60 swisher pull behind mower parts
Powerless (part 27)
2023.03.25 12:01 Drakos8706 Powerless (part 27)
Captain Vohr’Doe walked along the hall of the crew quarters, hoping that Kyle wasn’t in his ‘living’ room; there was something he had delivered to his equipment room that she *really* wanted to see, but didn’t think it would be prudent to simply *ask* to see it. As Captain, she had - of course - been given an inventory of the items he had delivered, and while a lot of it seemed to be a bit *much* - like the meat smoking pit, along with the filters to keep his room safe - there was one thing that she couldn’t quite put in that same category, regardless of how much upkeep it would need.
She very well could have put in a call to security to find his location, but she knew he would be either in his ‘room’, or in his ‘equipment room’, and it was good to take a walk among your crew from time to time; let them know that you don’t think of yourself as *better* than them. So it was that she greeted the members of her crew that she passed, taking the time to speak to them, and make sure they were doing well. And so it was that she finally made it to his room, and pushed the call button. After waiting a few moments, she pressed it again. Finally, she decided he wasn’t in his room, and turned to head towards the elevator to take her down. However, she had barely taken three steps when he turned the corner, prompting the slightest twinge of disappointment.
He was dressed in a black silk shirt, with a pair of pants that were made to have lots of room in the legs. The waist obviously fit him, and yet, the legs themselves seemed to be made for someone *much* larger than himself, as his legs had plenty of space to move around inside the pants. They also had a peculiar color scheme, as the left half was all black, and the right half was a deep, vibrant red. There were pockets about halfway down the legs, with metal chains hanging on them. She could also see that he was barefoot, and while there was no rule saying he had to, she *was* aware that his people usually wore shoes when out in public. But, he wasn’t hurting anyone - namely himself, in this instance - so she didn’t bother about it. He was also still wearing the sun-shades that he had on before, and she had to wonder as to *why* seeing as she had read that Sol was just as bright on Earth as the lights on the ship. Perhaps the mahn’ewe operate under dimmer lighting? Two years would be time enough to shift someone’s vision.
He had in his left hand his tablet, his face pointed entirely at the screen, and in his right was a plastic container, that was square-shaped, with rounded corners, the base of which was the size of his whole palm, and which flared out about an inch along its length upwards. It was mostly full with what appeared to be tiny, tan-gray seeds, and even as she watched, Kyle lifted it to his mouth and simply stuck his tongue out, using his saliva to adhere the seeds to his tongue. He was just lowering his hand - having retracted his tseed-covered tongue back into his mouth - when he stopped, and she got the feeling that he’d finally looked up, and saw her; which was solidified when he said,
“Hey, Cap’n; fancy seeing *you* down here.” She didn’t miss the note of trepidation in his voice.
“Well,” she began, “I actually came down to see you. Do you have a minute to talk?”
“Of course,” he replied, “Here, or…?”
She smiled, and said,
“Your room should do fine, unless you wish to go somewhere else?”
“Oh,” he replied, somewhat flustered, “No, my room’s fine; just a second…” and he made his way over to his door, opening it for her.
And upon the door opening, she was at first confused, as she was confronted by a wood-paneled wall about six feet from the door. Then she realized that these were the crates his things had been shipped in. He must have had more things in them than she’d originally thought, as he had yet to unpack it all even after three Standard days aboard this ship. However, when she stepped in, and walked around the corner around ten feet to her left, she saw an entirely different sight.
To her right was a 7’-tall entertainment center, about 5’-wide, and a monitor inside that took up the entire space from left to right, though it was only about 4’-tall. The top of the monitor was about level with the top of her chest, with a shelf above it that was filled with various personal effects. Most all of these were variations of a winged lizard that looked remarkably like the reptile aspects of the drahk’mihn, not least of all because they were all different colors.
There were what looked like egg-shaped geodes, the upper ‘faces’ missing about a quarter of the ‘shell’ the insides each dyed one of the six primary and secondary colors, with a miniature lizard curled protectively around its corresponding color. There was a timer-glass - the bottom bulb containing red sand - with the side ‘pillars’ that connected the ‘cage’ holding the glass center steady being one of these creatures on each side, mirrored by identical creatures on the ‘bottom’, relative to whichever was on the top at any given turning. There was a large figurine that was of a multi headed example of these creatures, one red body, with multiple other colored heads, one being red, but the others being blue, green, black, and white. Everywhere she looked, there were figurines, pictures, and posters - held to the wall with magnets, it looked like - all of them containing these creatures in some setting or another. Just as she was about to comment on them, a light turned on on a nearby table, and she looked in over to see a white orb made of plastic. In certain parts, there was obviously more plastic layered than in others, creating ‘shadows’ across its surface. As she studied it, the ‘shadows’ seemed to look almost like craters.
“Earth’s moon?” she asked, turning to look at Kyle, who - she just noticed - wasn’t looking at her. In fact, he seemed to *be* looking for something. As she watched, he scanned his room, looking over every surface, and even under chairs, and in the space under his desk in the corner where his legs would go. He didn’t seem to notice she said anything, taking several seconds before he turned, looking at her with a slightly surprised look on his face, saying,
“Hmm?” distractedly, until his mind seemed to catch up to what she’d said, as he followed that up with, “*Oh*, right; yeah, that’s Luna. It was only ‘illustrated’ to show the light side, so the other side isn’t ‘stenciled’ to show the cities on the dark side.”
“Oh,” she replied, “I didn’t realize that Earth’s moon was tidally locked. Well, I can certainly understand the sentiment: no matter how much I enjoy being out among the stars, surveying new plants, my home planet will always hold a special place in my heart.”
“Pur’Rosse?” he asked politely.
She gave a small laugh, and replied,
“No, I was born on one of our colony planets: Clash’Rept. It’s not very large, or particularly important, but it’s home… If I’m interrupting your search for something…?” she finished, gesturing for him to continue. She saw him go a little red, as he sheepishly chuckled, and it was at that moment that she noticed something else: while he was still wearing his glasses, the lenses were now completely clear, with no tint at all. It seemed that he noticed what she was looking at, as he went slightly cross-eyed, then gave another small laugh.
“Just a second.” he replied with a slight smile, as he finished giving his room a quick sweep, then entered his connected bathroom. After about a minute in there, he stepped out, took off the glasses, and set them down on his bedside table. “A week was more than enough time for the A.I. studying the things I sent back to be able to reverse-engineer their cloaking devices, and then upgrade it. *With* that, comes the tech to detect them, if they happen to try sneaking up on me again.”
The fact that the mahn’ewe had access to invisibility technology wasn’t lost on her, however, she chose a more… *intelligent* question to ask.
“And you expect them to come *here*?” she asked with a slight smile.
He looked a bit ‘on-the-spot’, and gave a smile of his own.
“Well,” he replied, “Not exactly ‘*expect*’, but let’s just say I’m *acutely* aware of the possibility.”
She nodded, conceding the point, and decided that was a good enough explanation, so she changed the topic.
“And what are *these*?” she asked with a slight smile, “They look vaguely familiar.”
Kyle smiled at this, and he replied in a genuinely happy tone,
“Dragons; they can be found in the mythos of just about *every* human culture in history. They can range from benevolence, to malicious, and everything in between. They usually have control over some element, from fire, to ice, to lightning. Some legends have them controlling *every* element, or just being all-powerful… Plus, they just *look* cool.” he finished excitedly.
“Well,” she replied in a slightly amused voice, “I have to agree with you, there.” finishing with a light chuckle.
The conversation seemed to stall there, and Kyle was the one to broach the subject.
“So, you wanted to talk to me?” he inquired, with a note of trepidation creeping back into his voice.
“I did.” she replied, with a gentle firmness; she didn’t want him to feel more threatened than he already - obviously - was, “It’s come to my attention that you haven’t been interacting with the ship beyond your two rooms, and that you give the most minimalist of replies when addressed by your fellow crew members. And while there’s no *rule* that you have to interact with the crew, I’ve been informed that you haven’t even been to the cafeteria to eat. Obviously, I have no problem with you having your own food and cookware,” here she gestured to the air filter hanging over a stovetop/oven in the corner, “But it’s starting to unnerve the crew a bit. You must understand how it looks to someone on the outside: all anyone is aware of is that you’re a Class 12 aggressor. No one knows *why* you’re classified as such, and I *know* you don’t want to tell the story to anyone else; hells, I doubt you would want *me* telling the story on your behalf.
“So the only thing they have to judge you off of is the *official* Federal rating on you, and your behavior you exhibit in front of them. Now, I’m not asking you to spend all of your free time fraternizing with everyone you see. However, if you could just start by going to eat with everyone else - perhaps go down to the gun range? - I’m sure that you can meet new people, who simply want to know you… I read your psych report: I know what you went through as a child. And while I can’t guarantee that *no one* on this ship will bring back memories of the tormentors of your childhood, I *can* guarantee that the majority will leave you pleasantly surprised,”
If what she’d learned from her interactions with the suun’mahs, and the kanfi’doe - not to mention Kah’Ri - was anything to judge by, then he was very clearly expressing guilt, with his head dropped, and him seeming to be unable to make eye contact. Finally he broke the silence, looking at her sheepishly, saying,
“How far do you think I can push the ‘unpacking my massive amount of personal items’?” with a shy smile on his face.
That drew out a genuine laugh from her, and she smilingly replied with,
“I think you’ve pretty much used up that time. I’m sure we could pass it off as the *only* reason you’ve been so reclusive, but it won’t work for very much longer.”
Kyle gave a resigned sigh, and in a matching voice said,
“*Alright*, I’ll go out more besides, you’re right about the gun range: I’ve only ever shot any guns once, when a… an *acquaintance* brought his pistol and rifle on a camping trip. I was invited to go to this National Park by some people at work, and I didn’t have a really good reason to refuse… Anyway, I really *do* have a few more things to do in my equipment room, though; so, would tomorrow be okay?”
She smiled at this, and said,
“That would be acceptable, thank you.” she didn’t want to end on this note, however, so she cast her mind around for anything to talk about, and her mind latched onto something,
“What was that that you were eating when you were in the hallway?” she asked, gesturing to the plastic container he’d set down on his desk.
He smiled at this, and brightly replied,
“Oh, those’re sunflower seeds; well, sunflower *kernels* seeing as they’ve already been shelled.” and here, he walked over to a cabinet that was used for storing utility items, which *did* have a few cleaning supplies in the bottom, but the shelves were filled with snack foods. From one shelf at about his shoulder, he pulled an unopened, identical container, and tossed it to her. Having removed the plastic film around the edge of the lid, she opened it, and - mimicking Kyle - she stuck her tongue into the mass of kernels.
The kernels - themselves - had a light, almost bland taste to them, but in a good way. There was a definite *taste* to them, and not so little that she actually *needed* so many at a time, but also not so strong as to be overpowering. It was very much something that she could eat if she was feeling ill, and having trouble keeping down more rich flavored food. Plus, the salt was applied in such amount as to enhance the flavor, and not to overpower it. She couldn’t find anything wrong with it. However, one thing occurred to her, somewhat belatedly.
“Are you sure this is safe for me?” she asked with a small smile.
“Yeah,” he answered, smiling, “Kay’Eighty’s already gone through the medical records of the different species, at least, what’s available to the wider public. There’s not really much that we can at that other species can’t, and there’s not really much that *you* couldn’t eat, anyways.”
“Well,” she began with a slight laugh, “*That’s* good to know… Speaking of Kay’Eighty, may I meet her?”
“Of course.” he replied, and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small blue box, that soon morphed into a foot-tall, human-shaped ‘robot’; though, ‘android’ would probably be a more fitting descriptor, at this point.
“Hello Captain Vohr’Doe,” she said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Captain Vohr’Doe smiled down at the tiny person, and replied,
“And you, as well. How are you enjoying your stay here; is there anything I can do to make your time here more…” She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to say here: ‘inclusive’? ‘Enjoyable’? Whatever she wanted to say, it seemed that Kay’Eighty understood, as she responded with a polite smile, and to say,
“Thank you, Captain, but I have everything I need, supplied to me by the humans. All I need - really - is material to feed my nano-forge in the off chance that I were to lose any bots, for whatever reason, and - again - I have more than enough in storage.”
Not wanting to overstay her welcome, she decided to leave them to whatever they needed to do. So with farewells all around, she took her leave, carrying the container of sunflower kernels that Kyle gave her.
Ah’Sheen hated being so small, at times. At only a foot tall - or *two* feet long on all fours, and counting their tails - the miu’alfar were the smallest sapient species in the known galaxy. Though, it wasn’t the Federation - in and of itself - that made it a problem, as there were all sorts of workarounds that the Federation went out of its way to implement that were to the benefit of the smaller species. But in every civilization, there were always the extremists. People who thought themselves superior to others for whatever reason, and thought that gave them the right to bully others. And that led to ‘trickle-down’ bullying, which led to her current situation.
The three rahv’oyeck that had been harassing her had been content to hurl insults at her, mocking her for being so small, even though the rahv’oyeck didn’t grow taller than two feet, themselves. But when she’d turned the corner into the connecting path - on a street it would be referred to as an ‘alley’, and in this case, wasn’t covered by the security cameras - her vision went completely dark, as one - or all - of them manipulated the light from her eyes. Unfortunately for her, she had been close to the edge when this happened, and her momentum couldn’t be stopped so suddenly, as she’d sped up to try to get away from them. This led to her falling the ten feet to the floor below. Luckily, her people could *survive* greater falls with minimal injury; it didn’t mean it didn’t hurt, though, as she rolled into a sitting position, a bit winded from the impact.
Of course, this led to a cacophony of laughter above her, which quickly came down to her level, accompanied by the flapping of their wings. She heard the female of the group talking, first.
“*Wow*” she said in amused awe, “You made her eyes into *mirrors*! How’d you do that?”
The one to her left - a male - replied in a smug voice,
“Yeah, my dad taught me about that: basically, you just have to reflect *all* the light from a surface, and it makes a mirror; takes a lot of focus, though.”
“So,” said the one in front of her, “Where were you heading, *rodent*?”
“Please,” she replied, “Leave me alone; I won’t tell anyone, just let me go.”
“I don’t know,” the one who was apparently blocking her vision said with vindictive pleasure, “We were on our way to lunch, and I’m thinking you might just make a *tasty meal*.”
There was laughter, then the female said,
“She may be small, but I don’t think you could finish her by yourself.”
“Didn’t you know?” he asked, “Rodents have collapsible spines; I bet I could swallow her whol-*rgck*!”
His voice cut off into a choking sound, as at the same time, her vision came back. The first thing she saw was the two rahv’oyeck who were directly in front of her, and to her right; both of whom were staring - with their beaks wide open - at something above them all, and to her left. Looking in that direction, she saw Kyle, and an instinct to run and hide flashed up inside of her at the sight of him.
The first thing she noticed was his face, which was twisted into a pained-looking rictus, a bastardization of the smile he gave to Kah’Ri at lunch the other day. Firstly, there were too many teeth visible; as well as his gums. And though she couldn’t see his eyes, she was instinctively sure that there was *zero* amusement behind that ‘smile’. Backing this up was his right arm extended all the way out to his side, who’s hand was currently wrapped around the throat of the rahv’oyeck who had used his Gift on her. The fingers on the end of his wings were scrabbling at Kyle’s hand, trying to free himself, but Kyle’s fingers might as well have been made of steel, for all the good it was doing him; he finally settled on hanging on to Kyle’s hand to relieve the pressure on his throat, which Kyle didn’t seem to be squeezing enough to *entirely* cut off his air, though his hand was visibly shaking from the obvious restraint. His voice reflected that almost-painful restraint of rage as he - in the icy voice of a psychotic murderer trying to sound innocent - said,
“You know, I thought I heard the squawking of a bunch of seagulls, but turns out it was actually *laughter*. And so I thought to myself, ‘Hey, *I* like to laugh; maybe these seagulls’ve got some jokes, so I decided to come and find out: ***What’s so funny?***”
The other two just stood there, beaks still open, and a tremble now running through their bodies as they stared on in obvious terror; here was the Class 12 ‘beast’ Kor’Rah was referencing the other day. After a few seconds of silence, Kyle gave a casual flick of his wrist, sending the bird in his hand fluttering behind him, and showing a supreme lack of concern for the life he was literally holding in his hand just moments before. At the same time, he bent forward, reaching out towards them. The other two obviously - along with her, she had to admit - thought that he was reaching for one of them, as they both fell over themselves trying to scramble away from his outstretched hand. However, he surprised them all by grabbing Ah’Sheen around her waist in an unexpectedly gentle - while expectedly firm - grip, and lifting her up, placing her on his left shoulder as he straightened up. Looking down at the two in front of them, he said in soft growl,
“You know, humans have two rules -” here, he looked to the side, and his voice momentarily took on a bit of a distracted tone, “Actually, humans have a *lot* of rules - but two main ones that you’re dangerously close to breaking unforgivably. First and foremost being: *don’t mess with my friends.*” and here, he walked past them, leaving them staring up at him. She didn’t want to seem like she was making fun of him, but she felt he was leaving himself open to it from the other three there, so she sent a tendril of thought to his mind, which he accepted, and through it she said,
‘You said there were two, but you only told them one.’
She felt the smirk he was suppressing, and he said back,
‘I know, but there’s always one who has to be Billy Badass.’
Almost as if on cue, they heard a rather hoarse voice behind them say,
“Yeah, and what’s number *two*?”
Kyle stopped dead, and slowly turned, as she felt him let the rage bubble back up to the surface. She felt vindictive smile crack his face, and he practically growled through clenched teeth,
“***Fuck around, and find out.***” and with that, he took a quick, *hard* step forward, causing all three of them to scramble around, and take to the air, flying in the complete opposite direction. Kyle gave a snort of laughter, and continued on the way he was going, which turned out to be to the elevator. He was about to push one of the buttons, when he froze, seeming to think of something.
“Um,” he began, “Where were you going, by the way?”
She gave a slight laugh, and said,
“Well, I *was* going to lunch; why, where are *you* going.”
“Oh,” he replied, “I was heading to my equipment room, but I can drop you off on my way.”
“Oh,” she said, “Well, if you’re not going, then I can wait for a while: they mentioned that they were heading to lunch, as well, and I don’t want to deal with that. You can set me down here: I’m sure they won’t try anything, again.”
But Kyle was still for a few seconds, before he pushed the button to take them to the equipment rooms.
“I got something that can hold you over till dinner.” he said as the doors began to close.
She wanted to decline - not because she was afraid of him, but because she didn’t want him to go through any undue effort on her part - but she thought better of it; if for no other reason, than to ‘force’ him to put her down would be to take another fall similar to the one she just took earlier, and she didn’t want to go through that again. Soon enough, they were in front of his equipment room, and he motioned for it to open, and she was confronted with a wall of wooden crates. Kyle didn’t seem to be bothered by it, as he turned to his left, and walked around the corner, revealing a mostly clear room. He had obviously put his stuff away, seeing as the room was mostly clear, with the only thing out of the ordinary was a big rectangular metal box in the far corner, and a bunch of large canvases on the walls. The canvases were all of various things, from a dark forest, to nebulae, to a ‘cartoon’ tree, with a large gray trunk, and purple leaves, with golden light shining through the cracks.
Kyle walked over to the box, setting her - along with his sunglasses - down on the desk that came with the room beside the box, he opened said box, pulling out two cylindrical plants with long, green leaves. Each was individually wrapped in plastic, and were quite obviously frozen. As he walked over to one of the closets that lined the walls, he opened it to reveal a large cooking pit. He walked a bit further in, and picked up a smaller pit, one that was just barely taller than herself. He set this one beside the larger one, filled it with lumps of what appeared to be coal, and set it alight. He reached up, and turned on what she took to be an air filter, judging by the sound of an air-intake. As he stepped back, her eyes moved past him, to the spot that was hidden from her view before, as this was on the other side of the box ‘wall’ he seemed to have purposely constructed, and she couldn’t help but gasp when she saw it.
There, to the right of his door - though you wouldn’t know that walking in, obviously - was a 10’-tall tree, and as unexpected as a tree on a ship would be, it was what the tree bore that was the real shocker. For all over it, from the highest branches, growing from vines that wrapped their ways around the trunk, to other, thicker vines that grew around the base, sprouting large green fruits, some of them even bigger than she was, as well as a yellow-tan plant that had almost sharp-looking leaves sprouting out of the top. Kyle followed her gaze, and in a smiling voice, said,
“Oh, yeah; that’s my fruit tree.” he said, as he walked over and picked her up, taking her over to the tree, “Those are apples: ‘red crisp’, there, and those are called ‘granny smith’. The red ones are sweeter, while the green ones have a more tangy bite to ‘em. Those’re ‘oranges’, and the larger ones are called ‘grapefruits’; ‘mangoes’, ‘pomegranates’, ‘peaches’, and ‘bananas’. On the trunk are red and green ‘grapes’, ‘strawberries’, ‘blackberries’, ‘raspberries’, ‘blueberries’, ‘passionfruit’, and ‘dragonfruit’. Down there are ‘watermelons’, and ‘pineapples’. Just a small sample of the fruits from Earth, but the ones I’m most familiar with.”
She was stuck staring in awe, and finally found her voice enough to ask,
“How are there so many different fruits on one tree?”
“Well, before the scientists moved on to manipulating the *human* genome, they started with plants. Besides making actual *hybrids* - like, *mixing* the qualities of multiple fruits together - they made hybrid *plants* wherein they grow multiple different *instances* of fruits, or vegetables, like this one.” and with this, he reached out, and pulled a large bunch of the ‘strawberries’ from the vines, using his shirt as a makeshift ‘basket’.
He then took her back to the desk, and set her down, then returned to the opened closet and retrieved a machine that looked like some kind of food processor: it was a large pitcher that sat in a smaller machine-base, with four small blades at the bottom of the pitcher. After he set that down on the desk, and plugged it in, he took the remaining leaves off of the strawberries, and dumped them - one by one as he finished with them - into the processor. Reopening the freezer, he scooped out some ice with a metal scoop, and filled the pitcher almost to the top. He then went over to another closet, and this one was more shallow - mostly a closet to hold coats - that had been converted into a liquor cabinet, stocked floor to ceiling with many different spirits of many different colors. He selected a clear bottle, and closed the closet, returning to the desk.
After he poured a measured amount into the pitcher, he put the lid on the top and - while holding it down, one finger hovering over one of the buttons, he looked over at her and said,
“This’s gonna be kinda loud.”
She covered her ears, and he pushed the button, activating the blades to begin pulverizing the contents of the pitcher. After almost a minute, the harsh crushing, grinding sound fell away, replaced by the loud wiring of mechanical parts. Kyle shut the machine off, and reached into a cabinet over the desk, pulling out two glasses, one several inches taller than the other. After he poured the *delicious*-smelling drink into the glasses, he handed her the smaller one, and she took an experimental sip: it *was* delicious., and she told him so.
After he had taken his own drink of the mix - and nodded his thanks to her - he reopened the box, this time reaching into the furthest-most left side, on the other side of the partition, where items that needed to be kept cold - but obviously not *frozen* - were kept, and pulled out a bowl with a lid on it. Looking over at her, he asked,
“How are you with… ‘jhode’yuus’, the drahk’mihn would call it; we call it ‘butter’ - at least, in English, we do.”
“That’s not a problem,” she replied, “Being a mammal, milk - and milk by-products - are easily digestible by herbivores; it’s the actual *meat* that we can’t process.”
“Cool.” was all he said, and proceeded to open the bowl, taking a plastic seal off the top. Out of the cabinet to the right of the one containing his glasses, he pulled a small rectangular box, from which he extracted two long sheets of some thin metallic material. He folded them in half long-ways, and cinched the ends together, the metal being extremely pliable. Taking a spoon out of one of the desk drawers, he then scooped a large dollop of the ‘butter’ into each ‘trough’ that he’d made, and opened the two containers, pulling out the vegetables inside, stripping the outer leaves from the seemingly now-thawed vegetables, revealing the yellow-white kernels that were hidden beneath.
“This’s called ‘corn’,” he stated, “More specifically, ‘*corn-on-the-cob*’. There are several ways to prepare corn, but by *far* the best way to do it is like this. You can boil it in a pot - sure - but I prefer to boil it in butter, on the grill.” and with that, he set each ‘cob’ of ‘corn’ on the bed of butter, closing the metal over the tops of each. He then took the metal-wrapped vegetables over to the pit, and set them on it, placing the lid back on the pit.
He came back, and sat down at the desk, taking a large - for *her*, anyway - drink from his glass, and she was suddenly struck by the silence. It occurred to her that asking ‘how have you been’ would be both hollow, and a bit invasive, seeing as they’d only met once. She looked up at him, wanting to say *something*, but still not knowing what to say, her mouth left slightly open. However, when she looked at him, she saw a strange smirk on his face, and before she could think of anything to say, he took the initiative, answering as if she’d asked a question.
“I’ve been good - well,” he said in a slightly distracted voice, “As good as can be expected, anyways. I’ve been mostly just unpacking; been doing that for the past three days. *I* haven’t encountered anyone tryin’ to mess with me, but I’m guessing that’s ‘cause they don’t wanna be killed - or eaten - by the ‘*Class 12 monster*’.” he finished with a smirk.
“Well,” she began in an almost flustered voice, “I’m sure that’s not…” she then thought better of her response, “Yeah, that’s probably it. There’s never been a Class 12 sapient species make it very long before driving themselves to extinction. People fear what they don’t know.”
“Yeah,” he replied easily, “I’m used to that. But we’re not *really* a ‘Class 12’ under most circumstances. I mean I’m sure you - as an expeditionist - know that a species isn’t rated on their everyday behavior, so much as their most extremes. And actually - for the *most* part - you’ll have to worry about humans trying to pet the various sapient races, as they’ll see them as just ‘too cute’.” he finished in an amused voice.
She hesitated for a moment, and found the courage to ask - albeit, in a timid voice -
“What… What made them classify you as a ‘12’, then?”
The look he gave her, it wasn’t anger; actually, it wasn’t *anything*. If she had to name the expression on his face, it would be ‘neutral’. However, there was a deepness to his eyes when he looked into hers, a dark pit of emotions that she felt could swallow her whole if she gazed too long into the abyss of his pupils. Then he blinked slowly, and that was replaced by a gentle sadness as he replied,
“Trust me, you *don’t* wanna know.” and though his voice had a note of that gentle sadness his eyes held, there was no anger, or offense; something happened on that ship that he knew would damage her. A notion crossed her mind then, of a temporarily insane example of the creature who wanted so badly to crush the life from the rahv’oyeck he held in his hand, with no filter, no control. A slight shiver went down her spine, and she gave a small nod of agreement. He gave her a gentle smile, and changed the subject.
For the next six Standard minutes, or so, they talked about their homes. He had given her his native language, stating it would be easier for them to speak in their own languages; he already had *her’s*, of course.
He told her about going camping back on Earth, the animals he saw, the wild apple tree he found, and even showed her photos on his personal communication device from Earth. And she was in awe at the beautiful landscapes he showed her, from green clearings in the middle of a vibrant forest, to a lake with a horizon of hills behind it, and even some animals, a lot of which looked unfamiliar, though she *did* see a black animal version of a galan’zhee. It was about as tall as the grass around it, and she was amazed when he told her that the grass was level with his own head. She wondered how he could take that picture with such a large apex predator looking at him - as it was in the picture - and she was shocked when he told her that all you have to do with [black bears] is to make a lot of noise, and make yourself look big; that for all the damage they could do, they’re really just big balls of fear.
From there, he inquired about *her* home life, and so she told him about the colony planet she was born on. It was not really much different than the pictures on his device, with the notable exception that there were *no* predators larger than an adolescent miu’alfar, and those are very skittish as it is, avoiding any life forms bigger than themselves. There was also the notable difference - from Moor’Ess - of there being a definite day/night cycle, and how they didn’t need sunglasses to operate in brighter lights. He informed her that he wore them to protect his eyes, and that at home, he would block all windows from allowing natural light in.
It was during this that something from before occurred to her.
“Say, Kyle: did you really mean what you said to them, back there?” she asked a bit timidly.
Kyle scowled at the walled-off door, as if they were waiting outside.
“*Damn straight.*” he practically growled, then his expression cleared into one of slight confusion, and he looked over at her, saying, “Wh- um… Just so we’re like, on the same page here: what-uhh, what part did you mean?”
She laughed a little at this, and with a bit more confidence said,
“The part where you called me your friend.”
Kyle’s eyes opened a bit wider at that, and she got the distinct impression that he’d been caught off guard with that, but instead of trying to backtrack on it, he simply asked,
“Well, *shouldn’t* I?” with a funny little smile on his face.
“Well, no-” she replied, slightly flustered, “I mean, *yes*, I just… I mean, we just met; I didn’t want to assume… I mean…” she trailed off, not really knowing what to say. But to her relief, Kyle’s laugh that followed was one of polite amusement.
“It’s okay, I understand… Nah, humans are a social species, even introverts like myself. If there’s no reason *not* to be friends with someone, we can usually ‘buddy up’ fairly quickly. Add in the fact that we’ve been dreaming of ‘aliens’ since before we had radio waves, and most people out here’ll be hard pressed to find an enemy in humans. Not to mention that you all look like *some* kind of animal from back home, and yall’ll be havin’ to beat humans off with a stick; metaphorically speaking, of course…. *Mostly*, anyways…” to which they both had a good laugh.
Finally - though she barely noticed the time go by - he went to the pit and took the corn from the heat, and put the lid back on, closing the door behind him.
“I’ll deal with it all later,” he said with a small laugh, the metal-wrapped corn being held in his shirt, like the strawberries had been.
She chuckled, herself, as he pulled plates from one of the cabinets over the desk. After setting each ‘cob’ of corn down, he took the handle of the spoon, and used it to tear open the metal wrapping, spilling out the corn ,as well as the ‘butter’ it was cooked in; and the smell was absolutely divine. After he had poured out the contents of each wrap, and they had allowed it a couple minutes to cool, they dug in, with Kyle providing another large dollop of butter on each plate, instructing her that the best way to eat it is to slather it with butter, which was easiest done by simple rolling the corn in the butter.
It was delicious; better than the smell, even. For several minutes, they were both silent, each enjoying the crisp, rich taste of the Earth food. Finally, they had cleared the cobs of all the edible kernels, and had also each taken a bit of time to gnaw on the film that surrounded said kernels, that had stayed stuck to the cob. Kyle then went over to the tree and collected a large bunch of fruit, consisting of a couple peaches, a bunch of red grapes, a bunch of blackberries, and a few strawberries. He took them over to the desk, collected a bowl from another cabinet, and after retrieving a knife from the desk, began cutting up the bigger fruits into smaller pieces, depositing them in the bowl. After he was done, he shook the bowl around, effectively stirring the fruit without any utensils. He then set the bowl down, and retrieved two forks from the desk. He set one down in front of her and - with a slight smile -asked,
“You okay with sharin’ a bowl with me, or would you prefer your own?”
She picked up the fork and - without a word - began spearing pieces of fruit. He gave a small smile at that, and she could have sworn she saw a bit of relief in that smile, but she was focused on eating her dessert. And it was delicious, as well.
Not that any of the fruit she was eating was necessarily *better* than any she’d eaten before, but it was all entirely *new*, and all delicious. She particularly liked the peaches, though calling them the ‘best’ was only possible by a small margin.
They wound up spending all day in his room, talking about their lives back home, their likes and dislikes, and generally just becoming friends. She was a bit surprised at how easy it was to talk to him, and the more she got to know him, the more she believed that she didn’t want to know why his race was a Class 12.
She also met the A.I. that had volunteered to work with him - she was *not* assigned to him, as the humans accepted their A.I. as equals, and didn’t treat them as simple computer programs. And she had to admit, Kay’Eighty was a very personable being, being just as emotive as any biological person she’d ever met.
They had a nice dinner in his equipment room, him grilling a steak on the smaller pit in his closet, along with some of the salad he’d made for her, consisting of what he called ‘lettuce’, ‘tomatoes’, ‘cucumbers’, slivers of ‘carrots’, and ‘croutons’, which were little squares of re-baked bread, which left them more crunchy than if it had simply been toasted. Once again, everything was delicious.
Finally, she began to feel the effects of having been drinking and talking all day, and began to feel drowsy. Upon noticing this, Kyle began cleaning up, then - more gently than before - lifted her to his shoulder, again, and as such, they left his equipment room. From there, he escorted her directly to her ‘living’ room, where he bid her goodnight, waiting to leave until the door closed behind her.
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2023.03.25 11:58 AstroChicks Nexters: a DE-SPAC video game developer of “Hero Wars” fame is back trading on NASDAQ!
| || | submitted by AstroChicks to SPACs [link] [comments]
Here is some research I've done and compiled on the video game company GDEV and would like to share with my fellow Astronauts. Your feedback & commentary are most appreciated!
disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor and I am long the stock. please do your own due diligence. https://preview.redd.it/byev2eb38vpa1.png?width=723&format=png&auto=webp&s=ff50b05bf6d9591b93ae741e8225c0e87826dc75
Nexters, creator of the "Hero Wars" franchise, is successfully back On NASDAQ after a 1 year hiatus!
- Quarterly revenues of $125 million in Q3, growing 8% year-over-year
- Net income for the third quarter of 2022 of $31 million vs. net losses of $104 million in the respective period of 2021
- Adjusted EBITDA of $55 million for the third quarter of 2022 compared to the $14 million in the respective period of 2021
- Nexters Successfully Reduced its headcount by 235 employees or roughly 26% without any impact on the gaming experience bringing down their expenses
- Acquired 3 video game companies: Cubic Games, RJ Games and Royal Ark
- Potential M&A target given the high insider ownership (Playrix have a 38% share in GDEV)
Nexters (NASDAQ:GDEV) is back trading on NASDAQ after a year-long hiatus. It is a well-known international video game company based in Europe partly owned by Playrix, which strives to introduce the joy of core gaming experiences to casual players. It’s the creator of the famous Hero Wars franchise (50M+
installs on Android) and other hits such as Throne Rush and Chibi Island.
In 2022, the firm also acquired the well-known Pixel Gun 3D game (100M+
downloads on Google Play app store alone) from Cubic Games, and acquired 2 other studios, Royal Ark and RJ Games.
It also bolsters a program for junior game developers called Dragon Machines and has an upcoming game called Mount Royale.
It’s currently rated as one of the top-3 developers in Europe with 200+ millions
game installs worldwide with hit games like Hero Wars, Throne Rush, Chibi Island and others.
PocketGamer.biz summed up the results of investments in the global game development for the whole 2022 and placed Nexters in 9th place in the Top 10 largest strategic investors! https://preview.redd.it/7b67e5678vpa1.png?width=731&format=png&auto=webp&s=47074f8100f5a5af56deb30c75ba385833f3a18a
Nexters story dates back to 2010 when the future friends and founders of Nexters first met. Those days Andrey Fadeev (Nexters’ current CEO) was running a social games development studio, and Boris Gertsovskiy was shaping his plans on starting a game business. Their first game was Throne Rush and then came Hero Wars
As previously stated, Nexters acquired 3 new studios in 2022: Cubic Games, RJ Games and Royal Ark to accelerate their product growth strategy. With the games from the studios, they expect to enlarge Nexters player base, enter new genres, and significantly cement their presence in midcore as the leading segment of mobile gaming. The acquired games are the following (per press-release):
- Published by Cubic Games, Pixel Gun 3D is the world’s No. 3 mobile first-person shooter by monthly audience with more than 170 mln of cumulative downloads.
- Puzzle Breakers by RJ Games will provide an opportunity to gain a significant position in the sizable segment of the puzzle RPG genre thanks to the game’s high-quality art and engaging core gameplay.
- Royal Ark’s survival RPG titles Dawn of Zombies and Shelter Wars (developed by Game Gears team) will diversify Nexters’ portfolio with games in a growing zombie setting and contribute to accumulating expertise in new genres and niches for the company.
Nexters also launched the Dragon Machine program (previously called Boost). Its aim is to help smaller game developers by providing the funding and expertise needed to release new games and build successful businesses. They currently have a new RPG multiplayer online game in the pipeline called “Mount Royale” https://dragon-machines.com/en/games/mount-royale Playrix Entertainment
In 2022 Playrix became the #1 mobile game publisher in Europe. Playrix Holding Ltd., also known as Playrix Entertainment and Playrix Games, is a developer of free-to-play mobile games behind titles such as Township
, and Gardenscapes
. The company was founded in 2004 by Dmitry Bukhman and Igor Bukhman in Vologda, Russia, and moved its headquarters to Dublin, Ireland in 2013. https://playrix.com/company/history
Playrix was valued at $8 billion in 2021. As of 2022, Playrix was the fourth-biggest mobile game developer in the world in terms of revenue and employed 4,000 people across 100 cities, mainly in Eastern Europe, including 1500 in Russia and 1500 in Ukraine. In October 2022, the company said it was ceasing operations in Russia and Belarus due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine (source: Wikipedia)
Playrix owns 38% of Nexters. Playrix is purportedly also in talks to acquire Rovio’s “Angry Birds”: https://mobile.twitter.com/AB__Network/status/1638588049993998353 War in Ukrain
Due to the events of the war in Ukraine, shares of Nexters were halted on February 28th 2022 on NASDAQ, though the company is mainly based in Cyprus with many game dev. studios scattered around Europe. Given its original Russian roots dating back to 2010, the company seemed to have gotten caught up in the storm.
Due to those circumstances, the company decided to relocate all of its remaining personnel in Russia and Ukraine to mainly Cyprus, and others to Armenia, Georgia and certain other “safe- harbor” countries.
The company divested all of its Moscow based offices and as of November 2022, Nexters had completely exited Russia. They even made a video about the relocation of the remaining employees on their FB page https://fb.gg/v/juynqW3z7H/
In 2023 NASDAQ completely cleared Nexters and the shares resumed trading again. Changes to Corporate Governance
The company also overhauled its board of directors and made many positive changes to its corporate governance. Ivan Tavrin left the Board and the position of Chairman of the Board, and is no longer involved in the corporate governance, management or operation of the Company. Bukhman brothers (Playrix) and Boris Gertsovskiy resigned as directors of the Board, while remaining major shareholders and participating in the Company’s operations on the advising and management levels, respectively.
Natasha Braginsky Mounier was elected as Chairperson of the Board of Directors, replacing Ivan Tavrin.
The new composition of Nexters’ Board of Directors committees is as follows per the website https://investor.nexters.com/governance/board-of-directions
- Sergei Zaitsev as non-Executive Director: Currently Sergei serves as an Investment Director at Everix Investments, an investment firm focusing on investments into high growth tech and media businesses.
- Marie Holive: Marie has over 20 years of experience of finance and audit expertise in the media, tech, and healthcare, including Senior Audit Manager, Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director roles at such companies as General Electric and Comcast NBCUniversal.
- Natasha Braginsky Mounier : Over 20 years at Capital Group, where she was investing in international equities and was the first ESG director. Earlier in her career, Natasha was an investment banker at JP Morgan and an associate at The Blackstone Group.
- Andrew Sheppard: Over 20 years of experience building, managing and advising multi-billion dollar consumer businesses. Past employers include EA, CNET/Gamespot, Kabam and GREE. Currently Andrew is serving a Managing Director at Transcend Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on gaming and gaming adjacent investments.
- Olga Loskutova: Olga has over 20 years of experience in marketing and general management across Western/Eastern Europe, the United States, and the Middle East in such multinational corporations as Nestle, SABMiller, and Whirlpool. Olga resides in Italy and currently is the VP Product & Brand Marketing at Whirlpool EMEA.
