Comprehensive care center 625 34th street
/r/Tekken: All things Tekken
2010.12.09 22:52 tieTYT /r/Tekken: All things Tekken
Tekken is a community-run subreddit for Bandai Namco Entertainment's Tekken franchise. Tekken is a 3D fighting game first released in 1994, with Tekken 7 being the latest instalment. Tekken serves as a discussion hub for all things Tekken, from gameplay, fanart, cosplays and lore to competitive strategy and the Tekken esports scene.
2023.05.30 07:09 Noghbuddy A Secret Chord - Part 4
Got this part finished! It took some doin, but I got there. Anyway, let me know what you guys think, and I hope you enjoy. I'm not very good at these intros. First
/ Next (Coming eventually)
David’s apartment wasn’t overly furnished to begin with. He lived with the bare essentials that came with state housing, but the fiks decided to make it more homy. Their idea of a home was converting it into a flophouse. Beds, cots, and pallets soon spread out along the walls while boxes and crates soon took up residence in the middle of the room. His coffee table, end tables, and small dining set were conspicuously absent.
He stared slack-jawed for a moment before a crash sounded from his kitchen. “Saa! No food!”
“Lie! How can human starve?” After a brief pause, “Saa! No food!"
David was about to investigate when a short…well, relatively short fik stood in his way. “Ah, David! Yes, yes, we come as soon as we could.” He was just a few inches taller than David and wearing more ornate garb. About as ornate as something stolen from a seamstress’ dumpster. He was also an albino. That was important to fiks, right?
“Am Wesh. Clan Ermin.” That sounded important, alright.
“Ermin? Are you the one in charge here? Tell them to stop ripping up my-“
Another clatter sounded from the kitchen. “Look, look! Hidden door!” Oh right, the pantry. Great. Now they’re in his walls.
With a content smile the Ermin said, “Yes, this will be good den. The wise clan lives close.” He illustrated his point by interlacing his fingers. “Builds strong bonds. And now with human! Wise human no less!”
“Wise? Look man, if I was wise, I’d be doing better than I am. Now, will you tell them-“
“Bah! Yes, human wise…Maybe David does not see. Or hear. Wesh hears wisdom you recite.”
“…You could hear me in the shower?” he asked sheepishly.
“Saaaaa. Yes. David sings song of fik! Sings of fik’s struggle in new world. About lies and hate fik suffer. But our fighter spirit keeps us going. Keeps us strong. You sing such wisdom without knowing?” He placed his hands on David’s shoulders, “Fear not! Wesh will hear and speak David’s wisdom. Even if David cannot see.” With a pat on the shoulder the albino shuffled away to the warriors who seemed at odds over sleeping arrangements.
“I guess it’s good to know they like Simon and Garfunkel.” He mumbled to himself. David summoned his courage to finally investigate what was happening in his kitchen when the door chimed, and the apartment went abruptly silent.
Sarif didn’t need a canid nose to know something was off. The various tables and bits of broken furniture stacked up beside the building leading a trail of dust and debris to David’s door was a decent tip off. Another would be the small din coming from the building. Sure, any tenant could be having company over making a decent noise, but they wouldn’t stop after pressing David’s chime. But of course, she could also smell the small number of people who’ve passed by recently. It didn’t seem likely David would give up being a recluse overnight. What worried her was the smell of his pursuers from last night.
After a moment of silence, Sarif pounded on the door as a bit of anxiety seeped into her mind.
“Who’s there?” called David.
She let go of a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “It’s me. I’ve come to check on you, and…And apologize.” She struggled to get the last word out.
After a brief pause the door slid partially open revealing David’s suspicious expression. “Apologize?”
“Yes…Who’s in there with you?” She looked above him, but no one was in view. The place looked like a mess.
“Just, uh…Just some friends. Could you maybe come back another time? Now’s a bit…Busy.”
She quirked an eyebrow. “Please let me in. It’s-“ She caught herself before saying ‘my job’ “Important to me that I know you’re safe.”
With a grimace David looked back into his apartment before relenting and opening the door. Her eyes quickly scanned the room looking for the intruders as she stepped through the threshold. The fiks were hiding in the doorways to the kitchen and bedroom. She caught sight of the impromptu bedding and realized this was an infestation.
She took a couple strides to put herself between as many of them and David as she could. “David, what are they
doing here?” she demanded in a hoarse whisper. “They were the ones chasing you last night. You’re letting them move in?”
“I’m not letting
them do anything.” He replied as hushed as he could. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a bit on the short side. When someone twice my height wants to do something there’s not much I can do about it.”
Her eyes narrowed as she looked over her shoulder before leaning down and whispering in his ear, “Do you need me to get rid of them? If you feel in danger I’ll-“
“No! No. They’re fine. Just a bit…excited? Eager?” He sighed, “Look…Last night was a bit of a misunderstanding. I didn’t know all of this was happening until a few minutes ago. It’ll sort itself out.”
“You can’t let these people stay here. It’s not safe. They’re…”
It was David’s turn to squint, “They’re what?”
“No, I don’t. Enlighten me.”
“They’re dangerous. They steal, they’re violent-“
“Violent? Violent? Everyone in this galaxy is violent. So far, they haven’t stolen anything, and have been polite with everything I’ve asked. Meanwhile the other high and mighty races have done their very best to make my life a living Hell. They
haven’t beaten me. They
haven’t starved me! They
haven’t shoved shit in me without my consent like those fucking snakes or big fuckers did!” David shouted while pointing to the scar behind his ear. He realized he was shouting and leaned around Sarif to see a dozen or so eyes staring at the two.
Sarif closed her eyes and took a breath. “Look, I…I’m sorry. I’m sure they’re fine. I just…” She looked up and around, searching for the words. “I’m trying my best to keep you safe. I really am. Sometimes that…Sometimes that makes me come off a little harsh. You know the galaxy isn’t a nice place. So do I. I tend to see the worst in people.” She looked down into his eyes, “Will you meet me halfway? Help me, help you? I just want to help you however I can.”
The tension left David as he sighed and rubbed his forehead. He opened his mouth to speak when there came a rough knock at the door.
Hilda took a seat at the bar in the Aimless Wind Café. It had mostly emptied out as the breakfast rush died down. She perused the menu on her comm then checked for any upcoming entertainment. Looks like authentic human music was a random flash promotion. After a brief wait, a black furred felinoid walked up behind the counter.
“Can I get you anything?”
“Yeah, I’ll take a tea and is the owner in today?”
She looked the taurian up and down before replying, “Sure. I’ll go grab him.” With that she disappeared into the back. A few minutes passed as Hilda looked around the restaurant. It wasn’t small exactly. The bar and stage took up a good portion of the room, but judging by the tables the place could seat just over fifty patrons.
“Well, if it isn’t our resident human wrangler. A bit wilier than herding troqs, huh?” Is my accent that bad?
The man rose to eye-level on the hidden step that ran the length of the bar. He was dressed in more conservative clothing with a handkerchief tied around his nubs holding his hair back. While he readied the kettle and dug out a large earthenware cup, Hilda cleared her throat.
“We grew nist, but yeah. I’m here to-“
“Learn what you can about our little music-man.” He set the cup down in front of Hilda and began wiping down the immaculate counter. “He’s been here a few times; engaging in his impromptu therapy sessions. Not much of a talker I’m afraid. What were you hoping to learn?”
Hilda went back and forth in her head about just how much she wanted to say, before deciding honesty would be best. “This is…only our second day with David. So far, we’ve only read his file, picked him up from the hospital, then chased him through half the station. We can’t get a word in edgewise because he doesn’t trust…Well, anyone. But, he kept coming here. I just want to see why. Maybe find something we can do to help him.”
The owner raised his eyebrows then leaned on the bar, “Well. I suppose things have nowhere to go but up, now. If you were looking for some great truth or revelation about David, I’m afraid I have none. All I can say is the man loves-no, needs to sing. I don’t know why. Maybe it distracts him from the here and now or takes him back to when life made more sense to him. Though, if I were to guess…I would say he probably always loved singing. Might well have been his drive before everything was stolen.”
She mulled that over. For someone without all the answers the man had a better bead on David than most of the evals in his file. “That’s as good a guess as any. I just don’t know what I can do with that Mr…”
“Rodrik, and it may be a bit selfish on my part, but it also may bring David a bit out of his shell. Maybe you and your partner could finally bring our bard to perform on that stage over there.” He pointed to the back corner. “I’m more than willing to accommodate whatever he needs.” Standing straight again he told her, “I’ll be here whenever if he decides to perform up there or in the back. I live on the floor above. For now, Shasa here will take care of you.”
Stepping back down, the man passed the felinoid and returned to the backroom. Hilda nursed her tea and thought when Shasa spoke. “I do hope you get him to perform again. I’m a bit of a fan now.”
Hilda eyed the woman. She realized her fur wasn’t solid black but covered in hazy, faint spots. A bit on the taller and bulkier side for felinoids she seemed a bit out of place, but she didn’t know why. “Have you spoken to David much?”
“Not as much as I’d like to. He’s adorably uncomfortable whenever anyone is…particularly friendly to him. But I do love a man with baggage. They melt in your hands once they’re comfortable around you. Lean on you for support. Oh, but you’re not here for that kind of advice. Or are you?” She smiled mischievously.
Squinting at the other woman, Hilda rose and paid her tab, “Thanks. I guess.” She left the café and headed for David’s apartment, learning all she could and a bit more besides. I’m gonna have to keep an eye out for that one.
The room was silent for a beat before Sarif opened the door. She was staring at a leather clad chest before she craned her neck back and saw the single largest fik she had ever seen. I didn’t know they could get that big.
The fik woman seemed equally confused to see Sarif and looked past her to the other fiks approaching the door.
“Chief!” called a fik.
“Chief?” parroted David and Sarif in unison.
A grin split the chief’s lips as she bowled past Sarif and strode in to meet her clan.
“Hey! You can’t just barge in here!” cried Sarif as she rebounded off the wall and planted her paws.
“Why? Am chief. Chief can go anywhere.” The fik giant explained as if to a child. Ignoring the canid, the chief’s gaze wandered the apartment before settling on David, “You!” She took a couple quick strides before bending down and scooping David up in a bear hug.
Sarif launched herself with reckless abandon at the fik’s back with teeth and claws bared. The chief spun as she hauled David up throwing Sarif’s lunge off causing her to shoot past. She dug her claws in the floor and spun around. David was effectively a hostage and meat shield. I’m gonna have to go low or else I’d rip David open with her. But what if she lands on him? That could be just as…Wait, what’s she saying?
The fik, seemingly oblivious to the attack was rocking David side to side saying, “So happy to finally find you! Humans so hard to find. Always hiding. Always running. But now I have you! You’ll be so safe and happy now!”
She blinked. That wasn’t quite what she expected, but violence still hadn’t been ruled out. She was plotting her next move when she noticed a sharp blade of some description enter her peripheral, threatening her to stay still. Right. The others.
Then the door opened.
Hilda heard voices and a scuffle as she approached the door. Deciding she needed to get in there quickly she opened the door and stepped inside.
She didn’t know how to process what she was seeing. There were almost a dozen fiks around the redecorated room. One was just about her size, clutching a squirming David while another was holding a knife to Sarif who had murder in her eyes. And all eyes were on her.
The door slid shut behind her when she turned and glared at the big fik. “Put. Him. Down.”
A confused expression crossed her face. She looked down and saw the human struggling for air then released him. He dropped to the floor gasping for breath, bracing his hands on his thighs.
Her gaze settled on Sarif who was beginning to relax. “What happened?”
“These f-“ She glanced at David, “These people broke in and seem to be trying to move in.”
A white fik stepped forward, “There are lies! Fik was welcomed into new den. David is most gracious. Fik would not break anything!”
“I broke something!” Piped up a fik in the back.
“Silence!” the white fik yelled, spinning around.
“You about broke David’s spine!” Sarif growled and stalked up to the chief. “Where do you get off thinking you can just whip him around like that?”
She seemed unperturbed by the chastisement. “Human is fine. Sulta knows her own strength.” The argument carried on for another couple minutes when the door chimed again.
***** That’s it! I’m ripping the chime off and bricking up the door! No more visitors! No more headaches!
David had slipped out of the middle of the verbal clash in case it became more physical, but that put him closest to the door. With a roll of his eyes and a groan he answered it.
Standing in the doorway was a blue and red colored avian. It gave David a quick glance before handing him a slim paper package. “You must be David. Not a lot of humans running around here. Anyway, have a pleasant day!” he called before striding down the street.
David tried to get a question out but the avian’s long legs carried him away before David even knew what to ask. With a sigh he inspected the package. It was more like an old Earth manilla envelope, bulging with something weighty. It had his address and even a description of him, but no return address or even the name of the sender.
Frowning down at it he turned around and closed the door once again. Then looked up and realized he was once again the center of attention.
“Uh…You all keep doin…Whatever. I’m gonna go check my mail.” He shuffled along the wall until he entered his bedroom then shut the door. Thankfully he was alone.
He sat down in his desk chair by his comically oversized desk and pulled out the envelope’s contents. It held a pad and a card. He set the pad aside a read the card with someone’s face on it. You are formally invited to attend the celebration of life/graveside service of Mortemer J. Albrecht. A funeral? I don’t even know this guy.
He quickly read the dates and brief life summary on the inside before setting it aside and powering on the pad. It blinked to life before displaying the front camera view. God, I look terrible.
It blinked a couple times before scanning his face, with special attention to the eyes. I wonder if I get to keep this thing.
Passing whatever check, the pad displayed the directions to the desolate planet Mr. Albrecht was going to be buried on. It drew up a diagram of the landing zone, gravesite, and where the Guardians will wait. Guardians? Plural?
Realization dawned on him. Multiple humans in one place. They never did that. David never fully understood why. He missed that bit of collective trauma. In some instances, it made him feel more disconnected to humanity than he already was.
He continued reading the invitation. It seems Mr. Albracht wanted as close to a traditional funeral as he could have, but he had no surviving family. That’s where David and the other invited humans come in. He pondered his options. He really didn’t want to venture out. He didn’t want to meet people and see that all too familiar pity in their eyes. Especially other humans. He didn’t know if it’d be worse to see them looking as bad as himself or doing better.
On the other hand…He was lonely. It’d been so long since he’d spoken to another human. Another person with a shared background and experience. Someone who’d just understand
. He thought about it for a minute before reaching a decision.
He opened the door, and it seemed everyone really went back to arguing and shouting.
“Hey!” Silence. “You.” He pointed at Ruk’sa, “Keep everyone from wreaking my apartment. You.” He pointed at Sarif, “Keep them from getting into trouble while I’m gone. You.” He pointed at Hilda, “Come here.” He stalked back into his room while everyone looked at each other.
Hilda followed him to his room. “Gone?”
David spun around and squinted at the towering taurian, “You and Sarif really want to help me?” She nodded immediately, “Then take me here.” He pointed at the uninhabited planet displayed on the pad.
submitted by Noghbuddy
to WolvensStories [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 06:49 dlschindler Terror Of Leaving The Rude World Behind
Lies are so polite. Honest people have no friends. Nobody wants the truth, not when the lies are what make them happy.
And when the truth, the rude truth, dispels those safe and happy lies, there is a very special kind of horror. I experienced it as terror, as I was forced to learn all about the truth of the real world.
I've spent years as a therapist, delving into the depths of the human psyche and trying to help those burdened by their own demons. My practice has seen its fair share of troubled individuals, but none quite like the three patients I currently attend to. Each one possesses a unique darkness that sets them apart from the rest of my clientele.
First, there's Thomas, a middle-aged man whose words cut through the air like a razor-sharp blade. His brutally honest nature spares no one, as he revels in frankness. He spews forth his bitterness, never holding back his cruel rudeness. It's as if he derives pleasure from watching others squirm under the weight of his words.
Then there's Emily, a woman of few filters and even fewer boundaries. Her honesty is a double-edged sword, slicing through the facade of social niceties with surgical precision, with scathing candor. She has no qualms about revealing uncomfortable truths, making every session a tense dance of revelations and discomfort.
Lastly, there's Jacob, whose coldness could freeze the warmest of hearts. His icy demeanor and calculated words chill the room whenever he speaks. He thrives on manipulation, using his intellect to exploit vulnerabilities and leave emotional wreckage in his wake.
These three patients have tested the limits of my own resilience, forcing me to confront the darkest corners of the human psyche. Little did I know that soon I would encounter a terror beyond anything I had encountered within the confines of my therapy office.
In the dimly lit room of my therapy office, I listen to the unsettling confessions of my three patients. As their therapist, I've grown accustomed to their brutality, their unfiltered honesty. But it's in the aftermath of my aunt's funeral, on that fateful night when my car stalled in the desolate darkness, that I would come face to face with a horror beyond comprehension.
The funeral of my beloved aunt weighed heavily on my heart as I made my way back home, the clock ticking past midnight. Exhausted and emotionally drained, I navigated the winding roads that cut through the barren countryside. The night wrapped around me like a suffocating shroud, and a sense of unease settled deep within.
Suddenly, my car sputtered and came to a halt. Panic coursed through my veins as I desperately tried to restart the engine, but to no avail. With a sinking feeling, I realized there was no cell signal in this desolate stretch of road, leaving me stranded in the oppressive darkness.
I stepped out of the car, the chill of the night embracing me like an unwelcome companion. The moon cast an eerie glow on the silent landscape, emphasizing the desolation that surrounded me. I had no choice but to abandon the safety of my vehicle and venture forth on foot in search of help.
As I walked, the world around me transformed. The familiar countryside gave way to an unfamiliar path, lined with gnarled trees that seemed to whisper secrets in the wind. The air grew heavy, laden with an otherworldly presence that sent shivers cascading down my spine.
After what felt like an eternity, I stumbled upon an exit sign, its rusty metal gleaming faintly in the moonlight. With a mix of trepidation and hope, I followed the arrow, hoping it would lead me to some semblance of civilization.
As I passed through the exit, a peculiar town emerged from the shadows, shrouded in an unsettling silence. The streets, devoid of life, stretched out before me like a labyrinth of forgotten dreams. Inky pools of darkness clung to the corners, stubbornly resisting the feeble rays of the rising sun. It was as if the town itself had been tainted by a sinister force, refusing to surrender to the light.
I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a cracked storefront window, and a shiver shot down my spine. The glass distorted my features, twisting them into a grotesque mockery of myself. Before I could fully comprehend the sight, whispers reached my ears—inhuman voices murmuring in the shadows.
Words like "truth" and "bringer" slithered through the air, chilling me to the bone. It was as if unseen entities were aware of my presence, aware of my role as a dispenser of truth in my profession. The weight of their attention pressed heavily upon me, filling me with a sense of foreboding.
As I cautiously explored the desolate streets, I encountered a townsperson—a perfect mirror image of one of my patients. Seeking assistance, I approached a townsperson who bore an uncanny resemblance to Thomas, my patient known for his brutal honesty.
With a polite smile adorning his face, the townsperson greeted me. "Good day, sir. How may I assist you?" His words dripped with an unsettling charm, a stark contrast to Thomas's usual abrasive nature.
"I'm in need of help. My car broke down, and I require a tow truck or a mechanic," I explained, trying to maintain my composure despite the growing unease within me.
The townsperson's smile remained unwavering as he replied, "I'm terribly sorry to hear about your predicament, but unfortunately, our town is quite isolated, and the services you seek are not readily available. You see, there's no mechanic around, and our tow truck is currently out of commission."
His response sent a chill down my spine, for I knew that Thomas would never shy away from speaking the unfiltered truth. The stark contrast between the patient's brutal honesty and the townsperson's polished lies made the conversation all the more disturbing.
Undeterred, I pressed on, determined to find a solution. "Is there a place nearby where I can make a phone call to seek assistance?"
The townsperson's expression remained placid as he nodded. "Of course, we have a public phone booth just around the corner. However, I must warn you, the line seems to be down at the moment. Perhaps you can try later."
A sense of unease gnawed at me. The deception in his words was palpable. I couldn't help but wonder if this facade of politeness was merely a thin veil concealing something far more sinister.
Growing hungrier by the minute, I decided to inquire about a place to grab a bite to eat. "Is there a restaurant or a café nearby where I can find some food?"
The townsperson's smile widened, his eyes gleaming with an unsettling glimmer. "Ah, I'm afraid all our dining establishments are currently closed for renovations. You won't find anything open at this hour. I apologize for the inconvenience."
Every word he spoke felt like a twist of the knife, the pleasant tone mocking my desperation. It was as if the entire town conspired to deny me even the most basic assistance.
As I ventured deeper into the enigmatic town, my desperation intensified. Seeking aid for my stranded car, I approached a townsperson who bore an uncanny resemblance to Emily, my patient known for her scathing candor.
She greeted me with a disarming smile, her eyes glinting with a deceptive warmth. "Hello there, stranger. What brings you to our humble town?"
Feeling a sense of unease, I mustered the courage to explain my predicament. "My car broke down, and I'm in need of assistance. Is there a mechanic or a service station nearby?"
Emily's smile remained fixed, her voice dripping with saccharine sweetness. "Oh, how unfortunate. I'm afraid our town is quite secluded, and we don't have any mechanics or service stations here. It's such a pity, isn't it?"
Her response sent a shiver down my spine, for I knew all too well the biting honesty that usually emanated from Emily's words. The stark contrast between her usual cruel rudeness and the townsperson's polite deceit heightened the unnerving atmosphere.
Undeterred, I decided to probe further. "Is there a place nearby where I can make a phone call to seek help?"
Emily's eyes gleamed with a chilling delight as she nodded. "Why, yes, there is a phone booth just around the corner. However, I must warn you, the line has been acting up lately. It seems luck is not on your side today."
A knot tightened in my stomach, the realization of their collective deception growing clearer. This town had woven an intricate web of lies, and each encounter served to deepen my unease.
Growing weary and famished, I sought information about a place to satisfy my hunger. "Are there any restaurants or cafés where I can find something to eat?"
Emily's smile widened, revealing a hint of something unsettling beneath the surface. "Ah, I'm afraid all our dining establishments are closed for a private event. They won't be open to the public for quite some time. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."
Her words sent a chill coursing through my veins. The townsperson's demeanor was an unsettling reflection of Emily's uncensored honesty, twisted into a sickening semblance of pleasantness. It was as if the town reveled in tormenting me, taunting my helplessness with their deceptive charm.
As I continued my journey through the mysterious town, a sense of foreboding weighed heavily upon me. Seeking aid for my broken-down car, I approached a townsperson who bore an uncanny resemblance to Jacob, my patient known for his cruel rudeness.
A twisted smile spread across the townsperson's face as our eyes met. "Well, well, what do we have here? Another lost soul in need of help?"
My heart skipped a beat, for the malicious glint in their eyes mirrored Jacob's usual sadistic pleasure in causing pain. The contrast between his usual brutal demeanor and the townsperson's chilling charm sent a shiver down my spine.
Summoning my courage, I explained my predicament. "My car has stalled, and I require assistance. Is there a mechanic or a service station nearby?"
The townsperson's smile grew wider, revealing rows of unnaturally sharp teeth. Their voice took on a sinister tone as they replied, "Oh, dear traveler, how unfortunate. Our town is quite isolated, you see, and the mechanics here have a penchant for breaking more than they fix. It's best to avoid their services, if you value your life."
A surge of unease swept through me, the words sinking deep into my core. The townsperson's perverse enjoyment in my misfortune left no doubt that they relished in the suffering of others.
Refusing to succumb to fear, I pressed on. "Is there a place nearby where I can make a phone call to seek help?"
Their laughter, low and menacing, echoed through the empty streets. "Ah, a phone call, you say? How quaint. Our town isn't one for modern conveniences. The phones here... well, let's just say they have a mind of their own. They tend to connect you to places you never wished to reach."
A chill ran down my spine, the revelation leaving me trembling. It was as if the town itself conspired to keep me trapped, severed from any means of outside assistance.
Growing increasingly desperate, I inquired about a place to find sustenance. "Are there any restaurants or cafés where I can find something to eat?"
The townsperson's eyes gleamed with a sinister delight, their voice dripping with malice. "Ah, food... sustenance for the weak. I must warn you, stranger, our town's cuisine is... unique. It caters to more peculiar tastes, if you catch my drift. But fear not, for we have delicacies that will make your skin crawl."
My stomach churned at their words, the realization that this town reveled in the macabre sinking in. The contrast between Jacob's cruel rudeness and the townsperson's wicked charm only served to heighten the pervading sense of horror.
With every interaction, I could feel the town's grip on reality loosening, and the true nature of its inhabitants unveiling itself in unsettling ways.
With a sinking feeling, I realized that the veneer of politeness in this town concealed something far more malevolent. The contrast between my patients' cruel candor and the townspeople's twisted facades served only to deepen the sense of dread that hung heavy in the air.
Questions burned within me, demanding answers. I demanded honesty from these townspeople who insisted on politely lying about their inability to help me. Their deceit extended beyond the realm of car repairs and basic necessities—it seeped into every corner of this enigmatic place, where even the simplest requests were met with pleasant but false assurances.
Driven by my thirst for truth and growing frustration with the townspeople's deceptive façades, I delved deeper into the heart of this enigmatic place. With every step, the atmosphere grew heavier, and an air of impending doom seemed to hang in the murky shadows.
Unbeknownst to me, my relentless pursuit of honesty had begun to unravel something dark and ancient. Ominous portents manifested in the form of flickering streetlights and whispers that danced on the edge of my consciousness. The town itself seemed to pulsate with an unseen energy, as if it were a living entity responding to my unsettling inquiries.
As I caught glimpses of my reflection in broken glass and shattered mirrors, my own visage twisted and contorted. It was as if the very act of seeking truth had tainted my soul, leaving visible scars on the surface. Each crack in the glass seemed to mirror the fractures within my own psyche.
The inhuman voices that had whispered before grew louder, their words filling my mind with their sinister presence. They spoke of a bringer of truth, a harbinger of revelations that could shatter the delicate equilibrium of this town and unleash untold horrors upon its unsuspecting inhabitants.
I was drawn to confront the townspeople once more, hoping to break through their veneer of politeness and unearth the hidden truths they guarded so fervently. However, as I ventured deeper into their midst, a chilling realization took hold—an entity lurked within the shadows, feeding off the collective denial and deception of this town.
As the day wore on, the sun began its descent, casting elongated shadows that danced upon the desolate streets of the eerie town. Doubt and unease gnawed at the edges of my sanity, but I refused to succumb. Determined to find a way out, I continued my search for assistance, unaware of the horrors that awaited me.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a figure approaching. As they drew nearer, a cold sweat broke out across my brow. The person who stood before me bore an uncanny resemblance, mirroring my own visage. It was as if I were looking into a grotesque reflection of myself.
I stammered, my voice trembling with disbelief. "Who... who are you?"
The doppelgänger grinned, their eyes gleaming with an otherworldly light. "Ah, my dear visitor, it seems we share more than just an appearance. I am but a fragment of the truth you seek."
Confusion gripped me as I struggled to comprehend their cryptic words. "What truth? What do you mean?"
They leaned closer, their breath chilling against my skin. "This town, this facade, it is a sanctuary. A sanctuary that hides a truth so abhorrent, so unspeakable, that the collective acknowledgment of it would grant it unimaginable power."
My mind reeled, the fabric of reality fraying at the edges. Was this some twisted delusion or a glimpse into a sinister reality?
Refusing to believe their words, I clung to the remnants of my sanity. "No, this cannot be true. You're just trying to deceive me, to keep me trapped here!"
The doppelgänger's grin widened, their eyes devoid of empathy. "Believe what you will, but know this: by revealing the truth, you risk damning not only yourself but all who inhabit this wretched place."
A chill wind swept through the town, whispering haunting melodies that seemed to echo the doppelgänger's words. Shadows swirled, tendrils of darkness creeping closer.
Fear and desperation mingled within me, tearing at the fragile threads of my sanity. I had ventured too far, dared to seek answers that were better left unspoken.
Before I could react, the doppelgänger was engulfed by the encroaching darkness. Their form contorted and twisted, morphing into a grotesque, malevolent version of myself. The horrors I had encountered in this town had taken physical shape, manifesting as a twisted caricature of who I once was.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting the town into a suffocating gloom, the other townsfolk emerged from the shadows, their distorted visages revealing the true extent of their malevolence.
Driven by their anger at my disruption of their carefully constructed facade, they advanced toward me, their polite words of harmlessness contrasting grotesquely with the weapons they brandished.
Terrified, I turned and fled, the haunting cries of the mirror versions of my patients echoing behind me. The town had rejected me, casting me out into the night, a lone survivor grappling with the lingering doubts of my own sanity.
Days later, when a kind soul finally stopped to help me on the desolate road, I searched for the town on maps and GPS, but it had vanished without a trace. A chilling realization settled upon me: the town existed beyond the realms of conventional reality, a dark pocket where truth and sanity intertwined, forever questioning the limits of human comprehension.
As I drove away, the memories of that nightmarish encounter etched deep within my mind, I vowed never to speak of the town again, burying the chilling secret deep within the recesses of my soul.
submitted by dlschindler
to joinmeatthecampfire [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 06:25 Obesity-Won-Kenobi Nature of Abandonment (6/?)
Sorry I didn't post more on the story... I had a busy day today...
I didn't expect to be writing during midnight, buuut... yeah~...
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Memory Transcription Subject:
Slanek, Ex-UN office Venlil Citizen Date [Standardized Human Time]:
October 20, 2136
The process of identification and reintegration into civilian life was a quick on… Considering I was only in the UN guard for a few months, it wasn’t very difficult for me. However, the more stressful and annoying part was going about the process of becoming Nulia’s Legal guardian. The process as Marcel explained it to me was a tedious one, which I found to be true in more ways than one… I was willing to sit through it, I would still go through days in the office for her… That was the kind of person she needed and deserved.
I walked out of the agency with a prideful smile as I held Nulia to see her eye to eye… She still wore a sad smile but I held her close to provide her with a warm comfort she needed. I spoke to her in a soothing voice, “You're a strong girl Nulia, I know you are mourning this whole arrangement. I am too, we both miss Marcel… But he wouldn’t want us to be sad like this… We’ll both be together, and we will live our lives happily, Like Marc would want for us.”
She looked at me with saddened eyes, but she had a soft smile. I asked her, “How about we go have something to eat? I could get you some strayu? Do you like the sound of that?” As soon as I said Strayu her eyes lit up with a much happier look… she still had a sad look in her eyes, but it was no longer as prominent as it was before.
“Realsies?! Thanks Unca!” she spoke with such a peppy and excited tone… I just made my heart swell in a caring love for this Gojid youngling, even more than I initially had for her.
____________________________________________________________________________ Memory Transcription Notice: Chronological leap of 1.5 hours later
As we walked along the capital’s streets I couldn’t help but notice a drastic shift in the atmosphere in the people I was walking by… I didn’t see anyone with a happy look on their face, everyone seemed so distant.
Their eyes seemed as if they peered into another dimension, some people almost ran into poles because of how lost in thought they were…
As I walked to my favorite Diner in the capital, I saw a Yotul crying just on the sidewalk… He seemed distraught, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him… Yotul weren’t highly regarded due to their appointed status as primitives… being constantly considered a less intelligent species would be oh so debilitating for anyone, he probably grew tired of it, breaking down on the street… I felt sorry for him, I wanted to help… It’s what Marcel would have done…
I spoke to the Yotul which seemed to startle him… he seemed surprised that someone was addressing him in his sorrowful state…
“W-what do you want… Here to-... Chastise me like everyone else? Just leave me alone… I have a lot to cope with…”
I sighed as I responded to him, “I’m sorry for you Yotul, I don’t want to make you feel unwanted… you’ve probably had enough of that kind of treatment from others. I just want to help you… Maybe I could invite you for lunch? Nulia and I would love you as company.”
The Yotul went wide eyed at my invitation, seeming to ponder my motives… “Really?... Why me?” He asked with a suspicion ever present in his voice. It made sense. It's not every day you’re crying on the street, and you have a stranger invite you to lunch…
I responded truthfully with a caring tone… “Everyone deserves to have a good friend to lean on… I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable, but I was hoping you would be interested in joining me and my little Nulia for some strayu?””
I saw his eyes go teary as I asked him… he wiped away his tears. I reached out my paw to pull him up. “Thank you”, He said whilst taking my hand and standing up… “Who are you?”
