Air force recruiter hope mills nc

Chanceme ECs

2023.04.01 15:39 Ill-Noise-5396 Chanceme ECs

Chance my ECs
Chance me
Demographics: male, asian, international with no financial aid needed hooks: FGLI
Intended Major(S): Economics and engineering SAT: 1600 UW/W GPA and Rank: UW GPA is 4; no weighed GPA or Rank in my school
Coursework: A Levels with AP Calculus BC (5); AP Macroeconomics (5); AP microeconomics (5) [Self studied APs as APs are not offered in my school]
Awards (National and International): - Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award (presented by the President of my country) - Top 6 in country and top 7% of 5500 high school and university participants of a Mathematics competition; Awarded Silver Honour - Semifinalist of an international science competition (ongoing; previous year edition had 55000 participants) - Best Air Force serviceman of the year (currently serving my mandatory National Service before matriculating; specially invited to interact with President of my country at the presidential palace) - Semifinalist of an international astronomy competition (unsure of how many participants as per the previous edition) - Bronze awardee of a national business challenge award (Year 9)
Extracurriculars: - Project Leader and Volunteer tutor of a peer mentoring and tutoring project; involved 20 students and 20 tutors; 650 volunteering hours; projected lasted for 2 years and remains ongoing - Programmes director of an ASEAN-based Youth Organisation; formulated policies in the long term and in charge of a ASEAN-wide hackathon in October. Successful engagement with government schools to promote organisation and ASEAN. - 6 months internship programmes with a mental health organisation; 220 chat hours with people around the world - Owner of 2 pending patents; will be published in Nov 2023 - 2 Telegram bots; implemented and used by servicemen and women across the Air Force in my country; awarded 150 USD for my efforts and 2 Work Improvement Team Award - Sustainability: Won an award and was the only military serviceman to receive in the Air Force. Featured on National Newspaper. Designed posters on sustainability and published across the airbase. Reduced food waste by 75% in airbase in six months. - Co Leader and Director of performance management of a community service project. Recruited 100 sustained volunteers and involved CSR in project. Pitched for funds and received 2500USD from the government. Conducted a fundraiser which attracted 14000 people. - Content writer (2 years): Wrote over 40 articles on children living in LI countries; learnt Search engine optimisation skills in the process - Sports: Top 100 in the airbase for a run lasting for 1 month. Completed a 56kilometres run twice. - Partnerships and Website Director of a project providing academic resources to those in need in the country; engaged 8 youth organisations in the country and worked with country's main youth organisation (equivalent to PeaceCorps) in terms of outreach and publicity efforts.
Essays/LORs/Other: Military service transcript - Was described as a "role model for the past, present, and future of military soldiers and his presence is definitely a valuable asset to the unit and airbase."
Schools: gonna apply - Yale - UCB - UIUC - UChicago - UMich - UCLA - duke - John Hopkins
submitted by Ill-Noise-5396 to chanceme [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 15:28 Sc4lpl Decent ECs Asian Male CS gets good results - I am happy :)

Gender: male
Race/Ethnicity: asian indian
Residence: North Carolina
Income Bracket: high, no finaid
Type of School: pretty competitive public, 40+ to UNC every year + a few t20s
Hooks (Recruited Athlete, URM, First-Gen, Geographic, Legacy, etc.): none
Intended Major(s): Computer Engineering where offered, CS otherwise

GPA (UW/W): 4.0/4.7
Rank (or percentile): 9/496
# of Honors/AP/IB/Dual Enrollment/etc.:
13 AP’s 4 DE courses including Calculus III

Senior Year Course Load:
AP Lit
AP Chem
Lit Companion course (required at my school)
Chem Companion course (required at my school)
Spanish 3
DE Art Appreciation
DE Microeconomics

Standardized Testing:
List the highest scores earned and all scores that were reported.
SAT I: 1590 (790RW, 800M)
5 on Stats, Calc AB, BC, HuGe, Psych, Macro, US History, Enviro Science, CSA, CSP
4 on Physics I
Other (ex. IELTS, TOEFL, etc.):

Copy-pasted descriptions from CA, some edits for PII.
FRC Co-Captain: Managed outreach, budget >$100k, competition strategy for 70+ members. Coordinated design/coding efforts. Grew membership >20%. Placed 11th in state. This is basically my largest EC, takes 20+ hours/week during the competitive season.
FTC Team Captain: Primary programmeelectrician, organized 5+ outreach activities/year, primary team representative at competitions, qualified for world championship. I did FTC 9-10 and then moved to FRC 11-12.
Boy Scouts Senior Patrol LeadeTroop Guide: Led a troop of 25 younger scouts, helped them earn 20+ rank advancements, organized/led troop overnights & service opportunities. Earned Eagle Scout. Been in the program since I was in 1st grade
Extremely selective summer program with FAANG company: 1 of 29 selected from 2000+ applicants nationwide. Worked with engineers to design, build, & present a prototype to senior execs.
NC FBLA State Officer: Selected for state leadership role. Responsible for planning Regional/State Leadership Conferences. Aided projected member growth of 500+ statewide.
Nonprofit Senior Intern: Taught coding/CAD class for 20+ students, interviewed STEM professionals for podcasts, asked by CEO to represent organization & give speeches at public events
Working on getting my Private Pilot License
Starbucks barista between sophomore and junior years 💀
NHS member 💀
Lifting 💀

Different FBLA and robotics awards at state and national levels, nothing super crazy

Letters of Recommendation:
LOR 1 - AP CS teacher - pretty good I hope
LOR 2 - APUSH Teacher - pretty sure this one was good
LOR 3 - Boy Scout leader - definitely glowing
LOR 4 - counselor - she loves me so I am pretty sure it was good

Nothing particularly crazy, I interviewed for Duke, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, MIT, and Penn. Duke, Princeton, and Yale were pretty good.

(Briefly reflect on the quality of your writing, time spent, and topic of main personal statement.)
I’m a pretty good writer, spent a fair amount of time. Not gonna rate them because I cannot view them subjectively lol. I think most of my supps were good.

Decisions (indicate ED/EA/REA/SCEA/RD)
UNC Chapel Hill (EA)
NC State + honors + semifinalist for full-ride (EA)
Georgia Tech (EA2) - committed
Duke (RD)
Yale (RD)
Cornell (RD)
Carnegie Mellon (RD)
UCSD (RD) lmao
Stanford (REA)
Harvard (RD)
Princeton (RD)
Columbia (RD)
Berkeley (RD)
UT Austin (RD)
UW Seattle (RD)
Additional Information:
Overall okay ECs but I’m happy with how things turned out - def could've been worse. Essays are definitely important. Good luck if you're a junior reading this :p
submitted by Sc4lpl to collegeresults [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 15:25 Nik-Yura The tale of how the descendants of Mikula Selyaninovich saved Colonel Fedman Kassad

The tale of how the descendants of Mikula Selyaninovich saved Colonel Fedman Kassad
I had never been off Hyperion and never considered that I might travel offworld. [1]

Alexey Rybnikov - Dream Theme [2]

He wondered if the world below was Hyperion or Garden; he had been to neither but knew that Garden was more widely settled, closer to becoming a Hegemony colony. He hoped it was Garden.

Alexey Rybnikov - Blue Planet
Kassad’s squid was in no way aerodynamic.
Every FORCE: space shuttle carried some sort of atmospheric egress device—it was a custom dating back almost eight centuries to when the entire realm of space flight consisted only of tentative excursions just above the skin of Old Earth’s atmosphere. A ship-to-ship shuttle probably would never need a planetary bail-out device, but age-old fears written into ancient regulations tended to die hard.
Kassad clung to the pivot ring and stared through the open hatch at the control seats in the cockpit. It struck him that they were wonderfully archaic, like something out of a textbook of the earliest spacecraft. Parts of the ship’s exterior were burning away now, roaring past the observation blisters like gobbets of lava. Kassad closed his eyes and tried to remember lectures from Olympus Command School on the structure and layout of ancient spacegoing craft.

Another subtle nuance in the "Hyperion Cantos", the meaning of which few people understand now. Unless only fans of early cosmonautics. The fact is that because of the space race between the USSR and the USA - the Union was ready to be the first to launch a person into space, but did not have time to make a full-fledged landing system of the ship. And as a result, in the spaceships of the first series - "Voskhod" (Sunrise) - the cosmonaut landed in an ejection seat.
The ships of the second series were already multi-seat (2-3 crew members) and the landing took place in a descent capsule.

Kassad almost lost consciousness as he bent forward, his fingers feeling in the darkness below the command seat, between his knees. There was nothing. Wait … a handgrip. No, sweet Christ and Allah … a D-ring. Something out of the history books.

Alexey Rybnikov - Letters
It's not all coincidences...

The HS Denieve had seeded enough spysats so that by 1729 hours Qom-Riyadh Central Time, the datasphere had been tapped to the point that the Hegemony ship had identified sixteen thousand eight hundred and thirty revolutionary mullahs by their access codes. At 1729:30 hours the spysats began feeding their real-time targeting data to the twenty-one perimeter defense sats which Kassad’s assault boat had left in low orbit. These orbital defense weapons were so old that the Denieve’s mission had been to return them to the Web for safe destruction. Kassad had suggested another use for them.

It was small, this very first artificial satellite of our old planet, but its ringing call signs spread across all continents and among all peoples as the embodiment of the audacious dream of mankind.
S. P. Korolev, head of the Soviet Space Program

Sputnik 1 - Sinal de Rádio Beep (1957)
That is, the coincidences with the Soviet space program are obvious. I'm not sure that they are deliberate - it feels like Simmons did them purely by inspiration - in memory of the 60s. When humanity went into space and the sense of discovery was international.
And now about what Simmons couldn't have known. This is exactly the "cultural field" - ideas floating in the air.
The Bylina about Volga and Mikula belongs to the category of moralizing. There are no heroic adventures in it - all its content is subordinated to morality. Mikula Selyaninovich is the archetype of the farmer. Volga is the archetype of the warrior-magician. The cornerstone for our culture: the epic Volga (Prince Oleg) - regent and educator of the heir of the founder of Ancient Rus Rurik - young Prince Igor.
In a way, the meaning of the epic in general can be reduced to the essence of the formation of Russia. BEFORE the arrival of Rurik, our lands were scattered. Northern Russia was a tributary of the Varangians, southern - the Khazars. The squad of Rurik-Oleg - united disparate tribes and created a strong state on these lands. The Khazars were expelled from Kiev, a joint campaign against Byzantium led by Oleg ended with the capture of the Second Rome and a peace treaty. This peace treaty and a number of subsequent ones were signed by the soldiers of the Russian squad according to the traditions of their lands, i.e. Russia was a confederate military alliance. Mikula Selyaninovich is the "salt of the earth", which gave strength to the new state.

Konstantin Vasiliev. Volga and Mikula
Later became the basis of both Russian philosophy - scientific in general and the so-called "Russian cosmism" in particular - and the spirit of the Russian Revolution itself. This can be briefly described by the following scheme:
the descendant of Mikula Selyaninovich, Mikhail Lomonosov (founder of the modern Russian scientific school), came out of the Arkhangelsk forests in order for another descendant of Mikula, Yuri Gagarin, to become the first person to go into space.
In the context of songs, this is CRUCIAL.
The "space race" had an eschatological meaning. Werner von Braun - belonged to the Prussian (!) an aristocratic family. It does not matter whether von Braun was an ideological Nazi, whether he was really a member of the occult fascist order "Ahnenerbe" - the fact is that in the American cosmic program there are many artifacts of magical beliefs peculiar to the German occult communities of that time. For the German, French and English elite of that time, the question was fundamentally: a representative of the aristocratic elite should be the first to go into space. Übermensch. Going into space is still the same "conquest of Heaven" (Paradise) by Mitra.
It was a little easier in the Union. Although their occult groups flourished in Russia in the XIX and early XX centuries, by the Second World War, the pure ideology of class struggle dominated. At the same time, there is no escape: Adolf Hitler's Third Reich is not only the materialized kingdom of Satan. For the USSR, the heir of Russia, this is another crusade of the united West against the Slavs. The Third Reich is the heir of the infernal crusading orders: Livonian and Teutonic. Therefore, the choice of the first cosmonaut was, in general, predetermined. But the entire subsequent Soviet space program is a continuous international by analogy with the squads of the first Russian princes. Herman Titov (the second man in space and Yuri Gagarin's understudy) can be called a descendant of the Prophetic Oleg. And the third cosmonaut, Andriyan Nikolaev, is the heir of the Great Bulgar.
It may seem that I am greatly exaggerating. But here is a real confirmation from a completely unexpected side. See what signs are placed in the already FAMOUS clip of the German band Rammstein - Deutschland.

So I will remind you of two quotes:
"You call these men a mob... Are we aware of our obligations to a mob! It is the mob that labour in your fields, and serve in your houses — that man your navy, and recruit your army — that have enabled you to defy all the world, — and can also defy you, when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair. You may call the people a mob, but do not forget that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people."
Lord Gordon Byron

"The day of the armored man-at-arms, the knight, the embodiment of chivalry, was over—hammered into history’s coffin by a few thousand ragtag peasant archers carrying longbows. The ultimate insult to the noble-born French dead—if the dead indeed could be further insulted—lay in the fact that the English archers were not only common men, common in the lowest, most flea-infested sense of the word, but that they were draftees. Doughboys. GIs. Grunts. AIPs. Spezzes. K-techs. Jump Rats.
All that was in the lesson Kassad was supposed to have learned during that OCS:HTN exercise."

Alexey Rybnikov - Dream theme 2
- How did I land? Suspensor field? Parachute?
- You descended under a wing of gold foil.

[1] - quotes from Hyperion Cantos
[2] - the author's clips of Alexander Zharkevich to the music of Alexey Rybnikov
submitted by Nik-Yura to Hyperion [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 15:25 PlainsmanParkingLot D1 Baseball TV/Streaming for Saturday April 1

