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Season Review 22/23
2023.06.03 23:56 Moncurs_rightboot Season Review 22/23
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Wow wow wow wow wow. Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming. Ow ow ow ow ow, stop pinching me, OK, I'm obviously not dreaming.
We actually did it. We managed to get promoted through the playoffs. It's absolute madness. I had watched us compete in 6 playoffs, and who would have thought that 7th time is the charm!
Before I start you can read the 21/22 season review here
from our season where we finished 6th and got dumped out the playoffs by Huddersfield.
You can also read the 22/23 season preview here
where I predicted a very optimistic top 8 finish. No one could have predicted the season we were about to have. I'm not going to discuss promotion in depth, because it was only a week ago and probably won't sink in until the fixtures are released on June 15th. In case you didn't know, this is what our away end looks like
Overview and Pre season thoughts
As mentioned above, I knew we would manage to keep the momentum going into this season. I just didn't expect us to gain this much momentum. Having finished 6th and on 75 points in the 21/22 season. Everything was kept steady in the off season, we recruited well, and only lost one significant player (discussed below). Throughout the off season though social media was awash with speculation that Luton Town would do a Barnsley (meaning losing in the playoffs and then battling relegation/getting relegated the following season, which Barnsley did in the 21/22 season), this was speculation was further fuelled by the signing of two of Barnsley's relegated front three (more on that later). However, one bright spark in the off season was the lads from the Second Tier Pod who went bold and predicted a solid season for Luton Town, with Ryan predicting 2nd and Justin predicting 3rd. These guys know ball. Nathan Jones was keen to kick on with the squad, and was 110% committed to the cause...
Who left, and who did we sign?
The most significant outgoing was that of Kal Naismith, who was the fans player of the season in 21/22. The manner in which he joined Bristol City left a sour taste in the mouth of the Hatters, with the club not knowing he had agreed terms, with the Welsh wannabes announcing him a whole 24 hours before Luton Town. Also the fact that he was chatting some boilerplate shite in his introduction interview, about being excited about getting to work with "the best manager in the league". A truly absurd statement that even Stevie Wonder could see was the dumbest thing that anyone could ever say in the history of mankind. Regardless, Hatters were annoyed and concerned, mostly because Kal was a good player, he made that LCB role his own, and was a vital cog in our 21/22 playoff machine, and scored a significant and wonderful goal against Bournemouth that pretty much kickstarted our playoff push after the long covid/midseason break - hey guys, remember covid?
Less significant outgoings on the pitch were Peter "I should be starting every game" Kioso (to Rotherham) and Danny Hylton (to Northampton). With Kioso leaving, we were losing depth in the defensive unit, whereas with Danny Hylton, we were losing part of the furniture at the Kenny. Sure Danny had never hit the heights of his League 2 bagsman days after his nasty injury in League 1, but he scored some vital goals in 21/22 - grabbed the point at Bristol City and sealed the win against Derby with a wonderful strike. Also his head of hair is one of the greatest come back stories in modern times.
We brought in some numbers in the off season, although as discussed on social media, these players seemed to be "for the future":
- Alfie Doughty (undisclosed) - From Stoke, he hadn't hit the heights expected following his transfer from Charlton, having spent the season on loan at Cardiff in 21/22 (along with Cody Drameh - more on him later). Regardless he was one Nathan Jones was tracking for a long time.
- Cauley Woodrow (undisclosed) - From relegated Barnsley, it was a little homecoming for Cauley having come through our academy and left us for Fulham as a fresh faced 16 year old.
- Matt Macey (undisclosed) - From Hibernian, the former loanee raised eyebrows amongst the fan base. People said, well he's shit, and then others said, nah that was Stuart Moore, Matt Macey was the decent one. Spoiler alert - they are both shit.
- Louie Watson (undisclosed compensation) - From Derby, we capitalised on the financial straits at Derby and came out with one of their prized academy assets. He was seen as one for the future.
- Luke Freeman (free) - From Sheffield United, he was seen as a broken thing, with injuries having caught up with him during his time at Sheffield United, again one that Nathan Jones was very keen to work with, having played together at Yoevil.
- Carlton Morris (fee in region of £1.5m) - From relegated Barnsley, we didn't know what to expect from him considering he was a striker that had never scored more than 10 goals in a season. Also he had just been relegated with Barnsley. However, he added much needed depth and support up top for Elijah. At this point we knew him as the player that scored that wonderful goal in our 2-1 victory over Barnsley in 21/22, where he skinned Naismith, and sat Osho down before dinking it over Shea.
- Ethan Horvath (loan) - From Nottingham Forest, fresh from having won promotion through the playoffs with Forest last season, he was seen as a good keeper to have in the team, and he was desperate for first team football. Rumours were that there was an option to make the loan permanent. After last season where we went through 6 keepers, we needed consistency between the sticks.
- Then we had some strictly developmental signings; Tobias Braney (who looks a proper player and has been bagging goals out on loan), Daniel Idiakhoa (who has since been released in the retained list), Jayden Luker (who remains under contract at the club), John McCatee (who was immediately loaned back out to Grimsby) and Aribim Pepple (who was loaned to Grimsby, but they sent him back, regardless, he's been good in our development squads).
How did we do?
I write this with a big smirk on my face. Because it still hasn't sunk in.
Like the 21/22 season, it was a season of two halves (and two managers), unlike last season whereby there was a covid break, this season we had a conveniently placed World Cup. I always thought Winter World Cups were the greatest idea, and certainly never ever criticised FIFA, The Qatar WC bidding buddies, or the countless executives that have become incredibly wealthy from the previous World Cup who effortlessly and repeatedly moved not only the goal posts but mountains in order to give us what we all wanted, the first World Cup in the Middle East - in the middle of fucking winter.
Anyway, I'm veering off topic. I'm not doing a monthly breakdown by the way, you can get that off wikipedia. I'm sure the 10 people who read this will be wildly disappointed.
We can break the season down in two ways - Luton under Nathan Jones and Luton under Rob Edwards. I'll do the stats after this overview.
Nathan Jones took us almost the whole way to the World Cup break, but he was just itching to move. Our start to the season was mediocre, we were struggling to win games. In fact we didn't win a game until our 5th game of the season against Swansea, with 2 draws and 2 losses to start the season, including the second worst performance of the season against Bristol City, leaving us 23rd in the table. After that we had a mini purple patch, completing the welsh double beating Cardiff and drawing with Sheffield United. Which took us up to 9th in the table. Before throwing the game away against Wigan "prompt wage payment" Athletic. Fortunately we then hit a 7 game unbeaten run, which shot us up to 4th in the table. Which took us into the match against them lot down the road. We were in great form, they were already on their second manager (more on that first manager in a bit), everything was aligned for us to go there and turn them over. But disaster struck, we were utter shit and lost 4 - 0. On the bright side it gave them a high point for the season. Post match, Nathan Jones had plenty of excuses, mentioning stomach bugs, he couldn't fill the bench etc, but the eventual reality was more concerning. We only picked up 1 win from the next 4 games, culminating in an abject display against his former side Stoke, where it all but confirmed that Jones would be leaving the club. This would take us to the end of Nathan Jones' tenure. Jones moved (amicably and with massive compensation) to Southampton - where he wouldn't stay for long, but reports surfaced after his move that Southampton had been in negotiations with him for 5 weeks prior. No surprise he didn't give a shit post match against Watford. Regardless, he moved in in better faith than when he did against Stoke, He left the club in 9th place, and paved the way for Mick Harford to coach for the last game before the World Cup break, a 1 - 1 draw against Rotherham. We entered the World Cup break in 10th place, and it gave us time to pick our manager properly. Nathan Jones stats P20 - W7 - D8 - L5 - GF 22 - GA 21 - Pts 29 - WinP 35% - PpG 1.45 Mick Harford stats P1 - W0 - D1 - L0 - GF 1 - GA 1 - Pts 1 - WinP 0% - PpG 1.0
At the end of last season (I know this narrative has been done to death, but keep with me here). Watford appointed Rob Edwards from Forest Green Rovers, a young up and coming manager, to take over from Roy Hodgson, a legend who got Watford relegated at Selhurst Park, and then had the balls to clap the Crystal Palace fans (as his last season there was behind closed doors), whilst ignoring the Watford fans who had travelled to South London, because they were too far away. This is made even funnier due to the fact that he returned to Palace, and absolutely turned their season around. Anyway, Rob Edwards was the man to replace the Hodge. Scott Duxbury, Watford CEO stated "Rob will be backed through hell and high water". It turned out that translated to 10 league matches, of which he had only lost 2, this included beating Burnley, who would go on to leave the Championship quivering in their wake.
During the winter break, the Luton board were very impressed with Rob Edwards as a candidate, and made the bold decision to employ him. In addition to this our January window included the loss of James Bree, who moved to Southampton to join up with Nathan Jones and Harry Cornick to Bristol City, fair play to them, they signed our best striker. Cameron Jerome also left by mutual termination, as he wanted to move back up North to his family. We replaced Bree with Cody Drameh on loan from Leeds and replaced Cornick with Joe Taylor, an unproven striker who was yet to break into the first team at Peterborough. However, Big Mick swore by him, and has been tracking him for years. We also brought in Marvelous Nakamba on loan from Aston Villa (who would turn out to be the difference maker, more on him later). Although, the general consensus was that we were too threadbare at the back, and up top, as injury could expose our lack of depth.
But in Rob we trust, and we haven't looked back since. Since his appointment, we have only lost 3 matches in the league, one of which was his first game in charge, and even in that game we played sensational stuff for the first 35 minutes against Middlesbrough,
our eventual opponents in the playoff final.
After that loss we had a great Christmas period with 3 wins against QPR, Norwich and Huddersfield. Before a loss against WBA who were in phenomenal form. They managed to overturn a 2 nil deficit in the second half, and fair play to them. We then won another 3 in a row, drew 2 in a row before a hard to take defeat against Burnley, where the fair result would have been a draw. But then we didn't look back, finishing the season with a 14 game unbeaten run, which led us to our highest finish in the Football pyramid since, well, last season. Which was our highest finish in the football pyramid since the 1981/82 season where we also got promoted to the top tier. This was made all the more sweeter by getting some payback against Watford, sure it wasn't 4 - 0, but it was a significant moment for the fans and Rob Edwards, as that was when a lot of us felt, we would be making the playoffs. We eventually finished 3rd, thus making it 8 successive seasons where we have finished higher than the previous season.
To cap off a totally wizard season, we then had the playoffs, and the rest as they say, is history. Rob Edwards stats P25 - W14 - D8 - L3 - GF 34 - GA 16 - Pts 50 - WinP 56% - PpG 2.0
*Excluding playoff results
Time for some RAPID STATS
- Luton Town lost 18 points from winning positions under Nathan Jones
- Luton Town lost 9 points from winning positions under Rob Edwards
- James Bree still leads the team for chances created (60), he left in January. Next highest is Alfie Doughty with 54.
- Luton Town had the second best away record in the league (41 points), only behind Burnley (47 points).
- Carlton Morris is the first Luton player to score 20 or more goals in the second tier since Brian Stein (1981/82 season).
- Luton Town were joint second in clean sheets with Coventry, our eventual playoff final opponents, with 20 apiece.
- Luton Town had the second lowest xG conceded (44.6), behind Burnley 39.1. Meaning we didn't give away many chances to the opposition.
How did our players do?