- Tal Shoham sit as an independent board director and is a Co-Founder and President of Tedooo and an LP investor at a leading Israeli venture fund Vgames
With these changes, all of Nexters’ committees now consist of independent international directors only. Q3 Financial results
Nexters is in solid financial shape with positive EBITDA. The following financial figures and statements have been directly pulled from their official financial results which can be found here: https://investor.nexters.com/press-releases/financial-results-2022-Q3
Q4 2022 earnings should be out soon with an accompanying earning’s call (date TBD)
Third Quarter 2022 highlights (from press-release):
- Quarterly revenues of $125 million, growing 8% year-over-year
- Net income for the third quarter of 2022 of $31 million vs. net losses of $104 million in the respective period of 2021
- Adjusted EBITDA of $55 million for the third quarter of 2022 compared to the $14 million in the respective period of 2021
- Сash flow generated from operating activities of $60 million for the third quarter of 2022 growing 17% year-over-year
First nine months and Third quarter 2022 financial performance in comparison Q3 highlights
The following section in italics is directly pulled from the Q3 press release: “In the third quarter of 2022, Nexters’ revenue increased by $10 million (or 8% year-over-year) and amounted to $125 million, driven primarily by a decrease of $56 million in change of deferred revenues during the third quarter of 2022 vs. the same period in the prior year, partially offset by a decrease in bookings in the amount of $47 million (or 31%) year-over-year. Platform commissions increased by 10% in the third quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021, generally in line with the increase in revenues. Game operation costs increased by $6 million in the third quarter of 2022 mainly due to the increase in the scale of operations, costs of the subsidiaries acquired in the beginning of 2022 vs nil in 2021 and special costs related to the relocation of personnel in the third quarter of 2022. Selling and marketing expenses in the third quarter of 2022 decreased by $43 million, or 68% year-over-year, and amounted to $20 million. The decrease was mainly due to the massive scaling of the investments into new players in the third quarter of 2021 amplified by a substantial decrease in the marketing investments in the third quarter of 2022 driven by the general saturation of the market as well as the suspension of marketing activities in Russia and Belarus due to recent geopolitical events. General and administrative expenses increased by $9 million in the third quarter 2022 vs. the third quarter 2021. The increase was primarily driven by i) the loss on disposal of discontinued operations in the amount of $5 million in the third quarter of 2022 vs. nil in the third quarter of 2021; ii) expected credit losses associated with loans provided to equity associates in the amount of $2 million in the third quarter of 2022 vs. nil in the third quarter of 2021; and iii) special costs related to the relocation of personnel in the third quarter of 2022. As a result of the factors above, amplified by the share listing expense in the amount of $125 million recorded in the third quarter of 2021 vs. nil in the third quarter of 2022, net income in the third quarter of 2022 increased by $135 million and amounted to $31 million vs. a net loss of $104 million in the respective period of 2021, while Adjusted EBITDA amounted to $55 million, an increase of $41 million compared with the same period of 2021 due to the same factors, other than the impact of the share listing expense and the loss on disposal of the discontinued operations, which items are excluded from Adjusted EBITDA. Cash flows generated from operating activities amounted to $60 million in the third quarter of 2022, an increase of $9 million vs. the third quarter of 2021. Third quarter operational performance in comparison bookings Unlike the traditional console or PC gaming, where the peak of sales occurs after the launch of the game and then shrinks a lot, in the online mobile gaming market, the games are fluid and get updates each month/quarter if not on a weekly basis to engage customers and make them stay in the game longer. The Average bookings per paying user (ABBPU) is still high above 100$ mark and has seen a slight decline due to a reduction in spending on advertising (which benefitted the company by reducing their marketing costs & expenses) The share of advertisement sales as a percentage of total bookings decreased in the third quarter of 2022 to 4.6% compared to 5.9% in the respective period of 2021, a decrease of 1.3 p.p. mainly due to the general decline of the advertising market amplified by the fact that the advertisers’ preferences shifted to non-gaming advertising venues in the third quarter of 2022 vs. the same period in the prior year. 2021 was characterised by a relatively high investment in marketing, which led to high growth in MPUs. The decrease in the marketing investments for the majority of 2022 resulted in a corresponding decrease in MPUs in the third quarter of 2022, which reached 305 thousand in the third quarter of 2022 vs. 371 thousand in the respective period of 2021, a decline of 18%. The split of bookings by geography in the third quarter of 2022 remained broadly similar to the split in the third quarter of 2021 with a general increase in the share of US bookings.”
Nexters has weathered the storm and is looking forward to another profitable 4th quarter. The company is constantly involved with its fan base by engaging them on social media platforms like Twitter / Facebook and Discord. The return on NASDAQ will provide Nexters with the necessary capital to build out and achieve its growth plans. The company has a low float and the shares are majority held by insiders (>84%) providing a lot “skin in the game”.
Q4 2022 will be out before may 2nd following the company switching external auditors from KPMG Russia to KPMG Europe. 3rd party app revenue verification
The beauty of mobile games is that their data can be verified by 3rd party companies like AppMagic https://appmagic.rocks/
. This is the data for February from Sensor Towers Nexters Global https://app.sensortower.com/ios/publishenexters-global-ltd/660706304 app data Cubic Games
(owned by Nexters)- Pixel Gun 3D is their most popular game https://app.sensortower.com/ios/publishepublishe561634640 RJ Games
(Owned by Nexters) – Puzzle Breakers RPG Online https://app.sensortower.com/android/publishepublisheRJ%2BGames
Insider Ownership List of insiders
Insiders and executives own close to 87% of the shares and warrants outstanding of Nexters providing a high “skin in the game” factor. The float of the company is therefore small, tightly held and trades in low volumes. The company has not issued additional shares since its inception and does not plan to do so in the near future as it’s well capitalized. Given that the company has started trading again and is underfollowed, this provides in our view an opportunity for the share price to move quickly upwards as soon as the market rediscovers the company. Warrants
The warrants are quite compelling because they have a redemption feature that differs from the typical warrant redemption features used in many other blank check offerings, which typically only provide for a redemption of warrants for cash (other than the private placement warrants) when the trading price for the ordinary shares exceeds $18.00 per share for a specified period of time.
This redemption feature is structured to allow for all of the outstanding warrants to be redeemed when the ordinary shares are trading at or above $10.00 per public share, which may be at a time when the trading price of the ordinary shares is below the exercise price of the warrants. Nexters has established this redemption feature to provide it with the flexibility to redeem the warrants without the warrants having to reach the $18.00 per share threshold (from the prospectus as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 18, 2022)
Furthermore, per the prospectus the company has the right to lower the exercise price per share at any time prior to the warrant expiry date, which is also a positive for investors https://preview.redd.it/hiweuw659vpa1.png?width=725&format=png&auto=webp&s=4742346b94433bc729f26faaede131096cb5e169 The addressable market
How big is the addressable market? The World’s 2.7 billion Gamers Spent $175 Billion on Games in 2020; The Market Will Surpass $200 Billion by 2023. So Nexters Global is well-positioned in the expanding market.
figures are from 2021 KISMET SPAC Deck
This is a great company with solid financials and a bright future trading at ridiculously cheap bargain prices on low volume given the small float and high insider ownership. The company is critically underfollowed given its long hiatus from NASDAQ, so I would keep a close eye on the company given that the Q4 and FY 2022 results will be out around the end of April.
The valuation is quite low in our view, and provides big upside that could also lead to potentially being acquired by another big video game company like Tencent or Everix.
Last but not the least, there’s also chatter about announcing a “Hero Wars 2” title on the 7th anniversary of the game.
Thanks for reading
2023.03.25 11:02 simonblume The creepy man at the shopping center
[A fair TW before I start explaining what happened: mentions of suspected pedophelia, potential kidnappepedophile, mentions of genitalia]
Hello fellow redditers!
After listening to a podcast that talked about this forum I decided to share my story on here aswell. Before I actually start I also want to apologize for my grammar, I’m a fellow Scandinavian lol.
Keep in mind that me and my friend that I’m mentioning in this story were only twelve years old when this event occurred and this was our first time something like this had ever happened to us, we were terrified. Without further view let’s dive into the story, stay safe everyone!
So this whole story begins when I was around 12 (fyi I’m 18 now) and it takes place at a two story shopping center that is walls-to-walls with our local IKEA. Me and my friend had been walking around for a couple of hours, buying a few things and looked around in stores. We were tired and decided to take a break and sit down for a bit. We sat down by the entrance on these two soft chairs, with my friend sitting to my right. Behind me to my left was a bench, on this bench there was an old man just sitting there. He looked like to be in his later 50’s/early 60’s and at first I didn’t think much of it, just thinking that he had to rest his legs just like me and my friend had to, so I gave him a smile to be polite and didn’t think much of it. I continued talking to my friend who like I mentioned before sat to my right. Suddenly I get this feeling like someone is watching me, I then turned around to see that the old man was starring at me with a large smile on his face. I get uncomfortable, and just as I am about to turn to my friend and tell them that I want to leave my stomach drops as the older man pointed at me, then slapped his lap trying to symbolize that he wants me to sit in his lap. I observed his movements and looked up to meet his face. He was now doing a certain movement with his tongue (this part is kind of hard to explain but imagine he was like strolling his tongue up and down fast like most people show when explaining how to pleas someone with a vaginal genitalia). I froze and my survival instincts kicked in and told me to run and find a security guard, I turned to my friend and said that there was a pedophile and that we had to run. My friend turned to the old man and saw him do that movement with his tongue towards me again, I saw how panic struck my friend and we stood up and started to run through the crowd of other shoppers deeper into the shopping center. I turned my head back to see that the man was still observing us and were still doing the movement with his tongue. I shouted at my friend to run into a jewelry-store in front of us, we tried to calm ourselves down and by doing so I told the female cashier that her hair was really pretty. We continued to run to the upper floor to look for a security guard that could help us, but we couldn’t find anyone. So we decided to walk over back to the entrance (we were still on the upper floor so we could have high ground on the older man if he was still sitting on the bench) and run to my grandparents apartment that is relatively close to the shopping center. We looked over the railing to see if the man was still sitting on the bench, but he was gone. We had lost him, I was still standing in fear that we no longer knew where he was. My friend had then turned around and seen him walking towards us further upstairs. She told me and we ran down the stairs and out the entrance. We didn't stop until we arrived at my grandparents place. When inside we told my grandparents what happened and til this day I still fear what could've happened to us if the older man caught up to us.
I apologize profusely if there was something that was poorly explained, I'm happy to answer questions down in the comments. Also some background information is that on this day the mall was crowded and when this particular thing happened the only thought in my head was to find a security guard, and what happened inside the jewelry store when I said the cashier had nice hair was just to calm myself down.
Thanks anyway if you’ve read this far, please take care of each other and stay safe out there!
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2023.03.25 09:21 Sweden13 Oscar Robertson: A Career Evaluation
I am biased against Oscar Robertson. I do not like Oscar and find him to be one of the most overrated players in league history, and this post is very much for the sake of making and proving that agenda. I DO have to admit- contemporary players and people who know basketball way better than I do value Oscar, and there are those oldies who call him the GOAT- the Oscar fans are probably closer to the truth than I am, so consider this a form of... devil's advocacy. Except the writer is delusional enough to believe it.
Mister Triple Double. One of the greatest point guards of all time. Former MVP. Oscar Robertson has a reputation as one of the greatest Point Guards of all time, and it's hard to say it isn't well-earned. A glance at the stat sheet showcases EXACTLY how much Oscar filled them up. But in the modern NBA discourse, or better or for worse (it's for worse), there is one thing that's key- rings and winning. And at first glance, Oscar has that, that 1971 ring with the Bucks preventing him from being banished to the realm of ringless superstars like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Elgin Baylor and Steve Nash.
But it's just that. The 1971 ring with the Bucks. Robertson had played in the league as "the man" for a decade before this past his prime ring. He wasn't Mr. Triple Double because of the Bucks, but because of his stint with the Cincinnati Royals. How did these Royals teams go? Was he the lone star, struggling as our Kings forerunners utterly failed to put a team around him? Just get unlucky? Well, this post is an exploration of Oscar Robertson's career, focusing on the Royals years. So, out with the introduction, and in with the basketball!
- Stats: 30.5/10.1/9.7
- Team Record: 33-46
Rookie year, Oscar was already statistically dominating- averaging almost a triple double, third in the league in points, and leading the league in assists. And despite that? The Royals missed the playoffs, coming very last in the west. In complete fairness, the Royals weren't exactly GREAT before Oscar- pitifully winning 19 games, asking them to be a contender might be a little too much. But it wasn't as if they were devoid of talent either- this team featured Jack Twyman, of Twyman-Stokes award fame. The year before, Twyman became the first player (alongside Wilt), to average 30 ppg, and this year as Oscar's number two, was still fifth in the league in scoring from his small forward position. This team also had center Wayne Embry, who just had his first of five straight all-star appearances- frankly, it was probably his weakest one, and he's a more dubious hall of fame selection, but he's still someone. In his favor- the Royals went up to FIRST in offensive rating (up from fourth), while they stayed dead last in defensive rating. Anyway, again, not being too cruel here- rookie year, only place to go is up!
- Stats: 30.8/12.5/11.4
- Team Record: 43-37
This is Oscar's most famous year! The lauded triple double year! With his stats increasing, so does the team success- they go over .500, maintaining their top of the line offensive rating... while also still featuring a dreadful defensive rating. Oscar leads the league in assists and is fifth in the league in scoring (Twyman and Embry are ninth and fourteenth), and they go to the playoffs for the very first time! Their opponent? The Detroit Pistons, starring hall of famer Bailey Howell, Gene Shue, Don Ohl, and Ray Scott. I doubt most of those names mean much to you- but Howell was an efficient scoring-rebounding machine, while Shue and Ohl are definitive members of the Hall of Very Good. Regardless, the lower seeded Pistons who are kinda just... middle of the pack in everything, chop down the Royals 3-1 and advance to get squished by the Lakers. Again, this year is improvement- elite offense, terrible defense, not having yet hit the level of real contender.
- Stats: 28.6/10.4/9.5
- Team Record: 42-38
This iteration of the Royals has kinda... flatlined. Oscar, Twyman and Embry all see their numbers dip- Oscar still fourth in the league in scoring and second in assists, while Twyman stays top 10 in scoring. Things HAVE changed more though- Cincinnati moves to the eastern conference, escaping the Hawks and Lakers, and get blessed by the Boston Celtics instead. Probably not worth it. The Royals still have a top of the line offense, and they still have a bottom of the line defense. They make the playoffs again, this time getting a first round matchup with the 48 win Syracuse Nationals, featuring Hal Greer, Lee Shaffer, Red Kerr, and the corpse of Dolph Schayes. In typical Royals fashion, this series was a track meet- one that Oscar and Cincy would pull off 3-2 with an overtime game five victory- one that saw Oscar's 32-19-13 lead the way, despite a 46 point performance by Shaffer. But this series was ANYTHING but an Oscar carry job. Twyman had an efficient 25 a game, while Embry had 17 and 16- he clicked, the team clicked, and they moved on. The ECF saw them face with the Bill Russell Celtics and.... they ALMOST won. Giving up 47 to Sam Jones in game 7 isn't much of a success. Anyway, Bill Russell and the suffocating Celtics defense pretty much shut down the Royals supporting cast- Oscar's 11-24 for 43 points in game 7 wasn't enough to lift them up. Anyway, this isn't particularly egregious- the Celtics were simply the much better team, and the Royals took them to the limit. NEXT YEAR is the dream.
- Stats: 31.4/9.9/11.0
- Team Record: 55-25
As I said, next year was the dream! Cincy was second in the east, coming behind Boston, while Oscar won his MVP! The Royals also gave Oscar a new co-star- Hall of Famer and 75th anniversary team member Jerry Lucas arrived for his rookie year, averaging 17 points and 17 rebounds while also leading the league in FG%. The Royals had the best offense in the league, and for once... their defense was okay. Hitting the playoffs, they clipped the formerly Nationals now 76ers 3-2 once more (Twyman, despite a meh season, shows up again. Oscar isn't solo carrying this team), and head to the ECF to do battle with the Celtics. This time, the Celtics murder the Royals elite, league leading offense. Oscar? 28/10/6, with a very hot .398 fg% Embry? .338 fg%. Lucas? 12 and 12 with a sizzling .270. Twyman was for the most part good but... yeah. For once, the Royals didn't lose because their defense. They lost because their strength, their offense, was completely humiliated- they only once scored above 100 ppg, with 102 in their game four win, after averaging 114 for the whole season. After this 4-1 loss, pretty much going backwards... well, all you can do is hope it goes better next year.
- Stats: 30.4/9.0/11.5
- Team Record: 48-32
The Royals go backwards a little, but they're still who they are. Oscar is still being Oscar, averaging almost a triple double every year with around 30 points. Jerry Lucas now looks like a full-fledged number two- he becomes one of three players ever to average 20 points and 20 rebounds in the same season, and yeah he's seventh in the league in scoring, while making All-NBA first team. Old Twyman, Old Embry, and Adrian Smith make up the rest of their supporting cast, and I'm sure you know the recipe. Top offense, bad defense. Cracking the playoffs as the two seed, they get a familiar foe in the first round- the Philadelphia 76ers, now featuring Wilt Chamberlain. How do you think a defenseless team fares against Wilt? If you said "not well," you'd be correct! The Royals lose the series 3-1, while Oscar again has a meh FG% and his rebounding disappears (Understandably though. Wilt and Lucas both averaged 20 and are among the greatest rebounders of all time). Statistically, I'd dare to say Lucas outperforms Oscar in this series, though again, Robertson is the one running the offense. Either way, doesn't matter, the Royals perish in the first round, while Wilt, Hal Greer and Chet Walker average a combined 74 ppg against their pitiful defense. (Wilt is only 27 of that!)
- Stats: 31.3/7.7/11.1
- Team Record: 45-35
The Royals peaked. Oscar's rebounding too has, really, and so has his supporting cast. Twyman and Embry are relevant no more, instead you have Happy Hairston and the aforementioned Adrian Smith. Jerry Lucas is still Jerry Lucas and averages 20-20, so he still has an all-NBA first team teammate. For once, the offensive rating of the team starts to slide- falling down to third, and yeah, defense still bottom of the barrel. Regardless, this team makes the playoffs again- and this time, it's the Celtics first round! And well, they wouldn't humiliate themselves this time, taking the series to five in a 3-2 first round loss. Oscar's stats don't crater like they did last time he played the Celtics- 32-8-8, though his FG% is still .408. Most teammates disappear totally sans Lucas, who is still himself, albeit a more ineffecient version- 20-20 with a .471 FG%. Besides that... yeah, another first round exit for Oscar, albeit against a much better team.
- Stats: 30.5/6.2/10.7
- Team Record: 39-42
Same old Oscar. Second in the league in scoring, the Royals still have the second best offensive rating, still have a terrible defense, and his supporting cast is getting steadily worse. The team dipped under .500 this time! This is where my Oscar slander can really take off- how many times, in their absolute prime, will a super star let a team fall under .500? Especially when he has an All-NBA teammate like Lucas. Nevertheless, the east still has no depth as the age of expansion looms, so he hops right into the playoffs and faces... the 1967 76ers. Oscar plays well this series- a 33 point double-double gave them game one, before the Sixers win the next three games. Oscar is mostly efficient and passing well, with the exception of a brutal game four. But Wilt, Greer and Walker bully the hapless Royals defense- they just don't have the defense to come close to holding up to one of the greatest teams in NBA history. Out again.
- Stats: 29.2/6.0/9.7
- Team Record: 39-43
The good: Oscar wins his first and only scoring title! The bad: the Royals miss the playoffs. This makes two duds in a row, where good individual stats don't reflect on team success- the Royals had an elite offense and a bottom of the league defense, shocking no one. In his defense, Oscar only played 65 games this year, the team going 35-30 with him, and a less than great 4-13 without him, which is more a stat that condemns the 20-20 Lucas. With him the whole time, odds are they have a better chance at winning two more games and locking in the playoff spot. The supporting cast is a far cry different than before- Hairston was traded for Tom Van Arsdale, undersized center Connie Dierking, there's Smith, and then pre-breakout Bob Love. Moving on, perhaps the Royals would put things together again.
- Stats: 24.7/6.4/9.8
- Team Record: 41-41
Yes, Oscar played the whole season this time. The Big O's prime has clearly passed- scoring and rebounding down, but he's still leading the best offensive rating in the league. Lucas had 18-18, Tom Van Arsdale is filling the role as new Jack Twyman and made his first all-star appearance. And the Royals defense just sucks. Goes without saying that they missed the playoffs yet again too, finishing behind the Unseld-Johnson-Monroe Bullets, Russell Celtics, Cunningham-Greer-Walker Sixers and Reed-Frazier Knicks. The east was stacked, sure, but especially looking at it today, you'd expect an all-time player to elevate his team to higher levels. As a side note- this was also his last season leading the league in assists.
- Stats: 25.3/6.1/8.1
- Team Record: 36-46
Oscar's last season with the Royals. Not a good one. New head coach Bob Cousy had a new cool ideas for an offense, which utterly flopped and resulted in the team cratering to 10th. Jerry Lucas got traded, so the team's core was the scoring duo of Oscar and all-star Van Arsdale. Their defense was also bad this year- this was really just a bad team all around. You CAN blame this on Cousy- after all, he thought it would be a good idea to come out of retirement, but the Royals were on the path to mediocrity before the Houdini of the Hardwood ever came into town. And this is how his legendary Royals career ends- after the season, dealt for Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk to join the young Milwaukee Bucks.
Before I get to the Bucks, let me sum up the extent of the core of Oscar's career, this 10 year stint with the Royals:
Oscar dominated statistically, that cannot be denied. Gaudy scoring, passing and rebounding numbers translated into league leading offenses year after year after year. And what did those turn into?
Out of 10 years, Oscar missed the playoffs four times. What other super star missed the playoffs four times in their prime? A fifth time, he made the playoffs with an under .500 record. So I'd solidly say half the time, this team underperformed. But in his six playoff ventures he:
- Lost once to the lesser seeded Detroit Pistons
- Lost three times to the Boston Celtics
- Lost twice to the Wilt 76ers
Of these, four of them were first round exits.
In terms of regular season success Oscar's teams... never really had it. His most admirable playoff run came in 1963, where they upset the Sixers and pushed the Celtics to the limit. 1964 was their single best regular season (and only 50 win season), and their vaunted offense was DISMANTLED by the Celtics in the conference finals. From that point forward, the Royals just slid back into obscurity.
I've been really harsh on Oscar, so it's time to be fairer- this team's defensive issues were not his fault. The failure to get a strong rim protector was on management, and their defense would just be a sieve throughout the whole run. His supporting cast had talent but... they were also imperfect. Jack Twyman was an elite scorer and strong second option, but he wasn't a defender. When he led a team, they won 19 games. Embry was undersized and a short prime. Jerry Lucas statistically dominated, but I think, to a degree, he's an "empty stats" sorta player. He's overrated much the same way Oscar is, with the caveat that it's the year 2023 and no one really cares about Jerry Lucas anymore. Tom Van Arsdale famously is the best player to never make the playoffs either, and Adrian Smith... is a guard. Who won all-star MVP once. A bunch of good players here, but this team just stacked the offense too much.
Anyways, to sum up this section- the Royals tenure was disappointing. Oscar's teams were never transcendent, and actually, were disappointing more often than not. Oscar's stats are impressive and come from a team that didn't play defense in one of the highest paced eras in NBA history, and he plays next to a guy where the consensus is the stats "overrate" him. My take is that Oscar falls in the same boat- a great player whose stats and flashy style makes him look better than he really was, with less contribution to winning. In terms of his contemporaries, I'd dare to say Jerry West should clearly be over him, and I tend to favor Bob Pettit and Elgin Baylor too, depending on the day. Oscar's career didn't end with Cincy of course- so time to cover the Bucks.
Postlude: The Milwaukee Bucks
The greatest team Oscar was ever on wasn't the Cincinnati Royals, but the 1971 Milwaukee Bucks. And for once, he was the number two. The Bucks were Kareem's team- 32 and 16 make that quite clear, but Oscar still contributed, with 19/5/8. He was GOOD, but this isn't Mr. Triple Double. And in an odd twist, despite shouldering less of the load, Oscar was LESS efficient once he joined Kareem. The Bucks weren't a two man show though- they also starred the incredibly underrated Bobby Dandridge, who averaged 18/8/3.5 himself. A recent hall of fame inductee, Dandridge scored more points in the finals in the 70's than ANY other player, one of my favorite pieces of trivia. And in fact, Dandridge scored more over this playoff run than Oscar did himself- he's more of a third star than a roleplayer, and I favor the argument that he was the Bucks second best player throughout their tenure with the Bucks- as demonstrated by continued success as Oscar aged.
Again, I'm being a little too cruel. Oscar Robertson played a key part in the greatness of the 1971 Bucks, but this wasn't a ring carried by two super stars. This was Kareem and two all-stars leading a strong team to a ring.
After 1971, Oscar was old, simple as that. Was he still a good player? Yes, but a star no more. He made his final all-star game in 1972, averaging 17/5/7, and his numbers kept going down till he called it quits after the Bucks failed finals run in 1974. All-in-all, I like the comparison to CP3 on the Suns- Oscar helped a strong team get over the hump, before age began to set in. It doesn't mean he's not a good player, just that he's past his prime. And just like Chris Paul's lack of playoff success before Phoenix doesn't mean he's not an all-time great, the Big O's struggles in Cincinnati doesn't mean he's not one either.
Just not as great as some might think.
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2023.03.25 08:40 Tic-Tac-Alternate Formula 1's Urbanism and Effects on Car Dependency
When I come here for my occasional perusing of urban-planning discussion, I sometimes see posts from people curious about this sub's opinions on motor racing (F1 in particular). While there aren't that many of these posts, I felt like there was enough discussion within those posts to elaborate on it. After all, given the global nature of F1 and the economics that go into it, I feel like it's a good way to discuss a country's attitude towards car dependency, what certain places get right or wrong when planning for large events like an F1 GP, and how F1's business practices can perpetuate car dependency/car-centric culture. As someone who's enjoyed using transit for as long as I can remember and as an F1 fan (hypocritical, I know), I figured this would be an interesting discussion.
- Car-centric (or transit/bike-centric) planning within a race: Here I want to talk about the transportation situation behind F1 races. Since people often compare American sporting venues to European ones here, let's talk about the same for an F1 race:
- Good examples of transit-planning in F1 (I can think of 3 examples off the top of my head):
- Dutch GP (Zandvoort, NL): The most popular example of how an F1 race can be transit and bike-accessible is the Dutch city of Zandvoort. Predictably, cycling is a well-utilized mode of transport for this race, with reservable bike parking. Out of the 70k attendees in 2021, 25k biked, and 27k used the train to Zandvoort aan Zee station to get there. Zandvoort also implemented traffic-limiting measures to not flood the small city with cars. F1 organizers seem rather proud of this, stating in the race intro cinematic that only 2% of attendees showed up in a car. Although this stat is probably exaggerated to some extent, it does show that even car races can be biked to and be served well by transit.
- Japanese GP (Suzuka, Mie, JP): Another example of a transit-accessible F1 race is the Japanese GP in Suzuka, a fan-favorite event. IMO this is an example of how transit can be implemented for massive annual events like this one. Both Ise Railway (The local rail provider) and Mie Transport provide direct service to the circuit's train station and bus services respectively on race weekends. Although I couldn't find any statistics, footage of rail service during race weekends, and this 18-minute video of just busses heading out to go to the circuit show that local agencies in the area take transit seriously during this.
- Canadian GP (Montreal, Quebec, CA): Ironically, one of the better examples of transit-accessible F1 venues is in car-centric North America. The circuit (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve) is within the confines of the Parc Jean-Drapeau, served by STM's yellow metro line (btw, why is the yellow line so short?). Since there is zero spectator parking at the venue, the most effective option to get there is via. the metro station. F1 themselves even discourage driving to the circuit, instead directing visitors to use the metro. I attended this race back in June and I can attest to the number of people simultaneously going to the metro station. It definitely was a moshpit but still beats sitting in traffic for 2 weeks. I've heard some complaints from locals here that the event tends to attract people with loud vehicles to the city center. Although I do believe that F1 being in the city contributes to this, I feel like this can be solved through the city rethinking its attitude towards cars rather than rejecting F1 as a whole. Looking at the event in a vacuum though, the Canadian GP is a pleasant departure from the norm in North America. (P.S. Montreal's metro was fantastic from my experience. Good service, (relatively) clean stations, and attractive rolling stock all contributed to a pleasant experience. Would love to have something like it where I live.)
- Bad examples of transit-planning in F1 (For every good example, there are of course the bad examples):
- United States GP (Austin, Texas, US): It's in Texas, should be self-explanatory at this stage. There is a shuttle from downtown, but given that this is Texas, I suppose there is a reason why most people opt to drive. The abundance of surface parking will probably make most people here write home to their families in terror. Some portions of the broadcast are highly distracting due to 60% of the frame containing parking lots rather than racing. This place, combined with Gigafactory Austin being nearby, makes this area a cathedral for anti-human design that perfectly shows the problems that the US has with stuff like this.
- British GP (Silverstone, UK): A somewhat tamer version of what can be seen in Austin, but still far from ideal, as a significant portion of the attendees, shows up by car. Although shuttles are available from Milton Keynes, it's still a 22-minute drive from the station to the circuit. The local campgrounds built to house visitors don't exactly help the local traffic given that most of them are car-centric. Other races, including The Hungarian GP (Budapest, HU), have similar campgrounds that have the same issues of car-centrism, and events like the Spanish GP in Barcelona have transit issues that reflect that even in Europe, there is work that can be done to reduce car-usage during large events.
- Miscellaneous examples: Miami and Las Vegas are 2 recent US additions to the F1 calendar that can tell us a lot about the US's car-dependent nature. While Miami isn't terribly car-centric as an event, the fact that the track was built on what was the parking lot of the Hard Rock Stadium shows how much space stadiums in the US allocate to cars. While little is known about the Las Vegas race as of now (set to take place in November 2023), the fact that they're going to be racing down the strip shows how unnecessarily wide the roads down the LV strip are.
- Ways F1 perpetuates car dependency and car culture: Although I adore F1, I have to admit that it has done an extremely poor job in terms of sustainability, and it certainly does not help with the prevalence of car culture within society. Here are some things that I think contribute to this:
- Glorification of fossil fuels:
- Almost every F1 team has a petroleum partner (i.e. Mercedes & Petronas, Red bull & Mobil1, Ferrari & Shell, Alpine & Castrol/BP, Aston Martin & Aramco, Williams & Gulf). Beyond that, F1's dependence on Arabian oil money (particularly with their strategic partnership with Aramco and the subsequent introduction of the Saudi Arabian GP) has been hugely contentious lately, and are testament to the sport's dependency on fossil fuel advertising. It's logical, but advertising petroleum isn't exactly going to do wonders for reducing car dependency and the consequences of climate change. Much like with tobacco advertising in F1 though, I feel like the complete eradication of oil advertising can help mitigate this issue, but unfortunately, I feel like so long as middle-east money is a part of F1, it will only do more harm than good.
- Back in 2013, Greenpeace organized a protest at the Belgium race, mainly advocating against Shell's involvement in F1. So people are very much aware of the impact that F1 has on the fossil fuel market. Some have also used F1 races as a platform to advocate against fossil fuel investments, including Just Stop Oil's track invasion during the 2022 British GP.
- While we're on the topic of Arab Oil Cash, it's also important to note the human rights abuses some middle eastern countries have committed. Much like the world cup, I feel like the recent additions of ME races (i.e. Qatar), serve as distractions from the realities of these countries. Again, this is something that fans and even some drivers acknowledge and condemn, I'm afraid it'll be a part of the sport unless the very concept of bribery and corruption ceases to exist.
- Glorification of cars:
- Out of the 10 F1 teams, 5 are directly owned by an automaker, with 8 having significant ties with one. While I don't think this has as much of an impact as fossil fuel advertising, I know many (especially here) are upset about the glorification of cars in advertising.
I feel like I've written a lot at this point, and I've definitely exhausted my talking points. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments :)
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2023.03.25 08:39 ShadowDragon8685 [Ace is the Only Sane Pirate 12]The Avaricious Runaround
No sooner had Najia sat down at a dingy canteen on the scrap facility than her datapad received a call from Yorilos. She hadn't even gotten her coffee yet, and thought that was supremely unfair. "Anyone wanna bet he natters on without stopping to let me interrupt?"
There were no takers, and she propped the datapad up, connecting the call. Yorilos's face appeared, in the cockpit of the ship she had 'liberated' for him. "Excellent!" he exclaimed without preamble. "Now, Protectyon is exorbitantly expensive, but I suppose we will not need an entire unit to conduct your research. It might be our best course of action to approach the CEO of Northriver Company directly. We might be able to buy a small sample from him... If we can find him, that is. It is well known that he occasionally likes to flaunt his enormous wealth. A fellow trader just spotted him taking his most prized possession out for a pleasure cruise. I have sent you the coordinates of his last known location. Start from there."
He terminated the call, and Najia sat back, blinking. "Did he even stop to breathe?" Marta snorted. "That guy apparently sucks wind with his asshole, since he sure as hell didn't take any in through his mouth!"
Najia snorted, laughing and covering her face with her palm. Ace looked at Marta in disbelief for a few moments, as she worked out the idiom, then let out a high-pitched, almost strangled trill, hanging her head. "Y'all know I'm right," Marta hammered the point in. "He is longwinded, yes. And also, unfortunately, an idiot," Ace declared. "Well... Yes, but why in specific, this time?"
"I hope for his sake he is fantastic in the bunk and willing to pursue a career in prostitution, because he is clearly a homeworld-raised true believer in nonsense," Ace spat. "He actually believes 'the invisible hand of the free market' will result in equitable distribution of goods and wealth?!" She let out a shrill trill. "In Avarice and Windfall no less!" Marta snorted. "Yeah... He'd better be planning to be a boy-toy." She rolled her eyes. "Does he really think that the CEO of a monopoly is just going to sell us a tiny sample of what's making him filthy rich so we can take it away, analyze it, synthesize it, and start competing with him?" "Apparently he does," Najia said with an exasperated sigh. "That's kind of... Frightening, actually. Though chasing this fellow down might be something we'll have to do eventually, but for now... We might as well just buy a load."
"Protectyon is not ordinary cargo," Ace pointed out. "I do not know the specifics, but I do know that it requires special cargo-handling equipment. The Rakers know this. They guard the nature of this equipment with some skill. Between that, and that the only market for the stuff is here in Windfall, it is not a substance of any value to a pirate... Presumably, small containers for transporting small quantities are available to those in the know, of course." "Of course... But in this case, I think the best move is to make use of my checking account," Najia said. The waitress arrived with coffee in a cheap metal mug, which Najia took gratefully, as did the rest of her party. They were sitting at a table next to Robin and the party of crew she had brought with them. Najia took a drink of the coffee, and grimaced immediately. "Don't like it, spacer," the waitress asked with a smirk as she handed out the others' drinks. "Took me by surprise. Tidebreak serves it sweet enough to curl eyebrows." No sooner had she said that, than the waitress sat a bottle on the table with a heavy, dense thunk. Najia poured it in, and nodded; it was some kind of yellowish syrup or synthetic honey. "Thank you," she said. "Sure, whatever. Your ship brought a load of food here - and not even like, the stuff the fuckin' Viggs 'let us' have, at extortionate rates. So, there's that, spacer." The waitress turned and hurried away. Ace snorted. "Not very grateful, was she?" She had, apparently, missed where part of the plan had been to have Takio's personal Baku deliver a load of food, which she supposed had transpired while she was asleep.
"These people are... Prickly. I can understand that," Najia said. "Anyway, I'm just going to take the simple route on this one: buy one of the condensate ships, load it with the stuff at market value, and have it fly it to the headquarters... For 'upgrades' of course." She grinned.
Ace trilled softly at that. "Upgrades indeed." She fiddled with the datapad in her hand as Najia and the others started to do likewise, and after a few moments, found what seemed to be a saved-game in progress. It looked like a sketch of a space station, but it struck her as being a puzzle game, and probably an 'indie' one at that, given the godawful user-interface. She quickly worked it out of course, because a pirate's mind is slippery by necessity and a Teladi's mind is primed to calculate a dozen variables at once, and then she could dig into the meat of it. It looked like a space station, but it was one built on an impossible scale; an absolute megalith of a station, an absurd and ridiculous monolith seemingly built to construct the most basic and common of Commonwealth construction materials, but in absolutely absurd quantities. There was a rider on it, too; and that seemed to be the objective of the game, or at least of the current level; adding a mixed population of Terran, Argon, and Teladi workers, and the requisite inputs to feed them all, enough to run the entire station and then some.
The datapad in her hand chirr-uped, and Ace saved and closed the progress she had made in the game, finding that a new report had been filed by the professor they had hired for, frankly, enough money to probably have employed the entire Empyrean Curs. She skimmed the summary - short, consise and to the point - and trilled softly. "Interesting development," she noted. "Your starship professor is making yet more inroads." She looked up at the human magnate. "Apparently he found a project starfighter that someone had been preparing in one of your hangars."
Najia chuckled. "A project starfighter?" She took the datapad. "Paramerion...? Hmph. Looks like someone stripped down a Kallis for speed and narrowness, judging by these stats." "Could be fun," Marta pointed out. "For someone who likes to fly, that is," she added, grinning at Najia and Ace.
Najia chuckled, and then shook her head. "Might even be just the thing for chasing down this Northriver fellow, if we assume he's going to make himself difficult to catch up to. According to the Professor, it's currently a one-off, but they should be able to extrapolate the plans and build more, if desired. Seems that it actually was based on some early, unproduced Kallis prototypes." "I'll have it sent out to the Avarice Necessities supplier," Najia added. "Meanwhile..."
A high-importance alert hit her datapad. She frowned as she read the report; one - then two - then three - of her freighters in Windfall were reporting being harassed by the Vigor syndicate. That was new. She scowled at that, snarling.
"Trouble," Ace asked. Under the table, she curled her tail around Najia's calf, and Najia rubbed her eyes. "Trouble," Ace repeated; no longer an interrogative, but a statement. "The Vigor syndicate have apparently decided to start harassing ships carrying food," she noted, wrathfully. "That you have gone so long without them doing so is the anomaly," Ace pointed out. "They are not shy about that they use force to enforce their monopoly on food in Windfall and Vigor," she added. "And was this not the fight you intended to wage anyway?"
"Yes," Najia hissed angrily. "But the timing is wrong." She rubbed her eyeballs, seething. Her ships were reporting that the Vigor syndicate were being very aggressive; not quite at the point of shooting openly at them - which would go poorly for everyone concerned frankly - but they were harassing them openly, shaking them down for bribes or even demanding they drop cargo, as well as conducting "police" inspections for "contraband" - meaning food and water. "Then what do you plan to do?"
Najia grit her teeth, closing her eyes. She focused on the feeling of Ace's tail squeezing her calf, and seethed, but calmed herself. "Comply... For now. Set up some goodwill by selling them energy cells again." "Again? They're probably angry you cut them off in the first place," Ace noted, and Najia snorted. "Probably." Najia let out an annoyed hiss of breath. "Well, we'll deal with it." She drummed her fingers in annoyance on the bare metal, cafeteria-style table. "The time is not yet. Not yet... Yet." She cracked her knuckles, one-by-one. "First, we need to chase down this Protectyon stuff." She started fiddling on her datapad. "I'll just place the order and have it sent to the HQ. If Boso Ta can't work with that, well... I guess we'll try it Yorilos' way and chase down this Northriver."
"It might be worthwhile to approach him now in any event," Ace suggested. "The Northriver company are, as you might imagine... Well-connected, with the Vigor Syndicate." Najia pursed her lips and frowned, but nodded. She looked around the dingy cafeteria, and sighed, nodding, but sighed again, heavily. "You can't fix everything, Ninja Taco; and what you can fix, you mostly can't fix in a day," Marta said, softly. "Let's just... Let's try Ace's idea."
Najia nodded, with a heavy sigh. She covered her head with her hands for a few moments, and let out a huff. She needed a bit of breathing room, time to think, time to plan. She looked around, and drummed her fingers on the table. "Let's finish our business here, and head for the Necessities station," she said. "We'll give the Raleigh I bought time to make it to the HQ, and the Paramerion time to get here... Then we'll use it, as it's apparently speed incarnate, to chase down Northriver and see what he can tell us about Protectyon, or the Syndicate, or both." She looked around; there were no particular objections raised. Ace snorted softly at her. "I and 'Chipmunk' are laying low; it matters little to me where we do so or what other activities we engage in whilst doing. Besides, I wonder what this station looks like."
Najia grinned at her.
Scant hours later, Ace was in the co-pilot's seat of the Baku as it arrowed in to land, alongside the Radiant Afterglow that had been shadowing them the whole time. The station was a mammoth; Ace had been expecting some kind of small way-station. It had absolutely gargantuan solar arrays pointing at the nearby star; the number of docks and piers was, frankly, grossly excessive, to the point that Ace reckoned it could easily hold the entire ship population of Avarice. There were massive personnel accommodations, and all the things she had seen that made Takio's constructions so awe-inspiring. "The number of docks and piers you have here is mind-boggling," Ace commented as the ship landed on one of the Terran-style disk docks. "It defies description. I cannot imagine why."
