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GhostOfHeraclitus

Joined May 2012
917 followers

Stories (4)

  • Whom the Princesses Would Destroy...
    Behind the scenes of a perfectly normal visit to Canterlot lies chaos. Also, custard.

    19,758 words · 21,784 views · 1,930 likes · 24 dislikes
  • A Canterlot Carol
    Dotted Line discovers the true meaning of Hearthwarming, mostly by accident.
    6,464 words · 4,779 views · 649 likes · 6 dislikes
  • Twilight Sparkle Makes a Cup of Tea
    Sometimes, a cup of tea is just a cup of tea. This is not one of those times.
    1,671 words · 6,944 views · 953 likes · 17 dislikes
  • Obiter Dicta
    A collection of short stories, vignettes, and deleted scenes, mostly based in the Civil Serviceverse and tending to be either slice of life or comedy.
    15,642 words · 2,561 views · 438 likes · 7 dislikes

Blog Posts (46)

Source

To Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia, it is a simple surprise visit to Canterlot. To the ponies of the Equestrian Civil Service, it is twenty-four hours of chaos, politics, weaponized dessert, politics, underhooved manipulation of media, politics, and things batrachian and tentacular. Who said bureaucracy isn't exciting?

First Published
10th Oct 2012
Last Modified
10th Oct 2012

Comments ( 463 )

#1 · Chapter 2 · 99w, 6d ago · 2 · ·

First!

Ha, I never got to say that before. :)

Anyway, I'm stealing the idea of using the first comment for Author's notes from my good friend Bad Horse. You can also find them, unsurprisingly, in the Footnotes & Author's Notes chapter. I wanted to put them in the description but after an hour of trying I gave up. It's impossible to control where the 'more' will appear and if it bisects your link, well, it ceases to link anywhere.

Acknowledgements, special thanks, and image credits

This story has been pre-read by Bad Horse, a noted scholar of pony words and the author of a great many lovely stories, and Dagger Tongue who is the proud co-author of On Wings of Change. A little bird tells me that he's also going to write a story of his own, so do be on the lookout for that. Varanus, who I feel needs no introduction, was also of great help with certain grammatical problems and, also, caught that I had forgotten my own character's name at one point.

Bad Horse's profile.

Dagger Tongue's profile.

On Wings of Change

Varanus' profile

The cover image is by the inestimable KP-ShadowSquirrel who has kindly agreed to let me use it here. The original image can be found on the artist's DA profile, or by following the link below.

KP-ShadowSquirrel's DA profile.

Original image..

I hope you enjoy the story, and thank you for reading!

#2 · Chapter 1 · 99w, 3d ago · 4 · ·

Chapter one.

Just. Chapter one. I have no words, your style of humor is simply off the charts ghost. If this doesn't get featured, I'm going to mutiny against reality.

I bow to my superior.

All hail Ghost; Herald of Humor, Creator of Comedy, and Practitioner of the Pony Prose.

-Koba

#3 · Chapter 1 · 99w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

This story is perfect.

The footnotes make it even better.

I'm surprised the universe still exists...

#4 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

You included footnotes in the story.  This is very good indeed.  Mmmyesss.

#5 · Chapter 1 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

Whelp, you're my new god now.

Or would have been, except when you said "last minute changes of heart" you actually typed lass. :derpytongue2:

I love this.  Just one chapter and I LOVE it.

Moving on to chapter 2.

#6 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>1393590

Gosh. Making me blush here, Koba.

>>1394381

Mmm. I've a special arrangement with the Lords Of Creation that allows the fic to coexist with, you know, the material universe.

I'm happy you liked it. :twilightsmile:

>>1394543

I'm on record as shipping GhostOfHeraclitus/Footnotes. Strictly speaking, though, these are endnotes. But that's okay. I'm very modern about that sort of thing.

