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Think Like A Man Of Action, Act Like A Man Of Thinking

2008.10.27 15:12 Think Like A Man Of Action, Act Like A Man Of Thinking


2023.04.01 15:18 Arceroth Traveler of a Chronicle 2ish

As readers of these chronicles have no doubt realized, I have a lot of experiences. And while I try to relate as many as possible to you there are inevitably some I leave out for the sake of maintaining a good story flow, or because they aren’t relevant. But there are also some that are just too… crazy to easily explain.
Shortly after my stay on the undying world I found myself in a new kind of rest stop, though it barely resembled the cheap motels I was used to. Instead I appeared standing on a small platform, a good ten feet above what looked like some kind of arena. Infront of me was a podium with a number of displays that were currently blank.
“And here’s our challenger!” a loud voice called out before I could get my bearings. Looking up I saw the arena was surrounded by stands, mostly empty ones I should note. A man in a sharp suit stood in the middle of the arena with a bright spotlight on him, gesturing to me as he continued to speak to the crowd.
“It seems we have something of a grudge match for you today!” the announcer continued, speaking into a mic, “two world walkers from different species! To my left, on the red side, we have one of the esteemed Children of the Composers, calling himself, THE CONDUCTOR!”
As the crowd cheered I slowly looked at where a new spotlight glowed upon a red platform much like my own. Atop it stood a single figure, waving to the crowd, was my enemy the Conductor.
“And to my right, in the blue, we have a scientist from Earth, this is his first time in one of these contests so give a big welcome to THE TRAVELER!”
I was nearly blinded as I suddenly had a spotlight of my own. Shielding my eyes I squinted up at the light cheering I was, apparently, receiving.
“Since this is the first time for one of our competitors, and for anyone new to these proceedings, allow me to quickly go over the rules!” the announcer continued as the applause tapered off, “Each of these World Walkers has a grievance with the other, as such before we start each will make a demand which, should they win, will be enforced upon the looser. Once the stakes are set we proceed to the main game! Selected in advance for this match is Phantom Summoning Battle Royal! Each of the two World Walkers will be allowed to summon the phantom of someone they know, these phantoms will have all the abilities and skills of their real counterpart but will not be truly intelligent. In addition each phantom will consume a certain amount of energy capacity from their summoner, each competitor will start with a limited amount of energy with which to summon. But, with each new round their maximum energy will increase allowing them to summon more powerful phantoms. In addition, if one of your phantoms kills the phantom of your opponent you will steal half the energy value of that phantom from your opponent for your own use!
“After each round of summoning the phantoms will fight for ten minutes!” the announcer continued, “should one side’s phantoms be wiped out entirely all surviving phantoms will be allowed a single attack against the opposing World Walker. This continues until one of the competitors is unable to fight. Don’t worry though, in accordance with the Orange Entity Agreement no competitors can truly die in this fight, should an attack from an opposing phantom kill them they will be revived instantly. This will, however, cause them to lose!
“Now! On to the demands!” the announcer gestured towards the Conductor and, to my amazement, slid first across the ground then through the air till he was standing next to my nemesis, “Should you win, what is it you request?”
“My opponent was once a good friend of mine,” the Conductor started, “ever since he got his new memory module he’s been turned against me by some unknown force. Should I win I request his memory module be removed so that we might once again become friends!”
“How touching,” the announcer said, then, with a gesture, slid through the air till he was next to me, “and what about you, Traveler, what do you request upon winning?”
“I,” I admit I was still somewhat in shock at this but doing my best to recover I responded, “I would like if the Conductor would leave me the hell alone.”
“Fascinating!” the announcer said, sliding back through the air until he was hovering over the center of the arena, “with those demands, I’ll pass to our current Commentators. The Storyteller and the Battlemaster!”
“Thanks Announcer,” a familiar voice echoed through the arena, one I recognized as the Storyteller who’d I’d encountered last time I fought against the Conductor, “Two very different demands, wouldn’t you say Battlemaster?”
“Indeed,” a deeper voice I didn’t recognize replied, “very different.”
“On one hand the Conductor’s request appears to be couched in the idea of friendship, which we all know is one of the most powerful forces in any plotline,” the storyteller continued, “On the other hand having your mind wiped is a very serious consequence, akin to death, whereas the Traveler has requested something much less damaging to an ongoing story.”
As they spoke the displays in front of me lit up, showing a gauge with what I guessed was my ‘energy limit’ as the announcer explained. Another display simply had a handprint, so I carefully placed my hand there and… nothing happened. Was this how I was supposed to confirm my summons or something? For all the talking that had happened I didn’t really been told much. But that aside who would I summon? My first thought was the Saint of Battle, she was armed, skilled in combat and someone I considered a friend.
As soon as I thought that her image appeared on another part of the display along with a gauge that showed eleven bars. I quickly figured out that was how much energy she required to be summoned, and based on the other display I only had two blocks of energy to use. Perhaps unsurprising that she required more than the energy I started with.
“And it seems we have our first summon from the Conductor!” the storyteller announced, causing me to look up. Across the arena from me another person faded into existence, shrouded in a red haze, presumably to indicate which side he was on. This person was clearly the same race as the Conductor but wore something not to dissimilar from a martial arts Gi one might find on Earth. And, interestingly, hovering above the persons head was a name ‘First Student of a Martial King.’
“The summon appears to be some kind of Martial Arts student, judging by the name and outfit,” the Storyteller echoed my thoughts, “an interesting but safe choice for a first summon, well rounded abilities and some combat experience, easily able to fit with the minimal energy available this early in the game.”
I searched my memory for someone who knew how to fight but wouldn’t cost much. Unfortunately most of the people I’ve met weren’t fighters, they were researchers, scholars… mages.
I quickly pictured Alexandrite in my mind, the mage friend to the hero Aaron from one of my past worlds. Obviously Aaron, able to break free of any constraints, would be far too expensive but maybe his friend was weaker. And, thankfully, she only cost one bar of my available two. With another thought I confirmed the summon and saw half of my short energy bar drain and the woman I’d met once months ago faded into existence, surrounded in a blue haze. Interestingly above her was another title, this one reading ‘Only Friend of a Fallen Hero.’ And I wondered who was coming up with these names.
“Looks like the Traveler has made his first summon as well,” the Storyteller continued, “a woman in a scholars robe, perhaps some flavor of magic user? It’ll be an uphill battle for a mage against a fighter, don’t you agree Battlemaster?”
“Yes,” the deeper voice replied, “uphill.”
“But by summoning a woman he causes the viewer to instinctively be drawn to his side to her over a man,” replied the Storyteller, “a very shrewd tactic.”
“First round,” the Announcer interrupted, floating over the center of the arena, one hand held above him which he brought down in a sudden motion, “fight!”
Immediately the First Student the Conductor had summoned dashed forward, towards the phantom of Alexandrite. She looked… startled? She only started to react as the martial artist made it halfway across the arena, waving a hand in front of her, drawing out a large rune in the air. She barely finished before the other phantom reached her, activating the rune and sending forth a beam of energy, which the Conductor’s summon easily dodged and slammed his fist into her stomach. A few more blows and she fell to the ground, unmoving.
“And we have a winner!” the Announcer said. Suddenly I found myself standing in the center of the Arena, barely able to take in what had happened when the Conductor’s summon appeared and threw a punch at me. I flinched back but my shield easily took the hit and, an instant later, I was once more on my platform.
“As expected, a mage is a poor matchup against a fighter,” the Storyteller prattled above me, “but no one likes seeing a woman brutalized, which quickly grants the Traveler the moral high ground, if not the practical one.”
Almost instantly the Conductor summoned another phantom, this one looking very similar to the first with the title ‘Second Student of a Martial King.’ Was he planning to summon an entire school of martial artists? It seemed odd to me but clearly he knew what he was doing so I couldn’t underestimate him.
I couldn’t risk another magic user, I decided, I needed a good frontline first. Feeling more relaxed, now that I at least felt I understood the rules, I once again scanned my memory and landed upon the adventuring party I’d met in the world of The First Man. Mart, the essence user, was my first thought, but I quickly dismissed the idea, he was another mage type. No, I needed the leader of that group, what was his name… Riginald!
His face appeared on the screen and, thankfully, he cost only three bars of energy, one less than the four I found myself with. It seemed that while killing a summon allows you to steal half the energy they’re worth, it’s rounded down so the one bar Alexandrite cost was fully refunded. If my guess was correct Riginald would give the Conductor one bar should he fall. Not wanted to test if there was a time limit to how long I had to summon, I confirmed I wanted Riginald and he soon faded into existence before me, his title was, oddly, ‘Heir to a Shattered Land.’
“And fight!” declared the Announcer, signaling the start of the second round. Immediately Riginald snapped into action, showing much greater battle sense than Alexandrite, drawing a flintlock pistol from his belt, aiming and firing off a shot at the nearest of the two martial artists who both ducked sideways just as he fired.
But something odd was going on with them, the first student had previously taken a decent few seconds to cross the arena but now seemed to be moving much faster, keeping pace with the newest summon. Before Riginald could draw his second flintlock they were upon him, forcing him to drop the expended weapon and use his saber. At first I thought he’d missed entirely, not unsurprising given the nature of the weapon, but as the melee began I noticed some blood on the first student’s arm, possibly just a grazing hit but still some damage.
Riginald was handling himself better in combat against the two alien brawlers, but it was quickly apparent his combat skill wasn’t on par with theirs. Only his breastplate and the extra reach his saber gave him allowed him to fight them. Unfortunately it didn’t last, the second student managed to grab Riginald’s sword arm following an attack, which gave the first student an opening to kick Riginald’s legs out from under him. A few well placed blows on the fallen warrior and the round ended. Once more I found myself on the arena floor, this time both of the students threw attacks and while neither made it through my barrier, I noticed that the first student’s attack got further than it had before.
“And that puts the Conductor up with two summons and two wins,” the Storyteller said over the loudspeaker as I reappeared on my platform, “It will be hard for him to recover from this position. On the other hand readers love an underdog so falling behind like this does leave him with a narrative advantage. The Conductor’s strategy seems to rely heavily on the power of friendship, as his choice of summons seems to reinforce, but I’d say the Traveler’s choice of lower stakes and underdog storyline is superior.”
As the annoying Storyteller spoke the Conductor made his next summon, not even hesitating as the displays unlocked and updated with two more bars of energy. I could see his smug grin across the arena as the Third Student of a Martial King faded into existence.
I quickly ignored him, leaning against my own lectern and raking my brain for a solution. I still didn’t have enough energy to summon the Saint of Battle, who was one of the strongest warriors I knew. But even I didn’t know if she would be able to go against three enemies alone. Other fighters I’d met popped into my mind, Aaron, the broken hero, required nine bars of energy. The First Man required twenty-three, surprisingly. On a whim I pictured Purses, who likely had the most destructive power of anyone I’d ever met, even if he was technically a machine, and wasn’t surprised by his two hundred some odd energy cost.
What I needed now, I realized, wasn’t a fighter, I needed someone who could simply hold the summons of the Conductor. I knew some very powerful people, but their energy costs were more than I could manage. If I could just delay until I could afford them I might be able to turn this around. I thought about passing the round, but I wouldn’t be any better off next round and I was worried about how the first student had been faster and stronger in the second round. No I needed a defensive option, somehow who could take or avoid hits.
Someone who couldn’t die.
I grinned as a face appeared on the display, requiring only one bar of energy to my surprise, and confirmed the summon just before the countdown ended.
A simple man in jeans and a tee-shirt faded into existence, an empty smile on his face. Hovering above his head was the title ‘Hopeless Guide to an Eternal World.’
“Third round, fight!” the Announcer declared, and the three students on the Conductor’s side leapt into action. As I’d feared they were faster than previous, it seemed that for every student they grew stronger. I wondered if they were somehow making use of the Harmony for the self-buffing ability, it seemed like something that would be in its wheelhouse.
Quickly the three martial artists surrounded the guide, who had barely taken a few slow steps forward, and began laying into him. In seconds they had him on the ground and landed several blows, causing him to stop moving. For a moment I was concerned, as the three alien summons seemed to prepare to strike me, was the phantom not immortal like the man it was based on? But after a few seconds it became clear the round hadn’t ended, the three enemy summons exchanging confused looks when, behind them, the guide slowly pushed himself to his feet.
Seemingly angered by his refusal to die they quickly began to beat on him once more, landing punches with such coordination it could only be the work of the Harmony. One would stand in front of the guide while another stood behind him, and they would both land powerful punches to his chest, right where his heart was, that I was certain would kill a normal man. And while the Guide collapsed he didn’t stay down, starting to stand only to be kicked back down. For ten minutes they beat on him, but by the end the round was called without a winner.
“What a turnaround!” the Storyteller said excitedly, “it would seem the defensive abilities of the Traveler’s phantom are rather extreme, able to take that kind of beating. But the real question is what does this mean narratively? No one likes watching one man getting beaten up, perhaps this is another ploy to increase his underdog status while remaining defensive? In any case this is an interesting development, wouldn’t you agree Battlemaster?”
“Yes,” said the deeper voice, “interesting.”
I was just glad the plan had worked, I wasn’t sure if the rules of this strange game would preserve his unchanging status since that was based on his world’s oddities. Thankfully it had, the only issue I could see now was if the Conductor had some way to defeat this specific ability. I felt somewhat heartened as the Conductor took a moment to glare at his displays before summoning the fourth student. I now had six bars of energy free, which still wasn’t enough for any of the strong warriors I knew so I decided to hold off, passing the turn and relying on the guide’s durability.
It was clear now, if it hadn’t been before, that for each student summoned they all got stronger, something the Storyteller commented on, putting it up to the ‘power of friendship’ but I mostly ignored him. Watching and wincing as the four martial artists beat the daylights out of my phantom, hoping that these phantoms weren’t real beings. Ten minutes later the round ended in another draw.
The next two rounds passed much the same, there were now six students of the martial king against the guide, I held off summoning anyone new to save energy. At two energy gained per round I’d have ten free, one short of the Saint of Battle, but enough to summon Aaron. As I pondered if I should risk it or wait for more energy the Conductor shouted.
“Bullshit!” the alien shouted, “I demand a review of that phantom!”
“On what grounds?” the Announcer asked, sliding through the air to stand next to the Conductor.
“No mere human can take that kind of beating without dying!” the Conductor insisted, “much less without any kind of injury at all!”
“Very well, I shall send this to the judges for review,” the Announcer said, and before anything else could happen everything seemed to freeze in place. Some… presence had filled the room so totally that nothing could move, even my eyes were frozen in place, I couldn’t even feel my heart beating. It took me a moment to realize it, but this feeling was virtually identical to the warning one got when they had one minute left in a rest stop. Was this place run by the same entities as those?
Just as suddenly as it came the presence left and everyone was left gasping for air, all except the Announcer who seemed unphased.
“The judges rule that the phantom is properly balanced and allowed,” he announced, “as penalty for wasting the time of the Cricle Fourteen Orange Star Entity, the host of this program, one bar of energy shall be taken from the Conductor and given to the Traveler! Now, on with the Summoning!”
And like that I had enough for the Saint of Battle, without a second thought I confirmed the summon. Unlike all the others she didn’t simply fade into existence, but seemed to descend from the heavens on a beam of golden light.
“And it seems like we have our first World Walker summoned!” the Storyteller said, his voice still shaking slightly from the previous events, though he was good at hiding it, “And what a beauty she is too! Unless I miss my guess, that’s the Saint of Battle!”
Apparently unable to summon another student the Conductor passed and the Announcer started the seventh round.
This was my first time seeing the Saint fight, even if it was just a phantom of her, but I was impressed. At first she lifted her rifle and snapped off a number of shots, obliterating one of the Conductor’s phantoms in a cloud of blood. But she was never going to get many shots off like that with how fast the students had gotten, and she was forced into melee. But, to my relief, she managed to easily hold her own. With skillful use of her rifle and some simple attacks she was able to fend off the students, matching them in speed and strength. For a while they fought, the guide standing off to one side watching passively, and I was getting worried she’d be overwhelmed as it seemed the guide wasn’t good for much but taking hits. But five minutes into the brawl a snapped shot struck another student, vaporizing the alien martial artist. Just as they’d gotten stronger with each new student added, they also got weaker as their numbers waned. By the time the round was called a draw only two students remained.
I could practically feel the Conductor’s glare across the arena as my display updated. Two energy for the round and four from defeated enemies I now had six to spend. Apparently, each of the students were worth two energy which was mildly surprising. If my math was right, the Conductor should have two or three energy to spend, with four tied up in his remaining phantoms. I saw no reason to waste time or energy and so I passed my turn to summon, leaving the Saint and Guide to fight the next round, confident they would win.
Then the Conductor did something I didn’t expect, he sacrificed his two current summons, causing them to vanish while freeing up his energy. I hadn’t even known you could do that, but as I was considering the implications a new figure popped into the air on the Conductor’s side, landing on his side and tumbling sideways before coming to a rest.
Above his head ‘The Traveler’ appeared.
“Now that’s an interesting development,” the Storyteller commented.
“Yes,” the Battlemaster said, “interesting.”
“Summoning your enemy is always a gambit, while the phantoms aren’t truly conscious beings they will act just like their real counterparts. Often times one will summon their friends to fight for them in these games, and, even if they know the other phantom is their enemy will struggle to attack a friend. So I guess we get to see how the Traveler’s friend would react to having to fight him.”
“Round start!” the announcer shouted.
The Saint of Battle lifted her rifle and fired a burst of three shots, two impacting my phantom’s barrier while the third got through and blew a chunk of the phantom’s chest out.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, I admitted to myself as the Conductor, a surprised look on his face, appeared in the center of the arena and was subsequently gunned down as well.
“And the winner is The Traveler!” the announcer shouted to scattered applause, I was busy trying to decide how to feel about how willing the Saint of Battle was to gun me down like that.
“His demand, was for the Conductor to leave him alone,” the announcer continued, “thus, in the future the Conductor will be unable to challenge him to battles in other Orange Entity arenas!”
“Wait,” I froze, “but he can still bother me in other worlds?”
“Correct! The Orange entity battle arenas can only enforce rewards within their own domains, natural worlds and other entity rest stops are beyond the powers of our host!”
“Oh, god damnit.”
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(actual chapter tomorrow XD)
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2023.04.01 14:47 ByfelsDisciple My (33F) boyfriend (35M) has an unhealthy interest in my son (10M), and I don’t know what to do about it.

I have nothing to report to the police, and if my suspicions prove accurate, then confronting him will only make things worse. The only realistic option at this point seems to be a panic attack, so I want to see if anyone else has gone through something similar before I resort to that approach.
The first signs were (relatively) mild. Darren (boyfriend) always seemed to sniff Jordan (son) every time he got near. It didn’t appear to be sexual; he looked more like he was taking in the aroma of wine before sipping. I don’t know if that’s worse than a gasp and a deep shudder. Confronting Darren seemed like the most uncomfortable suggestion imaginable, so I let it go.
I’ve been far more uncomfortable since.
Two days later, we had soup. Jordan always pours more than he eats, so I thought nothing of it when he pushed back his half-empty bowl. I took it as an act of service when Darren said, “don’t worry, I’ll clean the table.” I didn’t realize how much of a relief it was to share housework until I only had to do half of it.
So I gathered the remnants of the dishes and brought them into the kitchen. Clearly, Darren didn’t expect to see me as he poured Jordan’s portion down the front of his shirt.
I pretended that I didn’t see him, and he pretended not to see me slink away.
Last week was the first time I caught Darren with the book. He asked if he could read Jordan a story before bed. It felt odd, because I hardly read to him anymore, but I wanted to believe it would be a chance for positive bonding time. A chill settled over me when Darren closed the door after going into Jordan’s room. Again, it wasn’t overtly inappropriate, but it made me extremely uncomfortable. Most of us actually just roll through unsettling behavior, because we’re hardwired not to rock the boat. Nine times out of ten, I would have swallowed my discomfort – but that tenth time is when my child’s wellbeing is on the line. I hesitated for a few seconds, then opened the door.
I could tell that Darren was irritated by my disruption. He quickly put a small, black book in his pocket. “Never mind, Champ,” he smiled at Jordan. “It’s getting late. I’ll tell you about it some other time.” He got up and walked past me without making eye contact. When we went to bed an hour later, we chatted as normal and pretended the incident never happened.
Things got very strange two days ago. I walked into Jordan’s room to say good night, and was surprised to find the door again shut. Jordan likes to sleep with it open. My stomach turned over as I went inside, knowing who I would see there. Darren was standing over Jordan, offering him a cup.
The look on Jordan’s face told me that he didn’t like what was going on. I approached to get between them and hug my son as Darren withdrew the cup. But he wasn’t quick enough to take one other item off the nightstand before I saw it.
It was a syringe half-filled with blood.