I respond with a gentle tail wag, as my ears perk up, “I’m Slanek, who might you be Yotul?”
Onso seemed to greatly enjoy the strayu based on how much he was stuffing himself full of it… He and Nulia both had crumbs on their cheeks, which made me chuckle ever so.
“I don’t want to remind you of whatever it was that you were crying about, but I think I have some Ideas as to what it was…”
The Yotul seemed to open his eyes as I spoke, he seemed to ease up a moment after though… “Oh… yeah, I was mourning the loss on earth… so much lost… I saw all the photos of beautiful jungles of steel… decades of development and progress all snapped away within the span of a few hours… It’s horrible… The feds are monsters for what they’ve done.”
“I agree 100%... It was oh so horrible to see all the devastation on earth.”
The Yotul tensed up as he managed to catch what I meant when I said that. He looked at me as If I just said the most planet shattering thing, he’s ever heard… he screamed, “YOU WERE ON EARTH?!?!” His outburst attracted the attention of everyone else in the diner, they all stared wide eyed at me as I was now the center of attention, it was unnerving to see so many expressions like that…
“You were on earth?!”
“You managed to survive the bombardment?!”
Those were just a few of the many phrases I was hearing… It made sense, almost half of the human population was slaughtered, all of the most important human cities were erased…
“Thankfully yes… Nulia and I just got back today… It’s going to take a bit for me to get reacquainted with my home planet… I feel so bad for the humans on earth, I doubt it’s any better for the refugees…”
Everyone went dead silent; they looked as if I just spoke out against the great protector herself…
“You… don’t know?” Onso asked with a concerned expression… He gulped before saying, “I’d tell you, but I really don’t want the youngling to know…”
I looked down at Nulia with concern, what happened? The refugees, what could have possibly happ-... the battle of earth… oh no… oh nononononononono…
My eyes went bloodshot with realization as to the idea, the mass suicide that likely resulted after the battle report… so many humans would feel such loneliness… such betrayal and fear… to take the quickest way out of a nightmare? They were definitely in a better place if that was the case…
“Onso? Did the refugees-... off themselves?” I asked in a hushed tone to avoid Nulia hearing me… The Yotul nodding at my inquiry really sent me into a spiral… my eyes flooded with dread and pain… Oh how I pitied those poor souls… May they be guided to a paradise in the next life… I was struggling to hold back tears… I wiped them away…
Onso spoke more about the details, “14% committed to the act… they all took the noose and essentially lined themselves along extermination offices across the planet, and painted them with phrases of hateful spite against everything and everyone, against the venlil and the Federation as a whole… All the remaining humans left in a massive number of shuttles that appeared during the sleep cycle. There are no humans on the planet at all anymore... they're all gone, and their parting message was that we’re all worthless cowards and deserve to be cattle for… the greys…”
My eyes widened at the comment… I felt sick… someone help me… Please… MARCEL, PLEASE HELP ME!...
Prev: Nature of Abandonment (5/?) : NatureofPredators (reddit.com)
Next: give me a second...
submitted by Obesity-Won-Kenobi
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2023.05.30 06:13 Broken_Truck Break-In [part 2]
It has only been a short amount of time
, but nothing feels any different. Life feels like it lacks even more purpose and meaning than it did before. I wonder in the back of my mind, what happened earlier? Was this something that I did wrong or was it an isolated incident as in the wrong place, wrong time. Whatever it was, the image of his eyes will be forever burned into my mind. They appeared to be deep. The black image seemed to disappear endlessly. Was he intoxicated or on drugs. That must have been it. His eyes would never look like that normally. This is my first day at work after the incident that occurred not long ago. I feel like my mind is working a little differently now. I am beginning to second guess all my feelings and how I see people. Is this how they truly are, is this how they have always been, and I didn’t know. Have I been this dense? I have come to realize that my co-workers have been taking advantage of my decency to cover their shifts and work extra hours. My manager does not manage. He relies on us to do his job, while he sits back and collects a paycheck. I have yet to realize that I will no longer allow this to happen. This is how things begin to change. I have been wearing this necklace ever since the time I put it on. I cannot bring myself to remove the charm from my neck. The thought that I was still wearing it never even crossed my mind until the person that I relieve every day first mentioned it. It is almost as if it has a power over me. I do not know how that would be. It is only a necklace, right. The dayshift front desk agent, Ben, is supposed to assist the housekeepers with ensuring the lobby is clean and presentable. There is always an issue that comes up that prevents him from restocking the bathroom and taking out the trash. I have never had a problem with it before. So, why does it all the sudden bother me now? When I came into work and they let me know that these tasks still needed to be taken care of, I felt a sense of warmth come over my collar bone. The charm must have generated some heat somehow because what else would have caused that? I snapped. I threatened to report him to the manager. I know, with our manager being useless, what would really happen to him. In the end, I would still be replacing the toilet paper and taking out the trash. So, I questioned why I even made it out to be an issue. On my way home, I was drawn to the pawn store. I have seen this place a thousand times, but it has never even crossed my mind to enter until today. Before I even realized I was standing at the display case, holding, and admiring an old-fashioned blade. The blade was razor sharp. I learned this due to the drop of blood that I expended from running my thumb across the blade ever so slightly. Luckily for me, the salesman was not paying attention, and I placed my hand in my pocket after I set the knife down on the counter. I had my wallet drawn and credit card pulled out. I never even asked the price. The salesman was about to wrap it in a nice terry cloth bag, when I informed him that is not needed. A few hours later, I was outside the hotel. I was not exactly sure what I was doing. I did not have to be at work for another 8 hours. Then I noticed Ben walking out the front double doors. Due to being almost in the center of our city, not many people drove. We either walked to and from places or relied on public transportation. It was just simpler that way. I followed my co-worker down the street and through an alley. I still had no idea what I was doing until he turned around. He noticed that I was behind him, but he must not have noticed who I was. He began to shout the most awful comments one could imagine. These are things that I would have never imagined coming out of his mouth from his demeanor at work. I now understood that it was all a fad. A few seconds later I heard the crash of a bottle just inches away from my head. His footsteps became louder because he was walking right towards me. Moments later I could feel him screaming right into my face. That is when I looked up. This must have caught him off-guard because he instantly stopped saying anything. There was a look on his face. I knew this look because I had it the other day. I understood that my eyes now had the thirst for blood and there was nothing that would fulfil that other than giving it what it needed. I could sense his shoulder begin to roll back. I knew that he was about to swing his right arm with all his might towards my face to prevent anything from happening. I do not know what came over me. Instantly my feet began to move while simultaneously pulling the knife out of my pocket. My arm reached forward at the same time as his did. His fist was balled tightly where I could see the white and pink of his knuckles. His jaw immediately dropped, and pain must have exploded throughout his body because his fist contacted my knife right between the index and middle knuckles. Ben instantly fell to his knees, grabbing his right hand with his left. Loud screams left through his mouth as I pulled the knife from the entrance point, blood dripping to the ground. I pulled my arm back again only to push back forward. All sounds ceased to exist except for the sounds of vehicles flowing through the streets. Ben now laid slumped over my hand as my knife was now lodged into his left retina.
submitted by Broken_Truck
to nosleep [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 05:47 mjn9457 Comprehensive Guide To Ticketing in Japan
| || | submitted by mjn9457 to seventeen [link] [comments]
(I apologize in advance for the visible links, I did not figure out how to hyperlink until after I posted and it will not let me edit them! ^^)
Hello everyone! I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of posts on the subreddit asking how to ticket in Japan, as Seventeen is having an increasing number of events and concerts here. I thought I’d make a comprehensive post about what you need to know about ticketing in Japan! This guide will cover concerts, fanmeetings, the Seventeen museum, the Seventeen Cafe, and pop-up shops. I will also tell you how to sign up for the memberships in Japan. Many of these use the same type of ticketing system. Here https://www.seventeen-17.jp/
is the official Seventeen Japan site that every event is posted on, and they also have a Seventeen Japan Twitter https://twitter.com/pledis_17jp?s=20
that announces events and posts links when it is time to ticket. Concerts/Fanmeetings
I’ll start with these, because this is the most frequent post I see on this subreddit! In Japan, ticketing is done through a lottery system. Seventeen uses Lawson Ticket (ローチケット）and has for the past few years. There are multiple rounds of lottery, starting with the fanclub, then CaratMobile, then general sales. Both the fanclub and Carat Mobile have multiple draws, as you can see herehttps://www.seventeen-17.jp/statics/2023_fanmeeting_love
on the most recent fanmeeting ticketing page.
The options, under ticketing, are as follows:
Fanclub Premium Seat lottery
Carat Mobile Premium Seat lottery
Second fanclub lottery (Regular seats + annotated seats)
Second Carat Mobile lottery (Regular seats + annotated seats)
Lawson L-encore card holders (Regular seats + annotated seats)
General Ticketing (Not lottery, first come first serve)
Annotated seats are regular seats, but they may have some stage equipment or something like that in the way, so your view could possibly be obstructed.
You can also pay a monthly fee to become a Lawson premium member. This ups your chances of winning, though I don't know for sure how much it actually helps! If anyone wants to do this or needs help with it I can make a different post for it, I ran out of photo space on this post (Reddit limits to 20 pictures per post)! Lawson Ticket
To do any lottery ticketing, you will have to sign up for a Lawson Ticket account. It will ask for a phone number when you sign up. This is where you sign up. When you click this, it will ask for an email address, password, and to accept the terms of service. It looks like this.
Once you click the box at the bottom, the blue button will light up, and then you can press next (the button on the right). It will then send you an email, and once you confirm it you can keep going.
This is what the email will look like, make sure to check different mailboxes in case it goes to spam.
Click the link, and it will now ask for your password again. After that, we’re on to account information. If you do not have an address in Japan, use the address you are currently staying at, or have a friend lend you theirs. They will not send the tickets to the address, so you don’t have to worry about that. Just get something in there! The page looks like this, and I put in English what you need to put in! PLEASE MAKE SURE THIS IS ALL RIGHT!!! If you are selected for tickets, you may get your name checked at the gate on the day of the concert, and if your name doesn’t match up they could refuse you entry. They check every name for premium seats, so if you are applying for those please be extra careful! For your katakana name just look up a Japanese katakana chart and try to match your english name as best as possible, it doesn’t really matter because your name will be printed in both English and Katakana on the ticket. https://preview.redd.it/1f5sqzpvdx2b1.png?width=475&format=png&auto=webp&s=f1c7a62f352c46801b103349f69c634d12cec13d
Don’t forget your last name goes first, then your first name!
For this tutorial I used one of my family’s American phone numbers and it took it with no questions, so just put your real phone number in and it should be fine!
After this page, you have finished signing up!
Now that we have our account, we can apply for tickets. Back to the Seventeen Japan page screenshotted earlier in the post, there will be open links when it is time to apply for tickets. The boxes with red lettering under tickets https://www.seventeen-17.jp/statics/2023_fanmeeting_love
will turn into links when it is time to ticket, and there should also be an active link in the description box when you push the arrow on the side for more information.
For when the tickets are open, Lawson has a guide for you, here https://l-tike.com/en/howto.html
) is the link. Because you’ll come straight from the Seventeen website it’ll dump you straight on the ticketing page, so you can ignore the first step!
After you apply to the lottery, you will receive confirmation emails for your entries. They look like this.
It will tell you on the email when they will announce the winners. These results came out on March 24th at 11 am. You can see your results on My Page on the Lawson ticket website at that time, but usually the servers are so crowded you will never be able to log in. Other than that, and what I usually do, is wait for the emails. You will get an email telling you if you have gotten the tickets or not.
A losing email is on the left, and a winning one is on the right.
Since I chose to pay at the convenience store, I had to go pay at a Lawson using the Loppi machine (instructions herehttps://l-tike.com/en/howto.html#panel2
) . To pick up tickets, you need the phone number you used, as well as the number under the artist name (I blanked mine out). The first date in March in this email told me when I needed to pay by (March 28th at 11:00 pm) and the second date in May is when I could go pick up my tickets (from May 12th at 1pm to to March 27th at 11pm). When you go to pay, the cashier will give you a slip of paper that shows you paid. Make sure to hang onto this!! I always hold onto my receipt too just in case. When you go to get your tickets, you just give the cashier that paper, and they print the tickets out for you. As you can see, the pickup date ran all the way until the day before the last day of the fanmeeting, so if you aren’t in Japan until right at the date then that is okay! Just make sure to pick them up at any Lawson before your time runs out! You won’t know your seats until you pick up your tickets.
General ticketing is not a lottery. You will need to get onto the fastest wifi you can and fight everybody tooth and nail for these tickets. I have tried general ticketing for 5-6 years, and I have never been successful. Lol… But I will cheer all you general sales people on!! You got this!! Make sure to follow the steps above for an account well before the date, as you will get tripped up and miss your ticketing chance if you don’t pre-register. Also be sure to have your debit/credit card entered, as I have heard of much more success from those who pay by card rather than convenience store pay. Fanclub
Before I get into fanclub and carat mobile, I want to let you know that if you do not have an address or phone number in Japan, getting into these is basically impossible. The fanclub sends you mail, so you can’t just put any address in. Carat Mobile is only available on phones, and you have to have a Japanese phone number to actually have an account. I’m sorry :(
The Fanclub does its sign ups through Lawson, and you pay a year’s sum when you sign up. Go to the Seventeen Japan website and click the button on the top left of this picture!
Scroll down to the white box at the bottom, and make sure the little box above it is checked to agree to Lawson terms.
You’ll go on to Lawson, where you come to this page.
The button on the left takes you to the application, and the button on the right takes you to what’s included in the membership. Click the left button!
On the new page, scroll to the bottom and agree to terms, then click the blue button on the right and login to your Lawson account.
The next page will ask for your details are. Because you already signed up for an account it should be automatically filled in. Just make sure everything is right, as again they will be checking your name for premium or VIP seats. You also get a Carat ID card in the mail when you sign up for the fanclub, so make sure everything is spelled correctly! Don’t forget that your last name goes first, then your last name!
When you press next, it will take you to a page that asks your bias and your favorite unit. Members are listed in fanchant order, the units are 1. Vocal 2. Hip Hop 3. Performance Choose and press next! :)
On the next page, it will confirm that all of your information is correct. Please triple check that everything is correct!!
Next it will ask for a payment method. Credit card is on the left.
Put in your card details, and you’re finished! You’ll get an email with your fanclub member number and a link, press the link and it will prompt you to set your password. Here’s what the email looks like.
You are now signed up!! Your ID card and pin will be in the mail within two months :)
Within the past two years the fanclub has introduced ticket trading, where if someone cannot go to the concert but has tickets, they can put them up for sale. The Seventeen Japan Twitter usually posts when this becomes available, and you can only access it if you are a fanclub member. Tickets are available for face value + handling fees. I have not done this before, so I have no advice or guidance for this part! I am sorry! I assume it will be mostly the same as the other ticketing in this post though, so hopefully if you choose this route you can use something from here to help. Carat Mobile
Now for Carat Mobile. Carat Mobile is a better option for those who cannot or do not want to pay the larger fanclub fee all at once. The monthly fee is 550 yen, or about $3.92 usd. Carat Mobile is only available on your phone, so scan the qr code from the website here https://www.seventeen-caratmobile.jp/statics/pc
and continue to sign up on your phone.
Once you scan the QR code, click the three bars in the top right of the screen. Then, click the button under "Gallery" to go to make a new account.
Once you are here, it will ask for an email address and for you to accept the terms of service. Check your email for a sign up email. The email looks like this. The link will expire in 24 hours, so make sure to complete registration right away!
It will ask for these things, in order:
Password (choose yours)
Last name (Katakana)
First name (Katakana)
Address (Zip code > Prefecture > Street number + Apartment building name + Apartment number> Bias)
Once you finish putting these in, push confirm (bottom button) and it will take you to a payment site. Press credit card, put your silly numbers in, your name, agree to the terms of service, and press the very bottom button. It will take you to the finishing page, where it will give you your member number. The number will be seven numbers starting with an M.
You are now a Carat Mobile member! Congrats! It will bill you monthly. Unofficial ticketing
If you lose all the lotteries or cannot access Carat Mobile or the Japanese Fanclub, you can go the unofficial way: Twitter or proxy sites! These tickets are much riskier, as Japanese venues randomly check names on tickets. If you are checked and the name doesn’t match your ID, the staff will turn you away and you will not be able to enter the venue.
If you want to look for tickets on twitter, here is your format. I’ll use the Love Fanmeeting as the example. Type this into the twitter search bar.
SEVENTEEN 2023 JAPAN FANMEETING 'LOVE' セブチ ペンミ ファンミ チケット
求 (want)▶︎5/28 東京ドーム 1枚 (date you want + how many, this one says tokyo dome 1 ticket)
譲 (will give) ▶︎定価+手数料 (list price + handling fee)
Or switch it around, but it should give you the same result! I.e.
求 (want)▶︎ 定価+手数料 (list price + handling fee)
譲 (will give) ▶︎ 5/28 東京ドーム 1枚 (tokyo dome 1 ticket)
Listings look like this.
Once again, Premium Seats/VIP seats will ALWAYS check your name. DO NOT BUY THESE SECOND HAND!!
People make burner accounts just for selling, like this one is.
They are asking for list price and handling fee, but some people ask for you to name a price. These tickets will be very expensive, as it is competitive and these people usually have many people asking for tickets.
When you’re looking for tickets, make sure that the characters are in the correct place.
What the person in the tweet is looking for is under this kanji: 求
What the person in the tweet is in possession of is under this kanji: 譲
When buying tickets from twitter, the people will usually meet you at the venue with the tickets. They should take them out and show you to prove they are real. You then hand them the money. This is probably the safest way to go if you’re doing unofficial sales, as other sites may make you pay in advance. If they are a scammer, your money is lost :( Unlike other countries, there are no official resale sites. Be careful, and godspeed! Seventeen Cafe
Now for all the other smaller events you can go to!! The Seventeen Museum and Cafe happen once a year. Each time it happens, there is a new webpage for it.
I’ll use the most recent cafe, 2022 Winter Camping, to show how to get tickets. Here https://seventeen-cafe-wintercamping.jp/
is the link to see! First, you’ll have to make an account with the company that runs the cafes.
At the top right of the page, press the left button. The first page is terms and services, accept these. It will ask you for your email, and will then take you to this page.
Make sure to remember last name, first name! To make sure foreigners can also access this, I made a new account with an overseas phone number, and it worked! :) It will take you to the info confirmation page next, where you just make sure everything is right. There are two buttons, a black one on the left and a white one on the right. Even if the colors change, their positions should stay the same. Click the one on the right.
And you’re finished! Now you can make a reservation. Weekends and Friday evenings fill up very fast, so if you can’t go on weekdays get to reservations right when they start! The Seventeen Japan Twitter will announce when they start.
Hover over the reservation tab and pick the store you want to go to. They are usually in English, just make sure you pick the right one!!
Scroll to the bottom of the page and it will show you the available dates.
I can’t click on any because it is over, but when you click on the date it will show you the available times. Pick your time, how many people you want ( I think it’s up to two), and finish the registration. It will send you an email. This is what the email looks like! If you chose to pay at the convenience store, it will also have the number you need to input into the machine to pay at the store. You usually get random goods when you go as well, so it will tell you that too.
On the day of your reservation, show up about 5-10 minutes early. Other Carats will start lining up then too. The staff will go down the line and confirm your tickets. Go to “my page” on the website and click the first button.
It will come up with a QR code that the staff will scan. When it has gone through, the webpage will change, so it can’t just be a screenshot! You have to show the actual webpage. When you enter the cafe or when you sit down you will get to randomly draw your benefits! For this cafe it was a random plastic card and a card case.
Study the menu and things beforehand, as when you line up the staff will give you a clipboard where you pick what you want to eat and drink. Each of the members have a meal, and there are also drinks with coasters. You pick which member you want on the coaster when you check which drink you want on the paper. The staff will also give you small cards with numbers on them when you sit down. They will call each number up to 4 at a time to go to the merch area and purchase what you want. This is your one time to grab merch, you can’t go back up so choose wisely and quickly!! If you’re very brave, you can try to trade with other carats at the cafe for your bias. You can usually see whose bias is whose because of the photocards and merch each person brings. I love going to the cafes, it’s so fun to see other carats and enjoy the cafe with them :) They play music videos and a video that the sebongies shot for the cafe, they tell you to have fun and talk about the theme of the cafe. You have an hour and a half to sit! If you have the chance to, please go!! Have fun! :) Seventeen Museum
Getting tickets for the Museum is a lot like the cafe. If you want weekend/Friday night tickets, get reservations early!
Museum tickets are on Lawson ticket. Log in before we start to streamline the process!
The museums are announced on the Seventen Japan Twitter! This https://www.seventeen-17.jp/posts/information/lzzacj
was the page for the 2022 museum.
This is where you went for tickets. The top links are for those who want to go in the earlier month (September) and below was for those who missed ticketing for September or could go in the later months (October and November). If you don’t want to do it online, you can also buy tickets when you get to the museum, but they may turn you away if the time slot is filled.
Once you click a link, it will have you accept Lawson terms of service. Click the right button to continue. You will go through the same process as you would with concert tickets. Make sure you pick the right venue! They have merch for the museum, and there is a random draw when you enter for one bromide picture of a member. Because it’s the same as the concert tickets, please refer to the concert ticket section if you need help there! Pop up stores
When there is a comeback and before a concert, there are pop up stores. There are albums, concert merch, and other things, as well as a photo spot to take pictures. Same as the cafe and museum, get there very fast for weekend and Friday night spots. I’ll use the most recent Love popup https://svt-tokyo.weverse-ticket.online/
for this example! These tickets were sold through weverse. The following picture is the button for making reservations!
Next page, push the big purple button to go on.
Though the buttons/colors will change for each pop-up shop, the words on the buttons shouldn't change, so for other events just make sure the kanji lines up!
It will take you to weverse login. After login, scroll to the bottom of the page, accept terms of service, and click the bottom button, it says the same as the button above, お申し込むに進む .
The next page asks for your information!
Small Japanese lesson for furigana! In Japanese, there are multiple alphabets; hiragana (furigana), katakana, and kanji. Western names will be in katakana, which is the way that foreign words are written in Japanese. Hiragana is the basic Japanese alphabet, and furigana is written above kanji to indicate its pronunciation. I feel like the easiest thing for those who do not know Japanese is to use a hiragana generator. Here's https://www.sljfaq.org/cgi/e2k.cgi
one I found with a quick google search.
Okay back to ticketing! After you confirm your details, this is the next page; selecting your tickets. Because the shop is finished, we can’t see the dates and times anymore, but I’ll tell you what’s up.
So pick your date and time and finish! You don’t have to pay to get in, but slots go so fast, so be quick with your picks! :)
And that's what I have! If I've missed something or anyone else wants to add anything please put it in the comments!! I made this to help you all participate in these events, and I hope you all get in to the things you want to go to. This took me about four hours, so I hope it helps at least one person lol! Let's keep loving and supporting Seventeen for a long time^^
2023.05.30 05:07 Dexller A Retrospective on the Waluigi Arc
Hey everyone. So I've mentioned I wanted to do a review of the older arcs some time now. For now, I think I want to just go back to one in particular (cuz it's the one I just binge watched), and I want to kinda go over why I think it works so very well. I kinda wanna keep this in the realm of positive, but comparisons to mod-ern SMG4 are going to end up being inevitable obviously. Afterall, the whole point of this was to go back and review this era of the show to contrast it with today, but I'm going to try and keep it constructive.
To make organizing this easier, I wanna keep this within four categories I've touched on before: Ideas, Story, Characters, and Tone. Some of these will be longer than others, but that's sort of par for the course. Just like before, I'll try to condense it into a tl;dr in the comments. So without further ado, let's begin.
Ideas: Here's where I think the Waluigi arc does something really well - it meshes very neatly into the show's core idea of being a skit comedy show about MEMES. Waluigi is one of the most memetically potent of the Nintendo cast, and this was at the height of the Smash Bros Ultimate memes where he got left out. So right off the bat, centering him as an arc gels perfectly with the show - it just feels like a very natural progression.
Story: I think the core idea of the story here is pretty strong - Waluigi is upset about his rejection and 'odd man out' status. It's one of those stories about feeling like you don't belong, like you're an outcast, and like nothing you do can get you acceptance. It's also about a struggle for identity, feeling like one has to stand out and be unique to matter. These are all things that are quite relatable, honestly, and it works for the arcs' benefit. You can relate to his pain and understand his escalation, while at the same time realizing he's become consumed by his anger. There's not a deeper lore or complex mechanics of reality, it's at its core a story about a sad, lonely person's desperation and anger metastasizing until it corrupts them, but it's also a story about friendship, brotherhood, and ultimately forgiveness and healing.
Something else I want to really touch on here is how the stories for each episodes largely revolve around either EXTERNAL threats or problems the gang has to resolve together, OR, the story is driven by competition and rivalry over simple things - not direct and persistent animosity and disagreement. This isn't just with Waluigi either: 'Stupid Mario Tennis Aces' involves Boopkins trying to join a tennis tournament, 'The Mario Hustle' gives the whole gang some time to shine while trying to sell rocks to people, 'Stupid Mario Paint' involves Mario ruining Toadsworth's painting and trying to replace it, 'The Mario Cafe' is the gang helping Bowser make his restaurant successful and them needing to work together as a team... I really think every single one of these, Arc related or not, are a big hit for that reason.
Characters: Get ready cuz this is the longest one. Of course it's the characters we all know and presumably love, but I think what really stands out is just... Everyone is nicer to one another? There is less inter-group conflict and animosity. In fact, very few of the episodes in this series have direct and real anger and conflict between the SMG4 crew and they instead spend the episodes HELPING each other. The most you have is limited to COMPETITION - Mario and SMG4 playing Smash Bros, or competing for tickets at the carnival, and then Tari and Meggy trying to one up each other at the shooting gallery. Even Bob is nice and gives Tari a duck from his prize counter even after she cleared him out - he didn't have to point out he had it and make her happy.
This is especially starkly represented with Mario and Luigi. Something that was mentioned lately is how mean Mario is to Luigi lately, and the difference between now and then is striking. Luigi actually used to stand up for himself, not immediately caving to Mario's demands. Mario also didn't ruthlessly bully him, steal his shit, and ignore his wants and needs. In fact, it's show multiple times that he deeply, deeply cares for his brother and is in absolute emotional despair and turmoil every time Luigi is in danger and he thinks he's lost him. Mario even directly helps Boopkins in the first episode of the arc, show real grief seeing his friends get t-posed, and never once acts like a manchild; a jerk sometimes, sure, but not a child.
I also got to give props to how they characterized Tari and her introduction in this arc. I really think they knocked it out of the park with her, and it's also why I was so peeved with how they presented her recently. Tari in the Waluigi arc is very introverted - she's shy, and doesn't have a whole lot of spoons for social interaction. However, she is also able to overcome that when it relates to her core interests - games. She is able to game in front of a crowd and stay focused in the face of Bob's trash talk, when Mario tries to grab her attention she's able to hang out with him despite her timidness especially since it relates to her core interest, she is also able to overcome it to help SMG4 feel better after Mario beats him at Smash Brothers. I honestly think that Tari in this arc is INCREDIBLY brave, actually, as she is both able to overcome her own social anxiety for the sake of others and even confidently risks her life twice to try and save Meggy, and then directly stands up to Waluigi at the height of his power! The fact she is such an over sensitive and cowardly wimp in the recent episodes is painful.
Something else too is that the cast feels way more utilized - both main characters and side characters. There is a society that these characters live in, whether they're interacting with the public (like in 'The Mario Hustle' or 'Mario the Scam Artist), watching a news broadcast (Like in 'Waluigi Apocalypse), or interacting with recurring background characters, it really feel like the world they're in actually matters besides a stage that centers them specifically. The simple inclusion of little side characters like Frankie, Wheelchair Koopa, Kamek, Jeeves, Toadsworth all add to the world, make it feel more rich, make it feel like things exist outside of the main cast's lives, and can provide outside motivation and assistance to drive stories. Jeeves does this in the first episode in the arc, Tennis Aces, and Toadsworth provides this in Mario Paint, and then Peach even is vastly different in that she actually saves the day during the T-Pose virus and shows herself to be a competent and intelligent ruler who takes her job as Princess seriously.
Tone: Finally, the last point. I really think the tone here is good. It's serious, but it's still goofy and fun. It's an escalation for the show, to be sure, but it also isn't so edgy and serious you cuz yourself on it. Melancholic moments are mixed very well with humor and levity, so the emotional beats are a part of the show not apart from the show, if that makes sense. There's actual stakes shown, and faced down, but also it ends happily with no one actually dying, while their victory and celebration afterwards feeling entirely well earned.
Phew... Okay, sorry, this was way longer than I originally intended for it to be, but I am chronically inclined to be comprehensive. Again, just like before, I'll get it trimmed into a tl;dr in the comments. So what are the take aways here? Well, again, I think the show could benefit tremendously from a show bible, but more directly I have a couple points:
-Arcs revolving around big memes fit with the core idea of the show. Building upon existing characters as antagonists can be better than bringing in whole new ones. -External threats and problems the cast has to solve together are far better than threats and problems caused directly by members of the cast and stoke animosity and bad blood. -Interpersonal drama either needs to find resolutions or it needs to be in rivalry and competition. -Giving everyone time to shine, either in small cameos or skits in an episode, or giving them more focus in their own personal ones, helps to keep the show fresh. -Dwelling on the greater world and society helps to give context to the character's lives. -Recurring minor background characters add spice and make the world feel more alive.
Don't know how to sign these things off. Go ahead and add your own thoughts and ideas about this, offer constructive ideas, and try to keep it a little positive or at least frame critiques within the context of other examples.
submitted by Dexller
to SMG4 [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 04:14 themachineisGodpoi Could ijin from (teenage mercenary mercenary enrollment) beat Peter griffin in a fight
In the web novel "Teenage Mercenary," the character Ijins undergoes intensive training to become a skilled mercenary. Here is a summary of Ijins' training:
Ijins, a teenager aspiring to become a mercenary, embarks on a rigorous training regimen to develop his combat skills and survival instincts. His training can be divided into several key aspects:
- Martial Arts: Ijins focuses on mastering various martial arts techniques, including hand-to-hand combat, weapon handling, and strategic maneuvers. He undergoes grueling physical conditioning exercises to enhance his strength, speed, and agility.
- Weapon Proficiency: Ijins learns to wield a wide range of weapons, such as swords, knives, firearms, and explosives. He practices extensively to improve his accuracy, precision, and proficiency with each weapon type.
- Tactical Training: Ijins undergoes tactical training, which involves learning combat strategies, battlefield awareness, and teamwork. He learns to analyze and adapt to different situations, making quick decisions under pressure.
- Stealth and Infiltration: Ijins learns the art of stealth and infiltration, mastering techniques such as silent movement, camouflage, lock-picking, and hacking. These skills enable him to gather intelligence, carry out covert missions, and avoid detection.
- Survival Skills: Ijins is trained in various survival skills, including wilderness navigation, foraging, shelter building, and first aid. He learns how to adapt to different environments and sustain himself in harsh conditions.
- Mental Conditioning: Alongside physical training, Ijins undergoes mental conditioning to strengthen his resolve, discipline, and resilience. He learns to control his emotions, maintain focus, and overcome fear and stress in high-pressure situations.
- Practical Experience: Throughout his training, Ijins engages in simulated missions and combat scenarios to apply his skills in real-world scenarios. This practical experience helps him refine his abilities and adapt to different challenges.
By undergoing this comprehensive training, Ijins gradually becomes a proficient and well-rounded mercenary, capable of taking on various missions and surviving in demanding environments. His dedication and hard work shape him into a formidable asset within the world of mercenaries. Certainly! Here are some additional details about Ijins' training from "Teenage Mercenary":
- Strategy and Intelligence Gathering: Ijins learns the importance of gathering information and developing strategic plans. He studies the art of intelligence gathering, including interrogation techniques, surveillance methods, and analyzing enemy movements. This knowledge enables him to make informed decisions and devise effective strategies in different scenarios.
- Endurance and Stamina Training: Recognizing the physical demands of mercenary work, Ijins undergoes rigorous endurance and stamina training. He engages in intense cardio exercises, long-distance running, and high-intensity interval training to build his stamina and ensure he can endure prolonged missions without fatigue.