>>1394597

And then, as if by magic, the typo[1] was fixed. Can I be your deity now? I'm very easy on the smiting, light on fasting and acts of penance and I have a very liberal set of commandments. :pinkiehappy:

Glad you are enjoying yourself!

[1] A typo that survived three pre-readers and and four "final editing sweeps." Resilient bastard.

#7 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1394610

Light on smiting eh?  Hmmm, I don't know, I can't respect a god who doesn't smite.

#8 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>1394614

Well, here at GhostOfHeraclitus Divinity Services Inc. we aim for customer satisfaction above all other things. As a result we are industry leaders in tailoring our divinity towards the individual needs of prospective worshipers, you may be interested in our Flexible Godhood(TM) program and, especially, our Give Me That Old Time Religion(TM) package: for just a few prayers extra, you can have upwards of six major smiting instances a month and with our new pray-as-you-go contract you can even tailor the smiting to your own needs: locusts, pillars of salt, rains of blood, spongecake massacre, and more!

GOH Divinity Services: Who Do You Want To Pray To Today?

#9 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·
#10 · Chapter 2 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

certain expectation formed

expectations

You're gonna smite me with spongecake when this is over, and I am gonna deserve it. :trollestia:

Also, This is how we believe the dimensions got torqued. " strikes me as particularly funny for some reason. :rainbowkiss:

#11 · Chapter 3 · 99w, 3d ago · 7 · ·

For a brief insane moment she considered confirming everything, just to see the look on that reporter's face as she capered and danced off into the sunset, magnificently lit by the flames of her burning career. It was a tempting vision.

That is the greatest mental imagine I have ever seen described.

Psh, everyone knows Twilight keeps a giant turtle with 4 elephants on its back in her wardrobe.  She managed to have it moved to the Books and Branches last week.

Ooooh.  Shaped like frogs.

#12 · Chapter 4 · 99w, 3d ago · 2 · ·

Oh lord.  That was wonderful.  The words horrifying and entertaining once again come together in my head.  You have a serious gift with words.  You know precisely what words to use to convey your exact meaning.  It reminds me of the writing of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams actually.  If this is the quality of your [i[starting work, I think we can expect great things in the future. :twilightsmile:

Cadance is totally in town at this moment to hear Celestia's announcement that Twilight Sparkle is her immaculately conceived starchild, as well as the declaration that Twilight is to be the new Overtyrant of Equestria.  Obviously.

I love lower deck episodes.  And footnotes endnotes.

#13 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1394774

It reminds me of the writing of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams actually.

Now that's high praise, indeed.

Regarding Overtyrants, I can reveal that one of the many many theories mentioned in the fic is correct, at least in the universe of my story.

#14 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1394628

Oh high holy hell. I came for the story (Dagg sent me), but I'm staying for the Ghost. "Give Me That Old Time Religion" You sir, are a god amongst men... and whatever Koba is. Also, GhostOfHeraclitus/Footnotes, hm? Ghostnotes: OTP.

EDIT: Pray-as-you-go OHHHHHHHHMYGOD

#15 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1394852

Oh high holy hell. I came for the story (Dagg sent me), but I'm staying for the Ghost.

Ah, another candidate for the "Things Said About Me" quotes field. With your kind permission?

Also, GhostOfHeraclitus/Footnotes, hm? Ghostnotes: OTP.

Our love is a forbidden one, but all the more passionate. What kind of a world is it where a man can't stand up, proud, and say "Yes, yes I am in love with an abstract typographical convention? Is that so wrong?"

EDIT: Pray-as-you-go OHHHHHHHHMYGOD

:twilightsmile:

#16 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1394852

and whatever Koba is.

:twilightangry2: I resent that statement thrice over you muck-dredging frivolous mouth breather. You know very well what I am.[1]

[1] see: completely insane.