Najia smiled weakly at her, leaning out to look out through the expansive flight-deck window. "Quite simply? I wanted there to never, ever, ever be any question about whether or not a ship in need of safe-habor from the Tide could find it here. And yes, we're buying the Protectyon stuff - at quite ridiculous prices - to keep the place safe." She pointed at a massive, triple-pronged module along the station's 'spine.' "The Breakers built that, and the storage for it. They're effectively a 'black box' to us since part of the deal there was that we didn't poke around inside, but the thing keeps working, and we've isolated them from outside comms to ensure that stays the case."
Ace snorted. "I'm surprised you agreed to refrain from reverse-engineering them." "Well, we did. Of course, we lied," Najia said, with a grin. "I don't believe in letting other people keep technological secrets from me. But we're not, you know, cutting our way in or anything... Sometimes, you have to move slow. Besides, nobody would bat an eyelash at me commissioning another Raleigh and stocking it with some Protectyon, right?" "Right," Ace said, chuckling. She glanced up at the station. It was massive. She glanced down at the time-table; the Paramerion would arrive in approximately sixteen hours. "This place is huge. I might have to look around."
Najia smiled at her. "Feel free. You want to come with me to chase down this Northriver character? I think I'm going to give this prototype a test run myself." Ace trilled. "That sounds fun. Sure."
The Avarice Necessities Supplier station was a mammoth. Ace had explored it thoroughly; it had all the amenities one might expect of a space station, which was surprising in Avarice space. Unsurprising to her now, was that the prices were absolutely rock-bottom. Not quite giving the stuff away at cost, but close enough. It was, Ace mused, a good way to make inroads with the Rakers, though she suspected that Takio was doing so out of beneficience as much as anything else. She seemed positively furious that the Syndicate were exerting control over food and water; absolutely furious.
That, Ace realized, was something that set her apart. To her way of thinking, it was only to be expected that the party which had the power to establish a monopoly on such basic necessities should do so, to further increase their power and wealth, exploiting that position to enrich themselves. Takio clearly did not see it that way. It was an affront to her; and she was clearly plotting the Syndicate's downfall over it. Ace mused these musings both before and after she took a nap, in a surprisingly-affordable lodging room she took on the station. The amenities were in fact made in the same style and materials as those Najia had established for herself back on her headquarters station. The shower, in particular, was an absolute luxury to Ace's mind; there was no time- or pressure-limiter, no charge for the water use, and, as with the showers on her ships, featured a slick slatted floor instead of an obvious drain and a bench. All available at such a rate that anyone who landed here could afford to stay without difficulty. Neither were there any other tiers of accommodation available; there were no 'suites' above and beyond what she slept in, nor were there the expected squalorus hostel dormitories she had sometimes been able to avail herself of in her youth - at prices that sometimes exceeded that of the individual suite she enjoyed. The only other forms of room available were doubles and quads for pairings or parties sleeping together, and 'accessibility' rooms for persons with mobility or other issues.
Ace had found this so surprising, in fact, she had chatted up the clerk at the lodging module. Apparently, Takio Enterprises had taken some simple shortcuts in their design process, by not doing the design work themselves; they had simply followed Segaris traveler-accommodation regulations and made use of a common Segaris habitat module design. The prices were set low because the station was, ultimately, self-sufficient save for the reliance on Protectyon, and it was largely viewed as a public service.
The difference between this station and the one they had left hardly any time at all before was striking. The Terran construction techniques Takio used were incredible, of course; but it also spoke to their intents that they were effectively leaving money in the pockets of persons who would pay higher prices for what they were offering and gladly. Of course, she mused, it wasn't entirely utopic. It couldn't be. she had found a tavern and lurked, and certainly she had caught the (metaphorical) scent of black-market trade. The number of employees at the station was enormous, surely there would be those who could be bribed. There was certain, she knew, to be a thriving underbelly in illicit goods or services; though it seemed that there was an effort to minimize this, by the simple expedient of making the most commonly-smuggled goods and most commonly-criminalized services legal, mostly in the Teladi style; Ace saw vending machines which dispensed packets of Space Weed and found a local-net exchange board which purported to connect medically-checked and cleared prostitutes with clients; tangential to that was a heap of information about prostitution - both practical and, she saw with a little digging, historical and philosophical - as well as resources for those looking to get into that trade, beginning with reporting to medical for an examination. There was also a stark warning that pimping, or abusing a prostitute in any way, carried a summary sentence of execution. Ace's eyes shot up at that. She ran a few searches to see what cut Takio Enterprises was taking for this, but couldn't find any over and above presumably the rental price of the lodging rooms involved.
It almost seemed clinical, but, she mused, on the balance, if this environment had been available to her when she was trying to figure out what to do to avert hunger, it certainly would have seemed a far more attractive option. Her primary reason for shying away from prostitution as a career, had been the fear of winding up the property of a pimp. Ace ruminated on this, whilst staring out the window of a tavern, at the star, through the solar panel array, when she got the message that the Paramerion had arrived.
The craft itself looked very much like many of the Terran ships Ace had seen in recent weeks, sitting in the pretty purple trim that Takio had ships meant for herself painted in. It was even sitting in a bay next to a Tsurugi superheavy fighter, which made her take a double-take; clearly they had wasted no time in producing the starfighters!
Ace looked between the two. The Paramerion was short dorsal-to-ventral, as most Terran small craft were, but this one took it to an extreme. It was elongated and somewhat narrow, though it could have, she thought, been narrower still without the side-mounted wings that served no purpose she could discern immediately, save to be wings. "They're for atmospheric flight," Najia explained. "Most Terran S- and M- craft are at least capable of it; most Argon, too, for that matter. Most Teladi... Even the Drill, which the Baku is based on; and of course the Baku itself. Though, admittedly, the flying shoe does rely a lot more on thrusters," Najia said; she was standing by the ramp into the Paramerion, watching Ace's gaze.
Ace trilled softly and nodded, joining Najia in the cockpit. It was roomy enough; the cockpit design seemed to be wholly-copied from the Kallis. That made sense, as they were apparently related designs. She looked around, and tapped on the holographic auxiliary console at the rear of the cockpit, to the side. "Shall I navigate for you?" "Unless you'd rather fly," Najia said, smiling at her. Ace took a moment to think on that, and shook her head. "I'll fly the way back, if all goes smoothly. It's your ship, you should take it. Where is Marta? Is she not coming?"
"She's already in the back. There's what the original designers of these classes euphemistically refer to as a 'bunk-slash-engineering-access' behind us, in front of the power plant. It's so tight I don't think anyone could even masturbate in there, but you can sleep in there... If you're desperate. Personally, I'd just roll out a sleeping mat in the dockpit," Najia said; this got a louder trill from Ace, as Najia took the chair. "Right, I've already done the preflight... Let's see what she can do."
Northriver was, allegedly, in the same sector - Avarice I - and finding him was a minor challenge. Ace operated sensors whilst Najia piloted; the ship seemed to have very desirable piloting characteristics; agile and responsive without being touchy or prone to over-maneuvering. Swift, but not prone to sliding. She looked forward to her own turn at the stick, as they narrowed in on the alleged location of Brantlee Northriver.
Finding him was little challenge - then Ace swore softly. "Is that..." She had another ship on the fighter's sensors, and brought up its details. Sitting a hundred klicks from Astrid, apparently the ship of Northriver, was J.P. Morgan's Knife. Ace hissed softly. "Does he... Really..."
"Does he really expect this guy to give us a sample to reverse engineer?" Najia groaned. "Fine, fuck it. If we don't ask, he will, and Yorilos is about as good at negotiating as someone who goes to a flea market, sees a pair of sun-shades at a stall, talks the proprietor down two credits and walks away feeling like they're John Pierpont Morgan." Ace trilled softly at that. "Is that whom his vessel is named after? Who was this person?" Najia snorted. "We'd have to interrupt the history lesson to run for cover from the Tide," she said with a grin, looking over her shoulder. "Suffice to say he was a human industrialist from a very long time ago, who managed to amass one of the smaller fortunes of his era, but who wielded power and control of money to substantially more effect than the actual wealth he personally had. He formed banks, you see; once, he helped to fend off an impending bank run that would have caused a financial collapse, by assembling a large number of a nation's most powerful bankers in his mansion, and locked them in his library, telling them that they would not be leaving until they had worked out a scheme to avert the crisis."
Ace trilled, watching as the little fighter closed on what she was reading as some kind of yacht. "That sounds like something you might do," she pointed out. Najia snorted, looked back at Ace, and chuckled. "I think I should take that as a compliment. J.P. Morgan was an asshole, like pretty much all of the wealthy and powerful persons of his time and era... Or, any era, to be honest. I... Never expected to find myself wielding clout and power like Morgan's, let alone enough that I probably eclipse him. It's... Kind of overwhelming, to be honest." "And yet, you persevere," Ace retorted. "By any measure, you could take what you've amassed now, retire to a sector of your choosing, build a monumental space station of your own design, and live a life of indolence until the money ran out. A Teladi could take your wealth and live out the rest of her life, even. Yet, you are building warships and lodgings fit for well-off individuals and affordable to the hardscrabble. By Teladi reckoning, Najia, you are insane."
Najia blinked at that, half-snorting. She had cut the travel drive and was approaching the lazily drifting yacht, and took the moment to turn her chair halfway, looking to her side at Ace. "Do you think I'm... Literally mad?" Ace peered at her, and shook her head. "No, I do not. Many Teladi might assume it to be so," she said, with an ambivalent sway of her hips and a shrug. "... I believe that you are acting to a set of principles and convictions that are, however, utterly alien to most Teladi understanding. You seem as if you intend to seize Windfall and Avarice outright. Yet even if you did, you would not squeeze the Rakers on food prices the way the Syndicate does. I do not understand where you are coming from," Ace said, swaying her hips again. "But... I feel I can trust you. And from there, confidence. Heads-up," she added, cautioning Najia. "We are close enough you had best comm them, lest they think you're about to attack."
Swiveling rapidly back to face forward, Najia did just that, signaling the yacht she was approaching of her intent to communicate. Moments later, she recieved a reply. "Yes, what is it you want?" Brantlee Northriver had a grating, abrasive, and smug voice; he was also dressed, she thought, ridiculously, wearing what looked like a desaturated blue jacket trimmed with excessively gaudy, and gaudily excessive amounts of gold, with some kind of absurd half-hood thing cupping the back of his head. It was some long-ago futurist's vision of what a far-flung spacefuture clergyman's robe might look like crossed with a business suit. Najia knew that her own sense of fashion was questionable, but even she immediately recognized the outfit as disgustingly ugly, and radiating both wealth and contempt. Her impression was realized as he continued, "I sure hope you have a good reason for approaching me. I am quite busy, you see?"
Najia mastered the urge to ask if he was busy receiving fellatio from someone under the console he was sitting at, because she could see absolutely no other possible activity he was invested in; she also mastered the urge to just shoot the smug off his face. She instead smiled at him, schooling herself into 'businesswoman' persona even though he made her skin crawl on an imager; and, of course, she would have to try to talk a sample out of it, because she knew that Yorilos was listening in and would certainly swoop in and somehow make things stupider if she didn't. "Mr. Northriver, you may not have had time yet to notice my minor operations; Takio Enterprises is expanding into Avarice. The name of Northriver and its Protectyon is on every set of lips within three jumps as a potent defensive measure against the Tide. I wished to obtain -"
"What, just a sample?" Northriver leaned forward, towards his camera, smirking - no, smugging - at her, adopting the 'Thinker' pose, briefly. "Such a small quantity won't get you far, if you want to protect yourself from the Tide. Can't afford more, eh?" For a moment, Najia toyed with the notion of making an offer to buy Northriver outright, just to wipe the smug off his face, but he continued to smug audibly at her. "Oh, well, since you seem to be new around here, I'll allow it. Once." Brantlee turned to look out his cockpit window at Avarice, which illuminated him brightly. Looking away and up was probably his 'best side;' it was the only posture in which she had yet seen him that looked anything other than 'contemptable.' "To get you hooked. Am I not charitable?" He immediately resumed his contemptuousness, then turned back to face her and made it all the more stark. "I will even cut you a special deal, how about that?" His expression clearly communicated his contempt and belief that he was superior. "Merely twelve and a half thousand credits for the sample you so dearly desire; my first, last, and only offer."
Najia wanted to say something scathing in return, she really did. Or simply to lock her cannons on his admittedly-very-sexy yacht and take the sample at cannon-point. Or to flip him the finger. Instead, she schooled herself to merely raise her eyebrow skeptically; forcing herself to maintain 'The Businesswoman,' who was too refined to rise to the bait. But she also had neither time nor patience to haggle over what was, frankly, a trivial sum to her bank account. Hell, she knew for a fact that Ace could buy the sample and wouldn't lose much sleep over it, just from what Ace had made in the last several days with her. "It seems your proposal can only be agreed to," she said, bringing up the financial transfer function on her console and sending the sum required.
Smugly, Brantlee grinned at her. "Here you go. I hope you leave as a satisfied customer!" Ace quickly tapped a message that appeared on her console. 'He's jettisoned an XS cargo pod.' The Teladi deftly located it for her on sensors, targeting it for her, as Northriver continued, "Oh, and by the way - don't for one second think that you can use this sample to engineer a competing product. It won't work. Northriver products are just too ingenious!" Northriver positively crowed it at her, and once again Najia had to master the urge to lock weapons upon him, but she did, at that moment, privately vow that, by means fair or foul, she was going to gain possession of his yacht if only to spite him. "Run along now," he added, smirking. "I have much more important matters to attend to," he clarified, sanctimoniously smiling, ending the comm channel and turning the yacht away, entering Travel drive.
"Let me bring that pod aboard," Ace muttered, manipulating the tractor controls, and comming the multipurpose space in the back. "Marta, if you would kindly suit up -" "Way ahead of you, Ace," Marta answered her, popping up on-screen already wearing a light pressure suit, in the airlock. "Get it over here and I'll grab it, make sure it doesn't jostle or anything. Mass?" "Considerable, but not more than a large human such as yourself can handle. Volitility is not known, but it cannot hurt to be over-cautious."
Najia smiled to herself as she heard Ace, unprompted, begin collaboration with Marta. A part of her cynical and intellectual side tried to argue that Ace was a pirate, and probably always would be a pirate at heart, but she was quite simply too fond of the reptilian spacer to listen to that part of her anymore; her oldest friend and her newest could be coming together. Then another comm popped up, and she resisted the urge to groan aloud. She let The Businesswoman fade; frankly, Yorilos didn't rate it, and they were (sort of) collaborators on this anyway. To her surprise (and pleasure), when he commed her, he immediately voiced her own opinion, "I wonder if being obnoxious is his deliberate business strategy?" Najia laughed, heartily, slumping back in her command chair and grinning brightly, shrugging. "I don't think so. I think it just comes naturally to the git."
Yorilos looked momentarily nonplussed, presumably by her vernacular, then said, "No matter. It will make it all the more enjoyable when we pull the rug from under the Northriver Company." "We are in absolute agreement about that," Najia said. "I want to wipe the smug grin off his face." She glanced down; her airlock indicator had closed, and she flicked up a view of the inside. Marta was carefully securing a container roughly the size and volume of a ubiquitous 205-liter shipping drum, though it wasn't one. "I've just taken the sample aboard." "You want to take it back to the headquarters yourself? Go ahead," Yorilos said. He cut the channel, and Najia blinked at the suddenness.
"... Well, that was... Abrupt," Najia said, looking back to Ace. "It was. I cannot believe that you paid twelve and a half thousand for the sample." Najia shrugged. "I mean... It's highway robbery, considering that a commercial volume costs just about twice that and is twenty cubic meters in volume whereas that sample is maybe two. On the other hand, you heard him; he wasn't in the mood to negotiate. What should I have done? Shot at him?" "Yes." Ace trilled, then huffed, shaking her head. "No. As cathartic as it would be, your plans are too long-term to have simply taken it from the wretch by force." She shook her head. "I suppose you had little choice," she conceded, "if you are to continue Yorilos' scheme."
"I'm kind of eager to set Boso Ta loose on this stuff myself," Najia said. The revolving door to the back cycled, and Marta walked in, looking flushed with exertion. "Thanks, Marta," she said. "You can thank me by you securing the damn thing in the 'hold,' Marta said, snarkily.
Najia nodded, and swiveled her chair all the way. "Sure. Thank you. Ace, you're up on stick," she said, standing up. "Let's just fly this thing straight home; I bet we can make it before dinnertime with us flying," she said, smiling at Ace. Ace trilled softly. "That sounds like a challenge. Accepted." She slid past Marta and Najia, slaloming between them, and took the stick, keying in a course for the Takio Enterprises headquarters. "We should recall the other ships, yes?" "Yes; good thinking, Ace. Thank you. I'll handle it from the back, after I've secured this barrel."
Ace and Najia made great time returning to the headquarters; they flew close to recklessly, causing Marta to comment that she was glad she was flying with them, for if they got themselves killed flying that way, she wouldn't have to hear about it. They arrived at the headquarters to little fanfare, and Marta peeled off as soon as they arrived, pleading the need to go and look into something she had arranged previously. "Well, shall we talk to Boso Ta?" Ace asked, looking up at Najia. They had gone to Avarice in an overnight journey by-the-numbers, stayed for less than a day, and were now back where they had started. "And hope that this back-and-forth bears some fruit?"
"I would very much like that," Najia agreed. The container had already been sent to the lab, and she squared her shoulders up, heading for the lift with purpose.
The door to the laboratory opened, and Najia's jaw dropped. "How," she said, flatly, quietly, as Ace all-but plowed into her backside. Ace slid around her side, looking into the lab, and let out a chuff of disbelief.
Yorilos was standing beside Boso Ta's tank.
Ace resisted the urge to hiss in surprise, and reached up, patting Najia's back. "I do not know," she confessed. "Perhaps he made use of an anomaly and was quite lucky. Or perhaps he has modified his hauler in ways unimaginable and is an outright daredevil pilot." Najia shook her head, and squared up, entering the lab. The elderly professor was nowhere to be seen, but it was late at night; he was likely in bed. So she went to the interloper, approaching Yorilos. "Yorilos, hi... What are you doing here?" She wasn't even going to ask how. That was his secret and his alone.
"Ah, yes. I really hope we can find a way to make the Protectyon more affordable for everyone in Avarice," he explained, as he peered around the laboratory. That, she thought, didn't exactly explain her question; presumably he intended for her to infer the answer. Somehow. Najia shook her head and smiled, nodding to him. "Alright." She climbed up the stairs, after a glance back at Ace, who had become fascinated by the new addition of a lot of bonsai trees in the laboratory's little greenery display, and greeted Boso Ta with a wave, to which the Boron responded with one of his own. "Hello there! Ah, excellent, the Protectyon sample has been delivered, and we may begin. Thank you kindly!" Boso Ta seemed to examine a computer tablet held in his... Tentacles? Flippers? Manipulators. He made a few deft strokes. "I have added the Protectyon Research to our agenda, and listed the required secondary materials. Feel free to initiate the research at any time convenient to yourself!"
With that abrupt declaration, Boso Ta swam upwards through the hatch in the laboratory tank, presumably to his personal lodging suites. Najia blinked, rocking back on her heels and looked back at Ace, who looked at her with the cocked hips that Najia had intuited was a definite shrug. "You'd think I didn't own the place," Najia muttered to herself, "the way almost everyone just... Is so... Curt with me." "You could put them in their place the way a pirate lord would," Ace suggested. "Or, if having a beating administered is too vulgar for your preferences, do what a capitalist might do and threaten them with penury."
Najia snorted. "Yeah... I think I'd rather just live with being curtly spoken to than be an asshole." "So be it. Your ways do allow for others to become... Familiar with you," Ace said, giving a vibrato trill. "For better, and for worse." She smiled at Najia, and Najia smiled back. Ace was toying with a small bonsai tree, and watched as Najia checked her datapad, then clucked her tongue.
"A lot of things we don't have on-hand," Najia muttered, "mainly because what Boso Ta wants - for this research project, and others - are Commonwealth-base, and we're not. That's not a huge problem, I'll just ask Tsukiko to set up a PO for a useful quantity of said commodities. For now -" The tank was suddenly filled again with Boso Ta. "Assistant, you simply must do something about this irksome vessel!"
A moment of silent passed. Najia pushed down the urge to be catty or snarky at Boso Ta, or outright hostile. She took a deep breath. "A... Vessel? Is irking you?" "Yes yes! Somehow, it is managing to distort the station's sensors, preventing me from witnessing a solar event in the Great Reef Nebula. I suggest you take care of this annoyance before it manages to disrupt even more observations!"
Najia took in a breath to respond, but Boso Ta had already vanished again, with such rapidity that even Yorilos seemed to be watching him dumbstruck. Yorilos also made a cocked-hip gesture, and then walked out. Najia watched him go, and snorted. "If he has even half a brain, he's going to ask Boso Ta what resources he's asking for and then try to get ahead of the purchase orders," Najia noted. "I would." "As would I," Ace agreed. "Would you like me to take care of this... 'Irksome Vessel' for you?"
"Bored?" Najia asked, grinning at Ace. "I wouldn't say that I was bored," Ace said, reaching out and squeezing her hand. Najia squeezed back. "But it seems that Boso Ta will not likely let the matter drop."
"Alright. Let's take care of it." Najia rolled her shoulders. "I can do this admin stuff from a ship as easily as my apartment study." She headed for the lift, neglecting to let go of Ace's hand; Ace likewise kept the hold, accompanying her. They almost ran into Marta coming out of it. She had a big grin on her face, and Najia pursed her lips. "Okay, what have you done," she asked.
"Oh, not much, just had a warship commissioned to keep close-to-hand in case we get in trouble and need some biggish guns fast. She's done, come take a look." Najia looked down at Ace, who trilled loudly at her. "Either you pay her too well, or you trust her entirely, if she has such authority in your name." "Jealous," Marta asked, smirking. "Yes," Ace admitted frankly. "Shall we?"
Najia sighed and laughed. "Fiiiine."
The bridge of T.E.S. Koshirae was the common standard Terran capital module, and very shortly, Najia, Marta and Ace were standing in it, shaking hands with the woman standing at the captain's post, who was wearing a stylish jacket in a decidedly non-Terran style, tights, and comfortable looking sneakers. "I'm sorry," Najia said, with a smile. "I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage."
"Kevlin, ma'am; Selaia Kevlin. I'm a shipyard specialist." Her accent was distinctly neither anything Solar that Najia recognized, nor Segaris. "I'm surprised you're even aboard yet; we're only about to put her through space trials."
Najia snorted. "Not even the shakedown cruise, huh? You're not from anywhere I've been, are you?" "No ma'am." Selaia looked Asian, with her hair up in a tight bun. "I'm from Argon Prime. I found myself in Grand Exchange as crew on a freighter, saw the amenities on offer on your headquarters station, and jumped ship for a job here."
Najia nodded. "I see..." She grinned. "Are you spying on me?" "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you, ma'am," Selaia responded back, in the age-old joke. Najia laughed in turn.
"Right. Well, stand down for a while," she said. "I appear to have been talked into taking her out personally." "Ma'am!" Selaia stepped aside. "The, err, owner has the bridge!" she called out, fumbling through something approximating military protocol, as Najia stepped up, looking over the console. Najia grinned. "Alright. Nifty little ship. Ace, take the helm," she said. "Take us out."
submitted by ShadowDragon8685
to X4Foundations [link] [comments]
2023.03.25 08:23 DiscountHot8690 Idea to make Swain more draintank/battlemage
According to this pool https://www.reddit.com/SwainMains/comments/11vx94poll_for_swains_potential_identitydirection/
63% of Swain players wants him to be battlemage, 32% wants him to be draintank and only 1% wants him to be tank. Thats clear indication of what Swain players want him to be. With having that in mind, i tried to bend Swains kit more into those two directions. This is what i came up with:
Base stats: hp per level: +12 (of 162 champions in terms of hp at 18 Swain has 137th place. With this change he moves oto 45th place) movespeed: +5
Passive - NEW (no longer grants pernament health)
Enemy champions that die will leave behind Soul Fragment for 16 seconds, which can be collected by Swain after 1 second. Upon collecting, he will heal for 5% of his maximum health and 10% of his maximum mana. additionally, whenever Swain kills an enemy or structure, he restores 13-30 mana based on level
Q - stays mostly the same ap ratio - from 38% to 50% ap ratio of additional bolts - from 8% to 10% max damage - from 70% ap ratio to 90%
W - stays mostly the same damage from 80 / 115 / 150 / 185 / 220 (+ 55% AP) to 40/67.5/75/92.5/110 (+27.5% ap) no longer deals half of damage to minions no longer grants Soul Fragment [NEW] if Swain casts Vision of Empire within 900 range radius, its explosion delay reduces to 0.875 second
E - NEW (no longer goes back)
Swain launches a demonic wave in the target direction that deals magic damage to enemies hit. At maximum range the wave detonates dealing magic damage to nearby enemies and rooting them for 1.5 seconds, during which they are revealed. Swain can recast this ability to detonate the wave early. If Swain manged to root champions, he can recast E again to pull them over 290 units towards him. If the targets would be brought past Swain, they are instead knocked back the excess distance. no longer grants Soul Fragment
R1 - NEW demonic energy removed mana cost changed from 100 mana to 25 mana for first second + 5 per additional second now lasts as long as Swain has mana to sustain it Swain can recast R to end his ultimate early cooldown lowered from 100/80/60 to 20 seconds damage per tick from 20/40/60 (10% ap) to 50/70/90 (+20% ap) heal per tick from 15/27.5/40 (+18% ap) to 20/40/60 (+20% ap)
R2 - removed
What we achieve with these changes: - removed stacking mechanic, which was badly designed and honestly quite unpopular - removed Rylai dependancy by removing demonic energy, now R lasts as long as Swain player wants it to last, not as long as he stays close to enemies - even tho we removed Rylai dependancy (it should still be good item) other spell effect items like Liandry, Demonic or Morello still works - both lovers of old W and current W should be pleased - E now is way easier to land, and therefore harded to dodge for enemies - less health, more healing + more damage, Swain finally turns into battlemage/draintank instead of tank that he currently is - he should scale much better with additional ap ratios
edit- just fixing typos
submitted by DiscountHot8690
to SwainMains [link] [comments]
2023.03.25 07:43 Tartra [FNaF Help Wanted/Security Breach] Glitchtrap: the missing link between Glamrock Bonnie and Toy Bonnie
I've been getting into NotRealName's videos
, and with one point she raised and MatPat moving ahead with his timeline, it got me thinking about the order of events again.
None of us know how the heck Glitchtrap got into Help Wanted. The code just came from 'old circuit boards', and everyone took that to mean it was Springtrap's stuff.
But I remembered we see the Pizzaplex being teased at the end of HW, and Security Breach takes place in like 2035 or something. 'Old' has a lot of wiggle room here, and being able to go all the way back to saying those circuit boards came from Afton means we can go all the way back to even earlier: the Toy animatronics.
One of MatPat's early SB theories was that Glamrock Chica was a rebuilt version of Toy Chica
. That already follows what Fazbear Entertainment is known to do: recyle their animatronics, like with refurbishing the Withered animatronics from FNaF 2 (the prequel) into the original ones (from our perspective) in the first FNaF, and also with giving the HW game designers those aforementioned old parts.
What Fazbear didn't
do was start cleaning out the corpse bits from Springtrap. Henry sealed Afton behind a wall and left him there, and as far as Burntrap goes, the corpse is still inside. So putting aside that question of "How could Afton be uploaded into SB as Glitchtrap when he's mostly the same level of deterioration, meaning no circuit boards seem to have been removed to be
uploaded in the first place," and let's look at the four things that had to have happened if we go the 'recycling' route from the Toy to Glamrock animatronics:
- Toy animatronics get decommissioned
- Fazbear gives some random old circuit boards over to the HW team
- Fazbear teases the opening of the PizzaPlex at the end of HW
- Fazbear opens the PizzaPlex with a new set of Glamrock animatronics
Those are the facts in chronological order. The next obvious step is that somewhere between those four facts, Fazbear has to actually build the Glamrock series. If they were dumpster diving back far enough to refurbish Toy Chica, it's just as possible that they refurbished parts of the other Toys. Glamrock Freddy has a very different body shape compared to Toy Freddy, so this isn't saying they used every bit of the old series to make the new one. It's more likely Fazbear only took the parts that still seemed useful, then scrapped the rest again.
From there, it's possible - and my theory's arguing that this is what happened - that at the same time Fazbear got those 'old circuit boards', they were salvaging what they could from the Toy series into the Glamrock series, and that's where those circuit boards came from. They couldn't use Toy Bonnie's anywhere else (or the others, but the main point is about Toy Bonnie being the face of whatever gets cobbled together), so they hand that to the game studio like, "idk maybe this'll help"
The creepy, overly cute bunny from FNaF 2 that stares with a giant, unending smile.
The one built with all those advanced features from the Toy line, like being tied into criminal database systems.
The one from the series of animatronics that was never haunted, and could therefore be acting under its own corrupted software (after years of deteriorating from having been decommissioned decades earlier and then being mashed into whatever bits were there to merge with from the other Toys' salvaged code) and with a new opinion of the criminals in its database after being split into 16 different glitching Tape Girl tapes, then being put back together but "maybe not in that order".
In the video I linked up there, NRN makes the case that Glamrock Bonnie could have been kinda violent under the surface. Popular and well-liked in public, but dangerous when everyone was looking somewhere else. She frames it as being a hint in the game towards Glamrock Bonnie's true personality, not an actual marketing decision by Fazbear Entertainment, but that idea of "friendly on the surface but secretly dangerous" fits with what we see of Glitchtrap.
Even better, it fits with the idea she presents about Burntrap and Glitchtrap being separate entities. Burntrap's still in his corpse-suit - why go to the effort of bringing Afton back by uploading him into VR just to download him into an even frailer post-Pizzeria Simulator suit? Why not download him into a better suit altogether?
Unless Afton was never uploaded
in the first place.
I'm trying to avoid saying, "How is it even possible for Afton's consciousness to be preserved onto a circuit board in the first place" - ghosts. The answer is ghosts. Suit's haunted, whatever, that's the franchise. But if the goal is to bring Afton back, and into a body that doesn't match the body type of the other Glamrock animatronics (so it's not like he was directly downloaded into Glamrock Bonnie), why take this super-long set of steps to:
- Find Springtrap (after being burned again)
- Get circuits
- Upload Afton
- Preserve Springtrap remains
- Free Glitchtrap
- Recover circuits
- Reinstall circuits back into Springtrap
- Awkwardly refurbish-but-not-really Springtrap into Burntrap using bits of Glamrock Bonnie
- Download Glitchtrap into Burntrap
... when you could much more easily have:
- Find all Toys
- Salvage circuits
- Oops Toy Bonnie's brain is a virus now
- Make Glamrock animatronics with the other bits
- Oops virus in the Glamrock database
- Toy Bonnie's back in refurbished Glamrockin' action with a new Glitchtrap brain
- Ok he's gonna go hang out with the criminals for fun now lol it's bunny season, he's pulling the strings behind this whole Vanny and Afton thing tee-hee
It's one clear line of events - functional Toy Bonnie, then functional Glitchtrap, then functional Glamrock Bunny - instead of running back and forth from broken Afton with some scavenged pieces, then to Glitchtrap to get new shiny pieces, then back to Afton with those new pieces but not too
many new pieces that he's actually functional again and will still definitely need more repairs and now it's going to be a whole thing and why even bother, why was the corpse so important if you had truly already copied Afton's brain.
I know this series doesn't like being simple, but with the things NRN laid out in her video and what MatPat lays out in his, the timeline of events leave room for a simpler (and more fun) explanation of what's going on: alongside a possessed-by-Glitchtrap Vanny, one of our new main antagonist is a mix (amalgamation maybe? :3) of various recycled parts from a series with lots of extra features that did not mix well together in its Curse of the Fredbear frankensoup after all. The evil has gone fully into the sci-fi side, because Glitchtrap is a ghost-free animatronic that's here to have fun instead of a vengeful spirit out to get revenge.
And come on - it would
be Evil Toy Bonnie who possesses Vanny to bring Afton back again
. He's the worst.
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2023.03.25 07:34 Sea_Nothing3260 Gossip Girl's cancelled season 3 - I decided to imagine the whole season
Hi everyone, As you all know, GG 2.0 is dead. But as much as I disliked a lot of things with the reboot, I liked the characters and like to imagine what season 3 could have been about. I decided to use my talent as an unemployed, but licensed, screenwriter to write the plot of the whole season and each episode (I decided it would be 12, but I'll only post the 4 first episodes and see if people are interested. No need to spam the sub if no one is invested). It's a been long, I took the time to really think about it... I guess it's really time I find someone to hire me.
Note : I'm not rewriting the show. I tried to keep the "heart" of the reboot and what's already done. Even if I write something I like, I'm not trying to make it my thing but rather someting that could have really happened. For new characters, I tried to imagine actors who could played them. I tried to choose actors who could really play in GG. For example : I won't say Angelina Jolie or someone too big.
EPISODE 1 - AN INFLUENCER IS BORN
Well, well, well, Upper East Siders, it's the end of summer, and Constance St. Jude is back in session. And so am I, back from the dead, with a brand-new account and a fresh batch of scandals to reveal. Just to be clear, I'm not some teacher, and I'm definitely not Dan Humphrey. I just love the chaos. And speaking of chaos, let's have a laugh at Mr. Menzies, shall we ? My first juicy secret of the season : he planned to create a Gossip Girl app to spy on all you lovely nepo kids. Not only is that idea utterly ridiculous, but I'm sure the students of Constance St. Jude will be thrilled to know that one of the richest men in the world has nothing better to do than to harass his own child's peers. Isn't that right, Aki ?
But Mr. Menzies is merely a drop in the ocean of scandal. It's a new school year, and I think it's about time we pulled back the curtain to let everyone enjoy the most twisted senior year they could ever imagine. Dearest Constance St. Jude students, you've strutted around like peacocks for far too long, believing yourselves to be invincible. And let's not forget about your dear parents, who've been pulling the strings behind the scenes. Grades, exams, and results at Constance St. Jude have been manipulated for years by your doting guardians, desperate to secure your futures at any cost. Bribery, intimidation, harassment... But the most delicious part ? You, their darling offspring, are completely in the dark, basking in your false sense of brilliance. Felicity Huffman walked so the parents of Constance St. Jude could sprint. Now, let's get back to our favorite Upper East Siders, shall we ?
Spotted : J and O, entwined in each other's arms all summer long. But as they return to the hallowed halls of high school, our darling Queen J seems to be jetting off with Obie's private plane more often than not. She claims it's all about professional opportunities, but are those opportunities the real reason she's been MIA and losing followers by the day ? Perhaps they're finding L more captivating. Poor Monet must be lost in this shifting landscape. Is her friendship with L stronger than her craving for attention ? Maybe she'll find some in Angela (played by Rachel Sennott), the Buffalo Next Door who arrived at Constance on the same program as Zoya and who just so happens to be her former nemesis. An enemy in common makes for a passionate alliance. But did Queen Monet ever imagine her senior year would bring a love story with Middle America ?
In the meantime, Z is relishing her newfound singlehood, fluttering from one social butterfly to another. Word on the street is that a certain Philip has piqued her interest. But who is this mysterious suitor ? On the flip side, Audrey is burning the midnight oil to rescue her mother Kiki's floundering fashion empire. In her valiant efforts, she's sought assistance from her father Richard, who in turn introduced her to Vince (played by Michael Cristofer) and his son, Seth (played by Jack Alcott). Hushed whispers suggest a strange alliance between Vince and Richard, entwined with money and familial bonds. Could we be looking at an arranged marriage in the halls of power ?
The fashion world is abuzz as L is poised to make her mark as a top model, inviting everyone to a runway event that will seal her fate. But instead of celebrating L's success, J and M can't seem to shake their envy. It might be time for J to swallow her pride and consider stepping into the role of L's assistant – what a twist of fate ! Max, never one to miss an opportunity, has made his grand return, arm in arm with the mysterious Paolo. Poor Z is left reeling when she discovers that her new beau Philip is actually one and the same. J, too, is shocked as she recognizes the face of her secret Italian rendezvous, Pablo. It looks like he’ll be a new student at Constance St. Jude now. Aki and Audrey, on the other hand, are left with heavy hearts as they watch Max moving on without them.
Brace yourselves, because with these twists and turns, this year promises to be nothing short of explosive. XOXO, Gossip Girl
EPISODE 2 - AMERICAN PSYCHO-SOCIALITES
Hello again, Upper East Siders! It's your one and only Gossip Girl here, dishing out the latest on the elite. Word on the street is that Mr. Menzies has organized a lavish brunch, not only to redeem his tarnished image after my little exposé but also as a pretext to gather the parents of Constance St. Jude. You see, they're scrambling to devise a strategy in the wake of the scandalous exam fiasco I so graciously brought to light. It seems like everyone's invited, but rumor has it Aki's on the verge of cutting ties with his dear old dad. How heartbreaking ! And can you blame him ? It takes courage to stand up to a closed-minded father who's more concerned about appearances than his own flesh and blood. So here's to you, Aki !
Audrey seems utterly oblivious to Aki's internal struggle, far too busy cozying up to Seth. At first, she was hesitant, but now she's come to the stark realization that following her father's lead may be the only way to save her Kiki's long fall from grace. Aki is ready to play his part in this twisted game, but it's only a matter of time before the whole charade goes up in flames. And with Seth shamelessly flirting with Aki throughout the brunch, it's safe to say the sparks are already flying. Meanwhile, our dear Max is drowning his sorrows, betrayed by Paolo's web of lies. While Little Z and J have washed their hands of Paolo, Max can't resist the temptation and finds himself back in his deceitful embrace.
Once again, everyone's got it out for J. Why didn't she spill the beans about her secret rendezvous with Paolo ? She swears there was no affair, but refuses to reveal the real reason behind their meetings. J's hoping the brunch will bring her closer to Carla (guest star: Sarah Michelle Gellar), a powerhouse influencer agent who could help her maintain her status – especially now that her father's financial support seems to be mysteriously dwindling. Camille had planned to introduce M to some Ivy League bigwigs, hoping it would be enough to save faces considered Monet's less than impressive academic prowess, but M was far too preoccupied flirting and sneaking off with Angela. A covert affair, but for how long can they keep it under wraps ?
In a final twist, Camille pays a visit to Kate, desperately trying to uncover my true identity. Good luck with that, Camille ! You see, I have no connection to Kate at all. As I've said before, I'm here for the chaos, and I won't be unmasked that easily. XOXO Gossip Girl.
EPISODE 3 - THE SHAPE OF SCANDAL
Hey there, Upper East Siders ! It's your one and only Gossip Girl back with another juicy tidbit. The weekend may be here, but there's never a pause when it comes to scandalous affairs. After all, the city never sleeps, and neither do I.
Word has it that J and L are set to share the limelight in an upcoming photoshoot, lensed by none other than Laurie Simmons (guest star: Laurie Simmons) for J. Humphrey's Designs. The feature's all about high schoolers on the cusp of stardom, but can these two rising stars put their differences aside for the sake of the perfect shot ? The tension in the air is as thick as the layers of makeup on their faces, but I have a feeling this is one catwalk catfight we won't want to miss.
Well, it's a matter of time before J and L's bickering reach its boiling point. And while they may kiss and make up, at least for now, it looks like J's already lost her coveted contract with Carla. Our favorite agent wasn't too thrilled about working with someone so unprofessional. And when Z swooped in to offer some unsolicited lecture, it was enough to send Carla packing. But it's not all doom and gloom, as L seems to have come out on top. Cozying up to Florian and landing herself a leading role in an upcoming film – it seems like this girl's star is on the rise. Watch out, mama, there's really a new queen bee in town.
It seems Audrey's life is taking a turn for the worse. With Kiki's world falling apart, Eleanore's support can only do so much. Downgrading to a less prestigious zip code ? Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Audrey's ready to play her father's game : she's ditching Aki and calling it quits. Poor Aki, losing his father and girlfriend in one fell swoop. But fear not, for our dear Max is ever-present, eager to console Aki. Just when Aki leaned in for a comforting kiss with him, Max dropped the bomb that their romantic escapades were a thing of the past. However, he graciously offered to revisit the idea of friendship, opening the door for Aki to become part of his life again. At least one happy ending around the two As.
M escaped the Big Apple for a wild time in Los Angeles with Angela, hiding from her mother and dancing the night away in a swanky club. But what's this ? It seems M's little pink book extends to the West Coast, leaving Angela more than a little surprised. Back in NYC, J's post-photoshoot plans took a turn as she drowns her sorrows in a night of partying after a tiff with O, who's fed up with her mysterious ways. As she loses herself in the haze, who should come to her rescue but Paolo ? Under the influence, she thanks him for keeping her secret safe and kisses him.