- Combat Simulations: Ijins participates in combat simulations that replicate real-world scenarios, challenging him to think on his feet and make split-second decisions. These simulations involve both individual and team-based exercises, allowing Ijins to hone his combat skills, adapt to unexpected situations, and learn the value of teamwork.
- Tactical Analysis and Strategy Development: Ijins learns how to analyze enemy strengths, weaknesses, and patterns to develop effective strategies. He studies historical battles and military tactics, gaining insights into successful strategies employed by renowned commanders. This knowledge helps him plan and execute missions with precision.
- Language and Cultural Training: Recognizing the global nature of mercenary work, Ijins undergoes language and cultural training. He learns different languages, customs, and traditions to effectively blend in while operating in foreign territories. This allows him to establish connections, gather intelligence, and navigate unfamiliar environments with ease.
- Personal Defense and Close-Quarters Combat: Ijins focuses on personal defense techniques and close-quarters combat. He learns how to defend against armed and unarmed attacks, mastering techniques such as blocking, parrying, grappling, and disarming. This training enhances his ability to protect himself in close-range encounters.
- Psychological Warfare: Ijins receives training in psychological warfare tactics, such as intimidation, manipulation, and deception. He learns to exploit psychological vulnerabilities in opponents, employing tactics like misinformation, distraction, and demoralization to gain an advantage in combat situations.
- Leadership and Team Management: As Ijins advances in his training, he is taught leadership and team management skills. He learns how to coordinate and lead a team of mercenaries, delegating tasks, fostering teamwork, and ensuring effective communication. These skills are crucial when working in a team-based environment. Peter Griffin, a fictional character from the animated television series "Family Guy," possesses a variety of skills, albeit often portrayed in a comical and exaggerated manner. Here's a summary of some of his notable abilities:
Resilience: Peter has an incredible ability to withstand physical punishment and recover quickly from injuries that would incapacitate a normal person.
Strength: He exhibits remarkable physical strength on several occasions, often using it to perform extraordinary feats like lifting heavy objects or overpowering opponents.
Inventiveness: Peter occasionally showcases inventive and creative skills, devising unconventional solutions to problems or creating unique contraptions.
Musical Talents: Despite his questionable singing abilities, Peter has demonstrated a love for music and occasionally displays proficiency in playing various musical instruments.
Dancing: Peter has an affinity for dancing, often exhibiting impressive moves, though sometimes unorthodox or awkward.
Sportsmanship: While not always successful, Peter has participated in various sports activities, including baseball, golf, and martial arts, showing some level of skill and enthusiasm.
Culinary Skills: Peter is known to enjoy cooking, and while his attempts can be unconventional or disastrous, he occasionally showcases some culinary prowess.
Limited Intelligence: Although not necessarily a skill, Peter's lack of intelligence often leads to humorous situations and his unique perspective on the world.
It's important to note that Peter Griffin's skills are primarily depicted for comedic effect and should not be taken too seriously, as the character is a fictional creation within a comedic context.
User Please add more
ChatGPT Certainly! Here are some additional skills or attributes that can be associated with Peter Griffin:
Impersonations: Peter has a knack for impersonating various individuals, from celebrities to fictional characters, often showcasing his ability to mimic their voices and mannerisms.
Street Smarts: Despite his lack of book smarts, Peter possesses a certain level of street smarts and occasionally demonstrates an understanding of how to navigate tricky situations or exploit opportunities.
Beer Drinking: Peter is notorious for his love of beer, often consuming large quantities without apparent negative effects. While not necessarily a skill, his ability to consume beer without consequence is a notable attribute.
Parenthood: Despite his often questionable parenting decisions, Peter genuinely loves his family and occasionally displays moments of genuine care and wisdom when it comes to his children.
Stunt Performer: Peter is willing to engage in risky and dangerous activities, often resulting in outrageous stunts that defy logic and common sense, highlighting his fearlessness and disregard for personal safety.
Multilingualism: Although not consistently portrayed, Peter has demonstrated some proficiency in speaking foreign languages, albeit often comically mispronouncing or misunderstanding them.
Voice Acting: Peter has lent his voice to various commercial voice-overs and voice acting roles, indicating a talent for voice work.
Storytelling: Peter has a penchant for telling elaborate and often far-fetched stories, showcasing his vivid imagination and ability to captivate an audience.
Political Activism: On occasion, Peter becomes involved in political causes or takes a stand on social issues, highlighting his willingness to engage in activism.
Remember, while Peter Griffin possesses these skills within the context of the "Family Guy" television show, they are exaggerated and intended for comedic effect.
Who do you think wins chat gbt helped me right this
submitted by themachineisGodpoi
to familyguy [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 23:37 CatsInTrenchcoats Peacekeeping Pt.2
An additional thanks to u/An_Insufferable_NEWT
for letting me borrow one of his characters.
...And now for the conclusion.
= = =
Evelra swore. They had come here to uplift humanity from barbarism, not let the powers that be enable humanity’s worst elements while the selfsame Noble cunts indulged in their own pubescent masturbatory power fantasies. Fuck this.
She thought to herself with a growl and flicked her comms channel to all units.
“All forces, this is Captain Evelra. The goddess-damned governess’s private militia have opened fire on the civies. Arrest those brother-fucking [bastards]
on sight before they can fuck this mess up any further!” She barked over the comms, a bit of local English slipping into her words. She couldn’t call them stiffs; the latter had more class than this.
“Capt, we’ve got three APCs in militia markings barreling down the road in front of the Governess’s mansion from the west. ETA 30 seconds. This is about to get messy.” Prex’s voice cut in with a false calm lent by years of experience.
Evelra could feel the material of her suit creak as her hands briefly tightened into hardened fists. “All west side Pods converge on Pod 7, support Lieutenant Eleynor. Eastern Pods, evac the civies. And Prex? Keep the late arrivals occupied. Don’t let these fuckers get another shot off.” She growled, her Second giving a brief click of acknowledgement over the comms before switching channels to give orders of her own.
Turning back to face Isaiah, Evelra reached a hand down to grab the elder by his medical exoskeleton and hoisted him to his feet. “Looks like the Governess ran out of patience. Get your people out of here, we’ll deal with this.” She explained brusquely, jabbing one finger towards the eastern side of the boulevard. She could apologize for womanhandling him later, right now every second counted.
The moment she was sure he had his feet under him, the marine captain let go and tried to move on Eleynor’s position with all due haste. “Out of the way! MOVE!” Evelra shouted as she strode forward, the sea of humans doing their best to get out of her path. Already, people were starting to scramble as panic spread like wildfire. She could hear the cries of terror and confusion all around her; shouted orders from the protest organizers and her own marines were almost inaudible against the din as they tried to control the chaos.
As she neared pod 7’s position, a horrifying scene unfolded before her. In the shadow of the buildings, at least a dozen of the protesters were currently on fire. Harsh yellow and orange flames rose from the flailing figures to form hazy gray clouds of smoke that hung heavy in the air. Even more humans were covered in burn marks and charred clothes. One woman just sat there, trembling and numb from shock as she stared her bloody arm; the melted remains of her synthetic shirt peeling away with boiled skin. Amidst the chaos, the other protesters were doing everything from trying to help the wounded and burning to running in panic and terror; the latter creating a solid wave of bodies in front of Evelra as they stumbled over one another to flee the danger.
From out of sight, she saw one of the Governess’ militia-kitted thugs go flying; only to watch them get back up and charge in to fight whom Evelra assumed to be Pod 7. Shil’vati might be stronger, but when equally equipped, outnumbered and against human reflexes she knew that fight wasn’t going to end well for her girls if the rest of the western Pods didn’t reach them soon. Then, one of the militiamen stepped forward towards the crowd.
As he strode boldly through the mayhem, Evelra could only watch while one of the protesters tried to confront him; the tide of humans preventing the marine captain from intervening. Inaudible words were exchanged, the protester shouting something as they gesticulated wildly. The Governess’ thug merely responded with two swift strikes of his rifle butt, first to the gut, then to the back of the head, the other man dropping like an anchor. In the distance, out of the corner of her eye, she numbly noted that the rest of the governess’ thugs had arrived and were using their APCs as cover between them and the Pods under Prexith’s command.
Evelra felt her gut sink as the militiamen shouldered his rifle once more, stepping out of the building’s shadow to take aim at the crowd. “EVERYBODY DOWN!” The marine captain roared as she planted her feet and pulled her sidearm in one smooth, practiced motion. Drawing a bead on the Governess’ thug, the panicked crowd tried to clear out of her way; but there were just too many people. She wasn’t going to make it in time. No, no more. Not-
The militiaman’s head disappeared.
A split second later, the now infamously familiar thunderous crack and echoing roar of a large bore human chemical ballistic rifle rolled over them as the corpse spasmed on its feet; a shockwave visibly rippling through the suit it was wearing. “SNIPER!”
Somebody bellowed. It might have been her, but in that moment she honestly couldn’t tell. As the headless body crumpled to the ground in a fountain of red, the same gun roared out again… and again. In the distance she could see two sudden sprays of red splatter up the sides of the Militia APCs, one right after the other.
The echoes of gunfire galvanized the crowd into a further panic, a stampede of human protesters slamming into Evelra in their attempt to get away from the violence. For a moment, the marine captain thought she was going to get dragged under by the wave, but then they rolled past her, leaving her staggering into the clear. With the screaming of the crowd now behind her and her ears still ringing from gunshots it was oddly quiet once more, save for the groans of the wounded.
Not letting herself fall into the lull, Evelra kept moving forward only to nearly gag at the smell as she approached the corner of the building. Like a Blue Grail left in the summer sun for a week, the air was heavy with a putrid smoke, reminiscent of the scent of death itself. Quickly sealing her helmet, she took a shuddering breath of fresh air before looking up just in time to see a pair of the Governess’s thugs get bodily tackled into the pavement by Eleynor. The rest of treasonous Militia were either surrendering or trying to run like the Deep-Minder itself was behind them as more Marine Pods came charging around nearby street corners.
Watching the last treasonous bastards eat pavement, the marine captain strode up to the Militaman’s corpse and picked up his blood-stained rifle. Quickly turning the weapon over in her hands, Evelra took one look at its settings and nearly threw the gun away in disgust. Medium power, maximum dispersal. Against even the most basic of modern armor, such settings would be practically useless; but would make for a decent, if imprecise, fire starter. Which is exactly what they’d done. Of course, leave it to the humans to figure out how to turn the most basic of weapons into a tool of terror.
She thought bitterly, adjusting the beam spread back to something more logical before strapping it’s sling to her harness.
Now properly armed for anything else the Deep-Minder might decide to throw at her, Evelra flicked open her wrist-mounted omnipad, the integrated AR display in her helmet seamlessly linking to it. A couple quick taps later and the captain had an outgoing call. As the phone line rang in her ear, she tried not to tap her foot, every second feeling like ten.
“911, what’s your emer-”
Before the woman on the other end could even finish her sentence, Evelra interrupted her. “This is Captain Evelra of the Imperial Marines, 4032nd company. We have at least a dozen, I repeat, at least
a dozen critically injured burn victims at the corner of 3rd and Main. I need emergency Medivac for the critically wounded.” She barked into the mic.
There was a momentary pause on the other end accompanied by the sounds of a physical keyboard before shortly being followed by a muffled “Fuck.”
Evelra shifted impatiently as one second dragged into the next. “Is something the matter?” The marine growled.
“Ahh… No ma’am.” The other woman’s voice was uncertain for a moment before steadying back out. “Just bypassing some red tape. Consider it done. ETA, ten minutes.” She said with a thermocast firmness. Evelra briefly considered hounding the woman for what exactly she meant by ‘red tape’ but decided against it. She sounded confident in her statement and ultimately there was nothing else Evelra could do about it at the moment.
“I’m going to hold you to that.” The marine captain growled before hanging up. One down.
Looking up, she glanced over the growing crowd of Marines. Already, some of her girls were pulling out medkits and burn patches as they moved to help injured protesters; her AR display highlighting their ranks and names.
“Sergeant Quixana!” Evelra barked over the din.
“Ma’am!” The medic shouted back over one shoulder, barely looking up from the burn victim she was currently treating.
“We have civilian medivac for the burn victims inbound, ETA ten minutes. You have command over Triage. Anyone in critical condition they can’t airlift out is your responsibility. Clear?” She commanded, watching the Governess’s thugs like a shark as her girls disarmed and secured them. At this point, Evelra honestly didn’t expect them to try anything else; but as always with humans, one never quite
knew what they’d do.
“Affirmative!” Quixana replied. Taking a moment to ensure the woman she was treating wasn’t in immediate danger, the medic ushered another marine over to help and began shouting orders of her own. Two down.
Satisfied that the situation was under control, Evelra keyed into her comms again.
A couple moments later, the other woman’s voice came to life in her earpiece. “After the gunshots went off, the little fuckers started stumbling over each other to try and surrender. What in the Deep just happened?” Despite the horror around her, Evelra gave a short, mirthless chuckle. “Seems a certain… somebody
decided to more than just ‘play’ at being security. And seeing as I still have my head, they’re not a complete bloodthirsty idiot.”
“You certain it’s… them?”
Prex asked, a hint of dubiousness in her voice.
“Given that there’s one of the Governess’s thugs sans their head while I still have mine? Yeah. About as certain as I can be. Fits what little we know about their M.O.” Evelra shot back.
There were several long moments of silence before her subordinate let out a low whistle. “Make that three. I’ve got two more over here. Definitely explains why the little Turoxes were so fucking panicky. What now Cap?”
“How many of your Pods do you need to secure your prisoners?” Evelra asked.
“Less than half. They’re more terrified of stepping back into the sights of that sniper than anything else, I think.” Prexith snorted, a dry hint of amusement in her voice.
“Take as many as you think you can spare from guard duty and go arrest the Governess. Alive. Though preventing her from causing any more damage takes priority. Clear?” Evelra’s voice was firm, the unspoken message clear. Try not to kill the bitch if at all possible, but ice her tits if she’s going to make this a problem.
“As a laser lens. Prex out.”
When the line clicked dead, the marine captain took a deep breath and tried to center herself. Now came the hard part.
= = =
Evelra stopped outside the governess’ office and took a deep breath to steady herself. Within two hours of getting the fiasco under control, one Agent Lohun had arrived… along with three Pods of Death’s Head Commandos. Upon giving him her report, the petite male had thanked her and politely requested that she remain in her quarters until further notice. The marine captain had known better than to try and test those
particular boundaries. It was only now, three days later, that she’d been summoned once more.
In spite of the not quite lockdown state that was currently in effect, word still traveled. Her orders to arrest the governess had been upheld and the bitch had been transferred out to some Interior facility goddess knows where. A minimal local press release had happened; condemning the governess’ actions and requesting cooperation with the authorities as they investigated the incident. Things were still tense, but the daily gathering of thousands of protesters had dwindled to a hundred or so of the most stubborn.
With a little shake to clear her head, Evelra opened the office door and stepped through. Behind the governess’ massive polished wooden desk sat Lohun. The petite male was almost comically out of place; his simple take on the Interior uniform clashing with the room’s ostentatious opulence. Rumor had it that since he was investigating the room’s previous owner, he’d simply co-opted the office rather than bother to set up another workspace elsewhere. Looking up from his omnipad and what she assumed was a proverbial mountain of reports, the Agent gave her a tired nod of acknowledgement.
“Good. You’re here. Please, take a seat Captain D’saari.” He said, gesturing to a much simpler chair in front of the desk. Wincing internally at his usage of her long-abandoned family name, Evelra complied and settled into the offered seat in silence as she tried not to look at the silent woman in the corner with the three-eyed skull mask. Lohun gave his omnipad one last glance before setting it down and letting his carefully focused gaze settle onto her.
“Six deaths.” He stated simply, letting the fact hang there in the air for a moment. “Only half of which were not the aggressors in this situation. That could have gone much, much
worse. A job well done Captain.”
Evelra gave an awkward shrug. “Without the… unsolicited fire support it would have been. My girls just did the mop up.”
Lohun hummed, double-checking something on his omni-pad. “About that. The audio logs between you and your second indicated a certain familiarity with this assumed insurgent sniper, yet I can’t find any combat reports that you two share featuring any opposition with this kind of firepower. Care to explain what I’m missing here?” He asked calmly, a polite smile on his face; the Commando in the corner shifting her weight slightly.
A bundle of nerves did somersaults in her gut as she felt her throat go dry. “Ah, yeah. About… one local year ago we had a human male turn up dead. Clear signs of abuse. Autopsy report indicated he had both Nightfel and Viagra in him at the time of death. I had my suspicions, but the ensuing investigation never turned up any evidence.” The marine captain grimaced, scratching at one tusk with her thumbnail. “A few months later, A pod on a routine patrol got ambushed. All three of their heads were blown clean off. Big gun. I think you can guess what we found when we cleared out their belongings.”
“Nightfel and Viagra.” Lohun said cooly, his face grim.
Evelra nodded. “Yeah. The Governess covered the whole thing up in the name of keeping the peace. Released a statement that the young man’s murderers had been found and executed while redacting my report.”
Briefly adding a few notes on his omnipad, the Interior agent gave her a careful look. “Why didn’t you report this breach of protocol to the Interior?”
“Because it worked.” Evelra sighed. “Approval ratings ticked up, minor incidents went down. Didn’t hurt that I also publicly doubled down on mandatory etiquette training for my girls. I’ve seen enough of the Empire’s bureaucracy over the years to know better than to stir up the seabed over something like this. Justice was served, even if it was in a less than ideal manner.”
“And what about the young man’s family?” Lohun pressed, his gaze tightening.
Coughing slightly to clear her throat, Evelra looked away as she felt her cheeks heat up. “Officially, they were given the same story as everyone else. However, I… I may have taken one Shel to visit their home and correct that mistake. They deserved to know.” She finished quietly, leaning forward in her chair to look down at the ground. Anywhere but at the male in front of her.
After several agonizingly long moments of silence, the marine captain glanced up to catch sight of Lohun slowly starting to nod. “Good. That’s good. We can work with that.”
At his words, Evelra let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. In response, a ghost of a smile pulled at the edges of Lohun’s face. “Yes, you can relax now. You’re here to help me fix this mess, not to have your tits burned off.”
Evelra bobbed her head, eager for the change of topic. “Gladly. What can I do?”
The ghost of a smile on Lohun’s face broadened slightly, hovering on the edge of a smirk. “Simple. You will be taking over as the Local Governess.” The marine captain felt her jaw go slack as the Interior Agent calmly continued along as if he was discussing something as simple as dinner reservations.
“Of course, there’s a plethora of steps to take along the way. In recognition of your service to the citizens of the empire, you will be promoted two ranks to Lieutenant Colonel and discharged with full honors. We’ll then need somebody to fill your current position. One Sergeant… Prexith Van’sar, your current second, should do nicely. With her service record she's certainly earned herself a commission, I think.” He scoffed in amusement, shaking his head at some distant thought. “Deep, her accolades are almost as impressive as her penchant for avoiding promotions. It’s my hope though that continuing to work with you should be enough to dissuade her of that particular tendency.”
Lohun finally took a proper pause, as if he was only now taking in her shock. “Is something the matter Captain D’saari?”
As Evelra heard him refer to her by her family name again something inside her broke. The sheer absurdity of it all was just too much, and a noise of amusement escaped her mouth. It started as a snort, before growing into a full-on barks of laughter as Evelra shook her head in disbelief. “I- I’m sorry, but you want me
, the legally disowned, stiff-sprung cunt to be a local governess?
Goddess, you all must be getting desperate if you’re willing to dredge up the cast-off chaff of the noble houses.”
Lohun merely quirked an eyebrow at her before briefly consulting his omnipad again. “So that explains the three separate attempts to change your last name… aannd
probably why all three of them never went anywhere.” He let out a small humph as a flicker of distaste crossed his face. “An easy enough fix.”
“Goddess. You’re serious.” Evelra muttered as she slumped back in her chair, trying to process the implications. “Ok. Why me?” She asked, throwing a hand wide.
The Interior agent’s gaze focused in on her as he leaned forward onto the table, steepling his fingers. “Because Captain, over the past three days I have spent an exhaustive amount of time interviewing and interrogating people to get a better handle on what happened and why.
Your name came up just as, if not, more frequently than the governess’s; and rarely in a negative light. From both Shil’vati and
humans. Deep, even some of the ones that looked like they wanted to spit in my face refused to speak ill of you. Do you understand how goddess-damned rare that is?” Lohun finished, his voice raised and projected, not quite reaching an actual shout.
Evelra was sorely tempted to argue. She’d spent most of her adult life trying to get as far away from the nobility and politics as she could, as nothing good in her life had ever come from them. Then her conversation with Isaiah flashed through her mind. Fuck.
The marine captain let out a disgusted groan of frustration as she rubbed her face with one hand. “Alright… but how?” She asked, her brain fervently grasping at straws. “I mean no offense, but… isn’t that a little outside your authority as an Interior Agent?..”
Once more, a slight grin pulled at the agent’s face. “Ah yes. Perhaps some reintroductions are in order. Independent Investigator Lohun Vey’elquiese of the Empress’s own and an Agent of her Interior. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Evelra?..” He said smoothly, letting the end of his sentence hang as he leaned across the massive table to offer a petite fist.
For one long moment, Evelra’s brain short-circuited. The petite little male sitting across from her answered to only perhaps a dozen people in the entire Empire, and had the authority to make individuals such as system governesses simply disappear. Of course, abuse of said power carried the death penalty, not that one of the Empress’s own handpicked agents were likely to make that kind of mistake. Suddenly, the three pods of Death’s Head Commandos accompanying him made much, much
After a couple seconds of slight panic, her brain caught back up and she processed the question he’d carefully interwoven into his reintroduction. Taking a moment to think, she settled on her answer. With a slight smile of her own, she reached out her hand to tap her knuckles to his.
“Van’sar. Evelra Van’sar. And the pleasure is all mine Investigator.”
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2023.05.29 23:36 NamelessNanashi [The Gods of Dragons: Beginning] Ch 10 - Hurry Up and Wait
--- Table of Contents
--- Summer 4984, 13 Doumoth
“Ugh! I hate this!” Daisy whined loudly, letting her head fall back to stare at the ceiling.
“Almost done…” Rerves said to reassure her, though he lacked his usual smile.
Ania picked up the last piece of armor, a steel vambrace, and began polishing with a groan to match Daisy’s, “When we aren’t cleaning, we're polishing, when we aren’t polishing, we're cleaning. How is this Paladin training?”
“If I wanted to be a servant, I would've joined their guild…” Thom’s small voice chimed in.
Shon said nothing. The five Squires, Shon, Daisy, Thom, Rerves, and Ania, sat under a shade in the Temple courtyard, polishing the knights' spare armor for the hundredth time. The sun beat down mere feet away, reflecting off the finished pieces as the shadow of their shade crept closer and closer, the sun climbing towards noon. The yard was mostly clear, the Paladins not on duty retreating into the cool stone fortress while those on duty only occasionally coming to check on the Squires' progress.
Ania had the right of it. Ever since they'd moved into the Temple proper and became official Squires, the five of them had done nothing but clean, polish, and memorize armor and weapon vocabulary. And complain… the others always complained. Shon just sighed as the four others continued to gripe. There was no point in it, the work needed to be done, and they were the ones assigned to do it. It didn’t matter how annoying or monotonous it might be.
Sometimes the younger Paladins would join them in polishing, caring for their own armor while the Squires worked on the spare pieces. The spares were used mainly by the enlisted, and only if they hadn’t finished buying their own sets yet. Occasionally a Paladin would check out a set to practice with. Although most of them had a preferred style, they needed to stay proficient with all types. At least that meant only half of the pieces the Squires had to clean were still polished from the day before. If the armor was never used, it really would be a useless task, instead of half useless as it seemed now.
The Paladins never complained…
The Squires hadn’t started out tired and annoyed. Daisy and Shon had been joined after their first week by Thom and Rerves, who both came from the capital city. They'd been friends growing up, Rerves was a noble, and Thom's family worked as their personal stewards, one step up from servants. A week after that, Ania arrived from a small village in the south. Only having known one Paladin and having never seen a proper Temple before, she'd been in awe of the fortress Temple of the city for at least a month. But then the excitement had given way to frustration, and -for Shon at least- boredom. And so the others had started complaining.
Their relationship with each other had started out warm enough. They stayed up late into the night, sharing their histories and dreams of their future as full Paladins. Shon joined them when prompted but mostly preferred to listen. He didn’t think he had any stories worth sharing, though they had bombarded him with questions after Veon-Zih’s first training visit. Just like everyone else, they didn’t seem to know how to deal with Shon’s quiet nature. But unlike everyone else, they hadn’t pulled away and stopped talking to him altogether. Except when they complained. Shon never complained. He didn’t see the point. When asked, he would say that they needed to follow orders. So they'd stopped asking him.
Shon held his last piece of steel plate carefully by the leather straps, wiping the last bit of polish off with a clean rag. He could see his reflection distorted by the curves and dings, and wondered if he could manage to draw the changes accurately when given a chance. The tinking of metal on metal sounded in the distance, and the Squires' heads shot up, followed by their bodies as they scrambled to their feet to salute the woman approaching.
General Rasnah was resplendent as always in her uniform, the chains of office clinking on her shoulders. She walked towards the Squires with her head held high and her hands clasped behind her back. With her was Master Veon-Zih and Shon felt his spirits rise just a little higher.
“At ease, Squires.” Sir Rasnah said as she drew to a stop just outside their shade. She waited until they'd taken the formal 'at ease' position, legs shoulder-width apart and hands clasped behind their back, “Report.”
Rerves took charge, as usual, “Sir, we're nearly done, Sir.”
“Just one piece left, Sir,” Ania added, then blushed furiously as she usually did whenever addressing a high-ranking officer.
Sir Rasnah nodded, then glanced to the sky. She then looked to Veon-Zih, who smiled and shrugged. Her lips turned up on half her face in what could almost be called a grin before she cleared it, serious again as she addressed the Squires, “You may have the afternoon off. Report to the kitchens and evening duties before sixth bell.”
“Sir, yes, Sir!” the Squires spoke in unison, Shon’s four fellows grinning broadly and sneaking happy glances at one another.
They held their positions until Sir Rasnah turned away, walking back to the Temple proper and leaving them to their freedom. Veon-Zih remained behind, smiling warmly at them and addressing Shon, “Lunch? I found a fine eatery a few blocks away.”
Shon nodded, finally smiling with the rest, “And practice?” he asked.
“After food,” Veon-Zih answered, stepping aside and gesturing towards the gates. Shon rushed to help the others put the clean and polished armor away, then jogged to Veon-Zih before falling into step with him as they left the Temple.
Veon-Zih waited until they were well clear of the gates before asking, “So what do you think of your fellow Squires?”
Shon sighed in answer, which made Veon-Zih chuckle for some reason. But the sigh hadn’t really answered the question, so Shon said, “They complain a lot.” he probably could have, and should have, come up with something nicer to say. But after hours of hearing them gripe while they worked, it was the only thing on Shon’s mind.
“There's nothing wrong with complaining, you know.” Veon-Zih mused. Shon merely shook his head. The knights never complained; he'd been watching them. If there was a job that needed to be done, they would do it. His fellow Squires seemed to complain before, during, and after every unpleasant assignment. Though never in front of the Paladin giving it.
“Do you honestly think the knights like
polishing armor? Do you
like polishing that much? Maybe you should've come to the Monastery after all. We don’t wear armor, but we have many fine statues that all need to be polished every day. Every little nook and cranny scrubbed clean and shining.”
He glanced at Shon with a grin, then leaned over to whisper, “They hate it too, but just like your fellows won’t complain in front of them, they won’t complain in front of you.”
“It needs to be done…” Shon tried to argue, though it sounded hollow considering his own, though silent, annoyance.
“A perfect excuse,” Veon-Zih stated, turning sharply down a side road, so Shon had to jog to keep up, “There are many reasons spare armor needs to be polished. The most obvious is that it's needed to stay in good repair. The task is assigned to Squires because it gets you intimately familiar with armor beyond just naming the parts. And
because no one else wants to do it.
“That doesn’t mean we should be complaining about it…”
“Not in front of the officers, no. But amongst each other? Why not?”
Shon furrowed his brow but didn’t have an answer. Veon-Zih gave him one, “Joint misery creates companionship. Even if you have nothing else in common, everyone knows you all hate polishing already clean armor. Right now, I bet your fellow Squires are scratching their heads, wondering if you do
actually enjoy the task. Some might even be wondering if they're worthy of being Squires. Since they complain, and you don’t.”
Shon’s steps faltered. Would they really think he was more worthy than them? For something so trivial as chores? He had to rush to catch up and argued, “But there's no point in complaining. We have to do it anyway.”
Veon-Zih sighed and stopped walking. He waited for Shon to turn to him then said, “But my statement still stands. Joint misery creates companionship. Your fellows take a risk in voicing their complaints to you, hoping that they're not alone in their opinions. What if they're the only ones who hate it? What if that really does mean they aren’t meant for the Temple? Just because they can channel divine magic doesn’t mean Hengist will choose them.”
Shon let himself ponder that for a while. The other Squires always seemed so sure of themselves, so excited to begin real training. Did they really have doubts and fears the same as he did? And what did that say about his assumptions? That they would complain and the knights didn’t? Was he actually judging his fellows as unworthy without realizing it?
“The Paladins really complained when they were Squires too?” he asked.
“I guarantee it.” Veon-Zih answered and started walking again, “I know I did, and all the other Monks in my class too.” he chuckled, “Sometimes routines like cleaning and polishing can be meditative. You can let your mind wander while your hands work through the familiar motions. But before you get to that point, or if you would rather be doing something of your choosing, then it's nothing but monotonous work. Necessary work, but still work.”
Following Veon-Zih around another corner, Shon pondered his Master’s words. They got all the way to the little eatery the Monk had been looking for, even took their seats, and gave their orders before Shon spoke again.
“I hate platemail the most…” he said. Veon-Zih arched an eyebrow at him, and he continued, “It’s bulky, and there's just so much of it. Then as soon as you're done, someone moves it aside and gets fingerprints on it again. Chainmail isn’t much better. You can’t see the fingerprints, but it’s hard to get the oil between the links. And yet water obviously has no problem with it because that’s where all the rust is.”
Veon-Zih laughed boisterously, throwing his head back and startling those at the closest table, “I hated the creases in the palms of the statues the most,” Veon-Zih held up his hand, his forefinger and thumb forming a circle, the other fingers extended, “how can so much dust cake itself in such a small space in only a day?” he complained, dropping his hand and shaking his head.
The waitress brought them their stew and drinks, and Shon started eating while Veon-Zih thanked her. Picking up his spoon, the Monk paused as he dipped it into his bowl, musing, “I wonder which parts your fellow Squires dislike the most?” Shon didn’t know, but he wanted to. Would they agree with him that the plate was the most frustrating? Daisy seemed to groan loudest at the leather, but their complaining always seemed to be general moans at the work as a whole…
“Maybe I’ll ask,” Shon mumbled, embarrassed for some reason.
“Or,” Veon-Zih took his first bite, then pointed at Shon with his spoon, “you could just tell them your least favorite, and they will open up and share their own.”
That’s what they expected of him, wasn’t it? They expected him to join in the conversation, not just answer questions… Shon could only nod.
Shon had grown so much. It was difficult for Veon-Zih to watch him without smiling. Only a head shorter than his Master, Veon-Zih could still see the ten-year-old oddity he'd spied upon almost four years ago in the church courtyard. And yet, he had grown so much. Veon-Zih wondered if anyone else could see it.
They practiced in one of the parks in the noble’s district. Veon-Zih thought it was important that Shon get out of Temple whenever possible, that he see the city and its people, to remember what he was training for, and why he wanted to fight. Shon was more like Veon-Zih, and his order of Monks than the boy would ever know. Or admit. He strove for perfection. Every punch, kick, and kata they worked through needed to go exactly right, or he would do it again. Like many Monks, Shon found true enjoyment in the process of working and growing better than his past self. But he was also different in a critical way. Shon wanted to use his strength. Wanted to protect people, fight evil. Many Monks never left the Monastery. A single Grandmaster could easily fell a small raiding force alone. Yet, so many chose not to fight outside their sparring rings and training.
