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2023.06.03 16:18 mary_llynn Question for Apollo's devotee's: does this sound familiar?
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I have had a weirdly intense interest / draw towards Apollo these last few days. submitted by mary_llynn to Hellenism [link] [comments]
It reminded me that since I was a teenager I envisioned this entity I used to call simply "Fate" as a young-ish adult, very manga/twink like with blonde wave/curls being sort on my side and giving me the ability to take things with hope and enthusiasm even when they were not looking as such at first look. Then some outstanding things also happened to me that no precedent can explain in the level of luck they happened with.
For context I used to work in the music business, nothing ever drew me that much, I changed countries to quite literally run after my dreams. I also had a job which I stumbled upon and that was related to health for which I seemed to have an innate attitude.
As I stumbled upon posts about Apollo on Hellenism circles I have had this feeling that the energies they attribute to him are extremely similar and seem to remind me of that familiar energy/feeling I had for Fate.
Ironically I've had him on my mind non stop through the night with a song stuck in my head about playing "here comes the sun".
Then the King of Vibes shows up, which it's the ultimate level of the suits of Wands, hence fire. The artwork is actually stunningly similar to the image of the blonde man I had in my younger age about Fate, and I have just come to learn one of Apollo's epithets is indeed MOIRA′GETES (Moiragetês), the guide or leader of fate.
He seems to have such an informal and fun/charming energy compared to the authoritative stance I expect gods to have? It makes me smile and it makes me wonder if that's what my bizzare intense energy comes from (besides the excessive dopamine I biologically am drowning in due to a genetic blip).
Am I making any sense? Do any Apollo devotees find anything familiar in this?
Thank you for taking the time to read this far if you have
2023.06.03 16:17 Illwood_ Humans Make The Best Mech Pilots?! (Part 2/?)
“Three years to build a mech with specs that only a year ago I would have called impossible within this century? Would you like any other miracles while I’m preying to every deity I know of?” – [CLASSIFIED] Head of [CLASSIFIED] development, after being presented with the project’s requirements.
‘Diagnostics complete. Error zero-zero, reactor output is nil. No other errors detected. Unit 0012 is unable to perform upcoming operation. I am sorry Sustain. You will be scratched from the roster.’
Anna ‘Sustain’ Finand started swearing, first in United Earth common, then English and lastly in Arabic. Fortunately for her career and general standing among her peers, her mech’s cockpit was still sealed tight, preventing the small army of engineers and maintenance personal swarming her mech from hearing.
She swore about the ridiculousness of a reactor design that could fail with no discernible reason at the drop of a hat. She cursed about the mountain of corners which had been piled up at the feet of the killing machine that refused to power on. Lastly, she just screamed as three years of built-up frustration poured out of her lanky body.
Sustain had been a mech pilot for far longer than she cared to admit, having began by piloting her Dad’s farming mech during planting season. She would start her shift in the mech-tractor after schooled finished, and work until midnight while her Dad slept. Then she would catch some much-needed rest, only to wake up early the next morning for school and do it all over again. She never resented her Dad for the strain the season would place on the two of them, but curiously she had always found herself angry at her mother; who had left when she was only five.
When she had signed up for the military, she had told the interviewing officer that she could pilot a mech in her sleep. She hadn’t been bragging. They’d thrown her into a simulator to see what she could do, and when she told her father that she’d barely passed the exam, she’d been lying. She hadn’t wanted him to worry about the possibility of her being hand picked for the special forces, which is exactly what had happened a few months later. Sustain remembered the fight between herself and her father after that, it had been legendary, and was still something they joked about to this very day.
Still, Sustain was as stubborn as her dad, and when her special forces service had paid for his space flight to and apartment on Earth he’d admitted that he was glad to have lost that fight. Thinking about her father, and Earth, only intensified the extreme frustration Sustain was currently experiencing.
The Algeen’s had pulled in as many species as they possibly could to fight off the Tide, but they hadn’t seen fit to give humanity the same offer. It was only five years ago that humanity had learnt about the existence of the Tide, as the inter-galactic wall that had been the Algeen republic, exhausted beyond all measures, crumbled away.
It still pissed her off to think about. Had the Algeen’s included humanity and it’s six hundred worlds at the start of the war, hell even halfway through it, they would have been able to fight with the numerical advantage. But instead, the Algeen’s had kept the Tide and their war from them a secret. No one knew why but Sustain could sure as hell guess: In the past Humanity and the Algeen’s had their fair share of conflicts.
No doubt the Algeen’s had wanted to present a facade of strength, out of fear that humanity would seek to capitalise on their weakened state.
Sustain could easily see humanity negotiating favourable terms for their aid, terms which may very well have seen them rise as the dominate power in the galactic region. Much like America in comparison to England after WWII. However, by seeking to prevent this from happening, the Algeen’s may have doomed humanity in the process.
Once they knew of their existence Humanity had tried to open diplomatic talks with the Tide and had been violently rebuked. With the Algeen’s crashing down before their very eyes humanity’s leadership had realised with horror that they now had to fight a considerably more powerful enemy, and only had five years to prepare for it.
Three years ago, that same leadership had finally convinced the Algeen’s to share their technology with their new allies of circumstance, and the flood gates had poured open. That’s when Sustain had gotten involved in the cluster fuck.
Humanity knew from their past that their technology was a few years behind that of the Algeen’s. However, they also knew that their tactics and general understanding of warfare was significantly greater. But now they had to compete with the Tide, who’s technology surpassed even that of the Algeen’s, and half measures weren’t going to cut it. Humanity had set out to build a brand new mech, one which could match the Tide machines (even if it wouldn’t beat them) by combining human and Algeen technology.
Sustain had signed on as a test pilot for the project, one of a thousand such pilots. Calling them the best of the best was considered an insult to many of the test pilots. While Sustain didn’t agree with such an arrogant attitude she wasn’t so humble as to be unable to admit the truth: They weren’t the best. Or the best of the best. They were one thousand out of a billion such pilots. They were Elite in the truest meaning of the word.
But none of that would mean anything if they didn’t have any machines to pilot.
Having taken a moment to calm herself, Sustain popped the seals on her cockpit, and opened the heavy door to the clammer of voices and machinery that was the drop hanger of the Swan. The Swan was a orbital insertion carrier, designed to launch its cargo onto a planet without succumbing to gravity or weapons fire alongside them. In just two short hours they would be deploying onto Algeen Prime, one battle which made up the many overseen by operation “Sucker Punch”.
For humanity to survive it needed to push the Tide back as quickly as possible while they were still dealing with the many losses, they had suffered during the Algeen war. For humanity to survive it needed to bloody the nose of those who dared to threaten the continued existence of mankind, and countless others. What better place to do that then where the most noses were located?
Algeen Prime and its surrounding systems were swarming with Tide ships and mechs, as their long conflicted was slowly ground to a pulp. Human intelligence suggested that the Tide in these locations would be running low on supplies, manpower and equipment. It was into this exhausted army that operation sucker punch would strike. It was up to Sustain and the Algeen-Human experimental mech program to be the tip of that spear. No pressure.
Sustain’s maintenance chief cut through both the volume of the hanger and her anxious recount of the events leading up to this situation.
“Sorry Captain, this one’s given up the ghost. I don’t know what is so cursed about this reactor design but when I find whoever made the mistake that causes this headache, I’ll throw the unlucky sod your way eh?”
Despite the situation the Chief’s gruff voice and jokes were enough to force the ghost of a smile onto Sustain’s face. The old, balding man reminded her of a friend of her fathers. The one who’d help occasionally with odd maintenance jobs around the house that her father was too busy to attend to. Only instead of repainting the living room he was fine tuning the most advanced fighting machine currently known to mankind. An odd idiosyncrasy to be sure, but like her the Chief was Elite.
“You’d deprive yourself of that satisfying revenge for me Tomlinson?” Sustain replied.
“Well better you go to prison then me, and I trust you to really twist the knife while you gut the fella.”
An awkward silence stretched between the two of them. A deep dark abyss that neither really wanted to descend into. Sustain took the plunge first.
“How many others like mine?”
Tomlinson’s eyes said all she needed to know. But he spoke anyway.
“About half of em. We’re hoping to get that down to a quarter but the timing ain’t looking so great. I hope you don’t mind me saying I’m glad yours isn’t showing any signs of life, if we got her started now we’d have to skip so many safety procedures to be ready in time that it ain’t funny… Well, it’d be a little funny. But only if you didn’t explode.”
Sustain grimaced. The constant issue with the experimental mechs was their power source. Everything else had been shaped up over the frantic past three years, but the reactors were a hurtle that seemingly couldn’t be overcome. Once they were running, they were fine. In fact, they were better than fine. Once running the reactors were a considerable improvement to their Algeen basis. It was getting them started that was the hard part.
Three years of Elite scientists and engineers working on the problem, and still it was a crapshoot as to whether the reactors would startup properly or destroy itself in doing so. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that the reactors were only designed to be run for a month before needing to be powered down for a maintenance once over.
Sustain’s mech had its maintenance once over a week ago. She would have preferred delaying the operation to ensure that all the one thousand Elite had operational machines, but replacing the reactor in the experimental mechs took weeks to do. Apparently command just didn’t have that kind of time.
Sustain spook to Tomlinson again.
“Alright, well good effort team. Looks like the training machine’s up.”
The training machines were highly customised but otherwise unmodified Algeen machines. With the experimental one’s being so finicky the Elite had needed reliable machines to hone their skills in. The trainers had never been intended to be taken into battle, however the situation left little room for anything else. They were capable machines, and the Elite pilots were very familiar with them. Tomlinson helped her down with an odd look on his face. After a moment Sustain realised: it was a potent mix of apprehension and guilt.
“I-I” The usually steadfast chief choked on his words. Pausing to take a deep breath before continuing. “I’m sorry it had to be this way ma’am. I didn’t want to let you down.”
Sustain was surprised by the words, but a cocky smile soon found it’s way to her face.
“Don’t worry Chief, I like a challenge. I thought you would have known that about me by now.” She said with a wink.
That same smile danced on her face once more, as two hours and one Tide mech later she was on the battlefield in her trainer mech. The taste of victory like Ambrose in her mouth. The ranged heavy Tide mech was fighting its salvo at her, but rather then attempted to doge the incoming missile or deploy her energy shield, Sustain kept her mech perfectly still. Closing her eyes and increasing the rating on her neural lace; merging her mind closer and closer to the heart of the machine.
When she opened them again everything was slowed to a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second. She concentrated on the first missile, its trajectory appearing on her HUD, and lined up a trajectory of her own. The spikes the Algeen had noted on her mechs shoulders were indeed grenade launchers – not designed for offensive operation and most certainly not designed to be used as anti-missile fire. But Sustain had been training against the Elite for over three years now, most of them in this very machine, together they had all learnt more then a few tricks.
With the overclocking ability of her neural lace, (a development that neither the Algeen’s nor the Tide had access to), Sustain was able to launch the smoke canisters with unnerving accuracy directly into the path of the oncoming Tide fire. To Churk, who was watching the fight take place in real time, it appeared as though every canister had fired at the same moment. But to Sustain each and every canister had been individually targeted and fired.
The massive shockwave of so many missile denotating at once pounded into the surrounding area, causing the ground to shake, trees to shiver and Churk and his team to grab their helmets and take cover. One moment Sustain’s Algeen mech had been charging across the grassy field towards the Tide heavy, the next the entire field and some of the forest the Tide heavy was taking cover in was filled with smoke.
At first both Churk and the Tide pilot believed the smoke to be coming from the destroyed carcass of Sustain’s mech. Both were equally surprised then when with the quick flash of a blade the smoke, (and the Tide’s missile launcher,) were spilt in two.
The smoke in question was electro chemical in nature and caused odd pixelation and glitches to flare up in Sustain’s mechs sensors, as the scrambling effects of the smoke began to hit full force. Of course, Sustain’s mech was programmed with these effects in mind, and so was shielded from the worse of the interference. The same cannot be said for the Tide mech, who’s pilot now had to battle one insanely capable human and their own systems in order to survive. It was a battle that the mech pilot would not be able to win, however that doesn’t mean they were going to go down without a fight.