Hold onto your hats, Upper East Siders. This is one storm you won't want to miss. XOXO, Gossip Girl
EPISODE 4 - DRAMATIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Good evening Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here, and I've got some hot tea for you. In a world where everyone's searching for that elusive reset button, our favorite Constance St. Jude's girls decide a Hamptons weekend getaway is just what the doctor ordered. But let's not forget the storm brewing back at school, where the faculty is getting a makeover to quell the scandal of those rigged exams. Julien, Zoya, Monet, Luna, Shan, and Audrey are about to embark on a journey they won't soon forget, and you better believe I'll be watching every step.
Spotted : Monet and Luna, their tension thicker than a Manhattan smog. Seems like Luna's feeling abandoned, but Monet's got her own secrets to hide. When will she talk about the Buffalo in the room ? Just when they're about to claw each other's eyes out, who do they find crashing their girls-only Hamptons getaway ? None other than Paolo. With steam coming out of their ears, these two turn into amateur detectives to solve the mystery of the unwelcome guest. Good luck, ladies—you'll need it.
Poor little Audrey, drowning her post-breakup blues and dragging J down with her. But J doesn't need Audrey's help to spiral—she's got enough skeletons in her closet to fill a graveyard. Concerned Z can't help but fret over her sister, but her worries multiply when she suspects Shan's been drawn into a cult. Finding Shan's activist past erased from Instagram only adds fuel to the fire, but answers remain as elusive as ever.
Meanwhile, back in the Big Apple, Aki has a "chance" encounter with Seth. But the truth ? Seth was itching to see Aki again and made sure their paths crossed. As Seth bares his soul about his marriage fears, he's reduced to tears but stays tight-lipped about the details. And Max's weekend away with Gideon, Roy, and Saskia ? Let's just say things went south when they confronted him about his self-destructive ways and suggested therapy. Once again, Aki ends up being Max's support system – talk about drama.
Not one to be left out, Obie heads to the Hamptons to join the crew. At a wild party, J faces an interrogation from the gang, who demand answers to her ongoing secretive behavior. Meanwhile, O catches J locking lips with Paolo as he covertly sneaks into the residence. As everyone turns against J, she flees with Paolo, leaving a tipsy O and Audrey to find comfort in each other's embrace.
And so, as our scandalous weekend in the Hamptons comes to a close, it's time to bid adieu. But don't worry, my dear, I'll be keeping a watchful eye on all the sordid secrets and juicy dramas that are sure to unfold. Until next time, you know you love me, XOXO, Gossip Girl.
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2023.03.25 07:25 BugSprayUser Fear and Staging in Lakeview
“We can’t stop here this is lighting country” our Engine Boss says as we blow past the lake county fairgrounds. “Yeah that’s the point that’s why we’re here” The 50ft tall wooden cowboy proclaiming “the tallest town in Oregon” glares down at us as he does all travelers. He then turns the engine around in a motel parking lot. 3 different helitack crews are already motel’d up and have been for god knows how long. One crew has a flat tire, a trash bag over there passenger rear window, and boxes of La Croix spilling out of there room. With my window rolled down I could hear them belching that sweet flavored, carbonated hydration. We place an order at Burger Queen but after waiting for 45 minutes we get an urgent call.
“The storm is coming get to the office now”
We pull into the compound and we’re met outside by a man who walked up in tattered greens and yellows and a hardhat and never introduced himself. Seeing the burn scars from the Bootleg and all the other fires that have ran through the district recently we wondered what there was to save. The man hands is a map of the district with giant red arrows all pointing at one range. “YA SEE THAT” he barks “That’s the only patch of green timber left on this district that’s where you boys are headed” He then turns around and walks behind a storage container and we never heard from him after that.
We departed the compound and realized there were no USFS or ODF signs anywhere. “Did anyone catch his name” my engine boss asks as we all shake our heads in confusion. My engine boss calls the phone number we got the call from and it went straight to voicemail. The voicemail read “Just put Dr Gonzo on your shift tickets and bring them back to the orange container”. We depart and head into the ponderosa.
As we picked our way through the burn scars I started to forget what green looked like, until we rounded the corner and saw our oasis. A 5 acre green marsh with 4 large ponderosa in it….as-well as a full fire camps worth of resources. Right as we pull in we’re approached by an emancipated chipper operator.
“How much longer do we have here” he cries “Gotta ask Gonzo about that” the security guard we were talking too says before turning to us and saying “contractors am I right” He then points us to our parking area.
It was nearing dinner time but there was no sign of a dinner tent, or any real support tents for that matter. But we assumed they were just getting set up for the storm and a whole camp for staging seemed a little strange. We waited until near sundown and we’re about to bust out some MREs before we hear a distant helicopter coming closer. Then we hear the other resources start cheering, whistling, then running. We decide they must be going somewhere important so we follow. An A-Star appears over the horizon with a sling load of cardboard boxes appears over the horizon. He circles camp once then dumps his load onto the crowd of a few hundred at this point. The boxes slam into the ground and some break open as everyone around us charges them like a Walmart just opened on black Friday. We figured we should do the same so grab a box and a case of gato’s and head back to our rig.
We open it up to find we scored a box of MRE crackers and carrots. “What the hell is going on in this place” our crew member says says. “No clue, this is stranger than any ODF inmate camp I’ve ever found myself in” Responds our engine boss. We eat our dinner and bed down with no sign of a storm.
The next morning we wake up to a radio briefing that told us “The storm is headed up from Yreka and should arrive above you by late afternoon. “Isn’t this the same briefing we got yesterday?” Our first year says to the Engine Boss “Yes it was, Something must be going on here”
continued in part 2
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2023.03.25 07:24 DwooMan5 [SPOILER ALL] A Antagonist theory
Over the past few weeks I have seen a lot of theories around Vadic’s master’s identity with the vast majority of these being that the main antagonist of season 3 will be the Borg. This feels wrong to me and I want to talk about why and present an alternate theory that seems to fit very neatly to me.
Why it’s not the Borg
This entire scheme to steal Picard’s body through proxies seems very…not Borg to me. Throughout Star Trek we have seen the Borg act nearly exclusively through brute force and numbers and rarely if ever through subterfuge. The only time the Borg worked with another species as far as I can remember is with Voyager during the 8472 crisis and even this took a lot of pushing. Throughout this entire event, the borg behaved very aggressively toward voyager’s crew and constantly insisted on assimilating them or adding them to the collective to work more efficiently. I highly doubt that this view has changed in the time that voyager has left the delta quadrant. I do not see it in their nature to recruit and work through a “lesser organism” to achieve their goals. If this were the borg it is my opinion that it would be more likely that they would instead simply assimilate the breakaway changelings and do things the way they always have done and simply try to drown the Federation in drones. Maybe this could be an adaptation to constantly failing to assimilate the Federation I guess as well though.
While this entire scheme seems very much against the Borg's typical style, it does however align a lot with the modus operandi of another faction, the Iconians. For the first half of the story in STO the primary background antagonists are the Iconians and their subservient races. The Iconians frequently acted through lesser races in elaborate schemes to destabilize the quadrant towards the goal of the reclamation of their empire and vengeance against a certain faction in the game. Destabilizing the Federation through using a race uniquely suited to infiltrate the galactic powers to stir up unrest is very very Iconian from their actions in Beta canon and is even something they actually did in the game albeit indirectly. Iconians are also masters of genetic engineering, creating an entire race of incredibly powerful servants known as the Heralds, and genetically modifying the race that will come to be known as the Elachi. It is entirely possible that the changeling's new found adapations to avoid detection are a result of Iconian meddling. Vaidic's master in the new traile ralso speaks very much like an Iconian herald with a heavy emphasis on Vaidic's inferiority to him and destablizing her matrix would definitely be something a Herald would be capable of. The escort vessels that attack Crusher's ship in the first episode of the show also bear a striking resemblance to Elachi vessels, something that certainly could be supplied to the changelings. With the show seemingly leaning on STO for a lot of ship designs, it would make sense for them to also draw from the story and alter it to fit their plans while maintaing the core idea. We have even potentially seen the start of these STO related plot lines in the first season where the Tal Shiar were incredibly interested in salvaging Borg tech to attempt to restore the empire and their power, something the Iconians had a heavy hand in assisting them with. Finally, it has been said numerous times that this season would be a gateway to a new era of Trek, an era that I believe that will be similar but different to STO and make use of the Iconians as a reoccuring background villain until they pull them out in a movie or season for another DS9 style war.
I certainly believe that the Borg have a part to play in all of these, I am just unsure of what the Iconians would want with Picard's body and Jack so far though. It could have to do with the syndrome and/or Borg tech still in Picard. Hopefully we will see in the next episode.
TLDR: The Borg are not the primary antagonists behind everything in season 3, it is the Iconians acting through the changelings to destablize the Federation while dangling revenge and conquest in front of them.
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2023.03.25 07:10 Awkward_Ad8670 The Death of Death Triangle - Part 2
Welcome back ya'll. If you need a catch up, here's my boy Logans' Part 1
. Here the story continues, so hope you enjoy. AEW Winter is Coming (7th December 2023) Bandido and Rey Fenix Vs Hostile Intent
Winter is Coming is kicked straight off with tag action, as Fenix looks to avenge his beatdown at the hands of his brother. Teaming up with Fenix tonight is a good friend Bandido, deciding to fight alongside him against Hostile Intent, being revolted by their actions last week. The bell rings as Fenix and Penta stare at each other from a distance. The fans cheer for Lucha Bros, but they’re chanting for a ghost. The two start circling around one another. Penta stops his strut midway as he raises his fist in the air. “CERO MIEDO.” as the hand comes right back down. Fenix shows, well…no fear, as he kicks Penta right in his shin. Penta retorts back with an overhead CHOP. Fenix steps back cause of the impact, but jumps right back at Penta with a SUPERKICK. Penta ducks under, crouching down for a LEG SWEEP. Fenix jumps over it, trying to follow it up with a DOUBLE FOOT STOMP on Penta, but Penta rolls out of it. Penta gets back to his feet and rushes at Fenix, as Fenix bushes him aside. Penta bounces off the ropes, ducking under as Fenix LEAPFROGS over him. Penta bounces off the other side, AND SLIDES UNDER A DROPKICK ATTEMPT FROM FENIX. Penta rushes back to his feet, as Fenix tries to regain himself. PENTA SHUTS DOWN ANY RETALIATION, BY SLICING FENIX’S LEG WITH A SOCCER KICK. Penta proceeds to repeatedly stomp on his brother’s leg, before slamming him into his corner.
Following this, PAC and Penta take turns, tagging in and out, working over Fenix’s leg. PAC forces Fenix to run by IRISH WHIPPING him, and then proceeding to hit his knee with a LOW DROPKICK. PAC brings Fenix to the top rope as looks to hit him with a TOP ROPE GERMAN SUPLEX, but Fenix continues to fight back. The two stand atop the turnbuckle as Fenix starts hitting PAC, who still has waist control, with ELBOWS. PAC drops down to the mat, shakes it off, before ascending back to the turnbuckle. He hits Fenix with some shots to the back, AND SWITCHES IT AROUND BY GOING FOR A TOP ROPE POISON RANA. BOTH MEN GO FLYING THROUGH THE AIR, BUT FENIX LANDS ON HIS FEET. His knee immediately buckles, as PAC gets back up. PAC tries to get back to Fenix, but he’s a step slower as Fenix rolls forward, popping up straight into a CUTTER. The crowd are on their feet as Bandido stretches his arm out for a tag. Fenix gets back up, hobbling to his corner as he finally tags in Bandido. Bandido immediately SPRINGBOARDS off the ropes, and hits an ARMDRAG on PAC. Penta jumps into the ring too, dashing towards Bandido. Bandido is like a freight train, never stop never stopping as he hits pushes himself off Penta with a TIGER WALL FLIP, and hits a rushing Penta with a RELEASE BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX. PAC catches Bandido off guard with a ROUNDHOUSE KICK. PAC brings Bandido back to his feet, IRISH WHIPPING him into the ropes, hoping for a RELEASE BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX of his own, ONLY FOR IT BE COUNTERED BY A SMOOTH LOOKING TILT-A-WHIRL-GOURDBUSTER.
The match continues to rage on, as all 4 men fight back and forth. In the closing stretch of the match, PAC and Bandido are the legal men, as Bandido is all fired up. He’s chopping PAC in his chest, as PAC continues to get pushed back. Another CHOP from Bandido sends PAC stumbling back onto the ropes. Bandido follows up on PAC by running the ropes on the other side and going for a SATELLITE DDT, ONLY FOR PAC TO COUNTER IT WITH A POP UP POWERBOMB. ONE…TWO…THRE, BANDIDO KICKS OUT. Penta is on the apron, draping over the top rope for a tag. He gets his wish as PAC tags him in. PAC starts climbing the top rope as Penta sets Bandido up for a FEAR FACTOR. ONLY THEN FENIX RUNS AT PAC, RUNNING OVER THE TIGHTROPE AND FINISHING WITH A SUPER HURRICANRANA OFF THE TOP ROPE. Penta lets go, rushing at Fenix, dropping his brother down with a SLING BLADE. Penta goes towards PAC, pulling him back to his feet. Bandido is almost to his feet, but Hostile Intent takes him out with a DOUBLE SUPERKICK. Fenix is trying to bring himself back to his feet using the ropes. PAC grabs onto Fenix’s head from behind, rag dolling him to the centre of the ring. He pulls him up as Penta lines up a SUPERKICK and fires the shot, ONLY FOR FENIX TO DUCK AT THE LAST SECOND, MAKING PAC EAT THE SUPERKICK. PENTA IS BRIEFLY TAKEN ABACK, AND THIS MOMENTARY DISTRACTION IS ENOUGH FOR BANDIDO TO LAND A HURRICANRANA, STRAIGHT INTO A PIN. ONE…TWO…THREE… Bandido and Rey Fenix def. Hostile Intent
PAC is fuming after the loss, arguing with Penta. Penta claims it was an accident, but PAC says the accident cost him the match. The two leave the ring, arguing all the way up to the rampway, as Penta ends up shoving PAC away out of frustration. The two almost come to blows, but Alex Abrahantes gets in-between them, stopping this inevitable collision for now. AEW Dynamite Tag title eliminator battle royale I and II
As is tradition, The challengers for the World tag titles will be selected via two battle royales. Winner of each match will be added to the fatal four way at the ppv, which includes Best Friends, the current tag champion, and La Faccion Ingobernable’s very own Rush and Andrade. The first match comes down to Fenix fighting against PAC and Mark Quen. PAC and Mark team up to try and take Fenix out, almost succeeding, but Fenix is able to hold on, eliminating Quen out of the ring. He’s unable to eliminate PAC however, who’s trusty hammer is the decision maker, knocking off the top rope onto the apron, and then swiftly eliminated by a kick to the face. Hostile Intent is in, securing a spot at Revolution. Bandido and Fenix have one final opportunity to enter the tag title fatal four way, and they’re able to clinch it after Bandido hits a TILT-A-WHIRL MEXICAN DESTROYER ON ISIAH CASSEDY, and then throws him out of the ring. Ethan Page on the outside tries to catch him, but Fenix runs the ropes and hits an OVER THE TOP ROPE MOONSAULT PLANCHA ON THE OUTSIDE, eliminating both him and Isiah from the bout, but securing the win for his team.
Later in the show, Swerve Strickland interrupts a Firm promo. He buys Private Party’s contract on the spot from The Firm, who are more than happy to get rid of, in their words, these jobbers. Swerve asks Private Party to make a decision, a decision that’ll change their lives for the foreseeable future. “Let’s talk somewhere private.”, Swerve walks away saying this, as Mark and Isiah choose to walk with him. AEW Revolution (5th March, 2024) Rey Fenix and Bandido Vs Hostile Intent Vs Best Friends Vs Andrade and Rush Tornado Tag AEW World Tag Team Championship
Best Friends walk into this as the tag champions, stuck in the midst of a blood feud. Hostile Intent have their own qualms with Best Friends, having lost their tag title to them. La Facción Ingobernable have had considerable beef with Death Triangle, but they’ve been nothing but cordial to Hostile Intent in the lead up to this, suggesting at an open slot in the faction. All that goes out the window tonight however as bodies fly, men crash and burn. In the final moments of the match, PAC and Pentagon find themselves in control. Penta has landed the FEAR FACTOR on Trent, as PAC is standing on the top rope. Before he can hit the BLACK ARROW however, he’s interrupted by Bandido who meets him at the top rope, as the two start brawling at the top rope. As that fight ensues, Penta is caught off guard by Fenix, WHO SPRINGBOARDS IN THE RING AND LANDS A CANADIAN DESTROYER ON HIM. Bandido staggers PAC with a HEADBUTT, and picks him up. Fenix makes his way to the other turnbuckle, climbing the top rope. BANDIDO MOONSAULTS WITH PAC, LANDING A REVOLUTION X AS FENIX LEAPS OVER FROM THE OTHER SIDE, LANDING A FROG SPLASH ON PAC ONCE BANDIDO MOVES OUT THE WAY. AFTER LANDING THIS COMBO CALLED THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION, FENIX MAKES THE PIN. ONE…TWO…THRE, RUSH BREAKS UP THE PIN. Rush shoves Fenix away at the last second, as Bandido makes a dash towards him. Rush uses Bandido’s own momentum and sends him crashing into the turnbuckles with an OVERHEAD RELEASE BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX. Fenix tries to attack Rush, but Andrade catches him halfway. He feints a FRONT KICK, but lands a DISCUS BACK ELBOW INSTEAD, SENDING FENIX TUMBLING IN THE CORNER. Rush and Andrade have the same idea now, walking over to the opposite turnbuckles, letting out a loud roar to hype the crowd and themselves, AND RUSHING BACK INTO THEIR RESPECTIVE CORNERS, LANDING A RUNNING KNEE SMASH ON FENIX, AND THE BULLS HORNS ON BANDIDO. RUSH PULLS BANDIDO TO THE CENTRE AND MAKES HIS PIN. ONE…TWO…THREE… Andrade and Rush def. Hostile Intent, Best Friends, Bandido and Rey Fenix
Rush places his foot over Bandido’s lifeless body, as Andrade lands a LA SOMBRA on Fenix after the bout. The new champions raise their titles in glory, as Rush gestures over to PAC and Penta, perhaps promising something similar.
In the weeks to come we see the problems between these multiple factions continue to boil over. Bandido and Fenix launch attacks at La Faccion time to time, avenging their humiliation at Revolution, but the numbers continue to topple them. Whereas tension have continued to arise between La Faccion and Fenix and Bandido, bridges are being built with Hostile Intent. Rush, Andrade and Preston Vance start accompanying Pentagon to his matches, with Pentagon returning the favour. They crash Hostile Intent promos, joking around with Penta in Spanish, much to PAC’s annoyance. This annoyance slowly devolves into contempt as PAC starts acting quite hostile towards La Faccion. Hostile Intent are the biggest free agents in the faction market right now, dipping their toes in the pond. The leader of Mogul Affiliates is one of them, Swerve Strickland. Swerve has cast a wide net, focusing on Private Party, Samoa Joe, and of course, Hostile Intent. AEW Dynamite Preston Vance, Andrade and Rush Vs ???, Rey Fenix and Bandido
Fenix reveals that he’s found the man to even the odds. A man who probably has more animosity against La Faccion than even Fenix and Bandido. The man isn’t revealed until the match itself. La Faccion make their entrance first, waiting in the ring for this mystery tag partner. Fenix and Bandido come out first as the crowd cheer them on. And this is when Scorched Earth blares throughout the arena. Out walks Dragon Lee, never having went to NXT cause Tony Khan took out his chequebook, standing alongside Fenix and Bandido. Rush looks livid, seeing his own brother standing up to him. Dragon Lee hasn’t forgotten the betrayal against him by Rush and Andrade, stabbing him in the back because he refused to bend his morals for their underhanded tactics. From bell to bell, all men fight at a breakneck pace. Springboards, Dives, Chops, Stomps, launches and splashes are hurled around like a Headlock Takeover, as the crowd eats up this traditional Lucha 6-man encounter. In the final moments of the match, FENIX AND BANDIDO LAUNCH THEMSELVES OUT OF THE RING, PERICINF THROUGH PRESTON AND ANDRADE ON THE OUTSIDE WITH A TOPE SUICIDA. Lee is left alone with his brother in the ring, as he pulls him up with his air, spouting about vengeance. Rush spits on Dragon, who responds back with a slicing KNIFE EDGE CHOP. RUSH never backed down from a fight though, striking back with a THUNDEROUS CHOP OF HIS OWN. The brothers exchange these chops with one another, their chest turning red as bruises start flaring up. Their wills are unbreakable, but their bodies start slowing down, with Dragon taking a step back. He tries to walk back towards Rush, who pushes him away with a BOOT to the face. Rush then tracks back to the ropes, bouncing back for a LARIAT, BUT GETS CAUGHT WITH A STANDING SPANISH FLY INSTEAD. ONE…TWO…THR, RUSH KICKS OUT. Dragon jumps back to his feet, lowering his knee pad, and diligently waits for Rush to get back to his feet, BEFORE DASHING AT HIM WITH THE RODILLA DRAGON, BUT RUSH SLIDES OUT AT THE LAST SECOND. DRAGON BOUNCES CHEST FIRST OFF THE ROPES, AS RUSH LATCHES ONTO HIS WAIST AND USES THE MOMENTUM TO LAND A RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX. The crowd are on their feet as Rush slowly makes his way back to his feet. Dragon tries to do the same, dragging himself to the corner, taking a brief rest to regain himself. Rush doesn’t allow this though, setting up his finish, AS HE RUNS AT DRAGON, LYING IN THE CORNER, TO FINISH IT ALL WITH THE BULLS HORNS, BUT FENIX AND BANDIDO STOP HIM MIDWAY WITH A DOUBLE SUPERKICK. They follow it up by bringing him back to his feet and whipping him towards Dragon FOR THE DESNUCADORA. FENIX AND BANDIDO BLOCK ANDRADE AND PRESTON FROM RUSHING IN, AS DRAGON MAKES THE PIN. ONE…TWO…THREE… Dragon Lee, Fenix and Bandido def. La Faccion Ingobernable
This new faction has a successful debut, and would later be known as Facción de Sangre Derramada. This war is nowhere near over though, as a new challenger approaches this battlefield. AEW Dynamite (24th May, 2024) Hostile Intent Vs Private Party #1 contender title shot for the AEW Tag titles
The top two ranked teams will duel it out tonight to determine the next challenger for Rush and Andrade’s AEW tag titles at Double or Nothing. The bell rings as Quen and Penta start us off. The two have a great exchange, with Penta single handily taking out both men, but his momentum is halted after Quen distracts the ref, allowing for Isiah to stun Penta over the top rope. Private Party then take turns working over Penta, preventing him from escaping with a tag. Isiah climbs the top rope, hyping up the crowd who relentlessly boo him. HE DIVES OFF THE TOP FOR A SWANTON BOMB, BUT PENTA RAISES HIS KNEES, DRIVING THEM INTO ISIAH’S SPINE. Penta crawls over to his corner, as Quen jumps in, pulling Penta back by his leg. Isiah throws Penta into the corner, and follows him there for a SPLASH, BUT PENTA FLIPS OVER HIM USING THE TOP ROPE, LATCHING ONTO QUEN’S HEAD, AND HITTING A BACKBREAKER. The crowd are on their feet, as Penta makes his crawl yet again, he dives to make the tag, ONLY FOR PAC TO DROP OFF THE APRON. PAC starts backing away as Alex and Penta shout at him. Isiah is back at his feet at this point, and he starts attacking Penta. PAC just stares at the chaos, as Private Party start double teaming Penta. Alex tries to talk sense to PAC, but PAC just clocks Alex, shutting him up temporarily. La Faccion Ingobernable has had enough, as they make their way down. The start shouting at PAC too, who just coldly stares them down. Penta is able to fight off the double team in this time, fighting at the top rope. Rush orders PAC to get into the ring, and PAC just smirks at him, AS SWERVE AND SAMOA JOE STAND RIGHT BEHIND EM, SMACKING THEM OVER THE BACK WITH CHAIRS. PAC JOINS IN THE ATTACK, SLAMMING ANDRADE INTO THE STEEL STEPS. As the assault continues outside, Penta is briefly distracted, GIVING PRIVATE PARTY ENOUGH TIME TO LAND A PICTURE PERFECT GIN AND JUICE. ONE…TWO…THREE… Private Party def. Hostile Intent
La Faccion is further wrecked after the match, with PAC chucking Penta out of the ring. Swerve puts his hand out for Private Party, who look at one another, and then gleefully shake the man’s hand. This wasn’t the end for this faction for this week however, as on the rampage before Double or Nothing, Swerve renames the faction to ‘Mogul Empire’. Mogul Empire crash a promo between The House of Black and Facción de Sangre Derramada, declaring themselves as title contenders based on star power alone. The House of Black fear no team, accepting both challenges. AEW Double or Nothing (28th May, 2024) Private Party Vs Rush and Andrade (La Faccion Ingobernable) AEW World Tag Team Championship
In this match, Rush and Andrade are fighting at a disadvantage, being bruised up from their last encounter against the Mogul Empire, and also missing backup for the night. Mogul Empire on the other hand, have a battalion at their disposal, as Parker Boudreaux and Trench cause constant distractions and interference, causing Andrade to be caught with a GIN AND JUICE. ONE…TWO…THREE… Private Party def. Rush and Andrade
The Mogul Empire have already managed to capture the tag titles tonight, adding in even more gold will further cement the faction as the next best thing in AEW. Let’s see if they can do so. PAC, Samoa Joe and Swerve Strickland (Mogul Empire)Vs Facción de Sangre Derramada Vs House of Black AEW Trios Titles
House of Black have been on a dominant, yearlong title run. They have been racking defences, defeating top teams left and right. This might be their most unique challenge yet, as even as the champions, they are not the centre of attention in this match. The true story going in is the blood feud between Fenix and PAC, alongside the immediate rise of the Mogul Empire. And the Mogul Empire almost had the win in the bag, until the ref goes down, and La Faccion make their way down. They have the steel chairs this time, wrecking shit and knocking out the Mogul Empire. They go after Fenix and Dragon Lee too, but they get knocked the fuck right back with SPINNING HEEL KICKS on the chairs, bouncing off their domes. Brody King tries to shut this shit down, hitting a DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE ON FENIX AND DRAGON. He IRISH WHIPS Bandido into the corner, WHO JUST STEPS ALL THE WAY UP, BALANCING ON THE STEEL RINGPOST, DIVING OFF TO LAND A SENTON ATOMICA ONTO MALAKAI BLACK ON THE OUTSIDE. Brody decides to let that go for now, focusing on the win instead. He brings Buddy back to his feet, as they go for DANTE’S INFERNO on REY FENIX. BUDDY LIFTS FENIX UP FOR THE VERTICAL SUPLEX, BUT FENIX ESCAPES OUT THE BACK, LANDING A POISONRANA ON BUDDY. Dragon Lee catches Brody off-guard with a SUPERKICK. He staggers back a bit, only to be shook by a SUPERKICK FROM FENIX. Brody refuses to go down however, firing up instead as he goes for a DOUBLE LARIAT, but the two men duck under AND LAND A DOUBLE SUPERKICK, SENDING BRIDY TUMBLING OUT OF THE RING. Fenix immediately runs the ropes as Dragon waits from for him at the end, AND POPS FENIX IN THE AIR, LAUNCHING HIM OUTSIDE FOR AN ELEVATED PLANCHA ONTO BRODY KING. Bandido has made his way into the ring, as Dragon and Bandido lift Buddy UP FOR A DOUBLE DRAGON DRILLER, AND DROPPING HIM HEAD FIRST ON THEIR KNEES. FENIX MAKES HIS WAY TO THE TOP ROPE, BRIEFLY LOOKS UP AT THE SKY, THEN LANDS THE FROG SPLASH. ONE…TWO…THREE… Facción de Sangre Derramada def. Mogul Empire and House of Black
Swerve is shell shocked at this loss, PAC and Joe fuming out their ears. They obviously want revenge, beating Facción de Sangre Derramada for the trios title would be a dream, but they’re eyes are on a different faction right now. Forbidden Door is coming along, maybe they can get some help. AEW Forbidden Door (25th June, 2024) Penta, Rush, Preston Vance, Andrade, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi (Los Ingobernables) Vs Pac, Samoa Joe, Swerve Strickland, Mark Quen, Isiah Cassidy, El Phantasmo and KENTA (Mogul Empire and Bullet Club)
Fuck AAA. This is our booking. Also fuck New Japan. El Phantasmo is the leader of Bullet Club by now. In the weeks leading up to the ppv, we saw teases from Rush and Andrade of the band coming back together. Swerve was planning something for himself this time around though, scouting the strongest talent that hates LIJ with all his might. He found the absolute right men for the job. On the penultimate episode before the ppv, Bullet Club and Mogul Empire have surrounded the ring. ELP stands between the ring and the rampway, shouting at Naito to show up, UNTIL FINALLY, STARDUST
BLARES THROUGH THE ARENA, AND OUT WALK THE LIJ FAITFUL THE EVEN THE ODDS. A HUGE BRAWL ENSUES BETWEEN THE FACTION, WITH NAITO AND ELP LETTING THEIR BOYS DO THE HEAVY LIFTING, OPTING TO TRY AND PSYCHE THE OTHER OUT AS THE SHOW GOES TO AN ADBREAK. The match itself is a fun multi-man with Los Ingobernables acting as the crowd favourites. The match concludes, as Rush, Andrade and Naito go into three separate corners, AND LAND BULLS HORNS, RUNNING KNEE STOMP AND DESTINO ON PAC, ISIAH AND KENTA RESPECTIVELY. ONE…TWO…THREE… Los Ingobernables def. Bullet Club and Mogul Empire
Once the match concludes, Naito cuts an address in Japanese for the fans. Shouting out all the men in the ring, the fans here tonight, and across the globe. “We may shout for LIJ tonight, but this message is for Los Ingobernales in this building tonight. SO, SHOUT WITH ME WHEN I END IT. PENTA, PRESTON, HIROMU, SHINGO, BUSHI, RUSH, ANDRADE AND NAITO. NOSOTROS! LOS INGOBERNABLES…DE JAPON.” All of the men raise their fist in LI solidarity, even Penta opting to join in, now integrated as one. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado and Ren Narita (Strong Style) Vs Facción de Sangre Derramada AEW Trios Title
Strong Style returns to Forbidden Door, after securing a huge win in last years show. This is a very different challenge for Facción de Sangre Derramada, as String Style cut off their wings and force em on the mat, and in striking exchanges. Them boys more than hold their own, as the fight devolves into CHOP and Springboard KICKS. In the end, Despie goes for a PINCHE LOCO, BUT FENIX COUNTERS IT INTO A HURICURANA PIN. ONE…TWO…THREE… Facción de Sangre Derramada def. Strong Style
Facción de Sangre Derramada make their first defence of the title, as Despie puts his hand forth, shaking it with Fenix. Says he wants to see him again in the future. “Super Juniors.”, says Fenix as Despie gives him a shrug. AEW Dynamite (August, 2024) Penta Vs PAC Vs Fenix Ladder Match
As the weeks led up, Penta, PAC and Fenix, all laid their eyes on the TNT title. None of the men have won the title yet, and all men want to prove their worth as singles competitors in the eyes of their Death Triangle counterparts. This results in the brawls getting even more rampant between the three factions, until the destruction of the set and arena has reached a boiling point, and a triple threat ladder match is decided upon, to crown the next challenger for the TNT title, at Double or Nothing. All three men make promises off their own, wanting to beat the rest fair and square. All three men ask their respective factions to stand back, they must deal with themselves. The match itself is more brutal than flippy. None of these men are friends anymore. Blood has already been split, and they’re willing to spill more. In the final moments of the match, Penta is almost at the top, the brass ring finger tips away, UNTIL FENIX RUNS UP ANOTHER LADDER WEDGED INTO THIS ONE, AND LEAPS OVER PENTA, CATCHING HIM TO LAND A CANDIAN DESTROYER OFF THE LADDER ONTO THE TABLE BELOW. The crowd goes insane as brothers lie in a heap of dust and blood. Half a minute later, PAC starts climbing the ladder himself, almost at the top, before Fenix climbs up to. He won’t quit, he won’t lose to either man. He lands a SPINNING HEEL KICK on PAC, staggering him, and he’s almost reached the ring, BEFORE PAC GRABS FENIX BY HIS MASK, AND SHOVES HIM OFF THE TOP ONTO THE LADDER WEDGED BELOW. The ladder PAC’s on almost buckles, but he regains himself and unhooks the brass ring, WINNING THE WHOLE DAMN THING. PAC def. Penta and Rey
PAC celebrates with Mogul Empire who come down to show their appreciation. Both the La Faccion come down to check on their men. Penta is livid at Fenix, because of whom he lost them match, so they launch on attack, AS THE TWO FACTIONS FIGHT OUT YET AGAIN TO CLOSE OUT THR SHOW, WITH SWERVE JUST LAUGHING HIS ASS OFF. AEW All Out (September, 2024) Rush and Andrade (La Faccion de Ingobernable) Vs Private Party Vs Dragon Lee and Bandido (Facción de Sangre Derramada) Vs FTR Vs Best Friends Vs Young Bucks AEW World Tag titles Gauntlet match
Yes, we’re doing this. It’s a lot, I know, but it’s good. All these factions and teams duel it out, showcasing the best of AEW’s tag division, but in the end, IT’S THE BEST FRIENDS WHO REGAIN THEIR TAG TITLES. 2 TIME CHAMPS. This isn’t super relevant to the story, but Swerve ends up winning the Casino Ladder match later in the night, guaranteeing a World title shot for himself whenever he wants one. PAC Vs Keith Lee TNT Title
Keith Lee has been having a healthy reign with the TNT title, far and away from Swerve, but it seems Swerve comes knocking yet again, as this match concludes with a distracted ref and a SMACK TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD, WITH THE POKER CHIP SWERVE JUST WON. PAC CLIMBS THE TOP ROPE, LINES IT UP, AND LANDS THE BLACK ARROW. ONE…TWO…THRE, HE LETS IT GO, NOT SATISFIED, AND PROCEEDS TO LOCK IN THE BRUTALIZER. LEE IS ALREADY KNOCKED OUT, SO REF CALLS FOR THE BELL. PAC def. Keith Lee
PAC wins the TNT title, as the white guys in Mogul Empire, lift PAC over their shoulders. Pac raises the TNT title, as Swerve says, “Just as promised.” Rey Fenix Vs Penta First Blood
The blood might be blocked by the masks, so you’re just gonna have to make em bleed more. These brother have fought several times before, but something has fundamentally changed now. This time, it feels like there’s no going back. All the weapons are brought out, as they throw them one another. Charis are hurled, barbed wire bats, through tables etc., but no blood visible yet. That is until Fenix places a BARBED WIRE BOARD ON A TABLE IN THE RING. With Penta sitting on the top rope, Fenix climbs to the top tope, AND GOES FOR A SUPER HURRICURANA. PENTA POWERS THROUGH HOWEVER, BLOCKING IT. IT LOKS LIKE PENTA WILL LIFT FENIX UP FOR A POWERBOMB, BUT INSTEAD HE CHANGES GRIPS TO LAND A SUPER PILEDRIVER THROUGH THE BARBED WIRE TABLE. The crowd goes insane as the ref check up on Fenix, declaring that he indeed is gushing blood. Penta def. Rey Fenix
The medics rush to the ring, as Penta looks down on his brother. There’s no celebration, Penta just walks away. Penta has fear in his eyes, but before he leaves, he shouts one last time, CERO MIEDO.
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2023.03.25 07:06 BrownTown427 Booking The Implosion Of Death Triangle: Part One
Death Triangle: a name that strikes fear into an opponent’s heart. That could just be because of the individual having a childhood fear of shapes and geometry, but in all likelihood, the main reason is because that name represents three of the best pure wrestling talents on the entire planet. You’ve got the Lucha Brothers Penta and Fenix, two men that have excelled in both tag team and individual settings throughout the various promotions they’ve competed in. And of course you have Pac, a man who’s not only been described as both a king and a bastard, but who also has quite the affinity to hammers.
But unfortunately for the trio, the past few months haven't treated them too kindly. They failed to beat the Elite in the hard-fought Best Of Seven series, losing their Trios Titles in the process, and within that time frame, Pac’s bastard-like tendencies have seemingly increased relative to that of the Lucha Brothers. But that begs the question: how will the next several months go for them after such a rocky start to the year? Let’s find out…
Dynamite (6/14/23): Pac vs. Action Andretti
After having only been seen sporadically since being a part of the losing Best of 7 series team, Pac would look to make an example out of a poor younger talent. As soon as the bell rings, Pac immediately just starts brutalizing Andretti, getting him downed in the corner and repeatedly stomping on his face until the ref has to physically back him off. Unfortunately for the man dubbed Action, he can’t stop Pac’s action for the remainder of the relatively short contest either, eventually having his ribs crushed with a Black Arrow and then being forced to submit to the vicious Brutalizer.
Pac def. Action Andretti via submission tap-out (4:19)
After the match, Pac grabs a mic, pacing around the ring like a madman before he finally begins to speak:
“I’ve gone through moments of isolation before…back in 2020, I was left with nothing but my own thoughts…and now it feels as though it’s happening again. There’s a spark that’s missing…something isn’t right about this year. I need to find somebody new, somebody different… an opponent worth fighting. I want someone who brings meaning to this ring…”
Suddenly, Pac gets cut off, as a very notable theme begins echoing throughout the arena…KAZE NI NARE! IT’S MINORU SUZUKI! Followed closely by Strong Style stablemates El Desperado and Ren Narita, the King slowly walks to the ring, staring a hole through Pac as he does so. However, when Suzuki enters through the ropes, Pac shows no fear, immediately walking towards him and getting right up against his face. The two stare each other down, before Suzuki just uses his shoulder to push him away. In response, Pac moves back and slaps Suzuki in the face! El Desperado looks ready to attack Pac for this, but Suzuki holds him back, smirking at Pac’s blow. When the two move back towards one another, Pac goes for a punch this time, but Suzuki blocks it, before proceeding to chop the soul out of the Bastard’s chest. Pac falls to a knee, Suzuki laughing this time, before a new theme plays throughout the arena…
It’s the Lucha Bros! Penta and Fenix have seen enough of Pac trying to take down Strong Style on his own, coming to the ring to even things at three men apiece. Suzuki looks at the pair, somewhat intrigued, before turning to Desperado and Narita. He motions for them to face Penta and Fenix respectively, and with the stage now set…LET THE ALL OUT BRAWL BEGIN! The six men just start going off on each other, but unfortunately for Death Triangle, Strong Style stands tall after Fenix accidentally hits Penta with a superkick intended for Narita, giving the NJPW trio the chance to take them out individually.
Later in the show, we get the official announcement that this match has been added to the Forbidden Door card, but there’s still so much that can happen in eleven days, and just as it would happen…
Dynamite (6/21/23): Ren Narita vs. Bandido
While Suzuki and Desperado would leave back to Japan until the time of Forbidden Door II, Ren Narita would decide to stay in the United States, traveling to multiple indie promotions to compete in addition to wanting a one-off AEW singles match. And he would get himself a rematch against a man he competed against a few years ago, squaring off against the outlaw known as Bandido. They’re having a strong match, but unfortunately, Pac isn’t one to let go of a grudge too easily. As Narita is recuperating momentarily on the outside, the ref checking on Bandido in the ring, the Bastard comes from the crowd and smashes his hand with a hammer! This clearly weakens Narita, but he tries to fight off the pain, getting back into the ring and squaring up to Bandido. Unfortunately, he can’t quite match the earlier precision he showcased, eventually falling to Bandido’s crazy rope-rebounded German Suplex.
Bandido def. Ren Narita via pinfall (13:43)
After the match, Pac storms the ring, adding more punishment to Narita from what he already incurred during the match. However, Bandido doesn’t look too enthused about Pac’s actions, and he pulls him off Narita. Pac is initially in shock, but as Bandido looks to help Narita up out of respect, the Bastard snaps, attacking Bandido too! He gets in some vicious shots before climbing to the top rope, looking to hit a Black Arrow, but out runs Rey Fenix! He runs to Bandido’s side, looking up at Pac and yelling at him to stop: this is an innocent man! Pac looks angry at the prospect of doing so initially, but after a tense few moments, he climbs down, exiting the ring but having done what he thought was necessary and more.