I wrapped my arms around Jordan as Darren grabbed the syringe and left the room. When I went back into the hallway, I discovered that he had gone home.
I didn’t see him most of the next day. I didn’t reach out to him.
Then he called me. I hesitated, but picked up on the fourth ring. “I’d like to come over tonight, stay by your side, and talk about it in the morning,” he offered by way of greeting.
I opened my mouth to say ‘no,’ but a voice in the back of my head told me that it would be worse if I upset him. I convinced myself that Jordan would be better off if I knew where Darren was all night.
He came over, and true to his word, stayed away from Jordan and just curled up next to me in bed. It almost felt normal again. I almost convinced myself that I had been overreacting.
I told myself that I could stay up all night, that I would know exactly where Darren was as long as he had his arm wrapped around me. Losing one night’s sleep was an easy price to pay. I felt awake and alert.
I looked down to see that Darren’s arm was gone. I had no idea how long I’d been asleep. I was out of bed and on my feet before making the conscious decision to move. Darting as quickly as I could to Jordan’s room without making a noise, I paused with my fingertips on the knob, tense about what I might find inside, wanting and not wanting to open it all at once.
I turned and pushed it open.
I sighed with relief when I saw Jordan by himself on his bed.
My breath stopped when I noticed Darren asleep on the floor. He was curled up by the nightlight.
I took three silent steps toward them, pausing as I decided what to do next.
I didn’t want to wake Jordan, and really wanted to keep Darren undisturbed.
Suddenly, an object on the floor by the light caught my eye.
It was that little black book he’d been hiding from me earlier.
I hadn’t realized just how much my hands were shaking until I lifted it. I read the first page.
It was all gibberish. I took Mandarin and Arabic in college, and I can sound out most Russian words. This language didn’t look like any of that. Flipping through, I could see that the entire thing was written this way – hundreds of pages containing thousands of words. The symbols repeated often enough so that it was clear this was some sort of internally consistent code that made sense to Darren. Fingers trembling in the dim nightlight, I silently prayed that Darren wouldn’t wake up as I turned to the final pages. I had to see if any part of it was readable, but couldn’t risk leaving the room in search of better lighting while Darren stayed behind with Jordan.
The last page was different. It looked like a series of interconnecting lines that seemed vaguely familiar. I flipped it upside down.
And then I understood.
The numbers “1913” were written at the meeting of two lines.
That’s my house number.
I was looking at a crude map. Our home was in the center of it.
I flipped the book around again and looked at the cover. It had no title; instead, it was embossed with a symbol that I don’t know the meaning of, but have seen before. It looks like this.
I picked up Jordan (fortunately he sleeps like a log) and hefted him over Darren, who I left sleeping on the floor. I brought Jordan into my room, closed my bedroom door (it doesn’t lock) and put him into bed with me. I’m writing this now.
If Darren is capable of aggression (I don’t know if he is), then confronting him is the last thing I want to do. I don’t have any family or close friends in town; I know we could stay in a motel, but then what? We’ll eventually have to come back and face Darren.
Is this all in my head? Has anyone faced something like this before, or does someone recognize this behavior? Am I overreacting? Any (immediate) advice would be appreciated.
Read me!
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2023.04.01 12:10 roemer I'm fat again and that isn't a problem.

When I was 23 years old, I stepped on the scale at 5'9" and weighed 320 lbs. It was the largest I ever actually weighed on a scale, but I'm sure that wasn’t my heaviest. Three months later I left for Umpire school in Florida. I had always thought umpires were allowed to be fat, which couldn't have been farther from the truth. After five weeks I had lost 20lbs just due to umpiring 6 days a week with instruction. At the end of umpire school, you are hoping to get a position in minor league baseball. I was denied for one reason, my weight. It was an eye-opening experience that I wouldn't be able to pursue my dream job because I was fat. From there I dropped to 285 lbs. leading up to my summer league season and then maintained that weight because God help you losing weight on the road. I showed back up at umpire school down another 30 lbs. to 255. They almost didn't move me on due to my weight again, but knew I wanted it and that I was a talented umpire. This led to the next 8 years of my life in professional baseball. My lowest weight was 169 lbs. and that made me miserable. I had a now major league umpire turn to me and say are you even happy? My answer was a very quick no. I was hungry all the time and felt I was missing out just to keep being extremely skinny. This led to my next passion, power lifting, which allowed me to eat more, but still maintain my overall aesthetic.. Despite my newfound fitness passion, the seven-month baseball season is far too grueling and difficult to maintain your normal weight. I weighed in every year at 17X lb. weight. However, I also finished every season at 200+with one year being 215. This weight loss and gain every year a completely accidental 6-month cut followed by a six-month bulk for 5 years. By the time I was released from Double AA I had hit all my powerlifting aspirations at the 181-weight class. I overhead pressed 200lbs, benched 300, squatted 400, and deadlifted 500. The last three were all in competition. I then turned to Bodybuilding starting at 195 lbs. This was quickly derailed by covid, and I pivoted to a 4:30:39 marathon, but was now skinny fat due to the lack of lifting. It took me 9 months of being a complete hermit away from all family and friends to step onto the bodybuilding stage. The last 12 weeks were absolutely perfect eating and working out with zero binges or missed workouts. The last month of it is some of the most miserable I have ever been, but it was completely worth it. To go from a fatass 320 to a third place worthy 169 is a memory and trophy I will always cherish. My next goal was winning a strongman competition at my favorite gym (Devoted strength and fitness) one week before my competition my mother had a TBI. I still had to hit the 181 weigh in with my mother in the hospital every night wondering if she would survive the next day. I made weight and won the competition thanks to my freakishly strong shoulders. Over the next 6 months I moved home to help take care of my mother and for the first time in 10 years did not work out. I gained nearly 50lbs and was a shadow of my former self. I'm currently training for a half ironman now and have already 10 lbs. back to my goal weight of 195 for my competition.
I wrote all of this not as a self-flex or woe is me, but to show how your journey through weight loss and fitness is an eternal struggle. You will always fall off the horse. I have gained and lost the same 40 lbs. for the past ten years, and I will bet it won't be the last time as well. Even if you have fallen off your diet, suffered a family tragedy, or sustained an injury. Get your mind back to a healthier you and figure out what you need to do to get yourself healthy again. My answer is simply to find the goal I need to cross off my list. I have done it many times so it's easier for me, but I guarantee if you lost weight once the next ten times it is far easier.
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2023.04.01 11:12 ShadowDragon8685 [Ace is the Only Sane Pirate 17]Breaking Out like a Rolling Stone.

"About time!" Lu t'Cca thundered at her. "Split find hiding spot!
Najia backpedaled, giving the irate Split prisoner plenty of room to get past without coming into arms' length of her. At least he seemed to get that this was a prison break, and he made no move for her or her firearm, darting well clear of her, and out from the cell block.
Axiom's voice cut the sudden quiet that was otherwise punctuated only by her racing heart. "While you two were chatting, I've found a way to temporarily disable security in the hangar. That's where we'll hitch our ride. Head for the second level; the Ministry seems to have installed more switches. They'll require some adjustment, but I know you love a good puzzle." Najia snorted. She did, in fact, love a good puzzle, but breaking out of a prison was not the time to indulge in that. Usually. Unless one looked at the prison as the puzzle. She shook her head, huffing, and drew her pistol again. There was no marked pathway this time, but she made better time; it was reckless, but she jogged, since the place was seemingly totally unguarded. And, if it wasn't, chances were that Lucca would run into the guards first, and she'd hear the struggle ahead. She passed the lift, glancing towards it, and hurrying past in the other direction she hadn't been yet, coming to a door. Slowing, she closed enough with it that it opened automatically.
Najia let out a huff; Lu t'Cca was on the other side, but so was Axiom. She stepped forward, and looked from Axiom, who nodded to her, to Lucca, who snarled. "Creature reveal Split hiding spot! Creature nothing better to do?" This is a hiding spot? Najia shook her head; the two of them were literally standing in the middle of an intersection, in front of an airlock with two branches off on either side. She huffed, looking at Lu t'Cca. "Hey, Mellerd said -"
"Split not talk about friend-foes!" Lucca ranted. "Kriss went against family! Betrayal followed petty betrayal! Way of Windfall, yes. Way of some Split, maybe, but not how real warriors do revenge!" He made a guttural sound of anguish, shaking his head vehemently. Kris? He was on a first-name basis with her? The fact that Ace had spoken so frankly of xenosexual encounters popped into her head, the constant talk of betrayal, pettiness, personal matters, and suddenly it was obvious; somehow, this was personal. Personal; and none of her damn business. She held her hand up placatingly, holstering her other pistol, trusting to Axiom's physical presence to keep peace between her and Lucca. "Fine. I'll leave you to it," she said. "Split thought so," Lu t'Cca spat, looking back to Axiom. She looked to Axiom as well. "Switches, Wildcard. Get to it."
Najia nodded, and darted down the left-hand branch of the intersection, fuming all the while. It ran into a dead-end, and she uttered "ah fuck," turning and sprinting in the other direction, slaloming between Maestro and Lucca. At the end, she dead-ended there, and exasperated raised her voice, "the hell?!" Back in the middle, she examined the airlock carefully; she could see that it connected to nothing, which is why she discounted it previously. Carefully she moved into the airlock, her hand on her pistol just in case Lucca tried to kill her by cycling it, but he and Axiom seemed to be in the process of discussing old times.
Exasperated, Najia stepped back out of the airlock. "Axiom, where are these buttons you're talking about? How are we supposed to get out of here?" "Er..." Axiom blinked, tri-ocularly, at her, and looked around. He looked at his datapad. "They should be... Through..." He let out a discontent rumble. "Oh my. That is not obvious on a computer systems diagram schematic." "They're on the other side of the frigging airlock," Najia said. "You're probably already aware that humans can't survive in vacuum, let alone maneuver in it, right?" She snorted, her sarcasm at least getting a sheepish shuffle on his long legs out of Axiom. "Can we get out the way we came back in? Even if it means abandoning the Raven?"
"No," Axiom said gravely. "The tampering I did to activate the cell block doors will be caught by someone sooner or later - probably later than sooner, but sooner if we try to leave the cell block." "Split has been implanted with a tracking device," Lucca growled. "It will raise quite the ruckus when Split leave the cell block!" "If we're leaving by... Unconventional mechanisms, that will be no trouble," Axiom noted. "But if we enter the lift, it will lock down and security will be summoned immediately."
"Outstanding," Najia huffed. "Let me double-check something, see if I can think of something." She turned and left the way she had come from. She bypassed the lift; she had no intention of simply bailing on them. But now, she had two options. Neither was good, but one was significantly less good, so she hoped the other option worked. She opened a channel to Boso Ta. "Boso Ta, I hope to hell you've been listening in." "I have, Assistant!" Boso Ta's voice came through loud and clear. "You are in quite the conundrum. I hope you see a manner in which I may be able to extricate you, for I do not." "You and the Professor have been upgrading teleporters with the ability to upgrade themselves. To do so, you've been transporting equipment, right?" "Hai!" Professor Nakagawa's voice cut in. Clearly he was on the line. "This capability is within our grasp. What is your proposal, Takio-San?" "Can you teleport my EV suit to me?"
There was silence for a long few moments which felt like an eternity. "Potentially," Boso Ta broke the silence. "Have it placed in one of our lifts." "I'll get right on that," Marta cut in on the line. Najia smiled to hear her voice. "Any other requirements?" "If this will work, we will need very precise measurements," Professor Nakagawa said. "The teleporter is more your project than mine, Boso Ta. My thought is that it will require at least three triangulating vessels, and a beacon, and a substantial amount of open space." "Will an empty cell block do for that," Najia asked, hustling down the corridor. "It should yes... Yes! That will work." Rei Stringer cut in on the call, and Najia blinked as she saw Rei's comm-code. "I can arrange the fly-by," she said. It had been awhile since Najia had heard from the friend she had left in charge of the Eighteen Billion Terran-tech construction supplies factory, and generally, in charge of Eighteen Billion affairs. "There's a patrol of Katana in the area already, it won't look suspicious if they do a swing-by of Wormwood Scrubs."
Najia set her datapad down on the floor in the middle of the cell block. "I put my datapad down on the floor. Is that beacon enough," she asked. "Hai, Takio-San," the aged professor's voice informed her. "But I would endeavor to be in another room when the teleport takes place. This is... Highly experimental." "Vacating the room," Najia said, sprinting out into the hallway and down it. "Tell me when it's gonna happen."
"In... About twenty seconds," Boso Ta informed her. "You might want to cover your ears, assistant." Najia didn't even bother to complain about being called 'Assistant' again, she simply crouched and closed her eyes, covering her ears and tried to become one with the railing. She counted to thirty, then opened her eyes. "Did anything happen?" "Your EV suit and EMU aren't in the lift anymore," Marta said to her. "Better go check."
Najia did, and she laughed heartily. Her hardshell carapace EV suit and EMU were sitting on the floor of the cell block. "A perfect teleport! I didn't even hear anything." "Fantastic," Boso Ta said. "You had best hurry, Assistant."
One fast donning later, Najia opened the door to where Axiom and Lucca were still standing around, chatting like old gossips. They both started when they saw her, and she held her hand up. "Easy, guys, it's me." She was hauling her EMU with her. "Split wonders where creature was hiding that," Lu t'Cca said, pointing at her. "Ancient secrets," Najia flippantly answered, as she hefted her EMU into the airlock, and sat in it, strapping in. "Right, let's do this." Reaching up, Najia slapped the airlock cycle button. The door behind her hissed shut; air was evacuated. Her suit indicated a total drop of external pressure, and the airlock's A-grav let go, letting her float free, and so she pushed off the floor.
"Excellent!" Axiom crowed at her, over the comm. "Level 2 is right through there. That exhaust fan may impede your movements, but it won't make our mission impossible. See those alcoves? There's where I'd hide if I were you, whenever the fan is blowing at full speed."
Exhaust fan? I'm in vacuum! Najia carefully maneuvered out. She was in vacuum and microgravity; but she was also inside a large, cylindrical space. Below her was something like a massive fuse-box with a big holographic turret outline, and she jetted down to examine it, but could see no obvious way to tamper with it without most likely setting off major alarms, so she looked back up - just as a synthesized alert klaxxon sounded.
I hate this place, Naija thought, as she saw a fan at the top of the cylinder spin up. At a guess she thought, perhaps it was something like an exhaust, which struck as horrifically wasteful in space, but she could only grit her teeth, watching it spin. At the bottom of the cylindrical space, she only felt the slightest of buffeting; it might have been substantially stronger closer to the top. I am very confused, very frustrated, and I just want to get the hell out of here, she thought. She was seriously considering revisiting her first plan, which had been to simply teleport herself, Axiom and Lucca to Ace's ship.
But now, though, she was pissed, and she wanted to poke something spiteful in Mellerd's eye herself. So she jetted to the top of the cylinder, looking around. As she did, Axiom popped up in her comms. "These airlocks are shut, so you'll need to find a way to bypass their locks." She responded with only a quick "roger," looking around. One airlock, contrary to Axiom's words, was hanging open, but the lights next to it were red. She tried it anyway; but for once, Axiom was spot-on. The airlock door might have been open, but its functions were locked out, the panel totally nonresponsive. She returned below, and looked around; there was an open airlock opposite Axiom and Lucca, so she tried it, and it worked for her automatically.
"Well, let's see what's down this way," Najia muttered to herself, slipping out of her EMU and leaving it in the lock. She unholstered the pistol that was now clamped to her hardshell-clad thigh, and started to look around again.
To her surprise, she found only another cell block - it was a dead end! She was about to hiss in frustration, when she heard someone call to her. "You there! You! Hey! You are not supposed to be here!" Najia turned to face the Teladi voice, her pistol half-raised, when she saw that the figure in question was imprisoned. She lowered her aim to the floor, and appraoched the bars. Standing within was a Teladi, who looked rather forelorn. Najia's shoulders slumped. Well, this is awkward, she thought. When the Teladi seemed to realize she wasn't a guard, she started to ask, "Oh please, please, please! You cannot leave me here! I am friends with Urgu... Ugusa... I can help you make profitsss! I promise."
Najia sighed at the pathetic display, but she understood the Teladi's desire for freedom; though, on the balance, she also had no idea what this Teladi had done to become imprisoned. Knowing Kriss Mellerd, it was a total crap-shoot; she might be a real scum-bag, or she might be being shaken down. Axiom cut in on her. "I sympathize with the little lizard, really I do, but we cannot compromise this mission in the name of charity."
Najia huffed out a sigh, and looked around. Frustratedly, she slapped the door panel on the imprisoned Teladi's cell, and to her surprise - and the prisoner's surprise - it opened. The prisoner looked around, confusedly, and Najia was glad that her mirrored helmet hid her gaze. "That's the best I can do," she said, resignedly. "You'll have to effect your own escape from here, if you can. Good luck." Turning, she huffed back into the airlock, slapping the button to cycle it as the Teladi prisoner looked around in tentative confusion, taking a few steps out of her cell.
Najia pulled her EMU's straps back on. "Well, that was a fucking bust," she snarled. "I'm about to start lasering shit," she muttered, floating back into the massive vacuum cylinder, and back up towards the locked airlocks. She found a third floor of airlocks, but they only offered some shelter from the fans starting up. After waiting that, frustratedly she flew back out again, and started looking around. "Axiom, there aren't any switches here!" "My diagrams say there are switches, Wildcard. Look more carefully - and swiftly."
Najia let out a guttural growl of frustration, and switched to her cutting laser. Giving in to a pique of frustration, she hit her Mk.2 thrusters, blowing past level 1 to the sub-level, coming up level with the big fuse-box. "Right, let's see what this does," she said with a snarl, and targeted her suit's cutting laser on the big set of what looked like fuses.
She blazed a neat line down the middle of them, and, gratifyingly, the 'Turrets' hologram switched to a big red repair icon... She looked around for a moment. Nothing happened. Najia smirked. "On the one hand, this place is frustrating, confusing, and I kind of want to blow it up out of spite by now. But on the other hand, the gross criminal negligence on display is really working in my favor. Fuck it. Lasers for everything," she said, snarling and going back up the shaft. There were a bunch of unmarked panels, and, giving in to the frustration she felt earlier - which she had barely restrained herself from allowing herself to hold Lu t'Cca at gunpoint - she started lasering the panels like a schoolgirl hooligan on a vandalism spree.
"Your new laser is low-powered, but if you keep it aimed at the lock, it will break eventually," Axiom said. Najia blinked. New laser? This is my laser and I've had it for a while, and... Oh, piss on this! She laughed, however, as she saw that one of the panels had indeed fractured.
One deeply-cathatic vandalism spree later, every panel had been opened, and had revealed that inside the two panels nearest the top-level airlocks were two further, smaller panels, with similar mechanisms. With the fan starting up again, Najia took shelter in one of the alcoves at the top, just under an airlock, and, deciding to use her time productively, she lasered the opposite airlock's control panel. After holding her laser on the box for awhile, it was a glowing ruin, and Axiom commed her. "Partial access to level two established," he informed her.
Najia nodded. She didn't even bother to sarcastically snark at him, though the phrase no shit, Sherlock ran through her mind. Rather, she charitably assumed he was reporting to her something he was learning electronically, and turned around. This is gonna be bright, she thought, as she trained her laser at close range on the near access box, and closed her eyes. She held in the firing stud, and held it - counting in her head to seven, when Axiom's comm made her let up off the laser. "And just like that, we have free reign over level two! They can't stop you now!"
Najia grinned, and opened her eyes to behold a molten, glowing hole drilled into the electronics she had blasted. "Right. Let's get this show on the highway."
On the level above her, in the half just above, she slipped in, and found herself facing a door to another cell block, just through the airlock. She went in and looked; no prisoners. Walking out, she huffed, and decided to walk the half-circuit around the big cylinder again. To her surprise, she found a console, just attached haphazardly to a railing. Really? Najia examined it, and snorted; it looked shoddy, ad-hoc. She tapped the console's screen, and it simply changed color. Axiom piped up. "Magnificent! That'll give you access to half of the switches! There must be another console nearby that will let you remove the second cover."
"Got it. Moving on," Najia said. Back to the airlock she went, after checking the other half of the crescent hallway she was in; without any luck, she just floated across to the other airlock on her EMU. Predictably, she found that, on the opposite railing in the other half of the level, was another console haphazardly attached to a railing, and she rapped it quite firmly with her knuckles. It flashed. "How's that, Axiom?" "Both covers confirmed open," Axiom informed her. "Let's flip some switches. Get back into your spacesuit."
"Never got out of it. Who has time to undress four times? Anyway, switches, yaaay switches," she snarked, as she cycled the airlock again, strapping her EMU back on. "Whoever designed this place is both a madman and criminally negligent."