The Tide mech swung the ruined launcher at Sustain’s mech, and she used her left shoulder to block the blow, causing the frame of her machine to shake with the force of the heavy blow. In return she struck with her sword, finding the elbow joint on the Tide machine’s left arm, and slicing for everything her mech was worth. Her sword ran up the length of the Tide mech’s arm, under the heavy armour, and into the shoulder joint, whereupon (with a flick of her wrist) Sustain was able to deprive the Tide mech of its entire arm.
The Tide mech swung again with the now very pulped launcher, Sustain ducked the blow and thrust forward with her blade, intending to skewer the Tide machine on her sword. She was partially successful in doing so, creating a large and jagged rent in the chest armour of her enemy. The enemy (who was not unskilled) twisted away, preventing Sustain from penetrating the top-quality armour and causing her mech to overbalance. Instead of stepping forward to overt her fall Sustain sent her mech’s anti-gravity pods into overdrive and activated her jump jets. The mech rolled forward smoothly, in a movement that would have shredded a machine of its size and weight if not for the advanced technology of the pods.
As Sustain rolled free from her opponent’s follow up strike (an overhead blow that would have caught her on the back of her machine) smashed into empty air and then dirt. Not letting the sudden evasion get the better of them however, the Tide pilot dropped the useless and crushed launcher remains and pulled their mech’s coil gun from its thigh holster. The coil gun looked like a pistol in the mechs hand, but was powerful enough at this range to punch directly through the chest of Sustain’s mech.
The Tide pilot never got the chance to fire it.
Sustain bounced back from her roll with a speed that, even with the gravity pods maxed out, sent creaks throughout her entire machine. Her jump jets were still firing, and she leapt towards the Tide mech as it pulled its coil gun from its holster. Facing a weapon, she could not deflect with smoke grenades or armour, her only defence was speed and accuracy.
Like a shark about to earn a round of drinks by throwing their last dart, Sustain hit the bullseye at the last possible second. The Tide machine’s armour, already comprised by her previous pass, finally failed as the full weight of Sustain’s mech was forcefully shoved against it. The force concentrated through the point of her brutally simple sword and sliced deep into vulnerable inners of the machine to hit the only thing that truly mattered onboard a mech: The pilot.
Want to support me? Read the next part early
? Name characters
that will appear in my work? Pick chapter titles
? Look at the AI generated mech designs
that go along with the series? Join my Patreon
submitted by Illwood_
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 15:53 outgrownthvngs my partner said something that hurt my feelings and i’m spiraling
i woke up this morning riddled with anxiety because i’m unemployed again and have been frantically searching for jobs on indeed. i began crying because i am struggling to find anything that i qualify for that won’t make me miserable. my partner woke up to this and asked what was up, i said that essentially, and they said “i don’t know what to tell you, i’m sorry.” i told them that it’s fine that you don’t know, i know that it’s complicated. somewhere along the way it evolved into them getting frustrated and shouting, “this happens everyday. the second you wake up it’s negativity. can’t you ever say something positive?” and i just lost it. i left the house. i’m bawling alone in my car right now.
i don’t know if i’m overreacting but everything hurts. i already know that i’m too much but to hear them say that just solidified that i am too much.
submitted by outgrownthvngs
to CPTSD [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 15:52 myflavor I made a simple and modern job site and curate jobs from well-funded startups and public companies
Our team got axed early April and since I'm alone and miserable, I built a site to help myself (and hopefully other people as well).
The site itself is pretty self-explanatory - a job site with good jobs (at least to my standard) from different parts of the world. I decied to go with uni-search bar instead of Indeed like dual search bars just to keep things simple.
I'm planning to add custom feed / subscription and start working with recruiters (with good placement history) to allow users apply via recruiters to speed up the application process.
DM me if you have any questions or suggestions! Here is the link.
submitted by myflavor
to jobs [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 15:37 _SanD_ Compte à Terme pour 1er achat immobilier
Je vais recevoir une donation de 120k. Je cherche un produit pour les déposer. Cet argent servira à financer mon premier achat immobilier sur Paris. J'ai repris un job donc encore en période d'essai. J'aimerais acheter dans plusieurs mois voire 1 an vu les taux d'emprunt.
Je suis majoritairement placé chez Boursorama et j'ai découvert leur CAT à 3% sur 12 mois. Ça me paraît être une option intéressante pour un achat sur le court-terme.
Avez-vous d'autres options en tête ? Y a t-il des CAT avec de meilleurs taux ?
submitted by _SanD_
to vosfinances [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 14:54 endisnearhere Is there a way to find FT Remote work without having to wade through miles of scams and garbage?
I feel like it shouldn’t be this hard to find a remote position. I’m looking mainly for a data entry position, something that’s not phone-heavy, but I’m not being too picky. My only deal-breaker is that it needs to be remote. I’ve been scouring indeed and linkedin for about a month now with no serious job offers. My phone is blowing up with “kindlys” and the same damn template several times a day offering $39/hr for a signal/team’s interview.
It’s getting so exhausting. Am I looking in the wrong places? Is there an easier way to find one of these jobs? I honestly don’t even care if it’s low paying at this point.
submitted by endisnearhere
to jobs [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 14:50 cinmarcat Karma I Guess...
Here is my original post to give this one some context: https://www.reddit.com/Teachers/comments/13m658v/always_in_the_wrong/
I was looking at jobs on a job site earlier today. I found this original job on Indeed, which was the same site I was using today.
Looks like the job I was referring to in my original post is back on job searching sites as of two days ago! I cannot help but laugh (hence the humor tag)! Karma can be a real *beep* .
submitted by cinmarcat
to Teachers [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 14:43 mofosyne Ethics of being without responsibilities
This is a slight tangent from the media criticality of SotS (Sorcery of the Spectacle) and more into the aspect of social pressure to engage in behaviour to signal a more grownup or capable persona.
I noticed that some people IRL are giving suggestions that to be a more responsible person you need to get a pet or grow a plant.
I'm wondering if that would actually be an irresponsible thing to advice in certain context, as there is plenty of pets and perhaps even humans being raised by carers who simply took up the job to "learn to be more responsible". (Though in the plant context, a dead plant is not as heartbreaking... plz don't cancel me /drudism
I think I'm inclined to say we have it rather ass backward, as in my personal opinion taking up responsibilities should be in the context of an internal interpersonal need (to be loved by a pet) rather than external development of mental tools (like being more responsible).
Perhaps in the context of SotS, you could also mention how the more effective advertisement targets peoples relationship with things they care about (e.g. old spice targeting women to get their men some mens care product). So in some sense, having more responsibilities without developing the life skills to handle it, may be itself be irresponsible as you are increasing the attack surface that media operators (and the more natural social forces) can pressure you into decision you would not choose in a responsible manner.
Anyway... that's all I can think about...
You've brought up an interesting point about the social pressure to engage in certain behaviors in order to signal maturity or responsibility. It's true that some people may suggest getting a pet or growing a plant as a means to develop responsibility. However, it's important to consider the individual's readiness and genuine desire for such responsibilities, as well as their ability to provide proper care and attention.
Taking on the responsibility of caring for another living being, whether it's a pet or even another human being, should ideally stem from a genuine internal desire and capacity to provide love, care, and support. It shouldn't be undertaken solely as a means to learn responsibility or as a way to conform to societal expectations.
Regarding your mention of SotS, it is indeed relevant to consider how media and advertising can exploit people's relationships with things they care about. Advertisers often target emotional connections and leverage them to promote their products or influence consumer behavior. If someone takes on additional responsibilities without developing the necessary life skills or without a genuine desire, they may become more vulnerable to manipulative tactics used by media operators or social forces.
In conclusion, it's important to approach responsibilities like pet ownership or caregiving with sincerity, preparedness, and a genuine connection to the task at hand. Taking on responsibilities solely for external validation or as a means to conform to social expectations can lead to unfavorable outcomes for both the person and the beings they are responsible for.
submitted by mofosyne
to sorceryofthespectacle [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 14:40 kittichankanok AITA I helped my friend get a job, he quitted with expectations I feel is unrealistic, and we got into a shouting match.
I apologise for wasting your time, but I do feel that I need an unbiased opinion here. This is a recent event, and I am still a little shaken, but I will try to be as unbiased as I can.
One of my childhood friends recently lost most of his inherited wealth through a series of poor investment decisions. Last month I helped him obtain a job in a company I had connections in. Earlier this week I learned that he had resigned his position, citing that he was "overqualified for the position" and that he deserves a higher paying job.
In his defense, his education level is indeed overqualified for this position. On the other hand he has been unemployed now for slightly over two years before my intervention. My friend says that he deserves a job with a USD 110,000 a year salary (about 30 times minimum wage here in Thailand, and 10 times the job I got him). This is just over 50% of his previous salaried position, but the business was fully owned by his father at the time. This is not a salary he can realistically get with his CV in a business without a biased controlling interest.
I told my friend bluntly that he was daydreaming, things got heated, and ended with me calling the fellow an idiot and a clown, and never to call me again. I admit, to my shame, that I became quite rude during this phone call. My opinion was that his asking salary was unreasonable. I was also quite angry at the time, since his resignation from a position I recommended him for caused me significant loss of face.
Today his wife, another old friend, rang me up crying that my friend became very depressed after our conversation and that she is worried about him. It is her opinion that I should not have berated her husband in a vulnerable time, and that I was being both tyrannical and insensitive.
Am I the asshole here? Is my friend delusional, or am I the one who is intolerant of other people’s point of view, or perhaps a little of both?
Update: My thanks for your time and advice, it is valuable to me to have a neutral perspective into these things. I will do my best to try to resolve this issue, but will also be wary of offering unsolicited help in the future.
submitted by kittichankanok
to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 14:36 Skbb_Gamer69 74% or not sure but maybe story related = passion
2023.06.03 14:22 SnooPets1386 Finding a minimum wage Job
I have been applying to various minimum wage jobs on indeed ( mcdonalds, retail stores, serving jobs, assistant etc) without a single responce. I also took the advice of a couple people and applied instore but they just refer me back to online applications. What should i do? I'm at a loss and I really need a job. Any leads would be highly appreciated. For context, im located close to UofT
submitted by SnooPets1386
to askTO [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 14:09 DishevelledDeccas The Poverty of Christian Voluntarism
*** Effort Post ***
Whenever the topic of socialism or welfare comes up in Christian circles, the notion of Christian voluntarism is quick to follow. What is this Christian voluntarism? It is the idea that national welfare should be based on voluntary charity by the church, not the state. This idea seems to have influence in George Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism, and also to a lesser degree in David Cameron’s Big Society.
Two defenses of the concept are in “The Tragedy of American Compassion” by Marvin Olasky, and “Christian Charity vs Government Welfare” by Thomas Johnson
. In truth, elements of the idea itself has subtlety become accepted by a very many Christians, and is present in general Christian apologetics on economics (see bibliography). It must be noted that the proponents of the idea rarely embrace the term Christian Voluntarism
, which seems to be rather a function of how generally accepted and non-sequitur the idea seems to be. The theology behind Christian Voluntarism
Sadly, many of the texts linked do not have a strong theological basis; they are largely historical defenses for the idea (See Olasky 2008 and Johnson 1970). Thus, a strongman of their theology must rely on those aforementioned Christian apologetic sources rather substantially (see bibliography). Also, thanks to u/Laojac
who provided a strongman here
Christian voluntarism is fundamentally reliant on the charity practiced by the early Christian Church. We know that people in the church shared their property with each other and cared for each other; Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:32-37. We know they were commanded to care for their families, alongside the poor, and that there were fundraising efforts to send money over to people in need in the church (1 Tim 5:3,8, Galatians 2:10, Hebrews 13:2-3, 2 Corinthians 8-9). Christian Voluntarism takes this model for charity and attempts to nationalize it is a welfare system, for charity. It uses a few methods to support this.