#17 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

Brilliant! It was very reminiscent of reading Pratchett, and not just because of the footnotes. :twilightsmile: It's unusual to see a story which centers around OCs be so engaging, but I would happily read more about the Civil Service ponies and their endless struggle against generalized idiocy. In the meantime, I would offer feedback to help you improve as a writer if I could, but you're working well over my skill level. Instead I'll point out all of your typos like a total jerk.:pinkiecrazy:

Yes, all three of them! And in all seriousness, I really only noticed these little things because this is one of the most technically perfect fics (as far as my American public school abilities can detect) that I've ever come across on this site. Here are the three I found, listed for your editing convenience...

1. "That she has come, Dotted? That's what we fear. We can only hope for the latter." said Lady Cloudsdale, her tone suggestive. [The period before the quotation mark should be a comma.]

2. And one, a certain Ivory Abacus, was too occupied watching the cabinet secretary pivot trough the air to get any distance in. [Through]

3. The moment he saw her he knew—the princess was here, and nothing can go wrong anymore. As long, of course, the princess is happy. [There is a missing 'as' in the second sentence. Also, and this one I'm not sure of, should the 'can' in the first sentence be 'could' because of the earlier 'was'? As in: '- the princess was here, and nothing could go wrong anymore.']

Tl;dr: Wonderful! Nitpicking! More please!

#18 · Chapter 1 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

Add that, given the recent spate of leaks from government circles, it would be both tragic and regrettable if he were to lose his seat over the aforementioned unfortunate details getting into the hooves of certain papers.
Hooray for blackmail, right? :ajbemused:

#19 · Chapter 3 · 99w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Seriously, that is not how journalism works, Lily. :facehoof:

#20 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1395524

Brilliant! It was very reminiscent of reading Pratchett, and not just because of the footnotes. :twilightsmile: It's unusual to see a story which centers around OCs be so engaging, but I would happily read more about the Civil Service ponies and their endless struggle against generalized idiocy.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't thinking of other ways to erode Dotted's dwindling reserves of sanity. So I won't. Because lying is wrong.

:twilightsmile:

Yes, all three of them! And in all seriousness, I really only noticed these little things because this is one of the most technically perfect fics (as far as my American public school abilities can detect) that I've ever come across on this site. Here are the three I found, listed for your editing convenience...

Ah, the wonders of not relying on dead trees as a publishing medium. The typos are all gone. I'm just amazed they survived the scrutiny this thing was put through. Then again, real honest-to-goodness published books have typos, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Tl;dr: Wonderful! Nitpicking! More please!

Lwjf;dr[1]: Glad! Thanks! Working on it.

[1] Length was just fine;did read

>>1395578

Blackmail! Such an ugly word. No no no, Dotted is just expressing how sad, nay, despondent he would be if details about the Cypress Hall project were to leak (the cabinet is like a sieve these days, it really is, makes you wonder what the world's coming to, it really does) to certain papers leading to the Honorable Member being unseated. Honest.

In seriousness, a) politics is a dirty business, here or in Equestria, b) the views of the characters aren't necessarily those of the author c) Sky Slicer had it coming.

#21 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1395037

My kind permission? You can have all of my permission. Take it all, I don't need it.

#22 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1394610

I really did. It had me going:

Although, I think that for the idea behind the story, it was pretty much the perfect length. Not too short and feeling rushed and not too long and starting to strain the concept. It of course did what all good stories do and left me wanting more material to feed my insatiable addiction.

The humour was top notch, and as others have said, reminiscent of such masters as Pratchett and Adams. The best part for me was how you seamlessly inserted the reader into the heads of characters and let their natural reactions to the situations drive the humour. The smidgen of eldritch abominations and weaponized spreads and desserts certainly didn't hurt either.

The harshest criticism I can give is that the footnotes (endnotes? Who cares for technicalities? THIS IS PONIES!) seemed to dry up towards the end. The longest chapter, chapter three, only had two and chapter four had none at all! Clearly this heinous act on the behalf of the author cannot go unpunished. :derpytongue2:

In conclusion, really really good. If this doesn't make the featured box / EQD then there is something terribly wrong with this reality.