D1 Baseball TV/Streaming for Saturday April 1

11:00 AM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM Bryant at Binghamton ESPN3
11:00 AM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM Bowling Green at Central Michigan CMU Stream ($)
11:00 AM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM George Washington at Dayton ESPN3
11:00 AM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM Indiana at Penn State B1G+ ($)
12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM Lafayette at Lehigh ESPN+
12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM Western Michigan at Miami OH Youtube / Chatterbox Sports
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM UNLV at Air Force MTN WEST NET / AFA
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Wichita State at Cincinnati ESPN+
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Cornell at Columbia ESPN+
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Stony Brook at Hofstra FloBaseball ($)
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Fairfield at Mount St. Mary's Mount All Access
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Saint Joseph's at Richmond ESPN3
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Niagara at Rider ESPN3
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Grambling at UAPB Youtube / UAPB
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Murray State at Valparaiso ESPN3
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Saint Bonaventure at VCU ESPN+ / resume 3/31 game B5
1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM 10:00 AM Northern Illinois at Xavier FloBaseball ($)
1:30 PM 12:30 PM 11:30 AM 10:30 AM Georgetown at Villanova FloBaseball ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Ball State at Akron Zips Digital Network
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Bellarmine at Austin Peay ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Bryant at Binghamton ESPN3
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Wake Forest at Clemson ACCNX
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Saint Thomas at Creighton FloBaseball ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM College of Charleston at Delaware FloBaseball ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Belmont at Evansville ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Delaware State at Fairleigh Dickinson NEC Front Row
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Jacksonville at FGCU ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Princeton at Harvard ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM McNeese at Houston Christian ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Michigan at Illinois B1G+ ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Missouri at Kentucky SECN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Tennessee at LSU SECN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Florida State at Miami ACCNX
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Minnesota at Ohio State B1G+ ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Indiana at Penn State B1G+ ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Northwestern at Purdue B1G+ ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Michigan State at Rutgers B1G+ ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Winthrop at SC Upstate ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Little Rock at SEMO ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Alcorn at Southern SU JSN ($)
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Sacramento State at Stephen F Austin ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Nebraska vs TAMU-CC Boxcast / WAC Digital
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM SIU Edwardsville at TN Martin ESPN+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM UMBC at UCONN UConn+
2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM 11:00 AM Siena at Wofford ESPN+
2:30 PM 1:30 PM 12:30 PM 11:30 AM Iona at Canisius ESPN+
2:30 PM 1:30 PM 12:30 PM 11:30 AM Lafayette at Lehigh ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Alabama at Arkansas SECN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Southern Illinois at Bradley ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Charleston Southern at Campbell ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Pitt at Duke ACCNX
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Rice at Florida Atlantic CUSA TV (free)
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Radford at Gardner-Webb ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Maryland at Iowa B1G+ ($)
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Baylor at Kansas ESPN+ / BIG XII NOW
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Dallas Baptist at LA Tech CUSA TV ($)
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Nicholls at Lamar ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM South Carolina at Mississippi State SECN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Northwestern State at New Orleans ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM North Carolina at Notre Dame ACCNX
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Northern Colorado at Omaha Mavs All Access
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Western Illinois at Oral Roberts ORUSN
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Marist at Quinnipiac Quinnipiac All-Access
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM UMass at Saint Louis ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM The Citadel at Samford ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Prairie View at Texas Southern Youtube / TSU
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM TCU at Texas Tech ESPN+ / BIG XII NOW
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Charlotte at UAB CUSA TV ($)
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Marshall at UL Monroe ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Presbyterian at UNC Asheville ESPN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Western Kentucky at UTSA CUSA TV ($)
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Georgia at Vanderbilt SECN+
3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM 12:00 PM Saint Bonaventure at VCU ESPN+
3:30 PM 2:30 PM 1:30 PM 12:30 PM Arkansas State at Texas State ESPN+
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM Georgia Tech at Boston College ACCNX
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM Missouri State at Illinois State ESPN3
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM UMass-Lowell at Maine AEC TV
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM FIU at MTSU ESPN+
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM San Diego State at New Mexico MTN WEST NET / NM
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM Portland at Saint Mary's WCC Network
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM New Mexico State at Sam Houston WAC Digital (free w/login)
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM Southern Miss at Troy ESPN+
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM UC San Diego at UC Irvine ESPN+
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM North Carolina A&T at UNC Wilmington FloBaseball ($)
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM Grand Canyon at Utah Valley ESPN+
4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 PM Saint John's at William & Mary FloBaseball ($)
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM Nebraska at Abilene Christian WAC International
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM UNLV at Air Force MTN WEST NET / AFA
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM Bellarmine at Austin Peay ESPN+
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM Queens at Central Arkansas ESPN+
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM North Florida at EKU ESPN+
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM West Virginia at Kansas State ESPN+ / BIG XII NOW
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM App State at Louisiana ESPN+
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM Eastern Michigan at Ohio Youtube / Bobcats
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM Stanford at Oklahoma ESPN+
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM UT Arlington at Seattle WAC International
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM Grambling at UAPB Youtube / UAPB
5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM 2:00 PM Oregon State at Washington PAC-12 INSIDER
5:30 PM 4:30 PM 3:30 PM 2:30 PM Saint Thomas at Creighton FloBaseball ($)
5:30 PM 4:30 PM 3:30 PM 2:30 PM Little Rock at SEMO ESPN+
5:30 PM 4:30 PM 3:30 PM 2:30 PM Sacramento State at Stephen F Austin ESPN+
5:30 PM 4:30 PM 3:30 PM 2:30 PM SIU Edwardsville at TN Martin ESPN+
6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM Florida A&M at Bethune-Cookman Youtube / CatEye Network
6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM UC Santa Barbara at Fresno State MTN WEST NET / FRES
6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM Louisville at NC State ACC Network
6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM San Francisco at Pacific WCC Network
6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM South Florida at UCF ESPN+
6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM 3:00 PM Siena at Wofford ESPN+
6:30 PM 5:30 PM 4:30 PM 3:30 PM Auburn at Florida SECN+
6:30 PM 5:30 PM 4:30 PM 3:30 PM North Alabama at Stetson ESPN+
7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM Old Dominion at Georgia Southern ESPN+
7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM Kennesaw State at Jax State ESPN+
7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM Texas at Oklahoma State ESPN+ / BIG XII NOW
7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM Incarnate Word at Southeastern ESPN+
7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM Memphis at Tulane ESPN+
7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM Virginia at Virginia Tech ACCNX
7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM 4:00 PM UCLA at Washington State PAC-12 NETWORKS
7:30 PM 6:30 PM 5:30 PM 4:30 PM ECU at Houston ESPN+
7:30 PM 6:30 PM 5:30 PM 4:30 PM San Jose State at Nevada MTN WEST NET / NV
7:30 PM 6:30 PM 5:30 PM 4:30 PM Tarleton at UTRGV ESPN+ / WAC International
8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM Utah Tech at Cal Baptist ESPN+
8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM Hawai'i at CS Fullerton ESPN+
8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM Pepperdine at San Diego WCC Network
8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM North Dakota State at South Dakota State Jackrabbits All-Access ($)
8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM Ole Miss at Texas A&M SEC Network
9:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM Oregon at Arizona PAC-12 Plus / AZ-3
9:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM UC Davis at CS Bakersfield ESPN+
9:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM BYU at Gonzaga WCC Network
9:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM Cal Poly at Long Beach ESPN+
9:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM Santa Clara at Loyola Marymount WCC Network
9:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 PM 6:00 PM USC at Utah PAC-12 MOUNTAIN
10:00 PM 9:00 PM 8:00 PM 7:00 PM Arizona State at California PAC-12 NETWORKS​
submitted by PlainsmanParkingLot to collegebaseball [link] [comments]

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 15:17 YaaliAnnar NoP: Lost and Found (37)

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Memory Transcription Subject: Tresn, arxur farmer
Date [Standardized Human Reckoning]: 2136–09-28
The day I learned about humans was a calm one. The sun had slid close to the horizon and with a basket of herbs and spices, I made my way back to the farmhouse where Taksak and I lived. When I arrived my mentor was waiting for me to prepare our dinner. He asked me for three portions instead of the usual two with the third one being unseasoned.
As I was going about my business, I heard a sound that caught my attention. It was the telltale noise of an airship landing in front of Taksak's farm. I hurried to the farmhouse's kitchen window to see what was going on and the reason for the third portion became clear. I saw a betterment officer stepping out of her vehicle. Her visit was out of schedule, so that means she is bringing some intel. Taksak seemed unfazed by her arrival but I was pretty sure that he was also in the dark with me.
My heart was pounding with anticipation as I returned to prepare the three portions of meals for the day. Our ancestors, blessed they are, had always emphasized the importance of plants in our lives. Some plants had medicinal properties that could cure sickness, while others could be used as seasonings to enhance the taste of our food. They taught us that there was more to food than just meat and that the plant world held great value as well.
My mind was filled with me thinking about what sort of news she was bringing today.
I finished preparing the meals and arranged the dishes on a tray. I took a deep breath to steady my nerves before making my way to the dinner table where the officer had been sitting with her brother. I placed the first dish in front of my mentor first, the second dish graced the betterment officer, and last, I placed mine before I sat.
Taksak and I used a small dagger as befitting of the civilized way of our ancestors, while his sister grabbed the pieces of raw meat with her claw. We ate in silence, each of us lost in our thoughts as we savored them. The Betterment Officer, who had been quiet for most of the meal, eyed the sauce we had been dipping our meat in. Curiosity getting the better of her, she ended up trying it as well, and her face lit up with pleasure as she put the meat into her maw. As she finished her meal, she dipped her piece of meat in every bite, I suppose she approved of it.
After we finished our meal, the woman fished into her satchel and took out a data chip.
"You didn't get this from me," she explained, her voice barely above a whisper. "If you get caught with this, I will deny any involvement."
I tried not to think about what would happen if we were caught with them. Death would be the best-case scenario.
Without another word, the taciturn arxur gathered her things and left us alone in our living room.
"Tresn, bring me the reader," Taksak instructed me, his voice low and urgent.
I didn't hesitate for a moment. I ran into our bedroom and retrieved the reader that Taksak had asked for. The old device was a modified pad with its connectivity disabled. Taksak had the physical module removed, ensuring that whatever we open in that device, stays in our farmhouse. After I handed it to him, Taksak inserted the data chip into the reader and we were presented with a document on the screen.
The front page was printed in large letters saying that this document is classified. The preface of the document described that the original copy was written in ventongue, which was then translated into our speech. I recalled that when Taksak's sister last came here, she brought news about uncontacted species. Everything about the new species made more sense then. They had just attacked Gojid's core world, weakening the prey. With their Cradle left defenseless, our people swooped down.
Taksak and I huddled over the secret documents, poring over the details of the new species and their way of life. According to the text, the Federation had not tainted them with the prey's way of life, allowing them to evolve in their way. They had been able to maintain their carnivorous diet and maintain a society that was not based on violence and cruelty. Taksak seemed lost in thought. His eyes scanned the text as he absorbed the information. I could feel the wheels turning in his mind as he considered the implications of what we were reading.
The document ended with a section filled with pictures revealing these elusive creatures. Their soft features and their lack of natural weapons made them appear almost prey-like. It was as if a mad biologist had modified a prey species to have binocular vision. As we swiped through the pictures, we saw glimpses of their society and their way of life.
Seeing these species, My feelings of jealousy and longing intensified. These creatures lived in dense, vibrant settlements full of life and energy. I could almost feel the excitement of their festivals and rites, imagining myself lost in the sea of people. Despite their dense settlement, they had managed to preserve vast tracts of wilderness, filled with four-legged predators that roamed free in their natural habitats.
One obscene image, in particular, caught our attention. It showed a human feeding a predator with striped fur markings. These creatures had so much meat that they could afford to feed it to their animals. Not only that, but this new species also brought some of the predators into their civilized places, treating them almost like members of their own families. One image showed a small orange predator with pointy ears being held by a human, as though it was their child.
And then, we saw it. A photo of four-legged animals with side-facing eyes grazing on a lush green field. Cattle, I realized with a jolt. Non-sapient cattle, to be precise.
"Sir...look!" I exclaimed, nudging my mentor. "They have non-sapient cattle!"
But when I turned to face him, my excitement turned into concern. A pang of deep sadness etched his face and tears were streaming down his cheeks. For a moment, I didn't know what to do or say. I had never seen my mentor like this before.
"This...might be what we could have been," he said at last, his voice trembling with emotion. "If we had not been contacted from the sky… If we had been left to develop our way of life, perhaps we could have been like this."
The older arxur placed the reader away on the side table. He sobbed, as though a lifetime of sorrow had come crashing down upon him, and he could no longer keep his emotions in check. I could feel my own emotions flaring up in response to his grief. I reached out to offer some form of comfort. But before I could say anything, Taksak pulled me into a tight embrace and we wept, feeling the pain that we shared, a pain that was rooted in all that we had lost as a people.
Outside, our cattle slept in peace under the shade of their pen without a care in the world.
Memory Transcription Subject: Johan, human exchange program participant
Date [Standardized Human Reckoning]: 2136–10-02
We spent a few days exploring the island of Bali, and the news of the Gojids' threat faded into the background of our minds. However, our peaceful respite was short-lived because the arxurs swooped in after the Gojids' defenses were destroyed by the humans. In terror, we felt like we were leading lambs to the slaughter.
Damn if we do and damn if we don't.
The bad news didn't stop there. We also received an update from the Federation's Special Session on humans. It was revealed that almost forty species said outright that they wanted to exterminate humans.
We received letters from both UNOFA and the Office of The President of Nusantara ordering us to stay in Bali until further notice. We were trapped on the island, and the beauty of the island didn't feel enjoyable anymore. A couple of days later, the UNSC Space Force began bringing back thousands of Gojids that they had managed to save from the opportunistic invasion. Some of the rescued Gojids were still in various space stations, waiting for resettlement.
President Fatimah Lim offered Nusantara as a sanctuary for the gojid refugee. Her offer was met with mixed reactions from the public. Some applauded her compassion and generosity, while others criticized her for using the refugees as a political tool to win votes in the upcoming election.
Regardless of the motive behind the offer, the logistics of providing adequate shelter, food, and medical care for the refugees were not that challenging. Kalimantan has some open areas where the damage from the palm plantation was in the process of being rolled back and we were in process of making a new farming village near the capital. The place has a lot of greenery but not outright jungles like the rest of the Island.
Which is why we were being shipped to Kalimantan. Despite the venlil's protest, they believed that Vani could act as the healthcare provider for the refugee and provide some "familiar face" for the poor gojids.
My van has taken me to many different places over the years. I had driven it as far as Kuala Lumpur thanks to the bridges. However, our destination this time was a bit different. We were headed to an island to the north of Java where bridges don't make sense. For the first time in my life, I had to ride a ferry. I was dreading of leaving my van, but then I learned that the ship was big enough to accommodate my mobile house.
When we came near the port of Buleleng, my van informed me that the area was commandeered by the armed forces, and I sighed as my steering wheel folded out while the system asked me to drive. With my manual guidance, we arrived at the port where several armed force members already stood waiting. They noticed my van's license plate and my vehicle told me that its driving sub-system had been subsumed by the armed forces. I let them lead my vehicle to a garage on the ferry. The giant vehicle itself looked more like an aircraft with clipped wings than a boat.
To my surprise, I met the familiar faces of Lieutenant Ayu again when I got off my Van into the passenger deck. From the lavish deck, all we could look at was the monotonous water passing us at high speed. Seated on one of the comfortable couches, Vani asked why the vessel only flew a few meters above the water's surface. I admit I wasn't sure of the answer, so we did some research together. We discovered that the ferry utilized a phenomenon known as Ground Effect.
The Capital was situated beside a large river, making it easy for us to reach it by ferry. However, the journey to Kalimantan was a long one, and the ride would take overnight. The government had made arrangements for us to retire to a cabin while we rode the ship to its destination. I was surprised to find that it looked nothing like a ship cabin and more like a luxurious hotel suit. The spacious room was furnished with a comfortable bed, a cozy seating area, and a large window looking out onto the sea. I was about to remove my shirt and get ready for my venlil when the cabin's door chimed. Opening my door, a private stood in the corridor, bringing a batik suit for me to wear for the meeting with the president. The government also tailored Vani with a bespoke batik apron.
I realized that there will be a lot of photo ops, and being a politician, the president wanted everyone to look uniformed and at their best.
In the morning, we found ourselves back in my van on the shore of Balikpapan with a couple of the government's armored vehicles before and after us. They had yet to relinquish their control over my vehicle so we had no choice but to wait and follow their lead. I had been briefed earlier that we were going to meet the president at the Capital spaceport, but I still didn't know the specifics of what the meeting would entail. The drive to the spaceport was a short one and we arrived in less than an hour.
I was deposited in the middle of the spaceport. Launchpads were arrayed in grid position, with ample distance between them. Not far from us, three mobile platforms had also been parked, I presume to transport the refugees.
The president and her retinue were already there to greet us. Her attire was simple yet somehow exuded an air of extravagance. Her entire attire from the head wrap to her pants was colored deep red. A batik stole hung around her kebaya and a large eight-spoked sun pendant hung from her neck, glittering in the bright sunlight. Here we also saw other familiar faces standing beside the president such as Zara Karun, the UN Representative for Nusantara. The other people in the group were members of the president's cabinet relevant to the event, all dressed in matching batik suits similar to mine.
"Greetings Johan and Vani." she greeted us in Bahasa.
"I hope the ride here was sufficient?" President Fatimah sounded like a canteen auntie back in school that would give a bit more portion to the student. This contrasted with her business-like tone whenever she appeared in the media, and I couldn't tell which one is her actual demeanor.
"It was more than sufficient, madam president. Thank you for entrusting us here." Vani answered. "I have to warn you that I know about gojid anatomy as much as your doctors do."
"It's alright Vani. You're here to give them a familiar face."
The shuttle that carried the refugees had just landed. The door opened and a bunch of giant hedgehogs tumbled down onto the launch platform. These poor people look confused and shaken. One alien in particular, however, climbed down the platform stairs ahead of their people and ran toward us, one human armed force member hurried to shadow him. The Gojid stopped at a speaking distance and they looked at us in a very human way. They even stared at Vani for what felt a bit too long before the venlil replied with a nod.
"Greetings Humans. My name is Bolad. Thank you for hosting us here." subtitles appeared when they spoke with their tongue. Their pitch there was similar to Vani but I can't tell if that was feminine or masculine for a Gojid.
"Are they a man or woman?" I whispered to Vani.
I was hoping that the venlil could tell me, but then he just asked for everyone to hear. "Are you a man or a woman?"
I guess I assumed too much of him. If Vani has difficulty distinguishing human gender, of course, there's no reason to think that he can tell other species apart.
"I am a man. Also, as you can tell already, I am like you." He put his paw on Vani's shoulder.
"You're gay?" I blabbered without even thinking properly.
The Gojid looked at me, his face twitching before he started speaking.
"Human, I know your people are not cruel. So I will assume that there is something lost in translation here and you did not mean to ask if I am happy. My homeworld is being desecrated by ferocious predators and my family is probably dead. Happiness is a distant concept at this moment."
"He was asking if you are attracted to people of the same gender." Vani stepped in to clarify.
"That is an odd euphemism. Do you call those who are attracted to different genders 'sad'?"
The president coughed. "In any case, we are honored to host you in our land for as long as you need." She looked toward the shuttle, where the gojids are huddling around in the launchpad.
"Perhaps," the president continued "We should visit your people."
Bolad led us toward the rest of the refugees, some of which had climbed down the launchpad toward the tarmac. When we got close enough to converse with them, one of them spoke.
"What have you negotiated with them?" The gojid held a small child with them. "How much of us did you promise to them in return for our safety?"
Bolad replied with an even tone. "I have not negotiated anything with the humans," he said in a firm tone "They have agreed to protect us."
The Gojid turned their head from side to side, a gesture I never saw Vani ever do before. "And you believe them?"
"It is getting tiring to keep reminding you that humans do not eat people. Look at this venlil. He is still intact after weeks of being here."
"Yeah, but he's diseased like you." the other gojid replied, and even with only subtitles translating their speech, I can hear the venom in their intonation. "I bet they think you're honorary predators."
It dawned on me that on our first encounter, Bolad meant that both he and Vani were diagnosed with the P-word Disease. I wondered if verbal abuse like this was what he had to deal with back in his homeworld.
"I'm as much a predator as you. The amount of murder I had made is zero." I said, trying to temper my voice as I held my anger. "If we want to eat you, why do we even bother bringing you down here?" My voice got a bit shakier, but before I said something that could jeopardize the president's political career, she patted my shoulder.
I looked back and the president shook her head slightly. "Let me speak to them."
"Sorry Ma'am."
"If you want, we can arrange for you to be transferred to Venlil Prime." She added. "However, that will take time and for the time being, why don't we visit the camp we have made for you? You must be tired and hungry. Hopefully, a rest can calm you down."
The Gojids murmured amongst themselves as we guided them toward their transportation. Their voices were low and tense and despite the language barrier, I could feel their fear and suspicion.
As I suspected, the mobile platform was meant to transfer them. We didn't have the measurement of a Gojid, so instead of using buses, several moving platforms had been provided to transport the spiky aliens. It was the same platform we use to transport cargo, but now, instead of having a big metal box on top of it, the platform has a clear wall installed around it and plush carpet on the floor. One by one the gojid climbed on the platform, including Bolad and Vani. Zara Karun advised that the humans shouldn't come with the refugees.
Alone in my van, I question whether we would need to transfer the refugees to Venlil. Although it made sense to send them away due to the looming invasion threat, I have a feeling that it might put the venlils in danger, especially if the Federation member responsible for the attack found them guilty by association.
I hope Vani's homeworld was not also under a similar threat.
Afterwords: If the gojid refugee is non-canonical, so be it. I want to write about the hedgehogs.
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2023.04.01 15:15 SpacePaladin15 The Nature of Predators 103