Forbidden Door II (6/25/23): Death Triangle vs. Strong Style (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, and Ren Narita)
After a solid start of matches to that point, the fans in Toronto now get to see what’s sure to be an intense battle given the previous two interactions involving members of these stables. It initially looks like El Desperado will start the match for Strong Style, but after Pac gets in the ring on Death Triangle’s end, Narita enters the ring. Though Desperado is initially confused, once he sees the look in Narita’s eyes, the look of pure, intense anger, he steps out of the ring, giving him the chance to start. Once the bell rings, Pac mockingly yells at Narita, asking him how the hand he shattered is doing. In response, Narita runs at Pac, doing what the Bastard did to Action Andretti a couple weeks prior and immediately getting him downed in the corner. Narita backs up, and Pac, looking up in shock, tags out to Penta, needing an unexpected breather.
After Penta and Narita go at it for a bit, the latter tags out to El Desperado, and after a staredown involving two great wrestlers with absolutely elite-looking masks, they have a rapid back-and-forth sequence, neither quite able to permanently capture momentum. However, with Pac itching to get back in the ring, Penta tags out, and Desperado follows suit, allowing Suzuki to get in the match. Pac and Suzuki move towards each other, Suzuki basically offering Pac to make the first move. The Bastard responds by doing what his opponent did to him a couple weeks ago: chop the living hell out of his chest! Suzuki, expecting a punch, is caught off-guard, looking at Pac with a mix of surprise but also the look of a man who wants to destroy the nearest thing in sight. Suzuki tries to respond with a chop of his own, but Pac dodges it, moving behind Suzuki and picking him up by the waist, leveling him with a German Suplex! Pac starts stomping on the NJPW legend, looking to keep him grounded, but after one kick too many, Suzuki grabs a hold of Pac’s leg. He slowly rises to his feet, Pac trying to punch him down, but once the King has risen, he drops Pac’s leg only to immediately hit him with a vicious chop to the chest thereafter.
As the match continuously progresses, the key looks to be the status of Rey Fenix, as more than ten minutes into the contest, he still hadn’t tagged in. But finally, after Penta manages to gain some separation from Suzuki, he tags in his brother, and Fenix brings a spark of life to Death Triangle. He springboards into the ring, taking out Suzuki with a crossbody and forcing him to tag out to El Desperado. Despite Desperado’s ability, Fenix is able to get the better of him too, getting him grounded with a superkick, and a follow-up moonsault gives him a solid nearfall. Unfortunately, Narita is able to take him down once he comes back in, although after a desperation cutter, Fenix starts crawling back towards his corner. He looks at Penta and Pac, needing to make a decision in the moment about who to tag, and he ends up picking his brother. Pac, however, is enraged, immediately tagging himself in and yelling at Fenix that it’ll be him who brings an end to this match. Unfortunately for Pac, Ren Narita blindsides him, hitting him with a lariat to the back of the neck and causing Pac to send both Penta and Fenix tumbling to the outside. And from there, Narita takes a page out of his stablemate Suzuki’s playbook, locking a Rear Naked Choke on the Bastard! Pac tries to claw, to bite, to kick his way free, but Narita isn’t letting go until Pac taps or passes out…AND HE TAPS OUT!
Strong Style def. Death Triangle (17:09)
After coming up unsuccessful at Forbidden Door II, Death Triangle is left with more questions than answers regarding what’s next for them. And while the Lucha Bros. look primed to move back to the tag division, a tag team gauntlet match being announced for Dynamite with the winner earning a future opportunity at the tag championships that they’ve held once before, Pac’s future appears to be more murky. He found the challenge he was looking for, and yet he came up short…he tapped out…maybe he needs to re-evaluate other things…
Dynamite (7/5/23): Tag Team Gauntlet Match
After a solid opening match to the gauntlet between Top Flight and the Acclaimed, the Martin brothers able to successfully do enough damage to pin Caster and avenge our ears from his raps, the Lucha Brothers are the next team up. While Dante and Darius still turn to their athletic profiles, trying to match Penta and Fenix’s high-flying moves with their own, it’s clear their stamina is drained from competing in two matches in immediate succession. And ultimately, a Fenix superkick to Dante followed by a tag-out to Penta and a Package Piledriver allows the Lucha Bros. to advance.
Lucha Bros def. Top Flight via pinfall to advance in the gauntlet
Next up in the gauntlet is the Gunn Club, and they storm the ring with a purpose. They lost the tag titles to FTR, and they would love it if they could earn their shot at redemption. Despite having the freshness advantage though, Penta does well to fend off Colten, managing to keep the tides in their favor. And although the Gunns manage to get in some solid offense over the middle portion of the matchup, the ending sees Fenix find a hot streak, hitting the always ridiculous Black Fire Driver on Austin to keep their gauntlet goals alive.
Lucha Bros def. Gunn Club via pinfall to advance in the gauntlet
But for the final team in the gauntlet, it’s going to be quite an interesting test, with Aussie Open making a surprise appearance! They look to represent United Empire well, and they start the match off hot, quickly taking Fenix off his feet and keeping him isolated. However, the Lucha Brothers just refuse to die, and near the end, Penta goes on an absolute tear, eventually managing to secure him and Fenix the win with a Package Piledriver on Mark Davis.
Lucha Bros def. Aussie Open via pinfall and survive the gauntlet to earn a future Tag Team Championship match
After the match, the AEW Tag Team Champions FTR make their way to the ring, and they extend a handshake offering towards their next challengers. Fenix is quick to shake Harwood’s hand, but Penta hesitates momentarily before shaking Wheeler’s. And shortly thereafter, the scene pans to Pac watching the interaction on a backstage TV, looking perturbed at what transpired.
Fyter Fest Night Two (7/19/23): Lucha Bros. vs. FTR (c) - AEW Tag Team Championships
With the stage having been set for these two teams to do battle, we now finally get to what’s sure to be a classic of a match. It wasn’t incredibly long ago that these duos battled for the AEW Tag Team Titles, having tested each other at Full Gear of 2021, but now the roles are reversed, with FTR as the fighting champions and the Lucha Brothers as the challenging contenders. And with both teams arguably only getting better since that point, the fans in attendance are hyped to see arguably AEW’s two most talented in-ring teams do battle.
The match starts off slowly, both teams trying to get a feel for each other with more technical, ground-and-pound based offense. However, as the match progresses, like any good musical composition, the dynamics slowly begin to rise. Penta and Fenix begin incorporating increasingly impressive, high risk-high reward maneuvers. Some of these pay off, such as a beautiful Canadian Destroyer by Penta to Dax on the outside, but others give the momentum right back to FTR, like a missed Phoenix Splash by Fenix. And for every minute the match reaches without a finish in sight, the commentators remark on just how wild it really is:
Half an hour with no finish? Ok, this is getting up there with some of AEW’s best tag team matches ever.
45 minutes with no finish? How are these men still fighting? Where are they getting this energy?
59 minutes with no finish? AHHHH, ONLY A MINUTE LEFT!
60 minutes with no finish? THE MATCH HAS ENDED IN A TIME-LIMIT DRAW! WHAT A CRAZY MOMENT!
Despite both team’s best efforts to put the other team down, both have just too much resiliency for their own good, fighting through the attrition and drained stamina en route to neither team coming out victorious. And it’s especially disappointing for the Lucha Brothers, as after a Fenix Driver on Harwood, Rey fell away from Dax, unable to get the cover on him in time and possibly costing them the titles. After the match, Pac comes out, helping Penta and Fenix up. FTR tries to extend another sign of respect towards the Lucha Brothers, but Pac pushes his partners back, not letting them even think about it.
Lucha Bros. and FTR fight to a time-limit draw (60:00)
Fight For The Fallen (7/26/23): Pac vs. Rush
In his first singles match since tapping out to Ren Narita at Forbidden Door II, Pac looks to make a statement that he isn’t growing weaker or too overconfident for his own good. His shots are noticeably more stiff than usual, but unfortunately for AEW’s resident Bastard, he has to go up against Rush. After the singles loss to Bryan Danielson, Rush goes on a tear, becoming increasingly violent and harder to take down. He was notoriously hard to inflict damage upon before, but now all of his opponents have to dig even deeper. And while Pac puts up a strong effort, Rush proves himself superior, hitting his signature Double Underhook Piledriver and continuing the downward spiral of the Bastard.
Rush def. Pac via pinfall (15:31)
After the match, Fenix and Penta come out to help Pac, but he shoves Fenix specifically back, telling them that he doesn’t need their pity and he can get to the back just fine on his own.
The following week, FTR gives a proposition to the Lucha Brothers: why don’t they run it back? The fans deserve a proper ending to their classic match at Fyter Fest, and with All Out around the corner, they have a huge stage to put on the finale. Penta and Fenix of course accept, and things are looking up for them…until…
With mere days until the PPV, an unfortunate series of events occur. In a backstage segment, FTR are speaking with Renee Paquette when we suddenly hear a brief scream nearby. FTR looks to investigate, and they’re horrified to discover a laid out Rey Fenix! Fenix is clutching his arm, which he appears to think is broken, and can barely even sit-up. FTR calls for doctors, and after they arrive, so does Penta. He looks incensed, questioning FTR as to what they did. Even when they say they didn’t attack him, Penta shoves Dax, who shoves Penta right back, forcing a swarm of officials to have to break up a potential brawl.
Later in the show, Renee finds Penta and Alex Abrahantes, asking for an update on the former’s brother. Abrahantes says that Fenix suffered nerve damage and a broken arm from damage inflicted by a blunt object, and can’t be medically cleared to compete for some time. When asked as to how this will affect the Tag Title match, Pac suddenly shows up in frame, saying he’ll fight alongside Penta and make FTR pay for what they did. Renee points out how it couldn’t have been them, she was talking to FTR at the time of the attack, and Pac retorts by saying it was probably someone like Rush then. Either way, he and Penta are winning the tag team titles at All Out.
All Out (9/3/23): Penta El Zero Miedo and Pac vs. FTR (c) - AEW Tag Team Championships
And this match proves to be quite a physical one, with Penta and Pac operating on more emotion than usual to try and avenge Fenix and get the titles back in Death Triangle’s grips for him. FTR stay calm and collected throughout, making good use of their established tag team chemistry to match up against the more physically talented but less-experienced tag match duo standing across the ring from them. However, with Pac’s recent failures, his aggression continues to escalate, and eventually, he hits a Black Arrow on Wheeler before securing the Brutalizer on him, passing him out and earning a hard-fought victory.
Penta and Pac def. FTR via submission pass-out to win the AEW Tag Team Championships (21:38)
Following the successful title win at All Out, Pac and Penta continue to thrive over the coming months. They have multiple successful title defenses, including against the Acclaimed and the Young Bucks. However, a new challenger soon approaches in the form of Best Friends. It’s no secret as to how much Pac detests Orange Cassidy, and therefore by extension, Chuck Taylor and Trent as well. However, with the pair of Taylor and Trent earning a tag title shot, Pac and Penta have no choice but to face (and hopefully destroy) them once and for all.
With that, Rey Fenix would also appear more regularly leading up to Full Gear, arm in a sling but in mostly good health and saying that he’ll be supporting Pac and Penta on the sidelines while also looking for the man who tried to shorten his career.
Full Gear (11/18/23): Best Friends vs. Pac and Penta (c) - AEW Tag Team Championship
Despite Pac especially not viewing Taylor nor Trent as being viable enough to take him and Penta down, those Best Friends prove that tag team cohesion can make up for less explosiveness, doing well to both stay resilient towards Pac’s vicious onslaught and Penta’s aerial abilities while also managing to get in some effective offense as well. Unfortunately, Pac has control over Taylor near the end of the match-up, and after a ref bump, Pac calls for Fenix (who was sitting at ringside) to pass him the hammer. He wants to end things…
But Fenix refuses! He wants his stablemates to win in the morally right way, and doesn’t want Pac to use his signature weapon. Pac briefly yells at Fenix, but as he turns around, he’s met with a piledriver from Chuck Taylor! 1-2-3!
Best Friends def. Pac and Penta via pinfall (16:39)
And just like that, Penta and Pac have lost their tag titles, and Pac is clearly pissed, not looking at Fenix in order to keep himself in check. Even Penta is seemingly off and a little annoyed at his brother for what happened, but he’s able to get himself composed, eventually walking out with Fenix while Pac stays further ahead.
Dynamite (11/22/23): Death Triangle Backstage Interview
Despite having lost their tag team championships just a few days prior, Death Triangle are seemingly not intent on living in the past, but rather on focusing on the future. And with that, Alex Abrantes has some news: Rey Fenix is back! After taking some time away to both recover from injury and gather information surrounding who put him out of action in the first place, Fenix is ready to come back. And he’s on the cusp of finding this mystery attacker: he’s found a trail of evidence, and next week, he’ll be ready to finally find out who blindsided him. As he speaks, Penta looks calm, but Pac looks as though he’s seen a ghost, growing pale and an expression of nervousness that wasn’t there at the beginning of the interview.
Dynamite (11/29/23): Rey Fenix Promo
And upon next week finally arriving, Fenix would make his way to the ring, alongside Penta and Alex Abrahantes. However, instead of the latter speaking on his behalf, he grabs a mic, speaking himself:
RF: “These past few months have been challenging for me. I’ve wanted nothing more than to compete for all of you, to fight with my brother as tag team champions. But somebody wanted me out of the picture. Somebody injured my arm, the same one that kept me on the shelf once before. And now, I’m going to expose them for the coward they are.”
On cue, Fenix motions towards the titantron, where two videos appear side-by-side on the split screen. The first video shows a masked figure hitting Fenix’s arm with a blunt object, and the second video shows what appears to be the same masked individual taking off their disguise before heading into a locker room. However, this security camera footage is blurry, and we can’t make out who the assailant is. That is, until Fenix makes an announcement:
RF: “The key to finding out who attacked me is behind this footage. And though it may be hard to see, I know a man who can help clear things up.”
And with that, out comes the man, the myth, the legend…DANHAUSEN! The very nice and very evil individual comes to the ring quickly, and Fenix asks if he can help enhance the images…reverse the curse if you will. Before Danhausen can respond however…out comes Pac! The Bastard marches to the ring, a pissed off look on his face, and he asks Fenix why he brought this clown out. Danhausen is an idiot, he can’t do anything with that footage. Fenix looks at Pac questioningly, but before he can say anything, Danhausen chimes in, claiming he actually can. And with that, he holds his hands up towards the titantron, harnessing his supernatural energy…
AND THE VIDEOS ARE ALL OF A SUDDEN PERFECT QUALITY! Pac’s expression turns to that of shock, and soon enough, the videos begin playing again. The first clip shows the masked man hitting Fenix, but soon we can see what the foreign object was…a hammer. And as the second video reaches its conclusion, everyone sees who the man with the mask was…IT WAS PAC!
Before Fenix can fully accept this outcome however, Pac turns towards Danhausen, belting him with a boot and knocking him out of the ring. It’s upon hearing this physical shot that Fenix finally turns around, moving towards Pac. Rey looks hurt, but by this point, Pac has a cold look on his face. The two stare each other down, the crowd anxiously awaiting who’s going to make the first move. And after a moment, it’s neither of them, as Penta moves towards the tension-filled confrontation. Initially, it looks like Penta is just trying to separate the two, but after Fenix sort of pushes him aside…PENTA SUPERKICKS HIS OWN BROTHER!
A malicious smirk comes across the face of Pac, Penta having made his decision on who to align with. The Bastard starts stomping away on Fenix’s skull, before quickly dragging his weakened body to the corner, climbing to the top rope and nailing the Black Arrow. He initially looks primed to transition the move into the signature Brutalizer submission hold, but upon turning back towards Penta, he changes his mind. He moves out of the ring, grabbing a steel chair and placing it in the center of the ring. He then drags Fenix to Penta, yelling at him to destroy him. Penta responds by picking his brother up, getting him in position for his signature Package Piledriver…
BUT OUT COMES BANDIDO! Several months ago, it was Fenix who saved Bandido from Pac assaulting him after the match with Narita, and now Bandido is here to return the favor. Upon getting in the ring, he immediately jumps at Pac, getting him on the ground and getting in stiff shots to the head. Penta pulls him off, but Bandido is perfectly willing to fight him as well, eventually forcing Pac and Penta (with Abrahantes) to retreat. And while Bandido helps Fenix to his feet, the physical and emotional damage was already done…
And just like that, Death Triangle has officially exploded, Rey Fenix being left to rot by his brothers while Pac and Penta El Zero Miedo seemingly continue to move forward together. But how do the remaining months play out for these three men? Find out in Part II…
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2023.03.25 07:03 kocknocker19 Is high scoring footy becoming more common again thanks to Collingwood?
While every season has some games where teams kick high scores, such as the last couple of GFs, in general the trends of the last few years has seen many low scoring games due to tactical change and/or fitness. While scoring 2450 points over 22 games was pretty normal 15-20 years ago, many teams struggle to score 1800 per season now...perhaps due to the Paul Roos and Ross Lyon teams known for their defensive toughness.
But this pies side is...different. There is a boldness to them. They surge and don't go back into their shells. They don't react to teams but set the terms themselves. You saw it last year, but this year with an extra preseason behind them, they pull it off even better.
Is Collingwood's fast pace, attacking, free flowing style going to force the rest of the competiton to adapt or follow suit? Are we about to see a return to the run-and-gun style we loved in the 80s, 90s and early 00s? I for one, hope so.
They kind of remind me of the Golden State Warriors when they began their run in the NBA. Their offensive shootout style made everybody else follow suit and for the last 8 or so years almost every game both teams score over 100 points.
I'd love to see shootouts become a more common thing again. Doesn't have to be every game, since that would be stale but a 60-40 or even a 50-50 frequency would be nice. It's exciting as hell when it happens.
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2023.03.25 06:44 Rainbow6SiegeCreator What If Legends and Canon Merged? Part 7: Superweapon Unveiled
As the months raged by on Kamino, Vader received word that another clone had survived. When Vader returned to the cell of the newest clone, he repeated the similar script he gave to the other clones that had failed him.
Vader: You survived.
Starkiller38: How much time has passed?
Vader: 13 days in Isolation. Impressive.
Starkiller38: The Force gives me all I need.
Vader: From what source?
Starkiller38: The Dark side, my master.
Vader then began to raise the platform restraining the clone out of the cell and he handed him two lightsabers that were similar to the ones the successful clone carried.
Vader: Starkiller's Jedi mentor has been captured.
Starkiller38: General Rahm Kota?
Vader: Yes. When your training is complete, you will go to Cato Neimoidia and execute him.
When the clone hears it, he begins to recoil from a memory aching in his head about when the original Starkiller dueled him above Nar Shaddaa. When the flash ended, Vader took notice.
Vader: You are still haunted by visions?
Starkiller38: Yes, Master. I… sometimes smell a forest on fire, I see the General falling, I feel the ground shake as a starship crashes around me,... and I hear… a woman's voice when I try to sleep.
Vader: They ate memories of a dead man. A side effect of the cloning process and the memory flashes used to train you. They. Will. Fade.
Starkiller38: And if they don't?
Vader: Then you will be of no use to me. Starkiller's emotions made him weak. You must destroy what he created, and you must learn to hate what he loved.
As Vader explained this to him, training droids similar to Proxy appeared taking the forms of Rebel soldiers and Juno Eclipse. His shackles were removed by the Force and the clone activated his two crimson blades. As he had tuned his powers and saber techniques, Vader was impressed, but only knew it would be a true success if the Juno projection was killed.
When the training droid that projected the image of Juno spoke, the clone hesitated and started to give into his memories.
Vader: Strike her down!
Starkiller38: I… can't!
Vader: You WILL! You were created to do. MY. Bidding!
After trying to absorb Vader's orders to strike down the image of Juno, his memories won out and he deactivated the blades and holstered them to his robes.
Vader was disappointed in this clone and began to strike down the image himself. The clone was about to check on it when the visage disappeared.
Vader: Then… it is as I feared.
Starkiller38: Why is this happening to me?!
Vader: The accelerated cloning process is still… imperfect. Your predecessors had succumbed to madness within months. I had high hopes that you would be the first success, but now you must suffer the same fate, like the rest.
Starkiller38: What will you do with me?
As Vader's saber activated, a memory flash had gone off in the clone's head, just as Vader had hoped for. Vader then slowly moved to execute the clone, he was forced to block a surprise torrent of Force lightning before he saw the clone escape the facility with sabers in tow, ready to rampage his way off of Kamino.
This turn of events, for Vader, had been going as he had planned. He then put together a double bounty for the escaped clone and Juno Eclipse. The quickest response to those bounties was from the bounty hunter that Vader, although refusing to admit to himself, has considered his favorite; Boba Fett.
Boba: From the looks of this, he has a very healthy head start.
Vader: Find the woman and bring her to me. That clone will follow.
Boba: I'm gonna need a squadron or two of stormtroopers. They won't be coming back alive.
Vader: The Empire will provide whatever you believe is required.
Vader then reveals what he had done with the failed clones of Starkiller to the bounty hunter. Most have been subject to unimaginable pain until the only ability they have is short range teleportation, small burst stun lightning, and cloaking. These are equipped with wrist blasters, metallic claws embedded into their skin, and a breathing mechanism embedded in their lungs. Other failed clones were hidden among the gold-armored saber guards who were able to block the clone's force abilities. The closest successes were made into unarmed combatants that are proficient with the Force to reinforce Imperial rule on former Separatist worlds. Even fewer have only their brains preserved and used for large droid bodies that looked as if it was a droideka with a gorilla-like body. One brain that Vader had in particular which was a failed experiment of merging two types of DNA was moved to a large Mantis like droid capable of handling larger threats such as walkers, turbolaser emplacements, and even groups of Jedi. What he did with the remainder of the clone corpse parts he used for smaller and more numerous spider-like droids.
Boba Fett saw these machinations and secretly turned pale. While the bounty hunter composed himself, he accepted the use of these types of troops.
When the clone took down a couple of AT-STs with ease, he made his way to Vader's starfighter with Vader on his heels. As the Dark Lord saw his fighter take off, he knew that he was going to save Kota. He then orders the successful clone to Mustafar until ordered back. When X1 arrived in the shuttle, the two boarded and X1 gave him a few lessons on commanding a ship. This destroyer that X1 has been rewarded with was known as the Avarice.
After two years of fighting in a gladiatorial arena on Cato Neimoidia, Kota still maintains his will and taunts the Imperial at the head of Cato Neimoidia's arena. This baron ordered his Neimoidian aides to send another beast to execute the captured Jedi. Seconds later, the baron hears that Vader's TIE was coming in for a landing.
Baron: Secure the landing platform and have the Acolytes ready for any threat that comes our way!
When the bridge extended to the floating landing platform the Baron walked between the ivory formations of troopers with his best posture and eagerness to impress the dark lord. When he saw another being in his place wearing a TIE pilot uniform, he then began to draw his personal blaster, concealing it behind his back, while maintaining his look of confusion and inquisitiveness.
Baron: I… was expecting Lord Vader.
Starkiller38: The Jedi; Where is he?
Baron: No need to worry. He is alive… for the moment.
He then suspected that this individual was going to rescue his most entertaining combatant in his arena, and that was not going to happen on his watch.
Baron: What are the security codes in this sector?
The clone knew that he had no knowledge of the codes and stood ready to activate his blades. After the Baron pressed the clone for the security codes again, he drew his blaster, followed by the Stormtrooper escorts and the clone activated his crimson sabers. As blasters rang out, shots were deflected and troopers were cut down. In the firefight, the Baron had alerted Imperial troops all over the city that another force user was invading and attempting to rescue the Jedi. As the clone fought his way through the city, the Baron had an idea about replacing Kota with him.
Baron: This city lives for the sport of gladiatorial combat. General Rahm Kota is the finest combatant we have had yet. His two-year winning streak has become a fan favorite story, but also a source of dried up profits of gamblers. In my opinion, I see more potential in you as a combatant. If you fight and kill him in the arena, I will forgive your destructive warpath throughout my city.
After fighting many Imperial forces, Sith acolytes, and even taking down walkers and a couple Imperial Gunships, he made his way to the arena, and saw the familiar, yet tattered, Jedi that stood exhausted.
The baron saw the clone enter the arena from the view of his box and hoped that the clone would see reason, but as the clone stood at his side, his anger began to surface. He ordered his aides to send out his most fearsome combatant yet; the Gorog.
Back in the arena, Kota felt as though his body was screaming to relax, but when he heard a familiar voice, those mental screams began to quiet.
Kota: By the Force, I knew you were alive.
Starkiller38: I just hope that I stay that way.
As the arena doors opened, a rancor emerged and the clone thought that it was gonna be an easy fight, and only activated one of his blades. All of that changed when a hand about the same size as the rancor, dragged the creature back into the depths of the arena. The sense of ease quickly faded from the clone as he activated his second blade. Starkiller got his comlink on and began to assess the very large and monstrous threat.
Kota: Please tell me you kept the same comm channel.
Starkiller38: Loud and clear, Kota.
Kota: About time, I didn't know if I could take any more.
Starkiller38: Speaking of time and being out of it, what is this damn thing?
Kota: All I know is that it's huge.
Starkiller: I can definitely see that, but what the hell can I do?!
Kota: I'm not sure on that front.
As the clone dodges every single massive strike from the massive gorilla like beast, he then attacks the restraints and forces them to move into place. Every time he did this, the arena rocked with every smash making the excitement of the spectators blend with concern with every blow the giant delivered. After stabbing his sabers into the head of the massive beast, the restraints began to fail against the Gorog's rage. With the evacuation of the arena underway, Starkiller had no choice but to jump to the highest points in the arena due to the Gorog breaking free and destroying the structure.
Kota: Since those restraints are destroyed, we need to take that beast out of commission!
Starkiller38: Isn't this perceptive? How?!
Kota: Since this place is a hanging city, see what you can do about the supports.
Starkiller38: Blast that, the whole structure will come down!
Kota: You got any ideas?
Starkiller38: Not so much, no.
Kota: I'm going after the Baron if you need anything else.
As the Imperials tried to restrain or kill the gorog, they also had to contend with the clone slashing them apart while the gorog destroyed the supports to the city.
As the Gorog destroyed the last auxiliary support, the clone joined Kota in taking down the Imperial Moff, but the Gorog grabbed the Baron like a toy signaling to the two Force users that they had to get out of there now. As they jump out the window Kota hits a remote as they fall and the Rogue Shadow flies below them to catch the two Jedi. As he did so, Starkiller then threw his sabers to cut down the last support of the arena, sending the structure, and the massive gorog plummeting to the planet sized abyss below with the metal, transparisteel, wiring, and electrical systems stabbing into the thick flesh of the beast. When the Rogue Shadow left Cato Neimoidia, the pair began to calm down from the adrenaline rush they had as the pair brought down an entire structure in a city with no explosives, ships, or massive Force feats.
When the ISD Avarice was ordered to jump to Dantooine, the dark clone and commander meet up with X1's second in command as they covertly deploy the terror troops within the rebel forces heading to the fleet soon to arrive. Many troops have snuck aboard the rebel vessels that stopped for refueling. When Crosshair finished overseeing the infiltration, he regrouped with his Commander. As the shuttle reboarded the Avarice, Vader's plan was set in motion.
On Coruscant, the chaos is absent, but the politicians who have become sycophants to the Emperor all held verbal and documented daggers behind their backs. One of these politicians who had continuously fought for the rights of Clones was Senator Riyo Chuchi of Pantora. With her was her protégé, Omega. When Clones were almost completely phased out, the select few who remained were part of the 501st Legion, part of the Royal Guard, or served as bodies needed for the Dark Trooper project. When the attack on Kamino was brought before the Senate, Rampart had disclosed the mission that the holorecording had showed the vast hall of hovering pods. As Senator Chuchi displayed the information, she cast blame for the loss of Imperial Resources on Rampart's personal agenda.
Chuchi: Tipoca City was destroyed on your orders, Admiral! This recording was from your Venator!
Rampart: This recording shows the after effects of the battle that was won and we had to make sure that the Kaminoans never rebelled again. The Kaminoans had promised us that they would refrain from cloning a military to rival the Empire, but they have done so by taking DNA as part of their "medical treatment." Here is the evidence from one of my trooper's helmets of the supposedly cordoned off facilities.
Rampart then displayed Crosshair's view of the active cloning chambers. When a trooper sat in the pod, it was one of the clone of a trooper who died on Naboo.
Rampart: I also have with me one result of the Kaminoans' treachery. This trooper if you look upon their face has a distinct set of markings under their right eye. These are not medical scars or medical wrappings. The real Imperial trooper has died while being treated and this was the result to appease us.
The trooper rose up and revealed his face, showong the markings of the kaminoan cloning of Imperial conscripts.
Chuchi: An entire city was destroyed on your orders, Rampart! If it is wiped from the galactic maps, that would be cause for your court martial and charged with genocide!
Just as the words exit the Pantoran's lips, the central podium rose from the floor to reveal the Grand Vizier, Mas Amedda, and the Emperor himself. The Senate gradually fell quiet and Palpatine began to speak.
Palpatine: In light of the allegations made by both parties, the loss of Imperial resources will take years to replenish. The destruction of Tipoca City as depicted in the evidence provided by the Senator from Pantora, is ruled as a battle, not a slaughter of innocents. The insurrection has been dealt with, but the response to such an insurrection was unjustified destruction ordered by a rogue Imperial Agent serving his own agenda instead of the Empire. As for the evidence in the cloned conscripts, there is another dilemma present for you, Senator Chuchi. Since you are an advocate for the rights of clones, are those created to replace the dead conscripts included with the veterans of the Clone Wars, as well, or is your advocacy only through words alone?
Chuchi: This is the first time I have been made aware of any clones outside of the last war, My Emperor. Nevertheless, whether the clone is a recruit, or a veteran, I will be their voice in the Imperial Senate.
Emperor: I admire your dedication, Senator, but a new challenge has approached you. I hereby rule that any conscript who is discovered as a Kaminoan clone will no longer be able to serve in the Imperial military. If they do not seek other forms of employment outside of our military complex within 30 days, they will be culled.
Many Senators had cheered for the ruling from the Emperor, and others were silent on the matter so as to not lose their seats. Chuchi realized she had lots of work ahead of her. Omega offered to assist her and the pair began to work on the employment forms. Rampart had been arrested by the Coruscant Guard and sent to a military Tribunal due to his actions. After a few days of hard work, the tired and stressed out senator decided to head to 79's; the bar designated for clones when they were relieved of their posts for the night, or even throughout their long campaigns away from base. When the clones saw her, they knew to make sure she was served right away.
Back with the Rogue Shadow, the Starkiller clone had just picked up Kota from Malastare and was about to jump to hyperspace towards Dantooine when new memories played in his head. When he looked at his memories, he began smelling a very fungal odor, he felt the ground shake as massive footsteps ran towards him, he saw a Jedi fall from a force choke by Vader, and he heard a female voice, but this time, it wasn't Juno. The voice came from a woman with gray skin, red horns, black hair, and yellow eyes.
Kota: What did you see?
Starkiller38: I remember a planet full of fungal trees, I felt as if a rancor was chasing me, and I heard a different voice than Juno's.
Kota: Don't you remember Felucia?
Starkiller38: If that's what I'm seeing, maybe I do, but that other woman, I think I fought her.
Kota: You rescued Senator Organa from that mess of a planet.
Starkiller38: The thing is, Kota, I have never been to Felucia myself. I have memories of that planet, but I haven't ever set foot in that system.
Kota: We'll figure it out later. Anyway, we're coming up on the fleet. I'll do the talking.
Starkiller38: That's fine, General. I have to meditate, maybe I'll see if I can reach Juno.
As Starkiller sat down in what used to be the training facility, he meditated and changed out the crystals of his lightsabers. When they continued talking about Starkiller being back, Kota was updating him on the rebellion's current capability in terms of fighting Imperial Forces. Even though Kota still refused to believe it, he then heard the clone say something that triggered a memory of his own.
Starkiller38: You have no idea what I went through on Kamino.
Kota: Kamino? What city did you escape from? We can put your power to use now that you’re back, and launch a full scale…
Starkiller38: NO! I… just want… Look, I need a place to think everything through, to meditate.
Kota: To hide?!
Starkiller38: Until I find Juno.
Kota: We’re at war and you want a quiet place to think?! Wasn’t your trip before you picked me up specifically for that?! The Alliance will be destroyed, all because you had to continue… finding yourself?
Starkiller38: So now you believe that I’m a clone?
Kota: Yeah, cause you aren’t the first clone of a Jedi I met. After I lost my sight above Nar Shaddaa, I fell into a deep depression and recieved a call from an old friend, he told me about a clone he fought alongside and his exceptional skill. I found him on Dantooine and he looked almost the spitting image of his father, my old padawan.
Starkiller38: What happened to him? Resulting in the clone?
Kota: When he was injured after a battle before the clone wars, we brought him to Kamino to get him some medical attention. When the Kaminoans were finished with thim, they took some of his DNA as payment for the work they did.
Starkiller38: How did he die? I’m assuming it was on Dantooine, right?
Kota: Yes. When the Empire attacked Dantooine, my old padawan was the target. The clone I found was there along with other clones who defected. After a noble defense, he was killed by the other clone produced from his DNA and the clone that I found, had survivor’s guilt and stayed there for about 15 years before I got there and pulled him out of his funk.
The starkiller clone then reached into his pocket and gave the blind Jedi general a pen like item that he snagged from his escape, showing the jedi general how resourceful he was under stress.
Kota: An encrypted code cylinder?
Starkiller38: Everything about the schematics and cloning facilities on… Kamino.
Kota: Oh, and for the belief if you are a clone or not, I don’t think that it matters.
An explosion rings out throughout the bridge and the Jedi make theri way to the bridge, fighting Imperial forces along the way. In the ensuing Chaos, Boba fett infiltrated the ship and snuck his way through the cruiser to the bridge. He ordered different squads of troops throughout the ship to eliminate the rebels and find the Captain for Vader. When Kota encountered some Imperial troops, a lot of them were the basic stormtroopers, and other specialized troops that had no enhancements. When Kota reached the bridge, he briefly reunited with Proxy and took control of the bridge. When starkiller saw the hall that was near the bridge, Boba Fett had captured her already. All the clone and Captain could do was share a glance before Boba dragged her away to the Slave I. After Kota managed every thing from the bridge, and Starkiller fought through vader’s troops and Experiments, he tried stopping Boba fett from taking her to no avail.
Starkiller38: Kota, They’re gone. Send the order to attack Kamino or I WILL GO WITHOUT YOU!!!
Kota: Already done. We’re fixing to jump out of Hyperspace in a couple minutes. Switch channels, there’s something you need to hear.
Both had switched channels and Kota gave the clone a bit of warning.
Kota: You know that Vader is luring you back to him.
Starkiller38: Yes, I KNOW, but he won't be expecting the entire rebel fleet!
Kota: I know. Let's hope we're right. We just got out of hyperspace and are nearing Kamino.
The clone then heard some creaks and groans of metal being moved and bent only to see a huge insect-like walker about to attack the reactor of the entire ship.
Back with Kota, he knew he had to send for help if his fleet was to last against the Empire. He told Proxy to get into contact with any of the rebel leadership so he can call for aid.
Kota: Proxy, we need to get in touch with the Alliance leadership. Our fleet is falling apart.
Proxy: Patching you through to Yavin.
Proxy then changed his form to that of Princess Leia Organa and Kota began to speak.
Kota: Princess, our fleet is near Kamino and our fleet is falling apart. My apprentice is back but he's occupied with Vader's experimental troops! What reinforcements can you send?
Leia: We can send only 1 transport ship to bolster the forces on your capital ships. It may take a while for the transport to get there.
Kota: Anything you can send! We'll hold out for as long as they can!
When the transmission cut out, Starkiller had recovered the reactor and destroyed the insect walker and made his way to the main cannon.
With the Imperial defenses, there were two star destroyers blockading the planet; The Avarice and The Ambition. Each of them have sent TIE Fighters to destroy any rebels attempting to take off. When the rebels' main cannon was fired by the escaped clone, the Ambition took the lethal hit and was split in half. X1 realized that on that ship was his special Unit. X1 then fell to his rage, another ISD, the Desolate jumped out of hyperspace and reinforced the Imperial blockade.
Back with the clone, The appearance of the Desolate made Kota realize that their chances of success have significantly dropped. He made announcements to the hangar bays about sending the Y-wing bombers to attack the new destroyer. When the Imperial boarding parties attempted to go into the hangar bays, the X-wings and A-wings intercepted them and blew them into the vacuum of space.
Kota: We can't hold out much longer! Reroute all power to the forward deflector shields.
Proxy: This ship is also going to pieces. We already lost decks 8 through 12.
Starkiller38: Head to the Rogue Shadow. I don't think those planetary shields can withstand a direct hit from a cruiser.
Kota was almost dumbfounded at the idea, but figured that since their options were limited, he had to give the order he dreaded for the longest time.
Kota: Abandon ship! ABANDON SHIP!!! Are we even gonna survive?
Starkiller38: We'll see when we make it to the ground. Just get to the ship.
When the rebels got in their ships and escape pods, the Starkiller clone began moving debris out of the way of the crashing cruiser. When the cruiser broke through, the ship began to burn up due to reentry. As the cruiser continued burning up, he jumped out of the cruiser and removed all the barriers to prevent any drag in the ship's descent.
When Starkiller landed in a familiar yard-like structure in the facility he had escaped, he began searching for Juno and Vader. When he encountered multiple types of Imperial troops, he merely regarded them as nuisances and turned them upon each other in every room he entered. When it came to the war droids, he used their fire and carbonite shots against them and destroyed them using their shields as cover and a massive projectile against other Imperial forces. When he finally reunited with Kota, they saw that fighters and bombers were flying about and Starkiller used the war droid shields to take out the fighters and bomber squads. As the two continued to fight the Empire, the clone made his way towards the cloning chambers, against the behest of Kota.
Kota: You don't know what else is in there!
Starkiller38: Juno is close, General!
Kota: So is Vader, boy, just stop! Don't go in there alone!
Starkiller38: I know Vader's there, but I'm not stopping.
Kota: We need you on the front lines!
Starkiller38: I told you a hundred times that I'm going after Juno!
Kota: Damn it, Starkiller! I'm coming after you when we finish up here!
Starkiller walked through the cloning facility surrounded by suspended animation pods filled with clones of him. Throughout his walk through the chambers, he had begun hearing Juno’s voice rejecting him, Kota’s voice belittling him, and Vader’s ominous and iconic breathing sending chills throughout his spine and stoking the flames of his anger.
Starkiller38: VADER!!! COME OUT!! FACE ME, YOU COWARD!!!!
At random moments, Vader would surprise Starkiller with attacks using the Force, or using his saber. When Vader attacked with his blade, Starkiller began to press Vader on Juno. Every time he broke the clash or his grip of the Force, memories of him past, present, and future flashed in his mind, giving Vader time to hide and prepare for his next strike. When the clone exited the dark cloning room, he saw Vader atop one of the stasis pod platforms looking down at the clone who had escaped his grip, according to his plan, unbeknownst to the rest of the Empire.
Vader: I knew it was only a matter of time before you returned. Now you will surrender to me, or you will die here, where you were created.
This had further enraged the clone as he met Vader on that platform and ignited his twin sapphire blades ready to butcher the being who saw him as nothing but a weapon, an experiment, and a being with no identity. Vader had continued jumping from platform to platform releasing more unfinished clones towards the one that opposed him, but the clone continued to use them against him and keep him distracted.
Throughout the fight between the creator and his creation, Kota had managed to find the Kaminoan doctors who he tried to help 3 years ago. The kaminoans were about to display their gratitude for their rescuers, but a rain of blaster shots came in from a jetpack wearing bounty hunter, the same one Kota had fought on this planet during the Kamino uprising 3 years ago.
Boba: Now I’ve got you Jedi!
Kota: You again? You’ll never take me to Jabba alive!
Boba: Don’t have to. Your corpse is also acceptable.
When more Saber guards, Jump troopers, and Terror spider droids showed up behind him, the rebels had to steel themselves and fight for their lives. As the bounty hunter and Jedi fought, the transport entered Kamino’s atmosphere and 6 X-wings came out to blast the Imperials away.
X2: General, this is Grey Leader! We arrive just in time?
Kota: Barely, Grey Leader! Make sure that the Kaminoans are secured on your transport before you go! I gotta get to Vader.
Grey 4: Roger that, General. Grey 5, There’s 8 TIEs on your left flank!!