Even Veon-Zih hadn’t left the Monastery because he wanted to help those locked outside its walls. He'd left because he believed he couldn't attain the perfection he strove for inside them. He'd wanted to be tested by the world, to rise to the challenges life presented and overcome them with his discipline and practice. Along the way, he'd learned to be more like Shon was naturally. He'd made friends from other orders, and saved countless non-combatants. Only after seeing the results of his fights, the grateful families reunited, had he realized the moral folly in his fellows and in himself.
They practiced and even sparred until well after fifth bell. The display at first earned them a few disapproving glares from the nobles and servants passing the park. Then they'd actually attracted a few spectators, who clapped as though watching a show. Shon blushed furiously at this, his pale cheeks growing pink as he tilted his head down, trying to let what was left of his now short hair slip down to hide his face. Yet, he never lost step or stopped the training. Veon-Zih had barely resisted laughing, though if more at the foolish watchers or his embarrassed student, he wasn’t sure.
Veon-Zih finally called their training to a halt, and Shon glowered at him. The boy had nearly gotten in his first solid hit in their sparring and was obviously reluctant to stop after making such progress. “It’s nearly time for you to get back, and Sir Rasnah will not accept me as an excuse for tardiness.” Shon’s eyes went wide, and fear replaced the look of frustration on his face. He ran his fingers through his hair, looking up at the sky to try and gauge the hour.
Veon-Zih chuckled, “I’ll race you back.” he said, a hint of mischief seeping through his voice. Shon arched an eyebrow and Veon-Zih could practically hear his thoughts. Run? Through town? You must be joking.
“There's no law against running,” Veon-Zih argued with the boy’s expression, “Every moment offers us an opportunity to train. We're late, so this is the perfect opportunity to test our speed against time and run.”
Shon alternated his arched brow to the other side, looking down the road then back to Veon-Zih before confirming, “A race?”
In answer, Veon-Zih ran. He sprinted past Shon -though not at his full speed- before slowing down just enough to keep things fair. Shon bolted after him. Nobles, servants, and even a few guards gasped and called out in indignation as Veon-Zih and Shon swerved around them on the wide roads of the nobles' quarter. They were forced to slow when they reached the more densely packed streets in the city center. Shon was careful to run around the people doing their shopping but kept his eyes set ahead, planning his route and scaring those who noticed him out of the way with his intense blue stare. Veon-Zih was much more confident in his ability not to hit people and so brushed much closer, never quite knocking into them but often brushing their clothes as he passed.
Ahead a cart laden with crates and barrels ambled across the thoroughfare, and Shon slowed to a jog, trying to run around it. Veon-Zih lept, landing on his hands on the cart and propelling himself up and over before hitting the ground again and continuing the race. He heard the merchant curse and the bystanders gasp in surprise but was more amused at the growl of frustration that came from his student, who put on an extra burst of speed to try and catch up. Veon-Zih was half tempted to let him and half tempted to sprint all out and leave the boy in his dust. He chose to do neither and just laughed, continuing at the pace he'd set and soon coming into view of the Temple gates.
The Paladins on watch saw him coming and exchanged confused and nervous glances, drawing their swords but not barring his path. Veon-Zih didn’t slow his run until he reached the knights. Turning to the side and planting his feet, he slid past them on the cobblestones. Turning back as he slid to a stop, he found one of the Paladins facing him as though ready to fight and the other facing out as though looking for whatever force had sent Veon-Zih sprinting for the Temple.
Shon slowed to a jog and stopped before the knight facing him, breathing hard. “What’s going on? Squire report.” the Paladin demanded, still holding his sword at the ready.
Shon had to take a moment to catch his breath but eventually managed to gasp out, “Race…” before looking absolutely horrified at what he'd just done and said. “Sir…” he added quietly as if that might somehow make his unconventional arrival more acceptable.
“And you managed to keep up with him?” Sir Rasnah appeared from beyond the gate, arching a steely eyebrow and drawing sharp salutes from the Paladin guards who finally sheathed their swords.
“I went easy on him,” Veon-Zih assured her, earning a glare from Shon, who passed through the gates, still breathing deeply but no longer gasping for air. Veon-Zih hadn’t even broken a sweat.
Rasnah looked between the Master and student, finally settling on Shon, “Oh, don’t look at him like that, Squire. Master Veon-Zih could beat a riderless horse in a foot race.” which drew a befuddled look from Shon and a laugh from Veon-Zih.
“General Rasnah, Sir,” another man ran towards the gates wearing the uniform of an enlisted. A messenger from the city gates.
“It seems today is a good day for running,” Veon-Zih quipped as the guards allowed the man to pass and give his report.
“A wyvern has been spotted over the woods near Lakeland,”
Sir Rasnah didn’t respond right away. She narrowed her eyes at the messenger and spoke to Shon, “You have duties, Squire, hop to it.”
Shon saluted, though Rasnah still wasn’t looking at him. He glanced at Veon-Zih curiously, then turned to follow the orders.
Veon-Zih hesitated but decided to follow Shon. If he was needed, Rasnah would let him know.
“A wyvern?” Shon asked in a whisper.
“An abomination,” Veon-Zih explained, “Monstrous beasts with a body as large as a wagon, not including the tail. They fly like birds and will hunt anything that strays into their territory, including humans.”
Shon’s brow furrowed, and Veon-Zih patted him on the shoulder, “It'll be alright. They rarely attack settlements unless they're starving.” Which was good because a single wyvern could destroy a small town.
“What will the Temple do?” Shon asked as they reached the back door to the kitchens.
“That depends… most likely, they'll send a group to the village and watch the skies.”
“They won’t hunt it?”
“Maybe, and maybe not. Wyverns are dangerous enough that it’s a real risk to hunt one, but they also can’t be allowed to harm nearby towns. The Temple of Saint Giorgos will want it destroyed, but Sir Rasnah won’t needlessly risk her men if it isn’t necessary.” Veon-Zih explained.
Shon thought for a moment, then asked, “Have you ever fought a wyvern?”
Veon-Zih tried to make his smile reassuring, "Twice. Though I would rather not try a third time if it can be avoided.”
“Red, what're you doing?” Ran asked.
She rolled Her eyes, focusing again on what She was doing and not bothering to answer him. Her fingers ached, but She worked them into the cracks between the stones of the tower wall, shifting Her weight from one hand to the other and searching out the next handhold.
Brom laughed, and She heard the slap and woosh of breath as he pat Ran on the back hard enough to knock the air from the thinner man’s lungs, “Can’t you tell? She’s climbing!”
“Sort of…” Ran mumbled.
She wasn’t climbing up the wall, as much as She wanted to. Instead, She was up only about a foot off the ground and working Her way sideways around the tower. “Afraid of falling, Red?” Ran asked instead. That question was even more stupid than the last, and She arched Her neck back, holding tight to the wall and looking at him upside down.
“Really?” She asked in response to his denseness. He should know She wouldn’t be afraid of falling. She had fallen many times when She'd braved climbing the trees around the perimeter. Even broke Her arm once, and that hadn’t stopped Her from trying again with the splint still on. But that was when they used to let Her out more often, about once every other week. No, the thing that kept Her from climbing up the wall was the same thing that had stopped Her climbing trees. The same thing that stopped Her running around the tower at top speed while Brom or Ran kept time and She tried to beat Her record. And the same thing that kept Her from even crossing the tree line to play pretend in the woods.
Ran had the decency to look embarrassed, realizing his mistake eventually. There was only one thing that ever stopped Her from doing what She wanted, and even that often took multiple ‘lessons’ each time. Morndancer had grown increasingly erratic and more often violent of late. He would mutter to himself in draconic then give opposite orders to the journeymen and apprentices in common. Though everyone in the tower spoke both languages. He would lock himself in his room for days and hadn’t been back to visit his family or the Mages Guild in weeks. Shaloon would cover for him, but she wasn’t much better, cutting holes in reality and staring into the outer plains for hours on end, whispering. Half her words in draconic and the other half in common, mixing the languages in the same sentence.
Brom and Ran had refused to talk to Her about it, but She had listened at Her door when they thought She was sleeping. The Archmages were going mad. The eventual cost of power, they said. Though neither seemed upset that the same would happen to them eventually. Perhaps their lack of concern was the first sign they'd already started.
She continued Her climb, putting Her worries about Brom and Ran’s sanity out of Her mind for the time being. She would have plenty of time to stew about it when She was locked in Her room. For now, She wanted to enjoy being outside in the brief summer warmth.
A burst of sudden wind from above set Her hair whipping about Her face and nearly cost Her grip on the stones. Squeezing Her eyes shut, She tried to shake Her hair back, blowing at the strands against another huge gust before something heavy shook the ground behind her. She let Her head fall back again, so Her hair fell away from Her face, and She could see what had come upside down. The sight caused Her to fall off the wall.
Landing hard on Her backside, She scrambled to Her feet in a mix of awe and horror. A monster large enough to fill Her entire room and then some, stood in the clearing around the tower. It had a long sinuous neck and dull brown scales. It walked on great taloned legs in the back and the joints of its leathery wings in the front. It snapped at Archmage Shaloon as she jumped from its neck to the ground, its teeth as long as daggers and looking just as sharp. It didn’t bite the Archmage, who ignored it as she approached the journeymen.
“What are you three
doing out here
?” she demanded, mixing draconic with common and glaring at the two men who, for some reason, looked ashamed despite the permission they'd gotten to be out today.
The Firewyrm ignored the question, asking one of Her own, “What is that
?” She pointed at the monster, not sure if She felt sad or disgusted at the sight of it. Both seemed odd emotions to have at the sight of a beast that could eat Her in two bites.
Fingers snapped, and She flinched, reaching for Her collar. The monster let out a strangled roar, thrashing its head wildly, its own copper collar shimmering with light and magic. “Another failure of our predecessors, thousands of years ago
.” Morndancer exited the tower, his robes billowing around him.
Another snap, and the Firewyrm flinched again. But Shaloon just snorted, sneering at the other Archmage after stopping his torment of her mount, “The north-western
Talon was gracious enough to lend us this sample
of training. It should come in handy with the local
draken who worship
its kind as gods
.” the beast snarled at the humans just out of reach but didn’t step any closer, digging its talons deeper into the ground and hissing, “It was a great success
after the slaying
. We’ve only had one greater.” she glanced at the Firewyrm who tilted Her head at the two of them, curious for more but sure they wouldn’t give it to Her.
Archmage Morndancer dismissed the defense of the monster’s existence with a snort, “And yet we are still facing the same problems as those before us. What information do you have?
hit out at sea
, and there are signs of another possibly
brewing in Halakon.”
Ran swallowed nervously, and Brom stuttered, “Should we…?”
“No.” Morndancer answered the unfinished question, “There is only one thing that can stop these storms,
and we are the only ones willing to make the sacrifices to do it.” he turned away from them, returning to the tower door before glancing over his shoulder, “Get back inside
, we need more samples if we are to make up for our own successful failure.”
“Saint Giorgos says the wyverns are the last vestiges of the dragon’s evil in the skies…” Sir Rasnah sipped her tea thoughtfully.
Father Branston snorted, “Yes yes, and drakes are their evil on land, and leviathans their evil at sea. They are beasts, Rasnah, as old as memory.”
“Branston's right,” Veon-Zih shrugged, rolling his teacup between his hands, “They're terrible beasts with some magic to them, but they're no more intelligent than a drakwalf or horse.”
They sat together in Father Branston’s office to enjoy warm tea and a colorful sunset through his massive windows. But none of them could really relax with the news of a wyvern flying around the woods to the north. Just to the west of Hamerfoss.
“They've been known to hunt for sport,” Rasnah reminded them, her face pained at the memory.
“So do house cats.”
“House cats don’t pick off entire barbarian tribes over the course of a week.”
"I'm sure they would if they could,"
Branston sighed, reaching for his teapot and pouring himself another cup, “What will you do? If you need healers, I have a few skilled enough to go.”
Rasnah sighed, rubbing her forehead and resting her cup in her lap, “Perhaps one. I’ll send a group to watch. If it's sighted again, we'll have to do something.”
Veon-Zih cleared his throat to get her attention and arched a questioning eyebrow her way. The Paladin returned the look with a smile and said, “I will make sure they have a sending stone. If you're needed, I’m sure they'll wait for you to arrive before seeking it out.” her smile faded, and she stared into her cup, “If they really are vestiges of dragons then I suppose Saint Giorgos is right and all of them were evil.”
“Having a crisis of faith, Rasnah?” Branston asked softly, but with a smile, “Legends say Hengist was allied with goodly dragons.”
“Dragons of Gold and Silver and all the precious metals,” Veon-Zih finished for him, then added, “None of that matters anymore. All we can do is face the challenges life presents us with in the here and now.”
“Of course,” Rasnah agreed, looking up at her old friends and managing a lopsided grin, “And now
we have a wyvern possibly claiming territory in our forests. Do you think Daunas will want to join the hunt? If necessary,” she added at the end.
“Mung's boy? He’s still stationed at Hamerfoss then?” Branston asked.
Veon-Zih chuckled, “I don’t believe he would forgive you if you didn’t let him.” his chuckle died, and the three gazed mournfully out the window. Remembering their last wyvern fight, and their friend lost in bringing it down. It had been their last adventure together.
-End of Part 1-
--- Table of Contents
All comments and are welcome and wanted.
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2023.05.29 23:08 ohhidied LEGACY: From the Book of SAW (CHAPTER 26, 27, & 28) Converging Paths
Read Chapter 25 Here: https://www.reddit.com/saw/comments/13kih9q/legacy_from_the_book_of_saw_chapter_25_the_final/
____________________________________________________ *** CHAPTER 26 **\
Traveling to the warehouse, Logan felt relieved knowing Melissa was in good hands, but his momentary comfort was quickly replaced with apprehension when he arrived at Hoffman’s lair. Checking his surroundings, Logan was unfamiliar with this place, despite living here for over a decade. Stopping the car, he tilted the visor down and looked at the photo of his wife.
Through the security camera positioned outside, Hoffman watched Logan enter the parking lot and smiled. He grabbed the bottle of chloroform that sat next to the aqua green box and a cloth from the table, then switched on the furnace. Walking towards the entrance, he turned off all the lights except the one shining on Elanor, who sat unconscious beneath the aluminum dispenser.
Walking towards the entrance, Logan removed a tactical knife from his pocket and held it surreptitiously. Finding the door unlocked, he breached the doorway and stepped into the building, his chest full of anxiety. Logan shuffled through the inoperable machines, boxes, and various tools until he found Elanor under the strobe light. On the floor, he noticed the chrome pool of aluminum that had dried and discovered the dispenser above her. Quickly pulling the chair out of reach, he removed the gag from her mouth just as the liquid started to pour.
Slipping out of the darkness, Hoffman watched as Logan attempted to cut through the ropes that bound Elanor, and while he was distracted, Hoffman slammed the grip of his gun into the back of Logan’s head with traumatic force. Falling to the floor, rattled and disoriented, Hoffman used this moment to render him unconscious with a considerable dose of chloroform.
Seth’s body is brought to the triage center, where the on-call doctors get to work. They extract the bullet from his neck and clean the wound. Then, fill several vials with his coagulating blood and immediately begin several tests. It doesn’t take long for them to find something unusual in his blood. The pathologist examines the results and calls the precinct.
Waiting to hear from Agent Kullen, Lincoln left a message for Autumn and contacted the patrol unit, which was watching over her. They spoke briefly and assured him she would be brought to the station as soon as possible.
With her safety guaranteed, he reached out to the crew sent to Gavin Beck’s residence. They informed him that an officer was found in the garage with his arms, legs, and mouth wrapped in duct tape, but he was still alive, suffering from a major contusion on his head. He was currently being transported to the hospital for evaluation.
Fixing his posture, Lincoln loosened the cilice, providing a moment of comfort, and sank into his chair. Through the window, he caught another glimpse of the remaining survivors. Obstructing his view and thoughts, Marlow entered his office.
“Linc,” he says, “I’ve been in touch with Agent Webb. She’s in recovery and would like updates on the case. Additionally, I’ve been in contact with Dr. Steward’s wife and son. They’re both okay. Presumably an empty threat. The same for Renee’s family.”
Lincoln squints his eyes, contemplating, and suggests, “They didn’t fit the code.”
Marlow shrugs and is about to speak when a call comes through, “Detective,” the pathologist says, “Please come to the triage center at once. There’s something you should see.”
Taking his jacket from the chair, they leave the room hastily and head next door, cutting a path through the other corpses, beelining for Seth’s cadaver. The site of the body hits Lincoln in the gut. They shared a long history, and this wasn’t how he imagined their friendship would end. Saddened by the loss, Lincoln backed away and placed his hands in his pockets.
Inside, he found the last canister of Nitrous Oxide, which he had forgotten about. Already inserted into the cracker, it was taunting him. With the pain of losing another friend, Lincoln’s urge to use was returning, and he felt he would never escape its grasp. Checking for an exit, Lincoln was about to give in to his compulsion when he caught sight of the pathologist using a centrifuge.
Detailing her findings into a computer, she greets Lincoln, “Thank you for coming.”
“What did you find?”
Moving around the device, she grabs a portfolio and takes a blood-filled vial from the rack. She hands the vial to Lincoln and says, “When we ran the first test, I found Seth’s blood was contaminated with some sort of bacteria.”
Holding up the vial and looking closely, “Agent Kullen said he was sick….” Lincoln explains.
Her expression is one of doubt, “I checked that too, but these cells reacted differently than a common cold. It’s microbial.”
Turning a page in the portfolio, she removes another vial from the rack that is filled with green fluid.
“Do you recognize this?” She asks.
Swapping vials, Lincoln shakes the cylinder and watches the fluid splash against the walls.
The pathologist elaborates, “It was confiscated from Dr. Gordon’s apartment.”
“Well, Detective, my theory is that poison not dissimilar to this was injected into Seth’s body. I’m certain we will find an entry point with a little more time.”
Handing the vial back to the pathologist, Lincoln displays concern.
He says, “Have Logan assist you with the autopsy. Find the entry point and get back to me.”
Confusion drapes the pathologist, “Logan isn’t here, Detective. I thought you knew that.”
“Fine, get Elanor on it immediately.”
“I’m sorry, Lincoln, but she’s not here either.”
Marlow looks worried, and Lincoln says, “What are you talking about?”
“The on-call Doctors are here because Logan and Elanor never came in. I assumed they requested a break….”
Lincoln pushes past the physician, and Marlow tries to keep up. “Get a unit to Logan and Elanor’s addresses.” He says, “If you can’t get in touch with anyone, I want an APB out within the hour.”
“My orders, just do it.”
They enter the precinct, and Lincoln breaks off from Marlow, heading to his office while Marlow requests the attention of the other officers. Perched in the seats, eyes fixed, they await instructions. He explains, “Two of our colleagues are missing, Logan Nelson and Elanor Bonneville. Logan was last seen leaving the precinct between 7 pm and 8 pm last night. We must track them down as soon as possible.”
Listening to Marlow in the distance, Lincoln paces his office, trying to call Autumn. He leaves another message and fidgets with the Nitrous Oxide in his pocket. Needing a distraction, he contacts Agent Kullen. **\
Outside the Convention Center, Agent Kullen acquired an identical parking slip to the one they procured from Seth. He stood beside his vehicle, surveying the surroundings, taking mental notes of the area, including the security cameras and the construction site for the museum across the street then headed inside.
At the front desk, he finds two staff members and security personnel. Flashing his badge, he requests to see the surveillance footage taken from the last forty-eight hours. They informed him that a power outage corrupted the data, and the footage was essentially erased. Incensed by the revelation, Kullen shows them a picture of Seth Steward and asks if they’ve seen him on the property. The security guard holds the photo close to his face and recognizes the man. He saw him the night before, smoking in the parking lot, but he never entered the building.
Kullen’s stomach churned, and his hand twitched as he exited the convention center. Retrieving his medication from the car, Kullen consumed two pills and evaluated his surroundings once more. Walking towards the street, he looked up and down the road diligently.
Near the shoulder, across the street, he saw something glistening off the sun. About to head over, a call rang through his cell, “Kullen,” he said, still curious about the object.
Hearing the Detective's unsettled tone, Agent Kullen asks, “Lincoln, what’s going on?”
“Elanor and Logan are missing. Marlow is pursuing leads. Where are you?”
Crossing the street, Kullen discovers the reflective object to be a broken padlock. He carries the item towards the gate and says, “I’m near the Convention Center.”
He stops at the entrance and discovers that a new padlock has replaced the broken one. Suspicious, he looks to the Convention Center and then back to the gate.
Overwhelmed by his sudden emotions, Lincoln pushes through a fog of anxiety and asks, “Have you found anything?”
Kullen tilts the new lock in his direction and discovers a keyhole. “Send a team to the museum, now.”
Quickly returning to his vehicle, Kullen starts the ignition and drives towards the parking lot's exit. He waits anxiously for the road to clear before pulling out onto the street. When he reaches the gate, he makes a sharp turn and slams his foot into the accelerator. Crashing through the barrier, he speeds toward the construction site.
Pedestrians outside the Community Center observe the unexpected breach and appear excited and perplexed, with at least one individual phoning 9-1-1. *** CHAPTER 27 **\
Sitting at his workstation, watching the news, Hoffman can hear Elanor’s muffled cries for help. In front of her, she could see the limp body of Logan, handcuffed to a metal fixture that Hoffman bolted to the floor below the aluminum faucet. Pleading for him to wake up, she quivered in fear.
Unaffected, Hoffman increased the volume of the television. Showing footage of the National History Museum from a helicopter, it was reported that a new game had been discovered. In the video, Hoffman saw several cop cars and news vans positioned outside the building. They revealed that triggers and tripwires had been placed throughout the museum, preventing safe entry.
Photos of the victims flash on the screen, and Hoffman sees Renee Walsh, a test subject of John Kramer, who he had captured over a decade ago. For her game, John requested an eye for an eye, forcing her to remove the organ with a sharpened spoon. Unbeknownst to Jigsaw, Dr. Gordon provided a numbing agent for Renee that would aid her in the endeavor.
Hoffman’s eyes glazed over, and the memories of previous games rushed to his mind. Staring through the television, he heard a voice.
Hovering over his shoulder was the rotting corpse of Amanda Young, who said, “Hello, Mark….”
“You’re dead,” he replied calmly.
Watching the news, Amanda folded her pale arms and said, “I know it’s hard to concentrate.”
Having been haunted by these hallucinations since he escaped the bathroom, Hoffman felt exhausted and tortured, “Why?” He said, his voice drained of emotion. “Why are you still here?”
Amanda stared out the window while Hoffman watched the blood ooze from her neck, and she said, “By creating a legacy, by living a life worth remembering, you become immortal.”
“When this is over, you’ll be gone….”
Smiling, Amanda responds defiantly, “Somehow, I doubt that.”
Photos of John Kramer are displayed on the television, followed by images of Dr. Gordon.
Seeing the pictures, Hoffman remembered sending letters to various news stations, hospitals, and local law enforcement, implicating Lawrence Gordon as an accomplice. For many years, he had planned his revenge on the Doctor, which started by exposing his true identity. However, with Gordon’s upstanding reputation, the implications were deemed a slanderous rumor, and nothing ever came of it.
Now with Gordon gone, only one obstacle remained; there was only one accomplice left; Logan Nelson. *** CHAPTER 28 **\
The sun is chased out of the sky by a flurry of dark clouds, creating a reddish-black horizon. An aft beautiful sight, if not for the crowd that has formed outside the precinct. Families of the deceased Jigsaw victims have led a throng of supporters to the parking lot, where they demand an end to Jigsaw’s legacy and the police department that has allowed this to go on for so long.
Among the swarm of bodies are the ex-husband and children of Sarah Harper.
Inside, Chief Savino preps a SWAT team on the situation at the museum, reminding them to be wary of traps, and displays a picture of Hoffman on the television for each of them to memorize. He insists that no one enter the museum until all the traps have been disarmed.
After the speech, Lincoln is informed that Autumn has arrived at her house and is collecting her belongings. The officer estimates that they will reach the precinct within the hour. With one problem solved, Lincoln allows himself a moment of comfort. When he is about to leave, Marlow approaches with more good news.
“We just spoke to Cameron, Logan’s Mother-in-Law,” He says, “She has Melissa, they’re fine, and Logan left around 7 am this morning.”
“Did she say where he was going?”
“He said he was going to work but to contact you if there’s trouble. Chances are he’s inside the museum with the others.”
Lincoln considers the possibilities and says, “Let’s retrace his steps. He took his vehicle, right? I don’t care how long it takes, pull CCTV, check gas stations in the vicinity, schools, everything. If we can triangulate his phone, do it. Find him."
“I will, sir,” Marlow says, without moving, "What about him?"
Lincoln glances at Daniel inside the Infirmary, “He doesn't leave my sight," he says.
“What other options do we have? I'm not losing anyone else."
Forgoing his apprehension, Marlow said, “It’s your call, Lincoln.”
Within twenty minutes, Lincoln arrives at the museum with a SWAT team. Staring at the building, he feels a sudden surge of anxiety, dread, and a strange sense of relief, knowing this will all be over soon.
“Are you okay?” a voice asks.
His eyes move to the rearview mirror, and Lincoln can see Daniel Matthews in the back seat. Still awaiting a response from Autumn, Lincoln checks his cellphone and re-reads his message to Lynn.
“I'm ready for this to be over,” he said, tightening the cilice around his waist.
Looking through the window at the commotion outside the museum, Daniel responds, “This isn't your fault, Detective.”
Reminded of his conversation with Seth Steward, Lincoln ignores the words, "Let's go."
Both men exit the vehicle, and Marlow joins them.
"Kullen is sending in a bomb squad," Marlow said, "We've set up an observation terminal towards the south entrance. I'll move the witness there."
As the men separate, Daniel, notices the news crews positioned themselves just outside the parking lot. He stares at them approvingly.
Lincoln waded through his grief and reached Agent Marlow, who was relaying a message via radio.
“Get it done,” Kullen said.
Standing with the Agent, Lincoln asks for a breakdown of the situation.
“Come with me.”
Lincoln follows Kullen towards a police car, and the Agent removes the museum floor plans from his pocket. He lays the map on the car's hood and specifies the trap locations.
“The entrances are blocked off,” he said, “There’s no way through. Now, I’ve got a team working to deactivate the traps, but it’s going to take some time.”
“Have you had any communication with the survivors?”
Drawing a line on the map with his finger, Kullen says, “Not yet, but I’ve spoken with the construction crew, and they’re building an expansion right over here.”
TO BE CONTINUED
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2023.05.29 21:29 AlienNationSSB #Alien-Nation Chapter 168: Now or Never
Alien-Nation Chapter 168: Now or Never All Chapters First Chapter of Alien-Nation Previous Chapter
Chapter summary: Elias wanders the grounds inspecting everything he can, has a fatheson moment with Larry then sends Vaughn to go try and spring people from jail. It had been easy for me to see during the speech I'd given roughly how many had already arrived up the narrow pass, and as I stood from inspecting a firing port in a trench, testing whether the old cast iron cannon would roll back far enough on its rails after firing.
I gave it a pass after measuring against a rod. Certainly it was far from the highest of technologies at our disposal, but certainly it would be either lethal, injurious, or at the very least, extremely loud. The gathered mishmashed array of weaponry pointing outward was impressive enough, but the real piece de resistance was the sheer number of railguns we'd had returned to us, frequently carried by a two man team. I signed off on it for final inspection, noting the plug in place over the end, and went to the railgun positioned further down the trench near the intersection.
This was one I recognized. This shared at least something in common to the cannon, insofar as it was far from the latest model at our disposal. I spotted some of my own extremely crude handiwork, a far more rough set of welds performed along the plate's protective, unsanded metal edges. Mister Singer, if he were ever presented with it, may have recognized the shoddy, unstable hand that welded together some of the protective casing. The service flap told me the model without needing to even open it, the household door frame hinges pulled from Verns' stock of spare parts bin, before we implemented something even so basic as refined latches with catch points.
That had to make this a Mk. II. Sentimentality had no place on the front lines. I sucked in a breath at the sight of another old muzzle-loader being carried into the workshop for upgrades, already laid out on the timber worktable and ready for use and sucked in a breath.
I just hoped the earliest design of managing power flow wouldn't give out from the faster firing. Complex but beautifully arrayed piping had given way to simpler, more streamlined designs as we incorporated a greater number of readily available alien parts. Some of which we were supplied an initial batch of in the bag with the blueprints, and then we were told how to work free those same parts from various broken pieces of technology we'd reclaimed off the Shil'vati, or even the freely given away omni-pads. With every iteration we demonstrated a degree of adaptation to using the parts we had available, and each generation marked a leap forward in our own understanding of Shil'vati technology, courtesy of G-Man and his father's handiwork.
The final barrels of the extremely limited run of the second batch we'd paid handsomely for were marked 'present,' too. They had gone the least far afield, with one already slagging itself during the attack on the data center. I frowned at the spreadsheet, as if my impression of it might cause their fate to improve.
The latest blueprints could maintain a decent rate of fire without burning out its power management system located in the welded together case. Or, rather, the barrel gave out first. For the first time, perhaps as a result of being coupled with the magazines and a relatively rapid-fire exchange meant the neosteel barrels we received had finally become the weak point in the design.
It was only after we'd returned to Camp Death that I'd noticed the difference.
The new batch we'd paid dearly for seemed somewhat altered from the first batch we'd been building all the others out of, made from an alloyed material that shone somewhat dimmer under the sun as George and I worked in the shed elbow-to-elbow, though the contrast was not immediately obvious until one held the two against each other. It was slightly thicker, too, all of which to me indicated a change in supply in some manner, but our supplier had hardly announced themselves to Sam.
This was a troubling puzzle to me. I still couldn't be sure it was the new microbatch of barrels alloys being far from equal to the originals we'd finally finished building out? Or was it the expanded magazines and power couplings' ability to fire faster creating an overall volume of fire that overheated the barrel from overuse? Or was the power management design faulty, generating more heat per shot? Were we misusing them?
I measured the barrel of the Mk. II, just to be sure the shelf life of the barrel hadn't come due. So far, inspections of the original batch of barrels had mercifully indicated they'd all been brought back here were in comparatively great shape, with this one being no exception. That lent me some comfort that these new barrels were just not up to the task of heavy, sustained fire. I couldn't know that for certain, and an unreliable weapon was cause for anxiety.
Indeed, there was almost no wear on this version at all, disproving the worst case scenario that these were only good for a certain number of rounds before they'd be worn down to uselessness. Certainly, they'd eventually give out, but it seemed we were still far off from that point.
"Sir?" Asked the gunner, staring at me.
I stared at him, then down at the spreadsheet. "This thing fires three rounds a minute. Do you think that rate of fire is sufficient?"
I could tell he wasn't sure whether a 'no' would have him replaced with someone professing to be more accurate.
"Get it upgraded." I took the white gel pen and scribbled on it- make ready for an upgrade as soon as the final repaired railgun clears the shed. Assigned to casemate #4, Operator... "Call sign?"
"Brut," he answered.
"Brut...with the Umlaut?" He gave a thumbs up and I added them. Costing nothing but a drop of gel ink for a little personalization if it made for a happy gunner was a good investment. "Use it well. Get it upgraded if there's time, keep an eye on the work shed. Once the repairs stop, you can take this to the front of the line, Brüt."
There was no point dismantling all our old ones and creating a backlog while some still needed repairs. I wrote on the hatch Upgrade from Mk. II to Mk. IV. That would give it a magazine and more than triple its firing rate. Anything more than that, I quietly held my doubts for the feasibility of upgrading in a timely manner. The Mark V's took too much time and effort to build their complex power management systems for not enough gain, stuffed too tightly into the protective case to be completed quickly. The Mark VI's tended to overheat their crude fire control circuitry, the consequence of an overcorrection back to simplicity; they could maintain a high fire rate, but were too delicate. The VII's were the ones with the new barrel. Promising, but those barrel faults...I still worried it might have been the power management system.
We'd started considering adding water tanks to help maintain them, but it brought the weight higher than that of a Mk. I, and successfully swapping a boiling hot tank off a delicate, electronically-loaded railgun in combat seemed like a very questionable use of the time. We'd just have to ask the crews manning the railguns to be a bit judicious in our fire, and hope that the flaw was limited to the new little batch of barrels.