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Memory transcription subject: Captain Sovlin, United Nations Fleet Command
Date [standardized human time]: December 7, 2136
It was tough to cope with my proximity to this predator and his Venlil pal. I was standing just within the room’s threshold, and resisting the urge to flee. Binocular eyes were trained on my skull; it felt like they were burning holes in my head.
My eyes wandered, attempting to look anywhere but at the human’s scarred face. Marcel had placed a photograph of Slanek and himself, alongside a female Terran I didn’t recognize. The curious aspect was a young Gojid, riding on the redhead’s back with bright eyes. My victim was tickling her wrists, twisting his hands over his shoulders. Even in a still photograph, I could tell the child was squealing with happiness.
Why were Marcel and Slanek taking pictures with a young Gojid? Didn’t the red-haired human despise our species? Just looking at that child must remind him of my likeness; I wasn’t sure why he’d volunteer with our refugees. Perhaps it was an attempt at coping for him, but the fact he kept it as his selected photo…
Marcel thinks of his time with that Gojid kid as a happy memory. How can that be?
My throat felt like it was made of sandpaper. “T-the G-gojid. Who is she?”
“That’s Nulia. My adopted daughter,” Marcel replied in an even voice. “Slanek and I rescued her on the cradle, after she was abandoned in a stampede. She’s back at home with my fiancé now.”
I recoiled, unable to process why the human would adopt a Gojid child. Peering into his eyes in the photograph, the scarred predator was radiating affection. His teeth were bared in a full snarl, and Slanek was cozied up against his side too. Protector, why couldn’t I have tortured an asshole Terran? Not that it would’ve made it more moral, but Marcel was too kind. I could not have harmed someone less deserving of cruelty.
My eyes burned, as images of Marcel in a collar flooded my mind. Staring at his heartfelt smile, I could still picture his strained smile when Slanek came to visit. It had been my claw that pressed the shock trigger, while staring at him with absolute reproach. The cold, starving predator had seized on the floor, and struggled just to breathe. I could still hear his screams as I kicked him in the ribs…
Slanek snapped the television show off, and fixed a withering glower on me. The Venlil eyed me with murderous intent, flexing his wounded arm as if to test it. Marcel’s best friend remembered the exact details I had; I could remember how desperate he was to plead the human’s case. My response was to try to get him preyed upon. I would’ve intervened before the predator could eat the Venlil, but at best, it was an attempt to traumatize him.
Besides, there was no guarantee I could react quicker than a hunter could lunge. Poor Marcel must’ve resisted such terrible thoughts, just looking at Slanek.
It felt immoral to sympathize with a predator’s bloodlust, but I knew he couldn’t help basic, biological urges. Marcel chose to die rather than to eat his friend, and that was a remarkable show of willpower. The fact that he hadn’t enacted revenge upon me showed that he was a good person; his love extended even to Gojid children.
The red-haired human shot Slanek a pointed look. “Tell Sovlin what you wanted to tell him. This hatred is poisoning your heart, and you need to let it out.”
“I fucking hate you! If Recel hadn’t intervened, you would’ve killed Marcel. You meant to put him down like a fucking animal,” the Venlil screeched. “Do you know how it felt, to feel like I’d lose him? To know his last moments were agony? You deprived him of every basic need…I suppose he was lucky you gave him filthy water in a filthy bucket.”
“I’m sorry,” I offered meekly.
“What good does that do? You’re out living a respected life with the Terran military, and the trauma can never be undone. My government never even got to prosecute you for how you tossed me around. Then, I was helpless as he clung to life, on the day-long trip to Venlil Prime. I sat beside his hospital bed, watching them put wires in his face.”
“S-saw the p-pictures. T-terrible to look at.”
“It was terrible. I don’t know how you got Tyler to feel sorry for you, but he was never the brightest bulb in the box! You can keep your fucking apologies, because they aren’t worth shit!”
The Venlil started to sit up, but Marcel held him back with an arm. Slanek wriggled against the restraint, yet for some reason, the human wouldn’t let him charge at me. The prey alien reached for his IV line, and the predator intercepted his paw with nimble reflexes. I’d never seen a Venlil bare their teeth, or act with such aggression.
There was no question I deserved special animosity. Even the galaxy’s weakest race wanted to bash my face in, and I couldn’t blame him. Everything Slanek just stated was true, down to the fact that I would’ve murdered an innocent creature without Recel. The tears poured out from my eyes, and that only enraged the Venlil further. I pressed my face into my paws, wishing I could fall into non-existence.
“Relax, buddy. It’s okay,” Marcel whispered.
Slanek pinned his ears back. “STOP! I should be comforting you; he did it to you. You’re the one who has to live with the trauma. You’re the one who’s permanently disfigured!”
“Yes, and I don’t want you harming him.”
“You told me in the hospital you wanted Sovlin dead. You were fantasizing about it.”
“It wouldn’t make anything better, Slanek. I’ve been trying to make peace with what happened to me, since I learned that his family was eaten in front of him. Sovlin saved both of our lives, and I don’t wish harm upon him.”
“You said you didn’t want to see him. You were pissed he was there on Sillis.”
“I was pissed! I’m angry, I’m hurting, I’m hounded by memories when I look at his face, and…I forgive him.”
What was left of my spines bristled, and the world collapsed in on me. All I wanted was for Marcel to take those words back; they stabbed at me like daggers to the chest. I couldn’t breathe, and every part of me screamed against that forgiveness. Everyone in the galaxy knew that Slanek’s interpretation was the correct one.
I didn’t deserve mercy, and my life should be forfeit for my actions. How could the predator just forgive what I had done to him?
“N-no. You can’t do that,” I croaked, fighting for air amid the narrowing of my vision.
His hazel eyes stared directly at me. “Oh, I can. I won’t forget what you did, but it’s time to let it go. I choose to feel compassion for you. I choose not to be a victim…and not to let hatred control me.”
Marcel’s stated compassion packed the force of a sledgehammer. Those simplistic words echoed in my mind, warring against concrete certainty that I must never find peace. Without self-loathing as my purpose, there was no guiding star to light my dark path. Forgiveness stripped my life of all meaning; there was no reason to persist another day.
Why should I get to live, when I couldn’t protect my family?
“You just said you were angry.” Speech spilled from my vocal cords, as if borne of their own volition. “You wanted me d-dead; that was good! Why would you just forgive me?”
“Simple. I was playing with Nulia, and she’d overheard me talking with Lucy. She said, ‘Mawsle, you’re mean when you talk about Sahwin.’ Kid was right. It was consuming me, ‘cause I hadn’t let it go.”
The thought lanced me. It couldn’t be that simple, for a predator to cast aside his vitriol. The words of a child, who peered into his heart, caused him to forgive old wounds.
Slanek slapped his tail against Marcel’s earlobe. “Listen to yourself! You’re letting him get away with sadism, again!”
“I don’t control his actions. I control mine, and there’s power in not clinging to resentment. I won’t be free from this until I set my heart free.”
“You have to stand up for yourself, Marc. It’s not about being the bigger person! Justice matters too, and your life has enough value to me that he deserves my disgust.”
“Do you believe people can change, buddy? Because I do, and it’s wrong to deny a truly repentant person a second chance. Please, for my sake, respect the fact that Sovlin is trying to do better today. That is all he can do.”
No…Marcel is insufferable. Tyler also said I deserved a second chance, and it wasn’t true then. It doesn’t matter that I’m doing right by them, after what I’ve already done.
I fell to my knees, sobbing as I had when I first realized humans had empathy. A second chance was not what I was seeking; there was no reason why my unforgivable deeds deserved a do-over. My continued existence was meant as inadequate penance for my treatment of humanity. What aid I’d given them wasn’t nearly enough, though I hoped I’d made a minute difference in their war efforts.
It was tempting to believe that my reparations were sufficient. I knew my die was cast and my story was written, yet I yearned to pretend that wasn’t the truth. My eyes blinked open, turning to the Venlil. Surely he would slap Marcel’s folly down without hesitation.
Fine,” Slanek spat the word, as if it were a sour taste in his mouth.
Marcel smiled with satisfaction. “Good. Now, thank him for saving your life.”
“What?! How did you—”
“Tyler told me. He explained everything, rather apologetically. We would both be dead without Sovlin, so a little thanks is in order.”
“Please don’t.” Snot bubbled in my nose. I shook my head, desperate to rebuff any praise. “That’s…n-not necessary.”
“I agree.” Slanek contorted his facial features into a mask of disgust. “You’re taking this way too far, Marc. The concussion got to your head.”
“Well then, humor a poor, sick human!” the red-haired predator chuckled. “I’ll watch the new episode of that god-awful The Exterminators show with you, if you say thanks sincerely.”
“Th…th…thanks, Sovlin. Bleh, that was vile.”
“I said sincerely.”
“I’m glad Marcel is alive.” Slanek spoke through gritted teeth. “Er, thanks for not trying to slice and dice him again.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s the best you can do?!”
“That…it was sincere,” I sniffled, buying time to regain composure. “Technically meets your criteria.”
Marcel heaved a sigh. “I guess so. Let me walk you back to your room, Sovlin.”
I raised surrendering paws, stammering, “N-no, you don’t—”
“I insist. I need to be sure I didn’t kickstart a full-blown mental crisis.”
The human maneuvered onto his legs, and stretched out his body with bloodcurdling pops. His strong hands tugged at my shoulder. The extended contact made me nauseous to my stomach, and my heavy limbs were sluggish to obey. I reminded myself not to think of him as my victim. Marcel didn’t want to be regarded in that fashion, so I shouldn’t do him that disservice in my perception.
The red-haired Terran wrapped an arm around my neck, which felt as heavy as a rock. How did every interaction with Marcel increase my guilt to chest-bursting levels? He led me out of Slanek’s quarters, and asked in a low rumble where I was heading. All I could do was point a few doors down, still a teary-eyed, snot-stained mess.
I noticed the predator drawing deep breaths, to quell his own anxiety. My self-centered concerns turned to him, and I withdrew from his grasp. Marcel blinked his eyes shut, his scars scrunching up with his grimace. I wanted to comfort him, even though I knew it was my presence ratcheting up his anxiety.
“D-do…you want a hug?” My voice was hardly more than a whisper, and I watched his eyes pop open with surprise. “No, I g-get that, of course you don’t want one from me—”
Marcel threw his arms around me, burying his face in my fur. The Terran finally let the tears spill over, which soaked my shoulder. I mirrored the way I’d seen Tyler comfort Onso, and pressed my paw onto his back. This was the first time I’d ever been this close to a human; not even my “friends” had embraced me. It was shocking how warm this predator was, like a heated blanket.
No wonder Slanek always curls up next to him. This is oddly disarming.
My heart ached, as the human continued to bawl his eyes out. I moved my claws into his hair, and ruffled the strands in the silly way I’d do with my daughter. It wasn’t clear how Terran years translated, but Marcel was probably about her age. He jerked his head back, and fear flashed in his eyes briefly. The poor guy mistook my playful gesture for an attack.
“Sorry, shouldn’t have used the claws. It must feel like I was slicing at you; I wasn’t thinking,” I mumbled.
Marcel patted his mane back down. “It’s just…never mind. This here is where you’re heading, right?”
“Cool beans. Hey, listen…I wish you only the best. I don’t want you to be depressed on my account.”
It’s not on his account. It’s because of me and knowing what I am.
“T-the last thing I want is you worrying about me.” I wasn’t going to spill my emotional turmoil on this human, who could keep his own trauma contained. “I wish you hated me.”
“Well, I don’t. You hate you, Sovlin.”
“I don’t have to be a therapist to tell you where it all stems from. You blame yourself for what happened to your family. If you want to do something for me, get help.”
“Tyler told me about someone. I didn’t think—”
“That you deserved help. It’s okay to be happy and live your life. You’re not going to pay off some self-imposed debt to me by being miserable.”
I averted my gaze. “T-thank you. Whatever anyone says about you…you’re the strongest person I’ve ever known. How much you care for others is astounding, and it speaks wonders of your species.”
“Nobody’s perfect. I just hope when it’s all said and done, I leave the universe a better place,” Marcel said. “It’s not too late for the sum of your actions, you know.”
“I promise I’ll try. From now on, I’ll try to be like you.”
“I’m not the worst role model…in my humble opinion. If only I could smack the same lesson into Slanek’s skull. But it seems like we’ve settled our issues, and that’s that.”
“That’s that.”
“Good. Well, I think I’d best be going. Rest up!”
As the predator turned away, I wondered how I ever could’ve believed his species was incapable of empathy. The truth was, Terrans had to be one of the most empathetic species to cobble together anything bordering normalcy. It took a great deal of emotion to repress their hunting instincts with such thoroughness. Perhaps that was why they’d bonded with the Venlil; they both were sensitive species with ample feelings.
As Carlos told me, the issue was when empathy wasn’t extended to a particular individual. Marcel chose to grant it even to me, after what I’d done; that was the sign of a good human. I couldn’t believe how openly he was conversing with me, and how he had wiped the slate clean. The catch was that I could not - would not - forgive myself.
I laid down on the floor of my room, and thought about the legacy I would leave behind. Marcel did have a point though. The torture would always be in my ledger, but I could surround it with other deeds. Suffering was my idea of a fair punishment, not any request of the scarred primate. It wasn’t going to make things right between us; if anything, it seemed like it would worsen his recovery.
Maybe it was time to get my head straight, as the humans so often suggested. I could become a better version of my despicable self, with the predators’ guidance.
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2023.04.01 14:23 PeaceSim Written Q&A with author Summer Feaker regarding S19E08 "Magic Forrest"