P.S. Any chance of borrowing some writing skills and focus from GOH Divinity Services (I sure there are some livestock nearby that I can sacrifice to the gods [1]).

[1] Although, knowing Australian fauna, the gods might decide I was trying to kill them instead of worship them.

#23 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1397535

I really did. It had me going:

I remember first figuring out that books do, inevitably, end when I was a child. I've never felt so betrayed.

The harshest criticism I can give is that the footnotes (endnotes? Who cares for technicalities? THIS IS PONIES!) seemed to dry up towards the end. The longest chapter, chapter three, only had two and chapter four had none at all! Clearly this heinous act on the behalf of the author cannot go unpunished. :derpytongue2:

I'm going to blame Scrivener. I love that program to pieces, I really do, but its support for footnotes is of the devil. Ugh. Clearly, if I ever write something else, I'll need to make sure that I put in more footnotes. I just gotta have more cowbell footnotes.

In conclusion, really really good. If this doesn't make the featured box / EQD then there is something terribly wrong with this reality.

You know what with you and Koba proclaiming my imminent triumph I feel this is going to end up like on of _those_ sentences. You know. This ship is unsinkable. Iceberg? Pfffft. :unsuresweetie:

P.S. Any chance of borrowing some writing skills and focus from GOH Divinity Services (I sure there are some livestock nearby that I can sacrifice to the gods [1]).

We are always there to serve prospective worshipers. Please state the nature of the religious emergency?

[1] Although, knowing Australian fauna, the gods might decide I was trying to kill them instead of worship them.

GOH: APPROACH SUPPLICANT AND LET US SEE THY SACRIFICE!

SL: Well uh, I have this. Uh. Damn. *stabbity*

GOH: YES. GOOD. THY GOD IS A GRACIOUS GOD AND THY SACRIFICE WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN LET US SEE IT IS...aaargh...it's biting my....OH ME IT BURNS IT BURNS OH ME WHY IS IT POISONOUS AND VENOMOUS TWICE...aghhaaragha...EATING MY FACE....

SL: Perhaps I shouldn't have sacrificed the rare and endangering[1] Blue Ringed Dropbear.

[1] It was supposed to be 'endangered' but it ate the ecologists who were doing the population survey.

#24 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1397975 I remember first figuring out that books do, inevitably, end when I was a child. I've never felt so betrayed.

We at Bad Horse Industries have come up with a solution to this problem:

#25 · Chapter 5 · 99w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1400927

Fascinating. I'm partial to the old Borges 1000 model (they don't make 'em like they used to) but I'm seriously considering switching. It works fine enough, but it keeps eating bookmarks. Very frustrating.

#26 · Chapter 1 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

Dotted's gray coat took an a disturbingly greenish cast.
I believe this should be "on a".

That was only typo I noticed, so good on ya for that.

On to comments, which I'll be leaving as I read each chapter.

The humor is wonderful. It is so dry and sudden, I just can't help but burst out laughing. The writing itself is reminiscent of Douglas Adams and I adore that so very much.

The blade could come off, after all...

This line right here is where you sold it. Up until that line I had my suspicions about the kind of ride I was in for, and right there you made me pull out wallet to buy a ticket. If this chapter is any indication of the quality of the ride ahead, I have no doubts I'll be buying more tickets.

Other notables include the fun characterization, and the way you managed to make learning about Equestria's politics compelling and interesting. For what is presented thus far, a cast of OC ponies, you've managed to make each one you spotlighted feel both natural and interesting in a very short time.

I'm eagerly looking forward to more of this. I'll endeavor leave my thoughts on each chapter as I finish them.

#27 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

You've got a feature slot easily

And you completely deserve it.