Grey 6: We’re gonna have to wait on that, General! Air support just came in!
Kota: Copy that, Grey 6!
Kota had chased the bounty hunter with every attack he could throw whe it was throwing the bounty hunter with the Force, dodging his flame thrower, redirecting his rockets towards the Imperial troops, and even using Mind triks on the Imperial troops to fight the bounty hunter. When Boba fled the scene, the Rebels brought the Kaminoans to their transport vessel on one of the far platforms.
When vader lured the clone to an office like room with a large transparisteel pane window, Vader had no saber ignited and faced the clone knowing that his use of Dun Moc was working wonders on him, perhaps too well.
Starkiller38: WHERE IS SHE??!!!!
Vader then stepped aside to reveal Juno Eclipse ound in the same shackles he was in when he began the penultimate test of his training. As the clone was about to embrace the blonde captain, Vader lifted her into a choke with the Force.
Vader: Bow before me, or she dies.
Vader was inching closer and closer to cracking her neck when Starkiller gave in and deactivated his blades.
Starkiller38: Wait, wait! I… will do your bidding. Just let her go.
Starkiller got on his knees and hung his head as if he was about to lose the single most important thing in his life. As Vader attemtped to control the clone once again, Juno crawled on the ground beneath the focus of both Force users and snag one of the clone’s blades.
Vader: You will find and kill General Kota. If you refuse, the woman dies. You will return to me and give yourself to the Dark side. If you resist, she dies. And when your training is complete, you will hunt down and execute the rebel leaders. If you fail, she dies!
A saber ignited and Juno began swinging at Vader, and the dark lord treated it like it was child’s play and threw her out the window with the Force, knocking her unconscious, unbeknownst to both Force users. Starkiller began to scream as he attempted to slash Vader to ribbons, but Vader prepared for it and threw him out the same window to the adjacent platform where the weather and rain had gotten worse throughout the battle. Vader leapt onto the same platform and Starkiller had begun radiating energy from the force as he began to barrage Vader with many quick dual bladed attacks. In the moments where the sabers clashed, Vader had continued using Dun Moc on the clone, stoking his fear and anger. As the fight progressed to even greater displays of the Force Kota and the rebel troops were coming up on the platform and saw the clone use the lightning from the electricity in the light poles and the storm Kota and the rebels stayed back until the dangerous displays of the Force subsided. Vader was taking a huge surge of lightning from the combined voltage of the storm, the electricity powering the poles and Starkiller’s raw potential with Force lightning. As Vader knelt in defeat with his dueling hand severed and his breathing apparatus malfunctioning, he goaded the clone to finish him.
Starkiller38: You’ve taken everything from me!
Vader: Your feelings for her are not real.
Starkiller38: They are real to me!
Starkiller38: You want him dead as much as I do.
Kota: Yes, but not yet. Not until he’s told us the Empire’s secrets!
Starkiller38: You want to take him prisoner?
Kota: To a hidden rebel base where we can interrogate him, put him on trial for crimes against the true republic, and then we’ll execute him to show the galaxy that we don’t need to fear him any longer!
Starkiller38: If I let him live, he’ll haunt me forever.
Kota: He’s the only one who knows if Starkiller really survived. He can’t tell you if he’s dead.
The clone now had a choice to make, execute Vader for the trauma he has put him through, or let him live to serve the alliance’s purposes that had no benefit for him. The perfected clone had been hiding in an Imperial shuttle above the planet waiting for the go ahead from his master to attack the rebels and execute Kota and complete his final test. Boba Fett, meanwhile, was on and adjacent platform in a sniping position, ready to execute Kota and the clone on Vader’s orders. When Starkiller deactivated his blades and walked away, Kota began ordering his men to restrain Vader. In the midst of loading Vader onto the Rogue Shadow, the apprentice had acquired his master’s mechanical hand, and told the pilot to reboard the Avarice and set course for Dantooine after overhearing the conversation on the platform above.
When the clone saw a droid tending to Juno, he recognized it and started running to the pair.
Both: I thought you were dead!
Proxy: It’s quite a long story, possibly for a later time and place, but right now, I can’t revive her, she’s….
The clone then almost began regretting making all the moves he did throughout the galaxyand held the body of Juno Eclipse and began to pull her into an embrace just as the flashes had reminded him of such a moment.
Starkiller38: I should’ve stayed here.
As a tear flowed from is face and landed on Juno’s cheek, the clone began to kiss her, and when she began moving to reciprocate, the clone was almost overjoyed. When the kiss was broken, it was a surprise both of them.
Juno: We’re alive.
Starkiller38: I’ll explain my part later.
The two had shared a moment in each other’s arms before Juno had Proxy take the form of Princess Leia.
Leia: What’s your status?
Juno: We’re alive and we have captured Vader.
Kota: We also got another jedi back in the fight.
Leia: What’s your plan for moving him?
Juno: We’ll send a dozen small freighters in all directions. Even if the Empire knows we have him, they won’t know which ship to follow.
Leia: Excellent. The security detail?
Kota: We will have it covered, Your highness.
Juno: We’ll keep you informed en route to Dantooine.
Leia: Great. This will definitely be a turning point for the alliance. May the force be with you.
As Leia’s visage disappeared, Juno and Proxy were about to board the Rogue Shadow, but the clone was walking over to the restrained sith lord. Starkiller had a few words for the man/machine that took almost every bit of humanity from him in hopes to deliver the pain that his sabers could not.
Starkiller38: I let you live. You tell me that I’m just a clone, but I chose to spare you the pain you have inflicted on my predecessors. Maybe Kota is right. This might be just some ruse to make me forget who I am and make me your weapon again, but despite what you have done to me, I. Let. You. Live. You no longer have and sway over my actions or control over me.
Vader: As long as she lives, you will always be my slave to control, manipulate, and sway any way I please.
With that, Starkiller had left the dark room that housed the restrained dark lord. He then went to the cockpit where the love of his life was at the controls.
Juno: Prepare for lightspeed.
When the hyperdrives kicked in, the Rogue Shadow made is way to Dantooine, and one ship that had appeared from the debris in orbit emerged and followed them.
On Yavin, a Group of rebels had stolen an Imperial shuttle and were going after the Death Star plans, and they knew that they needed the reinforcements, so Chirrut Imwe lead the strike team due to the squadron’s belief in the Jedi as capable leaders, and Rogue Squadron’s ability to sneak into the Imperial base on Scariff As soon as their cover was blown, the rebels had fought every Imperial wave that came their way. These rebels knew that they were in for a fight.
Back on Dantooine, Kota volunteered to stay with the garrison and keep watch over Vader. Outside the prison, Crosshair activated the beacon and saw an Imperial light cruiser launch a TIE Advanced fighter and when it landed a good distance away from the rebel prison, the perfected clone climbed out and had Vader’s severed had with him. During the night, he snuck to a rendezvous point where he met another Imperial trooper, clad in all black armor with a green lens. Both of them stopped when the clone had his blaster raised. Crosshair: Show yourself.
The perfected clone then raised himself up and removed his hood.
StarkillerC: I have a gift for my master who is imprisoned here.
Crosshair: I see, thank you.
StarkillerC: Good luck trooper. Against the jedi, you’ll need it.
Crosshair: I’ll be on my guard.
As the apprentice reembarked on the TIE, he reboarded Vader’s flagship and began to search for a ship to take him to Malachor.
Boba Fett had found the clone and the captain moving Vader to the deepest and most reinforced cell in the prison. Before he can take the shot, the clone gets the sense that they were followed.
Juno: What’s wrong?
Starkiller38: Juno, get back to the ship. We’ve been followed.
Juno: I’ll pick you up after you deall with our tail.
When Boba Fett finds that his target was running, he begins to slowly hunt the jedi clone and just as he was about to find the Jedi’s thermal signature, he becomes engulfed in Force lightning to the point where the jetpack sends him on an uncontrolled flight path and knocked him into a nearby tree. As Boba recovers, he sees the figure approach him with twin sapphire blades, and just as the clone was about to deliver a lethal stab, Boba rolled out of the way and retreated back to his ship, then felt himself get lifted off the ground with a look of fear beneath his helmet and the Jedi spared the bounty hunter by throwing him back to his ship. This defeat against a Force user then burned a rule, almost literally, into his mind for any future bounties, that he will put to the forefront upon any contract he takes.
Starkiller38: Juno, I’m at the landing platforms.
Juno: Copy that, Starkiller. Vader is secure and Kota’s volunteered to guard him.
Later the following night, Crosshair began getting a holocall. This was coming from his direct superior, X1. he then found a spot away from the Prison where the beacon had been activated beneath the surface.
Crosshair: Yes, Commander?
X1: We have responded to your beacon and are ready for an assault. Did you receive the package?
Crosshair: I did, Commander. I’m going to sneak into Lord Vader’s cell and repair his hand. When he is freed and slicing his way through the rebels, block any that exit. There is also a jedi that may occupy him. As teh rebels retreat from Lord Vader, attack them, and leave the jedi for him.
X1: Excellent plan, Captain. We’ll send a company to free Lord Vader.
As Crosshair had finished repairing Vader’s hand, Vader then ordered Crosshair to inform him of what the escape plan is.
Vader: CT-9904, what is the escape plan?
Crosshair: Commander X1 is sending a company of stormtroopers to your rescue and the rebels will be flanked in the firefight.
Vader went along with the plan and remained restrained until the following day when Kota would report to Vader’s cell.The night before, after Kota was relieved of duty, he recorded a holomessage reserved for a bounty hunter friend who had joined the alliance because of Kota.
Kota: Shara, if you are seeing this I’ve left the rebellion. I need to focus on myself as a Jedi and how my life will be affected if the Empire succeeds. There is a clone I want you to fight alongside. He fought in the clone wars and has his own squadron. If you met my padawan, he is the spitting image of him, he is a clone after all, hehe. Anyway, I’m assigning you to Grey Squadron and as an advisor to the unit. May the Force be with you. Always.
Back on Coruscant, Senator Chuchi and Omega had given many clones the occupations outside the empire, but not all of them survived. Some have abandoned life within the Empire and joined the Rebellion, others were given work in service industries, manufacturing, and retail, as well as trade, and the few that couldn't be reached were culled by the Empire. Chuchi and Omega were both haunted when the cullings began. They used it to fuel the passion to fuel clone rights initiatives in the Empire. One night after a session, the two colleagues had said their goodbyes for what would be the final time unbeknownst to them.
submitted by Rainbow6SiegeCreator
to StarWarsWhatIf [link] [comments]
2023.03.25 06:31 mcdoolz A Song of Ice and Liars
Around Christmas I wrote and ran an adventure and the players died terribly during it. Tragic. I loved the storyline and the play leading up to their dramatic death at the turning point with the BBEG so much that I decided others might want to TPK their players in a cold hearted, snowy murder mystery turns mystical fight for the future.
There's a GMBinder document available here: https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-NKV-gQpIWkys9U_FtrF
Let's dive in shall we?
Warm hearts in a Cold winter
About the Adventure
This adventure places a party of level 5 characters at the center of a quarrel between two composers. It is located in Suzail but could as easily be placed in any major city.
Naturally, it should take place during a winter season or in a cold climate.
A vengeful sylvan spirit, having possessed a young mage some weeks ago, has murdered and taken the place of a reputable maestro.
His goal is to play a piece of music at the upcoming charity gala where the nobles of the city will be in attendance, subsequently raising his army of snow borne abominations and launching his conquest upon the warm world.
Summary of Events
The city of Suzail is in celebration as the Noble Heart Winter Charity Gala is being built up with structures, merchants and performers stretching upon the promenade from the Royal Court Theatre in either direction for some distance.
The story begins with the players getting in touch with the director of the Royal Court Theater, Antonio Fellini and his assistant Nicolette Fiorelle.
In speaking to the director and his assistant, the players learn that a maestro named Giovanni has stolen the sheet music to be played at the gala by another maestro, Lucian.
Antonio suggests they check his residence and Nicolette takes the players there. Giovanni is not home. Nicolette suggests he may be at The Golden Dice, a gambling hall on the dockside.
Searching Giovannis residence, the players find a collection of cash-out receipts for The Golden Dice gambling hall and a collection of notes and drawings with a strange square signature in the corner of each. Anyone with the artisan background recognizes the signature of Hari Noshi, a tattooist on the dockside.
If the players go to The Golden Dice first, Giovanni is not there and soon after arrives a gang of thugs sent by Lucian who are also looking for Giovanni. After the thugs are dealt with, the owner of The Golden Dice informs the players that Giovanni is likely at his friend Hari Noshi's tattoo parlor down the way.
When the players arrive at the tattoo parlor, they find a robed ogre shaking down a grappled Giovanni. Archers watch close by and a scout sits hidden keeping watch on the alleyway.
If the gang from the gambling hall is still alive, they arrive to assist in any conflict. If the players manage to save Giovanni from the gang, he offers to give the players the sheet music back; he left it with a scribe named Peregrin to have a copy made, and proceeds to take them there.
When they arrive at the scribery they find the door locked but the scribe is visible through a window, hunched over his lectern. However they enter, the players and Giovanni find a dead scribe, his lips blue, a frozen quill in his grasp, frost formed on his fingers and a peaceful look on his face. Giovanni is in shock, and sees that Peregrin had copied across but a single bar of the music. Peregrin is an alchemist as well and maintains a small supply of potions for healing, cold resistance and poisons antidotes.
Giovanni lets the players have the sheet music, deciding that this has all cost him far more than he bargained. The players can decide what to do.
If they return the sheet music to Antonio, they meet Lucian, a lithe pale well dressed figure with white gray peppered hair. When he speaks, it's in a slow passionate tone. He is thankful for their work and offers a reward for the music before adjourning to rehearse. Antonio pays the players and they're free to do as they will until the gala begins.
If the players choose to investigate Lucian in any fashion, events can twist a bit. Ultimately the players should see the gala begin (unless they solve the puzzle before then) and eventually lead to Lucian's performance. As the music crescendos, Lucian's body is suddenly wracked by seizures leading to the release of a slyvan spirit and the sudden spawning of several abominable snow soldiers.
The players must defeat the sylvan creature amidst the army of Purple Dragons, the newly spawned army of snow beings, and the chaos of the galas patrons and the citizens running for their lives.
The director of the Royal Court Theater needs help he can trust to get the sheet music back and not get Giovanni arrested. How the players meet with Antonio and Nicolette should relate to professions and backgrounds where applicable. Some of the following suggestions may work for you.
- A noble background character is delivering a thank you or picking up tickets on behalf of their noble family.
- A bard could come in contact through the local Bards College or by visiting the Royal Court Theater.
- Rogues or streetwise characters could be contacted by Nicolette who needs someone discreet.
- Fighters, Paladins, Clerics would be contacted by a guild or through a church or temple respectively by Nicolette's contacts.
- The players could be visiting the Royal Court Theater as part of a tour of the promenade.
Royal Court Theater
The Royal Court Theater in Suzail is a grand theater located in the capital city of Cormyr. It is known for its opulent interiors, which include a gilded ceiling and ornate chandeliers. The theater is home to a variety of performances, including plays, operas, and concerts. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and is often considered one of the cultural gems of Cormyr. The theater is well-known for its excellent acoustics and has hosted some of the most famous performers in the realm. It is also a frequent venue for events hosted by the royal family of Cormyr.
Meeting Antonio & Nicolette
These two are a bit frantic and unsure of what to do. Antonio is stricken yet calm while Nicolette is beside herself, blaming herself for her irresponsibility.
When they greet they players, they are polite and willing to discuss what they know if it seems the players are to be helpful.
If they ask about Lucian, they state that he left on business of his own soon after he heard of the theft.
Antonio & Nicolette explain that the maestro Giovanni had visited to discuss the upcoming gala and what he was expected to perform.
In discovering that another maestro named Lucian was to play, he became angered and although they had assumed he had left, they soon discovered he had stolen the sheet music that was to be played.
Giovanni left a note that stated Lucian did not deserve to play the music as Lucian was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a silver bell to call his wet nurse.
Antonio suggests checking Giovanni's home and Nicolette agrees to take the players there. The residence is only a few blocks away down the promenade.
The players arrive at a two story brick building with a few opulent apartments, each featuring a tall archway patio window with a wrought iron railing encircling a stone patio balcony.
Giovannis apartment is one of the upper floor units although he is not home when the players arrive. The players can force entry on the door, gain access via the unlocked balcony door, or seek the landlord who lives in one of the lower units.
The landlord could be convinced to provide the key with a successful Charisma (Persuasion or Deception) check (DC 14) and a plausible story: locked out lover, family member, or parent depending on the individual. A successful Intimidation check will cause the old landlord to die of heart failure.
Giovannis apartment is disheveled, with old laundry, stacked dishes, piles of parchment with ink scrawled across them and a large four post bed in disarray.
When the players search the apartment they find a collection of receipts for winnings from the Golden Dice, a dock side gambling hall.
If they roll 15 or better, they find drawings with the signature of Hari Noshi. Nicolette explains that is Giovannis tattooist.
If the players do not successfully search the apartment, Nicolette will offer that he gambles and may be at the hall.
The Golden Dice
The Golden Dice is a well decorated and well protected establishment on the dock side. It is the gambling hall known by the wealthy to be seedy but safe to patronize. Care of Dargen Goldhand, the Golden Dice has guards and free ale for house regulars such as Giovanni and any character with the Gambler background.
Giovanni is not here, and the patrons are all too engrossed in their doings to care for the players questions. Asking too many times over may bring the ire of the house guard or the patrons.
If the players seek out the management to ask about Giovanni, they're politely informed that he covered his debts some time ago and that he's not been seen for weeks.
During this time three mercenaries will arrive also seeking Giovanni. Markus, Grimgore and Vaxin consider themselves professionals and don't directly threaten the players, although they make no secret of their objective and tell the players to stay out of their way or suffer consequences. They don't attack unless attacked directly, and will otherwise rush towards Hana To soon afterward.
If the players dispatch the thugs without hearing about Hana To and let the thugs escape, Dargen offers that Giovanni could be at the tattoo shop.
When the players reach Hana To, they find the rest of the crew that is after Giovanni as well as Giovanni and his tatooist Hari Noshi.
The tattoo shop is a mess, Hari Noshi is visibly injured, and an ogre by the name of Ogrimm has Giovanni in his grasp.
Ogrimm & Company
If the players attempt to negotiate with Ogrimm he tells the players to mind their own business or be shot. If the players press attempts to negotiate he gives the word for his archers to loose upon the two closest players.
If they still do not engage but continue to try to negotiate, Ogrimm laughs at them and continues to rough up Giovanni.
If attacked, Ogrimm doesn't want to fight to the death and will offer quarter if one or more of his crew are killed.
If the players refuse quarter, he will attempt a tactical retreat, providing covering fire using magic missiles from his wand or while he can cast them and resorting to fire bolts if necessary. If possible, he will grapple and carry Giovanni.
If Ogrimm manages to knock out or kill any of the players, he offers quarter. If the players take it, Ogrimms tells them that they can wait until he is done with Giovanni and then go about their business.
If Ogrimm is afforded the time, he will roughly interrogate Giovanni about the location of the sheet music before finding a receipt for a scribe named Peregrin on Giovanni.
Ogrimm at this point will throw Giovanni aside and leave the scene to go retrieve the sheet music from the scribe.
At this point Giovanni is badly injured from the interrogation but tells the players to get to Peregrin before Ogrimm does.
If the players have dispatched or routed Ogrimm and his crew, or taken Giovanni from Hana To and escaped, Giovanni is thankful and tells them that he is regretful for what he's done and what it's cost his friend. He takes the players to the scribe.
Peregrins home is a small two story brick book store with a placard that reads his name in gold serif font.
Upon arriving at the scribes residence the players will find the scribe visibly hunched over his lectern, presumably sleeping.
His door is locked however and banging on the door doesn't raise him. Observant (Passive Perception 13 or better) players will note there is a bit of frost on the windows, inside the building.
The players can get in through:
- an unlocked second floor window
- by finding the spare front door key behind a loose brick of the door frame
- breaking any of the locked first floor windows
However the players gain entry, they are confronted with a very dead Peregrin. His lips are blue his finger tips are frozen and his whole body is cold as ice.
Giovanni will be visibly saddened by this and will observe that Peregrin was working on the copy but only managed a few bars in before he died.
At this stage, Giovanni asks the players to see that the music is returned to Antonio, and states that this debacle has now truly cost him far more than he bargained.
Peregrin kept a lab where he practiced alchemy on the second story of his shop.
Searching his lab will reveal 1d4 + 2 Potions of Healing, 1d4 Potions of Cold Resistance and 1d4 Potions of (Hill) Giant Strength.
In his living area he kept a modest wardrobe, a small savings of 300 gold pieces and receipts for shipments of alchemical goods and book binding equipment arriving.
If Ogrimm and his crew are still alive, the players may have to deal with him in some fashion or get to Peregrins faster than them (eg: by horseback). It's up to the DM how long it takes Ogrimm and the crew to reach Peregrin. He is resourceful but he does not have transportation at the ready.
Presuming that the players return to the Royal Court Theater with the sheet music, they will find Antonio, Nicolette and Lucian meeting in the main foyer.
Antonio is relieved to see the players arriving and asks for Giovannis condition. If Giovanni is dead or incapacitated, Antonio is greatly grieved by this and will lash out at Lucian for sending thugs. If Giovanni is alive, the director and Nicolette both breathe a sigh of relief and thank the players for their involvement, avoiding any mention of the thugs.
If the players provide any mention of the thugs, Lucian readily states that he hired and sent them to retrieve his property as was his prerogative. He apologizes coldly for any inconvenience upon the players and offers to pay them what he was to pay Ogrimm's crew.
If the players hand over the sheet music, Lucian thanks them and retreats from the meeting, stating that he must rehearse.
If the players ask about the sheet music before handing it over, Lucian is dismissive of their questions, stating he has no time for their petty, paltry prattlings and that he must get to rehearsals.
Antonio will parrot these statements in a more polite tone while Nicolette will stay quiet and stoic.
If the players accuse, or degrade Lucian in some way, the director, Nicolette and Lucian will all be visibly shocked while Antonio will demand that they hand over the sheet music, take their payment and leave. If pressed, he will threaten to summon the Purple Dragons justice upon the player.
If the players take payment and leave they receive a sum of 100 platinum pieces to be divided amongst them.
If they part on good terms the players are told they can expect special seating for the affairs to come.
At this point, the players are free to wander the promenade and take in the sights of the gala that is now coming under way.
The Noble Heart Winter Charity Gala
The Noble Heart Winter Charity Gala is an annual event held in the city of Suzail, Cormyr. It is a grand affair, attended by members of the royal court and the wealthy elite, as well as various nobles, politicians, and other influential figures. The gala is held in the Royal Court Theater, a magnificent venue known for its opulent decor and state-of-the-art stage and performance facilities.
The gala is held to raise funds for charitable cause, with a focus on helping those in need during the cold winter months. Organized by the Royal Court Theater and the Noble Heart Foundation the charity manages to raise a significant amount of coin each year by pitting the various noble houses against one another in a blind competition of wealth and giving.
At its core, the gala is a mix of high brow showmanship and grass roots fund raising. The various churches are well aware of the ego surrounding the noble houses and how to tread about those egos to maximize the return towards their efforts.
Those who organize the events are masters of negotiation and the effort and cunning they put into enticing the noble houses into providing as they do can not be understated.
In dealing with problems such as general toxicity, outbursts of tempers or outright violence that may surround the event, those who can will attempt to persuade and dissuade the aggressors to understand the core spirit of the event, agreeing and soothing the frustration that some may express.
The Director, Klaus Von Santos
Called a 'man of the people' by his peers, Klaus works tirelessly with a large and wide spread team of passionate people to make the gala a success each year. He can be found in any number of areas around the gala grounds. He is an aging elf of 600 years who emigrated to Cormyr some 60 years past. He has made Suzail his home and is an accomplished musician as well as event coordinator. He is a devout member of the Church of Tyr, swearing that he had his life saved once by the deity. He enjoys reading the daily news and gossip rags to 'keep up with the times' and is an accomplished Mage
The passionate people who make the gala possible run the gamut of individuals from laborers and architects to performers, organizers, and on and on. The gala and the construction thereby can be described as an organized chaos consuming the promenade surrounding the theater.
Honored Guests of the Gala
If you are placing this adventure in Suzail, in Cormyr, in the Forgotten Realms canon, then this list of noble houses should suffice as the high level roster of attendees.
From the Obarskyrs who rule Cormyr to the Maelstroms from distant Waterdeep, every noble family worth their clout in coin can be seen at the affair. They tour about in carts, dressed to impress and to stay warm, in that order. Here are a few of the families that would attend:
The Obarskyr family has ruled Cormyr for centuries, and is the most powerful and influential noble house in the nation. The current ruling monarch of Cormyr, King Azoun V, is a member of this family.
The Barrowmaze family is a powerful noble house in Suzail that is known for its wealth and influence. The family is involved in various businesses and industries, and is known for its charitable works and philanthropy.
The Dauntinghorn family is another powerful and influential noble house in Suzail. The family is known for its military prowess and its connections to the Purple Dragons, Cormyr's elite military corps.
The Bryne family is a wealthy and influential noble house in Suzail that is involved in various businesses and industries. The family is known for its support of the arts and its philanthropy.
The Maelstrom family is a powerful and influential noble house in the city of Waterdeep, one of the largest and most influential cities in the Forgotten Realms.
The Illance family is a powerful noble house in the city of Baldur's Gate, another major city in the Forgotten Realms.
Sights & Sounds
There is quite a lot to see and do at the charity gala.
Decorations & Decorum
The entire promenade explodes in color and dress as tapestries, arrangements, lights and statuary are hung from buildings, or placed in the street.
The Noble Heart Winter Charity Gala features a stunning display of ice sculptures, showcasing the talents of the city's finest ice sculptors. These intricate works of art range from detailed, realistic pieces to whimsical, playful figures inspired by the winter season.
Guests can enjoy a bit of ice skating along the Promenades specially-made rink.
Professional athletes and local enthusiasts alike showcase their skills in a variety of winter sports, including ice climbing, ice skating, and skiing.
The Noble Heart Winter Charity Gala also includes a winter fashion show, featuring the latest in winter clothing and accessories.
Hot chocolate bar
From Waterdeep with love, Delphine comes to serve a variety of flavors and toppings for heated milk mixed with chocolate.
Craft brews & Fine wines
Hot mead, the finest spirits and the frothiest ales are served and on tap throughout the gala grounds as artisans local and not come to show their generosity.
Culinary expertise is awash in the streets as various vendors come out to feed to destitute and any others who want a bite to eat.
Guests can bid on a variety of items and favors from the church and is the largest source of income for the gala.
While the focus of the Noble Heart Gala is the wealthy and the wealth they provide, there is no shortage of provisions provided by the general population.
- Blankets: Piles of blankets can be seen on carts located along the Promenade, donated towards those who need them to stay warm.
- Clothing: Warm, fuzzy coats, lined breeches, gloves, and dozens of pairs of new & old boots can be seen collected in crates and wagons.
- Food: Non perishables such as jerky or salted, wrapped meats, assorted dry goods and even barrels of ale and mead are provided for those in need.
- Heating: From old oil or wood stoves that are still serviceable to the fuels that provide their output, those who are fortunate to have a roof but no heat are thankful for this.
- Medicine: Herbal remedies, alchemical draughts, bandages and other supplies can be found collected in a few locations along the promenade.
If players wish to donate they may although to purchase anything locally is virtually impossible as everything that can be purchased to donate already has been by all the noble houses.
The following events assume that Suzail is your venue of choice and provide a few celebrities from other D&D canon that dungeon masters may or may not want to include.
|d10 ||Loot |
|1-2 ||Protestors |
|3-4 ||Drunk Noble |
|5-6 ||Fire! |
|7-8 ||Chef who? |
|9-10 ||Thief! |
A group of protestors from the various churches gather outside the gala. They are angry at the flambouyence and excess demonstrated by the gala shouting slogans and carrying signs such as:
- "Charity starts at home, not a gala!"
- "The rich don't need another party!"
- "Distraction is not a solution!"
- "Spend the money on those who need it!"
- "Showing off is not helping!"
They are peaceful but loud and disruptive.
A successful Charisma (Persuasion) check (DC 15) could convince them to take their grievances where it can be properly heard (a magister or event organizer), or a Charisma (Intimidation) check (DC 15) could scare them off.
Alternatively, a Charisma (Deception) check (DC 15) could convince them that their counter parts are else where and that they should seek them out.
If the players do not intervene, the authorities eventually show up and arrest the protesters to much maligned shouting and cursing from the protesters and any nearby gala attendees.
If the players successfully intervene, the protesters leave and the players are thanked cordially by the Purple Dragons.
A wealthy, intoxicated patron becomes aggressive towards some of the needy, calling them "riff raff" and "street rats".
A successful Charisma (Persuasion) check (DC 15) could convince them to calm down and behave, or a Charisma (Intimidation) check (DC 15) could intimidate them into behaving.
If the players do not intervene, the patron is eventually hit with a snow ball and falls over unconscious in the snow while the thrower is chased off by the authorities.
If the players successfully intervene the noble withdraws and the players are thanked cordially by the vendor.
A fire breaks out in a greasy food stall, quickly engulfing the whole of the stall in a horrible blaze. Throwing snow upon the greasy fire causes it to spit and burst wildly. Throwing mud upon the fire wil slowly douse it away.
If the players do not intervene, the stall burns to the ground.
If the players successfully intervene, they are lauded loudly and the establishment owner offers them lodging at a local inn and meals anytime they wish.
A self proclaimed gourmand by the name of Gurney has lost their pass and is trying to enter the gala. He claims he's from Phandalin, come a long way to provide his services, and is visibly frustrated.
A successful Charisma (Persuasion) check (DC 15) could convince the gate guards to let them in, or a successful Intelligence (Investigation) or Wisdom (Perception) check (DC 15) can find their pass wedged in the floor boards of the drivers seating on their wagon.
If the players do not intervene, the chef is told he can purchase a vendors pass with the organizers to which he shrieks that he already has before turning around and leaving.
If the players successfully intervene, the chef thanks them cordially and tells them to visit him once he is set up. If they do, he gifts them with a Bowl of Endless Soup.
Bowl of Endless Soup
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
This simple clay bowl appears to be unremarkable white clay, but upon closer inspection, it is adorned with a border of engraved sigils translating to 'soup' in various languages.
When an attuned user speaks the word 'soup' in their language, the bowl will produce a never-ending supply of steaming hot soup.
The soup constantly replenishes itself and never seems to grow cold or spoiled.
While attuned to the bowl, you gain the following benefits:
You are immune to the effects of extreme cold and starvation.
As an action, you can command the bowl to fill with soup of any flavor you desire. It does not produce stew.
Soup produced this way will satisfy any hunger and restore 1d6 + 4 hit points to any creature who consumes it while the soup is fresh from the bowl. Soup transferred to another vessel loses its effect after fifteen minutes and tastes as bland as water.
The effects of the soup last until the creature takes a short or long rest.
The bowl will remain filled with soup until commanded to empty, at which point it will become empty until commanded to fill again.
A pickpocket is operating in the crowds at the gala.
A successful Perception check (DC 15) could notice them in the act, or a successful Charisma (Deception) check (DC 15) could pretend to be a wealthy patron and attract them. A successful Charisma (Persuasion or Intimidation) check (DC 13) can get them to leave under threat of the authorities.
If the players do not intervene, they may find themselves victims of the pickpocket. The pickpocket is sighted some time later and arrested soon after by the Purple Dragons.
If Ogrimm and his crew are still alive and were not routed, they will seek out revenge against the players for costing them the job with Lucian.
The crew will organize an ambush at the gala using whomever is still alive.
Ogrimm will look for an opportunity to take care of business off the beaten path and if no good opportunity presents itself he will patiently await his chance.
If the players grow suspicious of Lucian and look into his behavior they will notice a few strange details.
Obelisks & Orihalcum
If the players look for Lucian in the gala, they can find him doing a tour of the promenade. If they follow him they will find him approaching each of the obelisks mentioned above. At each one, he places a small piece of Orihalcum upon the sigil.
If he is approached about this, he states that he is supporting the cause and doing his part for the celebrations.
If the players vandalize an obelisk the Purple Dragons will be summoned and the vandals arrested or driven off.
If a player character has a passive Perception score of 15 or higher, they will notice that Lucian is dressed in a simple open collar shirt, silk breeches and high boots; far under dressed for the cold weather.
If a player character has a passive Perception score of 15 or higher and stands within 5 feet of Lucian, they will notice the air is noticeably colder near him.
If a player character has a passive Perception score of 15 or higher they will notice that when Lucian speaks indoors, his voice steams or that when he speaks outdoors, it does not.
The central point of the gala is the unveiling of the honors that the noble houses will appreciate for their gifts to the those in need.
Laments of the Frost
The time comes eventually for Lucian to perform his music for the eager nobility.
As Lucian's music fills the air, the temperature begins to drop rapidly.
A burst of icy wind erupts from one of the frost obelisks scattered throughout the gala. A fog quickly rolls through and a howl is heard as a pack of snow wolves
materialize out of thin air as beyond them can be heard the tromp of footsteps, the screams of people and the sound of a war horn
The obelisks pulse with cold energy and a blue shaft of sparkling light pulses into the sky from each of the obelisks.
The players must work quickly to destroy the obelisks if they hope to stop the spawning of the sylphs minions and weaken the spirit and ultimately defeat it.
Winter Frost & Company
When the sylvan spirit bursts from his vessel he arrives with a searing cold vengeance and a near army of cohorts. As the gala erupts into a catastrophic war of winter kind hunting the population, the Purple Dragons can be relied upon to leap into action as do the many private companies protecting their noble patrons.
Winters Frost Medium humanoid (elemental), neutral evil
Magic Resistance. Winters Frost has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
- Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
- Hit Points 71 (13d8 + 13)
- Speed 30 ft. ___ STRDEXCONINTWISCHA :---::---::---::---::---::---: 14 (+2)18 (+4)12 (+1)14 (+2)16 (+3)18 (+4) ___
- Saving Throws Dex +7, Wis +6, Cha +7
- Skills Deception +7, Perception +6
- Damage Immunities Cold, Fire
- Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned
- Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16
- Languages Common, Giant, Infernal
- Challenge 5 (1,800 XP) ___ Frost Aura. Winters Frost is surrounded by an aura of cold that extends 5 feet around him. Any creature that touches him or hits him with a melee attack while within 5 feet of him takes 5 (1d10) cold damage.
Magic Weapons. Winters Frost's attacks are magical.
Innate Spellcasting. Winters Frost's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 15). He can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components: At will: frostbite (1d8 + 4 cold damage) 3/day each: ice storm, wall of ice
Snowstorm (1/day). Winters Frost can use an action to create a storm of snow and ice that fills a 30-foot radius centered on him.
The storm lasts for 1 minute or until Winters Frost dismisses it as a bonus action. While the storm persists, Winters Frost has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide, and creatures other than Winters Frost have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks made to detect him. In addition, any creature that enters the storm or starts its turn there takes 5 (1d10) cold damage.
Actions Multiattack. Winters Frost makes two melee attacks.
Frostbite. Ranged attack. +7 to hit, range 60 ft., one creature. Hit: 8
Snow Wolf Medium beast, neutral
- Armor Class 12
- Hit Points 7
- Speed 50 ___ STRDEXCONINTWISCHA :---::---::---::---::---::---: 12 (+1)14 (+2)8 (-1)3 (-4)12 (+1)6 (-2) ___
- Saving Throws Perception +3, Stealth +4
- Languages understands Common, Sylvan but can't speak
- Challenge 1/8 (25 XP) ___ Keen Hearing and Smell. The snow wolf has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
Actions Multiattack. The Creature Name makes Number and type of attacks
Ability Description. Attack Style: Attack Bonus to hit, Reach/Range, one target. Hit: Damage Damage Type damage
General Ability Description. General Attack Description
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2023.03.25 05:44 No-Tomorrow8686 I'm not okay
I've never been good at expressing myself or how I feel due to the stigma and outlandish nature and severity of some of my issues. But in the short 19 years I've been alive, I've never told anyone the things I've done, or the things others have done to me in an attempt to take them to my grave. But seeing as I outlived the life expectancy I imagined, I figured typing it out would allow me to let go of it and feel better because I feel horrible. So, without further stalling, I think I'll just hop into it, starting at the beginning.
When I was little, I lived a life similar to what I'm accustomed to now. Alone and fairly lonely, the few friends I had were due to being more well-adjusted or, at the very least, less fucked up. In addition, one of my friends was the child of my mother's best friend, and we were about the same age. The earliest memory I have is when I was 4 years old and something I can't remember happened. I was upset about something, and my mom left me in the room to cry while she went and played with my friend. While this situation has little relevance today, I think it's a good example of the catalyst that drove my behavior all through my life to what it is now, mainly my relationship with my mom, along with others we'll get to later.
My mother was not the nicest to me, and as I grew older, I would learn how much of an understatement that was. So skip forward a couple of years due to my memory and the irrelevancy of them to the story. Basically, I was a normal-ish kid with a few friends here and there who occasionally got in trouble, for which I almost always got my ass kicked, but who didn't? Jumping back in at around 9 years old, I was in the third grade, probably my favorite year in school due to having met my best friends and getting along with most other kids. The abuse had already taken hold at this age; I was already pretty apathetic to most feelings and never smiled. It was so noticeable that when I finally did smile, a girl at lunch pointed it out like she had seen a unicorn. But I wasn't depressed; I was just angry and didn't know how to express myself.
As a result, I got into more trouble, some of it BS, some of it not, such as my music teacher sending me to the principal for mouthing curse words while quietly talking to myself. In my defense, I wasn't talking about her; I was all the way in the back and didn't know the ambiguous individual could read lips. In fifth grade, I had a female teacher and her assistant whom I disliked because the teacher, in my opinion, was a dick and her assistant would constantly misinterpret what I said as if I were speaking Japanese. She asked me for a paper, and it being a round table, I didn't want to bend all the way across the table to slide her the paper. So I slid the paper gently across the table, and, as anticlimactic as it sounds, the paper slowly made its way to her, and she did not even attempt to grab it or stop it. Instead, she let it fall on the floor and claimed I "threw" it at her. I got sent to my homie at this point, the principal (she wasn't my biggest fan either).
These two incidents led to some of the worst ass beatings I've received at this point in my life. I would later come home to my mom, who is about 2.5 times bigger and stronger than me, and she was furious. I was punched in my chest and thrown into a stool on the ground, followed by a merciless beating with a belt, and left alone to stare at a wall, wallowing in my sadness. I think I could have handled the physical abuse, but the most damaging was the mental and verbal abuse. I would be forced to strip down to my t-shirt and underwear and stand at the door for hours. while she faked phone calls to my relatives, telling them to come get me and that I'd be leaving, before telling me to go sit down. I was constantly threatened with my life if I didn't comply, told I was a worthless "father less individual", etc. I would yell and scream so loudly that apparently our neighbors could hear it, which led to DCFS being called.
How it was explained to me was that the lady next door was crazy (even though we knew her kid, who was like 2 years younger and went to the same school), and the DCFS agent would take me away to a horrible place, a foster home. My mother told me that if that were the case, I wouldn't be placed with my other family members; nope, straight to the government. She came in my room a week before the agent to "warn" me of the dangers I might face if I snitched on her. She made me watch an hour-long documentary about people who were abused by the staff of foster homes, drilling into my head that if I ended up there, the other kids would pick on me and steal from me. That the staff would repeatedly molest (she had a weird thing with this one; I was asked about it every other day if "someone was playing with my butt" completely unprompted from 3rd to 6th grade) me and my toe would be eaten by mice as she claimed happened to my cousin (apparently he needed his toe graphed back on but I never confirmed this with him).
All of this terrified me, so when the time came to nut up or shut up, my nuts retracted back upstairs, and I most definitely shut up big time. Unable to process my emotions, they started manifesting in anger, which led to me being excluded from certain events at school like the outdoor fun day. I had to stay inside while everyone else played. The principal told me that she was going easy on me, and had she been following the rules, I'd have been expelled from elementary school already (I did get suspended though). When it came time to visit the middle school near the end of the year, I had to beg them to let me go because apparently my reputation preceded me, and the middle school principal knew who I was and asked me not to come because of my behavior. My mother had an overwhelming amount of control over my life and others that I would only learn about when I was older (she was responsible for me being in the same class as my best friend 3rd through 5th grade and making sure they served food I would eat on an out-of-state field trip so I wouldn't starve). (It's not really negative, but it sets the tone for how it would soon turn negative.)