This is the latest entry in my NSP writer Q&A series! It’s been nearly a year since I last posted one of these. There’s no meaningful reason for the delay. I just got caught up in other things, and the various criteria I’m looking for with these only all fall into place every so often.
I hope those of you who find these Q&As interesting enjoy reading this, as I think Summer Feaker did a great job answering the questions below. The story is only available for paid listeners now but if we’re lucky maybe it’ll be included on a future hiatus episode.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions about your story, Magic Forest, which the NoSleep Podcast aired an adaptation of on March 25, 2023 in the paid version of Season 19, Episode 8.
Magic Forest relates the story of a brother and sister revisiting an amusement park following the death of their father. This Q&A contains spoilers for the story.
I want to talk a little about your background as a horror writer. Since 2020, you’ve published a full-length debut novel, two follow-ups to it, and some short stories like this one. What led you to writing horror in particular, and what caused you to start writing so much in the last few years?
S.F.: First off, thank you for inviting me to answer these questions for you! I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading. I wrote my first book as a ten year old, which was a terribly written fanfic about the band Hanson.
Yeah, MMMbop.
As a kid I devoured any book I could get my hands on. Sweet Valley High, Little House on the Prairie, Babysitters Club… all the books my parents bought me. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Goosebumps that I found my happy place. The weird, unpredictable and unexplained.
In 2019 I became pregnant with my third child. I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum along with early preeclampsia which landed me in the hospital for over two months. I lost my job and came home with my new baby and a new appreciation for what inspired me. I turned to my laptop and started writing what entertained me.
I’ll stop here and admit, I am a complete pantser, I don’t want to know the ending, I want the characters to take me there on their own. Everything I wrote ended up in a dark place and I knew I was a horror writer.
After I self published my first book I was surprised at the reception. I was introduced to an indie publisher who took on the Haven Manor Trilogy and introduced me to the indie horror community. After Haven Manor was complete, and had a short story published, I started working on my latest book. I decided to try the traditional route and spent a year querying before I signed with my lovely literary agent. During the hell that is querying, I decided to write a few short stories to keep my mind busy, one being MAGIC FOREST.
What led you to submit Magic Forest to the NoSleep Podcast in particular? Were you a prior fan of it or any similar podcasts?
S.F.: I love a good podcast, and I was introduced to NoSleep by both of my sisters. It wasn’t until I connected with another NoSleep author on Twitter that I decided I wanted to write something specifically for NoSleep. MAGIC FOREST was written to be performed!
I want to talk a little about the setting. What led you to want to write about a story set at a fairytale-themed amusement park? Were there any past works or real locations that inspired you?
S.F.: I have recently been working on a middle grade novel and I love the idea of melding the past with the present. When you are a kid everything is bigger and grander than when you are an adult.
MAGIC FOREST is based on a real place that you can still visit!
On my sister's 5th birthday my parents took us to this “magical” place called Enchanted Forest, located in Oregon. Unlike Jake in MAGIC FOREST, I was only a year older than my sister. The experience is embedded into my memory. That damn witch's house still freaks me out! I live in Iowa now, so I haven’t been back to visit. From what I see Enchanted Forest has been maintained much better than my fictional version of the park. You must check out pictures of the Witches House.
The story struck me as having themes of memory and temporal contrast, especially in how Jake keeps discussing how he remembered the park as being more impressive than as he sees it now. Can you talk a little about what you were going for here? Personally, I felt these elements paralleled Jake realizing his father wasn’t as great of a person as he remembered him as being.
S.F.: You hit the nail on the head. Everyone experiences their childhood twice. First during your childhood, and secondly when you start to recognize the ugly truth about the adults in your life. The perception of your childhood changes with age, after you have your own kids, or after you lose a parent. It isn’t all bad, but nothing is as innocent as a child's experience and false memories. Childhood gets messy when you tear back the layers and see it through an adult's eyes.
The most interesting scene to me was the conversation between Jake, Byrnn, and the Princess. My understanding was that Jake and Byrnn could have escaped if they’d listened to the Princess’ warnings, but they never had a chance to do that because Jake kept interrupting her, which makes his fate kind of a karmic punishment. Could you talk a little about this part of the story? Is the Princess another victim of the park, and why does she keep looking at Brynn?
S.F.: Yes, the Princess was another victim of the park, stuck in a part she is forced to play, much like many of us everyday in our own life. The Princess is forced to do her job, thus left to deal with rude people who only see her as one dimensional. The Princess leans on Brynn during this interaction because she is the one who is actively participating in her “act”.
Yet, the Witch decides to point this out to Jake because she knew the guilt he felt after they walked away.
The Princess couldn’t warn them, but because of what The Witch says, Jake thinks it is possible to warn patrons. He continues to attempt the warning as he plays the part of the Prince.
I thought the story did a nice job of steadily building a tense atmosphere, with the light dimming and the carnival music getting louder as it progressed. Can you talk a bit about your approach to creating and sustaining a gloomy mood like this? Does the situation Jake and Brynn ultimately find themselves in draw from any real-life fears or anxieties?
S.F.: I have a little secret.
Anytime I have a little extra money I go ghost hunting with my younger sister. Last year we visited Pennhurst State School after we learned a distant relative died while imprisoned there.
At night the paths around Pennhurst are lit up, but the lights tend to buzz in and out. We stayed until the end of the night and helped the workers turn off the generator and once the lights went out completely it was a new place entirely. I even teased how creepy it would be with carnival music playing. I used that experience to build on the atmosphere.
I think everyone can relate to being lost as a child, even if it was just for a moment in a grocery store. I attempted to remind the listeners of that childhood fear by separating the siblings and forcing Jake back into the park. It is also a metaphor for growing up, you can never go back to the comfort of your childhood, you have to continue forward through the darkness and the unknown.
I want to talk briefly about the ‘choice’ the father and Jake are faced with. The witch’s statement that “most parents” choose themselves over their kids strikes me as quite pessimistic. Do you think that’s true - that most parents would really make the same choice as the father - or is there something else going on here? Also, can you talk a little about why Jake makes essentially the opposite decision - sacrificing himself to save his sister?
S.F.: I like to think of the choice their father made logically.
If their father was to stay in the Magic Forest, what would become of his children? They had recently lost their mother, and to lose their father right after would be devastating. Their father was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He could abandon his young children and sacrifice his life, or make a deal with some crazy witch and leave the park to never return and pray that the whole conversation was some form of a mental breakdown.
And yes, the Witch is right that most parents do choose to essentially “sacrifice” their children to the MAGIC FOREST. The parents are kicking the bucket down the road to deal with the situation at a later time. I often see “bad parents” in fairy tales, but those fairy tales are told from the child's perspective, there are so many more adult decisions that have to be made logically.
The Witch is nasty and though she tells Jake the truth, she tells it in a way to plant seeds of doubt in Jake's mind. There was no way for the Princess to warn Brynn and Jake, yet the Witch makes it seem like if he had only listened to the Princess he wouldn’t be in this mess. She says all parents sacrifice their children yet their father made a logical decision for their current circumstances. Their father wasn’t trying to preserve his life, he was fearful of what would happen to his children if they were suddenly without a mother and a father.
Jake has nothing to offer the witch, other than his sister. He is the oldest, and I am the oldest sibling of five children. There is a sense of responsibility we have, especially if our parents are no longer in our life. Jake stepped up because he felt he had no other choice. He made a decision based on his need to protect his little sister.
What did you think of the NoSleep Podcast’s adaptation of your story, including Jeff Clement’s production and Brandon Boone’s music?
S.F.: It was done perfectly. Just how I imagined it in my head. I have no complaints! I cried happy tears at the end because of how well they adapted the story into a performance. To hear what I heard in my head is magical. When I wrote my first book I included a lot of “sound”. My deaf cousin reached out to me after my first novel was published and mentioned that she was engrossed in the book because she felt as if she could “hear” what was happening. That is what made this performance so close to my heart. They performed it like I “heard” it in my head, which might not make sense to everyone, but it does to me!
The Podcast’s production featured six voice actors: Jeff Clement and Danielle McRae as Jake and Brynn, and Linsay Rousseau, Sarah Ruth Thomas, Jessica McEvoy, and Mary Murphy as denizens of the park. What did you think of their performances?
S.F.: I couldn’t have casted it better! Their performance was spot on. I especially enjoyed the Witch and Lil’ Bo Peep.
Did you follow the reaction to the NoSleep Podcast’s adaptation of your story among any listeners, on or offline? If so, did people react as you’d hoped or expected?
S.F.: Of course, I am a glutton for punishment! I want to know EVERYTHING everyone has to say, good or bad. My goal is to sharpen my story telling skills and entertain those who read/listen to what I write. The only way to do that is to consume the feedback— good, bad and the ugly.
I was pleasantly surprised with the reception! We are our own worst critics, but the performance was done so well it was hard not to be proud of the story.
Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions! If you have any particular pluggables or social media links you’d like to share, feel free to post them here.
S.F.: Thank you for asking me! I enjoy trying to explain what my brain thinks vs. the words on the page.
I love to connect with horror writers and readers so feel free to reach out anytime! Here are some links on where to find me:
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2023.04.01 14:22 Unfair-Plastic-466 [Online][Other][PBP][Homebrew] Posing on bikes! A Kids on bikes-based campaign in the world of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure!

Alright so first off, I tried this a few months ago, and it didn't work out so well! There was an altercation between me and my players and after some thinking, I have decided that I was in the wrong there if those players are reading this, please know that I apologize for how I acted, only that as a DM, I've faced many people with red flags or bad traits before and I was afraid to feel the way I normally feel when confronted with people like that, the feeling is terrible.
But on that note, I'd like to try again if possible. The easter holidays are coming up which should give me some time to at least plan something out and all in all, try to get the idea back on track.
Set in the 80s American or whenever stranger things, IT, or E.T. was set in. A group of friends from completely different backgrounds find an unpredicted friendship in each other! But! Something arises that threatens their town! A strange and mysterious force has arrived! Will they be able to stop it? Together, they'll find out!
Hello! I'm interested in DMing a group of people for a JJBA-style KOB campaign! JJBA is an anime featuring many seasons, each in a different location and time in which characters venture into a story with some bizarre phenomenon! KOB is a ttrpg mechanic which I haven't used before but I'd like to try it out in this campaign. It's a simple mechanic but may be hard to wrap around at first.
You will all play as original characters in the setting of a 1980s American white picket fence town in which the supernatural exists which includes your characters, as well as many adversaries and allies. Be it, vampires, Hamon, stands, or something else entirely! Each of you will be taking up the role of a character trope, such as jock, nerd, the main character, mentor, and many more!
I'd prefer people with a timezone close to GMT+2, as well as being well versed in the Jojo lore as well as some of the kids on bikes movies and TV series. I ask that you be literate, and understand of certain adult topics as well as be active on discord. I wouldn't want to encourage you to not enjoy the outdoors and fresh air but I have had many people dip suddenly without reason or not respond at all for weeks at a time and it's made things very stressful as a Dm. So I'd hope we may come to an understanding.
If you're interested. Please respond in the chat with your level of knowledge on JJBA and kids on bikes lore as well as your timezone and experience with kids on bikes or dnd. And finally, start off with Jojo's reference at the start to let me know you've read everything. I also hope you will be fine with using voice chat in discord as I'l like to talk a bit and clear up any questions or notes you may have. I'll be very grateful. Thanks for reading!
submitted by Unfair-Plastic-466 to lfg [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 14:00 f1newsbot Why Leclerc thanked Sainz for a tow he didn’t get after Ferrari radio mix-up

Ferrari missed out on an opportunity to secure a top-three starting position for the Australian Grand Prix after a series of miscommunications, Carlos Sainz Jnr believes.
Due to the cool temperatures in Melbourne across the weekend, many teams opted to run ‘build’ laps at slightly reduced speeds to generate tyre temperature before pushing to set competitive times on their third lap. In the closing minutes of Q3, Ferrari sent both their drivers out on new soft tyres, with Sainz ahead of team mate Leclerc.
While Sainz was planning to run a build lap, Leclerc behind him prepared to push from the end of his out lap out of fear that rain could be set to fall over the circuit. Leclerc was told by race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros that his team mate would “give him a tow on the main straight”. However, when Sainz began his build lap, Leclerc was just over three seconds behind his team mate on the Albert Park circuit.
Sainz backed off on the run to turn 11 to allow Alonso by, only to find the Aston Martin driver slowed to prepare for his flying lap in the final corners. This forced Sainz to back off further to build a gap to Alonso so he could begin his final push lap in clear air.
The Ferrari’s tyre temperatures would have fallen further and Sainz grappled with his car through the first corner, losing four tenths to pole winner Verstappen by the braking zone of turn four and two tenths to Russell’s Mercedes. By the end of the lap. Sainz was less than two tenths behind Hamilton’s third-placed Mercedes.
Leclerc could only manage seventh at the chequered flag and sarcastically thanked his team mate over the radio in parc ferme for failing to give him a slipstream along the back straight.
“And big thanks to Carlos for the tow in turns three and four,” Leclerc said. “It was nice – got a little bit of extra speed. Always nice to be close there.”
Sainz was left ruing the series of miscommunications, believing a chance to split or even beat the Mercedes had gone begging.
“I am convinced that today we could have done a top three with a clean qualifying lap,” he said.
“We had a bit of a bad preparation lap on that lap with the tyre temperatures because we let by two or three cars that we thought were on a push lap, or they told me they were on a push lap. I had to slow down a lot to let them buy and then they slowed me down because they were not.
“I lost two or three tenths in sector one for tyre prep and then I had to risk a lot, sectors two and three and pick up the pace. I did actually a very good lap after that. I think that would have put me in the top three, which would have been good progress and good lap time found from Jeddah.”
Leclerc admitted he “didn’t do a great job in terms of driving” during the early phase of qualifying, but that the preparation for his final effort in Q3 had not been ideal.
“I also found myself behind Carlos for the whole first sector, which is something that I hope we will look into as a team because this cost us quite a bit. But it’s like this.”
Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur admitted his team had been capable of securing better starting positions for their cars than what they ultimately achieved.
“It’s a bit of a frustration,” Vasseur said. “For sure, it was not an easy session.
“We were all hesitating between prep, not-prep, but at the end it’s more frustration because I think we didn’t put everything together and we are not far away to a good result today.
“Perhaps you can see in a positive way that we are perhaps a bit closer in terms of pure performance than usual. But let’s see.”
Despite the disappointment, Leclerc believes Ferrari are in better shape for the race than they have been for the opening two rounds, where they fared better on Saturdays than on Sundays.
“I think we have quite a good race car on my side,” Leclerc said. “I maybe compromised a little bit the quali pace for the race pace so let’s see how it goes.”
submitted by f1newsbot to NonFatF1News [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 13:59 rikuzero1 Global exclusive Volt-Fortitude simulacra Yuno (subject to change)

Global exclusive Volt-Fortitude simulacra Yuno (subject to change)
Type: Volt - Fortitude
Simulacra: Yuno
Weapon: Proteus
-Shatter: 10.50
-Charge: 14.00
-Attack 18
-HP 1165
-Crit 14

-Fortitude Resonance: Cry of Weakness: Holding down the skill continually taunts nearby enemies and deal bonus shatter damage for up to 3 seconds and applying 1 mark of Predation to each enemy every 0.5 seconds. Upon releasing the skill, a magnetic needle substitute is made for 2 seconds times the duration held plus 1 to which aggro is temporarily transferred until expiration. Enemies that attack the substitute are taunted and receive 0.1x reflected damage. Become invisible for 4 seconds or until the Wanderer attacks an enemy or the substitute expires. While invisible, movement speed is increased by 35%, dodges cover twice the distance in the same time, and the next attack that hits a target deals +100% shatter damage and weakens the target's ATK by 15% for 10 seconds. Cooldown: 5 seconds x duration held + 10 (Max 25s).
-Non-Fortitude Resonance: Cry of Strength: Holding down the skill continually lowers aggro towards the Wanderer while dealing damage equal to 225% of ATK plus 12 per second for up to 3 seconds and applying 1 mark of Predation to each nearby enemy every 0.5 seconds. Upon releasing the skill, leap at the target with a horror beast claw, dealing dash attack damage equal to 418% of ATK plus 22 as a guaranteed crit with +30% crit damage and reducing the target's crit resistance by 5 levels for 10 seconds. Detonates any magnetic needle nodes touched by the attack independent of their cooldowns, each node dealing area damage equaling 76% of ATK plus 4, recovering 15 weapon charge per node detonated, and placing an additional node for 12 seconds. Cooldown: 2 seconds x duration held + 10 (Max 16s).
-Predation: Per mark up to 5 marks, enemies have crit resistance lowered by 2 levels and for critical hits taken: receive 1% more shatter and have 2% reduced elemental resistance. The Wanderer's movement speed increases by 3% per nearby mark active, up to 5 marks. Marks decay at a rate of 1 every 5 seconds.

-Fortitude Resonance: Unbreakable Will: When weapon charge is full or Phantasia is triggered, switching to this weapon from another weapon removes all debuffs from the wielder and constructs a metal plate wall that stops projectiles for 5 seconds while dispersing magnetic needles into a ring which pulls in enemies towards the wall before scattering on the ground, reducing the movement speed of enemies within by 30% while dealing continuous damage equal to 76% of ATK plus 4 per second for 5 seconds with increased aggro generation. Damage immunity lasts 1.5 seconds while the skill is active (unavailable in Apex League).
-Non-Fortitude Resonance: Revenger's Requiem: Quickly leap to the target and slash multiple times, dealing total damage equal to 580% of ATK plus 31 and scattering 3 magnetic needle nodes for 12 seconds, max 7 on the field. Each node can be detonated by any volt weapon's electrify effect upon becoming fully charged, each dealing area damage equal to 76% of ATK plus 2 and recovering 15 weapon charge for each node detonated. Node detonation cooldown: 5 seconds. Damage immunity lasts 1.5 seconds while the skill is active (unavailable in Apex League).

1\*: While wielding Proteus, dodge attack damage that also critically hits applies a Predation mark and deals +20% crit damage and +25% shatter.
2\*: Increase the current weapon's base ATK growth by 16%.
--Balance: For each mark of Predation active while wielding Proteus, dodging heals the Wanderer by 1% of max HP, reduces damage received by 1% for 3 seconds, and increases healing effect by 4% for 15 seconds. Cooldown: 10 seconds.
--Fortitude: For each mark of Predation active, unleashing any skill or discharge heals the Wanderer by 1% of max HP and reduces damage taken by 2% for 5 seconds. Cooldown: 5 seconds. In addition, for each nearby mark of Predation active while wielding Proteus, a party member unleashing a skill heals the Wanderer by 1% of max HP. Cooldown: 5 seconds.
--Attack: For each magnetic needle node detonated while wielding Proteus, heal the Wanderer by 1% of max HP. Cooldown: 10 seconds.
--Benediction: For each magnetic needle node detonated, heal party members by 17.5% of ATK within triple the detonation radius and increases party ATK by 2% for 5 seconds for each mark of Predation active.
--Only the highest stack of marks is counted.
4\*: Increase the current weapon's base HP growth by 32%.
5\*: Enemies receive 1% more damage dealt by the Wanderer for each mark of Predation. While wielding Proteus, restore 4 weapon charge points for each nearby mark of Predation active per second. Only the highest stack of marks is counted.
6\*: Increase Predation max to 7. In addition, increase Crit Rate by 1% and Crit Damage by 2% for each mark of Predation active. Only the highest stack of marks is counted.

"Originally invented by Project Ark for testing on G2-U subjects to wield inhuman instincts by substituting missing limbs with electrically charged magnetic needles in their insane plan to elevate humanity, this Proteus has been modified to recharge mid-combat and utilize metal plates which can camouflage."

==Normal Attack==
atk x5: While on the ground, attack 5 times.
-First Attack: Deal damage equal to 56.6% of ATK plus 3.
-Second Attack: Deal damage equal to 19.7% of ATK plus 1.
-Third Attack: Deal damage equal to 30%% of ATK plus 2.
-Fourth Attack: Deal damage equal to 47.1% of ATK plus 3.
-Fifth Attack: Deal damage equal to 136.8% of ATK plus 7 and strongly suspend the target.
jump + atk x3: While airborne, use normal attack to attack 3 times in a row in mid-air.
-First Attack: Deal damage equal to 107.9% of ATK plus 6.
-Second Attack: Deal damage equal to 114.0% of ATK plus 6.
-Third Attack: Launch the enemy at a nearby target or at the ground below if there is none, creating a shockwave upon landing that deals area damage equal to 142.8% of ATK plus 8 and stunning targets for 1 second. If the enemy cannot be launched, instead deal damage equal to 172.1% of ATK plus 9 and recover 100 energy weapon charge.

hold: Fortitude Resonance: Tap and hold normal attack to take a defensive stance for up to 3 seconds, reducing damage taken by 20% and recovering 10 weapon energy charge per 1% of max HP lost while held. Releasing the normal attack button while holding a direction performs a dodge covering twice the distance in the same time. Releasing before getting hit performs the dodge at no cost, constructs a substitute for 2 seconds to which all aggro is transferred until expiration, and the Wanderer becomes invisible for 2 seconds or until the Wanderer attacks an enemy. If a dodge cannot be performed, instead cast the standing version of this skill. Releasing the normal attack button without holding a direction unleashes an area attack that deals damage equal to 167.3% of ATK plus 9. Releasing before getting hit doubles the damage reduction, energy recharge, and shatter damage, while applying a 0.2x damage reflection to the area attack.
hold: Non-Fortitude Resonance: Tap and hold normal attack to gather magnetic needle nodes on the field and place them in a line towards the target, each node dealing area damage equal to 38% of ATK plus 1 and refreshing their durations. This consumes 1 node.

jump + hold: Tap and hold normal attack while airborne, or use normal attack while climbing, jumping backward, or using the Jetpack to trigger aerial branch attacks, to barrel downwards into the target with a horror beast form, dealing damage equal to 154.5% of ATK plus 8 damage, strongly suspending targets. The higher the altitude when triggering the attack, the greater the damage dealt, up to 600% damage.

dodge + atk: Tap normal attack during the short period after dodging. Let out a long and narrow projectile in sandworm form which penetrates the target and returns, dealing damage equal to 78.1% of ATK plus 4, and recovers HP and energy weapon charge proportional to total shatter damage dealt from critical hits. Restore up to 1 dodge if the attack shatters a target's shield. If Fortitude Resonance is activated and the Wanderer is invisible before attacking, taunt enemies hit. If Fortitude Resonance is not activated, detonate any magnetic needle nodes touched by the attack as if triggering electrify from fully charging a volt weapon, each node dealing area damage equaling 76% of ATK plus 4 and recovering 15 weapon charge per node detonated.