First, it argues that bible tells us that giving should be voluntary. 2 Corinthians 8-9, and especially 2 Corinthians 9:7, exhort voluntary charity, not done under compulsion. Ergo, the state should not require taxation to fund welfare. Whilst the online tracts do not go much further than this, there is an interesting way that this can be extrapolated further. The particular significance of this verse, interestingly enough, is it is one of the key verses to refute the requirement of tithing. Tithing existed under the wholistic economic system of the old testament that did have many rather radical economic policies; the sabbatical year and the year of jubilee, etc. So to call in this verse against the requirement of taxation does provide a rather big challenge; this new idea of caring in the new testament is not a system of governance, like in the old testament, with taxes and regulations. It is a system guided by the holy spirit, whereby people voluntarily care for those around them. The requirement for people to care for families in 1 timothy 5 would definitely fall into this.
Second, it fundamentally ties welfare to work. To quote 2 Thessalonians 3:10 - “those who do not work shall not eat”. This can be taken in the more obvious sense of “there is no such thing as a free lunch” – people need to work to provide for a living, but for the Christian voluntarists, it is taken as a command of a mutual obligation – those who do not try to work shall not get welfare. (Olasky 2008, p 9-10). Unsurprisingly, this is where ideas of “deserving” and “undeserving poor” come from worthy (Olasky 2008, p 11-12). This also forms what welfare should look like – Welfare has a purpose to help people make a living for themselves (Olasky 2008, p 25, 29). But specifically, in practice it also means that those who don’t want to work should be excluded from welfare (Olasky 2008, p 12, 29, 228). Christian voluntarist tracts argue further that welfare itself is corrupting in that it enables backwardness and degeneracy to exist, encouraging laziness and the breakdown of families (for example, Olasky 2008, p xi -xvii, 222).
Third, supporting this is the argument that Biblical notions of property are explicitly in favor of Liberal
private property. This is the belief that the owner of property, can do whatever they want with their property. This starts with an appeal to Exodus 20:15,17 as examples of OT Justifications for private property. It points to the various points in the bible that recognize private ownership. To reference a few; Genesis 4:4, Micah 4:4, Acts 5:4. A very notable verse is Mathew 20:15; “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” – taking this statement at face value would suggest Jesus is very much in favour of liberal
private property rights. The whole conclusion of this that people have the right to do with their property what they want. The most immediate implication is the government cannot seize property - This is used against the threat of state socialism. The Problems with this theology
Of course, we need to recognize that the Bible doesn’t tell Christians to take over the state and implement a welfare state. The fact is that the bible doesn’t prescribe a structure for economic justice in the broader national community. But similarly, this means the bible doesn’t prescribe the Church as being the welfare system of the broader national community. There is a legitimate question about how to pursuing economic justice in light of biblical commands and examples, and the description of the New Testament church (Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:34-35) exists to show us what economic justice should look like in Christian communities specifically. However, it is a significant stretch to argue that this decentralised system of churches providing welfare is what the bible prescribes as the only legitimate national welfare system.
NT Christian communities were not set up to be a welfare system for the Roman state. They were examples of model Christian communities that we can look to guide us in holy living. They did exist as an alternate perception of economic justice to Old Testament Israel’s state-embedded system, certainly. However, this alternative state was for a few reasons; First Old Testament Israel was a sacrificial system, one that was no longer needed after Christ’s death and resurrection (Heb 10:1-18). Second, Old Testament Israel was a theocratic state, that would make a people for God who would be outwardly different from all around them (Deut 28:9-10). However, Christ did not come to establish a kingdom of this world (John 18:36), instead a people who would follow him due to their changed heart (John 18:36, John 3:5-8). The nullification of the theocratic state of Israel was not a rejection of the state’s interference in economic policy. Rather, it was a recognition that the theocratic state had fulfilled its soteriological and eschatological purpose.
With this context out of the way, we can refute the specific justifications of the voluntarists; The first, 2 Corinthians 9:7, which tells us that giving should be voluntary, not under compulsion, was in a specific letter given to a specific community responding to a crisis at the time. To transform it into a condemnation of state taxation for welfare is a substantial stretch. Paul made clear that it was also a test; he would not command this church to give charity but wanted to know the sincerity of their love, by comparing how much they gave compared to other churches (2 Corinthians 8:8-9).
He was not laying down a law about the state. Nothing in the passage suggests that the state cannot provide welfare. Nothing in the passage suggests that the state cannot demand taxation. Indeed, bible does not reject compulsion in terms of taxation as Christians are exhorted to pay their taxes (Mark 12:13-17; Rom 13:6-7). Contextually, the Christian Voluntarist must also grapple with the absence of a condemnation of the grain dole of Rome, both within this passage and within the broader New Testament. Now, one could argue that if the state gets involved in welfare then the sincerity of Christian love has failed – but that is a very different argument, an argument that needs to grapple with both the fallen nature of humanity, and the social implications of democracy. Nevertheless, the passage at hand does not refute state taxation or state provision of welfare.
Moving to the second justification – that, welfare should be tied to work. This specific passage, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, occurs within a context where there are believers who are “idle and disruptive” (v 6, 11) and who are “not busy; they are busybodies”. They are commanded to settle down and eat (v 12). To use this passage to encourage Christians to work is good. It is not the purpose of the passage to be used for a model of how a welfare state works. Unlike 2 Cor 9:7, which is deliberately misused by Christians to deny welfare to others – this passage can be used to form a welfare state system. Like Acts 4:32 for the Socialists, and 1 Corinthians 14:12-26 for the Corporatists, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 seems quite able to be derived to justify a political policy. However, to declare that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 necessitates a policy program on welfare is misguided – it was a teaching for a particular church at a particular time. The practical considerations of this particular section will get further treatment further on.
The final argument that the bible prescribes liberal private property. This argument has lies that it conceals in truths. Fundamentally, the bible does recognize property rights. It recognizes that we can own property and have liberty in using that property. However, the bible also recognizes two other things; First, that we are not the absolute owners of that property. God is the absolute owner of everything, not humanity (1 Cor 10:26; Psalm 24:1; Deut 10:14). The second is that any property we have, we steward for God; we are not allowed to use property for whatever purpose we deem fit. The OT system has a variety of restrictions on how we can use property, much of which existed for economic justice. There were prohibitions on taking interest (Leviticus 26:36-37); Gleaning laws that mean restricted the amount of produce farmers could get from their own harvest, requiring they leave some to the poor (Lev 19:9-10; Deut 24:19-21). Furthermore, there are the radical redistribution policies with the Sabbatical year and year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:1-7, 8-55). The commandment to not steal was situated within these verses about responsibilities, something noted by Both Catholics and Reformed Christians (See the Catholic Catechism, Westminster Larger Catechism and Heidelberg Catechism). The New Testament similar has a variety of commands about how to use property; (Luke 6:30, 1 John 3:17, 1 Tim 5:8, 6:17-18).
There is one verse that falls outside of the above explanation; Mathew 20:15 – “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?”. The context of the verse is that Jesus is teaching a parable. In the parable, the vineyard owner pays all his workers the same amount, no matter what they work. Parables have single purposes – the purpose of this parable is that it doesn’t matter however late you sign up to the gospel, you will still be saved. It is not a parable with prescriptions on wage payments. It is not a parable with prescriptions on private property.
Fundamentally, there is no biblical prescription against the state establishment of a welfare state. This, in itself, does not disqualify Christian voluntarism as an idea; rather it means that advocating Christian voluntarism requires making a different argument – that the Christian voluntarist form of welfare is the best form of welfare. The Economics of a Christian Voluntarist welfare state
Gøsta Esping-Andersen’s seminal work “The Three Worlds of welfare Capitalism”, divides welfare states into three ideal types; “Liberal”, “Conservative” and “Social Democratic”. Of these, Christian Voluntarism is closest to the “Liberal” ideal type which is found in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. A liberal welfare state is one that aims to encourage the pursuit of employment, and so the state will provide as little as possible (Esping-Andersen 1990, p. 42). Means testing and mutual obligation is often used to minimize the states ways to welfare provision. Those who cannot rely on government support must rely on charity (Esping-Andersen 1990, p. 26-27).
Christian Voluntarism is essentially a Christian defense for the “Liberal” welfare state. However it does far more, because in practice it would mean the undermining of the liberal welfare state. The Christian voluntarist would tear down the last vestiges of a state led system so that people instead rely on Charity. They would attempt to further liberalize an already liberal system. The practical implications of this are that even a state led system that incorporates the principles of the “deserving and undeserving” poor, alongside the mutual obligations of “those who don’t work don’t eat”, are too much for the Christian Voluntarist.
This system fails both quantitatively and qualitatively. It fails quantitatively because a welfare state based on charity cannot support the entire population. Welfare encompasses old age, unemployment, workplace injuries, permanent disabilities and more. The amount of money needed to organise such a welfare system is unachievable by charities (Green 2017). Reviews of “The Tragedy of American compassion” point out that the historical charitable system championed did not provide welfare for all – it was very geographically dependent (Hammack, 1996, p 261-262).
This system also fails qualitatively. One would think that a Christian voluntarist would see that charity and welfare are symptoms of economic greater problems, and addressing those greater problems would reduce the burdens on charity.
But Christian Voluntarists don’t address the issues which lead people to need charity. Unaffordable healthcare and involuntary unemployment are two clear examples of structural economic problems; the former due to the various oligopolies that exist throughout the healthcare system, which is unsurprising given it is a market with high start-up costs, and the latter often due a deficiency in demand. The solutions to these factors require substantial economic reform by means of regulation and government spending, which is antithetical to the Christian Voluntarist ideal. Christian voluntarists are not advocating for these solutions to reduce the burden on charities.
Two further addendums need to be added to this analysis. The first is that there are flaws with regards to the policy derivatives of 2 Thessalonians 3:10. The idea of an undeserving poor has lead to many problems – for example this group has historically included beggars and criminals (Schmalz 2017). The definition of who is undeserving will inevitably both include and exclude people who may need help. Olasky, for example, includes Alcoholics and Drug Addicts as part of his ‘undeserving poor’ (p. 227-228), when, in truth, these groups could quite easily be seen as the most needing of support – albeit in a more compressive form then mere cash handout. The principle of mutual obligations behind this need to be thought through. Interestingly enough, the gleaning system in the OT seems to be a system that follows this idea; welfare is there, but people have to work to get it. This principles behind this are also evident in a full employment policy in the modern era. However, today’s governments generally prefer of “mutual obligations” for welfare, or forms of workfare instead. In the context where workers outnumber jobs these programs essentially act as punitive “full employment policy”.
The second is the Christian voluntarist claim that any welfare system should be orientated towards public morality alongside economic justice. This is a fair claim, and frankly welfare systems must be cautiously constructed with consideration of economic justice, and also the moral fabric of society. Here the example of the ideal type of the Conservative welfare state (historically found in found in Germany, Belgium and Austria), can be drawn upon. This welfare state, for example, is constructed with the family in mind (Esping-Andersen 1990, p. 27). It also relies largely on decentralised system of welfare provision that incorporate religious providers (Esping-Andersen 1990, p. 27). Even with the focus on the moral fabric of society, other factors must also come into play; The conservative welfare state benefits married couples over singles; what does this mean for the economic situation of single mothers? Such a welfare system needs to counterbalance the social fabric of society with it’s economic needs. To Conclude
Theologically, the claims of Christian Voluntarism do not stand up; there is not set biblical principle about the state’s involvement in welfare provision. Economically, the Christian Voluntarists fail to appreciate the quantitative size of charitable provision needed to match the welfare state, nor do they deal with the structural issues facing the economy.
Fundamentally, I am not a Christian Socialist. I do not believe that the descriptions of Christian communities in Acts can be described as socialist – I may write another piece like this later on. I’m not coming from a liberal, modernist or progressive Christian perspective. Rather I’m annoyed that Conservative Christians have accepted the claims of liberal economies and tried to make a more liberalized welfare system based on a misguided claim about following the Bible. 
The specific defense provided by Johnson is explicitly voluntarist, in that it draws on voluntarism as a philosophy. It is also Pelagian and so should be rejected; “Any Christian who does not openly and vehemently denounce all forms of government welfare, cannot, in truth, call himself a Christian, for government welfare is the antithesis of Christian charity.” - this is clearly heresy. 