As per my writer idol Mister PDW, these ratings were picked on a whim, don't shoot the messenger. This shows appearances (sub appearances), minutes played, goals, assists and WhoScored rating. I'm using a letter grade system for the squad, this is down to a whim and may
contain some bias, take the ratings with a pinch of salt. Stats from WhoScored
- League stats only (including playoffs). Sorted by most minutes played. Ethan Horvath 47 appearances/4261 minutes 19 clean sheets - 6.48 B
It was a steady enough season from the US Stopper. He did make some absolute howlers at some points during the season, but never went full 19/20 Sluga (look it up, his howlers were legendary). Although he finished with 19 clean sheets, a lot of his shortcomings were covered up by how the team defended as a whole, shown by our very low xG conceded. I appreciate his time at the club, but I wouldn't take him back here permanently. Amari'i Bell 46(1) appearances/4167 minutes 1G/1A - 6.78 A+
Amari'i is quite literally the unsung hero of the playoff winning campaign. Having played at left wing back last season, and filling in for Alfie Doughty when he was unavailable this season. He played the majority of the season at left centre back, the position vacated by Kal Naismith. He was spectacular and offered so much more from that position than Kal did. He could carry the ball infield, he had the athleticism to make penetrating underlaps into the box and after all the stick he got from Blackburn fans, he can now stick two fingers up at them, and show off his medal. Carlton Morris 44(3) appearances/3693 minutes 20G/7A - 7.21 A+
It was a slow start for Carlton as he bedded into the Luton lineup. He didn't make an impact until he scored his first goal of the season against Swansea, which was also our first win. But, after that goal he didn't look back. He also managed to kick on further under Rob Edwards. He is simply a player that has a bit of everything in his locker, able to score from 3 yards or 30 yards. Tom Lockyer 42 appearances/3638 minutes 4G/1A - 7.13 A+
Considering Locks couldn't buy a game at the beginning of the season, having only come in to the squad for the Carabao Cup game against Newport, where we lost. Swansea was also a watershed moment for him, just like Carlton. This season Hatters saw the finest defensive displays courtesy of Locks, and absolute colossus at the back. It was very concerning when he collapsed during the playoff final. However, we have been told that he is absolutely fine, and will be ready for pre season. Hopefully meaning we will tie him down with a longer contract. Elijah Adebayo 42(3) appearances/3523 minutes 8G/4A - 6.72 A
Sure Elijah didn't hit the heights (goalwise) that he did last season. However, he formed a solid partnership up top with Morris. Fortunately it meant that the heavy burden didn't all sit on Elijah's shoulders. If anyone doubts what Elijah brings to the team, just watch his assist for Jordan Clark's goal in the playoff final. His run, his feet, his turning Kyle McFadzean inside out before his pass to find Clark, shows you what he brings to the team. Even playing a three at the back system, any defenders are going to have a shit day trying to stop Elijah and Carlton from executing their movement. Also, it was great to see him get a stab at the playoffs this season after cruelly missing out last season. Jordan Clark 37(4) appearances/3390 minutes 3G/4A - 6.83 A
This season, we all saw what Clicker was about, his movement, intelligence and passing were fully on display. It's remarkable that he was signed as a right winger and has been reboxed as an attacking midfielders, he brings the attributes and movement of a winger and takes it between the lines, making him nigh on impossible to pick up for the opposition. Having a similar trajectory to Luton, having been playing for Hyde against Luton in our final conference match. He deserves a shot at the Premier League, and his journey is also remarkable. Just like Luton making it from conference to Premier League in 9 seasons. Allan Campbell 38(5) appearances/3273 minutes 3G/2A - 6.52 B+
I'm being incredibly tight with these scores. Sorry Wee Al. He had a good season, not as stellar as last season, but he brought the same attitude on the pitch, he runs and presses like he has 5 lungs. He also has an eye for goal from midfield with some spectacular hits, most importantly putting the cherry on top of the Watford game, and forever writing himself into Hatters folklore. Unfortunately, with Nakamba entering the fray in January, he was the unfortunate one to miss out on those two remaining midfield spots. Alfie Doughty 28(3) appearances/2438 minutes 2G/5A - 7.14 A+
What a player we have on our hands with Alfie, he will seamlessly move up to the Premier League like he's easing himself into a nice warm bath. Pace, trickery and a delivery to match, he has been a joy to watch play this season. Fans were concerned about the speed at which he was being eased in at the start of the season, but I guess when you have had the injury record that Alfie has, it just makes sense. Also, that goal against QPR was just spectacular. James Bree 27 appearances/2430 minutes 0G/4A - 6.99 A
Football can be a cruel game, it can also be incredibly ironic, and that irony can be absolutely hilarious. James Bree was both promoted and relegated this season. He did well for the first half of the season, needing to fill in right centre back, which he did well, whilst also contributing many key passes to the Hatters cause. However, the simple fact is, when Osho came in to the right centre back role, we looked a lot better defensively, and that showed with our climb up the table. I'm still disgruntled about the fee being £750k, what with his contract expiring. But sometimes the grass isn't always greener, is it, James!? Well, at least he's getting a promotion medal. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 27(6) appearances/2394 minutes 3G/1A - 6.62 A
This man is a modern Luton Legend. He gets better every season, and he has been worth every penny of the £50,000 that John Still paid for him as a 19 year old back in the Conference. Did you know if plays one minute in the Premier League, he would be the first player in history to have played in the top 5 levels of the English Pyramid for one club? Of course you did, it's been all over the news. He deserves everything he gets, and I'm delighted the club have offered him new terms, Pelly deserves the world. Gabe Osho 25(5) appearances/2273 minutes 3G/0A - 6.64 A
The only reason this isn't an A+ is because of his first half of the season. He is the biggest beneficiary of Rob Edwards coming in at Luton. Under Nathan Jones he looked edgy and shit scared to make a mistake, however, under Edwards he was calmness personified with his big runs out of defence with the ball seemingly glued to his foot. He also scored some vital goals, the first against Watford, and then the goal against Sunderland in the away playoff leg to get us up and running. He is another that his currently being negotiated with for a new deal, and he deserves it. Dan Potts 24(2) appearances/2020 minutes 1G/0A - 6.84 B
Another player who has been on a spectacular journey with Luton after being signed by John Still in League 2. He started as a left back, but with our formation change over the last two seasons has been re-engineered as a left centre back, which in my opinion is a much better position for him. He doesn't give you the athleticism that Bell gives, but if a ball comes into the box, he will get his absolutely beautiful head onto that ball. He had solid performances this season, however, the emergence of Bell as well as a pesky back injury kept him out for a good chunk of the season. He also scored what turned out to be the winning penalty in the playoff final. Marvelous Nakamba 19(1) appearances/1726 minutes 0G/0A - 6.93 A+
I remember saying on the Oak Road Hatter podcast when Marv came in, he was the difference between getting into the playoffs and not getting into the playoffs. How wrong I was. He was an instrumental cog in the machine that got us promoted. I hope Villa are sensible with their valuation for a player that they simply don't want, so we don't have to shoot our transfer load prematurely on a player that wants to be at Luton. Marv also stepped up in the playoff final shootout and cooly slotted away his pen, which was remarkable considering during games he would always pass the ball rather than shoot. Cody Drameh 19 appearances/1581 minutes 0G/2A - 7.19 A
We were all very nervous when Bree left, because were losing a solid option at right wing back. However, enter Cody Drameh. Another bitten by the cruel irony of football, with Leeds being relegated as he makes the step up to Premier League. However, Cody will be alright, with Luton attempting to re-sign him as well as Burnley having a go too, he's got a Premier League move lined up. As he started with Luton you could see he had not played a lot of football, but he found his feet very quickly. Reece Burke 15(7) appearances/1417 minutes 2G/0A - 6.71 B+
At the start of the season, if you had asked me who our best centre back was, it would have been Reece Burke. However, he seemingly has hamstring issues that have prevented him from being a top defender. Remember Hull signed him for £2m as a highly rated 21 year old. Regardless, this season he has scored 2 sensational goals; the piledriver against Blackburn, and then the intricate passing play against Huddersfield where he was instrumental throughout the build up. It would have been a B, if it had not been for his display in the playoff final, where he came on much earlier than expected for Tom Lockyer. If we can stay injury free, we have a Premier League quality defender on our hands. Sonny Bradley 14(5) appearances/1219 minutes 0G/0A - 6.56 B-
Sonny is leaving Luton Town at the end of his contract, and he has been a stellar figure for Luton Town. We won promotion to the Championship in his first season at the club, he was key in stabilising the club in the Championship, before pushing on up the league, and eventually winning this second promotion. However, it is known the personal issues he has been experiencing off the field, with his father Ray passing, suffering from long covid and issues with his child's health. No matter who you are, if you are hit with that many gut punches, you will stay down. But Bradley didn't because he's a hard bastard. The cherry on this cake was, a disgusting aerial challenge from Yakou Meite, from which Bradley landed horrendously, and it looked like a season ending injury. But Bradley being the hard bastard he is, he recovered, and plugged gaps in our defence towards the end of the season. Regardless, Sonny was getting exposed by some of the better strikers in the league, Gyokeres and then Archer had a lot of luck running beyond him, but in all fairness, they are both exceptional players. I'm delighted he's leaving us on a high, as he deserves it, and I hope he stays in the Championship and gets a move that works for him. Luke Freeman 10(16) appearances/988 minutes 2G/1A - 6.41 C+
I wasn't expecting Luke Freeman to pull up trees this season, we all know about his injury history that restricting his appearances at Sheffield United. He showed glimpses of what he could do, the goal against QPR was a highlight for me. However, a troublesome groin kept him out for the majority of the season. He does a good job of looking busy on the pitch, without he had a flurry of creating chances at the beginning of the season, but went off the boil fast as his groin caught up with him. The + is purely because he managed to bag some goals and an assist. Cauley Woodrow 5(22) appearances/741 minutes 2G/1A - 6.35 C+
I was expecting a lot from Cauley this season. Certainly more rotation with the front two, who ended up playing a tonne of games, because Cauley was picking up niggling injuries, with the last one keeping him out of the playoffs completely, he couldn't get any momentum during the season. He offers something completely different to our attack and his special touches can be seen at times. Regarding Nathan Jones deciding to play him as a 10, no. Just no. He is not a 10. Look at the goal against Norwich, what a strike. I hope he stays fit next season, because he has unfinished business in the Premier League. Harry Cornick 7(12) appearances/740 minutes 1G/3A - 6.31 C-
After his barnstormer of 21/22 I thought maybe Harry would kick on, but unfortunately not. He has always been very streaky in front of goal, but his finishing looked to have gone up a notch. Regardless, he wasn't getting enough first team minutes here and Bristol City needed a striker. So they signed Harry. Allegedly he went for more money than James Bree, which is absolutely criminal, considering they both had 6 months remaining on their contracts. Regardless Bristol City got a good, honest, hard working lad, and I hope he has a good season next year. Fortunately we sold him for more than we bought him, which is a great return on investment. Fred Onyedinma 6(13) appearances/696 minutes 0G/2A - 6.35 C
There is most certainly a player in there. Unfortunately with Fred, he is such an athlete he is prone to many injures. When he sets off one on of his sprints you just worry that he's going to pull a hamstring. If he can get through an entire season without injuries he would be flying. Perhaps his best role is as an impact sub, because currently he is unable to string back to back 90 minutes together. Luke Berry 4(19) appearances/695 minutes 3G/0A - 6.43 B
We know that Luke Berry is now mostly an impact player, who will happily step into the starting lineup when required. He is yet another that has been on a fantastic journey with us from League 2, and for him it's even more impressive because like Clark and Pelly he has made it from Conference football too. He is a scorer of vital goals, his three vital goals this season were; the late levellers against Rotherham and Millwall, as well as the winer against Blackpool. Love Bezza. Henri Lansbury 6(4) appearances/458 minutes 1G/0A - 6.65 B
When required Henri did a job, however, it is clear to see that he has lost his legs and maybe his passion for football, considering he has a new passion, mowing lawns. Although, he will be remembered this season for his absolute shitpinger against Hull City. He's now leaving the club, I don't see him joining another team, I reckon he's going full time lawn lad now. Cameron Jerome 0(21) appearances/333 minutes 1G/1A - 6.22 C+
Considering his extremely limited role purely as an impact sub, Cammy J was an exceptional professional. Unfortunately the distance between his family up north was too much, therefore we agreed to mutually terminate his agreement. Shame he missed out on promotion with Bolton. I feel he would have continued to be a great depth option for us in the second half of the season. His legs have most certainly not gone, he is still a supreme athlete at 36 years old. Louie Watson 3(2) appearances/220 minutes 0G/0A - 6.51 B-
Most definitely one for the future, but in his little flurry of starts around the time of Rob Edwards first games was a great indicator of the tidy passing he could bring. However, the signing of Nakamba pretty much put a ceiling on his minutes with the first team, also I think the Grimsby FA cup replay might have given Rob Edwards second thoughts about playing him, I don't know, I'm not part of the Luton coaching staff! He can still continue to develop, and I would like to see him get first team minutes next season in the Championship. Joe Taylor 1(5) appearances/130 minutes 0G/0A - 6.02 B-
Definitely the best beneficiary of Cornick and Jerome leaving in January and Cauley's injury issues, as it immediately propelled him to third choice striker. However, Edwards was very reluctant to chuck him on the pitch. He was highly spoken of by Mick Harford and Darren MacAnthony, I don't put stock in what DMac says (although he does have an eye for attacking talent), but Mick knows recruitment and had been tracking him for years prior to the move. Joe was unfortunate to have his strike ruled out in the playoff final, but he showed great big balls to step up and take the second penalty. I reckon a championship/league 1 loan is in the pipeline for next season. Admiral Muskwe 1(1) appearances/105 minutes 0G/0A - 6.51 F
I'm at a loss with Muskwe, considering he is more senior than Joe Taylor and was recalled from Fleetwood on the same day we signed Joe, why wasn't he anywhere near the squad? He's most definitely one that we will be looking to cut our losses on next season. He had one flurry of good form, prior to AFCON last season, and since then, he has not hit the heights expected. His loan spell at Fleetwood consisted of 14 games, 3 goals (2 of those being pens). I wouldn't expect to see him here next season. Harry Isted 1 appearance/90 minutes - 5.78 D
I like Harry, but his only match this season was the 2-0 loss against Stoke, sure the rest of the team didn't do him any favours, by letting Stoke score two unmarked strikes from two crosses that were allowed to be sent in. I feel the club have done him a disservice, he has obvious talent, reflexes and shot stopping ability, he has shown that at Barnsley, and against Chelsea last season in the FA Cup. However, we opted to bring in emergency loans instead of giving him a chance (I know it was risky considering in 21/22 we were going through keepers like Spinal Tap go through drummers). He's left the club now, and I hope he gets a chance with a Championship club, he could do it. James Shea 1 appearance/90 minutes - 6.54 C
Shea got a chance with the final game of the season against Hull and managed to keep a clean sheet. He did really well to come back from an awful injury. However, I do not see him being first choice next season. Potentially second or third choice depending on how good Jack Walton is... Elliot Thorpe 0(3) appearances/68 minutes - 6.19 C
His season got off to a shit start, being loaned to Burton and not played. However, I don't know what we do with Elliot Thorpe, he was brought in with high expectations from Tottenham, he dropped down so he could stand a better chance of playing first team football, and he's ended up getting shunted out to the right wing back position. He look great in his cameo against Hull, but I thought we were getting a box to box midfielder. We've triggered an extension in his contract, I don't know if that means we are looking to get a fee by selling him, or whether we want to keep him about for further development. Joe Johnson 0(2) appearances/38 minutes - 6.28 B
I'm very excited about JJ, he's 17 and managed to not only break onto the bench, but get some vital first team minutes, with his first minutes coming in a high pressure game against
eventual playoff winners
Middlesbrough. Lots more to see of him, and possibly the start of the academy assembly line roaring back into gear.
One thing that is guaranteed is that we will be finishing higher than we did this season, Even if we finish 20th. You know what, I'm sure we are going to give it a good go. I don't think we will try and sign proven Premier League talent, but we are more likely to hoover up some of the hot talent in the Championship and League 1/League 2 for further development.