How many rounds, exactly, and exactly how fast was yet to be determined; we hadn't conducted the amount of testing a proper military might carry out, but while we had no shortage to man, we also did not have so many as to test dozens until their point of failure, weighing and comparing all their possible conditions.
All this uncertainty kept bouncing around my head. How many troops did we have here? How many rounds for every type of rifle, including the more exotic variants? How reliant on them were we to deal damage, and was it all stored somewhat safely? On the less direct side of things, how many tons of food did we have stored, and was it distributed well? How many thousands of gallons of water could we draw? How many pounds of soap to wash utensils, cups, wounds, and shower with? How many pounds of food over how many men, to last how many days? If it rained, some of these might be alleviated, and yet might kick off a whole host of other issues. There was no way of knowing, no way of taking a perfect stock. But I could estimate.
We had a lot of people. And a lot of guns. And a lot of defenses, and literally countless tons of high explosives, triggered by various means and methods. And we were mad as hell. While exactly how mad was less concrete a figure, I knew this many men away from home could end poorly.
Ultimately, whether it was the fault of the new barrel or the design had finally reached the limitations of its potential rate of fire without causing other issues, I couldn't say for certain. So I had to do my best.
I gave the railgun a clean bill of health to operate if needed, 'priority upgrade,' and noted the rate of fire for the defensive position at 'three a minute.' This one being one of our oldest models, I left it to the operator with my blessings, and made a mental note to add the next railgun we had to be stationed nearby, just so that we weren't under strength from that angle.
I craned my neck from the trench to behold even more insurgents trickling into the old clearing. The arrivals always came in ones-and-twos, their body language telling me the story of the journey it had taken to get here. They'd had to have abandoned their vehicles to the traffic-snarled roads almost certainly some miles away unless they knew the path George and I would occasionally take;.
Those who brought their own heavy weapons lay them down at their feet before collapsing. Water and food was distributed, though I couldn't speak to the quality, and a trash run would have to be made, tossing the empty tins into ammunition containers.
Of all the newcomers who had yet to be organized into place, I counted two mortars, several more volunteers grouping up to retrieve ammo after taking down descriptions of the vehicles from their exhausted owners and sprinting back out into the night to fetch whatever had been left behind.
The resourcefulness lifted my spirits. No one entertained the notion that these men were taking their leave to flee a certain doom. All present felt some degree of faith, understood who they were, why they were here, and what we were setting out to accomplish. Cells worked to find one another in the darkness, congealing themselves into a more coherent, practiced fighting force by virtue of familiarity with one another. Discipline was sharp and needed little enforcement past an initial reminder. No flashlights switched on inside the premises or campfires were lit despite the encroaching edges of the cold front. Insurgents were guided to whatever defensive positions, pillboxes, trenches, battlements, or bunkers still sat empty, depending somewhat on their expected role after detailing their skills to sentries or those otherwise familiar with the camp carefully explaining sight lines and our overall defensive strategy.
Whispered word overheard from those arrivals seemed to indicate a mixture of panic and outrage was fast spreading through the state's populace, carrying them on frightened wings as they took flight in the night, from here to the southernmost beaches and bays. It seemed word had gotten out successfully, then. That knocked down one more obstacle to our success, or at least set the pieces in place. Soon, all that would remain would be the ugly business of following through, and hoping, no praying that I hadn't massively miscalculated in my hubris.
I took the ramp out of the trench so they could pour some loose gravel into it, helping ensure that if those threatening looking storm clouds opened and if the drains clogged, we still would have some footing, and retired to the command cabin, eyeing how empty it felt with all the finished products being set into defensive arrangements; only the workshop still retained all its rather explosive concoctions.
The manpower situation was such that those familiar in reliably manufacturing complex bombs were spending their time setting up defenses in the fields beyond and settling in our new arrivals.
And then I had the couple hostages, weakened by months of captivity, restrained and kept under guard, but still sitting right on top of the half-done armaments.
I told myself that we had taken precautions- the most reactive sets separated by a thin membranous bag of water to prevent chain reactions from taking root and a few emergency containment systems, but they relied on someone present. I'd need all hands on deck- and what if a direct lance of energy landed from some heavy weapon hit the shed, perhaps to try and make a point? No mere bag of water would make a difference then.
Then again, if they brought that king of weaponry to bear, then the outcome would be certain. The Shil'vati would still lose their hostages, and have tacitly admitted I'd forced their hand, and that they'd declared we were enough of a threat to sacrifice noblewomen just to put a stop to.
I hunched over a smaller map in the command cabin, pinning down the garrisons and jails Verns might be held in. Perhaps I'd been premature in my assessment in lacking a future need of a good map when I'd jumped atop the table for my little motivational speech. I'd gotten caught up in the moment; I hadn't foreseen the need for an offensive element.
I was sorely missing my Lieutenants. Vendetta wasn't here, which was one of the greater anxieties weighing on my shoulders.
The one word I'd whispered in his ear all that time ago to bring him around to believing I did, in fact, have a plan: Victory. He should be here already.
He'd sprinted off across the field in glee back when I told him of this plan's possibility, that "Plan C" might come about due to a few cells going dark and my suspicion that it wasn't moles. The null hypothesis, that there were in fact moles, had put him in direct danger by sending him to double-check.
I cursed my blindness. My eagerness to take a night off, to get him out of the way so he wouldn't clash with the others, so I could be a 'normal boy' for a night and attend a party- one I wouldn't be kicked out of, To find social acceptance.
All part of a 'coming of age,' even after I'd already spilt blood, led a war campaign effort, kissed, earned more money than most would see in a lifetime, and mentally cut ties with my family. By almost any account, I already was a man, yet I'd gotten obsessive in imitating the modern trappings of defining such things. I should have seen the cells reporting members' absences and even going dark as a whole for what it was. I could have called off Town Hall, started assembling even more people here.
Then again, if I had, then perhaps...the shil'vati might not have started grabbing everyone. I hated to think of Verns as 'sacrificial.' They likely didn't have much on him, just a neighbor's report. Then again, we'd had that meeting right after the bar fight at Lucky's, right? How thoroughly had George cleared out his house, if they went back to rummage around and investigate? How well could George cover his tracks? We'd left that ammo crate in the hallway, for starters- clumsy of us, yet we were in a panic. Like children. I tensed as I remembered so vividly the sudden sharp report of the gun, watched Patrick's empty eyes stare up. But not children.
There was nothing I could do for Vendetta. We'd sent the Bat Signal out. Either he'd be here, or he'd miss it.
I weighed the value of sending George away once he got here. The order would certainly annoy him after he'd just arrived, something of an arduous task given how far backed up the traffic had become. I also knew it meant I'd have one fewer lieutenant here, where I desperately needed him. I could hardly ask him to burn down the childhood home, and it would certainly reek of hiding evidence.
"Sir," A sentry stood in the door frame, and I stretched from where my muscles had tensed up, pulling my shoulders back and yawning silently beneath my mask, lumbering toward him.
I didn't realize how tall I'd gotten until I realized he was staring up at me and had taken a half-step backwards- not to make way so I could lead from the door, either, but almost defensively.
"Yes, what is it?" I asked, stopping in place.
"We've received a message for you, sir. Radio is reporting that a 'Hex' has checked in from her position. She and Binary report 'Green as Grass,' sir."
I wasn't used to being called 'sir,' and it caught me off guard. I realized he was standing there, waiting for a response from me of some sort, too.
What should I say for him to send back to Hex? I momentarily remembered the sensation of the kiss, the warm, slightly wet softness, the tenderness, and felt a bit of a blush under my mask. While every instinct screamed at me to not air even a hint of my romances or inner turmoil about a kiss over the unencrypted connection, there was a level of 'not talking about it' that I was unfamiliar with and hadn't planned for. Could my message back be coded into something subtle? Nothing came to mind.
"G-good," I finally stuttered a little awkwardly. "That's very good."
"What does it mean, sir?"
I pushed the distractions out of my head. This was no time to be thinking about girls- and my mind stubbornly disobeyed, wandering right back to Natalie. At first to the hug she'd offered me, when I was scared. Frightened of the mind-wiper device. That tenderness she'd offered- I pushed the memory from my mind, too. This wasn't the time to fantasize, either. I had to live in the world that was before me, here in the present. People were relying on me. I could figure out all that other stuff- girls, hope, my future- sometime later.
"It means the operation can proceed as planned."
If the Twins stopped reporting or got caught with the hostages, then we'd have a lot less leverage stopping Azraea from blowing us all sky high. A couple noblewomen- who I wasn't terribly familiar with and seemed to be somewhat less important, provided they were truthful to me of their station. This unfortunate pair had relied on connections to already-stationed family members to arrive, rather than on their raw political power to muscle their way to Earth's then-closely guarded secret coordinates, and were present only for evidence of said hostages' presence.
"Sir, beg your pardon," I could sense something bubbling under his words, against his better judgment, but some sense of desperation demanded he ask me this anyways. "But what is the operation? I've been manning the airwaves with Radio, helping spread word, but everyone I make contact with seems to want to know."
"I don't see the wisdom in broadcasting the finer details of our plan, I'm sure you understand."
I sensed the inner conflict by the way he froze up. He wanted to object, probably, to swear he wouldn't leak more than the minimum. The problem was, anyone listening for long might take a morsel here, a morsel there, and bring it all together and undo us.
"You have all you're meant to have at this point, frustrating though that must be to try and inform others of the going-ons. Our objective is right before us. When the time comes and the enemy appears, blast them." I didn't want to say there isn't much else to plan. At least, not for them to consider.
"And you, sir?"
"I'll be right here, alongside you," I promised. That seemed to ease some of his pressing curiosity, at least. "We'll be here together, to watch the birth of a miracle." That, or we'd die together. Those words didn't quite have the same catchy ring, though.
I looked over my shoulder back at the map. What more good could be wrought over pondering what jail he might be in, without more details?
"Another matter. Hex said G-Man should arrive in a few minutes."
"Thank you. Anything else to report?"
"No sir, the shortwave beckons." They gave a hand-on-heart and stepped out, leaving the doorframe empty.
I told myself I may as well follow. There was no good to come of disappearing into a tent, secluded for long periods, not when anxiety might run through the gathered troops. I had to make myself seen at least periodically. Besides, it was easier to get a more complete picture from out here than in there.
Radio looked like a one-man-band by the way he was surrounded by boxy electronics of varying sizes, their glows dimmed slightly by thin pieces of fabric taped over the tiny glowing screens, and the trap stretched over his head. Wires snaked their way along the ground, a trooper trying to lay the cable into a thin channel of dirt with a spade to reduce the tripping hazard.
Pierce crouched next to him with a laptop plugged into something wired together, the final outlet of which looked vaguely like an international travel inverter, her fingers flying across the trackpad.
"Radio, how are we?"
"We've made lots of contact, I think. So much traffic on the airwaves it's actually hard to find a clear channel to broadcast on."
"Do they have our encryption keys?" I asked, the question almost automatic.
"No, having one kind of defeats the purpose of being heard and getting the signal out. Besides, encrypting's probably easy for the Shil'vati to crack. Less easy for human intelligence agencies, but impossible for the people who we want to hear us."
I already knew most of this, but humoured him. Little entertained radio quite like his namesake.
"What's our chance of discovery, then? Rough time to them figuring out it's us here, and finding the signal's origin."
"At least with a somewhat uncountable number of HAM signals being thrown across the airwaves, we are a really big needle in a gigantic haystack. Besides, how many times have we actually been where we're broadcasting from?"
That was a point I hadn't considered.
The Shil'vati would likely regard our signal as just a relay point, rather than the source, let alone the destination.
Would they strike it just to silence the orders, once they figured out how many of them were originating from the same point?
I comforted myself by staring upstream of the creek that wandered to the south of Camp Death, following its course with my eyes to where it flowed under the concrete tunnels under the highway, under the train tracks, to where it ultimately ran back to where Radio and I had visited Saint Michael's. Then I turned my head back across the field, toward where the foundation of Mojo and Mister Pasta's had been, where Vaughn had called in the kill team on the Fed's sting operation,
We'd certainly set up plenty of remote broadcast towers before, to entice them into launching strikes on collaborationists. That Saint Michael's was still standing after we'd broadcast all kinds of propaganda from there meant they'd almost certainly learned to be a bit more cautious about lashing out blindly.
In the darkness I saw a familiar figure materialize, and with a bit of relief, I ran up to greet Larry. I wanted to give the old mechanic a hug, but knew that expressions of intimacy while standing near the middle of the camp's defensive perimeter in front of everyone was more than a bit inappropriate, and settled for a nod of acknowledgment.
"I cleaned up the mess at Jules place," he said, going back to referring to his friend by their code name, glancing at Pierce.
I felt a moment of shame. We'd panicked and grabbed everything. Perhaps we were like children after all, leaving our toys out and in the hall. "Thank you."
"Patrick saw," I said back. "Patrick- called."
Whatever Larry was about to say, that brought him up short. "Oh. Oh." The words seemed to leave him pained. He'd known Patrick, too, and I felt the weight of guilt. It seemed he moved on faster than I could, because he changed the topic quickly.
"What's up?" He gestured at the radio setup.
Pierce seemed to be quite engrossed in her work, trying to connect the laptop to a radio via a USB cable, fumbling with the port in the dark. The laptop's screen was showing a shaky handheld video of a mass arrest- and I thought I could hear my own voice echoing the words I'd spoken just a short while ago.
"Just uploading the speech. I've spliced it up to some footage that one of the newcomers brought. We'll also be exporting raw versions of both- just the audio, the video, make sure people have the record and can decide for themselves."
Sometimes the truth was the best propaganda.
"How are you getting video out? I thought the internet was down."
Radio held a hand up, and then put it down, as if I'd been a teacher asking a question and he'd been chasing extra credit. The next few sentences were practically a foreign language to me, uttering a series of numbers in rapid succession, followed by what sounded like a name. That may've been a model, an edition of a model, a make, a special form of broadcasting- all of it may well have been bounced off the ionosphere for how far it went over my head. I wasn't used to being so completely out of my depth, but everyone seems to have specialized in some skill or another. I'd preferred getting involved in all aspects of the revolution, but at a certain point delegation was a necessity, and I was watching not just the task's needs, but also the capabilities of my lieutenants grow well past my ability to offer useful insight and guidance.
"I...see." I didn't, but I wasn't sure what else to say. I wanted to express curiosity, but I felt like this new capability was something we'd discuss later, if there was a later. "And people can receive high definition video over shortwave? It just takes a long time?"
It seemed to me to be an apparently somewhat technical process to perform over shortwave, and only when finally pressed for details, Radio at last admitted something I did understand: "I am not sure most people know how to collect the signal, or have the right equipment to, but I'm sure someone will, Maybe that person will redistribute the videos."
There. Actionable, useful information.
"Then continue," I said. "At least unless anything more pressing jumps up to do."
"Let's hope it's good for more than the history books," Pierce commented mildly.
"The world has to know, and I am certain the shil'vati have no interest in putting such footage out there. That's reason enough for us, isn't it?" I watched Radio nod and then scurry about the camp, tracing one of the wires toward the antenna array nearest the highway. I turned to Larry, breaking off from the amusing spectacle. "Do you remember my promise?" My question was genuine, but he seemed to waver slightly, now that the possibility of actually delivering on it was here and present. Perhaps the aura of our inner circle's invincibility had been shattered with the loss of his neighbors, and it would be best to set his mind to something productive. "If you want it to come true, see to it that the mortar teams are trained. Get the cannons in position, and make sure we're good for more than just one wave."
Larry snapped a salute, fingers on brow, and I clumsily approximated one in return, though I had never done a salute before in my life. I could sense the slight smile from behind his mask, and with a quick check over his shoulder that no one was watching, he reached out, straightened my palm out slightly, then brought the edge of my palm higher until it was a bit more level. "That's better," he judged, then leaving me alone once I dropped the hand a few seconds later.
George showed up a few minutes earlier than Hex had predicted, out of breath and escorted by a sentry. "Ditched the truck," he wheezed. "The huge bags of claymores and equipment were really heavy. Had to haul it under the interstate." His shoes shone with creekwater; He'd almost certainly taken the path Larry had forbade us from trying, and I couldn't imagine doing it in the pitch black darkness at any speed.
I motioned to the sentry. "Help him get that bag into the workshop." He was the best bomb maker, but he also had helped build this place. I wanted to pick his brain, but I would give him time to rest, first.
"Hey, Radio. Radio!" I heard the shortwave radio he'd set at the top squawk to life with a familiar grumble on the other end, distorted somewhat by the tinny speaker. I scooped it up. Someone with a vocoder- Radio gave those out sparingly.
"'E' here," I answered for him, but didn't want to announce myself. Not right away.
A moment's pause.
"What are your orders?"
"Vendetta?" I wanted to confirm.
"I'm here with over fifty people waiting at Warehouse Base for something to do," I knew the transmission would likely be monitored, but the time for subtlety was over. "You're on speakerphone, by the way."
The line was likely tapped, or at least would be intercepted, its contents determining priority for being passed upward or presented to someone with authority, possibly even Azraea herself.
Whatever orders I gave, they'd have to be in code, or at least sound like something unimportant, low-priority so that we might give him as much opportunity to get the drop on the enemy as he could be afforded.
"Don't bother trying to come here yet," I quickly supplied. "By now, if you're not on your way here, you have your own party to go to." I took a moment to survey the grounds. "We've practically got a full house. See about getting a house party of your own, though you'll have to pull the guests out of their own company. Or something to flank."
"Any idea where to start?"
The map fresh in my mind, I found the answer sprang to me.
"There's a rest stop along Route One. If you've got any party poppers, you can get them to open up to you like a can opener. You know, it's all about introducing yourself well."
I heard him laugh mirthlessly, the sound coming through like a cheese grater run over the asphalt.
"That one's a big bite, maybe more than we can chew without choking. Why don't we start with something smaller?"
I wanted to protest, to direct him to the biggest ones first. Then again, how much did they have on Verns? How likely was he to be somewhere heavily defended?
"What do you have in mind?"
"Well, right across the river from where the naughty girls all get sent. Why don't we start there? Every party needs a few ladies, right?" I could hear a roar of assent from the background.
I wasn't quite sure what he meant by that- was he going to try and attack the Shil'vati base? Surely not those women? He wasn't that insane. Then it clicked- the Women's Correctional Facility in Wilmington, just upstream of the Christina River from where he was broadcasting from at the old Warehouse Base. Easy to get to, certainly, and right near the interstate with pedestrian bridges and neighborhoods to scatter in after the strike made it an excellent candidate. Almost certain to succeed.
The strike wouldn't yield us Verns, though forcing the Shil'vati to admit that they couldn't both take and hold their prisoners at the same time might force them to at least pause rounding up ever more people.
If I gave it my blessing, I would be sacrificing any chance of rescuing Verns for...for what? The tradeoff strained my soul to even consider.
"If you feel that's best, you know your crowd. That said, they got Jules- we want him back." He'd helped build Camp Death. He knew its ins and outs, though my real reasons were somewhat sentimental. "Keep an eye out for Morningstar and a few other cells. I've little doubt they can party with the best of them." They were one of my heaviest hitters, routinely bragging they could go clay pigeon hunting with an unguided RPG, yet I was pretty sure I'd never rallied them to Camp Death- if they were to rally, Warehouse Base was where they'd be.
There was a moment of silence, until Vaughn reported back- "Yeah, they're here. They were going to move up to you once they got everyone together. Should we leave instructions for where to find us, or to find you?"
"Do it- supplies are overall good here. Lots of...uh, balloons, confetti..." I felt like I was stretching the analogy too far, so I gave up trying to equate weaponry to party paraphranelia. "...you know, the works. Take Morningstar and use 'em as you see best fit. What've you got for your party? Any good party supplies?" We certainly could make a trash run and see if we could also deliver them some RPGs at the same time.
"Got some Bump-n-Grinds, and you know those are always good for an up-close-and-personal encounter."
I laughed. "From what I read about bumping and grinding? The closer, the better." Their accuracy left a fair bit to be desired. Still, it would be a good, even vital carry just in case those dreaded Security Forces Technicals made an appearance, and would probably be 'good enough' against a stationary target like a wall, especially in the hands of a capable squadron like Talonstar.
"What time are you thinking?"
"I'd say as soon as we're all ready. You really overestimated how many people know where Camp Death is. A fair number showed up here, and are still trickling in."
"Enough to throw several parties at once?" I asked, suddenly hopeful.
"Well, I suppose, maybe, but I'd be wary of partygoers without someone in charge to, uh..." the metaphor seemed to be breaking down, but I got what he was going for.
"Yeah, I see."
"Are you thinking if there are too many noise complaints at once, it'll keep the party going longer?"
"That's part of it, but I'm hoping we might find a particular person we're missing, lost him when we were playing unexpected host. Someone of G-Man's, you'd know him as Jules. A divide and conquer might maximize our odds of finding him."
"Plus, maximize the number of partygoers we pick up as we move. I like it. A few small house parties for every big house. Any special orders?"
"None. K.I.S.S. principle applies. Good, bad, I want it all out on the streets. 'KISS' 'em until they can't see straight." Keep It Simple, Stupid.
"You're certain?" I could hear the hesitancy in his voice. "This is going to be the greatest thing we've ever done, and I want to be by your side for it 'til the end. I don't want any last-minute cancellations, and I sure as hell don't wanna miss it. How long should I party?"
We'd be letting absolute chaos loose. Fire. Looting. The worst of humanity, turned loose, with Vaughn potentially at its head if he decided to recruit for some reason. Could I still claim to be the good guy if I turned those kinds of people free to wreak havoc on the state I claimed whose denizens I was protecting?
Blackstone's Ratio holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. It would still hold me no less accountable for whatever followed from this mass prison break, though.
I looked over to the recently arrived George, and hung my head.
So be it.
"Confirmed, Vendetta. I'll next talk to you when you're here in person- call it when you start either getting tired or if the hosts hire a doorman, a bouncer, or something you can't handle. Bring any good partygoers and favors you find, guide them here, O Pied Piper. Over and out." The signal went quiet again, and I turned off our radio, standing and yawning. The hour was late, and it would be my last opportunity for some shuteye.
I pulled aside a few sentries to my first order. I felt it was a strange one, and likely futile: I asked everyone to 'try and get some rest.'
The sentries were going to be exhausted, and I needed them to start working in shifts if we were to maintain our vigil and perimeter. Doubtless, more would be coming, and giving them at least some rest might be a difference-maker. G-Man helped lead the newcomers to the subterranean bunkers and tunnels, trying to make sure everyone had a place to stay the night and resources got split, even if it was throwing tarps and blankets on hard-packed dirt. I eyed the tunnels, knowing which one of them would spit me out near the stream, itself running so low I might as well refer to it as a ravine. Digging that had been cramped, paranoia-inducing, but we'd dug out so much of the hill and filled it with enough weapons to wage a full-scale war. What had begun as almost make-work and a place to store things when we'd started out
I couldn't sleep well on the cot that night, tossing and turning- I even tried resting with the mask off, held in my hands, but the risk to my identity if anyone barged in caused me enough stress. Eventually, I stood and donned it, making my rounds around the camp, trying to calm myself. Instead, I felt eyes following me, and I had to force myself to stand tall. For the thousandth time, I thought of this as my Valley Forge.
The sentry at the door to the command cabin gave me a hand-on-heart, and I returned it.
As I patrolled, I could hear whispered prayers, muttered plans of action, and mercifully, snores. At least some were getting some sleep. I could see orange lights reflecting off the clouds, near where I knew Wilmington lay.
I almost jumped a foot in the air when I felt the tap on my shoulder, only to find G-Man's mask staring into mine. How strange that such a haunting visage was a comfort to me.
"Hey. Can't sleep?"
"I can't," I confessed. "G-Man, I'm sorry what happened with your father. Hell of a birthday." I hadn't even had a chance to give him the present I'd bought him- a couple new filters, and vintage craftsman toolkit, "from before they sold out," Verns had told me. The memory of his voice already felt distant somehow- no. I'll see him again.
"Wasn't your fault. Even if Town Hall wasn't your big idea to get them to retaliate, you know? Then they'd still have done something. But, uh, thanks for saying that. And thanks for trying to get dad out. I'll remember that." George said quietly, then the conversation ended when he turned away and went to the edge of the embankment. Just like that.
I could never quite get a read on him.
I went inside, and tried to force myself to get at least some shut-eye.
Thanks to Terran-Armored-Core and DeltaNu for helping with some decisions and spellcheck.
Thanks to Inmutabilis-Ratio for helping with the site, it was very helpful in importing the text.
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2023.05.29 19:03 hermionieweasley It FINALLY happened to me ! Got doored by a moving truck while biking !
After being a bystander for accidents on the road countless times, years of living life on the edge being a pedestrian and biking in the city caught up with me. This happened yesterday - the first warm Sunday of the year. I was biking the Olmsted loop (all Frederick Law Olmsted parks in the city) and traffic was pretty light, as everyone seemed to have left the city for Memorial day. It was really a pleasure biking through mostly empty roads, and I even had Peters hill mostly to myself in the sizzling afternoon heat. The worst thing that happened till about the 10 mile point of my ride was being honked at and called a racial slur while walking my bike along the crosswalk across Arborway and Center St. - pretty tame in Boston terms.
But then as I was biking from Beacon Street to Commonwealth Ave passing the dozens of cars with Turkish flags celebrating Erdogan's victory by double parking in the bike lane, I had to navigate through what eventually hit me right in the face. The moving truck was double parked on the right-most travel lane but also transgressed on the bike lane while there was a car parked on the other side of the bike lane. The moving truck did not have hazards on so I thought the owner probably just forgot that he was illegally parked in one of the busiest streets of Boston - it happens to the best of us! But no, as I approached the passenger door, it flew open! Now each time I pass a double parked car, a perverse part of my imagination kind of expects this and runs through the mental arithmetic of my optimal actions if it did happen. I guess you might say I manifested this! But that expectation probably saved my teeth, eyes and jawbone. I braked hard, swerved, leaned away and let go of the handlebars just before impact exactly as I rehearsed in my head a million times before. The edge of the door missed my face and grazed my helmet while I crashed into the parked car.
Everything that happened after was a blur. I was relatively unhurt - I had a gash on my knee and a pounding pain in my shoulder. My bike's handlebars were bent beyond recognition. The guy who had so courageously asserted his divine right to parking where he wished to park and being blissfully unaware of his surroundings was very apologetic. My concussed brain even imagined a tear in his eye. He said he was from New Jersey - an urban utopia where they have no bike lanes and thus he is not used to thinking about us stupid, delicate human-meat-without-metal-frame-protection bikers. He then asked me, a bleeding crumpled-in-a-heap mess of concussed flesh and bones, what the best was was to make sure he didn't do this again in this wild city where people dare to ride bikes. Of course, when driving a 26000 pound moving truck, there is no requirement for any self-agency in gaining some basic acquaintance with the environment you are going to be operating in. The best way to learn is always to ask the person you almost killed. And if they die, well, no lesson needed there!
A well-wishing bystander had called the cops on the non-emergency line. I have been that bystander at least thrice in the last two years and now on the other side, I couldn't thank them enough. The cop was very calm and explained how they could not send anyone to the scene since I was basically alright to walk and go home. He also admonished me for not being careful on the road and advised me to always think about how my surroundings could hurt me. He said it was impossible for drivers to always be aware of bikes approaching them at breakneck speeds of 10 mph on city-built infrastructure that was meant to do exactly that. I thanked him for his sage wisdom and hung up. I just needed to equip myself with a device that tells me how the drivers of illegally parked vehicles will respond at all times while biking! Easy peasy! New Jersey man was still apologetic and offered to buy me a meal as an apology while I was still figuring out how to carry my broken bike home. I refused and told him to just, maybe, if possible, look at the huge rearview mirrors of his truck. He said he would "try to", whatever that means.
I sit here a day later. I'm in pain but, thankfully, not in agony. I'm bruised but, thankfully, not broken. No I am not going to start driving. I cannot drive regularly in this city - I have the privilege of living in the center of the city and I (somewhat) happily bear that cost so that I do not need to own a car. But now I know I need a will drafted and ready to go, ASAP.
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2023.05.29 18:39 Data_shade I traded my GR86 for a MIAT
Hi, it’s me.
In January I traded my GR86 for an MIAT. Since then I’ve put about 2500 miles on including no track days and no auto cross runs, only 3 dealership visits for manual transmission failures. PHOTOS Why did I get rid of the GR86?
Space. The GR86 was simply too big inside, I could fit my wife's boyfriend, and their two kids in the back with car seats, however my passengers were miserable in the cramped GR86 so I downsized to leave them at home. Now my wife's boyfriend and I can ride the highways and the byways, top down. Me being me, I just couldn’t resist paying markup to get into the MIAT ecosystem, free market foresight be damned. Why the MIAT?
I realized this segment is ideal for me. Many people moan about MIAT not being fast, but I’ve won more red light drag races against prius’es than I ever did in my GR86. This segment gives me fun cars that can do it all, as a midlife crisis “working man’s” sports car DD and something for weekend fun with mostly no compromises. I went down the list of usual suspects. MkV SoupBruh: too expensive. No TooJayZed. No character since it’s a BMW. Impossible to see out of. GRolla: a bit small in the rear to fit me and the wives boyfriend on our drive in movie dates. The MIAT works best for this. I don’t need AWD as it’s a gimmick since I will never drive the car anywhere where AWD will benefit me, and any other excuse means I’m in denial. GolfR: JDM(Jerman Domestic Market) therefore it’s mid and only lames drive them. I also considered a BMW DCT F80 M3/4/5(With a drop, LTW’s and clears) but it cost 3 times what a MIAT does and that’s bad value for money.
The MIAT checks all of the right driving boxes for me and even has the option to pick up dudes at the racetracks, who after I flirt with for a while are able to forgive me for buying an automatic MIAT. Until now, I’ve always had a manual. I’m not a die hard ‘I must drive everything stick’ type person, but I always enjoy driving stick on the street but have said for a while ‘I’d prefer if my shifting hand was in my wives boyfriends pants right now.’ Of course the one box MIAT doesn’t check is looks. Not nearly enough dudes are looking at me in this thing. I still have no idea how to get them to notice me in my MIAT. I hope the NE ‘24 refresh of MIAT makes it more appealing to dudes. As I’ve owned it(for 2,500 miles), MIAT has grown on me a little. Much like if your friends have a shitty kid and you’re lying and saying ‘yeah nah it’s uh… cute’. I do enjoy the soft ride quality of MIAT, taking it easy on my backside, but not the lack of adequate roll protection from the factory. We all know I will find a way to flip this thing and if I do before I save up for my roll bar it will be game over. I assume this is to weed out bad drivers? It’s like they designed it to kill bad drivers on purpose. Interior
The interior is not good. The Mazda infotainment already cracked in the corner. Large, sharp screens obstructing my fucking view. Huge condescending gauge cluster with 130mph listed as top speed, MIAT easily exceeds that. I hate how everything rattles and shits crooked. CarPlay doesn’t fucking work. It doesn’t even have custom modes where you can fuck up your steering feel, fuck up the engine/throttle response, fuck up the automatic shift speed, fuck up the alignment and suspension, and make the exhaust annoy everyone with the push of a button… it doesn’t have any of that. What it does have, is DRL controls, and traction control. Want the LED Fangs on all the time, or not at all? There’s a setting for that. Want traction control on or off? MIAT has a button for you. Want to be annoyed when on track? MIAT has a front facing camera that will warn you about weaving and potential collisions so your instructor will lose all confidence in your driving ability on account of these driver aids not being able to be turned off. Why? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Some of the plastics are hard and depressing. Compared to the GR86, the interior is all the same hard plastics bullshit and three knobs for climate control in the center. They might as well be the same fucking car. At least Mazda doesn’t push a MIAT app we must install in order to use the car, that way they aren’t back door spying on us and we can trust Mazda as a brand.