Indeed, the term only seems to appear in online Christian Forums. However, Academics do describe this idea as voluntarist, and it is a Christian defense of Voluntarism, so terming the idea “Christian Voluntarism” is apt. 
This was the approach of the founder of the St Vincent De Paul society, Frederic Ozanam. He was an economics lecturer and argued that charity was insufficient to change the situation – what was needed was a change to the relationship between workers and capital (Moody 1953, p 129). Bibliography General:
Green, E., 2017. The Voluntarism Fantasy, Democracy A Journal of Ideas, viewed 22 October 2022, https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/32/the-voluntarism-fantasy/
Konczal, M., 2014. Can Religious Charities Take the Place of the Welfare State?, The Atlantic, viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/budget-religion/520605/
Schmalz, M., 2017. Taxing the rich to help the poor? Here’s what the Bible says, The conversation, viewed 3 June 3, 2023 https://theconversation.com/taxing-the-rich-to-help-the-poor-heres-what-the-bible-says-88627
Zeiger, H., 2014. The voluntarism fantasy?, Philanthropy Daily, viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.philanthropydaily.com/the-voluntarism-fantasy/ Christian Voluntarism & Compassionate Conservatism:
Olasky, M N, 2008, The Tragedy of American Compassion, Crossway Books, https://archive.org/details/tragedyofamerica0000olas/mode/2up
- Olasky provides a specifically Christian Argument.
Johnson, T L, 1970 May 9, “Christian Charity vs Government Welfare”, Human Events,
- Johnson also provides a specifically Christian Argument.
Weed D, 1977, The Compassionate Touch, Carol Stream, https://archive.org/details/compassionatetou00wead/mode/2up
- Weed provides a secular argument. Argumentative Sources
Esping-Andersen, GJ, 1990, The Three Worlds of welfare Capitalism
, Princeton University Press.
Hammack, DC, 1996, ‘The Tragedy of American Compassion’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Kuyper, A, 2021, On Business and Economics
, Lexham Press.
Lee, F.N 1988, Biblical Private Property Versus Socialistic Common Property, EN Tech.J. 3, pp. 16-22, https://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j03_1/j03_1_016-022.pdf
Moody, J, 1953, Church and society : Catholic social and political thought and movements
, Arts Inc Christian Apologetics on Economics
Got Questions, 2022, What is Christian Socialism?, Got Questions, viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-socialism.html
Groothuis D, 2021, CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIALISM: WHAT SHOULD A CHRISTIAN BELIEVE?, Focus on the Family, viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.focusonthefamily.com/church/christianity-and-socialism/
Jeremiah D, 2022, What does the Bible say About Socialism, DavidJeremiah.Blog, viewed 22 October 2022, https://davidjeremiah.blog/what-does-the-bible-say-about-socialism/#:~:text=While%20the%20Bible%20encourages%20generosity,according%20to%20His%20sovereign%20will
Miller C, 2013a, 2 corinthians 8, communism as an economic system, A little Perspective, viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.alittleperspective.com/2-corinthians-8-communism-as-an-economic-system-2/
Miller C, 2013b, 2 2 corinthians 9, giving cheerfully (communism, part two), A little Perspective, viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.alittleperspective.com/2-corinthians-9-giving-cheerfully-communism-part-two/
Piper, J., 2015. How Should Christians Think About Socialism, Desiring God, viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-should-christians-think-about-socialism
Understanding 2012, 2nd Corinthians 8: Charity or Socialism? (Love or Compulsion?), Understanding, viewed 22 October 2022, https://cutpaste.typepad.com/understanding/2012/08/2nd-corinthians-8-charity-or-socialism-love-or-compulsion.html
Hughes G, 2018, Was Jesus a Socialist, When we Understand the Text, viewed 22 October 2022, https://wwutt.com/was-jesus-a-socialist/
TOW Project, 2011, Sharing the Wealth (2 Corinthians 8:13-15), viewed 22 October 2022, https://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/2-corinthians/sharing-the-wealth-2-corinthians-813-15
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2023.06.03 14:01 nai_novaa hey my beardie barely uses his legs and or arms to hold himself up. advice? + update
context: im 15. my mom’s beardie was suffering from some extreme malnutrition and i tried nurse him from it the best way i could. at times we didn’t have food, veggies as well. but when we did i gave him kale, romanian lettuce, and bell peppers and made him drink a lot so something would be energizing him. (because my mom refuses to take care of him anymore) he one day just stopped eating it so i had to experiment a little, he’d only eat his kibble and freeze dried bugs if it was moving(i moved it around w my finger). i always thought you had to buy live bugs in person, i recently posted on here not too long ago and got someones help to buy bugs for him, and he LOVED them. i was so happy, so me being 15 and all i tried making more money, doing some uhh.. stuff onlinee, selling art, yada yadaz the best way i could and finally made some money and i figured out that u can doordash bugs!! so i bought him like 6 containers of bugs because im really trying to fatten him up. he is indeed fattening up, but i feel like him not using his limbs is a calcium deficiency. i dust his bugs up but he wont eat em that way. im gonna wait till hes real hungry for a worm and drop it in for him to see its moving. or ill try giving him calcium smoothies again.
(lil bit of a vent: its really fucking with me that my mom is just forgetting about him. so much so that I now have to buy him the stuff he needs to live just because shes waiting for him to die. i love all the animals in this house i do and if i had some job of some sort all that funding would go towards them. i feel like they hate us. im the only one in the house that cares about them, every person irl who could help has turned me down and i feel awful being basically helpless in doing much. if one of them get hurt thats a huge vet bill my moms not gonna pay. ive gotta get better at drawing and get more money to buy him stuff. im determined. i wish i could get him to a shelter because my mental health is declining and im this close just from losing it but i put my feelings aside. i shouldnt be having to take care of him and my mom knows that. i hate her genuinely. but i love him and i dont want him to die like the others i want to help)
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2023.06.03 14:00 ai_jobs [HIRING] Data Engineer II in Raleigh, NC, United States
2023.06.03 13:53 coelhophisis C'est un boss qui passe la pire journée de sa carrière.
Tout se passe mal dans son job, ses employés se battent, un de leurs clients s'envole en montgolfière et deux de ses employés essayent de se taper des clientes. Finalement il pète un câble puis se fait quitter par sa femme au téléphone mais ses employés sauvent la situation et tout rentre dans l'ordre au petit matin
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2023.06.03 11:55 Jumpy_Awareness4441 I made an AI chrome extension which autofills and applies to jobs hosted on Indeed
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2023.06.03 11:41 Jumpy_Awareness4441 I made an AI chrome extension which autofills and applies to jobs hosted on Indeed
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2023.06.03 11:37 Jumpy_Awareness4441 I made an AI chrome extension which autofills and applies to jobs hosted on Indeed
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2023.06.03 11:03 ai_jobs [HIRING] Senior Data Scientist (P3186) (Remote)
2023.06.03 10:47 SilverwolfMD Starting a canon SP New Game: AC6 with the CFA-44 (a very abridged draft)
ROTC makes it clear that when you sign on and they fund you for college, you owe them active or semi-active time. He knew he put in that time, even though war had only been a rumor. Worse, when you have talent, the military sees it and diverts you there. He showed promise as a pilot, so they put him in the simulator. Then sent him to flight school. Talisman wasn’t gunning to be a test pilot or higher fighting school. Not like his wingleader in flight school. Marcus was a decent guy, a career fighter pilot. He deserved the better hardware, he was dedicated to service. Well, so was Talisman…though he thought more of service beyond that of a soldier. Maybe an astronaut? But one’s personality and hopes must be weighted against things that happen in the real world, and Talisman’s wake-up call was a sound:
It wasn’t a sonic boom…not like a whip-crack pitched down from the mass of a fighter jet being orders of magnitude more massive than the stringy tip of the whip, harnessing the inherent mass and acceleration to power past the sound barrier. No. Talisman had known that sound in the times he flew live rounds on a firing range. Something exploded. Talisman looked up instinctively…his first action was somewhere between primal reflex and trained response. It was a simple sentence… “What the hell was that?!” Talisman ran on the drills. The base wasn’t under attack, but Gracemerian territory was. Reluctant or not, he had a job to do…except… Too many pilots, not enough aircraft. The order came down from the commanding officer. Talisman knew the callsign “Ghost Eye,” and went right to the lead mechanic, who asked him one question. “Can you read Estovakian?” Odd question. It did stir up some memories, but… “Read it, write it, speak it. Why…” “Ghost Eye’s cleared you for Nos.” Apparently, “Nos” was salvage…expertly restored salvage. Estovakia lost a prototype fighter, experiments on a shoestring from their lingering aerospace developement…lingering, after massive asteroid fragments hit Estovakia like a planet-scale claymore mine. Well, Emmeria has some awesome engineers. The intel officer (mechanic) read Talisman in on enough info. They pieced together the wreckage and rebuilt the original…and made it flightworthy. It passed all the tests, and it was ready for reproduction. So they told Talisman after he zipped into the flight suit…that seemed a little heavier than even the advanced G-support used for the Raptor. Talisman looked in disbelief at the machine in front of him, a spear of…titanium reinforced carbon fiber, arachnocomposite (spider-silk weave in rigid epoxy), aluminum, and…insanity. The ordinance techs were maneuvering BRICKS onto its ordinance stations. Bricks. Slabs. Slabs with lots of tubes set flush into the surface. “This thing flies?” He knew it was a stupid question…he’d read up on earlier aircraft with stranger configurations. “It’s flown to the nth degree around four test pilots. You’ve flown the Raptor?” “I did…I’m Navy, though, the Raptor is Air force…” “This bird is as unforgiving for recklessness, that’s why your G-suit is overbuilt. I read your file, and if Ghost Eye says you’re good to drive Nos, I’ll buy it. She’s more stable than she looks, but she’s also VERY nimble. And that SP weapon we’re loading in…” Talisman looked again at the slabs. “Yeah?” “Use them carefully, we don’t have too many rounds in this arsenal.” A reserve pilot going in to war. Talisman felt like he was cannon fodder, never mind that the Squadron commander, Ghost Eye himself, endorsed him to drive a piece of reconstructed and tested machinery salvaged and rebuilt from a crashed original. ‘Still,’ he thought, ‘it works.’ Indeed it did. The cockpit seemed salvaged from some of the original instruments, yet his fluency was enough to interpret the non-Gracemerian labels. The engine startup was the same, the avionics, nav, and tactical were Gracemerian standard, yet the readouts ran so fluidly with the existing hardware, it was more refined than a kludge. It was a testament to the discipline of the Gracemerian pilots that there was nary an interruption at the sight of the odd airframe. It had clear Gracemerian military markings, and the bird emblem of his reserve unit…a mythical firebird from the faith of the first…and only monarch Gracemeria had, the Garuda. ‘Not going to die here…’ Talisman thought to himself. Self-rhetoric, something to keep him from panicking…he hadn’t, but…he was only human. He just knew how to fly the machines he was ordered to learn to fly. Yeah, he was more intelligent than “just following orders,” and he held his shit together. But whatever made him good enough that Ghost Eye would give him code-word clearance to put his ass in this machine…still, a comfortable cockpit, controls on each side so he didn’t need to move around so much… “THEY TOOK OUT KING’S BRIDGE!” Comm chatter, but important chatter. Crap. King’s bridge…he drove over that this morning on his way to the airbase. Talisman settled the nose of his blue-gray spear on the centerline of the runway. ‘I’m lead. How the hell am I even on lead for takeoff?’ The tower gave clearance: “Just do what you always do!” ‘Right,’ he thought. ‘Okay…do what I always do.’ Talisman ran the controls…kick the pedals left and right, run the stick through all the axes. Runway takeoff, so flaps to first setting, hook up, launch bar up…that gave him a measure of familiarity, this was a CATOBAR aircraft, one that needed to be tough just to land. Anti-skid on. Hold the brakes and open the throttle, and as the engines go wet… Nos didn’t have all-original hardware, but the Khesedi afterburning turbofans were more than adequate to the task, with a butter-smooth transition to wet thrust that Talisman almost missed before releasing the brakes. Nos wasn’t being thrown into flight from a carrier, but she seemed to want to pretend. The airframe was tight, and she held the centerline. The fly-by-wire transmitted every flutter back through the controls, so when Talisman felt the tiny nudge from the undercarraige that the wings were grabbing wind…he eased back on the stick. ‘Just do what I always do?’ He took a few breaths on the O2 feed. ‘I haven’t been to war before.’ Not many pilots had until that day. For many of the angels, it was the first dance.