I expect quite a big clearout with lots of the players who haven't gotten near our squad to be moved on; Glen Rea is all but gone (well done to him for recovering from his horrendous injury too), Aribim Pepple needs a loan and Dion Pereira, who Bradford were begging to rejoin has barely played this season. Carlos Mendes Gomes is one I would like to see around the first team squad next season. Lots of headaches for Rob Edwards, Richie Kyle and Paul Trollope.
Exiting news to look forward to, the renovations are under way at the Kenny to welcome Premier League cameras and media teams, and ground will be broken at Power Court on 19th December 2023. These are amazing times to be a Hatter.
Bold early early early pre pre season prediction. Luton Town are finishing 17th next season!
I hope you enjoyed reading this.
2023.06.03 22:35 undersink2 Scored at the second store!
2023.06.03 22:30 greem I was once able to eat a 10 pack of bean burritos, and it was an appropriate amount of calories.
It was around 2000, and I was doing pretty heavy manual labor with extremely long days in the cold at a Christmas tree lot.
I ordered a crunchwrap and a bean burrito today. I couldn't even finish the crunchwrap. The bean burrito is in the fridge for later.
To be a teenager again...
submitted by greem
to tacobell [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 22:20 WarHasChanged76 Horny Twink 🥵 VIOLATES Lonely Hosts 😩 & Circle-Jerking Gankers 👯 with a long, RIBBED 🍆 Death Blight Christmas Tree 🎄 Across Soulsborne 👹
2023.06.03 22:19 Ready-Ad-4549 Adam and Eve Tenet Clock
submitted by Ready-Ad-4549 to mindblown [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 21:59 Ready-Ad-4549 Adam and Eve Tenet Clock
2023.06.03 21:58 Ready-Ad-4549 Adam and Eve Tenet Clock
2023.06.03 21:07 smitrbr Destroying angel amanita?ID?
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These were found at the edge of a pine tree forest in Alabama. From what I can tell at least one is a destroying angel. submitted by smitrbr to u/smitrbr [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 20:57 KhapJ20 While the game is down I have a question for you. If I were to detox from the thermal 1.25x, what scope would you recommend?
I’m a SFAR user. It’s a lovely weapon. My SFAR is white. Beautiful. I usually hold smokes, but occasionally treat myself to AP’s. Drum attachment. It’s feels so good to hold, nice weight to it. As I aim down-sight, sometimes I think to myself “that poor glowing soul, lighten up like a Christmas tree”, and pow, just like that, I’m dead, because I’m shit. Nevertheless it still feels wrong to use a thermal. Any thoughts and/or alternatives?
submitted by KhapJ20
to battlefield2042 [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 20:29 DifficultContext Do not steal flower pots.
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Saw this on a street going away from Chomps (GREAT restaurant for those who do not know) submitted by DifficultContext to providence [link] [comments]
Who steals a flower pot? They are like, $2 at Home Depot or Christmas Tree Shop.
Enjoy being cursed. Also, I was taught (by friends who are witches) that cursing anyone would be thrown back at you three-fold. They must have been nice pots.
2023.06.03 20:18 Sola_Sista_94 Kokichi Time: End (Fanfic)
The next morning, Kokichi trudged out of his room. He heard excited talking in the living room, so he decided to see what was going on. Everyone had crowded around Himiko, telling her how different she looked. Kokichi noticed that Sonia was there, as well.
"Himiko's hair really nice!" Gonta exclaimed.
"Why did you decide to go with black hair again?" Maki asked.
"Nyeh...I liked it so much last time that I just wanted to do it again," Himiko replied. "Besides, it makes me feel more...mysteriooouuusss."
"You definitely look great, Himiko!" Shuichi said.
"Yes, perhaps you have found your new look," Sonia said with a happy smile. "I think it gives you a more...gothic appearance, which is totes awesome!"
"Oh, my! I never thought of it like that!" Himiko said. "Maybe we should be goth girls, Sonia!" Sonia's grin became wider with excitement.
"Oh, yes! We can become...queens of the night!" she said.
"Hee-hee...I like that!" Himiko giggled. Kokichi felt his heart drop.
"Let's go to the mall, already!" Tenko said impatiently. "We gotta get there before the free stuff goes away!"
"Right!" Himiko and Sonia said at the same time. Then, they smiled and pointed at each other. "Jinx!" they said before bursting out into giggle fits.
"You girls have a great time," Rantaro said, waving goodbye. Kokichi rushed back to the boys hallway and peaked from behind the wall as he watched Himiko, Sonia, and Tenko leave. His shoulders dropped with sadness.
"She didn't even notice me," he muttered despondently. Tears stung his eyes as he rushed to his room and quickly closed the door. He slid down the door and covered his face. "Stop crying," he growled to himself. "This is your fault! This is what you deserve!" He aggressively wiped his tears from his face. But no matter how much he wiped the tears away, they kept streaming from his eyes. Finally, he hung his head and allowed himself to cry.
Outside of Casa V3, Himiko, Sonia, and Tenko were walking along the sidewalk, when suddenly, Himiko realized she forgot something.
"What's wrong, Himiko?" Tenko asked as she and Sonia watched Himiko search her body.
"Nyeh...I forgot my purse," Himiko replied. "You guys go on ahead, I'll go get it."
"Are you sure, Himiko?" Sonia asked.
"Yeah, I'll be right back!" Himiko called back to them as she dashed off. She rushed back inside and up to her room. "Nyeh...where did I put it?!" she exclaimed. She opened one of her desk drawers and found her small black purse inside. "Ah! There it is!" she reached for it, but something made her stop abruptly: Kokichi's yo-yo. She picked it up and stared at it quizzically, wondering why it was still there when she had given it back to Kokichi. She also remembered the strange way he had been acting the night before after she had come back from the mall. Suddenly, she realized what day it was.
"Oh, no!" she said, standing up. She put the yo-yo in her pocket and slung her purse over her shoulder before rushing downstairs towards Kokichi and Gonta's room, but paused before knocking on the door. She sighed, thinking how much of a jerk she was for forgetting her and Kokichi's rom-com movie day. She realized that the reason why he was acting unlike his usual self was because he must have been feeling left out, but he didn't want her to know how he felt. Himiko sighed.
"Nyeh...poor Kokichi," she whispered softly. Then, a look of determination crossed her face. She turned and marched briskly down the hallway and exited the house. She quickened her pace to catch up with Tenko and Sonia. "Um...Sonia? Tenko?" she said. Sonia and Tenko turned to face her.
"What's wrong, Himiko?" Tenko asked. Himiko paused to catch her breath.
"Nyeh...you two should go on without me," Himiko said. Sonia and Tenko looked perplexed.
"Why, Himiko?" Sonia asked.
"I have something more important to do," Himiko responded.
"More important?! Like what?!" Tenko exclaimed.
"I can't explain, right now," Himiko said, rushing off. "Just go have fun without me!" She hurried off towards the nearest convenience store as Sonia and Tenko watched her in confusion.
Kokichi was lying forlornly on his bed all afternoon. His pillows were stained with his tears, and his eyes were red and puffy from sadness. He was about to drift off to sleep, when he heard a knock on his bedroom door. He sighed heavily as he stood up to go open it. When he did, he felt a sudden surge of surprise and delight jolt through his body seeing Himiko. She was holding many shopping bags in her hands.
"Himiko!" he said before turning his head away so she wouldn't see his eyes. "What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be with Sonia?"
"Nyeh...aren't you and I supposed to be at the movies?" Himiko asked with a smile. Kokichi's eyes widened. He couldn't contain the small smile that made its way onto his face. But then he rubbed his arm uncomfortably.
"Himiko, you don't really have to-" he began.
"Kokichi, we need to talk," Himiko interrupted, staring him in the eye. Kokichi stared back at her for a few moments before nodding.
"M'kay," he said, moving aside to allow her in. Kokichi closed the door behind him. Himiko placed the shopping bags onto his bed, then patted the space next to her for him to sit down. "What did you wanna talk about?" he asked.
"Nyeh...you were crying just now, weren't you?" Himiko asked softly.
"Well...no, I was just-" Kokichi began, shaking his head. Himiko gently held his face.
"Kokichi..." she said firmly, looking him in the eye. Kokichi abashedly closed his eyes and sighed.
"Yeah..." he said.
"Because of me hanging out with Sonia, right?" Himiko continued. "And you thought I had forgotten about you, right?"
"Yeah..." Kokichi answered. "I'm sorry, Himiko."
"Kokichi, why didn't you tell me?" Himiko asked.
"Because...you were so happy being with Sonia," Kokichi explained. "I didn't want to ruin that for you. And, plus, I guess that's what I get for not going with you to DeepBlueSea World. It's my fault."
"No, that's wrong!" Himiko said. "It's not your fault, Kokichi. It's mine."
"How is it your fault?" Kokichi asked.
"Because...you and I had already planned to do things together yesterday and today, and I skipped out on it," Himiko explained.
"Because I told you to," Kokichi pointed out.
"It doesn't matter," Himiko insisted. "We made plans together, and I should have stuck with it." Kokichi gave her a skeptical look and shrugged his shoulders.
"Well...maybe we're both to blame," he mumbled. "I shouldn't have told you to go with Sonia if I really didn't want you to go with her." Himiko put a comforting hand on his arm.
"Kokichi...when something is bothering you, you need to tell me," she said in a kind, but firm voice.
"I just wanted you to be-" Kokichi started.
"Happy...I know," Himiko interrupted. "But I want you to be happy, too! Your happiness is just as important to me as mine is to you, okay?"
"Okay," Kokichi nodded with a small smile.
"Next time, you'd better tell me if something is bothering you," Himiko said in an authoritative voice. "I'm your supreme lady. And you're my supreme leader. We need to be able to configure in each other." Kokichi let out a small chuckle and rolled his eyes.
"Confide," he corrected.
"Oh...well, you know what I meant," Himiko mumbled sheepishly. Kokichi smiled at her.
"Yeah, I do," he said. "But...you're right. I'm sorry, Himiko." Himiko smiled and wrapped her arms around him.
"Nyeh...I'm sorry, too," she said. Kokichi wrapped his arms around her, as well, and smiled before giving each other a kiss. "By the way...here's your yo-yo," Himiko said, pulling out Kokichi's yo-yo from her pocket and handing it to him.
"Oh, thanks, Himiko," Kokichi replied with a grateful smile, taking it.
"You're welcome," Himiko said. "Keep it with you. You can't cause mischief without it." She gave him a flirty wink, causing Kokichi to chuckle and blush a little. She then gave him a sassy smile. "Now that all that mushy stuff is out of the way, I've got a surprise for you!"
"Ooo! What is it?!" Kokichi asked, coming back to his usual happy-go-lucky self. Himiko opened the shopping bags.
"I got us our snacks!" she said. Kokichi's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.
"No way!!" he exclaimed. "You got more Grape Boo-Boo Bops! Ooo! And you got the little chocolate cupcake thingies! Ooo! You got Pocky, and potato chips, and chicken cracker thingies, and..." Kokichi happily sifted through the snacks as Himiko smiled adoringly at him, happy that he was happy and back to his old self. Finally, he finished going through all the snacks and smiled a large, happy smile at Himiko.
"When did you get all this?!" he asked.
"Today," Himiko replied. "I ended up not going with Sonia and Tenko after all." Kokichi's smile faltered.
"Oh..." he said.
"BUT...that's okay, because I wanted to buy our snacks," Himiko assured him, placing her hand on his arm. "I can hang out with Tenko and Sonia anytime. But you and I planned for a movie today, and that's what we're gonna do, got it? Supreme lady's orders!" Kokichi's smile grew bigger again.
"You got it, HimiCocoa Bean!" he said. "But...we planned to go early in the morning, since we usually like to be the first people in the world to see a movie when it comes out."
"Nyeh...that's okay," Himiko said with a mischievous grin. "There's another showing at night...and we get to wear our pajamas, which makes it easier for us to sneak our snacks inside." Kokichi tossed his head back and laughed evilly.
"Mwa-hahahahahahahaaa...great idea, Monkey Buns!" he said. Then, he pressed his forehead against Himiko's and stared lovingly into her eyes. "I love you."
"I love you, too," Himiko said. They gave each other a kiss before hugging and squishing their cheeks together.
It was around 11:30 p.m. when Kokichi and Himiko arrived at the movie theater after successfully sneaking their snacks inside, thanks to their baggy pajamas. They sat down in the back row, far from the others up front, and shared their snacks with each other. As the movie started, Kokichi wrapped his arm around Himiko. She smiled at him and leaned closer to him.
"Himiko?" Kokichi whispered.
"I think I prefer watching movies at night...when the day ends with just you and me," Kokichi said. "Does that sound okay, or is it too corny?" Himiko smiled and gently patted his chest.
"I was thinking the same thing, Panta Bear," she replied. Kokichi smiled back at her and kissed her. Together, they sighed happily as they watched the rest of the movie in silence and ate their snacks.
submitted by Sola_Sista_94
to danganronpa [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 20:16 DesperateCoat3881 Leaving a Fairytale
Three years ago before getting into university, my life in high school was all perfect. Perfect in education and unimaginably, in society as well. I had never ever thought of support from anyone except myself, literally accepting no one to interfere with my life at that time. This was because my background from my former school where I had been being raised since I was in kindergarten by some ill-mental teachers, like being mocked of my feminine voice in front of my classmates, despite the fact singing is my self-admitted hobby, until for a period of my life, I had forced myself to sound low as a boy should, detaining me alone every day because my handwriting was not as beautiful as the standard one, and teaching me that all kinds of love except love for family are ought not to have the beginning of them, and its unreasonable strict rules, like not talking in the class (literally) if you don't want to be hit by any wooden or sometimes mental rulers roughly in the end of the day (some of my classmates were hit so often that they didn't even feel painful and laughed instead, no exaggeration) and not bringing any electronic devices to the class, which seemed agreeable but made me never have idea of having conversation with friends outside the class (this results in lack of attaching importance to friendship and also having no friends). All media just exposed the school and some of its other affiliated ones 3 years ago, and some other student cases that were harmed by teachers there either mentally or physically began to be reported since then. The schools are still now available, but they really are not a choice of most parents for their child education anymore. Before all of the truth was revealed, at first my parents, whom I love so much that I have pretended to be insensitive and independent all the time for fear of worrying them, wanted me to have life in high school there, but my one and only favourite English teacher, the one who first expands my vision of a language, especially English, told my parents not to let me stay there because she already knew that the entire school itself was hell in both education and management and took pity on my being and English skill if I had had to study there. On the strength of her advice, they encouraged me to enrol at a new school after that, and here was a start of a sense of perfection in my life.
