was in the maintenance tunnels when we cornered her. She had Sparrow and… then she said something about being her sister. I didn't want it to be true but I knew she believed it. She wasn't trying to lie to us. And then I guess I showed my true colors.
Everything I've been saying to Sam, everyone, all those promises I made were just bullshit. I hated Ava. I called out Bruce and yelled at him to crush her and the wall protecting her from us, from me, in one blow. He obeyed. I almost wish he hadn't. Never mind, this is what I really want isn't it. I didn't care about her. Even if she was Sparrow's sister I was okay with killing her. I wanted to kill her. I wanted to see her dead and I wasn't even man enough to do it with my own two hands. Instead I pushed my pokemon into attacking her for me because they're stronger than I could ever be. Everyone on the team is. I probably couldn't even take that buneary in a fight the day it hatches from its egg. In the end I didn't want to even try for peace. I wanted to see my enemy crushed. I'm nothing more than a damn hypocrite.
She escaped though. I came at her filled with hate and she managed to slip away from us nonetheless. Then we all started arguing. Sparrow was crying. Leo tried to take the blame. Kazuma tried to take a swing at him while Sam and Teresa tried to comfort Sparrow. And… everything just got a lot worse. Sparrow ended up crying herself to sleep. After all that I've just felt kind of empty. I just don't know what to do. Maybe there isn't anything for me to do but accept that this is the kind of person I am. I'm no hero.
I don't know I really feel right now, I just really don't. I can't understand if I want to even be mad at them for what they did. All of 'em were in on it behind my back. That damn dreamworld. Leo and I are the only ones who haven't taken it the bait. None of them even told me. Not when they took it, not after. I had to find out 'cause Sam and Kazuma decided to talk like I don't exist. I wonder just what Sam sees us as sometimes. Are we just annoying flies trying to nag her about how dangerous everything she does is? I don't even see the point if she's just gonna ignore us and resent us for trying to keep her from getting herself killed. I wonder just what it is she's doing in that dream world. What's so magical and special about it for her that she feels like she can ignore all the real things going on around her. I have no idea what kind of shit she's gotten herself into there. Maybe she met that disgusting Mistress thing. That ugly creature tried to play around with my heart acting like it needed help. Making me think maybe there were some things that really did need protecting. Shannon saw through it. Took me until I woke up to see it was all just a pack of lies to try and trick me into that world. Yeah, turns out even your own intuition doesn't work in that stupid fake dream world. Maybe people who were born without common sense just don't mind that place as much. And you know, I thought you had to drink that stupid tea to get into the god damn dreamworld. Surprise, turns out it just happens whenever it feels like it. Or maybe someone in here's been drinking so much that they're just sweating the damn stuff. I don't know. I just don't know what I'm gonna do here. I can't even make up my mind how mad I should be. I thought at least Kazuma was my friend. Maybe it really is just none of my business. Why should I care if those damn devilbeasts are clawing at their souls? They don't have to worry about the consequences until they're already dead. Why should I ever have to care about it? I can't believe I was even considering joining them. As if throwing myself onto the fire will somehow stop everyone else from burning. I need to just hurry up and finish this mission so that we can just go our separate ways. I don't even think I'm mad. Do I feel betrayed? Sure. But that's my own fault for thinking they trusted me that much in the first place. I'll just give them exactly what they want. I won't fuss over them no more. Not worth it if they don't want me to. Sam clearly thinks she can handle things on her own, Teresa never really liked me anyway, and Kazuma really just doesn't care how anyone else feels about him it seems. Leo's our team leader. Let it be his responsibility. I'm just sick of being played around with.
I can't believe when that thing was talking to me… I even thought about HER for even a second.