Once the airlock cycled through again, Najia saw that the two panels she had manipulated had caused five boxes that she had previously taken as unimportant junction boxes to slide their panels open. She groaned to herself when she saw that there were five more lock-like switches within. "Great, time for more vandalism, yay." She lasered the first of the boxes' interiors, the one that was lit, and held it for a long few moments.
"Something's not right," Axiom said, comming her. She had a sinking feeling. "The switches are also setting the state of their neighbors," he declared. Sure enough, she had blasted the leftmost switch, and the second had lit up. Worryingly, the leftmost switch did not look damaged in the slightest. "You'll have to find a combination which turns them all off," Axiom said, as Najia groaned. "I don't think a game of whack-a-mole will get you there," Axiom continued. "Though... Actually, it might!"
Najia groaned, and briefly considered calling for a five-hundred-some member boarding party attack from two capital ships instead. "What tail-hole thought this was a good idea," she bitched. "Who dreamed this up? Why install it like this? Don't anybody answer that, those questions were rhetorical," she snarked, as she set about the process of shooting the junction boxes like they were a juvenile 'turn them all off' game.
About eighty seconds and the false start of thinking she could shoot an inactive switch to switch it on and switch its neighbors states (it transpired that she could only make an active switch toggle neighbors' states), all five boxes were dark, and Najia snarled, bristling with outrage that this was evidently considered part of a high security system and not a child's game.
"You got it, Wildcard!" Axiom commed her. "Access to Level 3 established. And it turned off the darned fan! Off to the hangar, then." Up one level, Najia cycled herself into the airlock, and groaned. She was getting mightily tired of this, and she rolled her shoulders. "I am going to need a massage and to soak for an hour in the shower," she griped to no-one in particular. She hefted her EMU half-over her left shoulder, unholstering her pistol, just in case. The EMU was very heavy, but her EV suit had a fairly substantial low-profile power assist mechanism. Not enough to turn her into a super-soldier by any means, but enough to let her heft a 150kg load like a bulky and cumbersome backpack. She was tempted to leave it behind... But it was a good thing she didn't. The corridor she found was only a straight shot to - and she groaned - another airlock. As she approached it, Axiom unhelpfully congratulated her. "Excellent," he said. "Yo're approaching the internal hangar now. Our getaway ship is right over there." Cycling through, she passed into the deep well of an internal ship hangar - and groaned.
Najia was looking at a Magpie. That was the big, innovative, unique ship?
"If we want to make it out of here, you'll have to destroy the clamps on the hangar doors," Axiom informed her. Najia groaned, sighed, and rolled her shoulders. "Right. I can do that. All this for a..." She seethed, and looked back at the ship.
No, it wasn't a Magpie, but it sure as hell looked like one. It was clearly a derivative design, but it had not the Magpie's massive cargo pods; rather, it had smaller pods, and a lot more gubbins - antennae, dishes, and the like. Fan-dabbie-dozie she thought balefully to herself as she set about finding and destroying the lockdown clamps. As she did so, she also saw a couple more panels that had a turret hologram over them, and, thinking, why the hell not, fried them, too. Moments later, the lockdown clamps fell, too, and she saw a red light glare through one of the hangar windows.
Axiom piped up, "Holy triangle, that's the station alarm! Lucca and I are going to make a run for the ship!" She blinked, looking up - two EVA-suited figures, with full EMUs, cycled through the airlock she had come through.
What, she thought. Where... I... What... Where...? In a moment of dumbfounded confusion, she stared openly, unmoving, before both of them dipped between the ship's large thrusters, and headed for its belly, while Axiom said, "approaching the dock. Be with you in a moment!" Fearing being left behind, Najia abandoned the question of where they had gotten EV suits, let alone EMUs, in favor of making haste to join them.
As Najia negotiated into the airlock, Axiom and Lucca reported that they had boarded, and Axiom was working on powering up the ship's systems, and Axiom was transferring the ship's ownership - and hence, control - to her. They were trying to talk over one another, making it confusing, but, as she got into the ship and shed her MMU, running for the seat, Axiom noted, "This prototype ship does not appear to have an emergency eject system. I assume it was supposed to be added later." "Great," she snarled. "This is going tits-up and I'm in a little ship with no ejection system." "Split been moving into position," Maestro informed her, in a bit of good news. "Alarm must have mobilized more Ministry forces than Split anticipated."
"Thrice blasted!" Axiom roared from the back. "Mellerd deployed a capital ship to head off the Arcadian Endeavour!" Najia groaned, checking her map. A Pheonix-class vessel named Rolling Rock was engaging the Arcadian Endeavor.
As Najia got the Raven's struts up and pushed it forward, she got a comm from the Rolling Rock itself. She snarled as she saw Kriss Mellerd in her comm pane. "Thank you for leading the old man, and his crew of clowns, right to my doorstep. Crossing them off the Ministry's list will do wonders for my career advancement."
Najia gawped at her, in shock at the sheer gall on display, as Mellerd laughed. "You just stumbled into this whole affair, so I will offer you a one-time chance to get out of this. All you have to do is dock at my ship and hand over the pirates youy are currently harboring. You won't be able to keep the ship, but -"
Najia cut her off, snarling in anger. "You just love the sound of your own voice, bitch. Even if I was inclined to take an 'out,' though, nobody can trust you. For anything." Najia switched the comms to her ships, as she powered the Raven up to full. It seemed to be armed with two cannons; she test-fired them by holding in the trigger. They didn't fire immediately, but when she let go, they let fly. "Woah. These must be those Teladi charger things," she muttered. "Whatever. Ladies? This bitch cannot be trusted to keep her word. End her rightly!"
The Rolling Rock was already exchanging fire with Arcadian Endeavor, while Ace nipped at her heels, firing off shots from that launcher and the frontal cannon. Shiv and Kunai - the name chosen for the Paramerion - lifted from the Jackdaw and Arcadian Endeavour respectively, while Jackdaw and the Snapping Tortoise broke from formation with it to engage.
"L beam turrets... Problematic," Najia muttered to herself. "Let me see what I can do about that," she added, as she set the Raven prototype in motion. She could only hope, at least, that Kriss was at least rethinking her decision, now that the odds had tilted decidedly against her.
She dove into action against Rolling Rock, testing out the Muon Chargers, as the ships with her split and attacked. The destroyer was big, and problematic, but it seemed rather... Awkward to control, in fact. Ponderous, its turrets, even the lasers, seemed slow to respond. She nipped around it, firing a few times, as her four ships slipped past it. A plasma bolt struck her shields, and she yelped, diving to evade. "That's it," she heard Rei - not over the open comms, but in her earbud. "I am not letting you get your ass killed like this. I'm dispatching help," she said, and Najia winced.
Great. So this is how the war with the Ministry starts? And yet, oddly... There was no sign of Ministry reinforcements. Najia fled from the immediate vicinity to recharge her shields, coming in close to the Arcadian Endeavour, and watched as the Eighteen Billion Katana squads roared in. She winced as she saw that Okayama and her defense fleet had also been dispatched - a Destroyer squadron was going to bear down on Rolling Rock... Eventually. And yet, the Ministry was doing nothing.
It hit her suddenly; Kriss was rogue. Was doing this on her own. She snarled and grinned. The Ministry might be mad, when this shook out, but they'd have a hard time proving her involvement. Especially if she could play it as her ships responding to a distress call because a rogue vessel with an unaffiliated transponder had attacked a ship. It was flimsy... But it was enough. "Bear down on her, ladies. Tear that thing apart." Najia crowed, as she pulled the Raven in to touch down on the Arcadian Endeavour's landing pad. She looked back. "Axiom, they're gonna need you in the engine room. Lucca, you're not gonna wanna be on this ship!" The back ramp was dropping as she settled down; neither waited for her to have landed fully, they dropped from the ship and sprinted past, to the lift.
"So, you've decided to go down with the sinking ship? One less loose end for me to tie up later!" Mellerd crowed at her, and Najia smirked; of course she knew she couldn't trust Mellerd. "You're worse than a pirate, Kriss. Nobody can trust you," Najia said. "Prepare to kiss your ass goodbye."
Maestro was rattling on in her ear, but Najia could barely hear him over the combat calls. She hoped he was smart enough not to fire upon the T.E. vessels responding - it would be awkward later, and they were joining the fight on his side, after all. He was saying something about escape, and turrets. Najia snorted. "Actually, we're just going to blow this thing up," Najia declared. "We can't leave someone like Kriss Mellerd at our backs."
Things seemed to be doing well at first; the Rolling Rock was handling clumsily, awkwardly, as if she was critically undermanned. That gave Najia an odd hope that she might actually succeed at boarding her; the responding vessels were quickly tearing down her turrets and shields.
Then, everything went dramatically pear-shaped. Najia yelped as lasers tickled the the Raven's shields down and she got them back up again; again and again this happened, each time the hull started to fracture more and more. She made attack runs, damaged a surface element, and then things got worse. Where were those lasers coming from?
"Missile. Incoming missile." She slapped the countermeasures button, only to see the screen flash ammo empty. "Fuck!" A missile slammed into her, followed by a fly-by from a starfighter. She didn't catch it, but she took a pot-shot at it as it went past. Things were going from bad, to worse, when she heard someone howl, "Jackdaw's taking heavy fire! Jackdaw's... Oh fuck!"
Najia felt a moment of total disassociation. Numbly, her hand drifted over the stick, trying to maneuver the clunky ship like a starfighter, whilst fighting through mental fog.
"We've got them!" Rei stringer called out, over her line. "I've got the crew of Jackdaw at the depot, but now we're under attack by a Ministry warship!" Najia gasped, shoving her stick forward, hard. Her ship was flying apart around her, and she snarled. "Someone get these motherfuckers!" "We're coming in," she heard - both the first, and last, person she wanted to hear. "Fenrir, engaging!" "Okayama, engaging." "Kagawa, engaging!" "Ark Royal, moving to engage!"
Najia laughed, incredulously. That was four fleets. Four fleets that most definitely were not supposed to be engaging to support the Arcadian Endeavour. One of them the Teladi wasn't even supposed to know about - Alarms blared. The Raven had taken a nasty hit, and a Ministry Kea was lining up on her six. She tried to pull away - she wasn't going to be fast enough - the ship jerked - the world went white.
Najia crashed forward to the deck, yelping, arms up to guard her head. She looked up; a Marine was standing next to her, offering her hand to Najia. "Better get to the skipper, ma'am," the Marina said. "We're Koshirae." Najia laughed, taking the proffered hand and climbing to her feet, hustling down to the bridge's main deck. Selaia Kevlin was standing in the middle like the Maestro, calmingly barking out orders with command presence. She looked up at Najia, briefly, smirking at her. "Does the owner have the conn?"
Najia shook her head, laughing. "Fight the ship, captain. I've got to coordinate this clusterfuck." Selaia laughed at her and nodded, barking out, "bring us up ninety, show her our broadside. Turret gunners, you are cleared to engage."
She hustled down to the fleet coordination console; the crewwoman at it hopping away for her. "This is Takio," she said, hopping on the controls. "Ladies, clear my skies of red. I don't know what the hell has gotten into the Ministry, attacking our stations like this, but if it's hostile out there, we kill it."
Rolling Rock was not having a good day, and it was getting exponentially worse. Her engines had been disabled, and Najia heard Maestro call out over the pirate channel, "Her engines are disabled. Now is the time to get away! But, where is Wildcard?" Najia winced. How was she going to explain that? Did she even want to? "This is Snapping Tortoise," Raleen, the captain of her pirate Baku called out. "We are picking up the crew of Jackdaw and Raven. Let these big bruisers fight, we'll get back to you."
"No!" Kriss Mellerd called out, yelping. "I don't wanna die!" Rolling Rock was coming apart under the growing tide of fire it was enduring, and more ships were still arriving. Najia snarled. Part of her wanted to bid Kriss a bon voyage to the afterlife, but she looked up to Selaia. "If anyone gets out of that ship, I want them. And we don't tell the Ministry."
"Roger that," Selaia said, and barked out orders to the helm to move closer to Rolling Rock. Najia looked back - a Ministry Razorbill was thoroughly engaged, and another had just blown up, attacking the construction depot.
She gritted her teeth, snorting hard. There was going to be hell to pay for this later. Righteous indigation - no, fury - was going to be the order of the day. Her ships had responded to a distress call from a Windfall trader, by an unidentified vessel. It was attacking relentlessly, wasn't on-record as being anything official. Then Ministry vessels, apparently heeding the aggressor's pleas, had jumped in, attacking Takio Enterprises assets, and the inevitable happen.
That was the tack she was going to have to take, and she clenched her fist. Outside, Rolling Rock came apart in a dazzling blossom of red that polarized the bridge windows for a long several moments. When they cleared, the ship was a debris field. Part of her hoped that Mellerd was dead; part of her hoped she wasn't. There was going to be a butcher's bill for today, and she tried - probably vainly - to make peace with that.
"Get us close enough to the Ministry Wharf to make contact," Najia said, looking to Selaia. "I've some barking to do." Selaia smirked at her. "After this? They should know damn well your bark isn't nearly as bad as your bite. They should be happy to get barked at. You should put on a respectable jacket at least." Najia let out a huff of exasperation, hurrying to do just that.
Najia needed to work to summon the righteous indignation she required for the bluff, but she reminded herself of the fate of Ace's mother to do so; the Ministry were assholes, even if they were also the lawful authority; and they had attacked her. She had clear and convincing evidence that Mellerd was up to no damn good. Not that she waas going to reveal it to anyone.
Hence, she found herself with eyes coldly blazing over the comms to the Ministry Police Kea craft which had departed from the wharf to intercept Koshirae. "Enough is enough," she snarled over the holo, standing in the conference room. "My ships responded to an attack upon a free trader from a destroyer that was not transmitting appropriate Ministry codes - not that the Ministry should be allowed to attack random traders, either."
"Your ships fired upon Ministry vessels," the captain of the Kea shot back, clearly outraged - but also, like the pilot who had followed her through the rift - terrified at being massively outnumbered and outgunned.
"Let me be clear, on the record, so there is no ambiguity," Najia said, leaning forward, placing her fist on the table. The effect was to lean closer to the hologram - and on the little attack ship's screen, her face would loom larger. "My ships responded to a distress call from a ship being attacked by an unknown vessel not transmitting appropriate ID. The Ministry, for whatever reasons, chose to respond to the event by siding with the aggressor and attacking my ships. Takio Enterprises warships responded by destroying the Ministry vessels." Her heart was thumping in her chest, but she narrowed her eyes. "If this is the gratitude of the Ministry of Finance, for all that Takio Enterprises has done here in Eighteen Billion, in Grand Exchange and at large, for the Ministry and the company, up to and including constructing facilities and securing neutral diplomats to mediate the dispute between the Company and the Ministry... Well, you might want to check with your superiors before you write a check they have to make good on. To be absolutely clear, this is a threat; you are the highest-ranking Ministry combat officer in Eighteen Billion. It is your decision whether this conflict continues or ceases, here and now. Ah - ah! Shut your fucking muzzle and listen to me carefully," she snapped, as the pilot opened her muzzle to retort.
"If you say anything but words to the effect of 'this was a horrible misunderstanding and we should deescalate the situation' - if you, personally, choose to escalate the situation, the first step I will take will be ordering all of my shipyards to stop producing vessels for the Ministry. The second step will be that I shall cripple the Ministry's ability to replace vessels by destroying the Ministry Shipyard and Wharf here in Eighteen Billion. I shall then proceed onward to prosecute this destructive and pointless war - a war chosen by you, pilot, here and now - by destroying each and every Ministry of Trade station I can find, until someone with some competent authority asks me to please stop doing that. You can see the weight of tonnage I have here, you know the Ministry does not have the tonnage to stop me. The choice is in your claws, pilot; war, or peace. War, or peace. Escalate, or deescalate. Your call."
The Kea pilot visibly shrank backwards in her command chair, obviously struggling to attempt to retain composure and command respect in the face of an overt and direct threat to bring fire and flame directly to the Ministry of Finance. Finally she steeled herself, straightening up in her chair. "This has obviously been a dreadful misunderstanding, miss Takio. The Ministry is undoubtedly going to demand reparations for our lost warships, but such matters are the purview of the financiers, not myself. If you will cease giving offense, we too shall cease attacks upon your vessels."
"Thank you," Najia said, leaning back. She fought not to visibly slump and sigh in relief, or to show how badly her heart was racing. "As for the reparations, they can take that up with the diplomat I have on payroll. Out." She cut the channel, and collapsed back into the chair behind her.
A moment later, the comm lit up again, and she flicked it on. It was a huge conference call, with the commanders of her fleets, the captain of Koshirae, Marta on the Snapping Tortoise with a small bandage on her forehead; Rei Stringer on the 18B construction depot, Tsukiko Peterson back at the headquarters, Professors Nakagawa and Okoye - whom Najia realized with a pang of guilt she hadn't yet formally re-introduced herself to -, Boso Ta,, and Ace. Najia let out a heavy sigh of relief. "Please for the love of god tell me we didn't lose anybody," she said, first off.
"Nobody from Jackdaw, Marta confirmed. "I took a headcount. We got lucky. "That seems to be a recurring theme," added Captain - probably should be Commodore - Xiaowen Kapoor - one of Najia's older friends, and currently the commander of T.E.S. Fenrir. "It helps that we responded with overwhelming firepower. My fleet is reporting no fatalties; thirteen casualties, mostly caused by haste in the heat of battle."
That proved to be the recurring theme; all of her responders reported sustaining injuries, mostly 'workplace accidents' incurred whilst in the heat of battle, but though some were serious, none were life-threatening.
"Najia Takio," Professor Yoriko Okoye - an aged-but-not-venerable, steel-haired professor-turned diplomat said, with the same tone of voice that she had used when reproaching Najia in class. "You are now, as ever you were, charmed, lucky, and reckless. You choose to act with passion first and foremost. This is a fine mess that I'm going to have to clean up, you understand. Can I expect this sort of thing to deal with in the future?"
Najia took in a breath, glancing around at her fellows. Barring a few, they were all young - Tsukiko was the third-oldest and Najia knew she was closer to thirty-five than forty - barely. Most of them looked grave, but not mutinious. She sighed, and smiled, wryly. "While I don't plan to go to war with the Ministry, there may be future... Rough spots to smooth over, yes. If you'd like to resign and go home -" "Not yet," the aged professor said, sharply. "But for dealing with this, I am going to require a pay rise!"
A chorus of chuckles surrounded her, and Najia sighed, face-palming and smiling. "That's fair, professor. We're going to have a fine time untangling this. Ace, how are the Curs?"
Ace looked into her eyes, then looked away for a moment, then back to her. "Secure in Windfall, awaiting your hopefully-safe return." She trilled, and Najia nodded. "Next stop, then."
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2023.04.01 10:10 SwannSwanchez Datamine -> ->
Current Dev version :
Current Live version :
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2023.04.01 09:20 ilovesushi25 Family’s Demons Manifest One (Part One)

Before I start this story, please know that these are some accounts of my own as well as friends and family. Nothing is exaggerated. I refuse to go back near this house. I have never made this story public until now.
When I was in high school I lived in a house with my parents and brothers in Southern California. It was a rental with a raised foundation, which made it very easy to hear who was walking around.
My family was not a cookie cutter family and was not perfect in any way. In fact, most of the time it was constant fighting, yelling, and overall negativity within the house. While I will not go into specifics, my father was a very abusive person and made living in that house a literal nightmare. It is my belief that all of this negativity and anger is what cause whatever this thing was to manifest.
About a year into living in this house is when things started to happen. Mostly, it just started as footsteps that would walk up and down the hallway when everyone but myself was sleeping. We also had a small dog but it was very distinct when she would prance around, making a jingling sound with her collar and putter patter on the wood flooring. These footsteps were very distinct and heavy, often creaking the wood. I know it wasn’t anyone because my door (per my dad’s rules) was wide open at night. If someone were walking I’d be able to see them walk past my door clear as day. Yet, every night the walking would happen, back and forth through the hall and into the kitchen. I tried my best to ignore it, often resorting to my phone and watching YouTube until I fell asleep or, if it really frightened me, would stay awake on the weekends until the sun was just about to peak and I could hear my parents rustling around in their room as they were about to start their day. This would occur for a couple months until activity really started to ramp up.
To be continued…
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2023.04.01 09:08 BlueFishcake Sexy Space Babes - The Video Game

The gas giant loomed large in the viewport, ballooning as the ship coasted toward it, the colorful blue hues of its swirling bands reflecting the glow of the system’s star.
Darren could make out the bright, scarred surface of an ice moon drifting lazily past, framed against the rivers of flowing hydrogen and helium. Silhouetted against the Jupiter-mass object was their destination – Halfpoint Station.
Having come from Earth, which was still a backwater when compared to many of the Imperium’s more developed worlds, the sheer size and grandeur of the structure took his breath away.