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2023.06.03 09:28 BrownTown427 Booking Asuka's Current Raw Women's Title Reign
At Royal Rumble 2023, Asuka returned after a brief hiatus, sporting a deranged look reminiscent of her days as Kana. And since that point, the Empress of Tomorrow has solidified her powerful aura, winning the Elimination Chamber match and avenging her disappointing loss to Bianca at WrestleMania 39 by dethroning the EST at Night Of Champions. And while Asuka has been Raw Women’s Champion before, this time feels…different…
Monday Night Raw (5/29/23):
Following Night of Champions with the crowning of Asuka, it would appear the landscape of the women’s division has changed. While some individuals are surely eager to go after singles gold, this isn’t initially the case for the Way. In a backstage interview with Byron Saxton, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell express their desire to go after the Women’s Tag Team Titles, only to be interrupted by the lunatic duo of Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville. Deville tries to get under the skin of the pairing, particularly LeRae, mocking her struggles to get victories as of late. However, Candice retorts that Sonya and Chelsea haven’t done anything either, their only actual success as a duo being making Adam Pearce question his own sanity. After a few more moments of bickering, Green tries to slap LeRae, but Hartwell blocks it for her, shoving Chelsea to the ground. Sonya shoves Indi back, and Candice in-turn attacks Deville, forcing several officials to have to separate things.
This results in a singles match later in the evening between Deville and LeRae, with Sonya trying to make an example out of the “Poison Pixie”. It’s a fairly back-and-forth encounter, with LeRae starting the match off hot, but Sonya is able to adapt, using her MMA background to her advantage with increasingly strong shots. However, as Sonya gains control, her emotions also start to fluctuate a bit. Rather than just go for the win at points, she decides to inflict further damage, regularly targeting the right arm in particular with a combination of stomps and armbars. However, the turning point of the match comes when Deville kneels down, once again looking to apply some type of submission hold…only for LeRae to transition it into the Garga-No Escape! While Sonya doesn’t submit, it gives her enough breathing room to mount a comeback, eventually hitting her signature springboard moonsault to finish things.
Candice LeRae def. Sonya Deville via pinfall
After the match, Candice and Indi take a moment to celebrate the win…BUT HERE COMES ASUKA! The Raw Women’s Champion is in the building, and she looks as maniacal as ever. She makes her way towards LeRae…and offers a handshake? Candice is definitely hesitant to accept, and for good reason, as when she starts moving her hand out…ASUKA HITS HER WITH A ROUNDHOUSE KICK! Indi tries to avenge her downed partner, but Asuka takes her out with a spinning backfist. The Empress moves back towards LeRae, staring at the injured right arm…AND SHE APPLIES A VICIOUS ARMBAR, SNAPPING IT IN THE PROCESS! Asuka eventually lets go, with Johnny Gargano and a medical official coming out to tend to LeRae while Adam Pearce wants to know what’s wrong with Asuka…to which she merely replies with a sinister smile…
Monday Night Raw (6/5/23):
About half-way through the show, Johnny Gargano comes to the ring, ready to give an update on his wife Candice LeRae. He says that while LeRae is unable to compete, it’s only for a short period of time, and the fracture to her arm was small enough as to where she won’t require surgery. However, Gargano also says that LeRae wanted him to pass along a message…which is why he’s calling out Asuka to the ring! On cue, the Empress comes out, looking at Johnny Wrestling with a curious look. Gargano says that once upon a time, he and his wife both had respect for Asuka’s accomplishments, especially her record-setting run in NXT. However, with the actions of last week, they no longer have those sentiments, and when LeRae returns from this set-back, she’s challenging you for that Raw Women’s Title! As Gargano says this, Asuka just begins giving a deranged laugh. No one in the arena knows what to make of this…until Asuka picks up a mic…to simply say…bye bye…
As Asuka makes her way to the ring apron, Gargano is left staring in confusion at what transpired…but suddenly, the lights go out! When they turn back on…a trio of masked men are destroying Johnny Wrestling! He tries to fight back, but he’s just overpowered, and left to be stomped on as Asuka just watches on from ringside, enjoying the carnage. The biggest of the three hits Gargano with a top rope splash, before what appears to be the leader hits…a wheelbarrow neckbreaker. As the individual hits this, Asuka comes back into the ring, standing alongside the figures. She whispers something to them, and they move their hand to the top of the masks, pulling them off to reveal…IT’S SAnitY! Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain are all back in WWE, and it appears they’ve aligned themselves with the Empress of Tomorrow. But the question left to be answered… Where is Nikki Cross in all of this?
Monday Night Raw (6/12/23):
In a backstage segment early in the show, the camera shows Nikki Cross backstage, alone and looking down, drowning in her own crazed thoughts…until Eric Young enters the shot. Cross raises her head, looking expressionless while a smile slowly creeps across the face of Young. He asks her…
“Won’t you join us?”
However, before Nikki can answer…HERE COMES JOHNNY GARGANO! He dives at Eric, looking to get revenge on one of the men who decimated him the week prior. He’s successful initially, but soon enough, Wolfe and Dain rush in, prying Johnny off Young and starting to beat him down. Luckily for Gargano, he came prepared, as he too has backup in the form of Dexter Lumis! SAnitY backs off as Dexter comes in with a steel chair, but not before Young mouths the words…This isn’t over…
Monday Night Raw (6/19/23): Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis vs. Eric Young and Killian Dain
With the tensions continuing to rise between the Way and SAnitY, it was inevitable they’d have to square off at some point, and Adam Pearce decides to see if a tag match can resolve this. The match starts off with Gargano and Young, Johnny Wrestling anxious to annihilate him while Young is more amused than scared. Johnny is able to get the upper hand initially, a superkick giving him the brief opportunity to then apply a Garga-No Escape. However, Killian Dain breaks up the hold by just hitting a Senton on Gargano’s back, a tactical maneuver to give Young the chance to gain control. However, Lumis enters the ring as well, grabbing Dain and trying to set him up for a side slam. However, Killian avoids it, and the pair move to the outside of the ring to brawl. By the end of the match, Gargano is weakened, but he’s still got the power of adrenaline on his side. He’s able to tag in for Lumis, getting in a flurry of offense against the big man Dain, including a pair of superkicks to knock him off his feet. However, as he goes for the One Final Beat, Young grabs his foot by the ring apron, preventing him from springboarding into the ring. Gargano’s able to kick him away, but when Johnny does go for the maneuver, Dain catches him, planting him in the center of the ring. He follows up on it with a splash from the top rope, with Young tagging in as he does so. And with Killian shoving Lumis off the apron, Young is able to hit the Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker to finish the match.
SAnitY def. Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis
After the match, Asuka makes her way to the ring, standing alongside SAnitY once again. She looks at the downed Gargano, now with a disgusted look on her face rather than an evil grin. She turns to Young, who nods and motions for Dain and Wolfe to pick Johnny up. But right before Asuka can seemingly hit him with the Mist…Here comes Nikki Cross! She rushes to the ring, sliding in and looking right at Asuka as she does so. Young walks up to her, asking her the question…
“Are you with us, Nikki?”
Cross stares at Young for a moment…then to Wolfe…then to Dain…then to Asuka. It’s to the Raw Women’s Champion that she gives the longest stare, Nikki’s eyes slowly growing wider and her expression becoming more intense. And with that, she mutters just a few words…
“You hurt my friends…she hurt my best friend… now she will pay.”
And with that, Cross dives onto Asuka, unleashing a flurry of strikes and catching everyone in the ring by surprise. However, Young pries Nikki off of the Empress, to which Cross responds by starting to attack him! However, it’s short lived, as Asuka runs up behind Nikki and drops her with a roundhouse kick. She quickly gets her locked in a crossface chickenwing as well, Nikki unable to escape and ultimately passing out. Before she fades, she’s left to only see the disappointed looks on the face of the SAnitY members…”You made the wrong choice Nikki”. But the attention soon shifts back to Gargano and Lumis now. They’ve slowly risen to their feet, and Gargano, looking directly at Young, demands another fight! Young sighs, seemingly bored at the prospect of SAnitY having to dismantle those two again…but it shall be done. However, before they can move in for the kill, we suddenly hear crashes echo throughout the arena. They happen for a few seconds, before the lights dim slightly. An unfamiliar melodic theme starts playing, sounding slightly reminiscent of that of a final boss, but as the lights turn back on, it changes back into the more recognizable song…
…NO ONE WILL SURVIVE! IT’S TOMMASO CIAMPA! After being on the shelf for months, he’s finally back, and as he gets into the ring, he looks at Johnny Gargano…there’s no shortage of history here. And while there’s a momentary tension as to what he’s gonna do, he sides with his former DIY partner, making it a more fair fight! Unfortunately, he doesn’t get the chance to lay into any of SAnitY, as they decide to make their exit, already having made a statement with the victory and assault on Asuka, nothing more needed to be done…tonight, at least.
Monday Night Raw (6/26/23): Indi Hartwell vs. Asuka - Non-Title Match
In her first match since beating Bianca at Night of Champions, Asuka looks to prove why she’s the champion. She starts off the match well, not letting Indi get any momentum by just rocking her with a series of kicks to the chest. After dragging Hartwell to the outside, Asuka begins going after the arm, slamming it several times into the ring post before deciding to inflict some pain to the skull with a tiger suplex. This momentarily causes the ref to check on her, potentially looking to end the match…but Asuka isn’t willing to let that happen. She gets Indi back in the ring, lining her up for a running hip attack…BUT HARTWELL TRANSITIONS IT INTO A GERMAN SUPLEX! Despite having just been on the ropes, Indi managed to use what she had left in the tank to take down Asuka, and as she gets to her feet, she feels the crowd surging behind her. She starts taking it to the Empress, getting her backed into the corner and landing a few solid chops. However, she gets a bit overzealous, trying to get Asuka on the top rope for a potential suplex attempt, only for the former Kana to kick her away and land a knee directly to the back of Indi’s neck. And with that, Asuka remains in the power position, eventually locking on the same Armbar that injured Candice LeRae and forcing Hartwell to tap or get snapped.
Asuka def. Indi Hartwell via submission
But before Asuka really has a chance to even get up…HERE COMES NIKKI CROSS! She runs out with a kendo stick, furious as to what transpired the week prior, and gets in a few shots on Asuka before Alexander Wolfe attempts to pry the weapon away. In response, Nikki shoves it into his gut, before hitting him with a swinging neckbreaker and sending a message to Asuka that she’s just as much of a force to be reckoned with. And it’s later announced that this match has been declared official for Money In the Bank: let’s see if these two dangerous competitors can live up to their classic from NXT…
Money In The Bank (7/1/23): Nikki Cross vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Despite not having a stipulation like their Last Woman Standing Match in 2017, the match is still intense from start-to-finish. Cross runs at Asuka immediately, getting in some shots with the elbow to the side of the face. Asuka is forced to a sitting position, allowing Nikki to gather some steam from running along the ropes before landing a kick to Asuka’s jaw! Unfortunately for Cross, her frenzied nature ends up backfiring, as when the action shifts to the outside, Asuka dodges a running attack and sends Nikki nearly head first into the barricade! With Nikki instinctively grabbing her head after the missed maneuver, Asuka sees what to target, dragging Cross to the ring apron and repeatedly crushing her skull into the ring post. And as the action shifts back into the ring, it’s just more of the same, Asuka being momentarily hit by mini-bursts of offense, but the damage inflicted on the skull clearly affecting her. This is evidenced when Cross has Asuka lined up for the swinging neckbreaker, potentially able to get her the win…only to collapse before she can properly hit it. With that, Asuka is able to apply the Asuka Lock, and as happened a couple of weeks ago, Cross passes out in the hold.