-Sixth Sense(1.2k): For every 1 second you or your substitute is targeted by an enemy, gain a stack of Adaptation which reduces damage received by 2%, increases resistance for the element last damaged with by 4%, and makes critical hits ignore elemental resistance by 2%, per stack up to 3 stacks. For every 1.5 seconds not targeted, lose 1 stack. Unleashing a skill with Proteus grants 3 stacks of Adaptation.
-Primal Instinct(4k): For every 1 second you or your substitute is targeted by an enemy, gain a stack of Adaptation which reduces damage received by 3%, increases resistance for the element last damaged with by 6%, and makes critical hits ignore elemental resistance by 3%, per stack up to 5 stacks. For every 1.5 seconds not targeted, lose 1 stack. While at 4 or more stacks, become immune to knockback on the ground and double the duration of Predation marks. Unleashing a skill with Proteus grants 5 stacks of Adaptation.

-2-piece set: Increase Crit Rate by 5/6/7/8% and Crit Damage by 7/8/9/10%. Taunting an enemy reduces its crit resistance by 2/3/4/5 levels for 3 seconds. This Matrix's effects work in the off-hand slot, but only the set with the highest star rating will take effect.
-4-piece set: Increases speed of obtaining weapon charge by 12/13%/14%/15% plus 2% for each magnetic needle node on the field. For every 1% of max HP lost, recover 5 weapon energy charge. In addition, for every 200 weapon charge recovered, deal volt damage equal to 7/8/9/10% ATK to nearby enemies. This Matrix's effects work in the off-hand slot, but only the set with the highest star rating will take effect.

==Character Background==
Log 1: Yuno, formerly known as Subject G2-U No.7, was born into the secret laboratory under Project Ark in the outskirts of Vera. On the surface, Project Ark aimed to conserve wildlife. Underneath, its true aim was to store the DNA of every creature into a human's to elevate humanity into the pinnacle of evolution and true apex of nature while obtaining the scientific freedom to exterminate all threatening species once stored. Comprised of 12 scientists and 36 miscellaneous staff, in secret they gave birth to 18 children to be used as the first generation test subjects. 12 designated G1-O subjects under the Overlay method of fusing animal parts to learn and integrate the DNA directly, and 6 designated G1-U under the Underlay method of injecting various substances such as blood and hormones to restructure the body instinctually as it grows. All G1-O subjects died, 4 of which died of surgical complications, 3 were hostile, and 2 were abducted by their defected parents and subsequently disposed of. 3 G1-U subjects died of poison-like symptoms and 3 survived with no apparent differences other than prominent hair growth and confused neurological behavior. Afterwards, 9 scientists and 28 staff remained, giving birth to the second generation of 16, 4 designated G2-O with significantly reduced fusions and 10 designated G2-U with varying degrees of raised injection levels and antibodies alongside the newly invented complementary equipment designed to wield prominent instinctive behavior in their intended form without physical complications, a fabric resembling a fur coat named Proteus. Proteus utilized magnetic needles attached to areas closest to the nervous system and used a battery to extend the instinct-induced neurological signals sent to the detachable needles to form substitutes for the missing limbs, taking from needle reserves located on the cuffs and collar when necessary. Of the 4 G2-O subjects, 2 couldn't move their fused limbs and were deemed failures, 1 became completely paralyzed and disposed of, and 1 showed remarkable success, becoming the focus of the project in preparation for G3-O. G2-O No.3 had little strength but had enhanced hearing and could pick up objects with his tail. Most of the G2-U subjects, however, showed hostility almost immediately after integrating enough with Proteus to form a weapon as if their minds were taken over by feral instincts and now had a fighting chance against their captors. Of the 10 G2-U's, 7 met their end this way, 2 were defiant but weak and thus kept until the final weeks of generation 2 to provide data for G3-U, and 1 strangely showed no signs of defiance nor reaction from Proteus. This was strange because G2-U No.7 received the strongest DNA injections. Because of his obedience, G2-U No.7 was allowed to work as manual labor while the project focused on G2-O No.3. What they didn't know was it wasn't that G2-U No.7 didn't possess the instincts he was given, it was that the first instinct he awakened to was one that let him foresee his death and adapt to the situation, becoming obedient and feigning weakness as well as internally mastering Proteus during each "failed" test. Eventually, G2-U No.7 developed enough affinity with Proteus to use his own hair and other metals as a substitute for the magnetic needles with or without Proteus, as long as they were connected by electricity. It was nearing the time in which the generation 3 phase of the project begins and G2-U No.7 could foresee the imminent death of generation 2. With each day he planted hidden hairs and metal plates in rooms, and once he had enough, he initiated his escape plan. First required getting G2-O No.3's cooperation. One night, G2-U No.7 tied together numerous strands of hair and with the small amount of electricity afforded to him with a night light he had innocently requested the week prior, he made this long thread travel through the air vents, as if it itself was a sandworm, into G2-O No.3's soundproofed room that he was almost never allowed to leave from, and constrict G2-O No.3's pinky until it dislocated. With this, G2-O No.3 would be taken out of his soundproofed room in the morning and put into the medical bay to treat his injury, and he can establish communication during the day he is tasked to clean the adjacent room. Whispering as to not be heard by security cameras, G2-U No.7 told him of their imminent death once generation 3 is born soon, and if he wants to prevent that, he has to follow through with a plan not yet disclosed. As the discussion is only one-way, agreement was decided on whether he lies to his escort by saying he could hear someone injured in the Proteus testing room as he's being escorted back. Evidently, the agreement was made. Just as G2-U No.7 heared footsteps toward that direction, he once again took out his long thread of hair, but this time he pretended to accidentally bump into the security camera while cleaning it, exposing the wires. With a lethal amount of electricity now, he quickly extended the thread across the room and into the hallway towards the Proteus testing room, reaching the door faster than the escort and connecting to the 2 strands of hidden hair on the sides of the door at neck height. As soon as the escort opened the door and tried walking through but instead came into contact with the thread, all of the siphonable electricity was channeled into it, killing the escort and shutting down the camera system. This was the moment he secretly trained his legs every night for. With the speed augmented by his strong saber-toothed wolf DNA, he rushed across the room, down the hall, and through the door before it closed, dragging the escort's body in with him. With the keycard he now possessed, he quickly unlocked and equipped Proteus just in time before the facility went into lockdown. But now with Proteus which he already mastered and a full battery, he easily ripped open the door with his horror beast claws formed by the magnetic needles. Then once he left the room, he picked up the couple hidden metal plates in the hall, attached them to his arms as shields, then sent out the rest of the magnetic needles to find and detonate with electricity each hidden strand of hair that was placed near lights and communications equipment, providing the cover of darkness for him to slip through the approaching armed guards. He stealthily killed each person nearby as he collected every metal plate to attach to Proteus and complete his defensive armor against the remaining guards and turrets he knew were waiting at the exit. As he finished, he met G2-O No.3. Being the kindhearted pacifist the staff raised him to be so he would obediently offer himself up as research material for generation 3, G2-O No.3 pleaded for him to stop killing everyone. The mind that was more human than monster remained unaware and manipulated into choosing his parents who gave him fake love. But to G2-U No.7 whose mind was only half human, he still saw G2-O No.3 as his only surviving comrade, the only one he could consider a friend despite their only previous conversation being one-sided. If only he could see the fakeness and lies, he could abandon these true monsters, even *if* they are his parents. With little time to talk, G2-U No.7 simply refused and headed to the exit, bluffingly threatening to kill him as well if he tries to stop him. As he turned the corner, he's met with the expected remaining guards and turrets, but suprisingly 2 scientists who didn't flee. They were G2-O No.3's biological parents. What's more, they didn't attack yet, as if they were waiting for something. G2-O No.3 then came into the room and the parents tell him that G2-U No.7 is about to kill them, his loving parents, and that he needs to protect them by killing. This was a desperate attempt at a pincer attack, but it was a useless effort, for they raised their child to be so pacifistic that no suddenly developed instinct could lead him to harm them. This would turn out well, G2-U No.7 thought, as G2-O No.3 would either be too afraid to take action or deal insignificant damage, but the worst case happened that G2-U No.7 couldn't have expected: he instead put himself between them and pleaded for G2-U No.7 to be spared and the fighting to stop. He had chosen not just his human parents but also a murderous half-monster as equals. Could he only see everyone here as redeemable humans? Could he have believed G2-U No.7's words because he couldn't imagine that anybody would lie? Distracted by the shock of seeing what transpired, G2-U No.7 couldn't react in time before the scientists took the first shot, killing G2-O No.3 who was in the way. Enraged at the betrayal of the greatest kindness he had seen in his life, G2-U No.7 lunged at them, indulging in his primal instincts as he ripped them apart in an act of pure predation. With him being the only survivor inside the lab, only he could hear the sorrowful cries he let out as the only person who treated him as a human died before him. This was also the first time he awakened to his gooseneck beast instincts, as it was only then he was allowed to express the feelings of strength in overcoming his enemies and weakness in losing what he desired to protect. If he would ever have something worth protecting again, he would protect it with everything he had without hesitation. G2-U No.7: escaped, age 6. G2-O No.3: deceased, age 6. Project Ark: mysteriously abandoned.

Log 2: As a monster who is a chimera of human, sandworm, saber-toothed wolf, horror beast, shielded beast, and gooseneck beast, the now free G2-U No.7 knew he could survive anywhere but wouldn't belong anywhere. And so, clinging onto the feeling of being treated as a human and the hope that he can meet someone like that again, he snuck onto a cargo ship and into Mirroria, a place where, strangely, his first thought upon arrival was that his friend would've complained how noisy it was. With a lonesome life in the shadows of Mirroria scavenging for food and electricity and running from M-SEC waiting for him, and with the hope of meeting a friend one day, he spent his new life being both the phantom protector of Mirroria and the phantom thief, who not even Captain Saki Fuwa could manage to catch in the end. 4 years pass, G2-U No.7, age 10, finds his life comfortable. Despite not yet finding a friend, being known as both a human-like protector and monster-like thief best suits him. Not even his instinctive foresight could warn him of how his comfortable life would get upturned by another beast in human form. One day in typical fashion, he would steal an unattended piece of food, but this time it wasn't merely a half eaten sandwich, it was a whole pizza! He swiftly snatched it and retreated to the rooftops to eat it in peace, but just as he was about to finish the last piece, a scream could be heard where he had stolen the pizza. It wasn't a fully human scream either--it had an intimidating sense of feral power behind it. Slightly unnerved, he hopped down and wandered off into the back alleys to not get involved. But he could hear footsteps follow him, even though he took secret passages and moved in full stealth that was impossible for humans to hear. It was as if he was being tracked by scent, which should also be impossible for humans. Surprised at how long the chase had gone on, he had forgotten about how much battery was left in Proteus, and when he hit a dead end, it was run dry and he couldn't scale the high wall. The determined creature finally caught up, but what appeared from the shadows was merely a girl with silver hair and 2 dogs. They only appeared small and harmless until he looked into the girl's eyes and for the third time in his life foresaw his imminent death, for he was powerless before her overwhelming power without Proteus nor a nearby power source. His only option was to play dead the moment she hit him. The last thing he remembered before losing consciousness was being yelled and barked at while being incessantly kicked despite playing dead. When he awoke inside a cozy room, the same monstrously intimidating girl stood before him and asked him if anything was broken, where his parents were, and his name. Up until then, he only had one name, the horrid name given by a group of monsters to treat him as an expendable tool, but it was also the only thing he had left to remember his only friend by. So with a tone of certainty and pride in what he is, he responded "Yuno." It was only later that Yuno found out the girl was only forced to care for his wounds by her caretaker so people wouldn't find out she beat up a kid and ruin her fresh public image. But that minor detail didn't matter--he once again felt like he was treated as a human, and if someone like her can belong here out in the open, then so can he. Although quite young, after hearing about his speed and skills, the girl's caretaker found him work at M-SEC and cared for under Saki Fuwa, who simply sighed at the sight of him as if she lost a race. Because he's too young to be publicly employed and his fighting is a bit unorthadox, he continues his role as the phantom protector but this time embracing his monster side where the phantom thief once occupied. Having Proteus repaired from years of neglect, extended to fit his growing body, and upgraded to collect energy mid-combat and to enable the armor plates to camouflage, this marks a turning point in his life. Ironically, with the same instincts he foresaw his death as a monster with, he now foresees his future as one where he is human and full of life. He will live as the kind of redeemable human his first friend saw in him, and he will protect everyone who gave him a chance and accepted him.

  1. "Project Ark" references Noah's Ark, the vessel used in the biblical event in which pairings of every animal were loaded onto the boat to save them from extinction due to a great flood. Just as the great flood decimated all but the surviving handful of animals, Project Ark sought to eradicate all but the creatures they would store within humans.
  2. Proteus is a prophetic old man in Greek mythology who could shapeshift and knew all things past, present, and future, and would only tell what he knew after being successfully caught. Because he could shapeshift into anything, he became regarded as a symbol of the original matter from which the world was created. Through the use of the equipment Proteus, Yuno could use the knowledge of the past within his library of DNA to construct weapons, complemented by his refined adaptation instinct to analyze the present and perceive his future survival. After being caught by Fenrir, he answered what she wished to know: his name.
  3. "Yuno" as a Japanese word/phrase can be written many ways in kanji and thus have various meanings. For "yu" this includes "friend," "help," "kindness," "connect," and "origin" among other meanings. For "no" this includes "wish/desire," "field," and "wild" among other meanings.
  4. "Ono," which would have been G2-O No.3's name had he survived, as a Japanese word/phrase written in kanji means "small field" but is often confused with "Ōno" meaning "large field." Confined within the small labratory and kept in his soundproof room, he never knew such a large world existed.
  5. Today is April Fools' Day.
submitted by rikuzero1 to TowerofFantasy [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 13:30 BeatStrikes First Haul Ever. In Hand Pics + Review

I've finally got my first haul. And can't say I'm disappointed! (already planning my next haul lmao). I've noticed that sadly this sub is full of qc and not much in hand pics, so I've decided to change that.
The Most Handsome Male of All Time.
Height - 5'9'', 175 cm
Shoe size - 8.5-9 us, 42 eur
7.6 KG, Pandabuy, GD-EMS, $94 to Eastern Europe. Got unlucky and had a 28 day delivery or sum like that. Bro ordered a week after me and got it the same day as me smh.. But thats okay i dont mind the wait tbh, as long as everything comes in one piece.

IN HAND -- 130 USD -- W2C
I'm a somewhat of a Rick fan and I've been craving these for a very long time. They ARE very good. I'm honestly in love with these. I saw em in retail and let me tell you, these are awfully close. If you don't mind them not being full grain calf leather (you can't even tell on feet tbh), then they're almost identical really. No flaws at all. BUT, if you're buying Rick for the first time (especially mainline), be prepared for the infamous heel drag. It also happens on reps as well. (authentic to retail experience lmao). The insole feels very nice and soft, which is unexpected, also the laces are very soft as well.
For me, it's a 10/10.
A1 YEEZY 350v2 BONE (LW Batch)
IN HAND -- 65 USD -- W2C
Honestly, I'm pretty surprised. These are identical. My friend has retail Tail Lights, and they're literally the same. The stitching is prestine, no threads sticking out. Boost is very comfortable, but I only wore them around the house cause the weather is shitty rn. Not very much to say, they're just 350s after all.
IN HAND -- 10 USD -- W2C
For 10 dollars, they're perfect. They come with no box and no refunds, so be careful. I recommend sizing two sizes up, for a litlle loose fit that you'd expect from a foam shoe or a slide. I went with a size up and they're pretty snug. Other than that, they're pretty much identical. A lil smelly at first, but it's foam, so..
Go 2 Sizes UP.
BudgetShoes NIKE AIR FORCE 1
IN HAND -- 20 USD -- W2C
20 bucks for AF1 was a revelation for me lmao. No one cares about them being fake or not, so it's a perfect way to save money and not pay more than $100 for an af1. They're not exactly identical (see backtab in pics) as the Nike Air logo is smaller than retail. Also, the metal thingy is significantly cheaper, lighter and thinner. Laces definetly don't feel as good as retail. I'll see how leather will hold up. I don't really care bout any flaws honestly, it's just an af1.