I decided to enrol for the French-English programme, and it was the best decision in my life. I met two mesdames (French teachers, but we usually call each of them madame despite the fact we speak Thai). They really saw that I had a problem socialising with others, mindset one, although my French skill was top. At that time, I was unaware that all I had been through was unconventional because no one told me that the former school did wrong to me, and I just thought that it was its duty to "rectify" and "perfect" me in their way. Madame, instead of persuading me to focus on study, several times told me to hang out with others. I was so lucky that there were five classmates who first asked me to tutor them English and also French, and they began to reach out to me to socialise with them. It was the first time that I was given a birthday present, homemade cookies, from one of them and had someone, not my own family, say "Happy birthday" to me. It was the first time that I had my own mobile phone to play social media and share Youtube videos with someone. It was the first time that I was able to feel myself letting my guard down and dare to sing a little together with someone in spite of this feminine voice. Last but not least, it was the first time that I hung out with someone.
Somehow, two of them seemed to go out with someone, and another one had a crush on our classmate real hard. All of a sudden, I desired to know what love was. Admittedly, I was great at English because of chatting with online people on one application, and by chance, there was one online person who I had often had conversation with and who came to me and confessed me. I didn't reciprocate his feelings at all but was just curious about love. Of course, it lasted like three months, and the conflict was that I tended to express low self-esteem and repeat that I felt not so valuable as others. In the end, he was perhaps depressed by me and was gone. I admitted that it was the first time for me to feel a little heartbroken very briefly, but in a nutshell, all was well with me.
Personally, it was true for me to spend time on online conversation most because it was the only place where I could perhaps be valuable and feel helpful. And, I did observe that the application I was on had many online people who had a tendency to escape from their reality to there perhaps due to such problems in real life as dysphoria, financial problems, familial ones, and etc. It was certain and knowing that I was as runaway as those, but never had I had bad attitudes towards them.
As if to look at the mirror, someone then burst through the dark there. He appeared to be a boy and talked about stuff that I wasn't used to at all, but all I knew was that he had some secrets and covered his background, very enigmatic. It wasn't love at first sight at all. In the beginning, I urged to make him happy and also copied his vocabulary and speech style to practise my English. He then introduced me to asexuality, and I was so positive that I was in this term. Until... staying up late together with him echoed my reverie. I realised that something unusual grew within me. I imagined more. I talked more. I overthought more. I linked all to him. I felt connected... Then I confessed to him casually for the first time. It ended up with his exemplifying the situation where he used to get confessed by others and rejected them. By nature, I was so stubborn and thought that perhaps both of us might not be that deep at the time. Well, I began to plan to "make something happen." I had long wished that I would have had someone countdown with me on the 31st of December. I knew that he was the one I needed to cling onto that day, so I swayed him into doing it for me or perhaps dragged him into it. I admitted that it was pretty exhausting to prepare to materialise everything in my mind to show him, like the written lyrics at my own website and the painting of him despite the fact that I don't like painting because I'm not good at it. The second confession went on, and the response seemed the same, but he gave me his details on love more. Platonic love. "What is it?" I had no idea of it at all and still have not comprehended its definition up until now.
For those who can explain me what platonic love is and how it works, please read my questions on this subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/aromantic/comments/13z1sjh/platonic_love_what_criteria_do_you_conside?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
All I knew was that he had impacted my life so much that I felt impressed and lost in his aspect. When I was in the French storytelling pair competition at the national level, I had to go and describe a random picture in French to French judges, and I luckily got a picture of a cosy fireplace with an ornate Christmas tree. So, I imagined to myself what I would want to tell him if we both sit next to each other at the fireplace at Chirstmastime. I taled all the judges about the warmth when with him and somehow made them laugh in a positive way. Abracadabra! I got a gold medal in French storytelling pair competition at the national level.
The feelings for him connected me more to all five friends of mine in a way that I almost dared open up to, most R&B and love songs in a way that I had no doubts anymore why a songwriter loves to write a love song most, and those Facebook posts about love in a way that a teenager seems to press the like button. I understood and visualised life full of colours, not only interested in spending all hours reading dictionaries or academic textbooks at home. Perfection, never had I imagined or been told before. My mother always noticed my smile and wondered why it appeared in my sleep every day. And, I saw only him in my vision, refusing those who confessed to me without hesitation or fear of depressing anyone, which I really did break a group of my online friends for this reason.
Perfection. It was like a drug. I was addicted to it and realised that it brought me back to life. When I was at the former school, I only hoped to survive each day. Study was never in my sight, nor did I homework. I left behind my class, and it seemed that I had no right to grab anyone's attention at all. This led me to think if I had had enough wisdom to impress him and also five friends of mine, they would have given me more attention. So, I made up my mind to live up to him. And the result was the worst decision. I was under pressure to impress him with my knowledge of everything; however, he was always ahead of me no matter how much I did research into various topics. I was really moody every time I saw him, his paintings and writings. Envious of his skill, I misbehaved towards him, and somehow he turned into my rival. Expecting myself more than anyone, I felt disappointed at myself and felt no values for anyone to love or take care of me. Then it was the first time that I... had an urge to criticise and judge him. Plus it was time for university admissions, and I admitted that I wasn't in a state of determination at all.
Eventually we were drifting apart, and he slipped away without farewell while I was still competing with him for perfection. Realising that I was all alone then and we were growing apart, I felt dead inside, a heavy heart to zone out for about 4 lockdown months without talking to any people around me. I blamed myself for all so much that I began to feel myself unable to differentiate between a dream and reality and oftentimes vomited when something about languages including alphabets and vocabularies reminded me of him. I hated myself more and more that I leaned on interpersonal relationships although I had never depended on such a thing at the former school. I never told all of these to my parents because I believed that no one wanted to be seen weak, did they? So, I pretended all the way although my mother did see something different from my usual traits such as a pitch change in my voice, insomnia, loss of appetite, and a lack of interest in reading. It was that time I tried to find his background on the Internet to somehow threaten him? It did seem possible for me, but this contrasted with my personal values, disgusting myself more and more. I ended up with myself, the root cause. I didn't think of self-harm, but with having nummular eczema for 8 years, I always woke up in the morning, covered in blood from scratching all severely inflamed skin subconsciously. This is from stress and allergy to my own immune system. For some reason, I couldn't stand it anymore and messaged one of my five friends and pretended that I just conflicted with one online friend. She did accompany me and really did remind me of my childhood memories influenced by my elder sister whom I haven't talked to since she got into university many years ago, like listening to Vocaloid and Kagerou Project songs, old Japanese songs, especially Utada Hikaru, anime (Cardcaptor Sakura, Kamichama Karin), and immaturity (RPG Maker horror games). I felt that I didn't have to be in a hurry to be an adult. Perfection does not have to lie in only wisdom but also liveliness? It was the first time that I got to play online games with my five friends and understood that it was okay to consult someone and call for help. I kept in mind that when Covid-19 was completely gone, they all had to grow apart as well as him to start their university lives. I wished that I could have frozen the time right here and rested in the moments of immaturity a little longer.
It was hard to control myself not to write and think of him. There were only fragments of memory, but didn’t memory of someone make them themselves? The linguistic exams, the last part was to explain relationships of phonology, morphology, semantics, and syntax, and I wrote answers with examples of pandas and names. I topped in linguistics. I should have forgotten. Him. But, the memories weren’t gone at all. Even in academic writings, there were several times when I made an intention on a connoted meaning. December, it was a month that I’ve loved less since then, while a choir teacher seemed to love it most because of the Christmas spirit to carol at the mall. It was the first time I felt that a dream about touching snow in December would be more possible than before.
submitted by DesperateCoat3881
to u/DesperateCoat3881 [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 20:13 Ok-Watercress-8331 Tree secure
2023.06.03 20:06 TheSpicyHotTake Christmas Tree Appreciation
His finale is just so good. The music especially. There's something so interesting about seeing Magnificus refuse to die. To not accept the deletion and trying to get through to Luke as his entire world melts away.
It's just awesome.
submitted by TheSpicyHotTake
to inscryption [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 20:05 Rand0mness4 Trails of Our Hatred Ch. 5
Special thanks to u/SpacePaladin15
for allowing fanfiction and giving us Tilfish. [First] [Prior]
Memory Transcription Subject: ? , run run run run run run. Date: December 2, 2136
I'm tired. I'm so unbearably tired. I don't remember the fall or when my legs quit working, but I'm still denied the sweet release of sleep by the fires radiating from my muscles. It's sick and twisted, but I don't think I can move any more. I'm stuck here face down in the soil, unable or unwilling to do anything but wonder if a harvesting drone will roll over me and turn me into mist on the crops I'm lost in. My mouth itches. Some loose soil in my nose makes me hack, but there's nothing I can do but wheeze and pant. There's not a drop of moisture left in me. I'm all shriveled up. Everything's a haze.
I should've stopped for water. There was time. A few ponds that didn't look filmed over with vile algae blooms. The last town had a fountain on the outskirts. There were a few distant outbuildings that could've had a sink or a hose. Really, a few mouthfuls would've been enough to keep me from cramping up. Now I feel like I'm all dried out, like a stick of fruit jerky.
I should've taken a break. I've not been able to run in so long. I knew it was getting bad, but I ignored it. I'm paying for it now. I pushed way too far. Run until I black out. Wake up. Repeat. For days and days, or however long I've been free. I don't know. Every time I wake I can't tell if minutes have passed or days. I would push myself back to my feet and run. Because distance is all that matters. I made the right call avoiding the roads. The cameras. The soles of my feet are battered and wail in pain, but for every step I took was a minute longer I got to feel the sun kiss my scales and the gentle caress of the wind upon my neck. The cool soil seeping into my burning side. Fresh air in my lungs. Faint mist on my back.
I should've calmed down. I'm wasting what little time I have left stuck here in misery. I missed my chance to escape. My saviors were predators, but it would've been a better fate. And they're everywhere. Monsters and Predators alike. The whole planet is getting what it deserves. I made my choice, but now I'm squandering it. At least the soil is nice. Even as broken as I feel, it is only temporary. I know this is heaven. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. Even if my tongue is dried and bleeding.
Up. no no no no no. Hurts. Hurts hurts hurts.
My body rebels. I settle on crawling. Dragging my tainted digits through the soil and forcing myself through the mud. Puddle. Puddle Puddle Puddle.
I'm glad to be alive. I'm glad for this puddle. It's my whole world. I crawl to it as quickly as my body allows and beyond, but I'm too dehydrated to cry at the lancing pain in my joints. I slip and tumble into it face first, a cold shock making me freeze up. I don't even try to drink at first, my eyes closed as I lay partially submerged in this brackish water. It makes me feel slightly better as the cold gently eases my neck muscles, and I feel the rest of my body cramping up again.
Imagine drowning in a claw of water. I'm suddenly terrified that it's possible. I throw an arm out and dig it deep into the mud, clawing silt as I awkwardly pull myself in sideways. I roll, splashing the rest of the way in and feeling my poorly treated scales weep as the cold bleeds into them. I lay my head sideways and drink, gagging at the taste but unable to stop myself. I still can't cry, but my face is still trying to produce tears anyways.
In delirium, I notice the corner of a structure well above me. It's a pole, made of metal and towering well above me. Morning dew drips off of it and into my eye not currently submerged, and I blink it away. Thank you pole. You're a life saver.
I don't plan on moving for a while, so I don't. The dew drips onto my snout several times, and my body rejoices at the cool water I've partially submerged myself in. The silt in my mouth is a necessary and tolerable evil from my desperate dive, and I angle my snout so that I can catch the fresh dew dripping from above instead. It tastes far better than the puddle, and for the first time in ever, I feel a smile creeping on my face.
I blink lazily, one eyelid operating a few seconds behind the other. I feel better. This blackout felt more natural, less forced. Like a gentle wave over my mind than the harsh crack of a baton. My mouth is still full of silt that I spit out, and a moment later I realize I can spit again. The bitter taste of blood in my mouth is faint now, and the joy of having a wet palate can't be described. ow.
It hurts to move. I try again, but my flesh feels like it's been filled with concrete. My muscles are too tight on my bones. Stiffly, I try again, making little progress, but still progress. I edge out a claw at a time, barely getting my neck out of the pool before collapsing, the chilly waters leaving me shivering. Where am I?
A very good question, I ask myself. I don't know. That's the cost of running without direction for so long. I think I'm in a field, judging by the crops looking over me and encompassing my wide vision of the vibrant sky overhead. Yeah... that's it. I'm in a field. Brilliant observation skills.
I try again, but nothing new comes up. For the first time since I fled, I think about what I'm going to do. I'm free. I'm free.
What am I going to do now that I'm free? How long do I have? I know the answer to that already. I have a long time. Everybody that knew me is dead and gone. I just need to be careful and not ruin this chance. I should try and find a town. Cities are too big, too many problems could come up. Too many exterminators. I could start over off the beaten path. Somewhere I can hide in plain sight. This is Sillis. Being me shouldn't be an issue. I... I can get a labor job somewhere. Change my name. What can I do? ... What
can I do? What
is my name?
"Oh dear." I whispered quietly to myself, brows furrowing. Odd. How odd. I can move on from that. Makes starting a new life easier. Something that isn't four walls and a paper thin mattress. Something outside. I just... need to get... out of this darn puddle. No, still not happening. Ouch.