#29 · Chapter 4 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

This was comedic gold, my good sir (or ma'am). Hilarious, witty, well-written and absolutely insane. Bravo! :yay:

#30 · Chapter 1 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

My god, sir. Not only is your humor funny, it is...witty. Actual, dry, wonderfully witty humour. You have my respect, and a thumb and star from me.

#31 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

The story is very clever and written in delightfully overwrought prose of a sort of vaguely British flavor (flavour?). I learned that some folks call a zucchini a "courgette," and I also learned that some folks have yet to realize that zucchini-flavored baked goods are delicious, which is terrible. Also, I must protest your characterization of poor Rarity, for I firmly believe that she would not be so easily taken by the popularization of an eldritch brain leech as adornment for one's head. But anyway, this was a real treat. :twilightsmile:

#32 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

Ah, a GOH story! Can't read now, but will definitely do so later. I've been eagerly awaiting your first work, as you are one of very few internet dwellers to cling to my memory through comments alone. That's no small feat, considering my memory is kind of like a sieve someone has shot repeatedly.

And then fed into a blender.

And then shot again.

#33 · Chapter 3 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

Im dying. Of giggles :pinkiecrazy:

#34 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

That story was magnificent. Magnificent!

#35 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

I truly wish FIM:FIC would implement the feature that you had to leave a comment before you down-voted something. If you find something is bad about a fic, please tell us why so we can fix it. {Or tell you why you're an idiot.} :trixieshiftleft:

Anyways, I can only assume that this hasn't passed moderation yet, as I've yet to see it in the feature box.

Hope to see you there soon,

-Dagg

PS: The Titanic was sunk by poorly smelted iron rivets. True story.

#36 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

Bravo! Bravo! Encore! I would favorite this twice, if I could. Three times, even.

If this is the sort of damage control the ECS deals with when Twilight is just visiting, just imagine what it must have been like when Twilight was still living in Canterlot!

#37 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

The problem with zucchini is this. Once you plant zucchini they will spawn so abundantly that you have to give some to your neighbors just to have room in your garden for anything else. Zucchini delivery is considered a social crime in many countries :D

#38 · Chapter 4 · 98w, 6d ago · · ·

Two hooves up!  :rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

#39 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

All this story needs now is a trope page.

#40 · Chapter 3 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

love your daring do novel names ^^

... oh and the whole story, work of genius and deserves so many more views than it's got. Onwards to the next chapter!

#41 · Chapter 1 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

Ooh, footnotes? [link]

...

It was at this point that I upvoted.

#42 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1419757

Already there. Final slot, but the one just before it is on it's way out. Of course, I fully expect this to make it to the first slot before the end of tomorrow. :coolphoto:

#43 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

well this story is tied with Slice of Life for my top comedy slot, SoL has slapstick and whole lot of references going for it, while this story is more in the subtle-yet-obvious category, like as people have mentioned Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, I will also add The Bartimeaus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stround, to the list of comparative works just because of the funny footnotes

Hope you write more like this :pinkiehappy:

#44 · Chapter 1 · 98w, 5d ago · 4 · ·

"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS POLITICAL PROTESTERS! SMASH THE STATE!"

....and that was the moment i gave this a thumbs up and favorited the story.:twilightblush::twilightsheepish::twilightsmile::rainbowlaugh:

#45 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

Congratulations on being featured on EqD and making the feature box as well! :pinkiehappy:

#46 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1419111

The Equestrian Civil Service can neither confirm nor deny such scurrilous rumors impugning the immaculate character of Her Highness, Princess Celestia and the Lady Sparkle, Hero of Equestria.

>>1419401

Ah, English is not my first language, so my vocabulary is a mishmash of British and American usage. As a result, I call them courgettes. You'll be pleased to know that Pinkie did eventually crack the problem. The solution, it turns out, was hot sauce. A lot of hot sauce.

>>1419401

Oh, I agree. Rarity isn't a fashion follower -- she's a fashion setter. But she needs to keep a close eye on trends, be they leechlike or not, so she can stay at the top of her game. Mind, those decorative leeches are very attractive.