3 Nelly blank T-shirts
These are nice, I like them. Not thin at all too. For 3 dollars, it's a steal. Add them to your next haul, won't regret it.
Go 2 Sizes UP. For more oversized fit, go 3 sizes up.
IN HAND -- 6 USD -- W2C
It's amazing. 6 dollars. They even added two pockets inside. Majestic..
Very thin. Will probably rip apart soon. It's says cotton but it's definetly not cotton, not breathable at all. For 1 dollar each - it's perfect. You get what you paid for.
Be aware of the fit. They sell them as one size fits all, which is kinda weird. They fit me snug.

That's it!
Thank you so much for reading, hope you found my review helpful. Feel free to ask me anything. Also, I'd like to thank this subreddit and QualityReps for existing. You're the best! Have a nice day y'all and see you in the next review!
submitted by BeatStrikes to FashionReps [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 13:24 RyanzRetroReviewz The Mountain - 1956 Film Review - RyanzRetroReviewz

The Mountain - 1956

The Mountain is a 1956 adventure/drama movie, starring the great (and sober for this role) Spencer Tracy, just coming off his success in "Bad Day at Black Rock" the year before (as well as over 30 other film roles under his belt), and the younger, but fairly recognizable up and comer at this point in his career, Robert Wagner (known to more modern movie fans as "Number 2" in the "Austin Powers" film series). Having acted alongside each other in multiple roles already, the chemistry between our two lead actors is evident and believable enough as they portray two brothers (although separated by what seems like 10-20 years in age, though this is more common in the real world than people want in film). The plotline follows these two brothers as they make a deathly high-alpine climb to the top of a nearby Mountain (Mount Blanc, France) where an airplane has recently crashed with plans on looting the dead. The movie is directed by Edward Dmytryk, recently back from being blacklisted from the film industry, as well as serving a short stint in prison with the other "Hollywood Ten" who refused to testify to the House of Un-American Acitivities Committe in their investigations during the Cold War\McCarthy-era "Red scare". Previously known for his 1940s noir films, particularly "Crossfire" from 1947 (one of the earliest films to deal with the subject of anti-semitism), upon Dmytryk's return to Hollywood, he solidified himself yet again with "The Caine Mutiny" in 1954 before bringing together our two leads for their first time in the same year with "Broken Lance", then going on to direct 3 more films before coming across French novelist's Henri Troyat's recent novel "La Neige en Deuil" (inspired by the true airplane crash of Air Indian Flight 245 in 1950) and deciding to bring it alive on screen, acting as both producer and directer for his first time.
We start the movie off with a bang, when a commercial plane crashes atop a snow filled mountain peak, leaving what seems like no survivors. Down below at the nearest village, Zachary Teller leads a simple life of a sheep-herder on his longtime family farm, while currently constantly dodging out a lovestruck neighboring widow who desperately needs a new husband. His younger brother however, Christopher Teller, is angry and envious with his position in life, working as a server\porter boy, waiting on rich skier and mountaineer guests at the village's local mountain resort, as well as sharing the family home with his more respected big brother Zach.
When word arrives of the downed airplane atop the mountain, a rescue party is put together to retrieve any possible survivors and their worldly possessions. Once having been the most experienced mountaineer in the area (and one of the only people to have ever even made the climb), Zachary is asked to lead to climbing expedition, to which he denies on the count of having lost a man over the edge on his last climb years ago.
Later that night at home, the two brothers argue over the ownership of the house, with Christopher wishing to sell it and Zachary wanting to keep it in the family for as long as possible.
The next morning, the unsuccessful expedition returns having lost their main guide (and Zachary's old mountaineering friend) Tsavos, in the midst of the climb.
Again at home that night, the brother's get into another argument, with Christopher this time trying to push Zachary to lead him up the mountain so as to loot the apparent rich, and now dead passengers. This would give Chris the means to leave the village and put to rest his hopes of selling the family farm. But Zachary shoots down the idea for the sake of both his brother's safety and soul, even offering to renounce his claim over the family farm. Already having the idea stuck in his head though, Christopher likewise denies Zachary's offer and stands firm on making the climb alone, forcing his brother to relent in leading him up the mountain. The two brothers pack their gear and start their way up to the base of the mountain at first light.
The next portion of the movie takes us on a spectacular scenic journey, using a combination of stock shots, matte paintings, and practical built rock walls to showcase not only the mountain and landscape itself, but also emphasizing on the physical capabilities of the plus 50 year old Zachary Teller. As the lead climber, Zach makes his way up and along frozen rock walls and narrow ledges, using the strength of his hands and feet alone, all while using hammer and stakes to fix a line of ropes for his less experienced brother to follow.
We're treated to a quick scare when Christopher takes a slip and goes falling down some way before Zachary finally gets hold of the rope and pulling his brother back up to safety, ripping his palms into a bloody mess in the process.
By now the tables have turned in the brothers' mindsets, Christopher now wishing to turn back out of fear, and Zachary now too far into his goal of conquering the mountain yet again, clear forgetting the reason why they started the climb in the first place. Zach convinces his brother to continue on and up to the summit, and that the worst of it is now over.
Together, now using their ice axes and crampon shoes, the brothers hike up the snowy (now on location) summit without problem, finally arriving at the top of the mountain and the plane wreckage in which they came for. While Zachary is full of pride and achievement at what they've accomplished together as brothers, Chris has no care for their triumphs, and shows his true colors as a man by immediately looting treasures from the dead, as well as breaking a cross which Zach puts together from wreckage to hide the evidence of anybody having even been there.
The underlying theme of this movie now finally surfaces in full (the massive feat of scaling the mountain acting as a metaphor for how difficult it is for Zach to accept how horrible his brother truly is, and to finally turn his back on him) when the brothers discover an Indian woman still alive in the back of the plane. Zach cares for her over night and hitches her up to a sled in the morning to drag her down the mountain, but Chris seeing this as a clear obstacle now in the way of him and his riches, throws his older brother down to the ground and tries to strangle the woman to death. Zachary now rises up and strikes his younger brother down to the ground with some good old classic Spencer Tracy style (starting onscreen and ending offscreen, complete with sound effects) punches to the face, before turning around and leaving Chris to get down the mountain on his own.
Zachary single handedly drags and hoists the surviving Indian woman down the side of the mountain, forcing him to use a different route from before, he comes to a pair of untrustworthy looking snow bridges. He inspects the first and decides against it, but still almost looses the woman while crossing over the second. An angry and frantic Christopher finally catches up to the pair and decides not to listen to his own brother's warnings about the remaining bridge, attempting and failing to cross it when the weight gives out, sending him falling to his death into an unknown depth of crevasse.
Zachary Teller, although completely heartbroken now from having lost his brother both in spirit and in body, wastes no time on mourning and continues on down the mountain with the injured Indian woman in tow.
Upon arrival back to the village, Zachary shoots down all claims that he is a hero of any sorts, and lies about his brother's inhuman actions on the mountain, telling instead the opposite story; that it was he, Zach Teller, who came up with the idea and continued on with his obsession of looting the dead, and that his brother Christopher Teller had only went along solely to aid in the safety of his Zach.
Though nobody believes it, they all give Zachary the benefit of not calling him out as a liar, and his brother as a bad man (all save for the village priest that is). He gets into the widowed neighbor lady's carriage with her and together they head "home" to live happily ever after. A final glance back at the mountain for old Zach Teller finally puts all his stored up inner strife's to bed for good, bringing us from the image of one mountain to another with the classic closing of all the Paramount Pictures movies.
To sum it all up, The Mountain (1956) is a truly amazing piece of retro cinema. Starting with a simple plotline on the surface, and changing into a more complicated family dynamic as the film goes on. This movie set the bar for the man vs. nature genre in film, as well as the common underlying theme in which these plotlines usually emphasize on, with the conquering and/or survival of certain physical hardships (in this case, the scaling of the mountain) simply acting as a metaphor for the deeper internal struggles in which our main charactes must finally come to face. Our two leads actors handle this all with extreme authenticity and sincirety, particularly Spencer in one of his most memorable and suitable roles of his entire career. The combination of both on location shots and special effect built sets make the setting for this movie more than believable enough (as long as you have an imagination enough for movies of both this time and this genre). All this being brought together and guided over by Dmytryk as both director and producer, making this (in my personal opinion that is), one of the greatest film achievements of his career as well. A classic film for all fans of the man vs. nature genre, and all around awesome retro movies in general.

And that's all she wrote folks. Thanks for reading.
Ryan D. Hurley
submitted by RyanzRetroReviewz to u/RyanzRetroReviewz [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 13:05 xEzrael Drowning Depths - Replayability 0 and Suggestions to fix this

Personally i really liked the 1st time playthrough experience and the scheme in general. That said, after replaying the game on the new patch and understanding how outposts, cloning and explorations work in front, i find the game a way to easy on the edge of boring.I hope they add much more buildings and hopefully harder to achieve objects.
Suggestions for the current state of the game to add some replayability:
submitted by xEzrael to SurvivingTheAbyss [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 12:20 ABlueEagle11 Rules for the Sterling Void: The Valley of Gods and Monsters Part 1

Rules for the Sterling Void: The Valley of Gods and Monsters
You need a change. You need some excitement. Your life feels like it’s been mis-sold to you. Damaged goods that you’re desperate to return, but sadly, you were born out of warranty. You hate your job. You hate your home. You don’t have any family or friends that you feel you can connect to. Student loans, mortgages, bills overdue. You left your dreams to gather dust and crumble like some ancient artifacts in a museum’s stock room. When did it all go so wrong? Nothing has turned out the way you hoped it would when you were a kid. It’s all just been a series of compounding mistakes. Why did nobody tell you that, after a certain point life just seems to get worse and worse? It’s not that you want to die. No, that isn’t it at all. You want another throw of the dice. You want to start again, at a different place, in a different time. You want to go somewhere where you can begin anew, with a completely clean slate. That’s when you first hear about the Sterling Void: The Valley of Gods and Monsters.
A mysterious valley that was said to be home to powerful gods and terrifying monsters. Despite the warnings of the locals, you just cannot resist the allure of the unknown and decided to seek out the valley. After many days of arduous travel through rugged terrain, you finally find yourself at the entrance to the valley. There, you see a sign with a seemingly otherworldly language that makes you uneasy and a lectern with a blue scroll on top of it, a sense of dread washes over you and, just as you take a step forward, it hits you, literally, a note hits you in the face, it contains a set of petrifying rules, but your curiosity gets the better of you. You take a deep breath and step into the valley, fully unaware of the horrors that await you. As you walk further into the valley, the you begin to notice strange things. The colours of the plants and rocks seem to shift and change, and the sky above you is a deep shade of purple. You hear whispers in your ear, but when you turn around, no one’s there. Suddenly, you feel a tug at your feet and look down to see tendrils of mist wrapping around your ankles, pulling you down.
You tried to fight it, but it’s no use. You are dragged down into the mist, and when you finally emerge, you find yourself in a completely different world. The sky is a shade of silver, and the ground beneath you is made of shimmering white crystals. The air is thick with the scent of burning incense and the sense of unbelievable petrifying dread, and you can hear chanting in the distance. This is the Sterling Void, explorer and the you are now trapped there, but you wanted this and you are to blame. You knew that you had to follow the rules if they wanted to survive in this strange and dangerous place. And so, begins your journey through the Valley of Gods and Monsters, where you might face unimaginable horrors yet discover incredible secrets that may change your life forever.
Take a deep breath, adventurer, and savor the scents of burning incense and warm air. Listen closely to the wyverns chirping, inviting you to join them in eternal flight. But beware the staring imps, giants, ogres and griffins, ready to pounce at any moment. An insolent stare and you’ll be in their grasp, a glob of flesh. Remember the note you found, its warning ringing in your mind: 'Follow the rules or perish.' You shudder at the thought, but you're determined to make it through the Valley alive. You pull out the crumpled note as a reminder and steel yourself for the journey ahead. It reads the following -
Rule #1: Do not look at the gods or monsters, some of them are incomprehensible to humans in their "natural form" and, their mere presence can drive a person insane. Although it's not the case for all of them, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Rule #2: Make as little noise as possible. The gods and monsters can hear even the slightest sound and, if you're too obnoxious or noisy, you might be stripped of your soul.
Rule #3: Do not touch or disturb any objects that appear out of place, as they may be cursed or possessed by malevolent entities. These objects may include ancient artifacts, unusual stones, or unusual markings on the ground. If you encounter such objects, it is best to avoid them altogether and move on. Attempting to interact with them or take them may lead to disastrous consequences, such as being possessed by a vengeful spirit or cursed with a never-ending torment. Always exercise caution and respect for the supernatural forces that inhabit the Sterling Void. The objects in the valley can bring forth unspeakable horrors.
Rule #4: Only eat fruits and vegetables, as they are provided abundantly by the plants. Do not harm any animals unless they attack you first, as they are protected by divine grace. However, if the elementals or gods provide you with meat, you may eat it. It is important to follow the rules of supernatural hospitality and show gratitude for their generosity. Breaking this rule will result in severe consequences and you will forfeit the right to your soul and flesh, as it is a sign of disrespect towards the beings that have granted you protection and shelter. Remember, survival is possible without meat, but it is impossible without the protection of the elementals and gods.
Rule #5: Do not breathe in the mist. The mist in the valley can cause hallucinations and distort your perception of reality, making it dangerous to navigate. Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth if you must pass through it.
Rule #6: Do not touch the water unless it is orange in color. The water in the valley is cursed, and those who drink from it will suffer a fate worse than death. If you must drink, only drink from the "gilded water" that is orange in color and has regenerative properties.
Rule #7: Do not make eye contact with the statues. The statues in the valley are cursed, and those who look into their eyes will be trapped in a never-ending nightmare.
Rule #8: Do not trust your senses entirely. The valley can play tricks on your mind, and what you perceive may not always be real. Always verify your surroundings before making decisions.
Rule #9: Do not speak to anyone or anything that could possibly be a malevolent creature. The valley is home to creatures that can mimic human voices, and their intentions are often malevolent. Be cautious and discerning in your interactions .
Rule #10: Do not attempt to leave the valley without proper preparation. The gods and monsters that reside within the valley will make it difficult to leave.
Rule #11: Try to minimize use of light especially if you're out in the open. The creatures in the valley hate it and, and may hunt those who use it.
Rule #12: Do not disrupt the natural order of the valley. The curse that plagues the valley is delicate and easily disrupted. Avoid stepping on any cracks or disturbing the natural environment. Those who break the natural order will suffer dire consequences.
Rule #13: Do not open any doors unless you know where they lead. Some doors in the valley lead to places best left unexplored. If you do not know where a door leads, do not open it.
Rule #14: Do not climb any trees unless it is necessary. The trees in the valley are alive and may trap you if you climb them. Only climb if it is necessary for your survival.
Rule #15: Do not use any technology unless it is absolutely necessary. The valley is a place of ancient magic, and technology may anger the gods and monsters that reside within it. Use technology sparingly and only when it is necessary for your survival.
Rule #16: Do not pick any flowers unless they're orange, pink or red. Most flowers in the valley are cursed, and those who touch them will suffer a fate worse than death.
Rule #17: Do not enter any caves. The caves in the valley are home to creatures best left undiscovered.
Rule #18: Do not follow any "weird" sounds. The sounds in the valley are often a trap set by the creatures that inhabit it.
Rule #19: Should you spot an Inn with a sign or a placard reads "The Guardian's Grin" on the road-side, you’re in luck! You’ve found a traveller’s haven. Feel free to spend as much time as you want here and even stock up on supplies and, if you have need something, feel free to ask the staff for help. However, try not to be a nuisance and, don't overstay your welcome if you turn out to be a nuisance, the owner doesn't take kindly to those who abuse his hospitality. If you make a mess or, are a nuisance, don't stay for more than a day. And, in case you're wondering, none of the inhabitants of the inn are human no matter how human they look or, act.
Rule #20: Do not stay in one place for too long. This makes you an easier target for the creatures in the valley. Always be on the move, and do not linger in any one place for too long.
Rule #21: Do not attempt to communicate with the gods or monsters unless you have a concrete reason to or you really think you need to. They do not like pointless chatter, and attempting to communicate with them without any concrete reason so will only anger them.
Rule #22: Do not walk in predictable patterns. This can draw unwanted attention from the creatures in the valley. Vary your movements and be unpredictable.
Rule #23: Do not look at the sky, the sky looks like it’s made of silver alloys and, it is utterly incomprehensible to humans because of how “perfect” it is. And, can drive them insane, it is called the “sterling void” for a reason
Rule #24: If you see wooden signs or, milestones, do not read them or look at them for too long, they are memetic hazards.
Rule #25: If you hear screams of help, don't answer them. Don't move, you can't run or hide. Simply pray for salvation for heaven's divine grace. Only move when help comes, you'll know when help comes.
Rule #26: If you see an animal that has gone extinct in your universe, don't fret. It's neutral. It won't attack you unless you attack it.
Rule #27: If you see a loved one or, an object that you cherished but, lost, you are in a different plane of reality. The beings in this reality will try to convince you that you are home, and that everything is back to normal. They will try to keep you there, so be careful not to let your guard down. If you stay too long, you may forget who you really are and become trapped in this false reality forever. Keep in mind that even though the beings in this reality may look like your loved ones or your cherished objects, they are not the same entities and cannot be trusted. Stay alert and focused on finding a way back to your own reality. Look for blue-colored entrances and, exits for they are the only way out.
Rule #28: If you find scrolls, pick them up, they're going to be useful. Unless they're black in which case, they're best avoided as they're memetic hazards.
And just as you put the note back in your pocket, you remember the blue scroll, you take it out. It reads "The Nameless One is a fearsome creature that roams the deepest and darkest corners of the Valley of Gods and Monsters. Its origins are shrouded in mystery, and its true name is lost to the ages, but one thing is certain: it is a force to be reckoned with. Towering over its prey, the Nameless One is covered in an impenetrable layer of obsidian armor, and wields a massive hammer that can crush even the strongest of warriors. Its eyes glow with an otherworldly light, and its roar can shatter the very ground beneath your feet. Few have dared to face the Nameless One and lived to tell the tale, but those who have speak of a creature that is relentless, cunning, and utterly without mercy. If you ever find yourself face to face with the Nameless One, pray that you have the strength, the skill, and the luck to survive its wrath. If you see any of his minions, you will know. Stay away from them, if you harm them, you will anger the Nameless one. And don't fall asleep out in the open unless you want to become food for his minions
Remember, these rules are not to be taken lightly. They're more than just words on a piece of paper. They're like the Nameless One's eldritch serpentine minions, crawling underneath your skin, snaking through your blood and flesh, like a caterpillar playing host to thousands of wasp larvae. Although you may feel weakened, tired and disoriented, it's crucial to push through. Shake off the feeling and continue with unwavering determination. Your survival hinges on your ability to persevere. And, do keep in mind that sometimes you might have to violate these rules but, do not break any of these rules unless explicitly told to ignore a given rule. Only trust notes from me( You'll know if a note is from me) and, non-black scrolls. Do not trust any other source of information though you can try your luck with certain gods, fairies and elementals . But, not all rules necessarily have to be correct. And, do not forget the rules. Forgetting even one of the rules can lead to disastrous consequences.
As you’re about to roll the scroll, you notice a poem at the bottom that reads -
I am a set of rules, both true and false,
Some may lead you right, others may convulse.
Secrets I hold, mysteries I hide,
But beware, dear explorer, for I may misguide.