I splash my paw into the puddle in frustration, using about the full range of motion I seem capable of in a mild fit. I want to stay on the move, but the consequences of my poor decision making have come back to bite me right on the rear. At least I have some time to think. I could try the lumber industry. That's usually away from people. I think I can figure out how to knock down trees, or at least fix up the machines that can. Maybe I can join a farm around here once I'm cleaned up. There's always something to do on a farm. Like counting shipments, or unloading shipments, or loading them. Maybe I can fix things around the property. Golly, I hope I know how to fix the automated machinery. That would really be nice. Ooh! I could try and be a tram service maintenance operator. Wait, no no no. That requires background checks, I think. Darn it. Uuuh, road utility services? No, that'll take me into cities one way or another. There's a ton of work with drainage systems and water run off here. I could get good money for that since it's risky. Pollutants, constant thundering streams of water. I think I can go with that. There would be a lot of rural investigations that I could apply for. If not, I'm certain the underground construction projects would bear fruit. I'll miss the sun but nobody would bother me too much... no, still too many people. Drainage systems it is!
A faint whistle catches my ear and I freeze, tilting my head as something green flies just overhead. It clips several stalks and leaves as it passes, but seems unbothered as the severed branches fall to the ground and leaves gently cascade after. I follow its path with an eye and it vanishes between some tall plants, leaving me alone just as quickly as-
Nope, the same thing floats by again, darting between crops once more directly above me. It's odd, I can't hear wing beats or buzzing, or see anything keeping it airborne as it passed, and I wait with baited breath to see if it shows itself again. I don't know what I feel, but it isn't terror. It's... something. Curiosity? This time I hear a chirrup, but it's close. I don't see it float by, and painfully I crane my neck and look at the other side of the puddle.
It's an insectoid of some kind, strangely wide and flat. It looks pretty similar to the leaves on the many trees that I've seen since I got out, with uneven, tapered sides. It has a few pairs of legs, and it scuttles to the puddle and dips the front of its body towards the surface. It really does look like a large leaf, but my observation is cut short when the bug abruptly stops moving within barely a claw of the water, a pair of forward facing compound eyes snug against the stem near the tip of its body. It chirps again, and I see narrow maw under the front of this creature, a slim set of fangs briefly glinting in the sun before its mandibles hide them.
"Oh dear." I manage to whisper.
With remarkable dexterity it hops across the body of water and splashes down on top of me, and several legs grip my ribs and arms. My tail flicks under the water's surface, but I don't move as the thing's maw looms over my snout. A smaller set of feelers touch my scales and let it guide where it can't see, and it pecks at my nostril once. I smell ozone and feel a different fire burn in my core, and relax. This isn't ideal. It really isn't. But it's still better that what once was. You won't hurt me for too long. You're better than they ever were.
Trading my cell for this... it's not that scary. Somehow, despite this predator straddling me and chewing on my snout, I'm not scared of it. I have alarms shrieking in my ears and ozone burning my nostrils and wrists. Bubbly poison twisting my insides and making me gag. I'm terrified of that, but that's long gone. That broken visage cuts deep, but it leaves me feeling empty. I'm alone with this thing pecking at my skull, occasionally chirping or hissing softly as it chews over my scales.
It's little mandibles flutter over my cheek and squish it, the fangs behind it pricking at my scales but never really puncturing. It's odd, almost exploratory. I hear a faint plip as some dew from the pole overhead drips onto the creature, and it leans back slightly to presumably look up. It lowers back down on me, and I wince as it gets a little rougher. It halts for a moment, mandibles still dancing over my scales, before I feel a set of legs slip past my arms and latch onto my back.
I grit my teeth, expecting it to finally lunge down and bite into my flesh as the rest of it's body tenses, but with a start it lifts me up with strength I didn't think it had. My back scrapes along the mud as it lifts me and drags me partially out of the muck. It lowers me down just as quickly as it started, leaving a bit of my upper body out of the water and in the warm air. I blink as it lowers its body down onto my own, legs tightening its grip on me as it presses itself against me. It chirrups again and resumes nibbling on my neck, and my mind absently puzzles over this change of events. It's roosting on me. Is it my body heat? I feel cold, but maybe it's colder. I wish I knew what you were. I'm glad you're not really biting me. It tickles, stop!
I couldn't help but squeak out a laugh, despite the very present danger I was in. The bug tensed for a moment but didn't sink its fangs into my neck, and after a moment it resumed licking at me. Slowly, it's legs tightened on my body and it pressed itself against me further, and it hissed softly. I closed my eyes when it's maw pressed against me, but once again no bite split me open and drained my lifeblood. It's mandibles tickled my scales some more as the creature flattened out, the ridges of its body laying in the mud as it settled down. I was all but buried under the thing that was almost as big as me, and my tail swished lightly in the water.
Once again, I find myself stuck. I wasn't going anywhere anyways, but now I'm very stuck. Hopefully it doesn't get peckish. This thing could definitely eat me if it wanted to. It's funny that I'm supposed to fear it. All those training exercises failed. Every test and experiment. Maybe it enforced the wrong behavior. I think I might've been respectfully afraid of this creature once, but that part of me is all burned up. If it existed at all.
I've missed the novelty of clouds. Sillis has an overabundance of them, but so far I've been lucky that none of the ones passing overhead were angry. It's almost odd that no rain has come, but I'm glad. I faintly remember that the rains could become acidic if there's too long a pause between storms. Too much smoke or warp residue building up in the atmosphere.
So far I've counted two absolutely towering thunderheads and small storm systems roll by in all their stunning glory, and dozens of smaller offsets in their wake. Hundreds of individual clouds dot the skies, not quite blanketing it yet. It's pleasant, even within the grasp of a large, sleeping predator that's fully enveloped me. I can feel it's diaphragm shifting ever so slightly on my chest, and it twitches occasionally.
I don't mind. For now, things are peaceful. I'm enjoying that. At least, until something crunched a few rows over. That sounds a lot bigger than this predator.
The creature shifts slightly but doesn't wake as whatever else is out there stalks through the crops. It has to be a predator, from how quiet it moves. Every little rustle and faint step happen far from each other, and my mind immediately jumps to an ambush hunter. Carefully, I move my head to catch a glimpse of the thing, trying not to disturb the slumbering creature that is currently resting it's mouth on my neck. My scales fade into a dirty black that matches the soil, and I squint to hide my eyes from whatever is out there.
There's movement on my left, something tall shifting between the crops a few rows down. I hear a rumbling noise- a deep based growl, and the back of my skull itches.
"...D-1?" No no no no no. I don't want to go back. I want to be free.
I know what the thing is. It's a new predator. A sapient one. The same ones that freed me. The same ones that wanted to herd me onto a ship. I can't do this. Sapient predators are cruel, far crueler than the average ones. A normal predator wasn't personal about the kill. It could be reasoned with. Where did that come from?
A sapient predator was ruthless for entertainment. I owe them my life. They'll just take it.
There's a rustle from a different direction, and a behemoth steps out of the crops far closer to me than I would prefer. It is armored like the many I've seen before, but I realize instead of a firearm it wields a bulky tool of some kind tightly in its paws. It dawns on me that it's colors are different, green and blue instead of solid blue, and there's a colorful flag of some kind pressed on the garments of its arm.
"Copy." It rumbled quietly.
"Crikey, you spooked me there!" the other predator whispered, changing course. Thankfully the closest one broke off to meet it, and they stopped one row over. It was best I stay still. Their hearing was better than they let on. "Okay, did you get it done?"
I can't see them clearly, but some non verbal communication must have occurred because the one predator continues speaking.
"Good. Look, trouble is coming. A fellow seppo noticed the ordinance went missing. He's suspicious. There'll be heat soon. Have you made any progress with the other front?" A pause. "Same. I've dealt with several of his goons, but none knew anything good."
"I'll have him tonight."
"An exterminator account and reversed polarity on some switches works wonders."
"...you seppos are terrifying."
"We're a world power for a reason."
"...yeah. Do you have the drive? Nice. You keep this up and we'll have everything we need from this planet before Christmas. We're going to make things right." There's an odd grunt, and one of them starts rumbling quietly in what translates as amusement. "Involved in peace. What do they really think this accomplishes?"
"Don't care. We find our whales and move on."
"Come on, we can have some more fun if we're careful! Don't act like that doesn't entertain you after that bomber plot of yours!"
"S-4," there's an undertone in that growl that makes my scales shrink, "remember the prize."
"...God, you're a hard ass. Fine. I'm certain you're carrying that giant wrench for peaceful reasons and not to crack open any skulls out here. I'll check the smuggling routes. Rig up something to keep these bugs under our thumb. You keep being you. I need to move before they notice I'm gone."
Faint footsteps leading away, and I sighed. While brief, just being around them made my scales crawl-
The crops right beside me parted, and the other predator stepped out. It's covered foot splashed into the puddle, and stirred the predator enveloping me. Much to my horror the thing chirruped and hissed, releasing me and spinning around. The apex predator looked down at the smaller thing and regarded it.
The drawing on the mask was comical, and not at all what I was expecting. Most humans didn't wear masks, so blinding terror didn't sweep me away. I almost laughed at the absurdity of concealing one's face, only to make a lazy drawing of a face overtop of it.
The smaller predator didn't find it nearly as confusing or entertaining as I did, and hissed. The apex didn't falter, but surprisingly held its ground despite being threatened by a lesser predator. Most predators would make a threat back and assert itself. Or lash out. What is this one up too? It's not acting submissive so it isn't backing down. But it isn't retaliating either. Does it need to? It's using it's own size as a deterrent.
My thoughts are interrupted when my toothy cover abruptly spins and flees, gaining air under its body and become airborne. It slashes through a row of crops and is gone, just like how it arrived. The apex still hasn't moved. It takes a few steps forward, nearing me. I can't tell if it's looking at me or not so I close my eyes tight, hoping that my eyes hadn't given me away. There's a thump right beside me and I flinch. I can feel it's presence. It has stopped walking. It knows. Somehow it sees me. It knows it knows it knows.
Something warm grazes my neck and I flinch again, despite myself. I can't do it. I don't want to die with my eyes closed. I want to see the sun and the clouds and the crops, not this faux darkness.
I open my eyes and it's right there, crouched over me. I can't bother with wasting my energy by screaming. It saw through my camouflage and had a paw to my neck. I wished it to be merciful and just strike me down with the wrench it brought, but it doesn't. Instead it plunges its paw into the water, under my rump. It rips me out of the water and I gasp as its other paw slips down under my shoulders and lifts, but my mind catches up a moment later when it pressed me against it's chest instead of its mouth, forsaking my exposed stomach. It's grip loosens slightly and it adjusts, an arm under my shoulder blades and legs. I can feel the muscles rippling in it's grip, and how easily it could fold me over backwards and squish me. I've seen it first hand.
But it's so gently. So unbelievably gentle. I don't remember the last time I was touched like this. Something in a dark recess of my mind wavered, and I realized I'd curled my tail around the creature's arm without meaning to. It holds me a little closer, nowhere near enough to hurt, and my scales start to change to match the colors it wears. It's not looking at me, the mask is angled too far up. We're moving at a blinding pace suddenly, the rows of crops blurring in my vision. It doesn't stop. This apex runs like a machine, each breath consistent and calculated to a rhythm I notice. Its breathing labors but it keeps going, warm jets of air spitting out the bottom of its mask and onto my soggy, damp form.
It's so warm. I didn't realize the chill of the water until now but I'm shivering. My body takes over for my confused mind and curls into the predator's grasp, trying to get as much warmth from the human's rough garments as I can. I don't know what's come over me. I don't know where it's taking me. I don't care. I can't escape it, and if this thing kills me it was at least kind enough to be gentle.
The skies are so beautiful. I try and focus on them but all I can really see is the predator's mask. I can see the bottom of it's jaw, the taught muscles there. I dread what its face looks like in this moment under that mask. Its digits tighten on my shoulder and side in response to me curling into it, and absently I wonder how this predator is the same as the ones from days ago with their thundering bellows and ruthless firepower.
The apex thunders out of the field and I'm assaulted by new sights. There's a few dozen of them roving around a clearing by several vehicles.
I also spot an Exterminator's van, and my claws unsheathe. The predator winces and I realize I've nailed him with them, but he doesn't throw me down or bark at me. He sprints by the van without stopping, but I see several Tilfish locked inside and doomed to a terrible fate worse than being eaten.
"Ambulance!?" It barks sharply, out of breath. It skids to a stop beside one of the transports, clutching me firmly.
"Just left with the patient. Where the hell did this one come from?" An unmasked predator growled, eyes beady and looking over me. Mine made an odd jerking motion and continued.
"I will. What hospital are we calling?" The thought of a clinical space makes me flinch. White walls. White floors. Cold tiles. Needles. Beeping. Humming. Frying.
"None. Operational security."
The other predator screwed its face up and departed, and abruptly mine was sitting down on the back of one of the trucks. Gently I was plopped down on its lap, and I watched transfixed as it peeled its armor off, then its outer garment. There's an image of a veiled human on the back with its eyes closed, head craned down. Its hands are clasped together in thought, and the meaning of it goes over my head.
The predator is a lot smaller than I thought it was. It gently lifts me and set me in the garment, before it starts wiping me down with it. I'm too sore to fight it, and the cloth is exceptionally warm from the creature's body heat. It pulls me closer and holds me in a way that makes my chest hurt, and it looks out at an approaching predator. It rumbles softly.
"You're going to be okay."
My body relaxes despite my mind's warnings. I'm wrapped up in this garment it wore. I can't escape it. But it's warm. The material soaks up the water on my skin, and wipes away the grime and muck I've accumulated over the days. Slowly, my scales begin to shift again, bleeding back to my normal tan coloration.
"Did something finally bite you Sunshine? I haven't seen you run like that in- oh-kay." The approaching predator flinched when it got close and tensed up. It wants to eat me. This one- Sunshine- it won't let it without a fight. Are they going to eat me? Sunshine won't. Right?