>>1419985

Oh when she was living there the chaos was less focused but more sustained. So sustained, in fact, that Dotted got his current job early. His predecessor now lives, retired, in a cottage on the foothills of the Unicorn Range where she refuses to see any newspapers and refuses to deal with any unit of time shorter than a season.

#47 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

I am in love with you.

#48 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1420169

Lessee, Beleaguered Bureaucrat. Bothering by the Book, Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word, Government Procedural, Incredibly Lame Pun, Manipulative Bastard, Our Prime Ministers Are Different, Reassigned to Antarctica, Servile Snarker, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, Sleazy Politician...that's a decent start, surely. :twilightsmile:

I'd link to the relevant pages on TvTropes, of course, but I like my readers and I haven't the heart to throw them into that particular black hole.

#49 · Chapter 5 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

:rainbowlaugh: Astounding.........I haven't even read the damn thing yet and the COMMENTS are cracking me up. Now I know I must read this. Probably right now, no less.

:trixieshiftright: Alright, I'm going in. I'll be back with another comment when I'm finished............Should I not make it back, My last will and testament can be found in the 43rd feather up on the right wing of my Statue to Princess Luna...........*ahem* what? :ajbemused: ............ :trixieshiftleft: And Mr. Heraclitus, get that GOH Divinity Services paperwork ready, you just might have another worshipper when I'm done with this. :ajsmug:

#50 · Chapter 1 · 98w, 5d ago · · ·

Some parts of this story leave me completely baffles me.  It isn't the description of political workings (although those are somewhat of a chore to comprehend).  Nor is it your writing style, which could be described as more hectic than most stories on fimfiction, but I'm sure I'll get use to interpreting it as I go through the chapters (hopefully).  No, what I find confusing are certain character motivations and actions concerning the plot.  

Firstly, the situation with the this "Silverwing" noble.  What exactly does Dotted mean that this guy "is going to run roughshod over all of the service. He has every right to complain to Her Highnesses now."  I understand he's suppose to be an affluential noble, but what can he do exactly?  I understand he made some sort of deal to keep the arrest discreet, but what could he complain about that would equate to police brutality?  They apparantly put a bunch of locks on him, but they didn't throw him to the ground or beat him in anyway (at least that you mentioned).  Also, the threat Silverwing poses right now is that he might make make an "appeal to the princess."  Could you explain what "appeal" in this context means?  What would it do to help him get out of sexually assaulting a minor?  In fact, why would Princess Celestia ever help this dirtbag?  Fan fiction means interpreting the characters and their world in your own way, but under what circumstances would Princess Celestia excuse a sexual offender?  Granted, sexual offense isn't a topic breached by most stories on this site, but I cannot possibly see either of the Princesses letting a person like that worm out of the consequences.

On a related note, this sentence completely confused me:  "They have foals in the Met, too, you know. Sisters. Relatives. What do you think—"

What is the "Met?"  Is it a police station?  Is Leafy descibing a list of ponies molested by Silverwing?  I just have no idea what the context is.

The other seperate event that needs some explaining for me is what is FECK is going on with Scootaloo:

"Just as her beleaguered mind tried to process what she just heard, something orange, blurry, and really quite fast flew right at her. She realized that this was a foal and, without even thinking about it, leaped ahead to catch it before it cratered onto the flagstones of the plaza. She managed to grab the little orange missile from the air, spin with as much grace as was possible under the circumstances, and land on the ground on her own four hooves."

My first thought is, "Scootaloo FLYING?"  My next is, "What is she doing?"  You say that she was about to smash into the pavement.  Was she about to injure herself?  Was she trying to just make a hole in the paved ground to earn a cutie mark for protesting/public destruction?  How would she even do that without something like a giant hammer?  Attempting to destroy government property is the only reason I can think of for a government employee manhandling a child.

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