Beware of sneaky contradictions,
And secrets lost in the Void's evictions.
Can you spot the lies, can you see?
Or will they trip you up and deceive?

I am a list of rules, some true and some fake,
Read me closely, your life is at stake.
The truth is hidden, the lies intertwined,
Can you spot the deception and leave it behind?

But beware, dear reader, for beyond these words,
A darkness looms, like flocks of ominous birds.
The raven is watching, its eyes full of dread,
A symbol of death, of melancholy, and of what lies ahead.

You keep exploring.
A voice in the back of your brain keeps chanting "Don’t fall asleep" as you walk.
You keep exploring.
submitted by ABlueEagle11 to mrcreeps [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 11:21 StreetwiseHercules0 41 [M4F] #Jacksonville, NC. Looking for a younger (18-25), secretly kinky, woman (AFAB), who enjoys, or wants to be an older man's sexual playing.

Looking for someone who wants to be used as a sex object / Toy / Victim, shared with my friends, and constantly used for your body, preferably on a regular basis, but one time playdates are fun too.
Me: Dominant/Top, White, Straight, DDF, Veteran, 6' Tall, and much stronger than you. I'm single, live alone, and my kids are grown.
Chat me if you are enthusiastically curious. Please include your age and location in your first message if it's not obvious from your profile. If you send a pic, send one with clothes on. If I want to see you naked, I'll undress you myself.
Kinks: ● 1950s Household ● Abduction ● Accomplice ● AgePlay ● Anonymous Sex ● Asphyxia Play ● BDSM ● Being Your Father's Age ● Bondage ● Breath Play ● Bruises ● CNC ● Coercion ● Creampie ● Crying ● Daddy/Daughter Roleplay ● DD/LG ● Degradation ● Domestic Abuse ● DubCon ● Exhibitionism ● Face Slapping ● Forced Orgasms ● Free Use ● Groping ●Orgasm Control ● Pain ●PainKink ● Physical Abuse ● Public Play ● Public Orgasms ● Race Play (Asian, "You dirty little chink.") ● Rape Play ● RapeKink ● Rape Kink ● Remote Control Vibrators In Public ● Sexual Slavery ●
Cities In/Near Eastern North Carolina: ■ Albertson ■ Atlantic Beach ■ Beaufort ■ Bell Fork ■ Beulaville ■ Bogue ■ Bridgeton ■ Calypso ■ Camp Lejeune ■ Cape Carteret ■ Charlotte ■ Cherry Point ■ Clayton ■ Coastal Carolina Community College ■ Dover ■ Dunn ■ Durham ■ Emerald Isle ■ Fayetteville ■ Garner ■ Georgetown ■ Goldsboro ■ Greensboro ■ Greenville ■ Hampstead ■ Havelock ■ Holly Ridge ■ Hope Mills ■ Hubert ■ Jacksonville ■ Kenansville ■ Kings Grant ■ Kinston ■ Knightdale ■ Leland ■ Lumberton ■ Magnolia ■ Maysville ■ Midway Park ■ Morehead City ■ Murrysville ■ New Bern ■ New River ■ Newport ■ North Topsail Beach ■ Ocean View ■ Pelletier ■ Piney Green ■ Pink Hill ■ Pollocksville ■ Raleigh ■ Richlands ■ Rocky Mount ■ Rocky Point ■ Rose Hill ■ Salter Path ■ Smithfield ■ Snead's Ferry ■ Spring Lake ■ Stella ■ Surf City ■Swansboro ■ Tarboro ■ Trenton ■ University Of North Carolina at Wilmington ■ Vanceboro ■ Wallace ■ Warsaw ■ Washington ■ Watha ■ Whitakers ■ Wilmington ■ Wilson ■ Winston-Salem ■
submitted by StreetwiseHercules0 to AgeGapR4R [link] [comments]

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."
submitted by ShadowDragon8685 to X4Foundations [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 10:47 Creepyy_Cattyy Why me? I hate being raised this way. Any advice welcome

Hi (24f) -probably the longest post you'll ever read, please go easy on me because I'm really just throwing my feelings out there in hopes I can find people who can give me the right support and have a good understanding.
My parents have always blamed my little brother and I for their severe hoarding- it's not even like possessions at this point- just trash and mess, it's literally terrible, it's so hard to go into the houses growing severity because it's literally that bad. I wish they knew how much the entirety of my childhood and quality of life and mental health has been affected by their decisions. They were both raised by normal parents, non-hoarders. They were able to bring friends and family over, able to take pictures in their house at Christmas without feeling shame, had fresh smelling non-piss stained smelling clothes to wear. Ive tried to become self aware and I've realized that alot of the issues I've had in my life were caused by them.
I don't feel crazy but I feel like their "we have an outward appearance to the world, but we come home and have this secret we can't tell your grandparents or your aunts or cousins" really messed my mind up. I feel like I've never been my true authentic self around anyone. I only have my one brother, but I come from a huge family, growing up I had at least 12 cousins (now more) on my mother's side and they were so tight knit, slumber parties every weekend at each other's houses, Bible studies every Wednesday at their clean kitchen tables, going into my cousins rooms and seeing their dolls displayed nicely while mine were.. who knows.. probably swept up and thrown into the trash in one of me and my brother's many "punishment cleanup overhauls" (when they'd make us clean for hours on end and tell us the mess was all our fault, we were little when we had to do it too, we didn't even know where to start and we would cry) so I've always been a black sheep in the family, it's like they don't know me, but how could they? I should've spoke up, I really should of but my parents acted like they'd kill me if I said something. School was just terrible, I'd wash my clothes in the bath tub my special way so they wouldnt smell as bad, toss them in a plastic bag spray a fck ton of perfume and tie it up, change in the bathroom at school in the morning so I didn't smell bad. I feel like so many opportunities were taken from me because I was so weird and bullied, it stole whatever confidence I had, my mind wasn't right and I was never focused on academic things and I feel like I had potential but it's too far gone now.. They do "love" us and can be nice, but how could you say that you do when you had us living that way?
It feels like it's given me somewhat of a split personality, like an inward and outward self. It's so anxiety driven too. (Another thing I feel like is their fault, anxiety and problems with social interaction) I feel like I can't act right in public or I'm skitzy around people because I was literally forced to keep a secret for 17 years.
My boyfriend of 7 years has known for some time though. I recently showed him a picture I secretly took when I went back to get some things. Just to kill his curiosity and really give him a perspective of how BAD things really are, just in case something happens to them, but I really never, ever want to have to subject him to the horrors I have been through and if they passed away or something or became elderly, my brother and I say we really just want to burn the house down, we don't know what to do. I moved into my grandma's part time by the time I was 15, but had to go back from time to time. I almost cry at how clean the air smelt and felt in her house. I'm really thankful for my boyfriend because embarrassingly enough, I really had to follow his lead on keeping a clean home. He really rescued me, and I hid my secret for like 5 years from him.
Of course I have a whole melting pot of issues that have manifested over the years including- Self harm, depression, severe anxiety, drug abuse- (don't ever do ecstasy to clean your house, it's terrible to say but I felt like I achieved a hospital sterile clean environment because of the absolute FEAR of my house being as bad as my parents home driving me and it felt like absolute unequivocal bliss to be able to achieve a home THAT clean, my house is clean, but I'm still trying to learn and organize) And I really try not to self diagnose, but I feel like I have a form of PTSD or something, I have flash backs from the mess and things make me upset like mcdonalds cups on the dresser or when my boyfriend suggests WE clean up (in a nice loving way) it's always felt like a punishment and makes me upset because my parents casted so much shame and blame on us and cleaning was a punishment because of the severity of the situation.
Cooking and eating is very hard for me because we never had pots clean, dishes clean, utensils or anything and our sink was fking disgusting. We ate take out, TV dinners, anything that pretty much came in its own container. That just contributed to even more mess. I'm still so adverse to it because of the mess and the bugs it could bring even if I do the dishes. And I sure won't drink any milk out of the fridge if I think it's even a little past date because we ate so many terrible things on accident because our fridge was never cleaned out. I take showers like crazy till this day because I always feel so dirty.
If there is a God, I really wish he would've never placed me in this situation and I often wonder "why me?" because even if I've got away from it, I feel bad for my parents, I'm angry but still love them. I can't unlive all of this, it seems uncommon so I'll never come across a friend in real life who can relate.
If there was one thing I could wish for besides never being born into this- I'd wish for a reflection of people's home to appear over them in an aura-type way so they could see, so they couldn't hide and they could've helped kids like me and my brother, so nobody is ever subjected to what we've been through and they can get help for the parents suffering with this horrible disorder.
Any advice, resources, kind words, anything is accepted and thank you if you've made it to the end of this because it's the most I've ever poured my heart out about it.
submitted by Creepyy_Cattyy to ChildofHoarder [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 10:31 IronicBush Asian male lacking in the majority of areas gets something.

Intended Major(s): Statistics, Data Science
Ap Lit
Ap Chem(because I'm an idiot)
AP Calc BC
AP Gov/Econ(one semester for each)
Data Science course(aka stats 2 for my school)
Standardized Testing
Vague because there's not much to say:
  1. Created an online messaging service that is meant to help teens with their mental health (still in development lmaoooo) (2 years)
  2. Math/Reading tutor to underprivileged areas (4 years)
  3. Swim team (3 years jv, 1 year varsity)
  4. Internship for a foster care organization in helping create a new database for the processing of legal documents and communication (2 years)
  5. Internship at a tech business where I compiled data and anylzed the trends within them lol (1 year)
  6. Summer reading tutor (couple months)
  7. Some random misc volunteering

  1. National Merit Semifinalist
  2. That's it.
Letters of Recommendation
  1. AP Stats Teacher: (8/10) Was my teacher for two years, and was super chill. She liked having me and that was that.
  2. Ap Lang Teacher: (10/10) Was only my teacher for one year but she really liked me. Plus bribing her with food for her pregnant woman cravings should have helped lol.

Georgetown - Was the most stressful yet coolest one. My interviewer gave zero f**** and was utterly blunt. Super intimidating but he definitely liked me, even though he grilled the life out of me. 9/10
Rice University - Kinda mid cause the guy didn't say much at all. Seemed really timid and sorta just absentmindedly there. Wasn't good, wasn't bad. 6/10
Northwestern - Pretty good, guy was super chill and more so focused on who I was as an individual as opposed to what I accomplished. Fun interview. 8/10
Cornell - Guy was super friendly, but it was mostly him talking instead of me. Super enthusiastic tho so wasn't all that bad. 6.5/10
Washu - literally nothing happened here. lasted 15 minutes and barely anything was said. 3/10
I would say my personal statement was pretty solid, and I felt that it covered who I was pretty well. 8/10
Supplements were usually dicey across all schools with me having barely any ideas on what to really write. This was especially true for schools like Harvard and UMich as my parents basically forced me to apply for those. 5/10
Decisions (indicate ED/EA/REA/SCEA/RD)
Final Thoughts:
If I were, to sum up this whole experience, I would say that there is always a chance. Going into this I knew I was pretty much fated to be rejected from most of these schools. My ec's and grades just weren't good enough to get in. Still, there is always a chance that a fluke happens. That something completely out of the blue comes and lands on your lap. And for me, that happened. I know for others, they got rolled, and I'm not saying that whoever is reading this won't also get rolled, but I just wanted to tell you that even if you think there are the slimmest of chances, that's still a chance. Shoot your shot because, in my opinion, in the end, you can at least say that you gave it your all.
And a last tidbit on top of this tidbit, is that getting waitlisted for me personally may have sucked, but it also made me happy. Happy about the fact that my application(this very weak one) was competitively viable and that not all my time was wasted.
Look on the brighter side of things, because you never know what the super-intoxicated admissions officer will do to your application. They could very much accept it.
Stay hopeful.
-Absolutely mid Asian male
submitted by IronicBush to collegeresults [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 10:31 Creepyy_Cattyy I feel.. worthless. I wish I didn't grow up this way.

Hi (24f) -probably the longest post you'll ever read, please go easy on me because I'm really just throwing my feelings out there in hopes I can find people who can give me the right support and have a good understanding.
My parents have always blamed my little brother and I for their severe hoarding- it's not even like possessions at this point- just trash and mess, it's literally terrible, it's so hard to go into the houses growing severity because it's literally that bad. I wish they knew how much the entirety of my childhood and quality of life and mental health has been affected by their decisions. They were both raised by normal parents, non-hoarders. They were able to bring friends and family over, able to take pictures in their house at Christmas without feeling shame, had fresh smelling non-piss stained smelling clothes to wear. Ive tried to become self aware and I've realized that alot of the issues I've had in my life were caused by them.
I don't feel crazy but I feel like their "we have an outward appearance to the world, but we come home and have this secret we can't tell your grandparents or your aunts or cousins" really messed my mind up. I feel like I've never been my true authentic self around anyone. I only have my one brother, but I come from a huge family, growing up I had at least 12 cousins (now more) on my mother's side and they were so tight knit, slumber parties every weekend at each other's houses, Bible studies every Wednesday at their clean kitchen tables, going into my cousins rooms and seeing their dolls displayed nicely while mine were.. who knows.. probably swept up and thrown into the trash in one of me and my brother's many "punishment cleanup overhauls" (when they'd make us clean for hours on end and tell us the mess was all our fault, we were little when we had to do it too, we didn't even know where to start and we would cry) so I've always been a black sheep in the family, it's like they don't know me, but how could they? I should've spoke up, I really should of but my parents acted like they'd kill me if I said something. School was just terrible, I'd wash my clothes in the bath tub my special way so they wouldnt smell as bad, toss them in a plastic bag spray a fck ton of perfume and tie it up, change in the bathroom at school in the morning so I didn't smell bad. I feel like so many opportunities were taken from me because I was so weird and bullied, it stole whatever confidence I had, my mind wasn't right and I was never focused on academic things and I feel like I had potential but it's too far gone now.. They do "love" us and can be nice, but how could you say that you do when you had us living that way?
It feels like it's given me somewhat of a split personality, like an inward and outward self. It's so anxiety driven too. (Another thing I feel like is their fault, anxiety and problems with social interaction) I feel like I can't act right in public or I'm skitzy around people because I was literally forced to keep a secret for 17 years.
My boyfriend of 7 years has known for some time though. I recently showed him a picture I secretly took when I went back to get some things. Just to kill his curiosity and really give him a perspective of how BAD things really are, just in case something happens to them, but I really never, ever want to have to subject him to the horrors I have been through and if they passed away or something or became elderly, my brother and I say we really just want to burn the house down, we don't know what to do. I moved into my grandma's part time by the time I was 15, but had to go back from time to time. I almost cry at how clean the air smelt and felt in her house. I'm really thankful for my boyfriend because embarrassingly enough, I really had to follow his lead on keeping a clean home. He really rescued me, and I hid my secret for like 5 years from him.
Of course I have a whole melting pot of issues that have manifested over the years including- Self harm, depression, severe anxiety, drug abuse- (don't ever do ecstasy to clean your house, it's terrible to say but I felt like I achieved a hospital sterile clean environment because of the absolute FEAR of my house being as bad as my parents home driving me and it felt like absolute unequivocal bliss to be able to achieve a home THAT clean, my house is clean, but I'm still trying to learn and organize) And I really try not to self diagnose, but I feel like I have a form of PTSD or something, I have flash backs from the mess and things make me upset like mcdonalds cups on the dresser or when my boyfriend suggests WE clean up (in a nice loving way) it's always felt like a punishment and makes me upset because my parents casted so much shame and blame on us and cleaning was a punishment because of the severity of the situation.
Cooking and eating is very hard for me because we never had pots clean, dishes clean, utensils or anything and our sink was fking disgusting. We ate take out, TV dinners, anything that pretty much came in its own container. That just contributed to even more mess. I'm still so adverse to it because of the mess and the bugs it could bring even if I do the dishes. And I sure won't drink any milk out of the fridge if I think it's even a little past date because we ate so many terrible things on accident because our fridge was never cleaned out. I take showers like crazy till this day because I always feel so dirty.
If there is a God, I really wish he would've never placed me in this situation and I often wonder "why me?" because even if I've got away from it, I feel bad for my parents, I'm angry but still love them. I can't unlive all of this, it seems uncommon so I'll never come across a friend in real life who can relate.
If there was one thing I could wish for besides never being born into this- I'd wish for a reflection of people's home to appear over them in an aura-type way so they could see, so they couldn't hide and they could've helped kids like me and my brother, so nobody is ever subjected to what we've been through and they can get help for the parents suffering with this horrible disorder.
Any advice, resources, kind words, anything is accepted and thank you if you've made it to the end of this because it's the most I've ever poured my heart out about it.
submitted by Creepyy_Cattyy to ChildrenofHoardersCOH [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 09:53 Global_Relative_3177 Chapitre 48: La vengeance d’Hor