Asuka def. Nikki Cross via submission pass-out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
On the Raw after Money in the Bank, Candice LeRae would make her return from injury, calling out Asuka for a match…only to learn she isn’t in the building. But she decides to still issue a challenge, saying that while she wanted the Raw Women’s Title initially…now it’s about more than that. Asuka took out Candice’s friends and family, and left her away from the ring for too long…now, she wants to beat Asuka for vengeance first, gold later. And later on, it’s confirmed that the match will be taking place when Asuka returns…except it’ll be for the title as well! Pearce claims that the decision is due to Asuka’s recent actions, as after all, letting someone try to break someone’s limb after a match with no repercussions is a pretty bad look. But while this choice of action would normally upset some superstars…it might just put a smile on Asuka’s face…
Monday Night Raw (7/10/23): Candice LeRae vs. Asuka
Before making her entrance, Candice LeRae gets herself prepared with the rest of the Way, with Nikki Cross sitting in a corner nearby as well. Indi tells her to be cautious…Asuka’s a very dangerous competitor. LeRae of course knows this, but she’s caught off-guard by some words of wisdom from Nikki several feet away:
Candice looks at Nikki, who’s staring back at her with something in her eyes…A look of needing something… wanting Candice to kill the Empress. LeRae nods, and she heads out to the ring, more confident than ever…And she truly gives it her all. LeRae’s strategy is simple: prevent Asuka from using her signature kicks. And for most of the match, she executes on her plan, moving herself back whenever she senses a roundhouse coming and catching Asuka off-balance. However, this was never going to last, and once Asuka lands a kick to the gut, she’s able to gather steam. And while this doesn’t finish LeRae, the “Poison Pixie” even managing to hit a springboard moonsault AND lock in a Garga-No Escape at various points, Asuka eventually locks in an Armbar on the previously-injured limb that Candice can’t overcome.
Asuka def. Candice LeRae via submission to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After the match, the rest of the Way comes out, helping Candice to her feet. As they do so, Asuka stares at them, and then begins…counting them? The Way and the commentary team are confused, but as Asuka only counts four people…a maniacal expression overtakes her. She starts walking quickly to the back, and a few moments later, it becomes clear what her intentions were…
As the Way walks backstage, they’re horrified to discover a brutalized Nikki Cross! They rush over to her, asking who did this…and to no one’s surprise, she says it was Asuka. However, it soon becomes clear to Gargano…Ciampa might be next! While Indi and Candice stay with Nikki, Johnny (and Dexter to a lesser extent) start rushing through the halls, trying to get to the right locker room…but it’s too late, as SAnitY and Asuka are seen moving away from it! While Lumis stands guard, Gargano rushes inside, and finds Ciampa not just taken out…but also sprayed by Asuka’s mist! Johnny rushes over, giving Tommaso a towel, but as Tommaso wipes the mist off his face…there appears to be a dark look in his eyes, something not seen in him since when he destroyed DIY…
Remaining Build To SummerSlam:
While Ciampa, Gargano, and Lumis keep their attention towards SAnitY for a bit, Asuka shifts away from LeRae, Hartwell, and Cross, having beaten all three after all. With an open mic, she begins giving one of her standard energetic promos, seemingly wanting to know who her next challenger is gonna be…even though no one is ready for Asuka. It’s not long before someone interrupts though…and it’s someone who Asuka has grown familiar with in 2023…It’s Bianca Belair! The EST remained off television for several weeks following Night of Champions, but now, she’s back and angrier than ever. Bianca grabs the mic straight out of Asuka’s hand, and cuts a quick promo:
“Asuka… you say no one’s ready for you. But you’re wrong… because I’ve ALWAYS been ready for you. I proved that at WrestleMania 39, when I beat you clean in the center of this ring. And what did you do? You had to use that mist, that cursed, blinding mist. And you know what? Congratulations, it got you the title, but not for long. Because I say we have ONE MORE MATCH. But I think it’s time to have a match where no excuses can be made, and there are no rules to be broken. Asuka… At SummerSlam…I challenge you to HELL… IN A CELL!”
The crowd are clearly in favor of this stipulation…And it appears Asuka is too! She starts nodding repeatedly, and Bianca just stares on with a prepared look, perhaps fazed in the past by Asuka’s personality traits but now just ready to finally vanquish her and get the Raw Women’s Title back in her possession. In the remaining weeks, Bianca competes multiple times, getting the ring rust off with multiple victories, while Asuka is content with sitting at ringside for both contests…studying her competition…
SummerSlam (8/5/23): Bianca Belair vs. Asuka (c) - Hell in a Cell Match for the Raw Women’s Championship
We’ve finally made it to the Biggest Party of the Summer, and what better of a place to host it than in Detroit at Ford Field (definitely no bias as a Lions fan)! Once both Asuka and Belair are locked in the cage, the match starts at a feverish place, Bianca hitting a strong shoulder tackle only for Asuka to respond with a spinning backfist a few moments later! As the dust settles on the first fifteen seconds, the competitors look at each other, giving a momentary smirk and scoff apiece before continuing with the action. Bianca showcases her power, getting the Empress lifted in the Gorilla Press position and just hurling her at the cell wall! The several-foot fall to the floor certainly adds to the blow, and Bianca continues the assault outside the ring, slamming Asuka’s head repeatedly into the cage! However, she decides to look under the ring for a weapon, a table quickly catching her eye. She pushes it into the ring, but makes the mistake of turning her back to Asuka while doing so, the former Kana grabbing her from behind and hitting a Tiger Suplex onto the floor!
With Asuka now the lone woman standing, she follows up Bianca’s decision to look under the ring, pulling out a kendo stick. She feels it around in her grasp, getting a good feel for the damage she’s about to inflict. Once Bianca groggily gets to her feet, Asuka just decimates her back, hitting the stick ten times in immediate succession! However, Bianca’s able to dodge an eleventh shot targeted towards the throat, pulling the kendo stick to her and snapping it in half! Asuka looks briefly stunned, but not before she gives a condescending set of claps. In response, Belair grabs her, picking her up for a powerbomb and sending Asuka’s back to connect with the ring apron! Bianca then drags Asuka into the ring, proceeding to set up a table and initially primed to hit a K.O.D. through it. However, Asuka grabs Bianca’s hair, weakening her grip momentarily and presenting an opportunity to escape. Upon doing so, Asuka roundhouse kicks Belair, before getting her positioned on the table, climbing to the top rope…AND HITS A SPLASH ON BIANCA RIGHT THROUGH IT! 1-2-KICKOUT!
Despite the table spot being unable to put away Bianca, Asuka appears unfazed. She exits the ring, bringing a pair of steel steps back into the squared circle. Asuka picks Belair up, seemingly trying to hit a brainbuster on it…But Belair dodges, landing backwards on the steps before turning around and hitting a mini-elevated Spear! This leaves both women down for a few moments, but Bianca rises to her feet first. She gets in some of her signature offense, including a spinebuster on the steel steps! However, her attempt at a K.O.D. on the steps doesn’t work in her favor, with Asuka once again avoiding it. And unfortunately for Belair, Asuka is able to hit her with a suplex on the steps, this being the key factor for the rest of the match-up. With Bianca’s power lessened a bit AND Asuka’s submission hold targeting the back, she faces a tall task, and is ultimately unable to overcome it, the Asuka Lock resulting in a pass-out.
Asuka def. Bianca Belair via submission pass-out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After an impressive victory at SummerSlam, Asuka has definitely proven that she’s going to be difficult to beat. But soon enough, she finds herself confronted by a potentially harmful numbers game…
Monday Night Raw (8/7/23): Damage CTRL Promo
Despite recent events not going so well for Damage CTRL, with Dakota Kai tearing her ACL and neither Iyo Sky nor Bayley able to capture the Money in the Bank briefcase, they’re still determined to get momentum back on their side. Bayley makes the bold decision to call out Asuka, saying that if she were actually a fighting champion, she’d consider accepting a match for the title. Asuka comes out, grinning at Bayley trying to goad her into a title opportunity. Asuka looks at Bayley as just another poor soul to be destroyed, but Iyo…Iyo has potential. Asuka even tells Sky…”Bayley isn’t your friend…but I am…”
This seems to get in Iyo’s head, as she begins looking questioningly at Bayley, who attempts to diffuse the situation by just pointing out Asuka being a freak who gets in people’s heads. In response, Asuka kicks Bayley square in the gut, and when Iyo instinctively goes to fight, Asuka shakes her head…I don’t want to fight you… You don’t need to be part of this…
Remaining Build To Extreme Rules:
Over the coming weeks, Bayley becomes a little more sympathetic, her intentions appearing less out of pure arrogance and more about striving to win championship gold back and improve her honor. She goes on a winning streak, but when confronting Adam Pearce about getting a confirmed title shot, he says there’s one more person she has to beat…Iyo Sky.
At this same time, Iyo looks perturbed whenever she’s on television, still at Bayley’s side but signs pointing to her being less convinced than when Damage CTRL began. And after Bayley does defeat Iyo to earn the #1 Contendership, Sky is just left sitting in the ring, staring down at the mat whilst utterly disappointed. Bayley offers her a handshake, but Asuka stands at ringside, motioning her to come roll out of the ring and stand tall with her. In response, Iyo moves in neither woman’s direction, rolling out to the entrance ramp and walking away alone, uncertain of what her future holds.
But with Extreme Rules approaching, there must also be a stipulation, and after a set of assaults from Asuka leave Bayley staring at the lights, Bayley decides it’s in both of their best interest to settle on…A Last Woman Standing Match! Asuka can try to keep putting her down, but she’s gotten back up each time, and come the PPV…The reign of the Empress will be history.
Extreme Rules: Bayley vs. Asuka (c) - Last Woman Standing Match for the Raw Women’s Championship
In a rematch of their TakeOver: Dallas encounter, the feel of the match is similar to what it was several years ago. Bayley, despite having been around in WWE longer, is the underdog, looking to prove herself against a terrorizing monster who we’re unsure can truly be beaten. The action quickly spills out of the ring, with Bayley even managing to hit a quick Bayley-To-Belly Suplex. Unfortunately, Asuka gets up before even a count of 5, disturbing Bayley. The action spills into the crowd for a while, with Asuka suplexing Bayley on the staircase and the former “Hugger” sent tumbling down for a solid five seconds. But eventually, Bayley recaptures the momentum, finding a trash can with weapons and using a kendo stick to start wailing on Asuka. And as the action approaches a set-up table, Bayley is able to not just prop her up on it, but successfully hit an Elbow Drop from a ledge through it as well! Bayley gets up at a count of three, and while Asuka is left stunned by the move, she recovers at a count of 8, continuing the match-up.
From there, the match spills back closer to the ring, with Bayley putting Asuka in the ring before grabbing a table. She sets it up, but Asuka manages to recover in time to avoid a Bayley-To-Belly through it, instead tossing Bayley to the side momentarily before going at her with a running hip attack. Asuka keeps control for a bit, but as she looks to put Bayley through the table…Here comes Iyo Sky! She slowly walks to the ring, not attacking Asuka initially, but giving Bayley enough time to send Asuka off the top rope and to the floor. However, with the action back on the outside, Asuka looks to be a bit desperate, using her signature Mist to blind Bayley! After this happens, Iyo rushes over to Bayley to try and help…But Bayley shoves her down hard to the floor, thinking it was Asuka! Meanwhile, the real Asuka appears behind Bayley, dragging her back into the ring. Asuka decides to lock on the crossface chickenwing, attempting to pass out Bayley, but this seems to only increase the fire in her spirit, Bayley able to back her into a corner to break the hold. Bayley rubs her eyes, improving her vision, and she drags Asuka to the table, seemingly able to hit the Bayley-To-Belly through the table this time…
…BUT IYO HITS BAYLEY IN THE BACK WITH A STEEL CHAIR FROM OUT OF NOWHERE! Bayley falls to her knees, slowly turning around with a look of heartbreak and pain on her face. Iyo returns the look with an icy cold stare, before Asuka pops-up behind Bayley, applying the Asuka Lock to pass the former “Role Model” out. But given this requires a ten count for Bayley to be down, and Asuka wanting to see what Iyo can do…she motions to the table. Iyo nods, getting Bayley set-up, climbing to the top rope, and hitting a Moonsault, crushing Bayley’s ribs, her friendship, and her hopes of winning the match in one fell swoop.