Sixth grade rolled around, but this time I got to stay with my great-grandmother in the south. The entire time away from my mother and I improved significantly; I made a lot more friends (probably because of southern hospitality) and overall had a good time (trust me, it was an oddly cool school with equally cool teachers) except for a couple other issues that came with living with my grandma. I returned the next year to mom and a new middle school. All that progress from earlier, yeah, went straight out the window almost immediately. My anger had subsided, and what was left developed into a deep depression and resentment for people, my mom included. I thought people were worthless, making friends useless, so I went out of my way to avoid most people for the longest time. Until I succumbed to my social urges and made a few friends by avoiding the lunch room and eating in one of the science classes with some kids I had other classes with. During this time, I was reluctantly in "therapy" (I had been there since elementary, just talking to social workers, but nothing came of it until now).
Trouble would always seem to follow me; anytime a message was relayed from the school to mom, it almost guaranteed an ass beating. I would seemingly get in trouble for nothing, and my teachers would unknowingly be sending me on my way down death row to meet the executioner. Once I got in trouble for "throwing" another paper. I didn't realize we needed it and put it in the recycling, but the teacher saw it and told me to keep it, so I put it under my seat, and it fell through the bars of my chair basket while I wasn't looking, and she was mad at me for it. I also told my math teacher to "stop harassing me" because every 5 minutes she was hounding me about completing some work I had no intention of doing. That mistake was damn near fatal because, for some reason, I wasn't allowed to feel harassed, and telling my teacher that was apparently way out of pocket. I should also mention I had good grades up until I eventually began failing them.
All of this leads to more violent abuse. I was shoved into a wall, which hurt my arm so bad I needed an ice pack (and had to lie to the nurse about why I needed it). The next day, I was repeatedly hit with a broom, picked up by my collar, and slammed into walls before being thrown on the ground. The physical pain would subside in hours, but because what was done and said to me never left, I would almost always be left to sit and stare alone with my thoughts, and because of this, my mental state would degrade rapidly. Nothing else could bring me to tears like the pain of the person responsible for your entire life, who was supposed to love you unconditionally, constantly tormenting you. Her words would pierce and sting, while the same thing said to me by anyone else would roll off me like water off a duck's back.
Unable to escape the constant beratement, and depending on the severity, this would send me into suicidal spirals, and when I hit emotional rock bottom and couldn't feel any worse about myself, it was the only thing I looked forward to and all I thought about for months. When people asked me, "NT (Me), what are you going to be when you grow up?" or "NT, you're getting older. Have you thought about what you're going to do when you reach x (usually 18+) years old?" I had no idea, no answer. In my mind, living to be older than 16 seemed impossible. They were right when they said time would fly by. Back at school, the stress was getting to me. During a random game of Uno, I broke down and expressed some of my feelings, along with the fact that I was almost getting my ass beat with random objects on a weekly basis.
This ultimately led to no improvements in my life, just more people in my business. The process of them trying to help was akin to getting a law passed, full of procedures and red tape they had to follow because there was no physical evidence—I had no cuts, bruises, or wounds they could see. All they had to go on was the testimony of an emotionally disturbed preteen. They recommended I be placed in a mental hospital. I stayed after school while they called my dad to pick me up, and the car ride was silent until we arrived at the hospital. He asked, "Do you want to go in?" I said, "Yeah," and he couldn't figure out why he said I had it easy as a child. Because all I had to worry about was school and I had no bills to pay, I shouldn't have any reason to kill myself. I was essentially overreacting to him. So we went home.
Because I'm about to enter the next arc of my story. I'll share some extra fun facts that aren't directly related to the story, but I'd be remiss if I didn't. Our principal told us we had too many students for what the building was originally intended for. One day, while walking up the narrow stairs in between a crowd of kids rushing for their lockers, I was knocked over and trampled. I had at least two feet up my ass, one in my back, and one on top of my head, and I couldn't get up because no one could see me. Not long after, a teacher had to stop them from walking up the stairs so I could get up. When I got to my locker, the person whose locker was next to mine casually mentioned the trampling, and to be honest, it had only happened 30 seconds before, so I was pretty blown when she said that (I looked at her like, yeah, ambiguous individual, that was me y'all were just stepping on) and I told her, "Yeah, that was me." But let's not forget the time two of my classmates were fucking around playfighting and threw each other in such a way that the dude kicked me in the face. I sat in the same spot on the wall while waiting for my teacher, and, believe it or not, lightning does strike twice, because they were fucking around again and kicked me in the face in nearly the same way. This was an advisory class we had only once a week, and to make a long story even longer, I learned not to sit next to that wall anymore.
I began high school at the age of 14 and remained largely unchanged during this time. I still couldn't talk to anyone and dealt with the stress of going home to my mom, which significantly impacted how I behaved and how my grades would turn out at first. I had almost all A's before spiraling downward; at that point, I stopped caring what others thought of me and did whatever I could to make myself feel better. I would sleep in hallways on the floor, skip class, and do little to no work. I couldn't concentrate and wasn't worried about the consequences of my decisions until I graduated. The food in my house would run short, and my mom always told me if I ate it all before she went back to the grocery store, she wouldn't buy any more. I started skipping meals and eating less per meal to stretch the food we had, and at times I couldn't move without being doubled over in pain.
I was confined to my room almost constantly. I wasn't allowed to go anywhere but school, a couple of nearby restaurants, and back home. I couldn't leave my house if I wanted to hang out with friends (if only I had any) because I had to be in her presence at all times. I hypothesized about going to hang out with a female friend and was told I wouldn't be allowed to without her following behind us (I was 17 when I asked). If I wanted to hang out with a male friend, they had to go through a background check of sorts (it was easier to get a gun card than to get some friends I could hang with). I had to get their parents' phone numbers so she could talk to them, and then she would decide whether or not I could go, which wasn't even a guarantee. Imagine you're in school, and a kid who wants to be friends with you tells you they need your parents to talk to each other and give their permission. That's embarrassing. I would imagine I'd be laughed at and made fun of, or they wouldn't go through all the trouble for someone who was already known as an incredibly strange individual, so most of the time I never tried out of fear of this.
I had no way to cope surrounded by people, and knowing what some of them might think of me, I would put my head down for weeks in every class because at this point I was genuinely terrified of people. I had developed selective mutism and would not talk to 98 percent of students and about 80 to 90 percent of staff; when I did, it was in short, vague sentences and almost only when spoken to. Up until I was 15, the abuse continued the same as before, but as I got older, it became more Physical I had mostly stopped getting hit with belts, and when I did get hit, it was in the arm and chest, with the occasional hit in the mouth. I'd be backed into a corner while my mother yelled the most vile and hurtful things at me. I was told I ruined her life and that I kept her from having a life. If I ever lost my keys, I would immediately be in trouble, but if I lied about it, that was even worse. My mom worked from home before it was cool to work from home, so she was almost constantly home. If I had lied about having my keys, I would have been locked out of the house for hours until she finished working, rain or shine; snowing and cold; hot and humid; it didn't matter. But that mostly stopped when the damage it did to me became apparent, and I had a psychotic episode.
My mother was upset with me for some reason and was yelling loudly about how worthless I was, that she wished I was never born, and so on. (At this point, I was the most miserable I'd been in a long time. My mental state was comparable to the fragility of a ceramic plate: solid, sturdy, and functional. Just pray to God you don't drop it if you'd like it to remain intact.) I became late because I had misplaced my hat, but when I told her I had it in my pocket, she said, "Let me see it then; why is it not on your head? Put it on!" So I began looking for my hat in my bookbag, and when I found it, she snatched it from my grasp and smacked me on the head with it. I felt something click inside me, like a light switch being turned on. Without warning, I began having a psychotic breakdown. I put my hands on my head and started screaming as loud as I could uncontrollably, "I can't take it! I can't take it anymore," repeatedly while frantically shuffling like a chicken with its head cut off in front of my mom. I had no control over my actions, and my mother stopped me and pulled my hands off my head, but I wouldn't stop screaming, and she had to calm me down in order for me to stop. It was terrifying for the both of us because I think it was the first time she had ever seen anything like that, and it was the first time I ever did anything like that. The feeling was terrifying almost indescribable the closest comparison I could make is to the tea cup scene from get out. I felt like I got yanked out my body while simultaneously remaining in there like my soul was trapped behind my eyes and all I could do is watch.
After that experience, my mother began to soften her stance toward me, and the big 19 began, so I had virtual classes for about two years that I never finished, but I persevered and eventually graduated (while failing a significant number of classes), and when I did, I was enrolled in an alternative school. When I was eighteen, me and my mom got into an argument because I didn't want to go back to school. It was boring and sad because there were only two or three kids in my class, and we did elementary school work all day. There were no phones, we had to wear uniforms, and free time was scarce. The only slightly good part was that we worked a couple hours a day and they paid us. But it was only four dollars an hour, and we worked two hours each day unless you were in the special work program, which meant you worked two extra hours after school. With the long cab ride there, I'd get home around 5:30 to 6:00 every day, only to wake up at 8 a.m. and do it all over again. But we agreed that if I found a job before school resumed, I wouldn't have to go. I had a week and a half to do it.
I applied everywhere and even made it all the way through orientation at one place, but I was in a factory doing 12 hour shifts and about 4 miles from my house, so I turned it down because I was scared and had to be realistic because walking multiple miles through areas I'd never been to daily was just too much for me. I was told I had to leave if I wasn't working or going to school, and I couldn't stay the night. I was kicked out after calling my grandparents, who said I could stay with them. I packed two weeks worth of clothes and walked over there. The first few weeks were weird, but I finally saw the light at the end of the world's darkest and longest tunnel. For the first time in years, I knew what it was like to not be abused and verbally assaulted on a daily basis. But, unfortunately, I was beyond repair, at least on my own. I searched for a job and tried to enroll in college, but I was never taught or allowed to do that growing up. I was raised indoors and was never taught the skills needed to survive outside. I still didn't know how to talk to people, and I was terrified of them. I would have panic attacks a couple times a month and rely on others to feed and clothe me. I was wearing the same two weeks worth of clothes for several months until my great-grandmother sent me more.
Around this time I started smoking weed, and it was amazing how those first times getting high were the best and made me forget all about my problems and truly relax. But I didn't know what I was getting into and developed an exponentially growing habit. I started taking fake Xanax and getting slumped while I went about my day high as a kite. Just to forget about the majority of what I did the following day. The only reason my Xan problem didn't get out of hand was that I kept losing all of the pills after a few times, so I stopped buying them. But it was too late when I exhausted the small amount I had and began withdrawing. Let me tell you, like anyone else who has dealt with Xan withdrawals will tell you, they are not to be played with; hell isn't even a good enough comparison. It's something I truly wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. (My mom excluded.) I had severe paranoia, extreme agitation, a splitting headache that wouldn't quit, and panic attacks frequently (plus a strong urge to KMS as well, which is normal at this point). But I was lucky: Xanax is the only drug that can kill you by going cold turkey, and if your body became physically dependent, you were more than likely to have multiple seizures coming your way.
My replacement for Xanax was fake Mallinckrodt pills, aka dirty 30s, blues, perc 30s, or whatever name you used or knew they were synonymous with fentanyl or worse. (Believe me when I say they most definitely make things worse than fent) I'm confident I got worse because they didn't test positive for fent, which means its something the test couldn't detect. I turned full junkie and was smoking them off foil before I was 19. I overdosed twice going to sleep, and I was never confident if I was going to wake up. The opioid withdrawals are 100x easier than the Xans, and I was smoking drugs stronger than fentanyl. I quit those, and not too long after, I was taking fake ecstasy pills and Molly capsules, which, aside from the slight stimulant psychosis and vomiting, were probably my favorites. They let me experience happiness for the first time and gave me the ability to communicate and interact with other people. It felt like I'd been missing something my entire life.
Now I'm 19 on the cusp of being a broke "adult" with no real skills, aspirations, or anything positive going for him. This year I discovered while in high school I was diagnosed with autism, ADHD, ODD, social anxiety disorder, and antisocial personality disorder, all while attending school, and nobody ever told me or hinted at it to me in the slightest at all. I guess they just wanted me to cruise through life ignorant and struggling. I'm constantly reminded of how much of a burden I am because I can't do much more than take care of myself. I hide it somewhat well due to my lifelong fear of being mistaken for insane, but it takes an enormous amount of effort to even get out of bed and make something to eat. In order to keep the invasive thoughts and feelings away, I have to keep myself entertained and amused all day or else the feelings come rushing back. I honestly hate my life. I have little to look forward to and regret my almost entire life due to me ruining any chance at fun I had growing up because of how I behaved. I can barely leave my house, and if I go anywhere beyond a couple of blocks, I have panic attacks and get extreme anxiety that effects me physically. I feel my ability to comprehend and understand things slowing down. It's harder to focus and pay attention, and I feel almost like an alien when I'm around other people.
Recently, I had a phone call with my mom and had a panic attack (we haven't spoken in 2 years since I was put out). It was just like old times, when she was mad at me about a misunderstanding and was yelling and screaming about how I don't care that I'm wasting her money. (she bought my phone as a gift on a payment plan when I turned 18) As an adult I felt extremely disrespected by the things she said so before my mental health suffered anymore I hung up mid sentence and blocked her. The next day my phone was bricked and completely unusable, as it was technically not paid for, so somebody had to get me a new phone. Today I feel extremely hopeless towards any chance of repairing my life. I don't know what to do and I wish I did. I wish I could shake this dead man walking feeling I've got. Throughout the day, life doesn't even feel real at times. I feel as though if I keep hanging in there, eventually someone's going to find me hanging from somewhere. I don't know how my relatives do it. I could never imagine being their age. This isn't everything that's ever happened to me (I know it's hard to believe), but I feel I've described my story as concisely as possible in a semi-chronological order. Anything else would just be extra or I'd be repeating myself. With all that being said, my think noodle is hurting, and I think (clearly I do too much of this) I need to find it some dopamine. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this fully because, as God knows, I can't tell a living soul who knows me this. Night. -NT
submitted by No-Tomorrow8686
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2023.03.25 05:28 Tj20931 Ad-Ad Fruit (Kōkoku Kōkoku no Mi)
Name: Ad-Ad Fruit Ability:
The Ad-Ad Fruit (Kōkoku Kōkoku no Mi
) is a Paramecia-type Devil Fruit that allows the user to create and manipulate advertisements around them. Making the user a Salesman Human
The Ad-Ad Fruit is a white head-sized fruit that has a long pointed nose-like protrusion that sticks out from the large amount of foliage from under the fruit that covers the whole fruit. Sticking out from the top of the foliage is a black stem that comes out of the top of the fruit, the stem form into a ‘G’ shape and then curls flatly similar to dots on both ends of the stem, strangely enough the stem’s coloration switches from black to bright red once. In-Depth Description:
Upon consumption the user is granted the ability to create and manipulate advertisements of any type and through any medium. Through coming into physical contact with an advert, the user is able to completely change the appearance of that advertisement and make it one of their [Ads]
. Once that happens, the user is capable of remotely seeing through any of their [Ads]
and allowing the user to see the current [wants and needs]
of whoever is looking at the advertisement as well as communicate through them; and in-real time the user is able remotely change it’s contents to further appeal to the customer who might take the offer. If the customer were to take the offer on the advertisement through either verbal confirmation, signed documentation, or willingly shaking the user’s hand to officialize the [[DEAL]]
. Depending on the few situations after a [[DEAL]]
is made will the [true power]
of the Ad-Ad Fruit take effect.
After striking a [[DEAL]]
with a customer, the user must be able to deliver their end of the [[DEAL]]
before being capable of receiving the customer’s payment. If the user is unable to fulfil their end of the bargain, then the [[DEAL]]
will be immediately voided and any payment made by the customer will be returned in full back to them. But if the user possesses the [“intended product”]
, then the deal will proceed as normal with the customer receiving the product while the user receives the agreed form of [payment]
while in person or through the [Ad]
acting as a gateway for both [product]
. As to more favour the user, they are able to [[SCAM]]
the customer so long as they don’t ask for the user to inspect the [product], sign the [“required”]
documentation without reading it, or unconditionally accept the [[DEAL]]
. While the user has to meet their end of the [[DEAL]]
, the quality and condition of the [“intended product”]
does not need to meet such requirements as long as it looks like the [“intended product”]
or it fulfils the purpose of [“intended product”]
. The rules of both of these conditions are incredibly loose in interpretation, allowing the user to exchange a bad copy/bootleg of the [“intended product”]
so long as it meets either requirements.
However, in the event that the customer does not possess the required payment either during the immediate [[DEALmaking]]
or they fail to meet the steps of alternative paying methods, the user is then able to invoke special string-like green wires that rain down upon the [InDEBT Consumer]
and attach themselves into their body from behind them. These [[Silly Strings]]
are completely invisible to those who either aren’t indebted to the user or to a customer who hasn’t noticed anything, but if the user were to tell someone how this particular facet of the fruit works, then they will have the capacity to see these green wires. Once someone becomes a [InDEBT Consumer]
the user is capable of slowly but surely manipulating them into doing what they want, with the more [[Silly Strings]]
embedded into their body, the more overall control and sway the user has over them. So long as one green wire remains, the user will always know where the [InDEBT Consumer]
is located. Just having a few green wires attached to you will make one susceptible to the user’s [“sweet words”]
and [[Sales Pitches]]
, as well as being more blind to such actions of the user, to then end up with more [[Silly Strings]]
attached onto their body. With a certain amount of green wires, the user is then capable of influencing a [InDEBT Consumer]
’s actions through sleight hand movements and or verbal commands, after a few green wires after that stage, they will begin to become more reliant and gullible to such [“endearing encouragement”]
from the user.
With enough [[Silly Strings]]
attached onto a [InDEBT Consumer]
, their minds will become fully oblivious to any [“bad publicity”]
of the user and do just about any of the user’s whims and bidding. However if a [InDEBT Consumer]
were to become too indebted to the user and possess far to many [[Silly Strings]]
, then their mind will automatically start to deteriorate to the point of insanity, and become potentially become too unstable for the user to verbally manipulate them. When at such a stage, a [InDEBT Consumer]
will fully acknowledge the existence of the [[Silly Strings]]
. But just like all other [InDEBT Consumers]
, they themselves are unable to cut their own [[Silly Strings]]
, requiring the help of [“non-consumers”]
to cut these green wires.
Back onto the [Ads]
part of the devil fruit, the overall range the user has depends on the amount of [Ads]
of any kind relative to each other. With the user’s pseudo-omniscience ranging far and wide as long as an [Ad]
is in the relative range of another [Ad]
. If a chain of [Ads]
are all in relative range of each other and the user is at least in the radius range of one of the [Ads]
making up the chain. Then the user will have complete and perfect vision through all of them. If the user is not in range of a mass of [Ads]
then the viewing quality from them will begin to lessen. But if there are enough [Ads] in relative range from each other, then that will generally improve the user’s pseudo-omniscience. However the user themselves also possesses an effective range themselves, with the more in range the user and [Ad]
are to each other the stronger the connection. The user’s range is able to be widened and increased with the more [[DEALS]]
they make, which in turn slowly increases the range of the [Ads]
. An individual [Ad]
can have their own connectivity increased with the more customers they draw in and the amount of [[DEALS]]
the user makes through that specific [Ad]
Now onto the last facet of the devil fruit, the user is capable of manifesting [Ads]
from technological mediums such as [Pop-ups]
, [3D Models]
, and [Videos]
into the real-world. Taking the same form as viewed on a Computer or Phone and appearing out of them into the real-world, where the user can telepathically move them around, enlarge them, shrink them, and stretch them. Whilst manifested they are very incredibly durable and can withstand any elemental attack as if it were all the same, however by tapping the close button the top right of these digital [Ads]
will make them disappear. They function just like regular [Ads]
of the physical world, possessing a relative range and can allow the user to see through them. Weaknesses:
The Ad-Ad Fruit is a devil fruit that is not inherently combat-based, requiring a lot of preparation before the devil fruit can be used in such a sense. As on its own it does leave the user with many options besides the primary facets of the devil fruit’s powers. While people who are obvious to the green wires or people who have green wires attached to them but don’t notice the effect they cause are completely unable to see these green wires attached to them and seemingly originate from the sky above. Non-affected people who have been informed by the user themselves of the green wires or have figured out themselves are capable of snipping the green wires. While the user can turn normal advertisable media into their own, allowing for further use of their devil fruit abilities, despite becoming more sturdy in terms of not flying in the wind if a gust came, they will all still possess the same durability and weaknesses as their normal counterparts.
The main demographic for the user are usually run of the mill people, people who aren’t observant enough to pick up the pieces of very slight things that happen to them. Such as the feeling of something latching onto them, their body doing something on their own, or feeling a certain way toward something all of a sudden. All manifested technology ads are the ads usable form combat, however they are at the same time the easiest to deal with. Just by hitting the top right “X” button to close the floating window. Most importantly, the user of the fruit must be somewhat capable of being a sales(wo)man or be willing to learn as a minimum to use this fruit at all or just be able to lie very well to people without feeling guilty. Combative Info:
The Ad-Ad Fruit in its entirety is not inherently for combative use, however it is capable of such use. Through coming into contact with any technological medium that adverts can be placed in, the user can make such ads manifest in the real-world. The windows from computer-like mediums are very durable, easily withstanding multiple cannon fire without such much as a crack. And are also capable of cutting someone by spinning it to further increase the windows cutting power. 3D polygon models act similar to props then anything that the user can telekinetically throw, if it so happened to be an animated model, then once manifested it will repeat its actions in a loop. The user is capable of raising the volume and brightness of video pop-ups to both blind and deafen opponents.
While the user ensnares more people in debt as well as deepening their staggering debt to the user for not doing their end of the deal. The user can forcibly take control of the user’s green wires and puppeteer them into fighting, operating in a similar fashion to Doflamingo’s Parasite technique. And the user is able to detach green wires from nearby indebted customers and manipulate to wrap around or attack the unaffected opponent while at the same time not attaching any debt onto them. However this not only allows the unaffected person to see the green wires, but also be able to cut them while they are in physical contact, even if they manage to snap a green wire, then that wire will not be reattached to their original indebted recipient. But can still be used by the user to attack opponents, but they can still be re-used for their intended purpose on another or an upcoming [InDEBT Consumer]
. Non-Combative Info:
Despite the absurdly greedy uses of the Ad-Ad Fruit, it is still an incredibly useful devil fruit for normal commercial uses or really any other form of normal trading uses. The user can easily create high-quality advertisements of any kind for any purpose on any advertisable medium. Being able to create a fully fledged security system by viewing through any and all [ads]
. Techniques: [Advertise]:
The user physically touches a medium used for advertisement and transforms it into whatever form of marketable advertisement the user can imagine. When used on things such as paper or signs, the user erases whatever was written/printed on them before printing whatever they could think of. When used on a technological device, the user is simply able to instantly create pop-up ads and video advertisements. So long as it was possible on the chosen medium.
- [Limited Time Promotion]: The user creates a special ad under the guise of a promotional campaign, and whatever they are selling will be only available for a limited time. Increasing incentive for unassuming targets to quickly make a deal as the user reduces the time limit to add pressure on them.
- [Auction Sweepstake]: The user creates advertisements through any televised or radio broadcasting linked to a special advertisement that visually presents an auction sweepstake of multiple [“intended product”] that hypes them up and pretends to increase the bidding from a low price to make it look very valuable.
- [Wonder Trading]: The user creates numerous special ads that work off the basis of giving away a random item in response to a target donating a random item through this special advert. The value of the item given and received are completely, but the user can alter such values to weigh to their favour or someone else's. In addition to being able to see one’s wants and needs, the user can give out specific items to targets so that they are incentivized to donate more for similar items they desire.
The user summons special string-like green wires from the sky onto the backs of a [InDEBT Consumer]
. The more wires attached onto the back of a victim, the more susceptible they are to any of the user’s manipulations. The wires themselves become more durable and stronger the further the number of th deals the user makes, but will decrease the more deals get broken. While general training with them will make the base strength of the wires more stronger.
- [Sleight of Hand]: The user calls for a specific line of [[Silly Strings]] that are attached to a [InDEBT Consumer]. It will descend from the sky and wrap around the user’s finger, from there the user is able to completely control whatever part of the victim the wire is attached to. From making ever so slight hand gestures to weave the [InDEBT Consumer] to do whatever the user wants so long as they don’t make it apparent or obvious that they're being orchestrated.
- [Debt Termination]: The user manipulates all of the [[Silly Strings]] attached to a [InDEBT Consumer] and wrapped them in a dangerous sharp hold; particularly around the neck and in turn strangling them to death. Although when the user does this, the [[Silly Strings]] become visible to anyone around the victim who isn’t in debt, allowing them to snip the wires during this time.
- [Account Freeze]: The user summons all the [[Silly Strings]] attached to a [InDEBT Consumer] and simply halt the movement of the victim, for further entrapment the user wills the strings to wrap around the joints of the [InDEBT Consumer]. However once more doing such an action will cause non-[InDEBT Consumers] to witness the existence of the [[Silly Strings]].
- [Raining Green]: The user releases all the [[Silly Strings]] from a [InDEBT Consumer’s] body, causing them to each detach from that victim. The user then manipulates all of them to rain down upon a target and pierce them straight through. Alternatively the user can wrap themselves in a few of the [[Silly Strings]] to lift themselves off the ground and into the air. Similar to that of the [String-String Fruit].
The user focuses their [Ad-Ad Fruit]
power on an advertisement off a technological screen. This causes the advertisement shown on the screen to begin to distort before literally coming out of the screen and assuming itself a 3d form. These manifested windows can be used in various ways from offence to defence. These 3d advertisements can be interacted with like advertisements the user creates. But the user is able to revert any of these manifests into 2d shapes and place them around like normal handout adverts, minimising them so that they maximise when someone is near, or make them float toward the nearest person and harass them.
- [3D Knockout]: The user creates manifested windows advertisements, and transforms them into 2d windows before having them slide underneath certain parts of a target’s body. And after they’ve slid under, the 2d windows instantly become 3d once more and collide into the target with excessive force.
- [[POP-UP Tabs]]: The user creates manifested windows advertisements, and transforms them into 2d windows before minimising them. The 2d manifested windows then sneak up on a target, and right when they least expect it, the windows maximise themselves and pop-up right in-front of the target.
- [Spam Mail]: The user or their [InDEBT Consumer] sets up many hidden pop-ups, minimised and scattered across every corner, door, window, device, etc and have them activated to the closest sentient being approaches its proximity. The Spam Mail pop-up will surprise and continuously annoy them by playing their own sound clips over and over again. And whenever they are closed, they will slightly shift out of the way.
- [Advertisement Block]: The user either during or out of combat grabs a manifested window and expands the window out to defend against attacks. But when expanded, the user can also turn the entire window 3-D, gaining a sudden immense amount of weight added to it. And crushing whoever the user drops it on, or they can use it as a shield or blockade.
- [Loud Notification]: The user creates a special variation of pop-up tab, that plays a loud and obnoxious-type of ringing noise whenever they are open. They can be programmed to follow targets and continuously play the same sound over again similar to spam mail.
- [Advertised Product]: The user reaches over and sticks their hand into an advertisement that’s showcasing an item and grabs it. Then the user pulls the product out of advertisement and into the real world. The user can use the product similar to the actual version, however it will be only half as effective. All that is left of the product from the advertisement is a white space shaped exactly like the item.
Once the user of the Ad-Ad Fruit awakens, catching up their body and mind to the levels of their own ability. The standard abilities given when first consumed are significantly increased beyond what they were before, the proverbial range of advertisements are increased, the strength and durability of [[Silly Strings]]
improved, the intricacies of the [InDEBT Consumer]
’s body that can be manipulated are heightened, and much more. The former weakness of the devil fruit where the user needed a pre-established advertisement or materials to use their devil fruit has been lifted to an extent*****. Now all the user needs to do to create an advertisement is to simply make a sales pitch of any kind, with the more grandeur the pitch, the stronger the advertisement. The user can even now conjure pop-up tabs and digital lettering in thin air to help begin a sales pitch, or enhance their own speechcraft. They can even be used in combat if the user desires, though they are not as potent as physical advertisements or manifested tabs.
However that is only half of the entire awakening, the other half focuses on the conceptual power of the devil fruit and what the user can exactly turn into an “Advertisement
”. While in the pre-awakening state, the user is only able to bargain for and sell physical objects and beings. Now the user is able to wrap their [[Silly Strings]]
on more intangible [products] such as a person’s soul, in turn granting complete control over an individual, or perhaps something that has yet to exist like a person’s first born. Or even something tied to their very being like their devil fruit ability, though [WARNING: ANY ATTEMPT FOR THE USER OF AD-AD FRUIT TO ABSORB INTO THE POWER OF ANOTHER DEVIL FRUIT USER THAT HAD [“willingly”] SOLD THEIR DEVIL FRUIT POWER TO THEM WILL SUFFER FROM SPONTANEOUS EXPLOSION OF THEIR ENTIRE BODY. THERE ARE NO REFUNDS\.]
Lastly while the user is able to wrap their [[Silly Strings]]
on more intangible [products], the user is now capable of extending what they can exactly turn into advertisement. Following more in line with a standard paramecia awakening, but in a thematic way, any land the user comes into [“ownership”]
of and becomes their [“property”]
. The wielder of the Ad-Ad Fruit is able to freely change and manipulate everything within and connected to the user’s square feet of land into advertisements. While the user is unable to manipulate the environment in the same way as other paramecia users due to the less malleable nature of advertisements. The esoteric nature of advertisements and how exactly the user can portray their power because of how broad an advertisement can be makes up for the lack of traditional control over their transformed land. But there is a singular weakness to this facet of the Ad-Ad Fruit, which is that if the deed or proof of documentation (and if there isn't any, one is automatically created every time the user assumes control of a lone land.) is destroyed or damaged, then the affected environment will either be completely reverted back or parts of it will instead. Awakened Techniques: [Deal with the Devil]:
The user creates a [specil]
one time only [DEAL],
however compared to the normal advertisements the user creates, this one is created with the intention of the user trading for something not entirely physical but something that has value to a specific customer. This [DEAL]
is more one on one than any other advertisement deal. Requiring the soon to be customer to either sign on the dotted line of a document to finalise the dealmaking, or by [“willingly”]
shaking the user’s hand.
- [Deal for Another Life]: The user creates a [specil] one time only [DEAL] for someone who needs assistance in saving someone, be it that they're in a dying state or simply injured. By accepting the [DEAL] for the user to save the life of another, the recipient will have their condition ”heal” in a sense depending on the situation. If medical supplies are in the vicinity capable of mending them, then the Ad-Ad Fruit will use those supplies to instantaneously patch them up. If there are none, then the [“customer”] will have either their own life or a certain amount of years off their life to help save or extend out the recipient’s.
- [Devil for a Devil]: The user creates a [specil] one time only [DEAL] for the intent of trading the devil fruit abilities of two people between them. Once that either sign or shake each other’s hands with the user present to finalise the dealmaking. Both people will begin to convulse and scream from the pain of the swapping of devil fruits, what appears out from them appears to be the will or soul of their particular devil fruits which pass by each other before phasing into their new user's body.
The user proceeds to make a literal one time only [DEAL]
like no other to whom but the Ad-Ad Fruit itself, arranging a [DEAL]
that will allow the user to gain a significant amount of power by absorbing all existing goods received through every [DEAL]
the user has ever made. In turn however, once the user has finished with what they had intended to do with the power, parts of their own individuality is exchanged by the Ad-Ad Fruit itself with one perfectly lined with the devil fruit’s function. That of being a Salesman and their job of making deals. However once done, they themselves will be ensnared by [[Silly Strings]]
with them even knowing, and secretly manipulating them into performing and doing things that allows them to make more deals and benefit them.
P/N: I had created this fruit around the beginning of 2022, but never got around to actually starting anything. But then around the time Spamton Sweepstakes started I then, randomly out of nowhere, thought of the entire concept for the devil fruit. I will say that I gave up at the end with the awakening moves, due to not feeling the best. But I just wanted to get this devil fruit over and done with. Any of the moves are up for interpretation.
- [NEO]: One of two transformations the user can undergo once the deal has been made, and is mostly done through the intake of many material items the user has ["respectfully"] received from a ["customer"]. Granting them a physiology similar to that of a mechanical machine. Allowing to shrug off a majority of dangers that normally threaten a [MEAT PERSON]. They are able to fly at great speeds and ascend as high as they want due to the [[Silly Strings]] attached to their back once in this form. For combat they have many options, from blasting opponents with their arm cannon, opening their chest cavity for their own mechanical heart to spring out and shoot out white diamonds, and even increasing their own size to ram into and squish their opposition.
- [OMEGA]: The second and most powerful and the two transformations the user can undergo once the deal has been made, and is made when on top of absorbing material items, they also take into both the souls of people who gave them up and actual living people who sold their lives to the user. The main difference between the two forms is not only in power but also in sheer size and mobility being more slow. During both transformations, the user experiences a even higher boost in their ability of manipulating and transforming their [“property”] into anything advertisable.
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2023.03.25 05:27 InsideWriter1074 Long Head Of The Triceps
Many individuals will generally zero in on building their biceps for tastefully satisfying arms. While this is smart, don't disregard the rear arm muscles as they assume a critical part with regards to the general look of your chest area. Your rear arm muscles make up somewhere around 66% of your upper arm. Consequently, dismissing these muscles would be an error on the off chance that you need greater arms.
The rear arm muscles, otherwise called the rear arm muscles brachii, are comprised of three sections; the average head, sidelong head, and long head. Each of the three muscles assume a significant part in helping with elbow flexion and elbow augmentation, whist offering help to the elbow joint.
Suggested Perusing - 7 Straightforward Parallel Head Rear arm muscle Activities To Detonate Arm Definition
Enacting each of the three rear arm muscle health nuts through different designated practices is an incredible method for assisting you with building a proportionate and solid upper arm. Notwithstanding, the long top of the rear arm muscle is biggest of the three. Understanding the long head rear arm muscle and its capabilities is critical to adding bulk and expanding strength.
What Is The Long Top Of The Rear arm muscles?
The three tops of the rear arm muscles cooperate to build the strength and security of the arm. The rear arm muscles join from the elbow and shoulder joints going about as an extensor for the lower arm muscle at the elbow joint. It's significant that the primary muscle answerable for this development is the average top of the rear arm muscles. As the long head likewise associates with the shoulder joint it additionally assumes a little part in assisting with both shoulder expansion and adduction.
The long top of the rear arm muscles is the piece of the muscle that frames a horseshoe shape. It is the most noticeable of each of the three heads. The three heads join into one ligament at the elbow, however all continue from various focuses at the shoulder. The long head likewise assists with balancing out the adducted humerus at the shoulder joint.
While undertaking your rear arm muscle exercise, there are procedures that better invigorate the long head. These activities are testing, yet are most certainly worth the effort for generally speaking arm development. By changing the place of your upper arm while working out, you can successfully put more accentuation on the long head.
The 8 Best Lengthy Head Rear arm muscle Activities
In no specific request, these are probably the best rear arm muscles practices you can integrate into your preparation to assist with building the arm muscles.
1. Close Grasp Hand weight Seat Bress
While customarily a chest work out, the standard seat press is an extraordinary activity to work the rear arm muscles. In any case, by essentially changing your grasp width you can actually focus on all muscle bunches inside the rear arm muscles. Similarly as with all activities, slow and controlled structure is fundamental for work the right muscles.
The most effective method to Perform Close Hold Hand weight Press:
Lie level on a seat, guaranteeing you withdraw your scapula and 'dig' your upper back into the seat
Grab hold of the free weight guaranteeing that your grasp is marginally smaller than shoulder width. Keeping your wrists straight, hold it straight out or more your chest.
Bring down the free weight gradually towards your lower chest until you simply reach at around 90 degrees.
Stop at the base briefly prior to pushing the bar back up towards the roof.
Guarantee you don't totally lock your elbow joints at the highest point of each and every rep, by doing this you will restrict joint wear and keep strain on the muscle guaranteeing greatest rear arm muscle initiation.
Hand weight presses for more rear arm muscle initiation might be successful with appropriate structure. Grasp the bar excessively close, and you might lose equilibrium or put superfluous weight on your joints. Grasp it excessively far, and you might actuate a greater amount of your chest muscles removing accentuation from the rear arm muscles.
The advantage of this exercise is that you can quickly expand your heaps as your design and strength get to a higher level. Start with lighter burdens to collect your design preceding forging ahead toward critical weights. We endorse including incomplete plates to achieve consistent headway. Unsure what a Fragmentary Plate is, we made a helpful helper for you here.
2. Above Hand weight Extensions
This is a fledgling obliging movement to foster backbone and mass to the long head. You need immaterial equipment and this is a staggering action for broadening the back arm muscles. It will in general be done either arranged or standing.
The Best Method for playing out An Above Extension:
Sit on a seat with your feet hip width isolated. Using a seat is better than playing out the action staying as it separates the chest region from the legs and gives you a helpful resting position for your free weight
Lift the hand weight onto your knee
From here you should have the choice to 'kick' your benefit while simultaneously lifting the hand weight into position. Your elbow should move 180 degrees from close by your body to over your head
Using your other hand, hold the completion of the free weight and the handle in a Rakish shape
Keep your palms gazing upward towards the rooftop and your wrists as per your body
Progressively lower the free weight behind your neck until your elbows are at a 90 degree highlight your back arm muscles
Make sure to keep your elbows wrapped up all through and don't allow them to emit out as this can cause wounds
Keeping your head straight and chest up, slowly raise the heap back to over your head, inhale out as you do thusly. Go over the best number of reps.
Finding the genuine hold and overwhelming the system of getting the free weight into position can be a test during this movement. Use the hold you maintain that should do gem or triangle push-ups and support the lower part of the free weight with your fingers and palm. The focal issue is to keep your wrists straight all through to authorize the back arm muscles fittingly.
If you feel off-kilter then change it up by dropping the heap down to something to some degree more reasonable and playing out a single hand free weight extension. Make sure to change to the following hand to comparably isolate both back arm muscles. Doing this can help with additional growing long head muscle complement.
3. Valuable stone Or Triangle Push-Ups
Numerous people consider this one of the most mind-blowing exercises for zeroing in on the back arm muscle muscles, especially the long head and sidelong head. A triangle push-up looks like a standard push-up, but your arms ought to approach a gem shape under your chest. The defense behind this hand course of action is that it facilitates burden on the pectorals rather putting weight complement onto the back arm muscles.
This Is The Most ideal Way To Play out A Jewel Push Up:
Start in a fundamental board position, with your toes tucked and center steady and tight.
Position your hands straightforwardly under your chest and set up your fingers to frame a triangle or precious stone shape.
Lower yourself gradually from your high board position, as in an ordinary push-up. Make sure to keep your center tight, your spine straight, and your elbows wrapped up.
Stop at the base for greatest muscle consume, then leisurely press back up.
Assuming that you feel elbow torment, change your arrangement until you feel the consume in your rear arm muscles. Elbow torment is normally a sign of unfortunate structure or stance. If you have any desire to look into the advantages of the Precious stone Push Up we composed a more nitty gritty article here for you.
4. Slant Free weight Rear arm muscle Payoffs
The grade free weight payoffs are one of the best activities to focus on the long head. By situating yourself on a grade, gravity can take care of its business and press your rear arm muscles. Moreover, utilizing a slope assists with dependability permitting you to more readily zero in on your arms.
Step by step instructions to do a slope rear arm muscle payoff:
Set a flexible seat to a grade position, lay on it chest overcoming onto the cushion.
Holding a free weight in each hand, twist your elbows so your arms are at 90 degrees. Keep your elbows wrapped up all through the activity.
Gradually expand your elbows until your arms are straight and lined up with your body. Press your rear arm muscles at the top for most extreme withdrawal.
Bring down your arm gradually back to its unique position.
During the activity, your elbows should stay lined up with your body, and your arms remain locked to your sides. Assuming your elbows drop further, you lose most extreme compression, which invalidates the point.
5. EZ Bar French Presses
French presses consolidate skull smashers and above augmentations. With a French press, you get a drawn out scope of movement that underlines the long head. With the EZ bar, reiteration is more basic than a significant burden. This implies the more reps you can do, the more powerful it is.
Step by step instructions to Play out The EZ French Press:
Sit on a level seat or a movable seat with a 75-80 degree slope and snatch an EZ bar utilizing the tight overhand hold.
Stretch the bar above and keep your elbows tucked.
Gradually lower the EZ bar behind your head while keeping your upper arms straight. This follows a comparable development way to that of the above expansion.