One interior-ish Quirk and Feature, it doesn’t have radar based adaptive cruise control. Not sure what current Gen cruise control tech has to do with interior, but I’m stream of consciousness typing this out so just go with it. No whiz-bang cruise control in MIAT is not a huge dealbreaker for me, as I don’t go on long highway trips in MIAT as my life is over, but cruise control would be nice. Driving
I like rwd. I like fwd. I’m definitely in the ‘if you don’t like fwd, then you definitely haven’t driven good fwd at the limit’ camp(sorry). Do I drift every T-junction full oppo? Absolutely. If I had to mansplain fwd, it would go something like this: I think the equivalent driving experience, to get fwd to mimic rwd, is you gotta approach the turn gran turismo style, or, as I call it, a more video game-ness approach, use the guy in front as your arca brakes while you understeer your way through a high speed right hander, then the eLSD kicks in and you can lie to yourself and convince yourself that fwd could be anywhere near as good as rwd no matter what bullshit drive train nonsense is printed in the brochure. I sure as shit can’t feel the difference, and neither will any of you. This is getting less and less fun to continue. Why would anyone write this much about a subjective experience between two cars in different segments entirely? Ones a 2+2 sports coupe and the other is a 2 seater roadster. A more fair comparison would have been the RF at least. Or, I dunno, Camry TRD vs Elantra N........... The Dealership Experience
Literally who cares about this post enough to read this part? I walked in, got my 19.9% APR at 84 months with only $9,500 markup over MSRP, didn’t get the color I wanted or the trim level I wanted, but hey, I wanted out of my GR86 and into a MIAT asap, and the dealership I chose that day did just that for me. On Track
I cannot track MIAT as the transmission will explode and warranty coverage will be denied. I go through cars like pairs of underwear so I’m really screwing over the next owner by taking this vehicle on track, which is why I don’t do that, ever ;) my GR86 came with a free track day courtesy of NASA(National Auto Sport Association) but on the warmup lap my S*baru📷 boxer engine spat a rod out of the block only 45 uninterrupted seconds of driving after I initially heard the knocking, I thought I could limp it to the pits, but alas. Whats next?
Nothing for a while. Just gonna pick up dudes at the mall and the track, feed them vegan avocado toast and hard kombuchas until they swoon over my MIAT. My mom said I should have gotten the Civic type R(or, FK8 for those who ‘know’ ;p~) but that car is lame and not as cool as MIAT. The civic is too JayDeeEm and “boy racer”(whatever the fuck that means) for me, I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression that I can actually drive and not just shitpost like a narcissist on Reddit. I know that I’m an expert at driving the MIAT because I got a one month subscription to iRacing one time and set a few laps in their MIAT and I didn’t crash. As you all know, iRacing is the real racing simulator used by pros all over the globe. That makes me, vis a vis, ergo, Concordently, a Global MX-5 Challenge racing driver irl. Cons, Quirks and Features
None. It is MIAT, and as we all know, MIAT stands for:
I'm the main character, thanks for coming to my TED talk, MIAT is always the
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2023.05.29 17:41 jhpratt2 $nwbo-Pakistan
Currently, NWBO's Sawston plant is the only visible global hub for DC VAX L manufacturing and distribution (MHRA MIA approval 3/20/23) . For $400 , FED EX (https://www.fedex.com/en-us/custom-critical.html
) ships anywhere globally within the required timeframes.A SAGE (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20363613231179541
) 5/26/23 scientific publication demonstrates intent by Pakistani neurosurgeons to treat and cure their GBM patients. Looks like the DC VAX L JAMA paper and LIAU- Bosch presentations since 10/26/22 have created global awareness that DCVAX L will be is a major global cell based biotech therapy, addressing GBM , and all solid tumors( https://conferences.asco.org/am/industry-expert-theater
With 50% of LIAU-SPORE-UCLA combo patents living 10 years, DC VAX L has turned SOC's GBM treatment from a terminal (16.5) months disease into a chronic treatable malignancy .
Dr. Greg Zivic:
"This treatment can turn a Glioblastoma into a chronic treatable disease even after recurrence of the tumor . " https://nwbio.com/northwest-biotherapeutics-and-advent-bioservices-announce-receipt-of-license-for-commercial-manufacturing-at-sawston-u-k-facility/ https://twitter.com/AllenTurner206/status/1636426400382205952 https://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=171479167
Monday, May 29, 2023 9:13:34 AM
Post# 596739 of 596755 4 Pakistani neurosurgeons endorsing the JAMA Liau dc vax l phase 3 study. Will the RA in Pakistan facilitate their patients' resected GBM tumors and lysate being sent to Sawston , with syringes of dc vax l sent back to Pakistan? https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2798847 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20363613231179541 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36591625/
IMO,BB's consultant is a "legend ", as alleged.Therefore, I recommend reading every on of his posts, word for word.
Bright Boy Brian F Egolf Sr M: Bright Boy
Re: ae kusterer post# 593171
Sunday, May 14, 2023 2:22:21 PM
Post# 593185 of 593185 I am definitely not a biotech expert and what I've learned about Northwest and DCVax-l was shared with me by one of the legends in the biotech world !!! My biggest takeaway is this:
From 2018 forward, it became apparent that DCVax-L was a breakthrough, technological process for the treatment of nGBM and rGBM, but its true potential was only known by a "handful" of experts, and as such, the understanding of the broader market implications was a relative unknown. Early on, several of the comments that I heard from BP were," The GBM market is really not that big!" and " Personalized, Immunotherapy vaccines are not really in our 'Wheelhouse'. We sell compounds/pills!!" On and on! The comments didn't mean that BP wasn't paying attention! Quite the contrary, BP was watching like a hawk as results from Dr. Liau and the UCLA trials began to leak into the medical community suggesting a broader application of DCVax-L on a "stand alone" basis and in combination with CI's for all large tumor cancers ( mentioned in the latest 10Q for future trials), thus dramatically expanding market potentials!!! But the "Big Moment" occurred in late October of last year when the STADIUM LIGHTS turned on, shining bright lights on the latest nGBM/rGBM ,Dr. Liau trial data suggesting 50%to 65% OS for 8 years with emphasis on rGBM !!! That was the point in time when BP and the entire biotech world realized that GBM/rGBM would be treated and managed as a CHRONIC DISEASE!!! with unlimited PROMISE and HOPE for patients and unlimited marketing potential to finance existing vaccine production and the continuing development for improved treatments for all diseases!!!!!
So that's what I learned and that's my story and I'm stickin to it!!!!
Cheers especially to all the Mom's and to everyone !!!
Joseph H.Pratt: https://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=172010930
Bright Boy Re: None Saturday, March 18, 2023 12:38:55 PM Post# of 596750 Go People, People, People !!!!
The light switch just turned on for me !!! I'm not a doctor or scientist or a STEM concentration "rock star", but if I read something over and over again several times and look carefully at the pictures SOMETIMES, NOT ALL THE TIME, a major mental breakthrough occurs and I believe that I've discovered something very profound!!
In this case, I believe the main message from the slide deck is that DCVax-L, either by itself or in combination with CI's has turned the whole thing around for treating nGBM/rGBM from having to kill the tumor to a "management process" !! It looks like now with this new information, that GBM patients can receive vaccinations as needed with "Zero" side effects and live a long and happy life !!! A comment from a medical expert that DOES KNOW !!!:
Dr. Greg Zivic:
This treatment can turn a Glioblastoma into a chronic treatable disease even after recurrence of the tumor.
So help me out here. Does the above reasoning seem logical based on the slides all of us have just reviewed?? If it does or is, then little Team Northwest has just changed the healthcare landscape forever in the way that we treat disease!!!!!
Am I way off base or are all of onto to something that is fabulous beyond belief???
Bright Boy Re: thermopost# 591947 Tuesday, May 09, 2023 8:41:30 PM Post# of 596749 Go The UK is determined to be the world carrousel for use of immunotherapy vaccines to treat cancers and all forms of disease!!! From my friends in the UK, my use of the word "determined" grossly understates the effort behind the "Grand Plan"!!
So far, the MHRA has not only accepted and approved the MIA application (manufacturing license), but voluntarily offered the expansion to a GLOBAL MANUFACTURING" license allowing for the import of live cells and the export of vaccines to the far corners of the earth!!! People!!! That is huge!!!!! BUT as always 99.99% of the retail investors don't understand the significance of that license or anything else about the process and look to the screen to validate the importance/value of the license, where they are greeted by Citadel and Virtu and the rest of the gang that manipulate the price to new lows, confirming that, in spite of everything they just read from the greatest medical minds in the universe, is a bunch of crap!!!!
Fortunately for the cancer patients and shareholders of Northwest, the MHRA does not include in their decision making process the current SP of NWBO or the opinion of the "gutter filth" that manage those companies or any other companies that participate in the ordered destruction of small biotechs that are engaged in the development of immunotherapy vaccines!! So, it's on to the filing of the MAA (marketing license), the approval and the decisions that will guarantee swift treatment deliveries to patients!!
So Griffin and Cifu and Fuerstein and the rest can lie all they want , but the GREAT UNITED KINGDOM will not be denied the ultimate crown of being the WORLD CENTER for CANCER TREATMENT !!!!!
Bright Boy Re: hoffmann6383post# 578889 Tuesday, March 21, 2023 1:55:12 PM Post# of 596749 Go People, People, People!!! It's your friendly "hillbilly" here with some more great news!! Don't know if I can "one up" my earlier post about the "Dog eating the license", but I'll try. So here we go!!
I don't think everyone realizes how dynamic and important the manufacturing license really is so I'll take a shot at giving you my take on it. First of all, the marketing approval (MAA) and the government subsidy approval(NICE) are pretty much in the bag before the manufacturing team gets the "green light" to proceed. The MAA and NICE teams talk to the MIA team and say," This stuff looks really cool and we wanted to let you know before you run off and do a lot of work on something that we won't approve when you're finished!!" Okay! So that's the first part.
Now for the second part and this is the part that involves a lot of money so read very carefully!!! The MIA license allows for global export of the vaccines and global import of immune cells/tumor resected material. Anyone in the entire world that is diagnosed with GBM can NOW ship their tumor samples to Northwest/Advent/Sawston to have their personal vaccine made and stored, all to be shipped back to the patient/doctor on a prescribed injection schedule. The beauty of this process is that patients everywhere can NOW receive their vaccine on a compassionate care basis. No more waiting!! No more opportunities for the "dark forces" to delay or deny suffering cancer patients their desperately needed treatments !!!
People, as of yesterday, Northwest is now IN BUSINESS !!!! AND that opens the door for institutional investors and an uplist to the New York or Nasdaq exchanges!!!!
All of the above is as good as that first sip of ice cold buttermilk on a hot summer day!!!! AND for those unfortunate shorts and haters it adds a whole new description to the letters FTD and I'll let you guess what that might be!!!
Bright Boy Re: None Tuesday, March 21, 2023 9:05:54 PM Post# of 596749 Go The MIA allows for "International Immune Cell Imports" and "International Vaccine Exports" !!! That is big news and a big, big market and should access every cancer patient in need!!!!
Monday, May 29, 2023 9:13:34 AM
Post# 596739 of 596755 4 Pakistani neurosurgeons endorsing the JAMA Liau dc vax l phase 3 study. Will the RA in Pakistan facilitate their patients' resected GBM tumors and lysate being sent to Sawston , with syringes of dc vax l sent back to Pakistan? https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2798847 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20363613231179541 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36591625/
Abstract Objective: To define the landscape of treatment patterns and current epidemiological data regarding gliomas in Pakistan.
Methods: As part of the Pakistan Brain Tumour Epidemiology Study (PBTES), data were collected from 32 neurosurgical centres across the country. Our retrospective study looked at patients who underwent surgical procedures for gliomas in 2019 in neurosurgical centres. The data was collated and analysed using STATA version 15.
Results: A total of 781 patients with gliomas were identified 479(61.8%) in public sector hospitals, 302(39.1%) in the private sector). The most common histopathological subtypes were glioblastoma 262 (33.5%), followed by astrocytoma 147(18.8%) and oligodendroglioma 93(11.9%). Gender distribution was skewed towards men 508(65%). Private institution hospitals performed surgical biopsies as the first surgical procedure 75(23%) more often than public hospitals 38(9%). Chemotherapy was given to 115(29.8%) patients, and there was no data regarding 467(53%) of patients. Similarly, only 202(43.9%) patients received radiation therapy, and there was no data for 469(60%) of patients. For high-grade gliomas specifically, only 95(31.8%) patients with HGG have a record of receiving radiation therapy, and only 57(18.9%) had a record of being started on chemotherapy.
DCvax: A promising advancement in oncology for the treatment of glioblastoma Areeba Fareed https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5906-9852 [email protected]
, Samia Rohail https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1488-0080
, […], and Abdul Moiz Khan https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9796-8867+1View
all authors and affiliations All Articles https://doi.org/10.1177/20363613231179541
Contents Declaration of conflicting interests Funding ORCID iDs Footnotes References PDF / ePub More Dear Editor, Glioblastoma is a malignant neoplasm of the central nervous system that arises from glial cells, primarily astrocyctes and is characterized by poorly differentiated, fusiform, round or pleomorphic astrocyctic cells with marked nuclear atypical and brisk mitotic activity.1 Despite advances in early diagnosis and comprehensive treatments, there is nearly 100% recurrence rate and dismal patient survival.2 According to researchers, more than 13,000 Americans are diagnosed with Glioblastoma annually, causing significant morbidity and mortality. There has been no cure for Glioblastoma so far.3 Treatment options often include surgical removal of the tumor followed by concomitant radiation and adjuvant temozolomide TMZ chemotherapy which has been the standard of care for glioblastoma since decades, but exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation is a well-known exogenous risk factor for glioblastoma. The inability to cross the BBB is the major obstacle in achieving remission after surgical resection followed by chemotherapy and radiation.4 As a result, glioblastoma typically recurs within six to 8 months and the survival rate is generally less than 5%.2 Despite the development of novel, complex, multidisciplinary, and targeted therapies the outcome for patients remains almost universally lethal.5 Therefore, the need for effective treatment is undeniable. For this reason, it has been a priority area in cancer research. Recently, US biotech company Northwest Biotherapeutics has developed a brain cancer vaccine, called DCVax, which is designed to help patients' immune system to target their tumors that may prolong their life by months or, in some cases, years.5 Thus, opening a door for the development of innovative therapy for targeting glioblastoma. The vaccine is created for each patient individually by isolating dendritic cells, from their blood which is then primed with biomarkers from a sample of the patient’s tumor.6 Dendritic cells present tumor antigens to the immune system, prime T cells, and mobilize antitumor responses.6 To evaluate the safety of the vaccine and its impact on survival time in patients with Glioblastoma, a phase 3 randomized control trial was conducted.7 In this trial, 348 patients newly diagnosed with Glioblastoma were tested at King’s College Hospital and other centers around the world for 8 years.7 Patients had surgery to remove their tumors as much as possible, followed by radiation and chemotherapy as the standard treatment for Glioblastoma.7 Among these patients, two out of three were treated with the vaccine, DCVax-L, with the remaining one-third receiving a placebo.7 The astonishing result of the trial has shown that newly diagnosed patients who received the vaccine survived for 19.3 months compared to 16.5 months for those who received a placebo.8 Overall 13% of all trial participants treated with DCVax lived more than 5 years after diagnosis compared with 5.7% in the comparison group who did so.8 Moreover, this is the first time in 17 years that such a significant result has been achieved in a Phase 3 trial of a systemic treatment for newly diagnosed Glioblastoma, and it’s the first treatment in 27 years for patients with GBM recurrence.9 Thus, this development represents a major step forward in our efforts to combat this devastating disease. Based on the findings of the trials evaluating the drug’s efficacy, it has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients, especially for the elderly and those unable to have surgery. A global clinical trial has concluded that the DCVax is the world’s first vaccine to treat deadly cancerous brain tumors that could help patients to live for years.9 This breakthrough could benefit 2500 people a year in the UK being diagnosed with Glioblastoma.9 It has also been shown that this therapy can be used to treat cancers other than Glioblastoma.9 However, due to high recurrence rate and lethal outcomes, the treatment of gliblastoma has seen significant transformation, switching from an aggressive surgical strategy to a more cautious one. The endorsement of the vaccine is a commendable achievement, and it demonstrates the unwavering commitment of researchers and healthcare professionals to discovering effective treatments for such lethal disease. Furthermore, vaccine may enhance the quality of life of a patient and provides a new hope for patients and their families Thus, it is crucial that we continue to support research into Glioblastoma and the development of novel treatments so that we can envision a future where this disease is eradicated. Declaration of conflicting interests The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Funding The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. ORCID iDs Areeba Fareed https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5906-9852
Samia Rohail https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1488-0080
Alishba Adnan https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1238-6687
Abdul Moiz Khan https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9796-8867
Footnotes Author’s noteNot commissioned, externally peer reviewed. ContributorshipAreeba Fareed and Samia Rohail wrote the draft. Alishba Adnan and Abdul Moiz Khan proofread it. All authors reviewed and edited the manuscript and approved the final version of the manuscript. Data availabilityNo new dataset generated. References 1. Aans.org. Available from: https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Glioblastoma-Multiforme%5d
(cited 9 April 2023). GO TO REFERENCE Google Scholar 2. Liau LM, Ashkan K, Brem S, et al. Association of autologous tumor lysate-loaded dendritic cell vaccination with extension of survival among patients with newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma: a phase 3 prospective externally controlled cohort trial: a phase 3 prospective externally controlled cohort trial. JAMA Oncol 2023; 9(1): 112–121. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2798847
(cited 9 April 2023).
PubMed Google Scholar 3. Pelc C. Experimental cancer vaccine both treats and prevents brain cancer in mice [Internet]. East Sussex, UK: Medical News Today, 2023. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/experimental-cancer-vaccine-both-treats-and-prevents-brain-cancer-in-mice
(cited 9 April 2023). GO TO REFERENCE Google Scholar 4. Rong L, Li N, Zhang Z. Emerging therapies for glioblastoma: current state and future directions. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2022; 41(1): 142. (cited 9 April 2023). GO TO REFERENCE Crossref PubMed Google Scholar 5. Aldape K, Brindle KM, Chesler L, et al. Challenges to curing primary brain tumours. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2019; 16(8): 509–520. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41571-019-0177-5
(cited 9 April 2023).
Crossref PubMed Google Scholar 6. Technology Networks. Brain cancer vaccine shown to extend patient survival [Internet]. Sudbury, UK: Technology Networks, 2022. Available from: https://www.technologynetworks.com/vaccines/news/brain-cancer-vaccine-shown-to-extend-patient-survival-367721
(cited 9 April 2023).
Google Scholar 7. Clinicaltrials.gov. Study of a drug [DCVax®-L] to treat newly diagnosed GBM brain cancer - full text view - Clinicaltrials.gov [internet]. Bethesda, MD: Clinicaltrials.gov, 2023. Available from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00045968
(cited 9 April 2023).
Google Scholar 8. Campbell D. Vaccine shown to prolong life of patients with aggressive brain cancer. London, UK: The guardian [Internet], 2022. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/nov/17/vaccine-shown-to-prolong-life-patients-aggressive-brain-cancer-trial-glioblastoma
(cited 9 April 2023).
Google Scholar 9. Delgado-Martín B, Medina MÁ. Advances in the knowledge of the molecular biology of glioblastoma and its impact in patient diagnosis, stratification, and treatment. Adv Sci 2020; 7(9): 1902971.
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2023.05.29 17:09 Imaginary-Zebra-3589 Complete English translation of the Aniara sequel book by Harry Martinson called Doriderna
Hi everyone! This is a complete English translation of the Aniara sequel book by Harry Martinson called Doriderna that was put together after the author died. This translation was put together using various translation programs that can be found online, so I can't guarantee that it is a perfect translation, but it's better than nothing. I will also post the original in Swedish so you can improve the translation or look up words etc. if you want. Hope you enjoy!
I would also like to let everyone know that I am also working on my own Aniara fan fiction short story that I call "The Lost Voices of Aniara". This story tells about the events aboard the Aniara from the view point of another passenger and attempts to add more details to the story. It should be ready in the next week or two.
The Dorides (Doriderna)
Remaining poems and prose pieces in selection and with preface by Tord Hall Albert Bonniers Förlag
For reasons I will not go into here, Harry Martinson did not publish any new work in the last years of his life. There is therefore a very large literary legacy, the publication of which began in the fall of 1978 with "Längs ekots stigar" (Along the paths of the echo), published by Georg Svensson. This collection contains only a few purely scientific poems - the emphasis is on nature poetry. The selection was made from unpublished material - which had nevertheless reached the proof stage - in three previous collections.
It remains to address other lines of thought in Harry Martinson's work: the ideas in Aniara, which in various forms occupied his imagination until the end. To follow the continuation of this great theme - at least in part - is what I am trying to do in this second selection from the surviving archive.
The 103 songs in Aniara were part of a larger set of poems, and the author then worked for several years on a sequel, to be called 'The Dorids', the people of the tribe of Doris. Around 1959 there were about 80 songs - most of them in more or less completed drafts. The dominant figure in the Dorids would not be Isagel or the Mimarobe, but Nobia, the Samaritan from the tundra planet and deportation site of Mars. Nobia would be a norna (fate goddess), though not a cruel goddess of fate, but a norna who weaves goodness into the fabric of the world.
But the whole project remained a large-scale endeavor. The reasons were many: illness, world events, which seemed to be moving towards a fulfillment of the prophecies in Aniara, and which gave him an increasingly dark view of life: he told me that "Aniara has become a neurosis" ... I feel like Mima being blown apart'. But the decisive reason was surely his demand for absolute freedom in his creativity. He did not want to be confined, and the result was, as he himself said, 'I have stepped out of Aniara'.
The fact that Harry Martinson stepped out of Aniara, and thus also out of the Dorides, does not at all mean that he left the motifs or ideas found there, which cover the scientific field from atoms to stars. Rather, it means that he was able to write without direct connection to the characters of Aniara and the Dorides in particular.
I have therefore considered it justified to call this entire collection the Dorides, even though the prose pieces and several poems do not have a clearly visible connection with such a title.
In order to comment briefly on the selection, I would like to say a few words about Harry Martinson's attitude towards modern science (it is my intention to return to this subject in more detail).
There are two main lines. One is deterministic, and has its roots in classical physics, founded by Newton, which dominated until the end of the 19th century. It has a philosophical form in the law of causation, which means that if you know enough facts about a certain course of events in the present and in the past, you can precisely specify the course of events in the future. Examples of such events in the 'big world' - the macrocosm - are solar and lunar eclipses.
But in the world of atoms - the microcosm - this determinism does not apply. Heisenberg demonstrated this through his uncertainty relation, also known as the indeterminacy principle. In the atoms, individual events are indeterminate, we cannot discern any causality - there is randomness. But chance can be mastered by the methods of statistics, and we must content ourselves with a "statistical causality", which describes the course of events in the atom with the highest possible degree of probability.
It is this second, indeterministic line that has long been followed by most physicists. But there is one major exception, and that is Einstein. At the 1927 meeting of physicists in Brussels, for example, he asked Bohr, Heisenberg and others with mild irony whether they really believed that God plays dice - "ob der liebe Gott würfelt". Einstein was convinced that the universe follows an ordering principle, a geometric structure, which can be called a world soul. This is a pantheistic view that is reminiscent of Spinoza.
Similar ideas are already present in Aniara, but in this selection the picture has become more sharply defined. Harry Martinson does not believe that chance plays a decisive role in the course of the world, as is clear from several poems and prose pieces. He believes more in Einstein than in dozens of other Nobel Prize winners. Apart from these authorities, he follows his intuition.
His approach to religion has often been quoted: he chooses the Riddler over the God. This belief is reflected in 'The Riddle'. In 'Poems on Light and Darkness', published in 1971, Harry Martinson, with 'The Inner Light' and 'The Bird in the Phoenix Bell', presents the events inside the atom itself. These poems show that - although 'Aniara' and 'The Dorides' are more about stars than atoms - he never lost his interest in the microcosm. In this selection, it is the atoms that are more interesting than the stars.
The bard enters the atom. He describes the course of events in a world which is completely beyond our senses and which, despite the enormous aids of science, we will probably never be able to understand exactly. The story itself probably comes from Gamow's book "Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom". Published in Swedish translation in 1946, it is, along with "Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland" (also 1946), the versatile Gamow's best popular science books. Harry Martinson rated them highly.
The two poems 'Submerged as in a dream but still awake' and 'Actually, the comprehensibility was slight' depict a journey of thought into the atom, and the same motif recurs in several other places.
The poem "A Cosmic Thickness Lying Boundlessly Spread" poetically depicts a world development related to the hypothesis of the "stationary universe" put forward by Hoyle and others, and to Klein-Alfvén's "symmetrical cosmology". For several reasons - mainly aesthetic - Harry Martinson did not like the theory of 'the big bang', which was celebrated by most scientists. His poem should have been written quite a long time ago, and perhaps he would have changed his mind if he had been given the opportunity to understand what the "cosmic background radiation" - with a temperature of about 3 degrees above absolute zero - means for the credibility of "The big bang". It took natural scientists some time to become convinced that this radiation can best be interpreted as a fading glow after an unimaginable cosmic explosion some 18 billion years ago.
This selection also contains several pieces of prose, which in general do not need any comment. But I would like to mention a few. For "The Figuration Patterns of the Goddancer's Juggling Program", in three sections, there is a drawing by Harry Martinson, reproduced on the cover of this collection. The spread comes from Hindu philosophy: we see 'Siwa's juggling dance before Brama'. The dominant curves are so-called lemniscates, which were already known to the ancient Greeks. The lemniscate looks like an eight and is the mathematical symbol for infinity. It is defined as the trajectory of a point under the condition that the product of its distances to two given points is constant. In the center of the drawing there are several small curves. They are ellipses, and an ellipse - also first studied by the Greeks - is defined as the trajectory of a point under the condition that the sum of its distances to two given points is constant. The result is a geometric pattern, similar to a flower, which at the same time provides a poetic image of the complex interplay of forces in the atom with outward and inward energy impulses The juggler finds it increasingly difficult to work with his ball-particles as he progresses through the periodic table of the elements. In the end, he "dances the spectral theme in the dance of the Phoenix" - a symbol of the indestructibility of both energy and poetry, and a recurring motif in Martinson's poetry.
"Delsaga om tidens ariadnetråd" (Part of the saga of the Ariadne thread of time) is almost a fantasy about four-dimensional space, where you have to be careful not to get on the wrong track. The selection of prose pieces ends with "Some fairies dancing in the summer night near a quiet lake". It is a cheerful tale where the author combines a love of the Swedish summer with a love of light.
I made this selection at the direct request of Harry. He even said several times that I should have all his scientific poems and prose pieces. But I think I judged this offer correctly when I saw it as an expression of his great generosity towards his friends. I always replied that he himself should complete and select what was to be published. But in his last years he did not want to publish anything. I therefore promised to make a selection if he did not change his mind.
He did not, and this collection is the result.
Finally, I would like to thank Ingrid Martinson and Georg Svensson for the understanding and assistance they have given me in bringing this selection to fruition.
The Dorides (Doriderna)
The book you hold was written in Mima's hall.
Now, on a secret wavelength, it is sent home to you, my friend, who for some years inhabits a spherical beach called the Valley of Doris.
In other words, it was written so close to your own being that nothing could be closer to you than those described here. You are one of them.
Over the graves, the indifferent wind spreads
the whisper of the immortal gods
that no loss is foreseen in the grand scheme of things.
But what do the gods - those wasteful billionaires of the heavens - know about the beautiful and wonderful Doris?
how she was worth saving forever
and that whoever loved her
can never be comforted by the gods' continued waste.
About her a bird sings now alone in the tree of the grave. Of her as she was, the glorious one, if no other, the Dorides' thrush sings.
The window was full of stars,
The Leonids' swarm of stars came, then you know the time.
Autumn was gone, its yellowing burnt.
The lookout tower, closed on the wooded mountains.
I stood as a child of a time that saw the stars detach from the roofs towards a room where novas frightened a more distant valley, I found other myths than those I was used to picking hurled at me from the space of the Leonids.
I stood in the cathedral of fear of dreams.
The great copper woman who lay there with her back soldered to the lid of the sarcophagus drove horror into me, cast my foot with lead.
That the copper woman knew who I was, I immediately sensed as a deadly weight, and that I had been summoned here by herself, by the queen of copper, of that I was certain.
In empty benches sat forgotten years, from the emptiness of the auditorium the organ pipes shone like stalactites in the vault of a cave and there was nothing, no light, no hint that gathered my crumbling courage.
For everything was fulfilled as it was written in stone once when the water abandoned the green and it was said that man will go away and become the dead slave of the dead dust.
And as I stood there gripped, filled with horror
for this judgment and epitaph
which was predetermined and rehearsed
in the mute trumpet of the seraphim of the stones,
bells fell suddenly from the towers to the earth that rocked with an ore-broken thunder, and the copper woman rose, a scream of remembrance drawn from afar to her lips as she drew me in close to her copper body in terrified death.
He woke up. There was light. It was day.
And the Samaritan Nobia sat silent, but still heard the echo of the screams his dreams had squeezed out of his fear.
She searched for words simple enough for a stranger to grasp, but not so simple as to drive away his trust, hardly won yet.
In simple action she finally found them.
And she stood up and smiled with milk
From the moors of Gondrin to the mouth of this fugitive.
It is no exaggeration to say that space gave us long winter evenings rolled into one - the one that lasts. Our leisure time finally became a grim question with ice in our eyes and a frozen flame.
It became necessary to tell stories from reality - as it can be taken. I chose to tell about King Basii, who, supported by Chefone, forcibly turned himself into a god and magician in a celestial drama.
The Goldonder King felt like God and determined to live up to the gods he built himself a city in the sky.
It was a global world city of goldonders assembled into a kind of hive heaven.
But Basil's space-city, though it contained twelve million men in his service, was not enough for him; he had another built, and the greatest city in the world was soon in space. That city was a marvel to behold: a mighty golden dome, surrounded by three bionomically serving drabants, one of which was called the Vegetable City, one the Fish Drabant, and the third the Sting.
The names reveal their role and purpose.
So Basii sits in his heavenly land. The aquarium dragon orbits faithfully and Stings follows it with fattened animals and the vegetable moon amounts to the redwood.
The golden dome was the city of retreat for all climbers and celestial rebels, for gamma was a poison to all alike and all poor and rich alike had to choose between death and escape.
So many preferred the city of Basil.
But although he rules over twelve million
inhabitants of the great city of space, he is still very rarely happy.
And although the dragons in a faithful circle
raise animals and grow fish and wheat
Basil's only pleasure is when he gets
with Vulvis, the royal slave, to bathe in Lethe.
But all the deliciously good virginity
that can be enjoyed in Basil's harem
is in its nakedness a skin of fear.
of frightened dissimulation. And his love story
...is but a tale to be seen from the outside..,
and all his lust a forced voluptuousness.
Thus in The Night of Aniara I draw a little picture that everyone can understand from the rich treasure of reality.
And every time I make an arabesque in the hall of Mima about this space grotesque that Basil's space city can probably be said to be, I can for an hour or so make people sigh: the best is here anyway.
From Basil's false heaven we preserve. No, I'd rather travel with Aniara.
But soon the alarm goes off. The bells proclaim that the images of the fairy tale are overtaken by visions here that distress ignites.
And quickly to the halls I return.
The Goldonder's garden bubbled with glamour. A party was being held there and Chefone was there. He showed us a picture of the smith of happiness: the goldonder king Basii, a portrait jubilantly taken on the day the fifteen thousandth goldonder lay in the field ready for the wave of endlessness.
Then we were each seized by thoughtfulness and went to our own in solitude.
For in every ship of this number there was a Mima locked up in its cage.
The Rapid criminal was much loved and could operate as he pleased under the protection of the admiration he aroused. He always appeared at great speeds and abducted women whom he brought to Chefone in light blue rapid rockets.
Of course it was criminal, the people of the valley thought, but the charm was so close to the deed that the rampart was breached by sheer admiration and open worship soon followed the advice of restraint at the murder pedal.
Tucked away in a corner of our gondola, I pretend to smile at some rough fellows who spend their evenings with mockery and violence, with a devilish flutter as their sole aim.
They look at me and find me mortified,
- The clear approval is what they expect...
and I'm close to being squeezed badly
every time they jokingly glance at my grave door.
The brute is approaching, his dull face with many a foolish whim weighing on his mind.
And many a scowl missed by pigs from the worst corners of the soul he throws at me.