It was hard to gauge its true scale in the vacuum of space where there was no atmospheric haze, and there were no landmarks for reference, the unfiltered light creating harsh shadows. As they drew nearer, however, he was able to pick out some of the massive fuel tankers that swarmed its ports like clouds of gnats.
Those vessels put anything created by Humanity to shame – their purpose being to dip into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant, harvesting its resources to fuel the ships that made their berth here.
Calling it enormous was an understatement. It must have been nine miles tall, the main hull of the station forming a long, relatively thin vertical shaft. Surrounding that shaft were half a dozen rotating rings, each one connected to the central column by spokes, the pinpoints of innumerable windows glinting as they slowly turned.
At its apex was a dome of immense proportions, sitting proudly atop the structure, the crystalline material that made up its transparent hull glittering in the starlight. Inside, he could make out glimpses of regal skyscrapers and patches of parkland – an entire city encapsulated in a habitat that had a breathtaking view of the planet.
Darren pursed his lips as he looked down at the device on his wrist, the tiny display showing the familiar text of an article he must have read at least a dozen times by this point.
Halfpoint Station was situated on the outskirts of the Imperium’s sphere of influence, a region of space known only as the Periphery. This put it soundly outside of Purp jurisdiction, but the place still saw a lot of traffic, as the station was right in the middle of a relatively well-traveled shipping route between the three big powers.
While it had started its life as little more than a place to fuel up and get resupplied, being located outside any of the major spheres of influence had its benefits, and the station had garnered a bit of a reputation for its more permissive policies. Now, it was said to be populated by hired guns, smugglers, gamblers, and anyone else who might appreciate discretion.
The Human frowned as he looked out the window once more and tried to reconcile the gleaming edifice before him with the dark reputation the article in his hands presented.
He didn’t have long to dwell on it before the pilot’s crackly voice came through a hidden intercom in the cabin, informing the passengers that they were commencing docking procedures.
The woman spoke in accented Shil. What that accent was, Darren had no clue, but he knew it wasn’t the same one spoken by his professors – linguistic or mechanical.
He glanced around at his fellow travelers, seeing a few species that he didn’t recognize, along with the more familiar Shil’vati. The aliens were easily identifiable by the purple hue of their skin, their sharp tusks, and their seven-foot height.
Several of them returned his gaze, some curious, some covetous.
Males were rare in the Imperium.
Hell, males were rare, period.
By the standards of most races out in the galaxy, Humanity were the strange ones for having an equal number of men and women. Even six years into the occupation, most were still struggling to adapt to the new paradigm brought on by that reality.
Darren was no exception.
Still, he managed to ignore the stares, turning his attention to the smart display on his wrist, bringing up his itinerary. He was headed to Hab-Ring Five, and the only information that he’d been given beyond that were some coordinates to who-knew-where.
He sighed, wishing – not for the first time – that he might have a fellow first timer to converse with.
Unfortunately, that was a pipe dream.
The lack of other Humans on his ship wasn’t surprising. The Imperium had only recently relaxed enough to begin authorizing travel visas allowing Humans to leave Earth, and his kind were still a rarity on the Galactic stage.
As to why he was out here out in the ass end of space?
He’d been offered a job.
He was an engineer by trade, at least according to his degree, and he specialized in the combination of alien and Human technology. It might seem like an oddly specific skillset, but it was one that was in high demand, as just about every industry on Earth was trying to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Imperium’s literal space-age technology.
It was complicated work, but he was quite good at it, if he said so himself – and his professors seemed to agree. His gift had catapulted him through university and had apparently landed him a very lucrative offer to take up a position on Halfpoint.
How they’d heard of him, he wasn’t too sure. Nor did he truthfully know exactly what the job entailed. Apparently, he was to be briefed on-location.
Regardless, off-world work was a rare opportunity for any Human, let alone one fresh out of school, and visiting an alien space station was a lot more interesting than backpacking around Europe for a year.
Whatever happened, it was going to be an adventure.
The ship matched velocity with one of the rotating rings, the structure at least half a mile tall in its own right, covered in tiny windows that made it look like a whole city block had been condensed down into the shape of a donut.
Now that he was a little closer, Darren could see that the station was actually far from pristine. Its hull was pocked with haphazard repairs, the newer sections shining brighter than their older counterparts, its armored panels pitted with little craters from space debris and micro-meteorite impacts.
The ship lined up with a docking port, and an umbilical walkway began to extrude from the ring, reaching out towards them. It looked like the jib of a crane, covered over with a flexible material that bore a suspicious resemblance to a grey tarp.
Surely it wasn’t actually a tarp? No, it had to be some kind of alien supertech – too advanced for him to recognize at a glance.
His thoughts did little to reassure him as the umbilical connected to the shuttle’s airlock with a tangible thud.
Shaking his head, he retrieved his travel bag, then made his way down the aisle to join the queue of passengers who were waiting to disembark. More of them crammed in behind him, and he tried to ignore their uncomfortable proximity.
He hadn’t actually spent a lot of time around aliens during his schooling. One of his professors had been a Shil, but she had been professional to a fault and had always kept a healthy distance from her students.
Of course, she had still managed to be rather intimidating despite that, her head seeming to scrape the ceiling every time she stepped into the classroom. However, Darren was rapidly discovering that being surrounded by women who stood head and shoulders above him was a different experience altogether.
It was nothing to get worked up over, though. He just needed to-
The Shil standing behind him pressed close – uncomfortably close – Darren swearing that there was room enough in the aisle for her to keep her distance. Suddenly, he felt a sharp twinge in his rear.
Had she just...pinched him? No, it had to have been a mistake.
He turned to glance over his shoulder, looking up at the towering Purp. “Sorry, Ma’am, I must have bumped into you.”
Her sly smile faded as she furrowed her brow in confusion. Before she had time to formulate a reply, the intercom above the exit beeped.
“Oh, looks like we’re moving again!” Darren chimed as he began to follow the queue. “Sorry!”
He followed the procession of towering women into the passenger ship’s airlock. Both of the pressurized doors were open, and before him stretched the umbilical. The worryingly thin material that protected them from the deadly vacuum of space was wrapped taut around a metal frame, and the walkway beneath his feet was made up of a simple grate.
After a short walk, they emerged into a cavernous dock area, so large that it was more like standing in some kind of indoor stadium than anything that could be compared to a space station. There were stacks of shipping containers and unidentifiable machinery everywhere he looked.
It was a challenge not to stop and examine the equipment, each new sight piquing his interest, each strange device begging to be investigated. As he followed the other passengers to the far end of the room – his head on a swivel – he almost bumped into one of the containers. To his surprise, it was floating a foot off the ground, suspended on an anti-gravity cushion.
It was funny – no matter how many times he saw it, it never stopped being surreal to see something just…float.
As he stooped to look beneath it, an irritated dockworker leaned out from behind it to yell at whoever was in her way. She stopped when she saw him, raising a skeptical eyebrow. She was a Rakiri, if Darren remembered correctly. She resembled a towering werewolf, a pair of cat-like eyes peering out from beneath her black fur, her facial features strangely leonine. She was clad in dirty, yellow coveralls that hung loosely from her broad shoulders, exposing the ragged tank top that she wore beneath it. Tufts of her dark coat poked out around the faded garment, giving her a surprisingly fluffy appearance.
“You lost, boy?” she asked as she shooed him out of her path. “Stay behind the yellow warning markings unless you want to get that cute butt smushed,” she added with a nod toward the deck. She continued to push her heavy container, moving it effortlessly on its gravity cushion.
More dock workers were assembling to stare at him, perhaps having never seen a Human before. Or perhaps it was because he was male? It was hard to tell. Either way, a small crowd of yellow-clad women saw him off, a couple of them hooting at him and waving. Not sure if this was some kind of alien greeting, he shyly waved back, eliciting laughter from them after a moment of surprise.
One started to make her way over to him before a menacing growl from her superior made her freeze in place sheepishly. Darren took that as his cue to move on – he didn’t want to get anyone else in trouble by being in the way.
He arrived at a security gate, and after being asked to show his visa, he was subjected to a very thorough – and in his opinion unnecessary – pat-down. Once he was cleared, he emerged into the station proper. He stepped out of the way of the women behind him, then set his travel bag down on the metal deck, taking in the alien sights and sounds for a moment.
Far from being a sterile, clinical environment, he found himself in a bustling bazaar worthy of any city back on Earth. It scarcely felt like he was standing inside a station at all, what passed for the ceiling so high above his head that he could barely make out the crisscrossing support beams and maintenance catwalks.
It was styled like a cramped street, too small for cars, almost like the city center of some old European town had been reimagined in an industrial style. Civilian quarters that resembled apartment blocks rose up towards the ceiling, connecting to it in some places, likely leading up to higher levels of the station.
In every nook and cranny – anywhere there was room – the denizens of the hab-ring had set up little stalls where they were hawking their wares to the tourists who had just boarded. Colorful awnings fluttered in the artificial breeze from the air recyclers, and insulated cables that had been patched from the station’s systems trailed along walls and floors, powering streetside food stands and colorful neon signs.
Speaking of the denizens, they came in all shapes and sizes. Darren had never seen so many varieties of alien in one place before. He could make out a few Shil and Rakiri, but most were unknown to him, the varied hues of their skin and clothes creating a bustling sea of color.
He checked the device on his wrist again, pulling up the coordinates that his new employer had forwarded to him. This was indeed Hab-Ring Five, and he’d been given what passed for an address in this strange environment. Hefting his bag once more, he made his way into the throng, having to dodge and weave between the towering aliens. Many of them barely seemed to register his presence, probably due to his comparatively small stature, though some seemed to stop and stare in confusion.
Well, I suppose Humans are pretty new on the galactic scene, he thought to himself.
The scents of strange, alien food assailed him as he navigated the cramped streets, a few of the criers singling him out. They had sharp instincts, he’d give them that. It seemed the locals could smell a tourist at thirty paces.
Maybe it was all the staring he was doing?
Eventually, he arrived at his destination, glancing up from his display to see a dingy bar. It was open to the street, built into an overhang at the base of one of the many buildings, little more than a long counter with a few stools. Above it was a blinking neon sign in a script that he couldn’t read. As he made his way inside and struggled up onto one of the tall stools, the small handful of patrons who were sitting off to his left paused their conversation to examine him.
They were Nighkru, their goat-like horns and the bruise-purple hue of their skin giving them away. Their silver eyes were striking, almost seeming to glow in the dim light of the bar, as reflective as those of a cat. Their clothing was all tight leather and straps, their skin strategically exposed in places to show off their stunning bioluminescent tattoos, the swirling patterns trailing down slender limbs and across toned midriffs.
He kept his gaze aimed forward, knowing that their kind didn’t think much of the Imperium to which he now belonged.
…Then again, that was true for pretty much every race that wasn’t a part of the massive interstellar empire. Say what you would about the Purps, but they knew how to make an impression.
The bartender walked over to him, leaning on the counter as she looked him up and down skeptically. It was another Rakiri like the dockworkers, her feline nose twitching as she took in his scent.
“You lost, or do you want something to drink?” she asked.
“No thank you, I’m waiting for someone,” he replied sheepishly as he lowered his eyes to his device again.
He was right on time, but as he looked around, there was no sign of his contact. He was supposed to meet them here, right?
The Rakiri shrugged her furry shoulders, then left him to his own devices, moving over to the small group of Nighkru.
Perhaps one of them was his contact?
He certainly hoped not. While he didn’t have anything against a person enjoying themselves with a good drink after hours, it wasn’t a good way to make a positive first impression on a prospective employee.
Fortunately for him, the surprise on one of the trio’s grey skinned faces when she happened to blearily peer in his direction dashed that possibility. Just a trio of young women out for a drink.
Unfortunately for him, after a few hastily whispered words to her friends, the group made their way over to him.
“Don’t see many males round these parts,” one of them said, her faux leather getup creaking as she planted her hands on the bar to his left. Another leaned on the counter to his right, the third posting up behind him.
“A Human, too,” the woman to his right added with a sly chuckle. “Now, what’s a Human doing all alone out on the Periphery?”
“I didn’t think the Purps were letting their pets off the leash.” the one behind him snickered.
“I don’t know,” the first said with an exaggerated shrug. “Maybe he snuck out in search of a real woman? I think we’ve all heard how Humans can be.”
That set the three of them laughing.
All the while, Darren wasn’t sure where to look, turning his head left and right as he struggled to pick a Nighkru. He settled on the woman to his left, having to lift his head to meet her gaze, those reflective eyes shining like a pair of silver coins.
“I...uh...was actually supposed to be meeting someone here.” he stammered, a little of his anxiety bleeding through.
The Nighkru gave him a warm smile that wasn’t reflected in her eyes, leaning a little closer. He tried to pull away reflexively but found another Nighkru waiting for him, something rather soft pressing against his back.
“Well, I don’t see anyone else in here but me and my friends,” one of them said as she tutted dramatically. “Maybe they stood you up?”
“Poor form, that,” the one behind him whispered into his ear. He lurched in his seat, surprised by her proximity. “Leaving a pretty young thing like you hanging.”
The first one nodded, as if that was a piece of sagely wisdom. “I know – how about my friends and I give you a personal tour of the station to make up for it?” she asked, reaching out to brush a piece of errant fluff from his collar. “We’ll even carry your luggage for you – we’re nice like that.”
She signaled to one of her compatriots with a curt nod, who then plucked his travel bag off the deck.
“Oh, that’s really not-”
He tried to stand, but he was cut off as two of the women placed their hands on his shoulders, pushing him back down into his seat. Their touch was gentle, but firm, letting him know that he wasn't going anywhere.
Darren looked to the Rakiri bartender for help, feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the turn of events, but she was staying out of it. She was feigning disinterest, cleaning a glass with a rag that didn’t look clean enough for the job.
It was clear that he wouldn’t be getting any help from her.
Was this really going to be his first experience on the station – kidnapped by a gang of alien grifters?
Just as he was getting ready to – likely ineffectually – start swinging like his life depended on it, he heard a voice ring out in a language he didn’t recognize.
The Nighkru turned their heads as one, and he followed their gaze, seeing another of their kind step in from the street. Her skin had the same twilight hue, her silvery hair pulled back into a long ponytail that trailed behind her as she strode towards them. She wore a jet-black body suit that left little to the imagination, so tight that it might have been sewn onto her, the garment open at the front to expose a chiseled midriff and the beginnings of her cleavage. Her eyes were mesmerizing, his gaze drawn to the glowing tattoos that served to accentuate them.
Oddly, unlike the trio surrounding him, she had no horns.
The stranger walked with purpose, her heels clicking on the deck, her hair swishing behind her as she came to a stop to stare down the three other women. They were already backing off, the Nighkru who had taken his bag setting it back down gingerly beside his seat. Did they know this person? They seemed so wary of her.
“Maybe we’ll see you around,” one of them whispered, her hand lingering on his shoulder for a moment before she followed her friends out into the street.
Once they were finally out of sight, Darren breathed a sigh of relief and turned to thank the newcomer. Before he could utter so much as a word, she beat him to the punch.
“You shouldn’t wander around Halfpoint alone,” she said, skipping the preamble. Her voice had a melodic tone, one that was almost musical to Darren’s ears. She planted her hands on her hips, scrutinizing him with a skeptical expression. “You’re just asking for trouble.”
“I’m just...waiting for someone,” he replied. “Thank you, by the way. I’m-”
“Do you have a weapon on you?” she asked, cutting him off. “A handgun under that jacket? Defense spray? A pocket knife?”
“What? No,” he replied, his brow furrowing. “Why would I have a gun?”
Even with a few inches of titanium-alloy plating between everyone aboard and a messy death by explosive decompression, using a firearm on the station seemed risky.
She snorted derisively, almost as though she couldn’t believe his reply.
“For your sake, I hope that whoever you’re waiting for is smarter than you are,” she said with a roll of her silver eyes. “This isn’t Earth, boy. There are no Shil Marines around to babysit you. Next time you want to play tourist, go somewhere closer to home.”
With a flick of her long hair, she turned about, vanishing into the crowd once more to leave him sitting at the bar in confusion.
Darren felt another hand on his shoulder and turned to see an Edixi wearing grease-stained overalls standing behind him. The tool belt that hung loosely about her hips let him know that she was a mechanic before she’d even had time to open her mouth.
Her kind were evolved for an aquatic environment, and although they were fully amphibious, they retained many of their ancient features. Their bodies were smooth and streamlined, with lean, lightly-muscled frames that made them look like Olympic swimmers. Her eyes were a striking ocean-green, and her azure skin was patterned with faded tiger stripes, darkening as it neared her extremities.
“You’re the new engineer, right?” she chirped excitedly.
“Darren Fogle, pleased to meet you,” he confirmed as he extended a hand. She took it, shaking it eagerly, and he noted that her fingers were webbed.
He was a little surprised by how smooth her skin was. Given the sharklike appearance of the Edixi – and her vocation – he’d expected it to be rough and scaly. Maybe cold and slimy, too. By contrast, it was warm and soft, her small scales smooth like a snake’s rather than sharp like those of a fish.
“Oh, it is. It very much is. The boss told me to fetch you,” she said before turning back towards the street. “Don’t get lost, you hear? There are some rough types around these parts.”
Yes, she could say that again. He stooped to pick up his bag, then hurried after her, trying not to lose sight of her in the crowd. He also belatedly realized that she hadn’t told him her own name.
Was that an Edixi thing or was she just in a hurry?
The mechanic led him through the streets, which seemed to be arranged in a kind of grid pattern, always flanked by the towering hab-blocks. It was as challenging as ever to navigate when so many of the station’s inhabitants stood a head taller than him. It made him feel like a bug that was trying to avoid being stepped on.
He could only assume he’d get used to it. His guide seemed to have no problem getting around, and she was a few inches shorter than him.
Their destination was some kind of service elevator – a large platform that seemed designed to carry heavy cargo up from the docks, wide enough that a couple of trucks could have parked on it side by side. There were still a few cargo containers stacked off to one side that hadn’t been unloaded yet.
He watched as the woman hit a touch panel beside the double doors, and they began to slide shut, the platform lurching as Darren felt it start to rise. There was no grinding of machinery, no vibrations, only a sensation of getting heavier. It was obviously gravity-manipulation tech. It wasn’t too surprising – the Shil seemed to use it for just about everything, so it wasn’t too strange that the rest of the universe did as well.
Convergent technological development, he could almost imagine his Shil instructor saying as they started to descend. Good tech is good tech.
The hab-ring’s many levels flashed by one by one, until finally, the elevator slid to a smooth stop. Darren followed the happily humming mechanic out into a garage, his eyes lighting up as he took in his new surroundings.
Were those… mecha?
The bay’s walls were lined with bulky harnesses that were obviously designed to hold the machines in place, a few of the berths already occupied by half-disassembled vehicles.
They were!
“Real life mecha,” he mumbled.
As a mechanic, he wasn’t ignorant of the genre. After all, what kind of engineer didn’t hold a soft spot for giant stompy robots? Of course, as an engineer, he also held an inherent disdain for anyone that actually thought said machines were even remotely practical outside of the realm of fiction.
The Square Cube Law was a harsh mistress.
The long and short of it was that if you doubled a machine's height while keeping it the same shape, you ended up with four times the muscle power moving eight times the mass. As a result, instead of having the same relative agility as the original, the double-sized machine actually had only half.
That was why ants could lift so much relative to their weight. If you scaled one up, you’d end up with a much less impressive power to weight ration.
And, the problem only got worse the bigger you went. Giant robots would be slow, cumbersome, and they would inevitably suffer from exploding ankles if they tried to move too fast. They’d also sink in just about any terrain that was even slightly porous.
All in all, mecha were a cool concept with absolutely zero real world applications.
Which was why he was so stunned to see some in real life. Sure, the Shil military liked to use exos, but they were really just power armor by any other name with thrusters attached. Besides, the only reason those things could skip around like they did was because they had anti-grav generators…
His thoughts trailed off as an idea occurred to him. He jogged over to the nearest machine, peering up at the twenty-foot humanoid monstrosity. Its legs had been detached, leaving only a bulky torso covered in half-stripped sensory equipment, lenses and scanners visible where their protective covers had been removed. The cockpit was open, revealing the pilot’s seat, along with the surrounding neural interface cables that hung loose like the entrails of some mechanical beast. Its weapon attachments were empty, but it was nonetheless an awe-inspiring sight.
Sure enough, there were two oversized humps on the back. One was clearly for the thing’s fusion engine – and the other must have held the anti-grav generator.
“Darren?” the mechanic asked, having only just realized that he wasn’t behind her. “Aren’t you coming?”
“Y-yeah,” he said, jogging for a few paces to catch up. “That’s a mecha!”
The blue-hued alien nodded slowly. “Yes?”
“A mecha,” he reiterated.