When your elbows are at roughly 90 degrees, hold for two or three seconds prior to increasing current standards back over-top head.
6. Slant Hand weights Above Augmentations
This is a really difficult development when contrasted with the ordinary above expansion work out, the grade above expansion considers more shoulder flexion. Any activity that permits the shoulder to flex to its greatest will assist with extending the long head. The slope above expansion puts considerably less weight on the shoulders.
Step by step instructions to Play out An Above Grade Augmentation:
Lie back on a seat with a grade of around 30 degrees hanging on a free weight in each hand.
With your arms completely expanded, push the free weights above keeping your arms straight and up towards the roof.
From here, gradually twist at the elbows bringing down the load behind you.
Press your rear arm muscles once you stretch around 90 degrees and gradually raise the load back above.
Rehash the ideal number of reps.
With this activity, reiteration is a higher priority than significant burdens. Utilizing significant burdens can put an excessive amount of tension on the elbows. Center around building your structure all things considered, and utilize moderate loads for this activity.
7. Link Above Rear arm muscles Expansions
Like the free weight above expansion, these apply significantly more stretch to the long top of the rear arm muscles. The above link expansions are one of the best activities for accentuating the long head.
Step by step instructions to Do An Above Link Rear arm muscle Augmentation:
With your back to a link machine, grab hold of the connection. Ordinarily, a rear arm muscle rope connection ought to be situated to the highest point of the machine.
Expect a split position like you're making a stride advances. This position will assist you with keeping up with your equilibrium all through the activity.
With your hands behind your head, keep your elbows at right points.
Pull the link forward by expanding your elbows while keeping your position. Keep away from any body developments for most extreme impact to the rear arm muscles.
Gradually permit the load to haul your hands back behind your head and rehash as wanted.
- Weighted Plunges
One of the additional provoking activities to execute, plunges are the absolute best activities you can take part in. Likewise, weighted plunges are a compound activity that can steadily beef up the rear arm muscles long head. In the event that you're a novice to this exercise you can begin with only your bodyweight and do halfway plunges until you gain strength.
The most effective method to Do A Weighted Plunge Exercise:
Select your weight (except if doing just bodyweight), fold the chain or weightlifting belt over your midsection, and attach it.
The plunge handles ought to be limited and somewhat underneath your shoulders.
Grasp the handles of the plunge bar and lift your body by fixing your elbows
Gradually twist your elbows to a right point to bring down your body. Keep your feet under you all through.
Push your body back to the top by getting your rear arm muscles while driving down into the handles.
A typical misstep is the point at which somebody inclines forward bringing about their feet being situated somewhat behind them. While this isn't really inaccurate, it will remove accentuation from the rear arm muscles and put it onto the chest muscles.
Tips for Long Head Rear arm muscle Activities
It is testing yet compensating to Stress the long head. In any case, it can likewise appear to be useless, particularly in the event that you're not hitting your structure right. Weight burden can rapidly move from the rear arm muscles into different spots where they are not needed. This implies keeping a legitimate structure is urgent to building the long head. It's likewise worth recollecting that there is no particular separation exercise to work the long head alone and you will constantly work different muscles of the arms.
Doing the right number of sets and reps is additionally essential. While there are various ways of thinking on this, there ought to be a cutoff. The quantity of sets you in all actuality do ought to be all things considered 10, and your reps ought to get continuously more diligently towards the end. Likewise, recall that occasionally toning it down would be best with regards to the weight load.
The significance of both compound and confinement practice with regards to building the long top of the rear arm muscles couldn't possibly be more significant. Accentuating the long head will most likely influence different muscles of the arms and body. Be that as it may, rear arm muscles development significantly comes from weighty compound squeezing development.
Practices like the above rear arm muscle press will accomplish more for your long head than push-ups. You can steadily and altogether over-burden compound squeezing practices with loads. Contrasted and confinement works out, they can significantly affect the long head. Contrasted with free weight, your body weight assumes a huge part while building your long head.
Center around doing 3-5 arrangements of grade free weight above augmentation and slope rear arm muscles payoffs in your week after week schedule. These activities have demonstrated to be more compelling in stressing the long head. On account of the size of the long head, it needs adequate stretch to develop. While doing these activities, center around the time under pressure instead of the loads. The more you feel the consume, the better the outcomes
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2023.03.25 05:22 BoolinHours I took a pill that gives you endless nightmares.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt anything. My life has become a constant drudgery, even special events have become dull. My son’s fourteenth birthday was a few weeks ago, but it could’ve happened yesterday, or the month before, it’s all been melding into one. I still remember though; I remember being in that moment, and I can tell you the exact details of what occurred, who was there, but I can’t for the life of me remember how it meant to me. I was simply a presence, a bystander. I think my son was happy, I hope he was.
The tasks in my life that were once a burden have become noise to me. In a way I suppose that’s a good thing. I can work my ass off all day, get treated like a dog, and I would be none the wiser. I’m not exactly sure when this happened, I used to hate my job. I guess somewhere along the way I got lobotomized in my sleep. That would explain it. At least I can provide for my son this way.
He reminds me of myself in more ways that I’d like to admit. He’s a pleasure seeker, and the friends that he’s made push these hedonistic tendencies. On his birthday he came back home absolutely plastered, and I should’ve been furious, but it didn’t affect me at. Hell I even offered him another drink. At his age I sought the same type of stimulus, the same type that I yearn for today, so in a way I am living vicariously through him. He’s a good kid though, he’s on this path but he’s not anchored to it. He refused the drink and went to bed. As a father what I did was not good, but as bystander I wish he took it. I wish he prolonged his euphoria. I wish I could see him live.
They’ve been advertising this new medication all over TV. It’s a pill that gives you constant nightmares when you sleep. It’s been all over the news actually. Some people are up in arms about, and for some folks it’s a godsend, folks like me. In my mind this seems like the stimulus I have been craving for so long, but I can’t stop thinking about my son. What happened on his birthday was a moment of weakness. I couldn’t let him know I stooped so low to get a high. Seeking the pleasures in life is one thing, but seeking fear is another. The road my son is on mirrors my own, and I don’t want him to become nullified in the same way. But at this point, he’s becoming a young man before my eyes, and I am indifferent. I need to feel something, I need to be present, not a presence.
After meeting with my doctor, I received the prescription, 30 pills for 30 days. She sternly informed me of the side effects, about how easy it is to overdose, but like all other stimuli in life, it became white noise. But at last, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could finally feel again, and I couldn’t wait to fall asleep. I waited until the lights in my son’s room went off, and after I saw that he had fallen asleep, I could begin. I sat upright on my bed and pulled out the prescription bottle from my drawer. I took another look, scanned it up and down, maybe even considering a reason not to take it. On the label was a warning sign
“Do not take two doses within a 12-hour period”.
“Good to know” I thought to myself, and I popped open the bottle, took a gulp from my glass of water, and closed my eyes.
Thirty minutes passes, and then an hour, and no effect. Worthless scam. My eyes blasted open, but when I tried to get up, my limbs were numb. I tried closing my eyes again…nothing. I tried breathing and I realized I was suffocating; I couldn’t move any part of my body whatsoever. The sweat from my forehead rolled into my open eye. I couldn’t move, but I could experience pain. As the asphyxiation engulfed me, my bedroom became blurry.
“This is it" I thought, I am about to die.
With each passing second my vision faded until finally, as I imagined would be the last moment of my life, the pain stopped. I could breathe again, and sure enough I rose from my prone position and stood up. I look around, everything is in its normal place. I take a deep breath in relief. Now that the worst was over, I got up to examine the pill bottle. The warning was no longer in English, but instead covered in strange markings.
Suddenly I was dragged down by an unbelievable force through my bedroom floor into a black abyss. There was an extremely loud sound that sounded like deep breathing and I felt as if something was watching my descent. At an instant I fell on a sandy bottom. I looked around, but it was so dark that I could only see at an arms reach. I trudged through the sand, stepping on what felt like organic material occasionally. At last, I reached a metal industrial door, like one you’d see in large freezer. On it was some type of text or message, I squinted my eyes attempting to read it. It was in that same language on the pill bottle. My eyes wander down and I notice a door handle. My heart is beating faster than when I was dying. I smile and reach for it.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
My eyes tear open as if they were glued. I’m back in my room, I can breathe. I realized that I forgot to turn off my Saturday alarm. I exhale in a sense of relief when I noticed something wet underneath me. Damn I pissed my bed… Understandably, I jumped up and exclaimed upon realization. I hear footsteps coming sprinting towards my room. My son opens the door and sees me in my current state.
“Dad are you ok?”, my son said.
“Oh, yeah…I’m fine, just had a bad dream”
My son notices my soaked trousers and bed sheets.
“Are you…feeling alright?” he says.
My cheeks become bright red.
“Oh um…I just…”
My darting eyes reach the half empty water glass.
“Yeah I just spilled a bit when I was taking my medicine”
My heart froze. I didn’t hide the bottle last night. My son’s eyes meandered to the pill bottle on my dresser, and then back to mine. After what seemed like an eternity, my son perked a smile.
“I think you’re just getting old Dad”.
With that he laughed and rolled his eyes while closing the door. Silence at last. I began to laugh quietly to myself. I couldn’t believe it, but I finally felt something again. I could feel the warm embrace of the sunshine seeping through the blinds of my window.
I walk into the kitchen to find my son cooking breakfast. The sweet scent of the bacon permeates my olfactory senses. I take a moment to listen. I hear the low hum of the air conditioner, the upbeat banter of daytime television, and even ever so faintly, the songs of birds outside. I find myself grinning ear to ear. My son places a plate consisting of tater tots, eggs, and bacon in front of me.
“Someone’s chipper today”, he says.
I smile at him.
“Yeah…yeah I’m feeling good”.
My son leans against a wall and tosses a tater tot into his mouth.
“Maybe it wasn’t such a bad dream after all”, he says.
I snag a tater tot off my plate and do the same.
“Honestly I don’t remember what it was about”.
I felt at peace…or at least it appeared so. I took a bite of my breakfast, but with each chew the flavor began dissipating. I squint, the sunshine has become dull and bright. My hand begins to tremble as I feel an object in pajama pocket. I feel a compulsion to reach down. I slowly retrieve the object from my pocket. My eyes widen and my heart begins to race…it’s the prescription bottle, and the English text is replaced once again with a foreign language. I gawk at it sitting in the palm of my hand, and my lips start to form a smile.
I snap out of it and stuff the bottle back into my pocket. My son is standing behind the kitchen counter.
“Do you want any more bacon before I put it away?”.
“Uh…no thank you, I’m alright for now”
My son stares at me with a charged look.
“All right…” he says.
I quickly regain my composure.
“Son, do you have any plans tonight?”
“Yeah I think Devin’s having some people over tonight…unless you wanted to do something?”
I feign a smile.
“No, no, have fun with your friends!”
“All…right, cool…” my son says.
“But maybe we can do something tomorrow?”
My son ponders for a moment.
“I was actually gonna go to Luka’s basketball game tomorrow. A bunch of my friends wanna support him, ya know?…”
He sees a hint of sadness in my eyes.
“But after we could figure something out!” he exclaims.
“Yes…that sounds great!”
My son nods and walks out the kitchen door. My hand is still trembling. I look down to see that I had been gripping the bottle the whole time. I check the door; I think he’s gone. I pull the bottle out and examine it, the text has returned to normal. I exhale, I felt safe again.
I hear the door slam closed followed my son’s car screeching out the driveway. He asked if he could spend the night at Devin’s and I complied. It’s seven o’clock in the evening…perfect. I purchased a plastic mattress cover to avoid last night’s mishap, so I put it on the bed, strip naked and sit the mattress. There is a part of me that feels a slight embarrassment at my current situation, but honestly, I’ve been caught doing worse. I also purchased a water-resistant blanket, so I’m not a complete degenerate.
I pull the bottle out from the drawer. The label’s in English…great. I purposefully put the bottle into the drawer and hide it under some of the junk in there, and for good measure, I set my alarm for five in the morning, just in case my son came home early. I pop a pill into my mouth and swallow.
Immediately I am pulled down into the abyss. Darkness has now overcome my entire vision. I am moving extremely fast, much faster than last time. I swear I even feel my ears popping from the change in pressure. BAM!
I slam into the sandy bottom once more. I take a few moments to catch my breath when I notice a light in the distance. It shines an iridescent purple color, unlike I had ever seen. Immediately my feet began trudging towards it, almost automatically. I carefully amble over what seems like a sea of organic matter. I have no inclination of what exactly I’m walking on, but it is consumed most of the sand from before. As I approach the light, I see what I had been drawn to…the door from last night.
Although the door appeared the same as the night prior, it felt…different. I would even say it felt familiar…safe…welcoming. Before I could even think, my hand rose and grasped its handle. It’s difficult to explain, but it reminded me so much of her. I was grinning ear to ear once more. I began to twist the handle, and as I did so the iridescent light that guided me here shined brighter and brighter, once again bathing me in a warm embrace. I peer forward, filled with the most excitement in years, as I’m about to pull the door open.
I stop. I look around for the source of the outcry.
“Mom! Dad! Help me! Please!
It’s my son.
Without a second thought I let go of the handle and begin sprinting towards him.
I face plant into the ground. Something has snagged my ankle. The iridescent light has become bright enough to illuminate the ground and…oh my goodness. Around me are what seems like thousands and decrepit bodies, all trying to claw their way out of the sand. I look down at my ankle and see a man gripping me. He has a look of desperation in his eye. I promptly kick him in the face and run off.
I’m getting closer.
I’m almost there.
I can see him! But he’s being engulfed by the bodies and sand below. I sprint as fast as I can when…
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
I scream and flail on my bed. I take a few moments to catch my breath. I glance at the source of the noise…my alarm clock. It reads 5:00 AM. It’s morning. The sun has not fully risen yet, but the warm embrace still reaches me. I glance over at the water glass and pill bottle on top of my dresser. I exhale in relief, it’s over… I throw some clothes and head to the restroom. Fortunately, I didn’t have an accident last night, so there’s no evidence there. And thankfully I made sure to hide the pill bottle last night as well.
I sprint back into my room to find the pill bottle on top of my dresser. I try to calm myself down. I must’ve forgotten again. It’s 5 am, there’s no way he’s home. He wouldn’t do that, he’s better than me. I take a deep breath and un-tense my body. Yeah, everything’s ok…
I jump at the pill bottle and count its contents.
With every number my heart races.
My heart sinks. I burst out of my bedroom and sprint to my son’s room. I slam open the door, and my fears realized. He is lying unconscious on his bed. I check his pulse, he’s alive, but his heart rate is slow, and he’s ice cold to the touch. I panic, looking for anything to help. His slow breaths act as a ticking clock as I search for a solution. I grab a phone and begin to dial 911 when I notice something. Silence.
I rush over to my son’s side. He’s stopped breathing…but his heart is still beating, then I notice something more. All along my son’s chest and arms appear to markings materializing beneath his skin, the same markings on the pill bottle. With no other options, there’s only one action I could take to save my son. I sprint back into my room, grab a pill and swallow it.
What feels like an eternity passes, but I cannot fall asleep. I try taking other sleeping pills, I try asphyxiation, I even try knocking myself out with blunt force. But to no avail, I’m trapped here in the conscious world while my son is fading away. My emotions overcome me.
“Why isn’t it working!”
“I thought you wanted to experience true fear?” a deep voice bellowed out.
I did, whatever was talking to me was right. I wanted to feel something, fear, sadness…anything. But now I’m overcome with only one emotion…rage.
“Release my son!”
“Release my son right now, I command you!”
I look around the room and spot the pill bottle.
“What if I made you a deal?”
“…Go on” the voice boomed.
“If I swallow every pill in this bottle, would you let go of my son?”.
“But he’s so fresh and ripe…what do you have to offer?”.
“I don’t…I don’t know…nothing!”
Without thinking I grab the pill bottle and swallow the lot. I collapse onto the floor and begin sobbing. I’ve done it, my son has done nothing wrong and has paid the price for my wrongdoings. But wait, I refuse to live on without him. Even if his fate is sealed, I will live on every day from now living to the fullest, in his memory. If he can’t be here to experience what life has to offer, I’ll experience it twice fold!
“Deal” the voice bellowed out.
At once I began my descent into the void, seemingly at the speed of light, but even then, I saw something ascending out of the darkness. Although my fate had been sealed, my son’s is safe. So here I find myself in a sea of now millions of the damned, smiling ear to ear.
submitted by BoolinHours
to scarystories [link] [comments]
2023.03.25 05:01 Harbinger_51 I do a job for the government none of you know about. You should.
It was a beautiful day in the fall, and though being in the middle of nowhere in Ohio isn’t exactly my ideal setting for an assignment, it could have been worse. Opening my windows, listening to music, and getting a good whiff of country air is a nice contrast to being cooped up in cities like I’m used to. The sight of brown stalks of corn populating the miles of fields along the road was welcome, as was the cool and clean smell of the air. It’s a good thing these jobs don’t involve much interaction with people. Unfortunately, some level of interaction is inevitable.
On my way to this one, I got a speeding ticket from a cop at some little local department. Though I was, in fact, speeding, I got the feeling that he also didn’t so much like seeing a fed in his neck of the woods. The local police aren’t a fan of us, so I’ve come to learn. They tend to get suspicious of us, thinking we’re up to some top-secret mission behind their backs. I guess they would be right.
I kept driving down the gravel road until the navigation let me know my destination was coming up on the right. Turning down the radio as I approached, I glanced toward the empty fields and the woods that met them beyond. I then turned into the long dirt driveway leading to our civilians’ house and garage.
I rolled up and parked with my trunk facing the porch. Stepping out, I got another whiff of the fresh country air and looked at the area of operations that lay before me. I was surprised at the amount of land and space that I had at my disposal. Space is good for these jobs. Additionally, I was informed that there weren’t any neighbors close enough to worry about. I couldn’t have asked for a better setting.
After stretching and letting out a light sigh, I decided it was time to get to work. I pulled the keychain out of my pocket and unlocked the front door. It seemed like a nice enough place. It was certainly nothing worth complaining about given the conditions of houses I’ve faced in my previous assignments. I went back outside to my massive, government-issued vehicle and opened the trunk.
I pulled the first couple of duffel bags worth of equipment out and brought them inside. The kitchen was as good a place as any to set up. After making five or six trips of dragging heavy bags and boxes of my junk into the house, I went back outside to open the garage. Thank God we were able to catch this case early and the civilians were able to make it out in time. It also meant I got room in the garage to park this thing. All that remained in the truck was the large metallic box, but I wasn’t going to need that until later.
I shut the trunk and pulled my vehicle into the garage, closing it on my way out. I stepped back into the house where I changed from my suit to my gear. Wearing the suit all day annoys me but I suppose the higher-ups want us to look like good, “friendly” feds to the public. The public has no idea the kind of monsters we are.
I unpacked box after box of equipment and weapons. I loaded up my Glock 17 with its extended 30-round magazine just as I did with my standard .556 rifle. I checked the laser sights on both. All good. Next was my favorite, the.338 with the best scope you could ever ask for. It sure is nice having a virtually infinite budget. Perks of working for the US federal government I suppose. The final firearm I brought was my personal .357 magnum revolver that I kept holstered on my chest. I figure it’s never a bad idea to have one more gun, just in case. Maybe I should have brought more on this one. If things got too close, I always had my hunting knife. I sharpened it that morning before heading out.
The next few hours consisted of me going out into the woods near the house in various places and setting up dozens of my little cameras equipped with motion sensors. They were there to give me an idea of the location of anything that got brave enough to get close to the fields that surrounded the house, I would be able to know about anything that was coming to me. I didn’t take too much caution in setting them up. Things never get interesting until nightfall.
I returned to the house where I turned on my laptop and assured that all the cameras were connected and working. I could see every single one of them from there and would know if anything so much as moved. I then got situated on a chair by the kitchen table, where I opened the window and set up my .338 rifle to watch the fields with.
I suppose it would be worth mentioning why I’m out here, setting up fancy equipment in the woods and loading up an arsenal of guns while I’m alone in a farmhouse that isn’t mine. Let’s back it up.
March 1st, 2017, 3:33 am, Iowa
Dispatch gets a call from a local farmer. He claims to be looking at a figure standing still at the edge of a treeline on his property. The description given by the farmer was that of a man of average stature and build, clothed in a loose black or grey shirt and trousers and a large-brimmed hat.
The farmer tells dispatch that he had awoken abruptly roughly an hour earlier, unspecified as to why. He spotted the figure outside his kitchen window soon after. The figure had been standing near the edge of a row of trees. It was facing the house and hadn’t moved a muscle since the farmer noticed him. The farmer quickly retrieved his rifle and walked out onto his lawn, proceeding to brandish his firearm and tell the trespasser that this property was his and to leave immediately. The farmer, seeing that the man remained unthreatened by his warning and display of a firearm, retreaded back into his home to retrieve his phone and call 9-1-1 as he continued to watch the figure from his porch.
During this call, the farmer’s voice was noticeably nervous and frightened. The desperate tone and quivering speech continued to worsen as he went on explaining the situation to dispatch. Dispatch instructed the farmer to remain where he stood and not to approach the trespasser. Dispatch reassured the farmer that the police were on their way. A few quiet and uneventful minutes passed. Then, without warning, the farmer let out a horrified scream through the phone. The call was disconnected seconds later.
The police began their over 40-minute drive to the residence. Halfway to their arrival, multiple new calls were coming to dispatch from the farmer’s neighbors. They reported seeing a large stack of smoke coming from the farmer’s home, and the closest reported seeing the house on fire.
By the time police arrived, the house had burned to the ground. The fire department arrived shortly after but oddly enough, the fire had completely subsided. What remained was the charred crumbs of what was once a house. The firefighters that arrived on site were bewildered by how quickly the fire must have burned the house. There was no explanation they could fathom.
The police searched the nearby fields and woods for the farmer and alleged trespasser to no avail, however, their search was quickly called back upon the findings of the firefighters in the house. The man’s charred bones were found beneath the rubble but not as they should have been. It became clear after further investigation that the man’s limbs were ripped from his body before it was incinerated at an impossible speed. 4 .308 bullet casings were found where the porch of the house used to be. The rifle was found just outside of the house, unscathed despite its proximity to such a violent fire. Forensics confirmed that the rifle had fired these casings but the bullets themselves were never found.
This was the first, but far from the last.
October 28th, 2017, 11:07 pm, Montana
Dispatch gets a call from a rancher who spotted a woman in an old-fashioned black and white dress and wearing a linen cap. The rancher claimed the woman was standing amongst his cattle and not moving. The rancher expressed no panic or concern for his safety over the phone, but rather a concern for the woman in the field. The rancher also noted that his cattle kept their distance around the woman.
An ambulance arrived at 11:29. Paramedics found no trace of the alleged woman. They walked to the entrance of the rancher’s house and discovered his door to be unlocked and open. After calling for the rancher and getting no response, they stepped inside to be greeted by the corpse of the rancher, hanging from a noose in his stairwell. The man had no history of mental illness and none of his relatives or acquaintances had any reason to believe he was suicidal. Additionally, an autopsy report concluded that both arms were broken in multiple places as well as every finger as if they had been crumpled together by a great force. He could not have tied the noose himself.
November 29th, 2018, 2:06 am, Wisconsin
Dispatch gets a call from another farmer. He had spotted a woman in an old black and white dress and linen cap. The woman had been standing in the long driveway from the road to his house, lit by the lamp that covered it. She stood motionless in the cold, windy, and heavily snowing weather. The farmer and his wife were later found under a collapsed wall of their crumpled house with stones placed on top. They had been placed in a seemingly orderly fashion until there was enough weight to crush their bones.
This happens to be the first incident we have on record with photo evidence. A trail cam owned by the farmer and his wife a few acres away from the house caught a picture the night of the incident. It caught a picture of the woman exactly as the farmer had described. Black and white dress, white linen camp. It looked as though she had stepped through time from hundreds of years before and placed like a mannequin in front of the camera.
May 30th, 2019, Minnesota
September 3rd, 2019, Nebraska
January 4th, 2020, South Dakota
I could go on but the point is that these incidents have been happening more and more frequently and they aren’t stopping. We do know what they are, or at least what they’re supposed to represent to us.
Every single one of these “people” lived in North America during the witch trials. We don’t believe they were the ones who were executed. We believe they were the ones who made the accusations, the ones who got their neighbors killed, the ones who carried out the executions and now they’re back to kill again.
Luckily, my department picked up on these patterns early on and designated a team to deal with them. There are a few hundred of us. I am in the dark about what everyone does exactly. I haven’t met many but I do know that some find potential incidents, some investigate, some deal with the cover-up and handling the publicity, and then, of course, there are the ones you send in to eradicate the problem. That’s where I come in.
I am here to hunt them down, to put them back in their graves so it would seem. Sometimes I get here before they’ve claimed a victim, sometimes after. But their reign of terror comes to an end with me. They’ve never gotten away from me, and I have never failed an assignment. I didn’t plan on this night being any different.
A beep sounded from my laptop screen as an outline from one of the cameras lit up, indicating that the motion sensor detected movement. It had been quiet since I set it up, there was not even the slightest sign of wildlife. No deer, no squirrels, nothing. I leaned forward and intently examined the camera that had been triggered. There was nothing to see. Another sensor triggered. Again, the camera showed nothing. My eyes darted from camera to camera, looking for motion. Another camera triggered, though all that I caught sight of was a shaking tree branch. There was no wind today. Another. This time I saw it. A dog-looking figure darted across the camera in only a few frames, but I knew it was no dog.
I turned my attention from the cameras to the field in front of me, where the movement had come from. I got behind my rifle and looked down the scope to the treeline in the distance. My heart began to pound in my chest at an intense tempo.
I could feel the adrenaline kicking in while I scanned the edge of the field for movement. All that greeted me was the orange glint of the setting sun on the treeline and the tiny shadows of the little stumps of corn stalks in the otherwise empty field. It was silent. Not even a wind accompanied me this evening, though I can’t complain. It’s better for shooting.
For a few minutes, I continued to run my scope along the treeline, occasionally getting a peek with my own eyes. It was during one of these peeks when I noticed a color out of place, in between a couple of trees on the other side of the field—some sort of black-and-white spec that was there not a second before. I lowered my head down, back behind the scope, and centered it. As I steadied the scope, a man-like figure standing at the edge of the field came into focus.
It wore black, tattered rags of clothing that hung loosely on its rigid frame. It stood still, stiff as a board. Its eyes were fixed on something ahead of it. It took me a moment to realize it was focused on me. It didn’t move a muscle, not even blinking as it stared.
I came to my senses and prepared to do my job. I flipped the safety off of my rifle and centered my crosshairs on its chest. I began to breathe deeply, my finger on the trigger, ready to pull but I didn’t take the shot, not yet. I saw it start to move.
Even with the distance between us, my scope made the picture of this figure clear as day. The movement came from only one part of its body; its mouth. First, its crusty lips detached from one another and the mouth began to open. Steadily, it opened more, and more all the while the rest of its body and head remained fixed. Its jaw sank to what should have been all the more it could, but it didn’t stop. It fell further, dipping down below its chest, its skin like a stretched rubber band waiting to snap, though it didn’t, it kept stretching.
Still stiff as a board, the man-like thing remained with its eyes locked on me while its mouth sat open, impossibly wide. It stood still with its hanging jaw for a moment, a moment I shouldn’t have given it. Now I knew I had my target. I began to apply pressure to the trigger before I was stopped, shaken by a force.
A scream, like a choir of souls in despair being dragged off to hell, with the power of a thousand horns sounding the start of a medieval battle rung through the fields. Its volume caused flocks of birds in the nearby trees to fly away in a panic, its bass shuddered through my chest and left me too hypnotized to pull the trigger. I’ll never get used to hearing one of them scream.
“Here we go”
I muttered to myself, the only thought I could conjure from my brain at the moment.
Closing its mouth, it leaped forward and reached for the ground in front of it with its hands fixed like claws. As soon as they met the ground, the feet followed and planted themselves quickly so that it could boost itself forward once again. It had begun its terrible charge. All the while, its face remained fixed on me, rotting teeth exposed and clenched in rage. The speed at which it rushed across the empty field would make a deer running for its life look lazy in comparison, but I was the prey here.
Though my heart began to race at the sight of this abomination barreling toward me, this anomaly of hatred and hunger bound to flesh, I remained calm. I began to steady my breathing, taking control of each breath, in and out.
The crack of the shot rang out through the dimming sky and the field before me, my response to its enraged scream. I remained fixed on the target, observing the spatter of blood as it shot from its back. It began to scream again, this time rapidly and desperate in tone. I quickly moved the bolt and chambered the next round, accompanied by the soft ring of the brass bouncing on the floorboards under my chair.
Although I managed to land a clean shot to the chest, it didn’t do much. It kept running, keeping on at its same speed. Though now it changed its direction and was running adjacent to my position in the house. It was trying to flank me. It wanted to find a way around my line of sight. I couldn’t let it.
Again, I took control of my breathing. Slowly, I drifted my rifle on the bipod until the creature came back into view. Its limbs pounded at the ground with speed and power as it propelled itself across the field. I’ll never get used to seeing one run either.
Starting behind it, I continued to move the scope, just fast enough to begin gaining on him, just fast enough to let the crosshairs catch up. Inhale. Exhale. The crosshairs slowly began to overtake it. Inhale. Exhale. Squeeze.
I chambered the next round quickly. This shot brought him to the ground, but it didn’t keep him there. After a short tumble, it rose and began to run again, this time back towards the woods it came from. Inhale. Exhale. Squeeze.
The third shot grazed its back. Frustrated, I chambered another round and took aim, but it was far too late. Before I could even begin to line up my fourth shot, it had taken one final leap from the field back into the treeline it came from.
I let out a sigh and hung my head in disappointment. I knew what I had to do next but I sure as hell didn’t want to. The last flickers of sunlight shone through the open window and lit my .338 rifle as I reloaded the magazine. I sat and stared blankly at the screen in front of me, hoping a camera would pick up some sort of movement that could clue me into wherever it ran off to. Knowing my luck, I shouldn’t have expected it to.
After coming to terms with reality, I stood up and grabbed my .556, slinging it around my body and letting it hang in front of me. I aimed it down, looking through its sight and testing its laser again before checking the chamber. Good to go. Next, I adjusted the night vision set to my head before picking up my .338 and heading for the door. As I stepped outside, I let out another sigh, this one of stress. Hunting these things at night, on their own turf is never as fun, nor as easy as finishing them quickly from a distance but what choice did I have? I just wanted to get it over with.
I flipped down my goggles and switched them on, illuminating the dark field in green and white. I began my long walk across. It took me longer than expected. The speed of that monstrosity caused me to underestimate the size of the field. Each step I took was slow and quiet. I didn’t want the crunch of my feet meeting the dirt and remnants of corn stalks to disturb my hearing. If that thing made a noise, I needed to hear it. If only I could have quieted my incessant heavy, nervous breathing too.
I was not even halfway to the treeline when I reached the first pool of blood, where I had shot it for the second time, and it decided to retreat. Bits of flesh were scattered about the ground, but I didn’t care to stop and look. Instead, I focussed on the blood I could see that led back into the woods.
Any experienced hunter has had to track a deer or two. It can be very frustrating. The trail isn’t always so clear, and you never know how far it has gotten. In my case, I knew this thing was still alive, and it was angry.
I continued my walk, splitting my attention between the blood trail on the ground and the treeline in front of me, scanning for movement and listening. If I was lucky enough, it would have gotten bold and tried to take me down in the field. Unfortunately, I’m not so lucky. Silently, I followed the trail until it met the woods. I stopped walking and calmed myself.
I didn’t want to go past those damn trees, but there was no avoiding it. I had a job to do. I extended the bipod of my .338 and lowered it to the ground before raising the stock of my other rifle to my shoulder. I took a deep breath and resumed my walk, now even slower and more cautious. At least now my heavy breathing would be drowned out by the sound of snapping twigs beneath my feet.
Immediately upon entering the woods, I spotted the next sight of blood. It came from a tree branch, its leaves covered in the dripping crimson liquid. I walked up to observe, only to notice more blood on the branch above that one. And the next. I noticed the pattern and followed each branch up, one by one, each with its leaves covered in blood. Suddenly a mass moved on top of the tree next to the one I was looking up at.
I swung my rifle up, pointing above me at the top of the trees. The mass turned and into view came two glowing eyes, like white lights in my night vision. It opened its mouth again to let out another deafening scream but I raised my rifle and took aim. Its scream was cut short by a bang from my barrel and the thud of the rounds meeting flesh. I was only able to squeeze half a dozen rounds off before it leaped away, to the tops of the neighboring trees.
I kept shooting as it jumped from one tree to another, though within seconds it was out of my line of sight. I charged through the woods after it and watched it leap impossible distances, shaking trees so hard I thought some might snap. All the while I kept trying and failing, to line up a clean shot. The ones I did manage to squeeze off were either misses or ineffective.
Even at the full-on sprint that I managed to sustain for a good few minutes, I was barely able to keep up. I almost abandoned the chase entirely before I saw an opportunity. There was a clearing ahead. A trail. The distance across was far too wide for it to jump. It took a sharp right once it realized this and began jumping from tree to tree along the trail. I rushed into the opening before kneeling to line up a shot. I followed it with my sights, tracking the timing of each leap, and letting t it land and leap once more before it settled on a new tree. I shot off two more rounds as it braced to leap again.
They were perfectly placed and its body tumbled in the air and crashed violently to the ground. Having lined up my sight, I squeezed the trigger again to hear the absence of a gunshot, replaced by the click of the firing pin in the empty chamber. I screamed curses at myself as I quickly exchanged magazines. By the time I looked up, the body was already gone.
I got to my feet and continued down the trail at a jog-like pace with my rifle at the ready. I was beginning to get frustrated more than anything. I’ve put dozens of these things in the ground before, I didn’t understand why was I having such a hard time with this one. As I approached a curve in the trail, I slowed my pace and brought the stock of my rifle back to my shoulder. I approached the curve from the outside of the trail, trying to get a clear view of what was beyond when my head violently snapped to the left.
My vision went suddenly dark and it took me a few moments to realize that I wasn't dead, nor was I unconscious. Something hit my night vision goggles and knocked them clear off of my head, breaking the mount they sat on. My eyes were only beginning to adapt to the dark when another object came flying towards my head, narrowly missing as it whistled forcefully past my ear. It was a rock, around the size of a football. I couldn’t help but glance behind me in astonishment at the object that had nearly decapitated me before turning my attention back to what threw it.
Sure enough, there it was. Standing behind the trees at the corner of the path. I let my anger take control and began to fire rapidly at its torso. My disregard for accuracy hardly mattered at this range. Regrettably, it meant I was now closer than I would have liked and it began to charge. I landed shot after shot. Blood spurted from its back and painted the tree branches and leaves that it passed as it barreled toward me.
Again, my magazine went empty. Instead of bothering to reload a new one, I quickly drew my Glock and continued my rapid fire on the beast. It broke into the clearing and fell to all fours before it leaped forward and ran as it had done in the field. It closed the distance between us in seconds.
A hand clenched around my throat and I was lifted off of the ground like a feather. It kept running, past the edge of the clearing and carrying me into the woods. I continued to pepper it at point-blank range with my pistol. Between shots, I could hear its hysterical laughter directed at my futile efforts. Its face smiled with a look of sadistic insanity.
I continued shooting until my magazine went dry and I was stuck with an empty gun. With nothing else I could do, I began to beat its face with the empty pistol. This seemed to piss it off. It violently threw me through the air. I felt my body snap dozens of branches before I met the ground and rolled uncontrollably.
Recovering quickly, I grasped the rifle still slung around me and replaced the empty magazine with a new one. It was mere feet away from me when I started to fire. I got a few shots off before it grabbed my arm. This time I whipped the barrel of my rifle up, clubbing it hard across the face. It let out a short, irritated scream. I thrust my barrel at the top of its head, knocking it back as it emitted another angry grunt. It reached up with its left arm and tried to grab the barrel before half of its fingers were blown off by my next shot. It recoiled its arm in pain before swinging it back at me.
Upon contact, my rifle flew out of my hands and the sling came undone from my body as it was thrown far into the woods behind me. I attempted to retreat before he grabbed me with his right hand, and what remained of his left around my neck. Again, I was picked up and it carried me, this time only a short distance to a tree. My back cracked as I was slammed into the bark.
It looked up at me and smiled again.
“We killed our sinners, we brought justice to our land. We brought justice for God”
I ignored its foul speech, lifting an arm and hooking it across the face with a firm punch. It had no effect.
“You are all sinners, and you will die for your sins as they did”
Again, I struggled and pummeled its face with everything I could muster but it still did nothing.
“Now go and burn in the lake of fire”
It shouted, before laughing with a dozen sadistic voices all coming from its mouth.
It opened its mouth and its jaw was once again stretched to what should be an impossible level. It lowered me until I was level with it. It moved its open mouth toward my head, shaking with rage. Its teeth now inches from my face. Its breath, foul. With my left arm, I drew my knife, slashing it across the chest before plunging it into its neck. I hooked a punch with my right arm that finally caused it to stumble. It wound up its own punch and let it loose. I narrowly escaped, ducking out of the way before its fist met the tree and went right through, splitting it in half before the wood tumbled to the ground.
I took this opportunity to draw my .357. He recovered from its punch and faced me, pulling the knife from its neck and letting blood spurt and gush. It stared me down as it slowly approached, ready to deliver its finishing blow.
Its head was shaking now, harder than ever in anger, its mouth hung open to half its capacity where it showed its rows of rotting human teeth. I raised my revolver and attempted to steady my sights but I was too shaky. I quickly collected myself. Inhale. Exhale. The front sight became level with the rear. Squeeze.
The recoil caused the gun to rise enough for me to get a look at the damage. I clipped its mouth, in the corner of its jaw. It hung open, with one side detached completely. It wailed in pain as it gargled its blood and crumbled to the ground. I aimed again, cocking the hammer. Squeeze. With the second round, I detached its jaw completely.
“Let’s see you bite me now, fucker”
I painfully muttered with anger. It dropped my knife and was now laying flat on its back, breathing heavily. I approached, cocking the revolver again as I did. It reached out with its mangled hand but I kicked it away before placing my barrel to its skull. Squeeze. And then silence.
After dragging the body back to the field, I spent the next few hours retrieving my lost and damaged equipment, as well as tediously finding every one of my cameras. I then retrieved my vehicle and drove it to the edge of the field. There was just one more thing to do.
I opened my trunk and pulled out the metallic box. I don’t understand why they make these things so goddamn heavy. I opened it and placed the corpse inside before securing the extremely heavy-duty lock. Next was the hole. It wasn’t easy digging after I had been roughed up and tossed around by an undead religious maniac with superhuman strength, but at least this was the last thing I had to do.
I finished digging the hole, placed the metal casket inside, and covered it up. From there, I collected my equipment, packed it up, and took off. Supposedly there’s a cleanup crew that comes in after we’re done with these missions and destroys any bizarre evidence.
I suspect they take the body as well. Where do they take it? What do they do with it? I have no clue but I’ve been strictly reminded to not ask questions on the matter and to just stick to doing my job. Still, I always find myself wondering.
What I have even more questions about is why these things exist in the first place. What the hell is going on? Why them? Why now? Has this been going on for longer than I know? Am I being lied to? What happens next, in the future, if this keeps going on? It’s only been getting worse. They’ve only been popping up more and more frequently. When does it end? Does it end?
I have more questions than I do answers but what I can tell you is that this problem isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s only going to get worse. There are only going to be more of them, not less. The death toll will only continue to rise. People are going to find out sooner or later. It might as well be now. Maybe we will stop them. Maybe this will all come to an end one day, or maybe we are the ones who are all going to meet our end. Either way, I’ll be there to see it.
submitted by Harbinger_51
to nosleep [link] [comments]
2023.03.25 04:51 Odd-Wave1426 Who has seen metallica live?
I saw them back in 2018 in Charlotte and it was everything I expected and more, singing along to the ecstasy of gold, the DIE chant, rob playing pulling teeth, we got spit out the bone! Man it was just an unreal experience. It was So cool to see the boys do their thing after watching them on YouTube for so long even the fuck ups they had here and there and singing along behind James’ voice I loved every second of it. Best part was being there alongside with my brother him and I are diehard fans so I hope we get to do that someday. Ultimately had a new found respect for them I used to play drums in my band so I know how hard that is, couldn’t imagine doing it for 40 years!
submitted by Odd-Wave1426
to Metallica [link] [comments]