"I thought there was only one victim." The predator rumbled after a moment, creeping closer. I shrank into the material and took on it's color, only for a warm paw to settle on my arm.
"You're fine." Sunshine whispered. It looked up at the approaching predator and jerked its head awkwardly. "There is. Look at it. Do you see it too?"
Gently, it lifted my arm. I was too stiff to pull it back, not that I could've against its powerful grip. I was completely exposed to this other predator.
"Relax. Please." Sunshine whispered once more. The growl was soft, and I looked up at the mask above me. The grip on my arm was careful, I realized. I could pull away right now. Slowly, my scales lightened. The other predator leaned in closer and I flashed white and yellow briefly, but Sunshine propped me up a bit and started gently poking at sore parts of my body. My ribs. My neck. "Here. And... and here."
The other predator's eyes seemed to get bigger. Something deeper changed in its face. "Holy shit." It made to move forward and I reeled back, pressing myself further into Sunshine. The predator immediately froze and slunk back.
"He can help." Sunshine rumbled softly. Oh dear. Oh dear.
It touched me. It's diminutive nails didn't rend into my scales as it touched my ribs, prodding them softly. Sunshine adjusted how it sat so that the other predator could have better access to me, and I couldn't help but focus on the skies again as it assessed what part of me it wanted. Sunshine won't let it eat me.
I don't know where the thought came from, but it was firm. I believed it entirely. Even though Sunshine was a sapient predator, it wouldn't let it happen. Maybe it claimed me as its own already. I... I had doubts I would be eaten. The thoughts were there, but Sunshine had a perfect chance already. Unless it wanted to flaunt its catch first, which the Arxur did- but it was gentle. Sunshine was better than an Arxur.
"Malnourished, deep sores. Ulcers. There's bruising up and down the rib cage. Jesus- sorry."
"They're old. Persistent. Its feet."
"What about..." The predator got quiet. I felt my scales shift in worry as it gingerly lifted one of my legs. It remained quiet, but its face stretched further. "What happened?"
It was looking at me. Asking me. I shrank further into the fabric, but there was nowhere to go. The silence was unbearable, and I started trembling.
The silence continued.
"A runaway." Sunshine rumbled after forever. I didn't understand what that meant. My translator didn't pick it up quite right. Run-away? Like fleeing? Was that what these predators called their prey? No... no that didn't seem right. It was possible, but...
"Could have been kidnapped." Another word I didn't understand, but my translator worked on the other predator. Stealing a person by force? Using fear outside of the law? How did predators have such a word? "We need to get it to the hospital. Figure out what happened and how it ended up in this field." NO NO NO NO NO
Sunshine's arms draped over me before I could escape, my attempt no better than a drunk Mazic trying to fit through a Venlil sized door. I couldn't stop the whine in my throat, but its soft digits down my back froze me. A subtle noise filtered out behind the mask, and it settled me back down in its garment. It picked up an edge lined with little metal teeth and draped it over me, blocking my sight from the other predator. I felt safe, suddenly. Sunshine's firm grip on my body didn't feel threatening. It felt like a promise, as it carefully pulled me against it's bulk. I was warm, despite my terror.
"Zuda will handle it. No hospitals. This stays with us."
"Sunshine," the other predator protested, "we need to figure out what happened!"
"Think, Doc." Sunshine growled, and this was no doubt a warning. I felt relief that the difference between the two growls was so obvious.
Use your head."
There was a period of silence. "You don't... that can't be right." I didn't understand what conclusion it made.
"The injuries are uniform. Too clean to be anything else." They can't know. How can they know?
"We need confirmation!"
"We already have it." Sunshine stated, and slowly the fabric was lifted off of my head. I blinked, and noticed that the other predator had changed a different shade. That's odd. Are you predators like me? That's terrifying. I'm not a threat. I'm me.
"It reacted to the van and mention of a hospital, Doc. Nobody outside the UN hears of this. Operational security." It... does Sunshine know? How do they know?
"What the fuck is this planet, Sunshine?" The other predator lamented.
Sunshine didn't respond. He looked around at the surrounding encampment, and I realized it was shrinking. They were leaving. A few other predators were subtly watching as they worked, but I doubted they could hear the conversation with how quiet it was. I realize there's a few Venlil in their ranks, unbothered by their presence and even wearing garments similar to the predators around them.
A digit tapped the end of my snout and I flinched, looking up at Sunshine. It's paw retracted as the other predator withdrew a medical kit with a paw print on it and began to unclasp it. "You're safe. We're... we're going to help." You know. You know what I am. And you're helping me anyway. Why are you helping me? I'm weak. I'm dangerous. But not to you. You're an apex. Is that why? Does your species stick together, unlike the Arxur? Do you uplift those around you, no matter if they're prey or dangerous? The Venlil are not afraid of you. You must not eat them. What do you eat? It has to be meat. But, it must be something that they can handle. Does what makes me dangerous fall away under your hierarchy? I hope it does. It doesn't seem real. I guess to you, what makes me a threat is meaningless.
I believe Sunshine. I really do. When the other predator comes forward with a healing gel, I surrender. I am safe.
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2023.06.03 18:58 Frank_Leroux Molossus, Chapter Sixteen
First Chapter Chapter Fifteen
“Thank you, Ms. President, and Mr. Secretary-General. It’s my privilege to come and speak to everyone present during such a momentous time in human history. One which, I hope, will lead to a brighter future for us all…”
US President Correa’s boilerplate beginning flowed out as she scanned the room. Behind her rostrum sat a larger dais tiled with green marble, behind which sat the UN President, Secretary-General, and Under-Secretary-General. Two huge screens flanked the dais, and those screens now showed Correa’s face as she continued.
“…and we are committed to our country’s pledge to finding a peaceful and just way for Coalition technology to be incorporated worldwide, and to not attempt any reverse-engineering of our own. Make no mistake; we do not do this out of any sense of altruism or fairness, as pleasant as that may sound. We will hold this pledge sacred for the simple reason that, if the United States were
to attempt such efforts the rest of the world would, without a doubt, find out. That, of course, would lead to a great instability.”
‘Great instability’ was diplomatic-speak for ‘the rest of the world then gangs up on the USA and then everything goes to hell’.
“I know there has already been a great deal of debate in this august hall as to the best way to proceed forward, in a fair and impartial manner. We believe that we have found what one might call a ‘trial run’ which will allow us to work out such matters.”
The general murmuring from the many semi-circular rows of desks in front of her increased.
“To begin with, during the first weeks after first contact we wanted to make sure our guests from the Coalition would not starve to death. Much like humanity’s own ships during the Age of Sail, Coalition exploration vessels store enough provisions for years…but such provisions never last. They have very advanced recycling, but mostly for water and even that is only a stop-gap measure. It is unknown even at this time as to how long it will take to repair the Exultant Finger of Rithro
, and we did not want to risk the crew running out of food.
“Therefore, we undertook an emergency effort to have their ship’s medic examine various Earth foods to determine their compatibility with our guests’ varied biochemistries. I am pleased to report that there are quite a few Earth foodstuffs which are indeed compatible, although there are some specific items which act as allergens amongst some of the Coalition species. During these efforts, we did learn a bit about how their alien biochemistries work…information which has been duly published and is now openly available. We also began to get glimpses of something wonderful, and asked the Coalition crew for more details. They supplied us with some general ideas of what their medical technology can accomplish; I must emphasize that we do not possess any knowledge of how they can perform such miracles.”
Now the murmuring got quite a bit higher, but not quite to the point where they’d have to call for order.
“Yes, I use the word ‘miracles’ advisedly. For example, take Captain Sadaf. You have all seen her, and how she moves like a person in the prime of their life. Now. What if I told you that she is a little over four hundred years old?”
The murmuring died down into a shocked silence.
“Her species, the auhn, is no more long-lived than we are…but they are able to regenerate and remove the effects of aging. I hope the esteemed ambassadors can see what I am driving at. I propose that we set up a research institute, international in scope, to be placed at a neutral location which is still to be determined. The purpose of that institute will be to study and adapt Coalition medical technology for use in humans.”
Now the murmuring started again; she hoped they were actually listening instead of hatching side-deals with each other.
“You all have families and friends. I’m sure you have at least one family member, one good friend, who died of some horrible and unnecessary
affliction. Think of what this means to the world, to us. It is also an excellent way to determine the inevitable issues and frictions which will arise from such a concerted international effort, and that, in turn, will inform our efforts in mutual reverse-engineering of other Coalition technology.
“I know this is, in many ways, a frightening time. Change can be frightening. But I am convinced that you will all know the right way forward, and that you will all see the need for us to unite in this matter, even if others may not be so clear-cut. I thank you for the opportunity to speak.”
As she stepped away from the rostrum, the UN President cleared his throat.
“We will now begin the debate on Madame President Correa’s proposal. Paper copies, with specifics of the proposal, are now being distributed to you all. We’ll now begin the debate period…yes, the gentleman from Portugal…?”
Correa’s Chief of Staff was a shorter, tubby man with an olive complexion by the name of Pablo Rosas. He and Correa sat in a White House conference room, staring at a big screen which now showed the results of the UN vote. “Well, I suppose that went about as well as we could expect,” said Rosas.
“Yep. I was surprised they even agreed with our asking them to kick in some money.”
Rosas chuckled. “Keep in mind that all of this new medical tech will be available for anyone patent-free. Should be air-tight legally, since nobody here on Earth invented it; we’re merely adapting it. I think that was the sweetener we needed to get it passed.”
The president gave a brief nod, then tapped a few keys on the controls in front of her. The screen now showed a world map. “Now we just have to figure out where to put the damn thing without everyone getting butt-mad about it.”
“Hmm.” Rosas laced his fingers over his substantial gut as he regarded the map. “Someplace not ‘the usual’, then.”
Correa growled in frustration. “I keep thinking Switzerland, but I know there’s gonna be a lot of shit flung about that it’s too European-centric. Taiwan would be great; they’ve got both a good tech base and excellent transport infrastructure.”
“But way too controversial, for obvious reasons,” replied Rosas. “Japan?”
“China will, again, kick up a fuss. Huh. New Zealand?”
“That might work. They tend to be more neutral…but then again some might say they’re in too close with Australia, and that this whole effort is too Western-centric.” His eyes flicked back to north on the map. He was about to move his gaze elsewhere, but then he paused. “What about Iceland?”
“Iceland?” Correa almost scoffed, then looked more thoughtfully at the map. “Okay, they’re a NATO member which is a minus. But they tend to remain mostly neutral, which is a plus. Decent transportation infrastructure…don’t we have a naval air base there?”
“I think so, let me check…” Rosas tapped at his phone. “Hey, Jack? What can you tell me about any US naval air bases in Iceland? Just the highlights.” After a couple of minutes, he responded with a curt, “Okay, that’s enough, thanks.”
He put his phone away. “We kinda-sorta have one, at a place called Keflavik. The base there used to be a lot bigger during the Cold War. Then we shut it down after the Soviets were no longer a going concern. Iceland uses it now, and they allow us to fly submarine-search aircraft out of there, but a few years ago they nixed the DOD’s request to rebuild it into a more permanent base.”
“That does work in their favor. It makes for better optics if they’re known for keeping NATO at arm’s length.”
Rosas sat up. “Think the UN will go for it?”
“We can only try. I’ll have our ambassador in Reykjavik make some discreet inquiries, let’s see if they’d be okay with our proposing them as a candidate.”
The Chief of Staff smiled. “If it goes through, this institute will be pumping well north of a billion dollars per year into their economy. That should make it more than ‘okay’.
Agent Cécile Savoie sat in a secure-location breakroom, silently grumbling as she held an as-yet un-drunk mug of coffee in her hands. As the agent-in-charge of the security detail during the Camp David incident, she’d been put on administrative leave, right alongside every other agent who’d been there. But it wasn’t like she had much down time; the inquiry board into that incident now summoned her damn near every other day for yet another round of tedious questioning.
“Hey,” said Hanson as he strolled in, looking just as sour as she felt.
She looked up in surprise. “Hey yourself. I thought you were assigned to the alien detail.”
“I was,” he said as he seated himself across the circular table from her. “Guess being in Alabama when the shitshow went down wasn’t far enough away to be completely out of suspicion. I just finished running my own gauntlet. But the rumor is, I’m getting it easy compared to everyone who was at Camp David, including the special forces people. Especially you.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty much a colonoscopy every day,” she muttered. “Going over the timeline, where I was at which times, who I had direct line of sight on, who I was in radio contact with.” She finally sipped her coffee.
Hanson’s sour expression deepened. “Do you really think it was one of us?”
She sighed. “It has to be. My gut tells me that there’s more than one mole and I told the inquiry board as much. The fuckers who got in knew too much about our patrol patterns, where everyone was, when they’d have a clear shot at an infil. That means someone with access to our methods and comms, and as to the latter we don’t use CB radios.”
The other agent leaned back. “Fuck. I wish I knew why any of us would do that. We’re supposed to be quiet professionals, not frothing radicals.”
Savoie turned the mug in her hands. “Not to tell tales out of school but, through the whisper network, they’ve been leaning hard on the captured dudes from the attack. Apparently one of their main ‘objections’,” and here she made some one-handed air quotes, “is that they think the whole Breaker thing is a ruse. It’s all smoke and mirrors, so that we’ll beg the Coalition to come and save us. And then…well, it gets vague after that but I guess they claim that at best we’ll get turned into the galactic equivalent of a Native American reservation. Worst case, we all get harvested for our precious bodily fluids.”
Hanson stared at her for a moment in disbelief. “That is, if you will forgive the uncouth term, utterly retarded. For chrissake, the Hubble got some beautiful shots of their ship once they’d spun that shield around to reveal it to us. I mean, I’m no spacecraft expert but even I could tell it had gotten the shit pounded out of it.”
She responded with a shrug. “Hey, Flat Earthers are still a thing.”