Which prompted another slow nod. “You’ve never seen a gladiator mech before?”
“Didn’t they tell you what job you’d be doing?” the mechanic asked, cocking her head in a rather adorable manner.
“No?” This time it was his turn to cock his head.
Several emotions seemed to fly across the alien’s face. He saw surprise, confusion, and dismay before she finally settled on irritation.
“Typical,” she grunted. “Just… follow me.”
submitted by BlueFishcake to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 09:02 CorvetteGoZoom 18 college student, looking for a touring car/fun daily

Ok so I'm a mechanical engineering student and I'm looking for a fun daily. I live in Portland OR so I have to deal with tons of rain and the car will live outside. My first car was a 94 Corvette with a blown engine, after rebuilding it I drive it for a few years before realizing it was beyond repair. At the moment I have a 2000 Miata and although it is very fun to drive, its not super comfortable, its pretty loud, tons of road noise, and not good on the highways. Im looking for a manual car with more comforts, more sound deadening, maybe more power, just something that can be more comfortably driven. I do all my own repairs and car work and have a lift in my parents garage, I'm fairly mechanically competent. I'm currently considering a C5 FRC, maybe a Z06 but thats probably outside the budget, an E46 seems like a good daily but I'm worried about how hard they might be to work on and how some systems I might not be able to fix myself. An E36 seems fun, comfy and a little more fixable than an E46 but I have heard the interior quality isnt good and all the ones near me are pretty clapped 😔. Really want a manual, I don't want to have a convertible and targa tops seem to be a pain. Just looking for a some suggestions, tell me what you think!
submitted by CorvetteGoZoom to whatcarshouldIbuy [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 08:42 Equivalent_Fun_2701 One of the worst vacations in my life M32 F30

So my sister in law is getting married this weekend in Las Vegas so we flew out to celebrate and be part of the wedding . My wife paid for the car rental and the room, I worked 14 hrs a day for the past month and a half to be able to enjoy the weekend we brought our children both from previous relationships on the trip also. The plane ride getting here wasnt that bad till we arrived to our destination her aunt and her family flew in on the same flight which they're cool people i dont mind them at all. As soon as we get to the luggage pick up she starts aggressively yelling at me to pick up the luggage which I didnt mind but she yelled at me in front of her aunt, uncle and cousins, plus the crowd that were picking their things up also I was so embarrassed but I let it go. We get to the rental car place and she yells at me to put the luggage in carefully which im already aware of since its not our car let it go again. She starts driving the car out of the garage becuase its under her name as she's driving to the hotel I start talking with the kids pointing out places she tells me to be quiet because she can't focus, which ticked me off because she's always telling me how I dont pay attention to the road because im always distracted, when I'm driving she's always telling me to slow down or speed up or why didnt i make a turn. To be honest I get anxious when I'm driving because Im afraid she'll critize me and I'm prone to mistakes because of that. Fast forward to today we decided to get breakfast near where they were having the wedding rehearsal we're on the express way and traffic suddenly stops cause of an accident I brake a little hard but stop safely she screams at me why did i do that(mind you the speed limit was 75 mph it was a miracle no one crashed into the back of us) so I ignore her nagging at me because it's way too early and I didnt feel like arguing. A couple of minutes later a truck cuts me off and she ask me why did you brake when that car cut us off I couldnt take it anymore and told her she has alot of opinions for someone who doesnt like to drive and that I need to focus so she should stop bickering with me . She flipped out saying she should be able to ask me questions and I shouldnt be so sensitive the kids were in the car so I tried to calm down. She kept coming at me saying she can ask me a question and I tell her I don't have to answer which when we get to she demands I give her the keys to car and for me to get out of the car and go somewhere else in front of the kids. (I felt extremely bad becuase my son doesn't live with me and I dont spend as much time as I want to ) I ask her if she's serious she said yes and told me if I didnt give her the car keys she was going to call the sheriff on me for not giving her the keys and leaving. (Im a Daca recipient and cannot afford to get into trouble with the law) I give her the keys and stay in the car for a little bit not knowing what to do and to be honest heart broken earlier on in our relationship when we moved in together she would tell me she was going to leave and or call the cops on me. So I left the car and walked to a pub thank God it was open it took all of my strength not to cry while I was one of the only 3 people in the pub. I put my phone on do not disturb told my son i was ok through text and ate alone. The only time she texted me was to ask if I was going to show up to the rehearsal I ignored her message. Fast forward to tonight she refuses to see it was wrong to threaten me I was at a point I wanted to fly my son and I back home tonight but I felt bad that he would miss out on fun activities so I stayed. He text me if my wife was kicking us out I told him no not to worry. Now I found out she told everyone that they can use our hotel room to get ready at 6am everyone is going to arrive and well since I didn't apologize I get to sleep on the floor its almost midnight and I'm sitting at a table writting my thoughts to strangers because I dont want my friends to know I live like this.
submitted by Equivalent_Fun_2701 to relationship_advice [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 08:17 GenoMachino Primary and secondary weapons guide: XL mode update

Link to my other guides:
Link to previous version of my weapons guide just for reference:
Disclaimers: I am not able to upgrade all my weapons to max perk level due to lack of time these days, but all weapons except the one noted are at least level 5+. For the same reason, I'm not going to come up with any snappy tag lines, just dry impressions.
The perks mentioned in each weapon is my PERSONAL preference, you don't have to follow exactly what I did if you like a particular stat over others. If you have any interesting perk combos, just reply below.
Unique perk means the first slot perk, these are usually unique to one weapon, or shared by only a few guns. Some of these are very OP and they completely changes the way that weapon work.
Common perks are perks in slot 2 and 3. These are shared by many weapons and mostly just minor stat changes.
Q: What's the best gun in this game?
A: There's no such thing as "best" weapon, there's only the one that's best for your class setup and situation. Some guns are better for fighting small groups and other are better at killing mobs. Class perk often affect the power of the gun and personal style influence your preference.
Q: How do I know if a gun is silent or not with the new skin system.
A: Open the gun customization window and read the description on top. Any silenced gun will says "silent". Don't rely on the graphics because silencer on the barrel is cosmetic and have no real effect on the silence mechanism.
Q: Which stats are the best to get, what do the stats mean?
A: Prioritize power, accuracy, and penetration; handling isn't as important. Power = more dmg per bullet. Higher accuracy means the hits will be closer to your reticle so you miss less. Penetration = number of additional zekes you can hit with each bullet, +1 Penetration = hit 2 zekes, +2 pen = hit 3 zekes. PEN is super important because it's a dmg multiplier.
Most of the time, you should use short bursting vs small groups, or full auto/mad clicking on large groups, so handling (the amount of rise after repeat shots or when you move around) doesn't matters as much. I would only add handling if a gun is firing all over the place with full auto and just can’t stay on target. Running and gunning is a bad idea in most scenario.
Total ammo is not stated in the customization menu, but it’s an important factor in insane/extreme difficulty and hard horde mode due to lower ammo amount in the crate. Some guns run out of ammo very easily and I will point them out specifically.
Q: Which guns are best for swarm fights?
Anything with +2 penetration is best for horde/pyramid/swarm fights. I will make specific mentions if some guns are good for large groups.
Q: Why are you talking about headshots so much?
Except boosted/Elite/Specials*, headshot will one-shot all other zekes. In higher difficult, zekes have a lot of HP, so body shots are not as effective. You really want to put your target down with as few bullets as possible because there are so many zekes to kill.
*Normal bullets only. Boosted/Elite and some weaker specials can still be one shot with the right weapon and setup.
Tier 1:
Scout Rifle: about the same as before.
Basic semi-auto rifle. Best for picking off zeke at mid range. +1 penetration and fixer can hit 4 zekes, so line up the targets and take advantage of the extra penetration. Best when used with ammo fixer because you just have to aim for the body and explosive ammo take care of the rest.
The unique wolfpack perk is same as before, but the Veteran II perk to increase reload speed is really great one to have too.
For the common perks, +10 magazine size is pretty fantastic, custom barrel +1 acc and +10% dmg is also good.
Compact SMG: slight improvement but perks are pretty meh
Worst out of the 3 starter gun. It's accurate only at close/medium range, low stopping power, and definitely not enough ammo. Thank god GS/medics can refill ammo with headshot, and slashers have melee power to compensate. Get close, use short burst and aim for the head because body shot takes forever to kill something.
Unique: snake-bite perk is more viable now because they removed the ammo penalty, but you still use up ammo too fast so I am avoiding it. Point blank +50% dmg is OK since compact suck at hitting far targets anyway. Go with CQB if you are a slasher or medic/GS with a big sword. All 3 perks carry some sort of down-side, so they are pretty meh.
For common, I use custom sight for +2 acc because you can headshot a bit easier (this gun reload fast so -10% reload isn’t a big issue). +10% DMG power perk is definitely needed. If you max the level, ammo pouch perk is really necessary.
Shotgun: Best starter gun got better
Personally I think it's best of the 3 starter guns. Lots of ammo, easy to aim, +1 penetration, and big stopping power. The T1 shotgun can one shot elite squad w/o explosive ammo! The slower pump action allow you to aim between rounds, so it's easy to one-shot target. I can even get third-hand to trigger without reloading. The range is not bad, but get up close and personal for max effect; rely on pistol for sniping enemy farther away. You do need to be point-blank range to one-shot bulls in the back, and at least 3 good shots to bring down an infector.
The fletchette unique is bad. On paper it looks good with +4 acc and +1 Pen. But the reduction in power makes it difficult to one shot zeke at higher difficulty. Because of the slow fire rate, this gun must be able to put down target with one round. I end up using extorsion instead, it’s an OK perk when you run out of bullets and zekes closing in. On edge is too situational for my taste.
Common perk is pretty standard, just pick what you like. I'd get the range bonus.
Pistol: about the same as before
Weak starter pistol, but still useful even for a veteran. It's extremely accurate, so use it to pick up head-shot against idle zekes. There is little reason to use your primary weapon when pistol can easily get you through early map during silence phase. It’s also great at picking off screamers if you are not using a rifle.
It really sucks the previous unique ability is now split into two. You must choose either +2 pen or +50% dmg against special. I still chose the +dmg because it’s good vs idle specials, screamers, and lurkers hiding around corner, you won’t rely on this gun when there’s multiple zeke charging you anyway so Pen doesn't matter that much.
For common, you want custom sights for +2 acc for a total of 11, because this is suppose to be a sniping weapon. Second slot is up to you.
Machine pistol: almost the same except for that insane 3rd unique perk (not i am not going to go into that buggy behavior)
An upgrade version of standard pistol with higher fire-rate. Same low dmg and 0 pen, so aim for the head with the 3-round burst, don’t try to body shot anything, it takes too long. Tons of ammo though.
The special perks are great. You start with perk that turn it into an automatic, and it is great fun to use. But last unique perk can add 20% ammo to your heavy weapon after 10 kills, which is especially useful for high dmg heavy like RPG or MGL. That's some really OP shenanigans if an exterminator can repeatedly fill up his RPG
The common perks exist to support that unique perk, so pick power and extended mag so you can get that 10 kills.
Tier 2
Assault rifle: Solid weapon got a minor buff
My favorite gun for mid-game just because I am an old school CS player. Good amount of ammo, range, and stopping power. Burst fire is extremely accurate even if you are not a gunslinger, and downright deadly if you are. This gun is really trust worthy when things get hairy because I know it can headshot something and put it down for good. The +1 pen and low handling is its main weakness. Full auto sends bullets everywhere, so only hold trigger if zekes are in your face or piled up. Relatively weak against pyramid or fences so you will be emptying magazine after magazine. At least ammo amount is high so you shouldn't run out as long as you are careful.
You really want to go for that last unique perk with +10% healing on self. First perk is OK until you get there, but mostly not useful because you probably already took some dmg when you find this gun. Second perk is pretty OP if you play as vanguard (frequent shield use), but not too useful for other classes.
For common perk, use ergonomics early on for handling and dmg, and +15% reload later on.
Sport Carbine: better than before but took an ammo nerf
I always see people skipping this gun because they don't know how good it is. It's better than the scout at everything: more power, acc, +2 Penetration is insanely good. Fixer with power shot can hit up to 5! It's the first gun I look for when I play fixer, but any other class can use it to good effect. This gun can fire faster and reload fast while dishing out a lot of dmg, especially against a horde or a pyramid. Due to high accuracy, it's even good against small groups because it's easy to rack up headshots. Carrying ammo capacity took a nerf in the new update, it’s down to 180 vs 225 before, so aim well and watch that ammo count.
Unique perk isn’t unique, but at least good. I wouldn’t take custom fit, that -10 mag size really hurt. Fresh mag is ok until you get veteran II for that +25% reload.
For common, I took the +2 acc/-10 reload just because I like to snipe with it. But really all 4 perks at the bottom are great choices and provide good buff. Take what you like.
Classic battle rifle: about the same as before
This gun's specialty is horde killing. If you are not a fixer, this is the second best tier 2 gun for killing large piles, so always pick this up before you fight a horde where the +2 penetration will collapse a pyramid easily. It's accuracy and handling is pretty bad, but not an issue vs pyramid or fences. You should swap it out once the swarm fight is done and you move onto silence phase. Ammo amount is still pretty low, so watch out for that.
Unique perk is just copy/paste from before, you still have tiger claw +25% dmg vs special. Or the HP round II that turns it into a fixer-only gun because fixers gets huge dmg and +2 pen back. The third perk add handling, it's not bad if you just want to use it for horde killing and doesn’t care about special dmg.
Common perk is still power and ammo pouches for more ammo, this gun really need more ammo.
Classic Bullpup: it’s better somehow?
A weaker version of the T-3 Bullpup with only +1 penetration and fire 2 rounds burst. Not sure why but this gun feels more powerful and more accurate than before, so maybe they shadow buffed it? Or maybe I finally figured out how to use it correctly with more practice. It’s a good choice to replace that T1 scout or compact SMG when no other choice is available. You do need to fire this weapon slowly because it’s hard to settle down, give it pause between shots. If you don't, it will fire everywhere and won't stay on target.
You no longer have to sacrifice magazine size for the scorpion tail perk, which is nice because it’s a decent perk. The other unique frankly sucks and I don’t know why Saber did that. Who the hell uses adrenaline on a regular basis? What a joke of a unique perk.
Common perks are nice. Custom round I with longer range and +1 acc is great. Power is OK, but weighted bullet with +20% dmg is even better. You don’t have to worry about ammo as much because it’s got large carry capacity and fire slow anyway.
Light Automatic Weapon: still great weapon with the right class
For a gun that's meant for full automatic fire, it's got surprisingly good burst accuracy with +1 penetration as a bonus. Accuracy/handling during full auto is decent and can stay on target with minor adjustment, so it won't fire all over the place like the AK or the CBR. Just don't expect to pick up long range targets. It seems to spawn more now, so maybe they shadow buffed the spawn rate? The 125 round magazine is amazing and countered-balanced by a 5 second reload animation (melee reload cancel at 75% instead of the normal 50%).
Don't let the long reload fool you, there are multiple ways to reload without actually reloading.
  1. GS can constantly refill ammo using front-line supply: It adds rounds for each headshot. I often kill an entire swarm wave and the ammo count still reads 100+.
  2. HellraiseExterminator have third-hand perk that reload the gun automatically after 15 kills. It’s really amazing with this weapon because you can just keep shooting. Watch out for ammo usage though, don't want to get too trigger happy and suddenly found out your ammo is 0
  3. Fixer's ammo box can instantly reload it. Just remember to stay close to an ammo box, and also explosive ammo cancel out penetration. It's not semi-auto so fixer's power shot do not apply
  4. Vanguard with quick hands perk can reload gun when you block a hit or charge. Just do a quick block and holster the shield, and you are back to full magazine.
Not sure why but this gun have FOUR unique perks. But bull’s horn is still the best because 5 out of 8 classes don’t have to worry about reloading. If you don’t like bull horn, boat tail is also great.
For common, custom barrel for dmg and acc is great, then Power perk. Veteran isn’t really needed because above mentioned shenanigans.
SMG: minor improvement, still meh though, need to test out lvl12 perk
A direct upgrade to the compact SMG. Use this gun exact same way as the compact SMG, short burst and aim for the head. It's more stable than compact so you can rack up multiple HS in a row even on full auto. Range and power is still an issue: it packs no punch past medium range, and ammo would run out way too fast. DEFINITELY need more carried ammo to be more effective. +1 Penetration is also bit hard to notice because it's weak. Use it if no other better alternatives available, or if you are playing medic with good aim. They really need to buff all SMG’s with more ammo.
Unique: CQB perk is basically third hand for slasher and Vanguard, pretty useful if you play these two class regularly. Perfectionist is meh unless you start with this weapon via perk. Semi-auto is suppose to be pretty good, but I haven’t been able to test it out since it's a lvl12 perk and I don't use SMG a lot
Common: anything that increases stat is OK. Ergonomics, veteran, and ammo pouch.
Combat shotgun: holy shit that eagle scout perk!
This gun is more like the T3 version after the update, but remember to slow down your trigger finer because firing too fast cause the accuracy to go down considerably. It’s a major upgrade from the tier 1 pump, just remember to pause and aim carefully vs small groups. No other complaints really.
Unique perk has to be eagle scout, period. It no longer carry the -4 magazine penalty, so now you simply has insane range for a shotgun and +1 more pen. No other unique perk affected a weapon as much as eagle scout, the practical difference is insane because this shotgun now has rifle-like range. If you have a hell raiser shotgun-build, it’s a complete blood bath until you run out of ammo. I won’t even go into the other two because there’s no point.
Common perk: I use custom sight for +2 accuracy because the default 3 acc is just too low. The rest is up to you.
Sniper rifle: major buff due to two round burst
Still the gold standard for semi-auto rifles. Just really high stats all around, it’s got everything you want except automatic fire. The key to use sniper is let it settle between shots. If you fire too fast, the bullets will go everywhere, so you have to pause between firing. Aim carefully and make shots count due to low carry capacity and low fire rate. You don’t want to miss at close range and then get beat up while reloading.
Unique perk: forget the old extreme perk, go for the new two round burst. The problem with old sniper is the slow fire-rate, so the two round burst compensated for that. Now you fire much faster with same accuracy. It’s another perk that fundamentally changes a gun in a good way. Just pay more attention to ammo since you chew thru twice as fast now.
Common perk: I use ergonomics II just because I want more handling for the second round to stay on target, so I’m willing to take that hit on reload speed. The last 3 perks are all very good too so take your pick.
PDW: still the same
Low stopping power, low accuracy, no pen, lots of ammo but not worth shit if you can't hit anything with it. To be honest I haven’t upgraded this thing enough to even hit level 8. But the base version is so bland it’s not worth the effort. I usually just keep pistol for sniping specials or shotgun for close quarter defense.
Fine motor skill unique perk does make it interesting if you are GS who like to switch guns.
I haven’t even upgraded this gun enough to see common perks yet.
Compact Shotgun: still the same
Decent secondary for personal protection, whip it out when zekes get too close and your primary magazine runs out. 4-round capacity is OK for emergencies and you can get it silenced, reloads fast as well. It definitely does not have the same stopping power as its primary weapon cousins, so do not expect to be able to drop zekes in one shot.
I haven’t even upgraded this gun enough to see common perks yet.
Dual-barrel shotgun: I did not upgrade this.
I used to use the unique version so I never haven’t bothered upgrading this; it’s only at level 2. At base level it's just a really powerful but short-ranged shotgun. I will update this later. Some people love this, others don’t, I am in the latter camp.
Revolver: work in progress
Revolver use to be bad and I used the unique version that didn’t require any upgrade, so it’s only at level 3. But I do think new revolver now packs a bit more punch because I am able to one-shot zeke more often now. Plus revolvers are just pretty bad ass looking in general. Wil update later if I upgrade it more.
Tier 3:
Assault Carbine: same old reliable with longer range
Carbine has gone through very few changes since the game release but finally getting buffs. It still works in all situations and for all classes, even though it's not the best at anything. I use it like a more stable AK. Only +1 penetration so it's not that good at pyramid killing, but it's great against smaller groups. Both small burst and full autos are pretty on-target so you can rely on it to always hit whatever you are aiming at. It’s still my top 3 guns for gunslingers because you can easily rack up multiple headshots in a row and replenish lots of ammo due to large magazine.
Unique: boat-tail round increase its accuracy and effective range, given carbine a very long range. It’s very effective at flat and open maps because you can pick up targets from very far away.
Common: Custom barrel, weight bullets, basically anything that adds more power and accuracy to kill faster.