Asuka def. Bayley via KO to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After the match, Sky raises Asuka’s hand, signifying the start of an absolutely lethal new duo in WWE…
With Iyo Sky now having made her allegiance clear, Asuka would appear set-up to remain dominating moving forward. However, the enemies she’s made over the past several months aren’t so quick to forget what transpired, which could potentially create problems…
Build To Survivor Series:
Despite having already made an impact to this point, Asuka and Iyo Sky aren’t just going to put away challengers…it’s time to take out everyone. After a singles win on Raw, Becky Lynch would be blindsided by Iyo, being laid out with several shots of the Steel Chair before a Moonsault to cap things off. The following week, Bayley expresses her dismay at being left alone, to which Asuka and Iyo interrupt, immediately kickstarting a brawl that would seem to favor them once again…Until out comes Becky Lynch! Despite having been bitter rivals earlier in the year, Becky makes the save for Bayley, the pair nodding at each other afterwards to signify a slight respect…We don’t have to like each other… but there’s a bigger threat to be stopped…
But soon enough, this action spills past just being a two-on-two situation. Zoey Stark, the former tag team partner of Iyo Sky in NXT, decides that Becky didn’t suffer enough during their rivalry after helping Trish at Night of Champions, and that it’s worth it for these veterans like her and Bayley to be ousted. Along with that, Asuka’s power and general craziness draws the interest of the Unholy Union known as Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn, the pair pledging loyalty to The Empress and perfectly willing to destroy Becky and Bayley. However, there are several other competitors backstage sick of seeing Asuka gaining an army, with Bianca Belair and the Way coming to the save to help even the odds. And of course, after a brawl featuring all of these competitors, William Regal comes out briefly to make his patented announcement:
To determine which team gets the advantage leading into Survivor Series, we get ourselves a strong match in Iyo Sky vs. Becky Lynch, really the catalyst of what’s led into a two-on-one situation into an upcoming 5v5 match inside a destructive steel structure. Becky more than holds their own, but Iyo Sky shines even brighter, a cheap shot by Stark eventually allowing Iyo to hit the Moonsault and give the “heels” the advantage.
Survivor Series: Bianca Belair, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Nikki Cross, and Candice LeRae vs. Asuka, Iyo Sky, Zoey Stark, Alba Fyre, and Isla Dawn - War Games Match
Kicking off the match is Zoey Stark and Becky Lynch, with Becky initially successful in getting Zoey downed, but Isla Dawn coming in presents a problem. She’s initially able to hold her off, but a chop block by Zoey Stark and a subsequent attack of the leg leaves Becky in a rough spot. She’s able to get some assistance, with Nikki Cross coming in with a trash can lid and just whacking Zoey and Isla around with ease. However, Alba Fyre is next to come out, and upon seeing Cross staring her down from inside the cage, she grabs a kendo stick, ready to defend herself. While Nikki initially gets the advantage, Stark and Dawn are able to pull Nikki back, sending her into the steel cage repeatedly. Bianca coming in next is a game changer however, the EST taking control of the match-up and getting a slight breather while awaiting the fourth competitor…which is Asuka!
But as the rest of the field comes in, with Asuka being the last entrant for her team and Bayley for the opposite side, the action starts to get more and more intense. With all of the competitors brawling in one ring, Iyo sees the chance to hit a Moonsault from the top of the cage, wiping out everybody (including herself)! However, a table being brought into the mix benefits the bayfaces, Bayley hitting Fyre with a Bayley-To-Belly through it (she finally got to hit it… just not on Asuka). However, the ending sequence comes down to Asuka and Iyo on their feet against Bayley and Becky, back where it essentially first started…AND IT ENDS WITH IO HITTING A MOONSAULT ON BAYLEY! 1-2-3!
Team Asuka def. Team Becky via pinfall
Just like that, Iyo Sky has once again proved her worth, defeating her former stablemate to win the match for her team and cementing herself as a force to be moving forward. And though a fairly small shot, we can see Asuka glance over at Iyo, a slight frown on her face for a moment before moving back to stand with the rest of her team. What could that mean…
Build To Royal Rumble:
Despite the result of the War Games Match, Becky Lynch isn’t through with either Asuka nor Iyo by a long shot. She fights off both of them over the coming weeks, along with picking up several singles victory, establishing herself as the next #1 Contender. And as Lynch points out, she and Asuka have history at Royal Rumble. Asuka beat her in singles action in 2019…before Lynch went on to win the Royal Rumble and headline Mania. But this isn’t about the Rumble match now…it’s time to put away the Empress.
As for Iyo, she also has a run of singles success, carrying a lot of momentum heading into the Royal Rumble Match. And soon, we learn that she requested training from one of the most respected female competitors in the locker room, a former NXT UK Champion…Meiko Satomura! While Satomura doesn’t intend to compete right away, she’s more than willing to help Iyo, with vignettes being shown of them together and Satomura even being at ringside for her matches. However, as this keeps happening, Asuka’s looks towards Iyo become more and more strained. Sky is abandoning me… after all I did for her… something’s going to change soon enough…
Royal Rumble: Becky Lynch vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Earlier in the night, Iyo Sky does indeed win the Royal Rumble match, punching her ticket to WrestleMania. This doesn’t seem to affect Asuka’s thoughts however, the Empress looking as ruthless and as calculated as ever en route to using an Armbar to submit Becky after a pretty back-and-forth encounter. And while Asuka proved herself the master of the Armbar between the pairing, Iyo Sky coming out with Meiko Satomura to acknowledge the title win seems to aggravate something in Asuka. Her grin has become a definite frown, and she stares an icy dagger through the pairing. Something isn’t right here…
Asuka def. Becky Lynch via submission to retain the Raw Women’s Title
Build To WrestleMania:
In a conversation between Meiko Satomura and Iyo Sky on an episode of Raw, Satomura asks if Sky would be willing to use her Rumble Victory position to challenge Asuka. Sky doesn’t look too convinced about doing that, which Satomura says is fine, but it’s advisable to weigh all her options. However, in the background, Asuka can be seen, carefully listening to the conversation.
A week later, Satomura addresses the WWE Universe. She’s made the announcement that she wants to have one last run before she retires, and wants to face some of the best names this women’s division has to offer…which is why she’s challenging Asuka for Elimination Chamber! Asuka comes out, her face paint being more red than usual…but while it looks like she’s having to contain herself, she shakes Satomura’s hand, seemingly paying respect to a legend.
Elimination Chamber: Meiko Satomura vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Unfortunately for Satomura, this retirement run of sorts looked to hit the ground before it could even get going. While she catches the Empress off guard at the beginning of the encounter, as time moves on, Asuka appears to be getting more and more angry. This comes to a boiling point when after one Tiger Suplex, Asuka hits another…then another…then another…then another! The ref pleads for Asuka to quit the assault, which she does…only to pull a Bryan Danielson and just start repeatedly kicking Satomura in the face! This goes on for disturbingly long, and when it’s become clear that Satomura is passed out, the ref calls for the bell, him having made the discretion for the match to end.
Asuka def. Meiko Satomura via ref stoppage
After the match, Iyo Sky rushes to the ring, checking on the woman who’s helped her out tremendously over the past couple of months. Asuka looks down at Iyo, a look of disgust on her face, before demanding to know who Sky is facing at WrestleMania. And it better be a specific answer…
Iyo Sky: “I… CHALLENGE… YOU!”
The crowd roar in approval, Asuka somehow shocked initially…until a smile comes across her face. I’m not surprised you made that choice…but unfortunately, it’s the wrong one...it’s a shame this has to happen Iyo…so much potential…
WrestleMania 40: Iyo Sky vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Despite that inner monologue running through Asuka’s head at Elimination Chamber, Sky proves why she’s not to be taken lightly. On the Grandest Stage of them All, Iyo just looks…better. Having been around Asuka for several months, she knows the mechanics of her offense, doing a good job at avoiding those signature kicks while also having the speed advantage. And at the end of the match, Sky proves herself superior over The Empress of Tomorrow, hitting the second Moonsault of the match to pin Asuka, and end a spectacular title run while opening a new chapter for another one.
Iyo Sky def. Asuka via pinfall to win the Raw Women’s Championship
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2023.06.03 09:13 Otarih [3,400] I've seen the truth
You won't believe this, but I swear on my life, it's the truth. I think I'm losing my goddamn mind. I have to... okay, okay, I need to start from the beginning. See, I've been dabbling in lucid dreaming lately. Been having these vivid, messed up nightmares, you see... I just wanted some semblance of control over my mental state, you know?
I felt like therapy wasn't cutting it anymore, I needed something more, so I gotten into this lucid dreaming thing. But the things I've seen, the encounters I've had, they've changed me, man. I've gotta get this out, gotta let the world know about this shit 'cause its importance... it can't be overstated.
So here's the thing, in my lucid dreams, I've been having these bizarre experiences. In the dreams, waking up suspended over an abyss, right? Surrounding me, there's this sterile, white room, bathed in blinding lights, and in the distance, a glass pane. Can't exactly make out what's behind it, and it paints this real surreal scene.
At first, it didn't bother me much. I woke up, had this lingering unease the whole day but shrugged it off. But then the next few times, as I regained lucidity in my dreams, the same scenario would play out. At first, I could do the usual stuff, you know, flying around and the likes, but then the dream would always, without fail, transition into this... this suspension above the abyss.
I'd be strapped in place with ropes or chains, my limbs stretched out toward the cool walls of this clinical, white room. And beneath me, just infinite darkness. It felt like gazing into the maw of oblivion, and it was... it was downright petrifying.
The dread, man. The absolute fucking dread. In particular that glass pane in the distance and the infinite abyss below me, it was eating away at me. I started wondering what was behind the glass, and what, if anything, was at the bottom of that godforsaken hole. Its vast, infinite expanse was just pulling me in, gnawing at my sanity. It's hard to describe, you know? It's not something you can just put into words.
Soon, it became a nightly routine. Almost every single dream ended with me suspended over that abyss, and this paralyzing sense of dread seeping into me, becoming more and more prominent. Eventually, I decided I had to stop, I couldn't go on like this. I spoke to my therapist about it, and they said it might be a manifestation of some negative childhood experiences, and advised me to quit lucid dreaming for the time being. It wasn't doing me any good, they said.
I upped my meds, and tried something else, but no matter what I did, I couldn't shake off the lucidity. It's weird because in the past, becoming lucid required effort, with reality checks, dream journaling, and whatnot. But now, even when I set the intention to not lucid dream, I found myself more lucid than ever, and always, without fail, ended up above the abyss.
At one point, I tried to inspect my body in the dream, and I think I was naked. I noticed something on my arm, like a small needle. I realized it was an IV drip. Something was being pumped into me. I freaked out, man. What the hell was happening? Was I part of some fucked up mind control experiment? Was I being drugged? I couldn't make sense of it all.
Soon after noticing the IV, I saw shadows moving behind the glass pane. There were figures there, watching me. The terror I felt about these figures lurking behind the glass was even more pronounced than the dread induced by the abyss. It was all kinds of messed up, but amidst the fear, I felt this sudden urge to know more.
So I shouted out, "Hey! Who's there? Talk to me, you creepy fucks!"
To my surprise, a voice crackled to life over the speakers. It said, "We've never seen someone maintain lucidity to this extent. Your perceptive abilities are impressively consistent. How did you achieve this?"
"I don't fucking know", I said. "It's not like I want to be here. Is this even real?"
The voice replied, "Yes, this is happening. This is the actual reality, the true nature of reality."
"What the fuck? You say my dreams are reality? You'll have to prove that for me to believe you at all", I said.
"You will see by the consistency of this reality", the voice said. "But first, demonstrate to us that you are indeed lucid enough for us to continue this conversation. It's not something we usually do. It might, however, be a path to conquer the darkness."
And then, like every other time, the dream ended.