“Flat Earthers don’t stage FUCKING mortar attacks in our nation’s capital,” snapped Hanson. Then he subsided and spoke more softly. “Sorry, I shouldn’t be so on edge. This whole thing just pisses me off.”
“Join the club,” said Savoie as she sipped more coffee. “I just don’t get it, though.”
Hanson made a gentle ‘continue’ wave of his hand.
She leaned forward. “Okay. Our comrades in the CIA managed to identify the four who made it into the compound. They were all mercenaries, each with at least ten or fifteen years of experience in kicking ass around some of the worst hot spots in the world. Syria, Burma, bunch of places in Africa. One of ‘em even turned out to be ex-Wagner group.”
“Okay?” It was a leading single-word question, but not an unkind one.
“So why was the rest of the attack made up of nothing but a bunch of goddamn shit-kickers? And that includes the aborted attempt in Decatur. I’ve seen the files of those we rounded up in the Camp David attack. They were all low-life idiots just banging around, maybe they might have once held a gun in their lives. Hell, from what I’ve heard, the shootings that triggered the alarm at Camp David were an accident; those intruders were supposed to sneak around
that patrol, not kill them. They all had the same top-of-the-line kit, so we know whoever is behind this has deep pockets. Why not hire an entire bunch of competent people instead of doing it onesy-twoseys?”
“It is a puzzle.” Hanson got up and set a styrofoam cup of water into the nearby microwave. As the cup turned within its electromagnetic prison, he leaned against the nearby counter and pondered her question. “Maybe the team in the woods was intended just as a distraction?”
“That’s what I thought at first, but then I reconsidered. I mean, what if the four who went in failed? You’d still need a proper backup plan. Same thing with the Decatur bunch. By the way, did they ever catch them?”
Hanson let out a dark chuckle. “Decatur PD found a pile of vests and rifles, hastily wiped down. They were able to pull a few partial prints off of ‘em. My guess is they’ve fled to the proverbial four winds, hoping to lay low for the rest of their lives. We’ll nab ‘em eventually.”
The microwave dinged and he retrieved his hot water, then pulled a tea bag out of his jacket pocket as he re-seated himself.
Savoie smiled. “I never figured you for a tea guy.”
He unwrapped the bag and with a bit of ceremony dunked it into his cup. “Well, I used to be a coffee guy, but my gut doesn’t agree with the acidity.”
“We do have tea here, you know.” She pointed to the storage bins behind him.
“Yeah, but it’s cheap-ass stuff. The brand I like is expensive, but worth it…” Hanson’s eyes widened as he trailed off.
She raised an eyebrow. “Hanson? Do you smell burnt toast?”
“They couldn’t afford it,” he said in a near-whisper.
Savoie was about to tell him to stop being overly dramatic, then she realized he might be on to something and that she didn’t dare distract him. “Keep talking.”
He leaned forward, his forearms on the table. “Okay. Imagine you’re a hard-bitten mercenary. You’ve been in the literal shit, in every nasty conflict anyone cares to name. Somehow, someone finds you and comes to you. They say ‘hey, these aliens are bad news, do you want to kill them?’ Even if you, as the hypothetical mercenary, are down with the cause…”
“From what the intruders were yelling, they were,” said Savoie.
“Yeah but even then, our mystery financier is asking you to infil and exfil out of one of the most heavily guarded pieces of real estate on the planet. Oh, and kill a bunch of special-forces-maybe and aliens-definitely in between. What do you do then?”
She replied with a grim smile. “If I’m that mercenary, then I ask for a metric fuck-ton of money. And there were four of them, they would have all done the same. Hell, they must have been doing collective bargaining.”
Hanson dunked his tea bag as he thought it through. “Okay, so our mystery mastermind has a lot of money, but not billions on hand to hire a literal army of hard cases. Huh. So those other dipshits might indeed have been a distraction.”
“Maybe. They must have also spent quite a bit on the mortar attack. That wasn’t made by some hobbyist in their bedroom, they knew what they were doing. Given that nobody saw them set up the launcher or leave, they were more pro.” Savoie hoped that the FBI’s efforts to track the various mortar components turned up something soon. Thus far, those efforts were bogged down; as it turned out, quite a few companies had ordered the identified components, and tracking the subsequent second-hand purchases was time-consuming.
“And those mortar-making pros would be more expensive.” Hanson sipped a bit of tea. “Did they ever get anything off of the launcher itself?”
“Sadly, no. Turns out the whole damned thing was homemade, constructed out of tubing and other off-the-shelf components. It was also wiped down thoroughly, no prints. Like I said, pros.”
“But limited in resources,” said Hanson. “Which explains one of the things that’s bugged me
. Namely, that our OPFOR didn’t use some proper artillery. If they have a couple of moles in the Secret Service, then it should be easy to recruit and pay some military dudes to slip ‘em some gear and alter the logs. They could stow a howitzer inside a semi-tractor-trailer. You could park that thing anywhere up to 25 miles away. Use a single 155mm Excalibur GPS-guided munition, boom. That would have pretty much obliterated the stage and everyone on it. Then you just re-stow the howitzer and toodle off all innocent-like, right when everyone is freaking the hell out.”
“So they couldn’t afford that type of arty strike,” she said. “Or they simply didn’t have the contacts to pull that off. Hmm. I wonder if our moles are getting paid at all?”
Hanson resumed his thousand-yard stare. “The mortar attack must have been planned first. The other two attacks feel much more like rush jobs.”
“Eh? Oh, I get it. Sadaf’s speech was known well in advance. It was going to be one of her first big public appearances since the initial presidential speech. They were broadcasting it online to the world. Having her get turned into chunky red salsa, in real time, would be one helluva statement. So that’s what they focused on.” She drank a bit more coffee, and now it was time for her eyes to widen. “Our mole or moles didn’t arrive at Camp David until after
Sadaf’s speech was announced.”
“That…oh, yeah, that makes sense. Originally the mortar attack is the OPFORs’ only focus, but yet somehow they’ve suborned one or two Secret Service agents and they have ‘em in their back pocket. Then one, or better yet both, of the moles gets assigned to the Camp David detail, and they realize that now that they have a golden opportunity to get at the other aliens as well. So they go off and hire four pros for the actual attack inside, plus a bunch of chucklefucks to act as a distraction, because that’s all they can afford since the four pros are asking for some serious money.”
Savoie leaned forward. “When did Chao and Grakosh leave Camp David?”
“It was, ah, three? No, four days after we got everyone settled, both the aliens and the special forces types.”
“Okay, so then
the OPFOR gets word, courtesy of our moles, that one of the aliens is now heading to Alabama. But now they’re stretched so thin that they can’t afford anything other than to hire another bunch of dipshits to make a run at them and hope for the best.”
“And then the second bunch lets the FNG drive.”
They both laughed, but that humor settled down as they both thought through the chain of inference.
“It is pretty thin,” said Savoie at last. “There’s a lot of assumptions in there.”
“Yeah. But I do like the idea of our moles getting assigned at the last minute.”
She rubbed her forehead. “We had a bunch of new people come in when they decided to stow the Rithro crew there. Seven, no eight in all.”
“It’s a place to start,” said Hanson. He finished his tea. “C’mon, let’s see if we can get a meeting with the inquiry board.”
A little while later and not very far away, three people sat in a well-lit but otherwise deadly dull room. At least the chairs were somewhat comfortable. Matt and Martinez sat at two chairs against one wall, while across from them McCoy sat sprawled sideways on another with a foul look on her face. She glowered at the far beige-painted wall. “This completely sucks. Why can’t we have our phones? I could at least play some mahjong.”
“This is a secure location, Corporal,” replied Matt. “Ixnay on the onephays.”
Martinez’s leg jittered. “How long are we gonna sit here? They said they’d call us in, like, an hour ago!”
“Dunno, it’s some kind of last-minute interview thing,” replied Matt with Zen-like calm.
The corporal looked over at Matt. “I don’t get you, man.”
Matt grinned. “Nobody gets me. I’m like the wind, baby!”
“That’s not…I mean, I watched you open up a dude like he was a bag of fuckin’ Doritos using nothing but a fuckin’ knife. Now you’re being all Caine from ‘Kung Fu’.”
“It’s good to know that the classics are still appreciated,” said Matt.
Martinez pointed at him. “If you start calling me ‘Grasshopper’ I will
McCoy turned her glare to the ceiling. “Maybe it’s a psychological test. They want to see if we crack under pressure and start yakking secrets.”
“I mean, I’m sure they’re recording us right now,” replied Matt. “But it’s merely as a precaution. I am also five-nines certain that none of us are suspects. We weren’t integrated into the compound’s overall security, and thus it would be unlikely that we could have let our four attackers in.”
“Not to mention, we were the ones to kill ‘em,” added Martinez. “Well, except for the one that Takh took care of.”
“Yep. This is…I won’t call it a formality, but the board just wants to know where you were and what you saw. Walk them through your personal timelines, understand? Tell them only what you know. If you don’t know something, then say so.”
McCoy turned herself around so that she now sprawled the other way. “This whole bullshit just bugs me. Takh and the others are off with a bunch of strangers and I…I mean, we aren't there to help protect them.”
Matt and Martinez shared a meaningful glance. “From what I heard, Takh is quite capable of taking care of himself,” said the latter with a grin. “You told me he pitched that one dude across the room like he was throwing a softball.”
For once, the petite corporal looked a bit flustered. “Yeah, but, I mean, what if some other potential bad guy gets the drop on him with a gun? I don’t like not being there. I just wanna know that he’s okay. I should be there, just to make sure.”
The smaller man snapped his fingers in the face of the taller, who sighed and took out his wallet. With great ceremony, Matt pulled out a five-dollar bill and placed it upon the now-upraised palm of Martinez.
“Told ya,” said Martinez with a grin.
She sat up and glared at them both. “That doesn’t mean anything! Takh is a good guy!”
“Nobody said he wasn’t,” replied Matt as he stowed his wallet. “He is indeed a good guy.”
“Yeah, seriously, we’re glad you two hooked up,” added Martinez. “Takh’s solid. Hell, I’d let him date my sister.”
“I. Am. Not. Hooked Up. With ANYONE.” McCoy now looked furious enough to chew nails.
Martinez stroked his chin. “Kissing might be a problem, though.”
Matt performed a similar chin-stroking action. “Hmm, indeed, Corporal, I do believe it might be a serious issue. One has all of those mandibles to contend with.” He hooked his fingers next to his mouth in an approximation of an udhyr’s face. “Still, I think that, with enough will and effort, one could figure it out. Like the man said, life finds a way.”
“But how much tongue is he packing?” posed Martinez. “You know what the man also says. Big dude, big tongue. Could make things more interesting, all around.”
The woman did not look amused. “Martinez, Toke? You are now both officially gigantic flatulating assholes.”
“C’mon, McCoy!” protested Martinez. “Think of it this way. A few years from now, let’s say we filthy humans are now part of the Coalition and I’m at some meet ‘n greet, and I just so happen to spy me an oh-so-very-fiiine udhyr mamacita from across the room. Now, I wanna do my bit for my species and approach her, and get some good old inter-species cultural interaction going on. But there’s all sorts of questions. How do I compliment her without insulting her culture? How am I supposed to get in good with her? How do the mechanics work? How do the various bits line up? We need details! You’re at the tip of the spear, we all need good intel!”
McCoy slumped back into her seat. “Over seven hundred billion Dimmadollars of defense spending, and yet somehow I wind up stuck in a room with you two fuckos…oh, by the way, Toke
,” she added, pointing a finger at Matt, “why the hell can you and Sarge never go back to Okinawa?”
“Nice distraction, McCoy,” said Martinez. “My guess is some sort of wet-work shit.”
Matt just smiled. “Oh for fuck’s sake, I don’t kill everyone
I meet. I was a Second LT at the time, managed to somehow leapfrog my way into officer ranks all the way from enlisted. Anyways, the Okinawa affair was merely a case of, well, one particular case of rye whiskey. The good sergeant…was he a sergeant then? Oh yeah, we had done some other stuff I can’t tell you about in someplace I can’t tell you where, and we were celebrating Shaw getting his third stripe. We’d got ahold of the previously-mentioned case of whiskey and then we began toasting to each other’s good health. We did a lot of toasting. Quite
a lot of toasting. As you can imagine, the toasting went on and on until we, um, well we did some unwise things. It started out with us sparring-for-fun with each other in public and escalated from there. No locals were harmed, and nothing we did was hella illegal, or I would’ve never made Captain. Buuut the local government would definitely throw a shitfit if me or, God forbid, both of us set foot back on the island.” He chuckled. “Hell, the Okinawan customs people probably still have both of our pictures taped up inside their booths with a big old sign saying ‘DO NOT ADMIT THIS PERSON, YOU FOOL’ written above them.”
“What did you do?” asked Martinez. His eyes were big and soulful, like a kid asking for yet one more story before bedtime.
Matt shrugged. “I mean, I don’t remember much for obvious reasons. I’m almost sure we didn’t piss on any monuments, that would have definitely been cause for a serious demotion. We did do a number on some shrubbery, that I do remember. We decided it needed to be trimmed back, and so we did so. Using our bare hands. Seemed like a good idea at the time.”
A fearsome light came into McCoy’s eyes. “Martinez, do you know what this means?”
He looked at her all uncertain. “Um, Toke and Sarge have cast-iron livers?”
“No, you fool. Blackmail material
Matt pointed back at her. “Hey, now, I told you that in confidence. Besides, Shaw has a lot more to contend with right now.”
The reminder of the sergeant’s current crippled state brought the elevated atmosphere of the room back down. McCoy nodded as her smile faded. “Right. Hey, did you see the Prez’s speech at the UN?”
“Yep,” said Matt. “From what I’ve read, the political wrangling after it seems pretty tame compared to the usual.”