Battle rifle: OMG WHY SABER WHY
Saber must’ve heard me saying how good this gun is so now they decided to nerf it hard. This use to be one of the best at mowing down pyramids due to automatic fire with +2 pen. But with XL update, even though other stats are left alone, both carrying capacity and magazine size took a large hit. The 25 round magazine is small for semi-auto fire mode and way too small for automatic, so you are reloading all the time and DPS goes way down. You have to park next to ammo crate because it runs out too fast. Power and accuracy are still great, but you can forget about the auto fire. I have switch this gun back to semi-mode because it’s still good when fired slower.
Unique: I am using boat tail, because the auto perk is nerfed. I treat it more like an upgrade to the T2 sport rifle, which is probably what Saber originally wanted this gun to be.
Common: Power and veteran I is good. If it really bothers you then extended mag and ammo pouch will increase ammo and capacity.
Bullpup: still a good weapon, not much changed
One of the best pyramid killer in the original release before it got power creeped, but still a great gun all around. Good stopping power due to 3-round burst, +2 penetration kills any horde and pyramid quickly. Extremely accurate at up to medium range. It's hard to find any fault with this thing except the low firing rate. The burst mode is demanding, use the gap between the burst to do proper aiming for best results. It's even better when fixers use it since now it's +4 Penetration. Total ammo is low, so watch that ammo usage.
Unique: I still use selective fire since I run fixer. It’s -1 penetration, but turns it into an automatic with optional zoom burst mode, and it's really ONLY for ammo fixers. This is THE FASTEST gun in the entire game, you chew through 45-round magazine in just a few seconds and drain the whole crate within 2-3 minutes. Only an ammo fixer can afford enough bullets to keep firing in auto mode, and it's ridiculously over-powered because it’s still treated as semi-auto rifle even during full auto mode. Just put down a few ammo box in front of yourself, and entire horde just disappeared due to sheet amount of explosive ammo travelling down range. Even bulls go down quickly due to all the explosive ammo to the face.
Common: weighted bullets since you use ammo box and veteran for faster reload. I use ergonomics II since reload time doesn’t matter too much if I am parked in front of ammo box.
Advanced SMG: No major change
Similar to T2 SMG but fire a bit faster with a bit more power, still not great though. Total ammo is the highest in game, but effective range is limited, so only use it at close/medium distance. It's easiest just to go full auto with this gun if you want to kill anything in a pile, or stick with long burst at close range. Its pretty weak against large swarm, OK with smaller groups.
For unique, go with FMJ for 1 more pen. This is one of only three automatic weapon that can do +2 penetration. With Battle rifle nerfed so badly, you are really down to this and T2 CBR. Power is further weakened but at least you have one more PEN. It’s better than the normal version.
Common: Custom round is must, SMG has such a short effective range. I also use weighted bullets to buff power since capacity is pretty high.
Special SMG: pretty much the same as before
The special SMG is what the advanced SMG should’ve been. Similar to tier 2 SMG but with more dmg, accuracy, and handling. Fire rate is lower than other SMG and you only get 40 rounds per magazine, but it's good enough. Carrying capacity is only 280 rounds so you do have to refill often. It's not really for swarm fights due to limited range and penetration, but works fine for smaller horde encounters at close distance. If you can aim well, the high accuracy and power is really good. Just don't expect to kill a ton of zekes with it.
Unique: First two perks are meh. Semi-auto sounds like a good idea, but it’s a lvl12 perk I haven’t reached yet.
Common: custom mag, range, and veteran are all good options.
Still one of the best in game. The ammunition is explosive ammo and not an explosive, so explosive perk or nerf doesn't apply, and it has 0 penetration. High AOE dmg, good accuracy and handling, lots of ammo, good fire rate, you really can't ask for more. Each round can kill 6-7 zekes when things are all piled up due to higher AOE range. Just point and shoot, it requires very little aiming. The explosion range is similar to the cross-bow so be extremely careful when aiming for zeke clsoe to people (or yourself) because you might cause a lot of FF. Like other explosive ammo, it can hit a zeke during its death animation and waste a round. Not recommend for GS and fixer class, let weaker gun class like medic or DM have it. Vanguard/slasher should be careful with ACW because they usually zeke in close quarter, don’t splash dmg yourself, this weapon does not have shark skin perk.
Unique: Reparation perk is still the same as before the update, it’s a pretty good perk. Shrapnel is amazing though because it increase the explosive range of ammo for higher swarm killing power.
Common: Power and veteran is needed because this thing reloads slow.
Assault shotgun: good weapon got even better
This gun is awesome at close to medium range. Huge dmg, +2 pen fast fire rate, and 20 rounds magazine. You can mow down an entire fence easily. The range is pretty poor, so know your maps to know which area allows this gun to be most effective. It's a top tier choice for any class, but particularly good for Gunslingers and any class with third-hand. Carrying ammo is high so that's usually not a problem.
Unique perk: +10 Magazine anyone! Less reload is always good to increase DPS. Gunslinger with 30-round magazine is amazing since you refill 2 rounds per headshot. Even though it's not a game changer, bigger magazine is almost always a good buff
Common: I love custom round because it increase effective range. Also use ergonomics II to increase handling, this is one of the few guns that you can do run and gun with, so I took the reloading debuff for more handling.
Crossbow: from bad to decent, but still be very careful with it
I used to absolutely hate on this thing because too many newbs pick it up and just randomly hurt teammates with FF and cause all sort of havoc. It uses explosive ammo that cannot be silenced, so only use it during large battle when silence isn’t a consideration. Drop it as soon as swarm is over. AIM AWAY from your teammates and DON'T try to save your teammate with this thing, you will just blow them up with FF. It's nearly useless against bulls, but good vs all other specials including rats. I don’t recommend this weapon for newer players, you need to be good at aiming because your #1 priority is actually avoiding FF when using cross-bow.
Unique: You have to use shark skin. This perk used to carry a -1 magazine penalty, but that’s been removed. So now it’s just a really good ability. You can fire on the ground close to yourself instead of trying to hit a moving target with a slow bolt, and not worry about hurting yourself. Piecing bolt sounds good but not a good ability in practice because it reduces so much power.
Common: extended mag, veteran I are both good. You should have “Friend not foe” to reduce FF on teammates.
Multi-barrel shotgun: Saber what the heck is this thing, lol
First time I tried this gun, hated it. Level up a few times, loved it. Then I used it more, and now I hate it again. This guns is essentially a beefed up double-barrel. The amount of power is amazing; this thing collapse a pyramid in 2 rounds. But the range is just horrendous, you really have to be in melee range for it to have any noticeable effect. The pellets pattern is also extremely random with a very large and spread out cone. It’s not unusual for me to completely miss the zeke that’s 5 feet in front of me, but somehow kill the two zekes that’s on the side, which lead to some truly WTF moments. I don’t pick it up much anymore because on most maps zekes are just simply out of this gun’s reach. It’s great for Slasher and vanguard because they are always very close to target anyway.
Unique: Advanced user perk is great if you use vanguard shield to auto reload. Extortion works kinda the same but works for all other classes.
Common: this gun REALLY need custom rounds for more range because the default range is just terrible. Custom barrel is also a good choice for second slot.
Grenade Launcher: about the same as before
Unique weapon with very low spawn rate. It fires loud grenades, so don't use if you want to keep silent. One of the most fun gun to use and its low ammo is the only thing prevent it being abused. Refilling it 2-3 times in insane/extreme and ammo box is empty. Because it uses impact explosive grenade, GS's grenade perk and HR's explosive perk will both apply. It only explodes after hitting hard surface, so you can fire through teammates. The only class that can fully utilize its power is the hell raiser because of the extra explosive dmg perks.
Fun fact, you can spam this gun in “thief” mutator because each melee kill refills one ammo
Unique: If you are not a hellraiser, then the fire grenade perk is for you. The round works just like a molotov and Exterminator's molotov perks apply to it. You can use it choke off a small gap, or set a whole pyramid on fire. Kill and Heal is a great perk once you reach it, because it adds temp health.
Common: very few choice available, use Friend not foe to reduce accidental FF, and ammo pouch for one more round.
Flare gun: Still the only weapon without perk or upgrade
Just like the thumper, it's unique spawn with a very low rate. Flare guns are LOUD, so do not use it when you are trying to remain in stealth. But once silence is lifted, it's fun to use and very powerful when used correctly. When it first land, it attracts all zekes including specials in a small area similar to the C4 hello kitty perk. Use this to redirect dangerous specials away from your team like those 2 bulls + infector that will otherwise wreck your team. A few seconds after landing, it explodes and set zekes around it on fire and push them back. It doesn't attract too many, so it’s only good against smaller groups and specials. Lots of ammo but long reloading time, so only use it for emergencies. Let support class use this because they will keep you safe while the attack class works on the main body of the swarm.
submitted by GenoMachino to worldwarzthegame [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 08:07 Leipzig101 $1000/mo apartment scam on CalRental - 'Chris J' for some apartment in Telegraph

Don't fall for it. It's one of the more believable ones I've seen. Thread with more info here.
They even included photos of some guy with his family (prolly AI generated, since that's possible these days).
Here's one of the emails:
``` Hello,
Thank you for your interest in my apartment, it is still available. I will try to give you as many details as I can regarding the apartment in the following email.
The full address of the apartment is 2615 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704. Everything is just like in the pictures, fully equipped with all the appliances you need, very clean and well kept. The apartment can be rented furnished or if you want you can use your furniture and deposit mine in the storage unit. I work as an civil engineer and the company I work for has developed projects all around the world. Now, I have received a very good offer from them to move to the United Kingdom department, an offer that I have accepted.
The apartment is vacant so you can move-in anytime you want, also my contract in the UK is for the next 6 years, so for this period, I will not return 100%.
The rent of 1000$/month is for the whole apartment and includes all the utilities: heat, water, electricity, parking, laundry in-suite, washer and dryer also included, cable and internet. You will have full access to all building amenities. Just in case repairs are needed there, I will cover the costs, so no worries. The price I'm asking is below the market because I want to find a responsible tenant to take good care of the place.
I'm the owner of the apartment, it's already paid in full and there is no mortgage on it. You have everything you need near-by (public transportation, schools, groceries etc.). Also I love pets, so if you have any pets, I won't have any problem, pets are allowed. Honestly from my point of view I'm sure that You'll love it for sure and rent it on the spot.
Few questions: - I would like to know how many people will live in the apartment? - Any pets? - How long do you intend to rent the apartment for?
Please let me know if you are really interested in the place so we can discuss further.
Thank you and look forward to hearing from you! Chris
PS: I attached all the pictures that I have with the apartment (as you can see everything is in absolutely perfect condition). PS 2: Also, I have attached a few pictures with me, so you can put a face to the name. ```
submitted by Leipzig101 to berkeley [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 08:02 Kondraki_ Sailing in the Sea of Uncertainty

The darkness descends, as the day turns to night, And I'm left alone, with no one in sight. The silence is deafening, as I'm consumed by my thoughts, The weight of my worries, weighing me down like a thousand knots.
I feel lost, adrift in an endless sea, With no direction, no hope for me. The waves crash around me, as I struggle to stay afloat, And the fear of drowning, leaves me with a lump in my throat.
But in the distance, a light appears, A beacon of hope, amidst all my fears. I follow the glow, with a glimmer of hope in my heart, And I find my way, from the darkness I depart.
The light grows brighter, as I draw near, And I find myself, in a place of cheer. A place of comfort, with warmth and light, And a hand to hold, through the darkest night.
The darkness fades, as the light takes hold, And I'm no longer lost, no longer cold. For I've found my way, from the depths of despair, And I know that with love, I'll always have someone to care.
So when the darkness comes again, as it surely will, I'll face it head-on, with strength and skill. And I'll remember the light, that shone so bright, And I'll find my way, through the darkest night.
Part 2
I'm only human, flawed and frail, With strengths and weaknesses, I often fail. Sometimes I stumble, sometimes I fall, But I'll rise again, I'll give my all.
I'm not perfect, I'm far from it, But I'm learning every day, bit by bit. I try my best, I do what I can, And I'll keep on trying, to be a better man.
Sometimes I feel lost, sometimes I feel scared, But I know I'll find my way, if I persevere. I won't let others bring me down, I'll keep pushing forward, until I wear the crown.
There are times when I feel alone, But I know I have a place to call home. I have people who love me, who lift me up, And I'll cherish them forever, with every cup.
I'm only human, but that's okay, I'll keep on living, day by day. I'll embrace my flaws, I'll love myself, And I'll keep on shining, like a precious elf.
So don't judge me harshly, don't be unkind, I'm doing the best I can, with the cards I find. I'll keep on growing, I'll keep on trying, And I'll keep on living, until the day I'm dying.
For I'm only human, but that's enough, To be strong, to be brave, to be tough. I'll face life's challenges, head on, And I'll keep on rising, until the break of dawn
The love I once had know gone and a void a of different kind.
submitted by Kondraki_ to UnsentLetters [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 07:07 shintarojsvd Prolouge: (Time for me to do one of these for once)

Prolouge: (Time for me to do one of these for once)
Year 20xx Location: Abandoned mall
I find myself in a abandoned mall running down its empty halls the ceiling looking like it could collapse at any moment as i heavily breath in the damp air as all i see is teared up shops as all that illuminates the area of my vicinity is nothing but the skylight trying my best staying away from the dark shadows as nothing but growling can be heard behind me and the sound of claws scratching the surface of a tiles on the floor and with each step they take feels like they are shaking the entire building.
thats the first word went through my head as i am heavily running away
"Why me?"
Boom Boom Boom
the sound of it's steps echoed behind me all i could do is keep on running and taking on wild turns this mall is like a maze im lucky that the objects in its path is slowlying down the beast behind me. but as luck would have it i made it to the middle of the mall with multiple paths in front of me each path is unknown for me as each path can hold a entirely different beast and horror behind them.
"Damn it"
I quickly look around and see a shop nearby and went ahead and hid there but as soon as i headed near its entrance the floor below me caved in as i fell deep and splashed into what seems like a flooded level
i splashed around and got my footing and realized that it isnt that deep as the water reached to my thighs and with a couple of scratches i was fine but i cant be safe yet as i look up and i make eye contact with the beast that was following me all i see its its shadowy figure but for some reason it leaves and doesnt bother me dispite us making eye contact. i felt naxious and exhausted wanting to collapse but i couldnt i needed to find a spot with a higher ground i looked and examined my sorroundings and so far its pitched black and i still had some light and saw an escalator to use to get out of the water. as soon as i arrived to the escalator i sat down on its steps taking a break trying to piece myself together
"Why didn't it attack me?" i said softly as i sat there dripping in sweat as far as i know i must have been running from that thing for a long time probally 6 if not 7 blocks down the street from this mall. i tried to check if i had any of my supplies and luckily i still had my knife and some medication and some crackers and a flashlight if need.
"Damn it i probally won't last a day out here but that thing is still gonna be around and whats worse thing swill be really bad once it gets dark and my problems will worsen"
i probally shouldnt stay in this spot for too long as theres a possibility that more of does creatures would appear but this is my only source of light and if i go out running around back up there or stay down here with just a flashlight and a knife i would just be someone being blind folded swinging a knife at a moving deadly pinata. my options arent that good. my best shot is really just surviving the night.
"But still, its pretty unlucky that out of all of us that beast decided to chase me specifically, Damn it why didn't it go after sun or any of the others!" i yelled to myself in my head as i breathed heavily
" musnt think that after all it was better it was me instead of them afterall at least they had a chance to escape im just being selfish right now, at least she got away in time, if only i could have been stronger to fight that thign on by myself after all im pretty weak i probally wont stand a chance if i wait here till my death"
I constantly just kept tlaking to myself im probally wasting precious daylight and giving myself a death sentence.
i lay down in the escalator looking through the hole i fell from sorrounded by total darkness probally sorrounded and badly outmatched. i look back and think about my times during boot camp the constant heavy drills with the heavy backpacks and tough training that nearly could me i worked so hard to get into this position. but why? why? did i push myself so hard to end up being in a situation like this, oh yeah thats right i thinkg i somewhat remmeber t was all cause of her my idol she is someone i greatfully look up to someone strong and reliable i want to be jsut like her fighting for survival. but why? was she that strong? no it's not a question on why was she strong but more so what made her strong? i then asking myself why am i thinking about this? and just as that a tiny voice played in my head
"what makes me strong? well i always fight to eventually reunite with does i care about so if you ever are in a tough spot always remmeber for what you fight for ok?" the voice says in my head
"What i fight for? well what am i fighting for? to see my tomorow? to fight for does close to me? but i dont have a place i belong? i dont have a role to play in this world no purpose."
Then it clicked on me
"A purpose?"
"What i fight for?"
"Do i just fight to find my purpose and role in this world?"
for some reason that oddly makes sense to me. as i stand up and search around the area i fell in trying to search in the dirty muddy water to see what things i can use. eventually i found some iteams like a wine bottle with some wine left in it and a electronics store submerge and i explored it and found a lighter that surprsingly still usable
"I musnt die in a place like this i want to find a place were i truly belong i want to keep on fighting to figure out what i was meant for this world i wont end up being food to the creatures up above me"
Eventually i finished some of my preparesions till i hear the footsteps of the creature as the firt on th eceling falls i ended up finishing what i needed to do and carried the wine bottle with a piece of my clothing on it and lighter ready. i take deep breathes and prepared myself as time was ticking as its getting to sundown and i made a mad dash up the escalator and made a jump towards the spot i fell from grabbing to one of the metal bars on the side of the hole and climb myself up so far i look around and see nohting and then started running from the way i ran till
the creature appears
the beast in front of me a hanninbal it quickly slashed at me and i managed to dodged its strike but it spinned around to hit me with its tail and it managed to launch me across he area and hit a pillar
i quickly stood up dispite the sharp pain in my back and look to see it getting ready to charge a fire ball and as it fires off its charged attack i managed to briefly dodge it getting a small burn on my right shoulder
"Don't Give Up"
i said to msyelf as i pull out my knife despite my wunds as i charged in if anything i must fight back no matter what as it suched back at me as its arms turned ablazed as it would charge in front of me trying to punch at me as it would dodge and use my knife to slightly parries its attacks its powerful shielded armor is strong i cant even hurt it but luckily for once luck is on my side today. as eventually through all my efforts i managed to slice underneath it injuring it as i managed to leave a huge gash around its belly as i start to light up my hand made moltov and slowly approach it as it would squirm for a second and go to strike me as we both go at each other as i shove the moltov through its wound as my left arm gets badly burnt as the moltove exploded on it sinsides and lighting the hanninbal on fire from within
"GO TO HELL!!!!"
as i quickly step back and watch it squirm for its life as it have my knife out with my right arm and slowly appraoch it delivering it a mercy kill by stabbing it through the fleshy part of it armored neck as its blood got onto my hands i walked back and heavily breathed and slowly started to puke my guts out as blood and yestardays food comes out of my body.
"oh god.....that was terrifrying"
My mind felt hazy but at the same time my shoulders feel like a heavy weight got lifted off but dispite it all my body was messed up my right shoulder is burnt and i can barely move it and my left arm is comepletely unusable but eveyrhting is good im fine and im alive. this was a small no huge victory for me i'm alive and thats all that mattters my next objective is to reunite with my group and i should be ok. but i felt a chill down my spine
my victory was short lived as i looked around and see a pack of hannibals sorround me as they seem fiesty and angry but most of all ready to devour me and my sould
"damn it....."
i wanted to give up so badly in that moment nothing but despair was felt through my body
"Dont give up" i said to myself as i slowly stood up
"i still have much to live for me....i wont let a couple of stupid BEASTS LIEK YOU MY RIGHT TO LIFE!"
I tightened the grip of my knife i was sorrounded badly injured and nearly going in and out of consiouessness its a hopeless situation but no matter what im going to keep on fighting i want to find out whats more to this life i wont lose my convition again i will keep on going
"I will keep on fighting!"
As the light above me of the sundown shrowned brightly as i would rush at my foes that sorrounded me as they did back a burst of light flashed in front of me that knocked me back to the floor as the beasts around me seem frozen in time i could barely examine and analyze what was going on till a bright light behind me it felt warm and welcoming i turned around i see a giant duel blades i was confused on what was happening till a spirit of a girl in black and white floating above them
"I have heard your conviction your willingness to keep on fighting i am the weapon Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi one of the divine artifact weapons spread across the world from the fallen gods i have come to answer your prayers"
I was so confused i couldnt understand what she meant divine weapons? fallen gods? no i dont have time to go on a full thought session if these weapons are the only things that would help me fight and escape this situation i will find my worth and survive till i see it! i didnt hesitate any longer and grabbed the weapons. i felt a burst of energy a powerful wave of energy in my hands as the energy exploded and the bright flash was gone the next thing i could see was the hanninbals dead around me and the roof of the building gone
"What just happened?" i felt confunsed and looked at my arms as the wounds are comepletely gone. no i musnt think much on this my group i need to find my companions i need to see if they are safe whatever these weapons are their my only hope in me suriving i start running off.
submitted by shintarojsvd to Dbmlore [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 06:41 PrickyOneil March has been “Concussion Awareness Month“. In closing, I thought I’d share my story of living with probable Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

Yeah I put this off until the last minute, I’ve had enormous difficulty communicating all my life so please bear with me. I don’t think one person knows this whole story but I realize it’s time I find a way to let my voice be heard. Hopefully it’s come together well enough after a week of working on it...