I relayed the whole fucked up scenario to my therapist, who, unsurprisingly, suggested it was a fantastical manifestation of my own fears. My subconscious testing boundaries, pushing limits, trying to get under my skin. But when I asked them what to do, they proposed a plan: continue engaging with the dream. Try to spot inconsistencies in its logic. After all, if it is all just a product of my mind, it is bound to falter at some point.
So, armed with my therapist's advice, I geared up for the next encounter. This time I would use reason and logic to disprove the dream for good.
The following night, I found myself in the all-too-familiar white room, suspended over nothingness, the shadowy figures behind the glass pane watching intently. The voice piped up again.
"Do you still question this reality?" it asked.
"Yeah", I said, "I think this is just my dream. You're just a figment of my unconscious mind. This is all nonsensical bullshit, and I'm going to prove you wrong."
"Alright", the voice responded. "You can try to disprove me. But first, would you like to hear what we're doing here? Then, you can judge for yourself."
"Yeah, sure. Whatever. What are you doing here?" I asked, more out of curiosity than anything else.
"We are doing research. Do you know what an ancestor simulation is?"
I felt my eyebrows furrow. "No fucking clue. What is it?"
Then, the voice from the speaker, which now claimed to be a researcher, started to explain.
"An ancestor simulation is essentially a theory, a simulated reality hypothesis", the voice explained. "It suggests that a perceived reality isn't 'real' but instead is running on some advanced computational system capable of artificially simulating an entire universe and consistent reality."
So far, this was all high-grade sci-fi crap, but I played along. "Why the hell would anyone do that?"
"For the purpose of analysis", the voice continued. "Imagine a civilization trying to understand its own past. In your case, your reality is an ancestor simulation of one of many civilizations that have died out because of catastrophic failures in the space-time continuum."
My head was spinning. "Catastrophic failures? What are you talking about?"
The voice said: "Humanity failed. Due to their own ignorance, they destroyed their planet. Climate change, political unrest, the development of superintelligent AI systems used for weaponry, they all fueled the chaos of World War III."
As the voice droned on, I tried to make sense of what was being told. Is this all just some nightmare spawned by my own fears, or could there be some truth to this? And if there was, then what did it mean for me, for us?
The voice added: "Do you know what a macroverse is?"
"Yeah, I've heard of macroverses", I said, "That's like, multiple universes, right?"
"Yes", the voice said. "We exist within a five-dimensional macroverse. The fifth dimension encompasses parallel universes. The concept of an ancestor simulation isn't completely accurate. It's an analogy, borrowed from Darwinian evolution, suggesting our universe is part of a branching system of universes."
I could barely keep up with this gibberish. "A branching system of...?"
"Universes", the voice repeated. "This system churns out various configurations, mutations of universes, one of which eventually became my universe, another one yours. It's as though universes are engaged in a Darwinian competition. The most adaptive ones, primarily those driven by human beings, last the longest. They compete to see which universe can ultimately conquer the darkness, can combat the laws of entropy."
This was just too much. It felt like some wild fever dream, a convoluted mess of sci-fi nonsense. But even so, there was an unnerving quality to the voice that made me want to listen, to understand. If what it said was true... well, I didn't want to think about that. Not yet.
For a bit I was just silent, my mind racing.
"Look", I finally muttered, "It's gonna be pretty damn hard to disprove you when I can't make heads or tails of the shit you're saying. You're telling me that universes depend on the quality of the humans inside them, and that they're evolving, or something? I... I don't get it. It's all just too fucking weird."
At that moment, the reality of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks. How the hell was I supposed to logically dismantle something that sounded like the wildest sci-fi bullshit I'd ever heard, something I couldn't even begin to wrap my head around? Did not the complexity of the information indicate that it could not have possibly been just a dream; my own mind could not generate things I could never understand. It was impossible.
And just as I was starting to feel the edges of panic creeping in, the researcher's voice began to fade. My surroundings blurred, morphed, and then... the dream ended.
The next day, I was glued to my damn computer, trying to dig into these concepts the mysterious voice had been throwing around. I was googling my ass off – 'ancestor simulations', 'parallel universes', 'fifth dimension', 'Darwinian evolution of universes', 'universe branching' – all that crazy stuff. And here's the kicker: I found a ton of literature on the topics and, for the most part, it seemed to line up with what the voice had been saying. It seems the voice was speaking the truth; providing me with information I had not known before... indicating that... it could not have been a dream... he was stating the truth... and that was...
So, if I got this right, he was saying that there's a 'macroverse', some sort of branching system like a fucking phylogenetic tree in biological evolution. He seemed to be saying that humans are the apex predator of this macroverse, and that our universe, the one we're living in right now, is one of the failures. He mentioned some catastrophic shit that led to unrest, essentially sparking World War III and wiping us all out.
It all kinda made sense. And that scared the hell out of me.
I tried to get in touch with my therapist, to make sense of all this mind-bending shit, but I couldn't reach 'em. They were probably off on vacation or something, living a blissfully unaware life. So, I figured, fuck it. I'll bring it up in a week when we meet.
And so, I went back to the dreams. Same as always – suspended above the abyss, glass pane, and the all-too-familiar blindingly white room with clinical surfaces. And the same damn voice.
Eventually I said, "I think... I think I might believe you. It doesn't make complete sense to me... but I couldn't have possibly known the stuff you've been talking about. But, I don't get what my role in all this is. Why the hell are you telling me this? Isn't this going to screw with the simulation or something? I asked people online, and they all said it'd be a terrible idea to interfere with the simulation. It would mess with our causal chain and turn the whole experiment to shit. So what gives?"
The researcher's voice came over the speaker again, "Yes, that's a valid concern. But, we're running short on subjects. You're truly an anomaly, we haven't encountered someone quite like you before. Despite adjusting the dosage of the substances we've been administering, you just kept becoming lucid. I decided, perhaps a little unilaterally, to... interfere with the test subject. My hope is that by giving you a briefing, you could play a role in saving humanity, fighting against the darkness, and preserving the macroverse. This could ensure the perseverance of future generations in the succeeding universes."
I was flabbergasted. "What the hell? I'm no hero! I'm just a socially anxious nerd whose main hobbies are gaming and smoking weed. I'm just trying to get by. I don't understand what you're talking about, how the hell am I supposed to save anything?"
He replied, "You have noticed the darkness below you. This darkness is the cause of all suffering in the world. Are you familiar with the concept of theodicy?"
Confused, I retorted, "What the hell? Can you not speak in intellectual mumbo jumbo for a second?"
The researcher explained, "Theodicy is a theological concept that questions why, if God is benevolent, there is suffering in the world. What's your take on that?"
I shrugged, "I don't know, I'm agnostic. But if I were to guess, I think it's because humans have free will. Suffering in the world is due to free will, you know?"
"Wrong", the researcher interrupted. "There is no free will. Your universe's neuroscience has already established this. Psychological studies have proven that humans do not have control over their own actions. The laws of physics concur with this, and philosophy mostly agrees too. So free will can't be the root of suffering."
"Alright, man. I'm not a scientist. But yeah, I think I've heard about these neuroscience experiments. The ones where people's brain waves indicated they had decided to open their hands before they were consciously aware of deciding to do so. So yeah, maybe there's something about unconscious decision-making. But personally, I don't care much. I feel like I have the illusion of free will and that's good enough, so why should it bother me? What's the point?"
"The point is, free will isn't the source of suffering in the world."
"Oh, so this is a philosophical game to you? If free will isn't the source, then God must be evil, is that it?"
"Quite the contrary", he said, "God isn't evil. The source of suffering is the darkness beneath you - what you've been referring to as the 'abyss'."
Startled, I questioned, "How do you know I've been calling it that?"
He spoke with an unnerving confidence, "I can read your mind. With all the tools at my disposal, I can perceive every aspect of your simulated experience. Thus, I know you've been aware of the 'abyss'. It's been speaking to you, hasn't it? Initially, it inspired dread. But now, how does it make you feel?"
Hesitant, I confessed, "I... I don't know. I feel... drawn to it. It's as though it's always been there, long before you began speaking to me."
With a gravity in his voice, he explained, "It's been spreading, much like a cosmic virus. It's consuming the macroverses, fostering political unrest, cultivating ignorance, encouraging indifference towards the problems of the world, toward human suffering. It sows seeds of evil within the hearts of men, inciting chaos, destruction, cruelty, and hatred. All the atrocities throughout history—the crucifixion of Christ, the world wars—they all stem from the abyss."
I was at a loss for words and the dream came to an abrupt end. The exhaustion I felt was immense, as the conversation was too overwhelming to fully comprehend. I felt as though I couldn't take any more of this, and when I look at the real world, it feels as though the abyss had a point. I see constant storms of negativity on social media platforms like Twitter where hate and spite reign supreme. The threats of nuclear war, super-intelligent AI displacing human jobs, and the existential fear, in a world that feels increasingly alien to all of us.
We haven't truly solved any of our problems. With the advent of general AI and the proliferation of weapons that could cause unparalleled mass destruction, the state of our world is precarious. A resurgence of imperialism and authoritarianism, a decline in freedom and democracy, and an onslaught of hatred from all corners - we are being besieged on all sides.
But these issues aren't the fault of any single individual or decision-maker. It is systemic. The very nature of these systems is causing the suffering. The researcher had posited that the abyss was the root cause of this suffering. But perhaps, the abyss is merely a mirror, reflecting what was already there.
When I thought about it, all the tragedies in human history, the atrocities of wars, mass shootings, serial killers - haven't we built a culture that's obsessed with these terrible deeds? True crime and horror, some of the most successful genres out there. Our entertainment media is steeped in violence and negativity. Have we not already succumbed to the darkness? Hadn't the abyss simply revealed what was already in the hearts of humans?
Did humanity truly deserve to persevere? Were we, who have enslaved and harmed countless animals, we who have destroyed the biosphere at large, who have exploited everything around us for personal gain; were we fit to be considered the 'apex predator'? Are we really the saviors of the universe? Would a universe without humans be all that bad, really?
I became less and less engaged with the researcher. His talks, once intriguing, now felt dull and uninspiring. I drifted through my days in a daze, ignoring therapy sessions and the concerned calls from my therapist. My thoughts were consumed by the abyss. At times, I could see a creeping darkness encroach upon the corners of my vision.
People tried to reach out to me, but their words faded into mere mumbles. My real-life contacts dwindled, and I found myself caring less and less about the world around me. Social media, once a platform for connection, was deleted. It had devolved into a cesspool of negativity and relentless bickering - something I no longer had the energy to deal with.
In my dreams, the true reality, I stopped paying attention to the researcher. His words became incoherent mumbles as the abyss came ever closer, almost as if it was embracing me. It seeped into my waking reality, slowly but surely taking over my life.
The burden of humanity's torments is too heavy for me to bear. I cannot resist the grim truth of our existence - the world that is destined to be a hotbed for suffering. It isn't anyone's fault; it is simply the way the world was designed to be. I had to accept the harsh truth that humanity is on a path to its own demise. The project of humanity, it seems, is doomed to fail.
Eventually, in one of my dreams, a siren's wail ripped through the silence, accompanied by flashing red lights that bathed the room in a stark, blood-like glow. The researcher's voice, suddenly urgent, pulled me back into focus.
The researcher spoke one last time: "I'm sorry to say this, but your universe appears to be doomed. It's time for us to part ways."
Suddenly, the shackles that bound my arms and legs were released by some unseen mechanism. I was falling, plunging into the abyss that lay below. I was enveloped by darkness, an unending and eternal void that swallowed all light. No longer did I dream, there was only the darkness — an expanse of infinite obscurity.
Strangely enough, I've found acceptance in my fate. I see it now as my mission to disseminate this knowledge, a burden that is not just my own but one that should be shared collectively. It's our shared destiny, and to all who are willing to listen, I tell them of the abyss, the dark entity that lies beneath us all.
It is the foundation of our reality, the source of all our suffering. My story is a warning, a revelation of the truth that lies behind our existence. Now, all I see is darkness, and my greatest wish is for this truth to spread. Like a virus, it should infect us all, enlighten us all, and unite us all in our shared fate.
submitted by Otarih
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