And when, full of fear, I strike with depleted strength in the dull face, the troll is only amused by my blow and raises his eyebrow with interest.
Then I flee between the troll's legs and out the other side of the danger of death.
How this happened can only be fully explained by the light of the gopher and the fourth tensor theory.
Here came the sober, composed and sober man who always kept his soul in trim and stuck to the dry, honest maxims of life.
Now he went into the fire with his imagination.
His cool reason was completely burned His sober composure was fried in seconds when the photo turbo in Xinombra exaggerated the cold matter.
And yet I can't help but admire the man as he made his way to the office where he had been employed for many years
and where, despite offers to flee to the tundra, he provided punch cards for thousands who broke up every day.
There died a man who never raised his voice, who always remained true to his calm tone, the martyr of calm composure who was burned when the cruel fires of excess were lit.
One is often chilled to the rock crystal by everything one hears before the ear falls like gray-white ash into the cremation hall.
And the girl from Rind who sees nothing is often heard to ask beyond the eye: how is the world of such torment visible? What is to be seen in this madness, where eeriness against eeriness is heard to answer?
Cultivating insight seemed futile
and many fell away from the faithful crowd.
and its program which was to see through
so that with the transparency of evil
as lens and instrument
try to find new signs
and new ways for the land of Gond.
Most people grew tired and withdrew from the room of the Truth Service, and Nobia sat for long periods almost alone, trying to hold on to her looms, always tormented
by the blood moisture of evil memories, the echoes of horror
surrounded her days
and made the Mara a bedfellow
who tore the fabric of the noman
and raped Nobia's dream
and the mood of life over the moors of Gondria.
It is as important to us to have friends
in the houses of distant worlds as at home by
the familiar road of the green earth.
You are reflected in endless eyes, watched by immense spectators.
They never interfere, but they watch the sewing and the mining,
the nurse and doctor on the rounds and the weapons in the shamelessly cruel wars.
Your own position under their eyes may be likened to the position you take with one whom you do not wish to grieve, but to share joy and to please.
So spoke the old astronomer, and then laid his head down to rest.
And he went smiling to the eternity that had been waiting by his side all his life.
His forehead shone with its ideas, even in the dead of death in the years of space.
He was among those who know the fairies of everything, those who get to comb Berenice's hair.
But for the longest time I still want to believe that this is the torment of an evil dream and the ship Aniara a phantom from which I will wake up in the Valley of Doris.
Perhaps everything is a nightmare and I want to wait with poison and a knife. They say there are dreams of a kind that seem as long as a man's life.
Out of the dust you were born, from its gifts you were supported.
You did not manage the gift, many a meadow you made desolate.
What is beyond this sea is called Going down deep among riddles too great to be found in a grave.
Faith can never cover more than what you see in spirit.
All the other things are too much to bear.
Do you hear the sound of the rescue team calling from an emergency station that is one of a thousand others, regardless of faith?
Now guess where the road leads and what Paradise is.
One of a thousand rescue stations scattered along the coast here.
Now I want to sing to my ear and ask it to listen to a voice that descends not to destroy the language I have collected for comfort. For the comfort of life and death, I whisper the price of sensitivity every time the sinful flow of language storms the breeze of the spirit.
One night Heba lay awake in the city of Aniara and heard the painter's joyful painting.
The skilled varnisher was varnishing the years that would one day end on a stainless steel stretcher.
And suddenly from Heba there was a shout against the smooth roof.
The skilled varnishers know their business well.
Too hard to become joy, too happy to become sorrow. The painters paint everything in Aniara's castle.
We know that we have been left out of the higher insight of the ocean of mystery and that we lack the tools to reach the depths of clarity that Mima once gave. But since Mima's death, the average of what we achieve of truth is not very high average is what is required if the choice of new paths is to be avoided.
A small number reach the values that should be the average to reach.
The others are satisfied with the flow of thought,
the rattle with which time is made to pass.
A daughter of my mother, called Tovi, was born in the night of space. Alas, dear ones, where can the crowd's demand for sensation and wonder lead us?
First came, as it should be, the blissfully sweet and indescribably pure birth, when the mimicry lay naked, uncovered and panting in the golden bed of the formula.
To her camp now came the mimicry and winged it
the naked one, as when the butterfly flies the honey chalice of its flower, in Dori's meadows. The description is not given (much to my regret) because there is always the possibility of a wave of miracles taking place in secret, to the great disappointment of many who wish to see how the mimagyne makes love, and from what angle the picture of the goddess's love life should be taken in order to really reach the audience.
Can it not be enough that Tovi gave birth to an allegorical child whom Isagel happily suckled at her breast and practiced miracles and consolation You may think so yourself, but others think otherwise.
For not even a mimagyn can defend the fruit of her womb against the human hyena who demands a clear answer on every point of what precedes it all: the prelude to sowing,
with the insides of the thighs well described in a clear image that gives the "public" a feeling that it was in the bed.
Yes, it has happened that I have sometimes asked myself (in private silence, of course) whether the smooth ice of superficiality does not have enough joy, and that the great swallows in these spaces are only terrible wakes which, compared to the agile princess and heartlessly threatening with superior power, will in the end become the cold room of beauty.
So small a strip bears, the other breaks, and all the incomparably large gapes with the same dark death which, unchanging with cold upon cold, only imitates itself.
To raise one's hand then with a light-year pound and demonstrate the fugue of eternity on terrible organs, while the girl in the icy distance dances, hardly greater to see than a fly flown away towards the light, it is to chill with the great weapon as when the superpower with the powers the element hides coldly makes its rows in the land of Gond against unsuspecting cities and, although itself dismissing all talk of sin punishment and trial, nevertheless treats the human with such terrible flame that this terrible torrent of loose gamma released by those who do not mean sin punishment nevertheless cruelly destroys both Yaal and Gena and melts down to ashes the wonder Heba
With the same fire they turned on Chebeba.
Posterity does not understand you so easily.
It judges according to the image of posterity
and counts up the time you lived in
as rows of negligence, as offenses
against the spirit of foresight, the duties of thought.
To this it adds the work of suffering
and piles up, as blind as a judge
as you were blind as a criminal, case by case.
Can those who have killed the foundations of joy and destroyed the great city of joy have the right to the joys of life?
Does Cain have the right to be happy?
Can those who strangled the joys of Xinombra and burned the valley of paradise have the right to heights of heaven other than Aniara's daily agony?
I ask but never get an answer. I have to arrange for pastimes
for the hordes of Aniara and manage its entertainment.
A wave of newly awakened hatred swept through the mountains where Nobia lived in deep mines and ghostly white lights illuminated every thread of life in the fabrics she wove.
She had sought and found the thread of life - a discovery of how healing rays are empowered by the inner council of things and fused with the heart of the atom.
And while hatred swelled around the mountains
and wounds screamed in the valley of time.
she wove day and night until the color of victory
and the skin of life rose in the hall of death.
Of her beauty little can be said. It was lost in a wave of radiation but the clear purity of the soul could be weighed; in healed wounds we saw her reflection.
Then I will throw you out of your chair. I will break your armchair view, because it is false and holds a convulsive security in a time that has slipped out of its rooms, but also the other way around: that it becomes a view without deep insight.
From this world, I shall send you happiness today to the kingdom of love, to the evil shore where the Samaritan Nobia and others spread works of love from country to country.
Figuring out the ways of evil and tracking down all the poison in the city of hate was futile, for hate stood there with heavy blocks united row by row.
Within its walls there was life and movement in the birthing centers and squares where human beings were conceived and human beings were born and human life in the human gap was destroyed. It was best to pretend that this city of self-righteous evil existed as nothing more than a devilish childhood that would mature, grow tired of itself.
We resolved to keep on sending saints there for the longest time.
from the saints' camps as long as the funds lasted
and as far as the need still aroused the heart.
This plan was tried for nine years, during which the Rind camp of saints bled to death: an act of self-sacrifice based on faith in the powers of good. But the heavy wall of hate stood just as hard, and the fatigue of leadership followed the act of hate; only too great was the throne of victory we had.
A single city consumed the power which we had thought sufficient for the transformation of the world.
On a rare occasion, the happiness of being free from desire also came.
Then the emptiness suddenly became populated by a kind of spiritualized mystery.
We walked the spirit's path of happiness along the beach, exchanging thoughts, making fortune cards.
It was evening and sunset in the sea.
Night fell, but the land of thought stood firm.
He woke up. She said: guess where.
I can't, he said. How did you get here? The same way you did: up the gravel path and then straight to the left among the cypresses. There was a dewy path the moonlight itself went there with light steps which I tried to imitate.
And when everything was past and the path was over
I managed to become a clear crystal and find you, my friend, on this path.
It is so transparently wonderful here.
We no longer exist. All that was is over.
Neither god nor devil here reaches us anymore and the end is the cruel parody of life.
Where is the plain text?
This is what I'm looking for.
The one that fits but still gives song.
After thanking God that he was a wasp and not something else, he continued between the leafy branches and stung the farmer.
Laid out by spiritual mobs, the truth becomes worse than the lie. When the mob washes the barley, it is never clean.
The rabble always wash in the dunghill from the Augean stables.
Matema's camel bells ring in the deserts of speech where the caravans of unfinished quarrels
never reach their oasis, only become more camels.
Immersed as in a dream but still awake, I found myself changed and so naked that no dream has words for what it was like when, transformed by the stone, I cut down towards the inner realms and while this was happening I became smaller, smaller and even more stripped of layers and layers of time and space as I sank further and further into the stone, deeper and deeper into things.
Who undressed me, wore me down so much that no conceivable smallness so small on this earth can be imagined unless one is long since beyond what every comprehensible thought wants to deny.
And yet I was being stripped and reduced still further in no direction.
So sunk, unceasingly sunk in
towards even more breathtaking reduction
I retained in my dream a way of seeing
and understand that I was traveling into
to the dimensions, the innermost
who with their interior work with their interior
and whose interiors compose the world.
They scare children with darkness, criminals with punishment and sinners with realms beyond death where the vengeful desire to torment has transported its arsenal of tormenting images.
But sorrow follows us every day, and joy follows us every day.
We ourselves are the sorrow, we are also the joy, everything human is rooted in humanity, and no human being can escape humanity, not her hatred and her self-degradation, nor the joy she spreads, nor the love she forms.
There is a third land that is not death and not life, but the reality that pervades all realities, and spins the very thread of the fabric from which dreams are woven. Yes, I had come to the rooms where these threads are spun. When I arrived, I stepped out and saw no longer surprised the smallest fairy, who herself was not at all surprised to welcome me to her inner land.
And although we were both unimaginably smaller than two grains of traveling dust on a suit on earth, we thought we were big here in this smallest room to which I have now come and which nevertheless encloses with its vault a separate world of realities formed.
On the contrary, I cannot describe what I saw of strange things, but that will follow when the habit of telling stories has been practiced for other habits than what life offers,
and other things than those called death.
For though beyond all I have known
this was not death
and though within all I have known
this was not life.
Actually, the comprehensibility was slight, as when multiples arranged in layers, and layered in the directions of space, make the fabric of the dream omnidirectional structural and become a fabric consisting of paths where the thread is only thought of as a path as a sign that here the shuttle has gone, but where is the thread? The thread is the path. I saw how the gnome was in a quandary as to which of two different possibilities to give clarity.
Then came formulas of such an elusive nature that the gnome was again gripped by the anxiety
which arises when the explanation is attempted but little response is felt by the pupil.
And with a look that shone as if with sorrow, he signaled a break in the dilemma. And with a formula more magical than comprehensible, we left the atom.
We expanded to other contexts and sat on a leaf next to a bee eagerly searching for honey in a meadow.
Around the great star of the day we shall orbit the years we have been given to live, and our family for a few thousand centuries, perhaps more, perhaps less, no one knows.
But the time that we are orbiting is so small compared to that of the suns where they wander around in orbits in the galaxy our family named the Milky Way, luminous to behold.
What can our eyes see, our hearts cry out at the thought of atoms going around in the same way with waves and particles.
Some have called this the dance of the gods - it is always being danced by everything in the universe.
All indications are that among the arts of the muses
the art of dance is the first and the last,
and we are in it, dancing out
our role in the dance, it is already being danced
in other worlds separate from our time,
in other dance theaters,
yet one thing is clear
that we are dancing our turns.
Our role in it
is ours and no one else's.
Our own role in the dance art of all worlds.
Our earth wanders alive alone, around the sun our dear parent.
As far as the giant tubes reach no living neighbor to see.
Desolate and empty on the one who received the name of the god of war, burning hot and desolate on the one who received the name of the goddess of love.
Jupiter, planet of Zeus
ice-clad to two hundred times the height of the Himalayas.
The others are death's door.
Beyond that, light years to the next planetary village.
So each sun has only one living person, and that one is a leased farm, indefinitely and to an unreliable and dangerous race.
Here is a world of light distributed in the mystery of things.
Here is the salvaged light in the innumerable rooms of the stone.
Wands point with poles directed to their rooms inside mountains and stones, spinning mystery.
Deep in her fairy tale, she lives for the sake of the tale.
the norn who has learned to spin the yarn from the wool of the riddles.
The spirit of Ideema from space in endless lines gathered the seeds into the durable wood of the suns.
From far beyond time the hydrogen came in modest garb and built for its God the ingenious nests of the atoms.
Come, let us nurture the foundation of our life. The green sphere we have been given to live on in the universe's lottery system.
When the next lucky draw can get rid of the Milky Way's big tombola we do not know and can never reach.
But we do know one thing for sure: the next draw will not include us.
A stranger called chance shuffles the cards and deals them to the local players.
Every single poker face keeps a straight face.
There are plenty of goldfish in the tureen here.
According to the law, the silent coincidence itself is the last to raise its hand, with ice in its stomach.
Soon jaws of granite are chewing the cigar.
Where is the bundle of happiness among the starlings?
That question is answered when chance wins.
Then the shot goes off, chance's life disappears. His house of cards collapses, but soon everyone at the counter thinks it was a nice fish, that no one won, that chance herself was told by Smith and Wesson what chance was.
by Smith and Wesson what chance should do.
( translation to be continued )
submitted by Imaginary-Zebra-3589
to aniara [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 16:55 cruisingNW Foundations of Humanity 26 (First Impressions) - an NoP fanfic
Foundations of Humanity 26 (First Impressions) - an NoP fanfic
Thank you u/SpacePaladin15
for establishing the Nature of Predators Universe, and for allowing Fanfics to flourish!
Thank you again, u/Braquen
for proofreading! This is my side of the Nature of a Giant crossover
Huu boi this got to 34k characters, so had to split the chapter. Hooray making a backlog! First
- [Next] Memory transcription subject: Valek, Venlil tourist Date [standardized human time]: Sept 11th, 2136. Middle of 3rd Claw
I thought of happy memories of the last time my class and I had visited, “I couldn’t figure it out last time, but I was just a pup with a bunch of other pups back then. I know it has something to do with reattaching lines in the right configuration, but every time I got close--”
A black mass. A yawning, toothy pit! Hungry barks! “Teeth! TEETH! PREDATOR!”
I could see the beast’s gaping maw crawling forward to swallow me whole! I couldn’t let it get me! It would eat me! I couldn’t stop my momentum; I just kept getting closer to the inky void and gnashing teeth! I collided with the predator and thrashed and flailed against its wild mane, before my back legs found purchase and I launched myself back from whence I came.
Maeve’s voice shouted from behind just before her arm wrapped around me and halted my retreat, “What the hell, Valek? There’s no Predators he-EOLY SHIT
Finding sanctuary against my mate, I found my voice once more. “Big! Teeth! Call the Exterminators! Help! Teeth!” I thrashed in Maeve’s arm, trying to scratch at my prowling assailant.
A voice echoed from near the threat as another form appeared. “What happened?” A human? Another threat? He’s near the predator! He was looking at us! “Y’all okay?” His head turned toward the beast. “You okay?”
“I’m fine! Mostly surprised!” It imitated a Venlil with its movements, but I knew better! “It’s okay! I’m not here to hurt you!” It was toying with us! Trying to get us off-guard!
“Don’t eat us!” Protect your mate!
“She’s dealt with Predators already! You’ll be sorry!”
I suddenly felt Maeve shake me. “That’s enough, Valek; get a hold of yourself.”
Get a hold of myself? Doesn’t she realize the threat? The-
“You forgot to say I should be set on fire, or that I’m a freak of nature.” I heard the beast say, now grabbing the edges of the hallway. “In case you need suggestions for insults.”
My voice faltered as I tried to understand it. The words were there, but my mind just couldn’t accept them. Maeve fell silent above me, but continued to hold me fast.
The other human brought itself beside the giant, “Oh my! ‘Nother human! Howdy there!” He raised his hand to his head, touching two fingers to his forehead, then flicking them in our direction. A gesture of greeting.
My ears snapped to the human as I tried to reconcile the friendly gesture amid my panic. Maeve, however, was undeterred and floated past me, coming closer to the monster. Alvi held my shoulder, and supported us against a nearby rope.
“Wow! You… You’re huge!” She had that same wonder in her voice that she always had when she found something new.
In response, I heard the familiar whistle of a Venlil laugh. It was coming from the… it’s a Venlil? “Yes. It’s a condition.”
Maeve continued her approach. She didn’t look the least bit afraid. Even though her arm remained in a cast; a cast given to her by the last predator she tangled with. But continue, she did. “I didn’t know Venlil could display gigantism! That’s incredible!”
I blinked. Gigantism
? The translator was unhelpfully vague, something about making things big. The giant seemed similarly confused, “I’m sorry, my translator didn’t quite get that. Display what?”
Maeve reached back to us and I took her hand, and Alvi’s in my other, before she pulled us with her along the corridor. “Gigantism. It’s when a tumor grows on the pituitary gland controlling growth hormones, which causes it to overproduce. It can cause people to grow extremely tall.”
The creature’s confusion seemed to grow, though its body wobbled along with its tail; excitement? “Humans have Marklen-Jauntes syndrome??” Maeve asked for clarification before it continued, “Marklen-Jauntes Syndrome, named after twin giants. Its symptoms are basically exactly what you described!”
Maeve clapped her hands together with a quiet snap, “Oh! It sure sounds like it!”
The giant pushed off from the doorway, and Maeve pulled us into the boxy junction. Their conversation faded in my ears as the realization hit me. It was a syndrome. A medical condition. Maeve had moved to float around the giant as she and the other pair began talking in earnest. I felt Alvi squeeze my paw. “Valek. You okay there?”
My ears fell in worry, “I… I don’t know. I mean look at it! How can Maeve not be terrified of that?”
Alvi ran her paw through the fur on my shoulder, “I think she may have seen worse by now.”
The memory of those shadestalkers on the ground, and Maeve’s shriek of furious pain on the wind sent a chill down my spine. “But shouldn’t that make her more cautious? Make sure that doesn’t happen again?”
Alvi tapped the tuft of her tail against me, a lilt of humor on her voice, “If Maeve were cautious, do you think she would have joined the program? Or came to the Berrypatch?”
I pulled Alvi tighter against me; she was absolutely right. My attention drifted back to their conversation; they were talking about the medical issues of giants. I fully focused on what they were saying as Maeve was finishing her thought,
“... Hopefully, with the Venlil's help, that will change!"
The giant’s ears fell in...shame? It has shame? “You would have to keep it secret. If it was known it was to help giants, the Venlil might refuse.” Hold on, we would gladly help!
“W-we wouldn’t!” The giant’s eyes and ears focused on me, while Maeve and the other human turned to face me. "Our people wouldn't keep secrets like that just because they're big! We may not be the ones in the clinic, but we would gladly offer medicine and equipment.”
The giant let out a deep huff, as if I told a bad joke! “Sir… I’m guessing you haven’t heard of me. Is that correct?”
“N-no?” My tail curled around Alvi and I at my admission. “Should I…?”
The giant’s massive tail swayed behind them, “I guess introductions are in order. My name is Tarlim.”
“The Venbig!” The human announced with a flourish while he slowly floated past ‘Tarlim’s’ front, while the latter whistled in amusement.
“Yes. The ‘Venbig.’ And the Texan there is Jacob.” I saw his tail wag at the name. A sign of fondness for a friend. “May I know who all of you are?”
“I am Maeve, a pleasure to meet you,” She nodded, as she shifted her grip on the rope to reveal Alvi and I behind her. “This is Valek, my exchange partner,” I reflexively flicked my ears in acknowledgment, “And this is Alvi, a close friend of ours.”
Alvi hadn’t moved much beyond floating. She had one eye turned to stare fully at the giant, but otherwise seemed to have locked up, as she had before.
The giant, Tarlim, returned our greeting with a polite bow as he steadied himself on some overhead netting. “Good to meet you. Now, the reason I asked is this: I was imprisoned in a correctional facility before I was able to escape.” Escape
?! I exclaimed, in thought and in voice, “Y-You escaped??”
The giant tried to deceive us, but it couldn’t keep its condition a secret! I put myself between it and Alvi, “Get away from him! He’s dangerous!”
Maeve tried to be kind, “Valek if he’s here I would hardly think-”
But she didn’t know what that meant! We made a promise that we would teach each other about our people, even the bad parts. I had to warn her about it! “Correctional Facilities are where we put dangerous Venlil! People with Predator Disease who have shown themselves to be a threat to the Herd! We try to teach them how to live with the Herd, but if he escaped? He's gotta be dangerous if he had to break out!” I kept the threatening beast in my sight as I put myself between them and my herd.
The beast crouched threateningly, Fixing me with a predatory stare as its ears locked onto me, “Dangerous? Do you know what they put me through in there? The people running those places are monsters!”
“They help people!” I protested, amazed that someone could see their own care as harmful. “They treat people so they are safe around the herd!”
“Oh, HA!” The beast’s face cracked in an angry snarl, “You must feel so safe when we’re strapped into chairs and electrified! Or jammed into rooms where the only safe floor is too small for everyone! It must be soooo perfect to hear about that!”
“Th… That…” They WHAT?! No!
“No! Even if that were true, it would be to teach you to stick together! They… They wouldn’t do something like that if it didn’t work!” …right
A tiny voice spoke behind me, but the beast bore down on my senses, “Stick together! Suuuure!” It’s tail lashed behind it. It was going to pounce! “That’s why they tried to kill me for making sure more people could fit in the Circle! And obviously the electric chair was for proper fear response! That's why they commissioned a chair with enough voltage to fry me from the inside out
“Electric chair? You were in an electric chair?” That same tiny voice. Alvi’s words pulled me from my maelstrom and I reached for salvation. I needed Maeve.
“Yes!” The Giant had turned his attention to Alvi as I flew towards my human. “I have been put in that-”
“I saw you on the TV!”
I was wrapping myself around Maeve when Alvi said that. She… saw him? He was on TV? All of us had fallen silent to watch her, including the giant.
“Which part?” It asked with a heavy breath. “The final judgment? The election debates?” I heard a whimper coming from its throat. “When… when my father…?” Father? It had a father? Wait, why is that a surprise? They were born, so they must have had one.
Alvi spoke with what kindness she could, “I don’t remember much. I was still just a pup when the trial started, but I remember seeing your photo on the TV. My parents didn’t let me watch it after that. I started to research it after I moved out, that’s when I saw the Chair.”
I heard the giant growl. “That Brahking photo! They were so proud to hold me up even though I couldn’t!” Their attention swung back to me. “I don’t suppose, mister Valek
, that was also justified?”
I stood tall at the challenge. This… They would not get past me. “I…! I don’t know about any photo! My Family doesn't have a TV, just a radio.”
They flicked their ears dismissively, before bringing them back to Alvi. Was it… kinder? When it was addressing her? “So you saw the chair.” They sighed. “It was only shown after the trial was done. Then you had to have seen what that management did. Instead of letting the place be investigated, they drove all the inmates outside so they could cause chaos! And slipped away while everyone was trying to figure out what happened!” It whistled a derisive laugh, “What about the crimes revealed? Producing and testing drugs to sell on the streets? How the sessions were altered for higher voltage? Oh! And do I even need to mention what happened to the women there?”
Its eye never left me, and I shrunk beneath it while Alvi spoke behind me, “No. No you don’t. What happened there was terrible, there’s no grooming that!”
“Worthy of the Arxur!” It huffed again. “What a title for that place. And you know what the worst part is?” It pointed directly at me with its primary claw; the insult clear in its seething voice. Singling me out as outside of the Herd. “I was in there because of that! Not some test, not Predator Disease, just stupid people Scared. O-Of. My. Size!!”
The rage in its throat was broken by its sobs, as its eyes bubbled with gathered tears, unable to fall for lack of gravity. This thing was crying? It had family, and it cried from remembered pain
Maeve pushed off of her line, and drifted to the giant, her hand curling around their pointed claw and putting its paw back to their chest. Her words were quiet, a sharp contrast to the giant’s anguish. “I think that’s enough of that. I’m sorry that we had a rough start. We were in the wrong, and it wasn’t, and isn’t, ok for us to react like we did.” We weren’t wrong! Look at it! How can we be wrong to be careful around something that could eat us without a thought? I bet your dad thought the same thing.
The thought stopped my heart and flared my wool. When I saw it - No. Saw Him. - when I saw him I scratched and kicked, and I came out unscathed. He hadn’t so much as taken a single step toward us. Only talking. What happened? Why was I so afraid…
Maeve’s voice continued as my thoughts swirled, “We… are sorry for what happened, and want to make it right. I don’t want to intrude any more on your day with your partner, but can we treat you to something here? Valek tells me they have really good fried veg? I’ve never had Venlil Tempura before.” Why is this familiar? What about this fear… The Meetup.
It-He… Tarlim? Heaved and hacked against waning sobs, barely croaking, “Y-You…you can’t make it right,” the words were only a whisper; barely captured at this distance. “This, all this, just made you more afraid of me. E-Every moment would be forced and shamed. Not genuine.” This is the same fear I felt when I met Maeve. The same fear that was wrong
. Fundamentally and completely. This fear…
Maeve answered without pause, “I think we could surprise you. But I won’t press it. Before I let you go, I’d like to end on a good…noooote…” Maeve checked her empty pockets, as her voice grew a more boisterous timbre, “ah man, I left my pad in the locker. Anyway, you’re way fluffier than the average Venlil, aren’t you? Well, humans have recorded something else called Hypertrichosis; Jacob may know it as Werewolf Syndrome. It manifests in humans as rapid and thick hair growth over their entire body! Jacob can show you when you get back to your pads. ”
Tarlim’s tail thrashed in distrust, but it-NO! HIS! ears fluttered, giving away their conflict. Maeve turned away and pulled herself back down the corridor we came from, scooping up Alvi and I as she passed. But I pulled away from her hand, meeting the eye of the giant. Nothing about this fear is real. Who I am and what I do is MY CHOICE
, and I had the gall to forget that.
“I reacted to you the same way I reacted to seeing Maeve for the first time - well, her hair, anyway. I’ve tried to be better, but I mess up sometimes. I’m… I’m sorry I messed up with you.”
I pushed off down the hall, and met my herd before we continued on.
“Wait!” We found our anchors, and turned to meet the bellowed plea. Tarlim dried his tears on his wool, before looking back at us. “There's a food court near the arcade.” Barely a pause as Tarlim took another breath; the same one I take when I make a Choice. “If we see each other there maybe… maybe we can start over…”
My mouth cracked in a human smile, and my tail swayed at the invitation. “I think I’d like that.”
Tarlim returned our kindness as we floated back down the corridor.
I wanted to just get back to having fun. I had come here with Maeve and Alvi to get away from reactions like that! Not… Not Be
the reaction! This was- this was a vacation! Please just…
In. and Out. The Paw is not gone. We can make this work.
“Hey, Valek?” It was Maeve. My love, and my Choice. Her mask met my eye as I spun to meet her. “Are you OK?”
“I will be. I’m sorry for how I reacted.” I feigned a joyful flick and invited them to follow, “Come on! We can take another path and find something fun that way.” I floated ahead of my herd and led the way.
I checked behind me at the next turn and they were following a distance behind. Alvi showed her concern with her tail, while Maeve was unreadable through her mask. It was ok, we can put this behind us once we find something else to occupy us. Well that was a disaster.
The Maze was more of a problem then I expected it to be. The maze itself was easy enough, but the ‘puzzle rooms’ turned out to be all of the rooms, but they were randomly activated. Sometimes we would fly into a room and it would shift color, pulling the supports into the wall and starting to list the game rules. The last room before we got out kept shifting the gravity, so by the time we made it to the exit we were exhausted in mind and body. Well, Alvi and I were. I don’t believe I had seen Maeve so energized.
“Wanna go again?!” Her voice was bubbling with sarcasm, and she couldn't contain her mischievous cackle when Alvi and I met her mask and signaled an emphatic No! In unison.
She pulled Alvi against her and asked her to hold on, quickly doing the same to me. She pushed off from the Maze exit to the open air in the center. She did the same kick as back in the maze and we started to spin, at which Maeve let go of the two of us to slow our inertia. We spun there together, holding paws and hands, before I spoke into the space between us.
“I’m sorry that I ruined the day. I thought we could go back to having fun, but I spoiled the mood.”
Maeve spoke first, “It’s alright Valek,”
Then Alvi, “It may not have been the best start, but he offered to try again.”
Maeve squeezed my paw and met my eye, “And I look forward to it. That's all we can really do: move forward.” She pulled us back into a tight hug, “Thank you, both of you, for a wonderful day.”
An angry gurgle bubbled up from our embrace, and Maeve continued, “But I could really do with a proper meal. Valek, you mentioned something about fried veg?”
I pulled away and looked around at the various signage, pointing at the exit we had entered from. “The food court connects with the Visor Arcade, so we can go out the way we came in.”
“Alright! Alvi, you hold on, and Valek? Don’t.”
Maeve kicked her legs again and set us spinning quickly, before flinging me in the direction of the exit, and she and Alvi the opposite way. I may or may not have squealed in terror during my hasty flight.
I was able to catch a support line as I passed. I looked out to see that Maeve had done the same, and was just pushing off to come my direction; Alvi was completely wrapped around her torso, like she was caught out in Galetime.
My tail thrashed behind me in admonishment when Maeve was in ear-sense. “You evil woman! You could have killed me!”
I could hear her - no, Alvi! - giggling as they floated over! She was having the time of her life! Maeve defended herself breathlessly, “Oh, come on, that was barely a brisk walk. I knew you’d correct yourself, that’s why I threw you instead of Alvi.”
I hit the pad and opened the bulkhead as they met me, Maeve barely correcting against a passing line to float cleanly through the threshold. Alvi disengaged once we were all inside. “Also because I’m her favorite.”
I flattened my ears in playful anger while she stuck her tongue out at me, and Maeve spoke up from the button. “Now, now, children, I love you both equally. One is just a little more biblical than the other.”
A little more religious? What?
“But I think it is time to come back to earth.” her hand hovered over the button while Alvi and I found our supports.
A button pressed, a growing hum, and our feet met the floor … Eventually. We had forgotten to remember that the floor was White, so we all collapsed on the semi-soft ground head-first. Thank the Sun for padding!
“Okay!” I heard Alvi comment, “Seems we’ve been re-educated on where the ground is.” She stood, shaking her wool. “Wish it hadn’t been a crash course.”
Maeve cackled from the floor as I stood, “HaHa! Multilingual pun! I love it!”
She was still giggling when we walked over to help her up. We were just dusting ourselves and flattening errant tufts when the exit hatch opened, and we stepped outside.
Alvi was last to step over the bulkhead, nearly tripping as her paw caught its lip. Having recovered, she asked, “Anything else you would like to do before lunch Maeve?”
Maeve took a quiet breath as we all waved an excited goodbye to Shishi, cold can of Sprunk in paw. “Speaking from experience, if we wanna do VR, and I kinda do, eating before may be unwise.”
Having reached our locker, I waited for Maeve to don her burka, “The Visor Arcade is on the way, and I’d love to show you this quick sightseeing game. It’s pretty basic, but it will show a few other Federation Homeworlds too!”
Maeve’s voice lit up, and I regretted that her eyes were hidden, as I knew they were shining! “I can see More worlds?! Yes, please! Let’s do that!” Maeve bounded forward almost to around the corner. “Uh… Where is it?”
I flicked my tail teasingly, “It is where we are going. You shouldn’t go running off, you know how strangers are.”