I was the kid that won all the first place trophies and held all the records on track and field day in kindergarten. Always outside doing whatever adrenaline pumping activity I could get myself into. From early on my parents recognized that I needed an environment that team competitive sports provides. Justifiably so, I would never trade the life lessons earned while playing American football for those read in a class room.
I suited up for the gridiron at 7 years old. I was padded from the toes up and it felt incredible, like I was a tank! The coaches loved me, I was short and stout, quick, sharp and fearless. It didn’t take long before I was playing on both sides of the ball, as running back on offense, safety on defense and returner on kickoffs. I was on the field the whole game. The attention as a team leader was intoxicating, it hooked me for life. I suffered my first on field concussion the following year.
It was the first game of the season, the bleachers seemed packed. Near the beginning of the game, playing as free safety, I see my opportunity to not let the team down. The ball gets handed off to their running back, a smaller guy like me, bursts around the mass of blockers to the outside and lights a fire down the sideline. Nothing between him and the touchdown, I project myself into his path and charge ahead like a game of chicken. Littler dude gets even lower than me, his helmet hitting me square in the diaphragm, lifts me clean off the ground and runs through me as though I wasn’t there. I land on my back, head hits the grass. Next thing I know I’m being lifted into an ambulance after being carried off the field on a stretcher. This was my first year of full contact play after a season of flag football and I clearly had not yet grasped the differences. I was in 2nd grade.
As I was enrolled in speech and hearing therapy at school, coaches began teaching me to get over that big hit by hitting the next kid even harder. I began to yearn the brutality of the game even as I took more punishment. The cycle was vicious. Looking back it really seems as though the coaches had some other agenda or issue that fed the aggression. We were coached to lead with our heads because shoulder pads were far too small proportionately and they’d make fun of us after a game if we couldn’t count multiple paint streaks embedded into the plastic on our helmets. Those paint marks were made by helmet to helmet contact, the more impactful the hit, the greater your “trophy”. Some kids earned more trophies than I and it pissed me off so I’d hit harder. They’d line us up one-on-one and tell us to knock the other guy off his feet if we wanted to play in the next game. I couldn’t begin to count the times I was laid out left counting the birds flying over my head in practice alone. Guys would go down every night, coaches laughing, “Aww get him some gatorade, he’s fine. Sit out 10 minutes and get back in here little guy.” I went on to play another 5 years in mostly the same positions until one day, after a difficult practice and a conversation with a close teammate, we dropped our pads and never looked back. But the damage had been done, my path had already been irrevocably set.
After that first on field concussion in 2nd grade, I went on to endure countless concussions over the next 7 years, first from football, then bike riding, fighting and skateboarding. It seemed after a few days of balance issues, blurry vision or headaches, I had no lingering problems and follow-up medical care was nonexistent at the time. It would be easier to recount the couple dozen times I was knocked unconscious, including one that kept me in the hospital for a week. I was so harebrained by high school, I attempted my fourth day of ninth grade black out drunk. The next day I was allowed back on campus I got busted with a joint. At 14, I ran away from home and made it 800 miles before being picked up by cops while breaking into cars for spare change. I was headed for Colorado to build a cabin. Wtf did I know about any of that? And I nearly made it. I quit school, 8th grade was my last year of formal education. Would wonder around the city drinking or smoking anything I could get a hold of. I’d go skateboarding atop some of the tallest buildings in Atlanta or scoot around the woods on an ATV while blindly firing my buddy’s .44 into the air. I shouldn’t have lived through it all, I have dear friends that didn’t. But at 15 I had an epiphany (thanks to LSD), packed a box and moved 400 miles away from everything and everyone. I was somehow able to hit the reset button and leave that volatile part of my life behind and spend the next several years recovering from the constant brain trauma.
Fast forward a few decades and what I’m left with is an inability to manage my life beyond today, I’ve been stuck in flight or fight mode ever since and I’m exhausted with looking over my shoulder. I’m feeling the effects of early onset dementia as I type this and I’m actually scared for the first time in my life. My days have moved beyond forgetting where I put my keys to nearly burning the house down when I run to the store forgetting that I was in the middle of cooking. I haven’t driven a vehicle in years because I’m scared I’ll hurt someone in a fit of road rage or forget why I left home in the first place. The few hours of sleep I may get is the only way to escape the screaming in between my ears and it makes rolling out of bed all the more difficult. I’ve lived in 27 different homes yet never owned my own. It’s been a rarity to hold a job or relationship more than a couple of years and have no savings for retirement. I’ve all but given up friendships and not had a meaningful conversation with my kids in years and I can’t blame them at all. I think about them all day and it hurts beyond words knowing that I’m the asshole and they’re better off without me around much. Have a talk with the person sitting next to you when your only available emotion is anger and see how many more conversations they willingly have with you. Imagine that being your dad. It’s as if there’s a switch that’s never been flipped and I’m incapable of appropriately expressing emotions in the moment. I really don’t mean to be the prick, I simply can’t help it. But I’ll never let you see the side of me cowering in the bathroom bawling my eyes out once I have time to reflect.
I’m 48 years young now and launching a new mission in life, to help educate those on how it takes a community to provide a safe environment for our children. Not one person has all the right answers and alone we fail. Whether it be coaches, school administrators, parents or the medical field, the system failed me. I would never advocate to end youth football, but why does it need to be combative? Too many have tragically lost their voices without even knowing football damaged their brains. The year I fell in love with the game was the year I played low-contact flag football, it becomes something else entirely when you start hitting each other.
It’s time to ban youth tackle football. Is it radical, yes. So were seatbelts and smoking bans.
Converting youth football to a flag system is the only remaining viable solution to making football safer for our kids. CA and NY have recently submitted proposals, it’s time lawmakers in other states step forward. The NFL’s most recent Pro Bowl gave flag rules a shot, the fans and players enjoyed it so much it’s here to stay. If the NFL gets its proposal to the 2028 Olympic Games approved, it will be no-contact flag football rules as well. If future iterations of the game are evolving to keep adult players safe, when will youth sports follow? Why aren’t kids more protected and supported when less than 1% of them will go on to play in the NFL?
Stay strong and Stop Hitting Kids in the Head;
FYI; I have a difficult time living in the moment so give me a few days and I’ll do my best to circle back around to this post. Know that I appreciate all of you at cte for coming along on this journey of discovery with me. I am not the best at providing emotional support either but know that I look forward to getting us to a place where we can all be there more for each other. I’m thinking of you when I post and I will continue sharing my research along the way, please share yours and know that you are safe here.
Additional links;
Age of first exposure to tackle football and years played associated with less white matter in brain;
Three or more concussions add up to long-term cognitive problems;
CTE Center Director Ann McKee says the NFL ignores the risks of repetitive blows to the head and that it’s “foolish” to think the league will police itself;
How Psychedelic Therapy Can Help Treat Brain Injury;
Before You Let Your Kids Play Football, Read This;
submitted by PrickyOneil to CTE [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 06:40 SubstantialBite788 Freestyle Camping is Not a Good Idea

I used to pitch my tent wherever. If it looked interesting, I was setting up camp. I kept a tent at the ready in my trunk. There’s nothing exciting about a park; there’s no adventure in that. I didn’t camp out near someone’s house or anything like that, but I have found myself in some precarious situations. The worst yet, happened in East Tennessee.
I was traveling back to campus after spring break. There’s a spot of hills that I’ve always thought interesting. Between those hills runs a long valley. As I drive back and forth between Knoxville and Nashville, I always tell myself that I’m going to camp in that spot, but I never do it. I’m always pressed for time. I never leave in time though. Class is always the next day. Lost in music, I started ruminating on how boring my life had become. To hell with it, I was going to do it. I didn’t much care to do Calculus at eight in the morning anyway. I could afford to miss one day.
I pulled over to the side of the interstate, got my tent and backpack, and started hiking downhill to the valley. It was still early afternoon. The sun was still high enough in the sky to illuminate my way. The vegetation was thick. There was no human-made trail, no way to easily traverse the terrain. As I hiked through the briars and whipping branches, I reminded myself to buy a machete for instances such as these.
I found a perfect spot under a thicket of red cedars, with a nice flat area and no undergrowth. I pitched my tent and laid out my sleeping bag. I didn’t carry much on these excursions. I had a backpack with some crackers, a knife, lighter and a flashlight. It was usually a one-night affair and I’m gone the next morning. I spent most of the day exploring, but on this occasion, I was a little late. My main desire was to hike to the top of the largest hill to see the view and discover what was on the other side.
It took me about an hour and a half to make it up the hill. There on the other side was a wide expanse of nothing but trees. It looked like a green shag carpet rolled out across the landscape. I noticed directly at the bottom of the hill was an old wooden shed. What an odd place for a shed. The sun was farther down but I still had time to check it out.
I descended down to the other side of the hill, with a little haste. I wanted to make it back to my tent before it got too dark, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. My curiosity piqued. I was excited for some adventure. I got to the shed, opened the door and walked straight in without surveying the inside first. I felt the earth beneath my feet give way, my gut lifting up as if on a roller coaster, and then fell hard to the ground, breaking my tibia. The pain was excruciating. I rolled around in agony, feeling the dirt and rocky bottom. I looked up and realized I had fallen down into a deep hole, not so deep that I couldn’t see the shed walls. The shed was only big enough to encompass and hide the hole. The hole seemed to be about twenty feet deep, no way to climb out and escape. There was still enough light to see up top, but down in the hole it was dark.
“We’re dead. You know that don’t you?”
I was startled. Someone else was down in the hole with me. I grabbed my flashlight out of my backpack. There on the other side of the hole was a young woman. Her whole being- body, face, and clothes were filthy with dirt and grime. Her lips were dried up and cracked.
“You almost hit me. Watch where you’re falling next time,” she said with a weak chuckle.
“How long have you been here?”
“I don’t know. I’m in and out of consciousness. Sometimes I wake up and think I’m home in bed, then realize I’m in this damned hole.”
“How did you get here?”
“I was abducted… and you?”
“I was camping and found this shed.”
She laughed. “So, you saw a creepy shed in the woods and went to see what was inside. Man, you’re a dumb fuck.”
“There’s no way out of here?”
“No, I’ve tried. Nothing we can do. I know you’re hurt pretty bad. I heard your leg snap as you fell. Man, what a sound. I hate to say this, but I’m glad you’re here though. I was getting lonely. I don’t mean I want you to go through what I’ve been through. I mean, I’m just glad you’re not him. Well, might as well introduce myself since we’re going to be spending a lot of time together. My name is Mary.” She widened her eyes and tilted her head forward, trying to evoke a response.
“I’m Gary.”
My leg was bent awkwardly, but no bone was exposed. Even though there was just me and Mary in the hole there were piles of clothing, a thrift store in the middle of the woods. I grabbed some blue jeans and a tee shirt. I tied it tight around my shin. I didn’t know how to make a tourniquet or even if I should. I just wanted to stabilize my leg the best I could.
There was an uneasy silence. What do you talk about when you are trapped in a hole?
“Him… you said him. It’s just the one guy?”
“Yeah, but I don’t know if I would call him a guy.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ll see.”
“What do you mean? Does he come down into the hole?”
“Yes, and he takes you out of the hole and does things to you… experiments.”
“Then that’s our chance. That’s our only chance, is to knock the shit out of this fucker and get out of here. He’s not expecting me. He doesn’t know I’m down here.”
I started formulating a plan. There were enough clothes that I could hide underneath, and I had my knife.
“Mary, I want you to move forward. I’ll pack some clothes behind you. I’ll be buried underneath with my knife. You lean back on that pile… you know like you had made yourself a comfortable little bed or something. Ok?” She nodded her head. “When does he usually come?”
“I don’t know but it’s pretty regular.”
“How does he get down here?”
“He has a rope ladder.”
“Is he big? Have you ever tried to fight him… to escape?”
“No, he has some…” she hesitated, “some kind of power. It freezes me. I can’t move. I hear a ringing in my head and then I’m paralyzed. Don’t let him see you. We’ll know when he’s approaching. There’s always a humming sound and a clicking.”
I wasn’t believing anything she was saying. She had been trapped in a dark hole for who knows how long. She was losing her mind, starved of vital nutrients. Her imagination had started to create a different reality for her, one that I was unwilling to participate in.
I laid against the wall of the hole on my side. My broken leg was throbbing, as it was laying on the floor with my other leg on top. I couldn’t switch around though. I had to be facing the side the hole he would be climbing down. Mary threw a bunch of the clothing on top of me, leaving my face exposed so that I could breathe and not get too hot. I held my knife up to my chest. It was the old-fashioned survival knife, with a compass on the handle. I had long since lost the matches and string that came with the knife, tucked away in the hollow of the handle. But for my present purposes, the blade was, hopefully, all I needed. Mary leaned back against me. We waited.
After a while, I heard a humming and a clicking. The thought ran through my head that maybe Mary wasn’t crazy after all.
“He’s coming.”
“I know. Go ahead and cover my face.”
The humming subsided, but the clicking grew louder. I heard the door open, then the unrolling of the rope ladder with the wooden rungs tapping out a rhythm as it fell to the floor of the hole. Mary started to whimper in fear. I heard the man make his way down and then the thump of his feet as he jumped to the bottom. The hole lit up with a blue light. I felt Mary’s body go limp and then I felt her lifted up off of me. I slowly, quietly pushed away the shirt that was covering my face.
The man had his back towards me with Mary slumped over his shoulder. He was about to climb up out of the hole. He wasn’t that tall, but thick like a Neanderthal. He wore all black, with a long sleeve turtle-neck shirt. He was bald, but the oddest thing was where the blue light was emanating from. What skin I could see, on his head and his irregularly long hands, was glowing blue.
I was scared as hell. What was I about to tangle with? Yet, I knew now more than ever this was our only chance. I let him climb a few rungs before I sprung out and hobbled as fast as I could to the other side of the hole. He didn’t hear me. I know I had made too much noise, but he never reacted. I shoved my knife into his lower back. The clicking grew loud. I grabbed his shirt and yanked him down the ladder, pulling my knife out of his back, and thrusting it in the back of his neck. Mary fell hard to the ground.
He turned his head revealing large black eyes, devoid of pupils. He didn’t have a nose. His mouth was huge with mandibles projecting from each side. The mandibles fluttered angrily, clicking and humming, increasing in frequency. He, or it, pushed me to the ground, pulling my knife out of his neck and throwing it to the ground. It looked into my eyes, making a hypnotic contact that I could not shake. I heard a ringing in my head and my body went limp. I had no control over my limbs. I was frozen to the bottom of the hole, my plan unraveling.
Everything was a haze. I was barely cognizant of my surroundings so I don’t know when or how Mary regained consciousness, but I could see her sneaking toward the knife. My vision was blurry. I was fighting to not to pass out. I saw Mary get the knife and move quickly toward the being. She grabbed a handful of dirt and slung it at his head. He turned and she landed the knife in his face. He pivoted back toward me, and I could see she had stabbed him directly in one of his eyes. Black and crimson fluid streamed down his face. I could feel my body again, slowly able to move my limbs. I got up as fast as my recovering body would allow and started towards the ladder.
“Go Mary. Go, go, go. Get the hell out of here!”
She went up first and I followed pushing her in the rear as we went up. We were half-way when I felt him grab my broken leg. I shrieked; the pain was unbearable. I instinctively kicked with my other leg and landed a shot to his mouth, breaking off one of his mandibles. The creature fell back down into the hole. Mary and I made it out of the hole and quickly pulled up the ladder.
The creature recovered from its fall. Realizing it was trapped, it tried frantically to climb up the wall. I was relieved to see that it didn’t have any power of flight or levitation or some other weird alien power that would get him out of the hole. Mary and I watched as the blue shimmer of light banged against the walls, like a firefly stuck in a mason jar. There was nothing to do but leave it there and hope it starved to death.
It took forever, but we finally made it to my car. Mary drove me to the nearest hospital. She called the police and told them that we had escaped from an assailant with long black hair and a big bushy beard. I don’t know what else she could say. Who would believe the truth? She pushed the officials in a different direction from the shed, claiming that we had escaped from a house somewhere about ten miles from the actual location. I suspected she knew more than what she was saying, or even more than what she had told me. Maybe she knew that the creature would no longer be there, that something would have come and retrieved him. I don’t know. I do know that I never travel that way anymore and I sure as hell don’t ever go camping. Gaming is all the adventure I need.
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2023.04.01 06:25 FiauraTanks Diplomatic Intelligence Report Upon the Human Military

I promised to start posting my novel this week but instead, I figured after the encouragement from the Nature of Predators Subreddit, I would post one other thing I've written.
This is already written simply published in smaller digestible bites for readers.
Please let me know what you think, it would be appreciated.
I, V’lkaar, the Minister of War for the proud Avian species, The Lechinu, the largest and most powerful star empire in the galaxy, have a difficult task. One that I must explain to our diplomat in terms she will understand, based upon our intelligence reports of the United Human Confederation.
Allow me to begin by recalling the events that led to this moment. Our diplomat, Vul’mirria, came into my chambers in a rage. You must understand that when a hierarch of our species is in a rage, they destroy their environment with their very sharp talons. In this case, two vases and an antique desk that was a gift from the UHC Admiral Hirohito of the United Human Confederation. A show of respect given to me when she was but a captain.
She demanded my intelligence reports on the UHC and the earthlings’ military resources. When asked why, Vul’mirria grabbed me by my throat with those talons and nearly lifted me from my chair. Our species having hollow bones, this means that we are still rather light to move or lift. The fire in her eyes told me she intended war and wanted to know how feasible war was for us.
I eventually slapped her talon away and simply told her, “I would advise against war with the humans.”
She punched me. Not in the way that say, a human with their blunt fists would, but in the way that a bird of prey would prefer, what humans call a falcon punch, just without the killing velocity to it. You see, in Lechinu culture, this is a direct challenge to our honor, pride, or right to exist. One does not challenge an avian race to prove its pride.
I reluctantly agree to make this report, but I wish to begin this report by saying the grave insult and expected apology of our diplomat, Vul’mirria of the House of Clouds, before the end of the day, lest she find herself given the same challenge.
Note for my report briefing for any would be diplomat reading this.
I, Admiral of the Fleet, V’lkaar, need you to understand that the human military is not organized nor composed like ours. We have The Fleet, which means our entire military. I will start by saying, yes, we are more technologically advanced than humans in every way from plasma weapons, to shields, to metallic alloys, to the speed of our engines. But I will not fight the humans.
I am no beta male coward, I would not have arrived in this position if I was not willing to kill without hesitation. If my military arm and guile ever faltered, I imagine no end of my successors would seize the opportunity to remove me politically or physically, depending on if my skill in battle failed me or my skill in the war room among our politicians faltered for a moment.
We did not become the greatest, largest empire in the galaxy without extensive military strength and strong leaders. That being said, if we go to war with the humans, I begin this report by saying, I will resign in protest. Not only because many in the human admiralty are my friends and therefore my judgment will be compromised, but because I will not order the slaughter of our own warriors and quagmire that will be such a war on our friends, family, soldiers, and colleagues. Simply put, I will not issue orders I know will result in the deaths of millions upon millions of Lechinu for no gain.
Allow me to begin by stating this: unlike our Fleet, which comprises our space, ground, and defensive forces, the human military is composed of five separate divisions. Please understand none of what I’m about to say is exaggeration, nor is it unverified without extensive intelligence and cooperative exercises conducted in cooperation with the galactic council. I am merely providing the required commentary to put the numbers and citations into perspective. As with any military report, it is required to give context to the politicians so they can understand what exactly they are reading.
I will now explain the introduction and then give an extensive discussion of each of the military divisions of the Human military. Please note, I will be discussing this in the order in which our intel reports judge each division as most sane to complete madness.
The first of the human military divisions are The Army–yes, they still keep a dedicated ground fighting unit whose sole purpose is actions on planetary bodies. Yes, they possess and use mechanized suits, power armor, tanks, and infantry. I assure you, they are not something I wish to see our birds fight.
Second is the Blue Water Navy. As outdated as the concept may seem to us, on every single world with liquid water bodies of any sort; water, methane, nitrogen-oxide, or even sulfuric acid, the humans have deployed blue water vessels to surprisingly great effect. We will go over this and its abilities. Despite the fact that no human has the biology to dive deeper than 50 human meters before encountering difficulties.