Martinez snorted. “No shit. Did either of you see the laundry list of shit that we might be able to do? Anti-aging, limb regrowth, cancer treatments which work well and which don’t
half-kill the patient…hell, maybe even Alzheimer’s could be in our rear-view mirror. The grand high muckity-mucks are falling all over themselves to get that out into the world, for themselves if nobody else.”
“You’re way too cynical, Martinez,” said Matt.
“Oh fuck off. What if…okay, I know this sounds like a cheesy sci-fi concept, but what if they hoard all of the good shit for themselves and we peons get just the crumbs?”
Matt lapsed back into his meditative demeanor. “In that case, my dear corporal, you or I or McCoy or someone like us will show those hypothetical elites that, while they are indeed long-lived, they are not in fact immortal.”
The trio fell into silence for a few minutes. Then Martinez leaned over towards Matt. “Ah, a little birdie told me you were involved in questioning the prisoners we nabbed at Camp David.”
“I merely facilitated certain conversations,” replied Matt.
Martinez sighed. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies…Corporal.”
McCoy let out a growl. “Well, I
heard these terrorist assholes are saying that the Breakers aren’t real, that it’s all fake videos from the Coalition.”
“Just to play devil’s advocate,” said Matt, “our AI image and video generation is already getting to the point where, soon, we puny humans could manufacture such evidence.”
“What?” Martinez looked as if he was about to launch himself at Matt.
Matt held up a calming hand. “I’m not saying it is
fake. The Hubble pics are damned convincing.”
Martinez hiked up one foot to place it on his seat, then rested his chin on his knee. “Fuck. I guess it didn’t convince everyone.” He mused for a few moments. “Wait. What if we made it even more convincing?”
“How?” asked Matt.
“We send some humans up to the Rithro
. Two or three at least. The boats can still make it up to the ship, right?”
For once Matt looked uncertain. “I think so? Dunno how many times they can come and go without recharging, we’ll have to ask ‘em.”
“Right, so we set up an even better publicity stunt than the Hubble pics. Choose a few people, from all over the world. We have ‘em travel up to the Rithro
, take pics and video up close showing the damage. Even take ‘em inside the ship and get a full tour, maybe…if the crew is okay with that, of course.”
“Huh.” Matt sat back and pondered the idea. “That’s a really good idea, Martinez. I guess you aren’t as dumb as you look.”
The corporal responded with a slight smile at the verbal jab. “We’d need to choose the right people, though.”
“They’d have to be trustworthy…or at least someone that the entire world will consider trustworthy,” said Matt.
“Well known,” added McCoy. She no longer looked vengeful. “With recognizable faces and voices, and then they can go on all the talk shows after and say that, yes indeed, I got a tour of the ship and it is indeed quite banged up.”
Martinez stared at the far wall. “Some kind of celebrity? Heh. You think Tom Cruise would be up for it?”
Matt laughed. “That beautiful maniac? Hell, he’d insist on shooting an entire movie up there, with at least one action scene where he’s hanging off of the outside of the ship.”
They all smiled at the resulting mental image.
“Chao could work,” said McCoy into the silence. “She’s kind of a celebrity now. After all, she was the first human to come into contact with aliens, eh?” She gave Matt a big and very un-subtle wink.
To skirt the rather…unconventional methods used to achieve a positive First Contact, Matt’s role had been very much demoted in the official story. Now every recounting of the tale included a bit of ‘…oh, and there was also another person who stumbled across our brave woman in the midst of her attempts at informational exchange with the aliens…” His exact identity was also not published, under the screen of ‘he wishes to remain anonymous’.
“Oh bite me, McCoy, it’s fun,” replied Matt. He waggled his eyebrows. “Besides, I work better in the shadows!” He threw his forearm across his face like a half-assed Count Dracula trying to hide behind his cape.
Then he dropped his arm. “Yeah, Chao would be good as a current social-media darling. Of course, she might not want that. She strikes me as more of the wallflower type, for the most part.”
“We need more people,” said Martinez, as he stared at the floor. “Chao might be good on her own, but she’s got that motor-mouth talking thing when you get her going. It’s one or the other. Either she’s trying to shrink into a corner and take up as little space as possible, or suddenly you’re getting pulled into another corner for a doctoral dissertation on how minimal-energy transfer-orbits work.”
Matt pondered for a moment. “Wait, when did she do that? I never sat through one of those lectures.”
Martinez looked away and…well, Matt hoped that their supposed overlords were indeed recording this particular moment in time because the hard-bitten Hispanic special-forces corporal actually blushed
McCoy, of course, realized a golden opportunity for payback and immediately pounced. “Why, Corporal
Martinez,” she purred. “Doooo tell us. When did Chao Me Chu, heh, pull
you into a corner? Hmmm?”
“She’s…she’s just real nice, that’s all,” replied Martinez. “I asked her a couple of questions, and she answered them. That’s all. We both love classic sci-fi, like Asimov and shit. I guess we bonded over that.”
Matt cleared his throat. “Aaaaand may I remind you two and
everyone listening in that we have all been cooped up nuts-to-butts for awhile? Don’t mistake familiarity for romantic bullshit.” He pointed over at Martinez. “But you. If you can follow at least half of what she talks about, then you are absolutely without-a-single-fucking-doubt wasted
as a corporal, even if you’re in a low-drag high-speed outfit like this. You hear me?”
“Um, yes sir.” It was the first time in McCoy’s memory that anyone had addressed Matt as befitting his perhaps-former rank.
“Good. You get your ass into college, somehow. You’re a smart guy, you’ll figure all that shit out. And as for Chao? Just give it room to breathe. Let her know you’re interested, but don’t press the matter.”
“Let her know?” For once Martinez looked completely lost. “How do I…” he trailed off. “I mean, I like her…and yeah, I mean I like her in that
way, but she’s so damn smart and pretty and I’m just some dipshit meathead.”
“Hey, don’t sell yourself short,” said Matt. “You’re our
McCoy’s vengeful smile faded. “Martinez…no, Luca.”
Martinez looked up in surprise at her use of his first name.
She continued. “Just talk to her. Neither of you have any clue as to what ‘normal’ social interactions look like. In your case, it’s because you’ve been a soldier for all of your adult life. In her case, it’s because she’s, well, because she’s Chao. So just walk up to her and be straightforward. Trust me, it’ll be like a breath of fresh air for her to not have to navigate social cues. Just say something like ‘Hey, I really like you, do you like me and do you want to go get a coffee sometime’? Start with that. Chao’s good people, the worst thing she’ll do is say no. She won’t yell at you or talk shit about you online. Buuuut, some sixth sense is telling me she won’t say no to getting some coffee with ya.”
Matt smiled. “McCoy, I think you might have a calling after you leave the military.”
She snorted. “Oh yeah, I’ll hang up my match-making shingle on the internet and start raking in the big bucks. Martinez is right, though. If we try to do a publicity stunt up at the Rithro
, then we’ll need somebody alongside Chao to win the world over. Somebody well-known, but preferably someone not in the traditional Western pop-culture sphere. That’ll make it more palatable…”
Her voice trailed off and she stared into space. The two men now looked at each other in genuine concern until she spoke again a few moments later.
“Guys? I think I just had the best idea ever.”
submitted by Frank_Leroux
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 18:49 Tadonater Nice Christmas Tree
2023.06.03 18:25 Wasabi_Training Question: No Training + Progressive Harvest
New grower but haven't really found much information on this... but has anyone tried this or have experience with this? Would def like to hear some opinions on it!
If one was to do
- no HST, maybe minor LST, but christmas tree build is still apparent
- slight pruning
- just do the basics of watering/feeding the plants
then harvesting it
- progressive fashion
- chop what's ready
- allowing the lower buds to catch up and harvest when ready
Would this be viable and still produce decent/acceptable yields as a tradeoff for the time spent training/maintaining the plant? Would this would be better with photoperiods than autoflowers?
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to microgrowery [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 18:03 sarcasticcoffeevibes Mod Idea for Xbox
I know I'm barking up the wrong tree here but I am a simple Dawnguard enjoyer with a fun idea and no knowledge on modding. I've tried my hat posting this on other Skyrim communities but to no avail.
The Dawnguard talk a lot about the Old Dawnguard, but there's not much to show for it. I've recently played about with the Crypt of the Old Guard mod and had the idea of making a band of vampire hunters who themselves are vampires. Like a renegade splinter of the Old Dawnguard. A rogue group that bridges the gap between the blatant 'good' or 'evil' that the vanilla game shoehorns you into. Why can't I be a good vampire who kills vampires?
I've therefore thought about an armour mod idea, still iconically Dawnguard but nothing you'd find the current vampire hunters of Skyrim wearing. Quite simply, the idea is that the armour looks like regular Dawnguard armour but with a longer skirt piece, down to the player's ankles. Think like the Ursine Gear from Witcher 3.
That's all I have to go on so far, but if anyone is on board with the idea please do drop a comment or dm :)
submitted by sarcasticcoffeevibes
to SkyrimModsXbox [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 17:19 another_lease Costa Rica Expat Living: I Bombed in Manuel Antonio
I had a set of jokes about life in Costa Rica, and told a story about the most dangerous barrio in Costa Rica where the ‘’muertos” are actual dead bodies. Muerto, besides the dictionary meaning, is also Costa Rican slang for a speed bump.
But the only dead body that night was mine– I was dying with a mike in my hand. I was actually laughing softly at the silence when I finished by dedicating my bit to a (made up) couple who had fallen on hard times. “They aren’t the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree”, I said. “He is in jail right now–he was busted trying to smuggle cocaine into Colombia”. Pause for the laughter that did not come. “And she is here hoping to get work.
submitted by another_lease
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2023.06.03 17:14 alyssaablack NFH Stalking and Harassing me for over a year
My neighbor, let call her Karen, is an absolute nightmare. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for 12 years, she’s been here for 3. I purchased a sizable piece of land in the neighborhood for my organic farm (not public) and shortly after, she emailed my business to put in her two cents about what I should and shouldn’t do to my property. I began by asking her how she got my personal information, and she said it was public record after I purchased the property. I let her know that I thought it was a little strange and I was uncomfortable that she essentially hunted me down until she found my work email to bother me about this. But then I politely let her know my plans for Regenerative and organic farming and she didn’t like it. She wanted it to stay completely as it was minus a mindful home build. I told her I heard her concerns but that isn’t what will happen. After this, she found me on Facebook, in a Facebook group, and on Nextdoor, continuing communication. I tried to ignore her, however, she showed up at my door one day and began asking me about my current property, the orchard I was planting, and whether or not all of the plants were native. Clearly, they were not, we live in an area where not many fruit trees are native. then she wanted to know my watering system and commented that they had better be on a drip line. I walked past her and towards the end of my driveway so that she would follow me and talk and then I turned, told her to have a nice day, walked back to my house and went inside. About 10 minutes later I got a text from her, I asked who it was she let me know, and at this point, I was not aware how she would’ve gotten my phone number. I blocked her number and tried to continue to ignore it, but she emailed me again. At this point, I was firm and said that I had heard her opinion several times over several months and let her know plans, which I was not obligated to do. She wanted me to hold a meeting with her and one other neighbor that was “upset” about what I was trying to do, and I refused to do so, as I am not obligated with the zoning that I have on my land. I knew that it would be more of the same, and I was not interested in putting myself in a position of her trying to bully me into doing what she wants. So in the email I informed her that she needed to stop with the harassment and that what I do with my land was my business. I had heard her concerns, and to rest, assured that I would be mindful when developing my land. She did not take kindly to that and responded that she understood, but that if I was nicer to my neighbors, I would have less trouble. The very next day I received a phone call from the environmental control zoning department in my city stating that there has been complaints that I had too many farm animals on my smaller property. She had taken the time to look up my home address zoning, then go on my farm website and count the number of dairy goats that I have and determined that it was too many for my zoning and filed a complaint. Over the last several months, this has turned into her calling, almost on a weekly basis to complain about anything from a sign on my fence, to my Christmas lights, to information on my website about future development that she considers advertising. She went door-to-door to try and get other neighbors on her side, most of which came and let me know what she was doing, and most of which told her that they don’t care what I do with the property it’s my business. Most of my other neighbors are excited at the prospect of having organic food grown in their neighborhood available to them, especially with rising food costs and concerns. The zoning officer that has come out on multiple occasions, and that I am working with informed me that the neighbor was “out for blood” and demanding that I be given a citation, even though the zoning department refuses to do so because I am fully cooperative. It’s just never ending at this point, she’s forced development to speed up exponentially, which is causing financial strain and emotional strain on me, and she’s wasting a lot of time and resources from the city, which is very frustrating. I intended to develop my property slowly over two years so that I could make sure everything was properly in place, from rainwater harvesting to native plant preservation and beyond. I am only one person and I’m developing over 10 acres and this is a huge job to try and squeeze into such a short amount of time at this point because of her actions. I’ve considered trying to get a harassment injunction or something like that, I don’t really know if there’s anything I can legally do, but I’m at my wits end with this woman. She has nothing better to do and it’s very frustrating.
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2023.06.03 16:49 Proletlariet Thirteenth Doctor - Comments
(Time And Relative Dimensions in Space
) is a Type 40 time capsule the Doctor nicked many years and regenerations ago. It travels throughout space and time by passing through a space-time vortex
and is dimensionally-transcendental (bigger on the inside than the outside)
. Space Travel Time Travel & Manipulation Security & Defenses Navigation Durability Communication Observation Scanning Detection Interfering with Technology Remote Transportation Addtional Console Functions Intelligence & Sentience Other
The Doctor's version of a Swiss Army knife but without the knives or Swiss Army. The trusty Sonic Screwdriver
functions as a scanner, door opener, machine operator and whatever ridiculous need arises. Scanning Temporal-Spatial Classifying Technology Microscopic Life Forms Energy Other Limits Manipulating Technology Activation Manipulation Deactivation Detection & Tracking Locks Physical Manipulation Unveiling Other
submitted by Proletlariet
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