Maeve stood at the corner with her good hand on her hip, “Well then be a good boy and lead the way!”
I could feel my snout quickly blooming.
Oh, that’s not fair.
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2023.05.29 16:23 AnnieQueenOfThe Free Dental Care-June 10th-Spread the Word
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2023.05.29 16:03 khoafraelich789 2023 Mazda CX-30 Review: Above-and-beyond the mainstream choices
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Mazda's midcompact crossover aims high and hits the mark
Pros: Fun to drive; wonderful interior; standard all-wheel drive; class-leading turbo power
Cons: Average fuel economy from base engine; expensive relative to mainstream competitors; smartphone integration is only so-so
Mazda’s ongoing push to be an upscale brand is perhaps best exemplified by one of its least-expensive models. The 2023 CX-30 goes above and beyond the typical mainstream midcompact with a segment-busting turbocharged engine, standard all-wheel drive and an interior that belongs in a class above most of Mazda’s traditional competitors.
As impressive as it may be in that context, Mazda’s advantages come at a price — literally. It’s expensive for the segment and a bit shy when it comes to passenger and cargo space; a Kia Seltos or VW Taos would serve you better in that regard. And although it’s based on the traditionally athletic and nimble Mazda3, its AWD and taller profile add mass higher than where you’d ideally want it. Gone are the days of Mazda chasing lap times with its turbocharged Mazdaspeed models, but the CX-30 is nonetheless an excellent driving companion with near-luxury bona fides to boot.
What's new for 2023?
In short, not much. The standard 2.5-liter engine was massaged slightly, freeing up an additional 5 horsepower and simultaneously improving fuel economy, albeit slightly. Mazda also made some updates to the CX-30’s safety systems and crash structure that should improve performance for rear passengers. The only bad news is that Mazda quietly discontinued the base turbo trim, so you’ll have to spend a bit more to get that extra power for 2023.
What are the CX-30 interior and in-car technology like?
Like the Mazda3 with which it shares so much, the CX-30's cabin makes you go "wow" considering its price and the vehicles with which it competes. Whatever trim level you're considering, the key to this wow factor is how Mazda's current interior design scheme removes visual clutter by reducing switchgear and effectively hiding air vents and door handles. Lower trim levels are sadly no longer available with two-tone color treatments (we suppose most people just want plain-old black), but upper trims can still get white or black leather accented with reddish brown simulated leather trim. No matter the trim level, though, for a car in the $20,000-$35,000 range, CX-30 interior looks and feels special.
It's also of a high quality and quite functional. The steering wheel, which looks sensational, is an absolute treat to hold and has intelligently designed buttons/switches for the infotainment and cruise controls. There's considerable center console space, including a configurable under-armrest bin, and a decently sized forward bin for a smartphone.
Mazda's tech interface is a bit love-it-or-hate-it. The dashtop screen is large and easy to see. The knob that controls it is large, not unlike BMW's iDrive, and ergonomically placed on the center console. It's not a touchscreen, though, as Mazda engineers determined that hunting for touch-operating icons can be distracting. They're not wrong, and the higher-mounted screen is certainly easier to read at a glance. That said, there are a lot of people who don't not care for this setup and specifically prefer a touchscreen like the ones offered in all the Mazda's competitors. Specifically, the lack of a touchscreen can make it harder to select icons in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which were designed to be controlled by touch. There's a reason the Mazda CX-50 now allows touch operation when using CarPlay and Android Auto, but that advancement unfortunately hasn't made it to the CX-30 yet.
How big is the CX-30?
Although it was originally an unusual size, the CX-30 now finds itself among a growing number of midcompact SUVs that slot in between subcompacts like the Hyundai Kona and compacts like Mazda's own CX-5. Others include the Ford Bronco Sport, Kia Seltos, and Volkswagen Taos. In terms of space, the CX-30 is the smallest of that group and is definitely the least family-friendly. Two tall passengers will be able to sit front-to-back on the passenger side, but not on the driver side. Fitting a rear-facing child seat in the middle will be a squeeze.
Cargo space with the rear seat raised is 20.2 cubic feet, which is only a bit better than subcompact models and considerably less than the midcompacts mentioned above. That number is virtually identical to the Mazda3 hatchback, but in our testing, we found the CX-30's extra height allowed it to swallow an additional suitcase (surprisingly, the Mazda3 sedan can carry more than them both). Although its suitcase count trailed its midcompact competitors, it was superior to a pair of small luxury models, the BMW X2 and Audi Q3. We could also fit a golf bag diagonally across the cargo area.
What are the CX-30 fuel economy and performance specs?
For 2023, every CX-30 comes with all-wheel drive, plus a six-speed automatic. There are then two choices of engine. Cars dubbed CX-30 2.5 S have a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four that produces 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. That's more than the base engines of most competitors, plus some of their engine upgrades. It now returns 26 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. Those figures remain low compared to other base engines, but again, the competition generally has less power.
As for the CX-30's upgrade engine, nothing in the segment can touch it. The turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four produces 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on regular gas. It'll do 250 hp and 320 lb-ft if you feel like filling it with 93 octane. Fuel economy is basically the same as the base engine at 22/30/25 mpg.
What's the CX-30 like to drive?
If you want to feel what a car is doing through the steering wheel, throttle pedal and through the seat of your pants, the Mazda CX-30 is exactly the type of small crossover you're looking for. Its taller stature means it loses some of the agility provided by the lower Mazda3, but the primary control efforts and feedback are just as exceptional. When it comes to providing an engaging driving experience, no SUV comes remotely close in the CX-30's price range. There's even a case to be made that it provides more driving fun than a BMW X2.
Along those lines, the available turbo engine is there to make the CX-30 feel luxurious and effortless, rather than burn rubber and set lap times like some turbocharged Mazdaspeed of old. On paper and in practice, none of its non-luxury competitors can touch it in a straight line – it obviously costs more, but it's the engine we'd certainly want.
Nevertheless, the base engine is still a peach. It's more powerful than most competitors, boasts terrific throttle response and is paired with one of the smartest transmissions around. It always knows exactly which of its six gears to select at any given time, and when Sport mode is selected, it quickly downshifts when braking into a corner like the sport-tuned transmissions of luxury brands do. It also doesn't clumsily hang onto revs when accelerating thereafter. As a bonus, the Premium trim adds paddle shifters then let you have some extra fun if you're so inclined.
What other Mazda CX-30 reviews can I read?
2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo First Drive A lifted, almost-hot hatch
The turbo engine was a new addition last year. It makes an already fun little SUV, even better, though certainly not to hot hatch levels.
2020 Mazda CX-30 Luggage Test Can it fit more than the Mazda3?
Taking an in-depth look at the CX-30's cargo capacity to see how much luggage it can fit inside and how that compares to the Mazda3 as well as other small crossovers. We also compared it to both the Mazda3 hatch and sedan with surprising results.
2020 Mazda CX-30 First Drive The middle way
Our first taste of the CX-30 features more in-depth information about its design and engineering.
What is the 2023 CX-30 price?
The base CX-30 2.5 S comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, a full suite of accident avoidance tech (see Safety section below), cloth upholstery, two USB ports, an eight-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the Mazda Connect interface that includes an 8.8-inch display and center console controller.
From there, you have a choice of three "packages" that are pretty much what other brands refer to as trim levels. We think the Select is best place to start your CX-30 shopping as for an extra $2,300 you gain 18-inch wheels, blind-sport warning, proximity entry, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents, a rear armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and leatherette upholstery versus the standard cloth. The Preferred, new Carbon Edition (pictured below) and Premium packages add further luxuries, most notably a heated power driver seat with memory (Preferred) and leather upholstery (Premium).
All new prices are below and include the $1,275 destination charge (add another $45 if you’re shopping in Alaska).
S Select: $26,525
S Preferred: $29,495
S Carbon Edition: $30,565
S Premium: $32,775
Turbo Premium: $35,075
Turbo Premium Plus: $36,675
What are the CX-30 safety ratings and driver assistance features?
Every CX-30 comes with a comprehensive array of standard safety features beyond the usual airbags and stability aids. These include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking (Smart Brake Support), lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and a driver inattention warning system. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning are included on all but the base trim.
Beyond their simple inclusion, these features are also among the best-executed on the market. Most appreciably, they aren't prone to false alarms or constantly beep at you like a scolding nanny.
The government awarded the CX-30 a perfect five stars in every crash test even before the updates Mazda made for 2023. The Institute for Highway Safety named the CX-30 a Top Safety Pick. It received the best-possible ratings in all crash tests and for its front-crash prevention system (both for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian accidents). Unusually, its base LED headlights got the best possible rating of "Good," while the curve-adaptive upgrade headlights found on the range-topping Premium (photographed above) actually got a "Poor" rating due to excessive glare. The CX-30 also received top marks for the ease of use of its child seat LATCH anchors.
2023.05.29 15:53 elmadrasahblog2023 Boost Your EMSAT Scores with a Private Emsat Tutor in Abu Dhabi - Expert Guidance for Success
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2023.05.29 15:31 Gumbybum Lore Discovery Part 3/3: Fishbones, Flatwoods, and Colonel's Burning Secret
: This post is long, so you may want to save it and read it later. Also, I put a lot of time into both researching this and writing it up. So if all you have is negative feedback, kindly keep it to yourself. Finally, there’s a lot more that I’ve been looking into beyond the scope of this write-up. If you’d like to join my exp-LORE-ation efforts, please let me know. Recap
: Part 1 establishes that Colonel is the same kid who was playing with his “baer frends” at the Palace of the Winding Path. Part 2 establishes that Darius Angler was the author of the 4 Untitled Poems.
Edit: Hyperlinks don't seem to be working so I'm manually pasting my references to parts 1 and 2. https://www.reddit.com/fo76/comments/1327e9a/lore_discovery_responder_colonel_flatwoods_was/ https://www.reddit.com/fo76/comments/135xf3y/lore_discovery_part_2_responder_colonels_postwa TLDR (mad spoilers up in here)
: Fishbones led the raid that killed Colonel and all the Responders in Flatwoods, and he could very well be Darius Angler’s brother. Colonel may have been up to something nefarious with the children of Flatwoods (but not in that way). Ra Ra might be Ward’s granddaughter. And it looks like mole rat teeth are used to craft Day Tripper.
We Begin at the End
: November 2096. 13 Bridge Street, Flatwoods, WV. Responder Colonel died in the raider attack on Flatwoods, along with just about every other Responder that resided there. The raiders attacked because a Chem Addict stole all their food and chems and fled to Flatwoods. You can find her body and holotape just West of the river. But before we get to that, we need to look at what Colonel was up to before he died. Most people probably overlooked this detail because they haven’t explored Flatwoods since they were level 3, and at that point they didn’t have a jetpack or the Marsupial mutation. But Colonel’s front AND back porches are completely railed off. If you make it over the front railing, you’ll find the corpses of Colonel and (likely) the raider that killed him, Colonel’s second “Survivor Story,” and a stroller with an intact doll in it. Colonel was the “caregiver for children” in Flatwoods, so the stroller may have once been for an actual baby.
But on the back porch, Colonel was burning books, files, documents, and the contents of a mysterious duffel back on his grill. Colonel definitely had a secret and he was literally trying to burn the evidence. And that secret was his past with the Diehards and Darius Angler. If you follow the road West out of Flatwoods, you’ll eventually arrive at Hillfolk Hotdogs, which is the site of Untitled Poem #3 and the former home of Colonel when he lived with Angler as a child (you can find one of his “baer frends” on the kid-sized bunk bed). But inside the bus(?) at Hillfolk’s, you’ll also find similar documents and a duffel bag, just like the kind Colonel was burning in Flatwoods when he died. As a matter of fact, there are other similarly suspicious duffel bags and file caches along the Ohio River. And this takes us to Ohio River Adventures. Fishbones is a Dirty Rat Bastard
: In the exact same way that the Diehards returned to Crater, a former territory of theirs (and site of Untitled Poem #2), the Diehards also returned to Ohio River Adventures. Now, O.R.A. gets overlooked because there is no main quest line that keeps you returning to this area (maybe the grind for Raider Rep), but this place is former Diehard territory too. Now, it is critically important to know that both Fishbones (Bones) and Blackeye are O.G. Diehards. Blackeye was almost certainly Colonel’s 1st grade teacher back at the Palace of the Winding Path. But what about Bones? Well, my friends, I bet I’m about to tell you something you didn’t already know:
When Margie McClintock died in 2096 (as inferred what Rose tells us during the main quest), Meg Groberg took over and soon thereafter led the Diehards out of Appalachia before returning years later (that, you already knew). You probably also already knew that before Margie died, Meg and the other Diehards went against protocol and “shot first” when robbing people. Meg was a true raider in all the ways that Margie was not. But what you probably didn’t put together is that Margie died around the time that Flatwoods was attacked. According to the Chem Addict from Flatwoods:
“Chems Addict: Well, this is it I guess. Rock bottom I think they call it. I still miss him. Billy. I knew he was too young for me, but he made me feel good. Though it's the old Billy I really miss. The one who used to do nothing all day with me but listen to the radio and drink. I shoulda got out sooner when Billy and his buddies started torturing little cats and dogs. His friends... were no good. But that didn't stop me anyway. I can't believe my wake up call was watching people's heads... get stuck on spikes. So... what is an old gal like me to do? Steal all the food. Steal all the chems. And get the hell out of there. *laughs* I'd trade my last bite of food just to see the look on their faces. Oh, I know it's going to piss off Billy's friends, but I don't give a damn. I tell myself I should feel sorry for the little town across the river. But if I'm being honest, and that's what this tape is for, I don't really care. I call myself an addict, but it ain't the chems that finally got me. It was always Billy.”
I want to emphasize the “heads on spikes” part, because that’s something Margie would never tolerate. But Meg on the other hand let raiders be raiders. The other thing that I want to point out is “Billy.” I’m not saying for certain that this Billy is the same as Darius Angler’s brother, but I am saying that technically no body was ever recovered from the molten steel, and Angler didn’t see the accident happen because he didn’t work at Grafton Steel anymore. It’s possible that “Billy Angler,” who didn’t quit because “he needs the money,” could have taken out some kind of insurance policy, named his chem addict girlfriend as the beneficiary, faked his own death, and skipped town. Do I know for certain that this happened? Of course not. But what I do know is this: FISHBONES’S REAL NAME IS BILLY!!! The reason he’s obsessed with the letter B is because that’s his first initial. You see, at first I thought the raiders that wrecked Flatwoods were Cutthroats because of their whole feud with the Responders. But then I learned that the Flatwoods attack was caused by a bunch of chems that the Addict stole, and the Diehards were Appalachia’s great chems supplier (thanks to Angler). Furthermore, Fishbones’s current operation is spiking Mirelurk meat with an addictive substance (chems). And since Bones is an OG Diehard, it means he was the piece-of-shit raider that attacked Flatwoods and killed Colonel. https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/Fishbones A Bit About Bruiser
: I found a few interesting details about Bruiser at Ohio River Adventures, but nothing too profound. We know that he used to play football, his mascot was a “battle bear,” and that he spent some time in a vault. The likeliest conclusion from this information is that he’s from Grafton, given that’s the only high school in the region with a football field and it’s next to the makeshift vault that formerly housed a few raiders before the BOS took over. If you look up the IRL Grafton High School, you’ll find that it’s on Yates Ave (likely the namesake of Sofie Yates, a Responder turned Raider in Flatwoods) and their mascot is the “Bearcat.” Also, all the varsity jackets in FO76 have the letter B on them, but that’s more Fishbones’s thing. But none of this has anything to do with Colonel or Angler, so let’s move on. The Charleston Cartel (2079-2082)
: From the Charleston Capitol Building terminal entries, we know there was a massive chem trade happening in Charleston at this time:
“Name: Matoukas, George
Date of Crime: 10.09.81
300 Block of Oak. Based on anonymous tip, Responder Atkins found subject peddling vast amounts of illegal chems out of his home. Over 300lbs of illegal chems found in the subject's basement.
Matoukas sentenced to 5 years hard labor under close supervision, with possibility of parole for good behavior. Chems were seized and destroyed.”
Since the Diehards’ operation at the Palace of the Winding Path effectively ended with the great rapture of ‘79, it only makes sense that the Diehards would have to adapt their drug trade elsewhere. If you actually look for raider activity in Charleston (outside of the courthouse), you won’t find a lot, but what you will find is very telling of their operations. You’ll find a dead raider at the chemistry workbench inside Hornwright Industrial Headquarters. You’ll find a few dead raiders in/above the pharmacy on the south side of town. And you’ll find a dead raider lurking outside the doctors’ offices (which is NOT the hospital) to the north. And this takes us to Dr. Joseph. https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/Joseph_(Fallout_76)
Dr. Joseph was a psychiatrist in Charleston who practiced both before AND after the Great War. He had the authority to refer patients to Allegheny Asylum and write prescriptions; Prescriptions that would be filled at the pharmacy on the south side of Charleston. To one patient, P. Davis, he prescribed Day Tripper. This insightful detail is why the Diehards were operating in Charleston in the first place. As many seasoned players have observed, Day Tripper is not craftable in this game; You can only find it out in the wild. Consider the following terminal entry from the Palace of the Winding Path:
“Log: 12.29.77 Since the war, incense ingredients have been hard to come by. We started rationing weeks ago, in anticipation of this, and doses are much lower. The sedative effects of the incense are a priority, to keep people from freaking out.
I've begun to improvise with some other ingredients and found some creative ways of stretching the supply, at least until things return to relative normal. Other chem supplies are plentiful.”
So here’s what I think happened. If the Diehards were in dire need of Day Tripper to make their custom chems (see: Making Incense), and the Responders had a healthy supply of Day Tripper locked inside a pharmacy in Charleston, and there was also a doctor who wrote prescriptions for Day Tripper, then all the Diehards needed to do was register a new patient with Dr. Joseph. Enter: Darius Angler.
Darius Angler was batshit crazy (if in doubt, refer to his manifesto). Angler, who now resided at Hillfolk Hotdogs, was also just a short trip up the New River from Charleston. He would periodically visit Dr. Joseph, get his prescription filled like a meth-head scoring Sudafed, and used the trip as a cover to smuggle the refined chems into the city. Essentially, I think he just made a loop around the southwest “island” of the Forest (area surrounded on all sides by 3 rivers, referred to as “Zone D”). The loop around Zone D functioned as a supply chain/assembly line for producing the chems that were being smuggled into Charleston. There’s a lot of suspicious stuff happening around here: Raider activity, duffel bags/files, bridge control, coffin conspiracies, etc. that I had to edit out for length, but I’ll try to summarize it here.
Hillfolk Hotdogs is where Angler and Colonel raised mole rats for reasons I’ll explain later. Follow the Ohio River south and you’ll soon come to a boat that’s not far away from a crashed truck loaded up with industrial chemical barrels (useful for producing industrial quantities of chems). South of that is a tent with a duffel bag. Further south you’ll find a 3-story house with suspicious files and a duffle bag hidden in the attic (just like at Hillfolk’s). South of that are some dry-docked boats with a chem box and a duffel bag. Even further south is Ohio River Adventure (a current Raider base of operation that served a similar purpose back then). Southeast of there, by Lewis & Sons, is a little “boat” with 2 stuffed bears, which I think was left behind by Colonel as he reenacted his river adventures with Angler using his bears. Southeast of there is a floating Nuka-Cola structure with a submerged safe guarded by 2 more bears, one of which has a liquor bottle. I think this is a dead drop and the bears are another work of Colonel’s. Heading East up the River you’ll find a raider-operated “store” at the end of a questionable bridge. Further east is Charleston, where George Matoukas was distributing the chems. And on the return trip down the New River is another dead drop directly beneath the Bridge on the west side. It’s a safe by a couch with a bear and Jangles (I think Jangles is supposed to represent George). Again, I think that this big loop is a supply chain/assembly line for moving chems and the components needed to make chems.
The smuggling operation also deviously involved Colonel and his “Baer Frends.” If you jetpack up to the very top of AVR Medical Center, you’ll find two people who OD’ed on chems, each with a stuffed bear next to them. So I think that either the Diehards were sewing chems inside Colonel’s stuffed bears and using them as drug mules to smuggle chems into Charleston, or that Colonel just climbed to the highest point on the hospital (as he did at the Palace and later in Flatwoods) and left two bears as a memorial. But I’m leaning toward the former because of an unmarked location in the Savage Divide that I found. It’s southeast of Bastion Park right at the bend of the monorail line. It’s essentially a fire pit with a bunch of stuffed bears thrown in it with a few dead party-goers around the area. I think this is the location where the Responders destroyed all of the Chems, bears and all, that they confiscated from George Matoukas. Speaking of George Matoukas…. Curious George and the Rocket
: According to the above-mentioned terminal entry, George Matoukas was apparently the only criminal who the Responders sentenced to hard labor rather than exile. If you go to Rollins Labor Camp (formerly Rollins Work Camp), you won’t find a whole lot there other than Blood Eagles. But what you WILL find at the very top of the crane structure are two stuffed bears and a Jangles. Colonel, as a child, had a thing for playing with “baer frends in high places.” I can’t say with any certainty what happened here, but maybe Angler was the one who gave the responders that “anonymous tip” because Matoukas was starting to rub off on Colonel, and Angler didn’t want him growing up to be a Raider. Matoukas gets sentenced to hard labor rather than exile, with a change of parole pending “good behavior,” which means “snitching.” So maybe Angler took Colonel to visit his “friend” at the labor camp (visiting hours are a thing), Angler introduced George to a “rocket,” and Colonel used his toys to recreate the scene. Or not. Who knows? But what I do know is that the shitty poet (Angler) moved on from Hillfolk Hotdogs to go to the Cranberry Bog, and I think the Christmas Flood gave him the perfect reason to leave. Untitled Poem #3
: I’m intentionally skipping Untitled Poem #2, partly because I haven’t found much deeper meaning to it, but mostly because what I think it means is little more than conjecture. #3, on the other hand, I feel like I can make sense of it:
“white cedar leaning against the shadow of our river
peeling like asylum walls
hobbled together around dignity that died long ago
simple things to jumpstart fogged memories
holed as teeth hidden in tin
we leave our things pinned
winning only the stuck wings”
I think the phrase “white cedar leaning against the shadow of our river” is the title of the painting in Dr. Joseph’s office. Or at least that’s how Darius Angler would describe it as if it was some kind of Rorschach test. “Peeling like asylum walls, hobbled together around dignity that died long ago” is a reference to the office wallpaper, and perhaps another one of Dr. Joseph’s clients, Daniel Boone.
“Patient: "Boone, D"
Patient responds only to "Daniel Boone" and indeed seems to believe himself to be the historical figure by the same name. I'd heard that some of the hillfolk can end up a bit off after lack of socialization, but I'd not expected to see such a case.
Advised that he be sent to Allegheny rather than the Penitentiary for further observation.”
There’s only a VERY narrow window of plausibility to suggest that Angler is Daniel Boone, so I won’t. But this entry seems to refer back to Untitled Poem #3, with worlds like “hillfolk” (as in Hillfolk Hotdogs), “Allegheny” (as in asylum), and “the historical figure” (as in dignity that died long ago). I think the line “simple things to jumpstart fogged memories'' refers to the Souvenir Magnet on the fridge at Hillfolk Hotdogs, and I think it came from Lady Janet’s Soft Serve (not Cow Spot Creamery). “Holed as teeth hidden in tin” refers to the mole rats that he was raising with Colonel at Hillfolk’s (the cat bowl on the floor is for the mole rat that walks around the trailer like Fry’s dog from Futurama, just waiting for Colonel to come home). And “we leave our things pinned, winning only the stuck wings,” refers to Angler’s (and Colonel’s) escape from the Diehards. I’m assuming this event took place just after the Christmas flood, once the chem operation in Charleston was destroyed with the rest of the city. But if you remember those dead raiders I mentioned earlier, there are a few more. Outside of Dr. Joseph’s office is a dead raider next to an ammo box. Well, next to him is a makeshift bridge that goes over the highway. And if you keep going in the same direction once you step off the bridge you’ll hit the southwest corner of Wade Airport. Immediately in that corner past the fence is a locked truck-trailer (watch out for the mine) with 2 more dead raiders and a power armor chassis (sometimes). I think the last line of the poem refers to this exact event, leaving his power armor (and compatriots) pinned in the back of the trailer so he can steal yet another Vertibird. Angler flew the automated aircraft to Watoga. Why? I don’t know. But it explains how he got to the Cranberry Bog and why his body can be found just a short distance south of the city. Untitled Poem #4
: Just like #2, I don’t have any deep insight into the specifics so all I can do is speculate. I’ll spare you the details. But what I think it’s about is the very end of his relationship with Colonel. I think the time Angler and Colonel spent together in the unmarked cabin southeast of Sunrise Field was just Angler teaching Colonel to be self-sufficient (hunting, trapping, maintaining weapons and whatnot). I think that when the scorched attacked Harper’s Ferry in 2086 that there was also generally increased scorched activity in the eastern half of Appalachia. The poem describes Angler providing cover fire to, or perhaps just drawing fire away from Colonel as escaped through Big Bend Tunnel, later to be found by the Responders. But again, like with #2, all I can do with this poem is speculate. The Mysterious Mole Rats
: This is a question I’ve had for almost 2 years now, and I think I finally figured it out. Back at the Palace of the Winding Path, there’s a lonely mole rat that lives in the computer room by the garden. There’s also a dead mole rat next to a dead raider pilot by a downed plane that was headed to the Palace from the north. I didn’t know what the Diehards needed mole rats for because I was only looking at the Palace itself. But the answer to this question is found at Lady Janet’s. Everyone thinks that the two bears in gas masks by the chemistry is just a Breaking Bad easter egg. But I think it’s yet another “baer frend” reenactment left behind by Colonel. Do you remember how the cultists at the Palace ran out of ingredients to make the “spiritual incense” and had to improvise? Well, one of the substitute ingredients they used, and the reason they were importing mole rats, and the reason the Diehards took care of the children like they did, is found in the baby carriage at Lady Janet’s.
A basket full of human jaw bones? Yeah…. Teeth. Or more precisely, “baby teeth.” I suppose mole rat teeth would do in a pinch, but as messed up as it sounds human baby teeth were preferred. This is why the Diehards at the Palace were taking care of those first-graders; because six-year-olds shed baby teeth like it’s raining molars! This also answers a question you didn’t even know you had, and it takes us back to Flatwoods. Here’s a note written by Jeremiah Ward who lived in trailer in the town (and the Ransacked Bunker before that):
“I, Jeremiah Ward, resident in the town of Flatwoods, county of... not sure.
Being of sound mind, and not acting under... duress. Mostly.
Hereby declare this letter to be my last will and testament.
Mia gets the house, and everything in it.
It ain't much but that's all I got to give and... she's all I got.
I know she's still alive.
The Responders say the dogs got her, but I know it ain't true.
They been real good to us. Teaching an old geezer like me how to really cook is something. I'll give em that.
But I know they lyin about those dogs. I seen em in the hills. There's some bad folks scoping us out. They took my granddaughter, I just know it.
I'll get you back, Mia. I promise.”
Mia, a baby who slept in the crib in that trailer, was abducted by raiders. And the only raider gang that ever had any interest in kids was the Diehards. And when you remember that the Responders had a foster care program that would later be run by Colonel once he was older, you’ll remember that a shit load of children went “missing” when Billy (Fishbones) attacked Flatwoods. And if teeth (baby, mole rat, or otherwise) was the secret ingredient in Angler’s chem recipe… and Colonel was Angler’s apprentice for a number of years before he joined the Responders… and Colonel was the caretaker of all of the children of Flatwoods… then exactly what was in those documents that Colonel was burning on his back porch? Full Circle
: So after everything, the Diehards lost their crop of children at the Palace of the Winding Path in 2079, but took the children of Flatwoods and left Appalachia. When they came back, they put Fishbones (Billy) in charge of the Ohio River Adventures operation, who is now spiking the mirelurk meat with a potent chem. It’s totally possible that Ra Ra is actually Mia Ward (Jeremiah Ward’s granddaughter). Hell, it’s even possible that Jeremiah Ward is somehow Ward from Foundation. Since Colonel was obviously keeping, and subsequently burning, secrets, I’d say he was also inclined to keep his raider past a secret as well as the truth about his adoptive father. Like he said in his Survivor’s Story, “he was bad.” Perhaps the reason he kept his Diehard history a secret from the Dassa and the other Responders was because he knew that the Responders were the ones punishing and exiling people back in Charleston. But this whole story began the day Darius Angler decided to get revenge on Grafton Steel. And if his brother hadn’t actually died after all, then it would explain why Angler stayed with the Diehards for as long as he did rather than returning to the Free states. Regardless, this entire story began and ended with Billy. “It was always Billy.”
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2023.05.29 15:30 SuddenlySwordly Sumo = The Ultimate Martial art
The video below displays TRUE SUMO, I've seen the videos of Akebono, tuli, and Emmanuel Yarborough but those were merely amateur competitors, not professionals and even then they'd gone rusty by the time they competed. If you put a Top sumo wrestler like displayed in this video he would quickly overwhelm the likes of Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar with sheer strength and force, It wouldn't be like taking on a Strongman or Linebacker because Sumo guys know how to pressure with combat-oriented strikes, holds, and takedowns designed for fighting, MMA fighters simply are not STRONG or SKILLED enough to compete.
And also, Let's talk about street fighting, There's no way these guys would be able to face a sumo in street fight, Go ahead and try to take down a sumo wrestler, I don't care how good your judo, bjj, and wrestling are Those mofos have TREE TRUNK legs, You're not going to muay thai shin kick those things and you're not going to be able to pick them up and you're definitely not going to be able trip them or do any fancy takedowns on this guy, His base and center of gravity is simply TOO LOW AND SOLID. Instead, The sumo guy will cancel out all your attempts and grab and slam you on the cement or shove you through bar table chairs and straight into the wall or tables. One thing people in the martial arts community ignore is PUSHING and SHOVING, Sumos are the master of pushing and Shoving, In UFC or Boxing you don't see pushing and shoving because those don't get points but in a street fight, Pushing and shoving someone into a brick wall or off a curb become EXTREMELY useful. Also, Take into account their ability to deflect monumental power being forced against them, So you really don't think they won't be able to negate a flimsy kick or punch?
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2023.05.29 15:26 SuddenlySwordly I'm CONVINCED High-level Sumo Wrestlers would EASILY defeat a UFC heavyweight champion in the ring and in Street fights. Prove me wrong
The video below displays TRUE SUMO, I've seen the videos of Akebono, tuli, and Emmanuel Yarborough but those were merely amateur competitors in the UFC, not professionals. Stop bringing them up. and even then they'd gone rusty by the time they competed. If you put a Top sumo wrestler like displayed in this video he would quickly overwhelm the likes of Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar with sheer strength and force, It wouldn't be like taking on a Strongman or Linebacker because Sumo guys know how to pressure with combat-oriented strikes, holds, and takedowns designed for fighting, MMA fighters simply are not STRONG or SKILLED enough to compete.
And also, Let's talk about street fighting, There's no way these guys would be able to face a sumo in street fight, Go ahead and try to take down a sumo wrestler, I don't care how good your judo, bjj, and wrestling are Those mofos have TREE TRUNK legs, You're not going to muay thai shin kick those things and you're not going to be able to pick them up and you're definitely not going to be able trip them or do any fancy takedowns on this guy, His base and center of gravity is simply TOO LOW AND SOLID. Instead, The sumo guy will cancel out all your attempts and grab and slam you on the cement or shove you through bar table chairs and straight into the wall or tables. One thing people in the martial arts community ignore is PUSHING and SHOVING, Sumos are the master of pushing and Shoving, In UFC or Boxing you don't see pushing and shoving because those don't get points but in a street fight, Pushing and shoving someone into a brick wall or off a curb become EXTREMELY useful. Also, Take into account their ability to deflect monumental power being forced against them, So you really don't think they won't be able to negate a flimsy kick or punch?
Edit 1: Once again stop bringing up the Examples of Sumo wrestlers in previous UFC fights, Those WERE NOT professional sumo wrestlers.
Edit 2: Also you guys are completely ignoring the street fighting proficiency of a Sumo wrestler i described above https://www.youtube.com/shorts/OlJ471v0oNU?feature=share
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