Third, the Human Air Force. Yes, you heard me correctly, humans maintain an extensive ground based air-to-space and conventional in atmosphere aircraft force whose job is to protect the skies and maintain total terrestrial orbital air-space control. As well as launching fighter and bomber craft from planetary bodies without vessels present, some of their aircraft even have space-fold drives for limited hyperspace jumps. This I will explain further momentarily.
Fourth, the Black Water Navy, referred to as the UHN–United Human Navies–is in fact a collection of thousands of different ship philosophies built by individual shipyards and colonies with one core aspect across all ship types: railguns, which I will explain why this is a threat that our diplomat has lightly discounted; and the trademark “Honeycomb” hull design of human ships, which some vessels have overcome 90% structural integrity damage and continued to fight because of it. We will discuss this momentarily.
Lastly, and by far the most insane of the human military divisions, The Marines. They are an animal all their own. Yes, the human military has a separate division away from their navies for counter-boarding, boarding actions, planetary landfall operations, and amphibious assaults within terrestrial grounds still in service.
Let us begin with the Human Army, referred to as UHFA, United Human Frontline Army.

Official Report Upon the Human Military for Diplomatic Intelligence Action

Section 1, The Army, Part 1
The Human army is composed of thousands of variants of units. They are the least uniform military in the entire galaxy, and you would believe that would be their weakness. Any cursory glance at them would determine they are in fact a divided rabble of different levels of training that could easily be swept aside, but let me assure you, that is the most incorrect determination. Their variety and unique unit formations are their greatest strength.
Let me highlight some of these units for you, the four most troubling and most enduring of their army. First is the Scottish and their Royal Black Watch in particular. The Royal Black Watch in this year of 2503 can trace their history back to the pre-literature production of the humans, literally a unit that has evolved and changed over the over 1500 years of its existence.
The Royal Black Watch on the surface looks like a parade unit. Defenders of the human diplomats, they act as their escorts both figuratively and ceremonially for diplomats, politicians, and high ranking members of human societal government. Let me assure you that the nearly two demi-macro blades that they carry upon their backs are not for show. They make wicked use of them.
Every single one of these blades can be swung as nearly 18 kilometers per hour and redirected upon a miss with a precision we would have only found possible with the purification machines encountered in the Maldeese Nebula. Yet these humans wield them as easily as you or I would wield a knife or dagger.
Further, every single one of their number isn’t just power armor certified, but has passed the human’s gunslinger program. The human gunslinger program requires super-sentient reflexes for most species to pass and has a wash-out rate of 98%. This means that members of this Black Watch Unit must pass this program to even apply for consideration. Every single member of a unit is able to operate a human vehicle, usually a variety of space, air, mechanized, and naval, and at least two other species whom the humans may encounter vehicles of a similar purpose and type.
Some would argue the diplomats in the room are the best educated and highest trained, but those who have read the intelligence reports know that is a lie, it is these humans in their black armor and wearing the plaid patch of Highlanders that are the pinnacle of training, education, and preparation.
Let me tell you a story of the Black Watch, a legendary act of defiance in the early days of humanity’s joining of the Galactic Community and its Senate. In 2304, just two years after their acceptance, we were in the midst of the Hive Treyarch war. No one had managed to land upon one of the Hive’s planets alone. Orbital bombardment can only get so much done and anti-orbital weapons eventually win against ships. After all they have a whole planet to take hits, you have a ship hull.
It was determined a joint effort would be made. The human ships were not allowed to join, we felt they were too few to defend their own worlds and extended to launch an assault. However, seeing as dedicated ground troops were rare among species and the Terrans abundance of such ground troops, we decided to allow their army to send several units to support the ground actions.
What they sent looked brutish and primitive. Power armored troopers in heavy thick titanium plate. They mounted these exosuits with a variant of weapon systems. Our logistic technicians had a devil of a time supplying such vehicles. Considering the humans hurled physical objects from their primary weapons instead of energy pulses.
When we landed upon Arrat III. The Hive descended upon us with a ferocious might of billions. For seven days we fought for our beachhead, and then the admirals were given permission from the council to prove our resolve and bombard the site to dust so we could established a beach head even if it were irradiated. Now, the problem: we had nearly six million troops on-world and would need to evacuate.
The Black Watch stepped forward with 4 companies and informed us that they would be the last off the planet. They had been the first to step foot upon the world at their insistence, and they had suffered one casualty in their division, just one. I want to remind you by this point, we had entire army groups that were disbanded out of mercy. Their casualties so high that even combining multiple damaged units was deemed too psychologically devastating to continue to use the few survivors.
Those four companies made a perimeter around the starport and prepared as we fled and fell back. Other units joined them but were actively being withdrawn, so the battle lines were getting thinner as time wore on.
When their battle began, the legend of the Black Watch was proven. For six days, we were allowed to evacuate, even after every single other being but the hive and Black Watch were off the planet, they kept fighting. The Black Watch were cut off, and for two final days we tried to figure out how to evacuate them. Terrans being a relatively new race at the time, we did not wish to report that one of their elite units were utterly destroyed. The Black Watch held that line.
Even against the elite guards of the hive, towering monstrosities of arthropods. They possess exoskeletons that can stop some capital ship low caliber weapons. These massive creatures can break buildings with a single blow. The Black Watch held the line.
The Treyarch became scared of them, the telepathic transmissions we picked up from the planet were warnings against the ones in black armor. Imagine that, a species whose war tactic is the endless swarm of pincers, incisors, claws, and chitinous armor plating being terrified of barely four-hundred and eighty soldiers. The Black Watch held the line.
The Black Watch told us to nuke the planet with them on it. With great reluctance we did. We bombarded the world until it was a tomb. Nothing should have survived. We lost nearly two hundred vessels performing the bombardment but we hardened ourselves.
Every single micron of the soil was blown apart and the planet was surrounded by an ash cloud. The radiation alone would have killed entire galactic civilizations across one thousand colonies.
But humans are from a death world. As the fleet made transit to leave the system and the devouring hive was mourning the destruction of the world, we received a transmission from Arrat III. Garbled and hard to understand, we sent a scout ship back. The scout ship returned with three and a half companies, all but twenty beings of the four hundred and eighty we left there survived. The Royal Black Watch we had thought dead upon that world.
As the commander stepped from the decontamination unit. I asked how they survived, the unit commander whom we did not realize was female to this point; removed her helmet. Yes, the human military has fully integrated its females into the military. Imagine that Ambassador, their females are just as capable of frontline warfare as our males! But her reply was only five words, “Nukes are merely an inconvenience.”
End Section #1 The Army, Part 1
Admiral of The Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet from Circa 2223-2504
submitted by FiauraTanks to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 06:07 thotpatrolofficerr Best Advice a Senior Could Give (based on mistakes and regrets)

(not ranked; each piece of advice is just as important)
submitted by thotpatrolofficerr to highschool [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 05:01 Hour_Bathroom3967 AITA Am I (16m) the asshole for calling my dad (44m) fat for skinny shaming me?

Ok ok ok I know how this sounds… Like a privileged skinny person trying to victimize myself but I swear there’s more to the story…
So to begin with I am a pretty slim person. (About 5’10 and 120 pounds) I am no stranger to people pointing out my weight, saying things like “are you anorexic?” “You’re a literal twig” “you shouldn’t be self conscious, you’re skinny” “I can literally bench press you” “you couldn’t even lift five pounds”. I’ve basically heard every version of skinny their is.
People are constantly making fun of me for my weight my friends, family, doctors even and so I’m pretty used to these comments and usually block them out.
But this one time, we were having a BBQ and I was talking to my brother and the topic of weight came up because he has faced similar comments although not nearly as bad as I have. I jokingly said “oH i NeEd tO eAt A bUrGeR”.
My father heard me say this and with full confidence and complete seriousness said “Yeah, you do”.
I was completely taken aback by this. Somehow without skipping a beat I said “Well then you should let me eat yours because you clearly don’t need it”.
His face turned red and he started yelling at me saying how I was completely out of line and disrespectful. He demanded that I apologize but I refused and went back inside.
Later his girlfriend and her daughter said that what I said was uncalled for and that he was making a suggestion because he was concerned for my health.
This wasn’t the first time he has made comments on my weight and so I was used to it but that comment just switched something on in my brain. My brother agrees that I could’ve gone about the situation better, and my mom thinks what I said was funny but that I shouldn’t have talked to my father that way but I don’t think I’m in the wrong.
So Reddit… Am I the asshole?
submitted by Hour_Bathroom3967 to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 04:37 Vaudevillian_feline Nightfall - Prologue - Fan warriors story.

Bright blue eyes blink at you.
“... Ah. Welcome. Its great to meet you, I do hope this wont be the last time we cross paths. As I know it, you havent heard of the Nightfall story. Do you have some time? Ive always been a fan of story telling. Cmon, Sit down.”
Their eyes bore into you, watching as you got comfortable. The deep brown cat cleared their throat, settling down. Their tail swept over the ground, curling around them.
“So, there were these four cats. Very important, each from one respective clan,” The cat started. Its eyes flew wide, “You- You do know the clans, right? Theres Thunderclan, Shadowclan, Riverclan, and Windclan. Just, making sure. Can never be too confident. Anyway-”
Damp wind flowed between the cats, shaking the pool of water they had gathered around. Starlight shone on the surface of the rippling water. One of the four cats, with a soft brown pelt, wrapped their tail around their paws. Even in the shadows of dawn, His yellow eyes glowed. He opened his mouth, speaking lightly. “Are we sure about this?”
His gaze slowly lifted, settling on a golden-brown tabby she-cat. Her lips curled back, a smile softening her features. She looked fuzzier than the brown tom, her paws larger. “Duskfur. Please calm down, we already agreed on this - If my memory serves.” She added playfully.
There was a mewl of laughter from the cat next to the pretty she-cat. Their fur was almost pure white, minus her paws, which were sandy and striped. She looked smaller than the other three, her muscles less defined. Her fur was far sleeker than any of the others, her shoulders also broader. Her snout was pointier, her teeth slightly poking out from her bottom lip. The last cat, with deep black fur, unsheathed his claws, swiping at the white she-cat. He was by far the largest of the cats, his fur nearly blending into the ground.
She yelped, jumping back. A line of blood had already started welling on her nose. She lifted a paw, holding it over the wound. “Shadestorm!” Duskfur stood, looking at the black tom. His ears were pricked.
“Can we just start this?” Shadestorm hissed, stepping hesitantly into the pool.
“Birchpaw, are you alright?” The golden-brown tabby questioned, licking the blood off the smaller. “That was uncalled for.” The she-cat said, turning her hostile gaze to Shadestorm.
“Whatever.” Shadestorm rolled his eyes, scoffing. He shook his fur, holding his wet paw up, staring at it with disgust.
“… I'm fine. Thank you, Ambersight.” Birchpaw smiled, pushing against Ambersight as she led the other into the pool. Ambersight flinched as the cold water seeped into her fur, but Birchpaw looked content. Shadestorm watched the two of them, before once again stepping in. His face was determined. The pool was large enough to fit two or three more cats.
Duskfur cleared his throat. “Well. Remember your purpose, and do not stray into other clan territory.” Duskfur started, Looking around for confirmation from the others. “We have already learned our lesson.” He sighed, looking down at the water. His reflection stared back. Shadestorm’s dark fur had started to grow translucent, and sparkly. Not long after, the other cats coats matched Shadestorm’s.
“Goodluck.” Birchpaw whispered, her voice trailing off as her figure slowly disappeared into the forest behind her.
Within a heartbeat, the four cats had appeared back around the pool of water, which was no longer glittering. Their fur was dry, showing no sign of having been soaked. Ambersights claws sunk into the hard dirt, pulling roots up as she flexed. Each cat's fur stood on end, as if in a warning, and even Shadestorm looked confused and disturbed. His tail lashed from side to side, his lips nearly drawn in a snarl.
“There will be a time dimmed by ghost and blood, only the sun's lover can transform the path of shadow. Left alone, Leafbare’s creation will wake, and only then will the quick challenge the power of the sky. The swift must relinquish what it took before all can unite.” Birchpaw echoed what she had heard, the three others sharing glances.
“It was all the same.” Duskfur said, his voice quiet and hoarse. “The sun's lover… Leafbare, the quick, ghost and blood… What does it mean?” He shook his head. The other cats fell silent, not daring to make eye contact.
“Could the sun's lover refer to Sunpaw of thunderclan?” Ambersight asked, her whiskers trembling.
“I don't think so. Sunpaw is only an apprentice. Leafbare is too soon.” Birchpaw pointed out, but Shadestorm jumped in.
“It could mean another leadbare. There's nothing suggesting it's this one.”
Birchpaw growled, baring her teeth. “There's nothing suggesting it's not this one either, foxbreath.”
“Did you see anyone specific?” Duskfur asked after an awkward pause, clearing his throat, not looking at anyone particularly.
“I did.” Ambersight ripped her claws out of the dirt, her paw stained brown. She flicked her paw, flinging dirt off of it. Her ears flattened.
“Was it Sunpaw?” Duskfur asked. Ambersight hung her head, seeming defeated. “No,” she muttered.
“I also saw a cat from my clan.” Shadestorm growled, forcing himself to sit down. “I think that means we all saw a cat from our clans.” Shadestorm suggested, his bright green eyes glistening.
“We need to hurry then. We know where to go and who to find, and this doesn't sound good.” Duskfur shook, scraps of moss soaring from his pelt. “We can't wait.” He continued, turning around. The three others jumped up, following Duskfur closely. “And remember. Do not pass into other clan territory. If we don't find the right cats in time, this could truly be disastrous.”
Shadestorm passed Duskfur. “I don't listen to anyone younger than me.” He spat, sharply turning into a dark spruce forest.
The three continued down the starry path that was becoming increasingly speckled with other cats. Some were faded, and some were bright. They shared tongues, lazing in the sunlight. Ambersight huffed, quickening her pace to run into an undergrowth. Duskfur padded on, birchpaw following as closely as she could manage. Her short legs were not catching up with Duskfur, creating a gap between them. Before Birchpaw lost the other altogether, the two split. Duskfur sped off into a large moorland, while Birchpaw jumped into a mellow river.
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2023.04.01 04:26 Cj_TheCreator The Big Beast Chapter 1 &2

It was a Normal day for Thomas, He combed his afro, trimmed his beard, and took his family to the fair. It had just opened, and Thomas thought it’d be the perfect treat for his lovely wife Nichole and daughter Cecelia. “Watch Cecelia I’ll go get us some food “Nichole said as she walked towards the concessions stands. His beautiful daughter Cecelia although 2 years old was full of wonder and excitement, as he looked ahead, he thought of all the rides he could take Cecelia on. Cecelia saw a moth land on her arm “Baby stay close to me “Thomas said, wondering where His wife was. As the screams of the park grew louder Thomas heard them grow from Joy to Terror, up above a red mist had streaked the sky. Suddenly he heard Nichole scream. “Nichole! Nichole! “He yelled “Cecelia! Baby!” He looked to see her playing with the moth as it flew away, Cecelia noticed her dad chasing after her laughing with arms stretched “Papa! “She yelled giggling. “Cecelia!!!“Thomas screamed suddenly the ground start shaking, A thunderous roar was heard , Giant cracks in the Ground , A eruption which felt like an earthquake. Before his eyes A giant rose from the ground, He could not believe what he saw, Cecelia and the entire park was gone. Thomas’s heart sank as he fell to his knees near the crater of the fair. In the red mist he saw it, A giant Whale with a crimson horn rising above, A Big beast.
Chapter 1 Thomas
Thomas awoke from his dream, His violent jump knocking the bottles of the bed . Thomas, mouth still dripping with alcohol looked down at his bracelet. “ I got to get some more beer “ he said as he stretched , getting ready for his day . It had been 3 years from that day and now he lived in The west Pacific, a unknown and unpopulated sector of the sea . Thomas put on his overalls, combed back his hair and steered his ship towards a field of algae . Sheering them with his Crab leg scissors he bought at the market , Thinking about what amazing Salad he cook make with it . As a heard of fish swam by Thomas threw a net at them but they quickly avoided it , Thomas realized these weren’t the gold scaled fish he was used to . “ Oh great , Piranhas” Thomas put his bottle down and grabbed his lasso . “ Hey fang tooths “ He whistled at them tying the rope around his hand . The school of fish growled at him , Thomas smiled “ Come on “ Holding a piece of leftover fish . The piranhas charged at him as Thomas began swinging his lasso “ 1 “ The Piranhas angrily swimming towards him “ 2 “ 3 feet from his boat they were . “ 3 “ He shouted jumping up as his lasso wrapped around them , with a big tug he roped them down “ Hope none of yawl are poisonous “ . As the night sky hit and once again surrounded by nothing but darkness , Thomas drank “ You would’ve loved this sky baby girl“ He sighed before drinking again . Thomas sipped a hefty glass of Whiskey, He heard a noise in his bedroom . He ignored it thinking it was a stowaway crab , The cluttering grew louder . Thomas set down his drink, grabbing his shotgun . Thomas slowly crept forward, gun raised as he hearded to his bedroom . Thomas surveying the ground slow heard a voice “ Freeze “ He yelled . At that moment thomas saw a face he hadn’t seen in a long time , her Starshaped beach mark , Her smooth dark skin and Her elegant Hair “ Nichole ?! “
Chapter 2
As Thomas stood there, he felt a warm fire in his heart, after being cold for so long. As he and Nichole rode on his boat “The Reef Slider “He wanted to say so many things. About how much he missed her warm smile and presence in his life, sadly he could only utter one Sentence “So what you are doing on my boat?” as he attempted to sip his bottle only to find it empty. Nichole chuckled “Our boat, besides, I thought you would be Neck deep in nectar by now “she said as she walked toward his room, Thomas felt shameful as he wiped the nectar dripping from his lips. “I needed to borrow some tools “Nichole shouted Scrummaging through his shed. She went down to grab the toolbox and saw a photo, holding it saying nothing but feeling the same pit she felt that day. It was a photo of Cecelia the day she was born, Nichole wanted to say something to Thomas, but the words would not come. “ Anyway it was nice catching up with you “ She said rushing off the boat . “ Wait “Thomas screamed; He could not let her leave again “At least let me fix your Boat “Nichole looked at him shocked “ No one knows you better than me Nic “ .
As they Drifted through the coral and reefs of the Pacific, Thomas and Nichole stood in silence. Nichole wanted to talk to him or find an excuse to leave but she could not find one, Thomas was happier than he had been in years. As they reached Her craft , Nichole looked at Thomas and remembered when they got married . “ We’re here “ Thomas said swimming off the deck . Nichole boat was a grey round ship with long claws and a jet on the rear. “This is some ship Nic, What were you doing out here “ He said examining the craft , Near the rear thomas noticed a large scratch “ Just traveling along “ Nichole replied . Suddenly Thomas was blinded from overhead , “ NICHOLE ! IS THAT YOU GIRL “ A voice said from above . Thomas look at Nichole Puzzled , Nichole not batting him an eye .
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2023.04.01 04:25 UnsureSnake Transportation and Parking Questions

Hey everyone!
I’ll be visiting NJ and NY for a day or two and found that Jersey City might be the best spot for me. I was thinking either staying in Hoboken or closer to downtown and heard that the PATH is probably the best option in heading into Manhattan. I’ve been looking at a few hotels near the Hoboken and Exchange stations and was wondering how transportation will work as I’ve only previously stayed in Brooklyn with an MTA card (back in 2018)
Also, if I were to get a rental is parking fairly easy to find? I don’t mind paying but want something safe (as well as possibly allows in and out) while I’m there.
Let me know if you have any other housing suggestions in the area as well!
submitted by UnsureSnake to jerseycity [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 03:54 yourbuddywithastick URGENT! Need help with labor tomorrow, April 1st, 9am-12pm, $100 total, my grandma's credit and everything I own is on the line

U-Haul is up my ass about getting their truck back by 12pm tomorrow and refuses to extend it any further because someone else reserved it. Problem is, it's a 20-footer that's pretty much completely full, and I'm just one crippled guy with way too much to do - including, but not limited to, actually getting officially approved for my new apartment (it's pretty much definitive, just some formalities, but the weekend doesn't help), and getting to Denver for a mechanic appointment to fix some nearly defunct brakes - and not enough time to do all of it in.
U-Haul, however, has compromised to give me sufficient storage pod things as a replacement with the first 30 days free. The catch is that the only time we can work with is between 9am and 12pm tomorrow, April 1st, during which time I've got to be in Denver.
So, I've got $100 to spend on a COMPLETE job of transferring my and my girlfriend's stuff into these storage pods in those three hours, which will be overseen by my grandma, who is the officially signed driver of the truck and holder of the rental contract. I expect that this load in that time frame would take either three average people or two particularly large and strong people to do, so either $50/$50 or $33 each, unless you wanna divvy it up even more.
submitted by yourbuddywithastick to FortCollinsClassified [link] [comments]