Hor est perdu, il se demande si la confrontation le poussera à commettre l’irréparable.
Bonne lecture.
Les mains prostrées sur sa tête, le prince Hor reste catatonique à bord de sa felouque. Amarré au bords de la rive près du nome de Khem, un autre cadeau lui est parvenu. Un coffret, sans doute le dernier, contenait cette fois l’oeil de Shani, un oeil à la pupille brune au reflet azur lorsque le soleil crépusculaire l’illumine. « Elle me manque tellement, pense-t-il en serrant le coffret dans ses bras, je donnerai tout pour la revoir et l’entendre même si c’est pour me faire sermonner sur mon comportement infantile ». Les roseaux lui fouettent le dos tandis qu’un groupe de crocodile sur sa gauche prend un dernier bain de soleil. Le Nil ballote son embarcation et le bruit qu’elle provoque adoucit ses pensées sombre. Depuis hier il ne put bouger ni confronter sa mère tant que le chagrin l’accable. Le crépuscule en face disparait entre un sphinx et une pyramide du nome de Khem, un paysage qui lui ravive des souvenirs agréables. Ces moments de douceur en compagnie de Shani impossible à recréer depuis sa disparition. « Akhenaton m’a-t-il dit la vérité? Il me hait si fort qu’il aurait pu inventer cette histoire, me faire tourner en bourrique sur une autre fausse piste. Non. Son épouse je ne la connais que trop bien et son regard, en me parlant de Shani révélait son implication. Elle a vu Shani durant sa disparition j’en suis certain mais alors qu’a-t-elle découverte? Si c’était sa grossesse je pense qu’elle m’en aurait parlé toutefois j’ai l’impression que ses paroles s’orientaient sur un autre sujet ». Assailli par les questions sans pouvoir y répondre, le prince se lève, pousse sa felouque hors du rivage et se décide enfin à rejoindre le Cartouche.
Sur le trajet, dans la ligne médiane du fleuve sacré, le prince est cerné de toute part par les embarcations des Égyptiens notamment les jeunes profitant de la fraicheur du soir pour s’amuser en bateau. Certains jouent et dansent sur leur large barque de fortune, d’autre fendent le Nil tout en trainant l’un de leur amis par une corde et quelques uns, les plus chanceux, sont en compagnie de leurs amours batifolant ou attendant le ciel étoilé pour un décor plus romantique. Hor regrette d’avoir à traverser ce lieu, tant de souvenir sont ressassés et notamment un dont il se remémore à cause d’un arôme de menthe se propageant dans l’air depuis une felouque voisine.
Arrivé au Cartouche au pied de sa demeure, le lieu est sombre, des animaux ont élus domicile en laissant des traces de leurs passages çà et là. Hor n’y a pas remis les pieds depuis la tentative d’assassinat, en temps normal il reste rarement dans le coin, ses journées sont occupées entre son nome et des affaires administratives. Toutefois la raison principale est une sorte de paranoïa l’ayant dévoré depuis le massacre de sa famille, impossible pour lui de rester dormir au même endroit plus de deux nuits et désormais impossible de dormir tout court sans la présence de Shani à ses côtés. Le bruit de ses sandales raclant le sol fait écho dans le jardin nocturne, l’espoir le pousse à rejoindre brièvement son lac mais personne, à part les poissons, ne vivent dans ce coin de paradis. A cause de la fatigue, le stress, le manque de sommeil le prince se laisse tomber sur le sofa en attendant la visite qui le terrifie. Auparavant sur le Nil il envoya un message à sa mère la sommant de le rejoindre chez lui, seul et sans se faire suivre.
L’attente parait longue et le moindre bruit provenant de l’extérieur de sa demeure fait sursauter le prince toujours allongé sur le ventre. Son regard est fixe sur l’entrée, ses paupières luttent pour rester ouvertes et son esprit, sujet au délire, lui fait confondre les cris d’oiseaux avec la voix de sa
servante. Les ombres sur le sol s’allongent au gré des brises et certaines plantes, ayant forme humaine, le font réagir, son coeur peine à supporter la charge émotionnelle. Soudain les touffes d’un paquet de roseaux s’entremêlèrent sans qu’il ne s’en aperçoive, l’ombre une tête se distingua quand au même moment des bruits de pas accentuèrent l’illusion. Une silhouette familière s’approche de l’entrée mais impossible pour le prince d’en connaître l’identité. Dans un moment d’égarement, au milieu de sa souffrance psychologique, il se découvrit debout, marchant en direction de ce qu’il croit être sa servante cachée dans les fourrées. Son ombre se retire à mesure qu’il avance et, le bras tendu vers l’extérieur, le prince crie:
— Shani revient! Shani!
Des ibis s’échappent des roseaux, leurs ailes noirs laissent tomber quelques plumes tachetés de blanc tandis que le prince s’effondre à quatre pattes et frappant du poing le sol humidifié par ses larmes de détresse.
— Toujours en train de crier mon fils, tu devrais cesser d’adopter ce comportement puéril. Ses dents se serrent tout comme ses poings et dans un crie de rage il aboie:
— Mère!
Cette dernière est vêtue d’une robe rouge en satin décoré de motif hiéroglyphique. Ses épaules sont réchauffées par une écharpe en plume d’aigle cependant son visage n’est pas maquillé, l’urgence du message de son fils l’a empêché de se préparer convenablement.
— Toujours cette servante en tête, par tous les dieux quand vas-tu grandir et...
D’un seul bond le prince l’agrippe par les épaules tout en la fixant droit dans les yeux. De son regard pitoyable avec les paupières ne cessant de se fermer et ouvrir frénétiquement il déclare:
— Pitié rends-la moi, je sais que c’est toi. J’en suis absolument certain alors je te le demande à genou rends-la moi.
A ces mots il s’effondre en s’agrippant fermement aux nombreux bijoux dont certains se coincent dans sa peau. Les larmes tachent la robe de satin de sa mère la rendant à certains endroits plus sombre. Malgré la tristesse de son enfant sa mère sourit, rien de malicieux ni jovial, elle lui caresse son crâne chauve et déclare sobrement:
— Mon pauvre enfant. Quoi que tu en penses je l’ai fais pour toi, tout ceci c’est que pour que tu ailles mieux. Pour que tu mûrisses
Les doigts du prince se serrent, son index est embroché par une épingle en or et le sang se répand en gouttelettes pour se mêler à celle de la robe.
— Rends-la moi! aboie-t-il en fixant le sol. — Je ne peux pas.
— Rends-la moi!
— Hors de question.
— Je ferai tout ce que tu veux, je te donnerai la somme que tu exiges. Je t’offrirai mon nome, toutes les richesses que tu souhaites mais je t’en prie rends-la moi.
Sa mère lui attrape les joues comme elle avait l’habitude de faire lorsqu’il était enfant. Des prémices de mauvaise augure. Les yeux plongés dans les siens Hor se laisse volontairement agripper, la force de se battre est semblable à une étincelle qui disparaitra dès son contact avec le sol.
— Mon enfant tu me déçois énormément, dit-elle sur un ton réprobateur, tu as délaissé ton objectif, provoqué tes frères et soeurs et jeté la disgrâce sur notre clan. Je ne m’attendais pas à un tel comportement de ta part.
Hor ne bouge pas il attend, subit les insultes de sa mère car il pense, il en est même certain, qu’elle lui dévoilera le lieu de détention de sa servante. Impossible de bouger ni de réfléchir avec les yeux de sa mère semblable à des perles noire.
— Ta servante est morte, finit-elle après une minute entière de sermon. Elle est morte une semaine après son abduction ici dans ta maison pendant que tu te battais. Des hommes payés par mes soins l’ont enlevé puis emmené à Atoum.
La tête de son fils devient trop lourde à maintenir, la retenant du mieux qu’elle le peut cela ne suffit pas à l’empêcher de s’effondrer sur le sol. Inerte comme un cadavre, le coeur du prince saigne abondamment.
— Ne t’en fais pas mon fils je l’ai faite embaumer mais si cela ne tenais qu’à moi je l’aurai jeté dans le désert voisin d’Atoum. La présence de cette trainée à tes côtés n’avait que trop duré.
Ses insultes ravivèrent le corps du prince et d’un bond il décocha une gifle sur la joue de sa mère. Une claque si forte que sa mère en trébuche sur le sol en marbre blanc réfléchissant les deux lunes. Les rôles s’inversent.
— Tu as perdu la tête! vocifère-t-elle abasourdit par le geste et se tenant la joue déjà rougit par le coup. Moi ta propre mère tu...
— Tu as deux minutes pour t’enfuir avant que je ne me déchaine sur toi, mère ou pas, tu m’as privé de ce que j’aime le plus alors je vais de même avec toi.
Bafouillant sans pouvoir se relever, le regard de son enfant, debout et masquant l’éclat de la lune, la rende confuse. Son regard vacille. Elle marmonne sans cesse en demandant des explications sur son geste, pourquoi il réagit de cette manière. Hor décompte le moment fatidique dans sa tête, immobile à l’observer et imaginer de quelle manière il la tuera.
L’heure a sonné, avec ses deux mains il l’empoigne par le cou et commence à serrer. Sa peau lui semble douce, si délicate et huileuse qu’il perd appuie et laisse tomber son corps. Suffocante elle implore:
— Me tuer ne la fera pas revenir, laisse moi vivre pour que je te vois monter sur le trône.
— Ce maudit trône je n’en veux plus.
Il empoigne à nouveau sa mère et serre de toute ses forces, durant un bref instant Beneryb arrive à prononcer quelques mot:
— Il m’a dit de le faire...
Hor relâche sa poigne néanmoins sa mère perd connaissance.
— Mère! Mère! Qui vous a dit le faire? insiste-t-il en la secouant par les épaules.
Aucune réponse, Hor porte son oreille vers sa bouche seul une respiration sifflante s’en
échappe. « Saleté! Par Horus! Qu’est ce que j’étais en train de faire! pense-t-il en fixant ses mains pleines d’huile. Je jure qu’elle me dévoilera tout mais pour le moment je dois la faire rentrer à l’abri des regards ».
Dans le lit qu’il n’utilise jamais, Hor y a déposé sa mère. Assis sur une chaise bardée de décoration et de feuille d’or. Ses coudes sont posés sur les accoudoirs en forme de tête de faucon, les doigts entrelacés au niveau de la bouche, Hor attend des explications. Son regard se perd tantôt sur le sol tantôt sur le corps de sa mère à l’apparence si jeune que cela en est troublant. « Je n’arrive toujours pas à le croire, par Horus, par tous les dieux. Ma propre mère m’a enlevé ce qui m’était le plus cher. Je savais qu’elle n’aimait pas Shani mais elle n’est pas stupide. Mère est consciente de la douleur que ce geste m’aurait fait, alors qui? Qui lui a fait sauté le pas? ». Il se lève et frappe du pied le tabouret, le meuble s’écrase contre l’armoire dans un fracas assourdissant mais pas assez pour réveiller sa mère.
— Allez mère réveille-toi! crie-t-il en la secouant dans son lit.
Des larmes s’écoulent du visage de l’ancienne épouse de Ramsès, les marques d’étranglement sont encore visibles. Hor s’éloigne, sa colère ne cesse d’atteindre des proportions démesurées. Alors qu’il observait son jardin depuis sa grande terrasse, Beneryb s’assied tout en séchant ses larmes.
— Il m’avait ordonné de le faire, il m’avait dit que cela t’aurais permis d’atteindre des sommets. — Qui? Qui a osé t’obliger à faire du mal à ma servante? A moi?
— Ton père, Pharaon en personne.
Ses mots sonnent à nouveau comme une masse contre son coeur. Ses jambes flageolent tant qu’il s’assied à même le sol.
— Il m’a promis de te faire rejoindre sa haute cour, reprend sa mère en s’approchant de lui, néanmoins il ne souhaitait pas voir Shani te suivre alors il me posa cet ultimatum.
— Et tu lui as obéit! grogne-t-il en lui serrant les mains, tu n’as pas songé à tout le mal que cela m’aurait procuré. Toute la douleur que je subis en ce moment! Par Horus je n’arrive même plus à réfléchir, savoir que je ne la reverrai plus jamais me fait bouillonner de rage.
— Mais c’est ce que j’avais dit à Pharaon, que cette perte allait te détruire mais il rétorqua que cette souffrance te ferai mûrir. Ta conscience s’élèverait au-dessus des autres.
— Je veux le voir.
— Qui, ton père?
— Oui! acquiesce-t-il en se levant d’un bond. Je vais lui montrer ce que l’on ressent en perdant un être
cher. Je vais massacrer les membres de sa haute cour un par un.
Le prince récupère son khépesh mais sa mère le retint alors qu’il franchit le seuil.
— Lâche-moi! Je me fiche du trône...
— J’ai fais tout cela pour toi, ne gâche pas tous mes efforts.
— Et c’est aussi pour moi que tu m’envoyais des morceaux de son corps dans des coffrets? — Je t’en prie reste lucide.
Dès ce moment Hor regrette ces paroles, il repense à Shani, sa promesse et l’affront qu’il lui causerai si il reniait son rêve. D’un geste sec il jette son arme sur le sol tel un objet contaminé. Le métal érafle le sol lisse dans un cri strident accompagné des pleures de sa mère. Les mains sur son visage, le prince tente de réfléchir, de se calmer mais toutes ses émotions contradictoires accentuent sa folie.
— Où est-elle? il s’approche de sa mère toujours au sol et réitère sa question en la secouant, je veux la revoir, où est Shani?
— Je ne sais plus, balbutie-t-elle en se maintenant la tête.
— Répond-moi, où est-elle? ordonne-t-il en lui broyant la mâchoire.
— Dans une tombe anonyme dans la nécropole de Anpou...
— Dans le désert! Pourquoi l’avoir envoyé là-bas!
— C’est une roturière, je n’allais pas la faire embaumer sous une pyramide. Tu as trop longtemps jeté
l’opprobre sur ta réputation...
— Maudit sois-tu, maudit soit Pharaon et tous ceux qui ont eu l’audace de te bourrer le crâne avec cette
Sur ces mots pleins de venins conjugué à un regard si terrifiant que Beneryb en reste sans voix, le prince s’enfuit. Ces révélations l’ont assommé mais la rage se délite au profit de la tristesse.
Alors les lunes disparaissent du ciel, masquées par de sombres nuages, Hor n’y prête guère attention. Sa concentration se porte sur la route de sable. A dos d’un cheval au pelage noir à la corpulence massive et au hennissement tonitruant, Hor parcourt le désert en direction de la nécropole Égyptienne. L’embaumement est un processus long et très coûteux même aujourd’hui, les familles de paysans et les citoyens moins fortunés s’enterrent dans le sable comme leurs descendants durant la grande révolte. Le corps du défunt est simplement enroulé dans des bandelettes de lin, purifié par les eaux d’un temple puis enterré dans un caveau familiale. La sécheresse du désert s’occupe du reste. La journée la température atteint les cinquante-cinq degrés mais la nuit c’est un froid mordant qui accueille les visiteurs. La bride glisse des mains du prince encore souillées par l’huile provenant du cou de sa mère. Impossible de réfléchir. Le bruit des sabots faisant virevolter le sable, frappant la pierre, le léger vent sifflant sur les dunes de sable bleuté l’empêchent de mettre ses pensées en ordre. A l’horizon il aperçoit la nécropole illuminée par des bougies, des brasiers et le regard scintillant d’or des sphinx à tête de chacal.
Pied à terre alors que son cheval salive et se dégage les naseaux, le prince contemple cette nécropole de pierre grise contrastant avec le noir des obsidiennes. Un large escalier amène les visiteurs dans les différents caveaux creusés jadis dans la roche et sous terre. Le lieu est vaste, pourtant ce sont surtout des morts d’un temps ancien qui la monopolise, les Égyptiens s’enterrent majoritairement près de chez eux. Les raisons sont d’ordres pécuniaires mais surtout pour des motifs spirituelles. Un mort en bonne entente est capable d’intercéder auprès des dieux et donc de donner protection et richesse à la famille. La zone est bercée par les croassements des corbeaux survolant la zone en quête de nuisibles. L’accueille se fait par une rangée de sphinx à tête de chacal de tailles variables sur les piédestaux de grès. L’antique statue haute de cinquante mètre du dieu Anubis trône au centre de l’escalier, ses yeux fixe Ouaset qui de loin ressemble à un parc d’attraction illuminé de milles feux. « Shani, j’espère que je ne trouverai pas ta tombe. J’espère que mère a menti. Qu’elle te retient quelque part en attendant que je change. Malheureusement je sais qu’au plus profond de moi que tu es morte et ce depuis longtemps ».
Il gravit les marches une à une d’un pas lent avec une sensation de brûlure dans le ventre. La mort et les lieux qui la glorifie ont toujours crée un profond malaise en lui. Néanmoins cette fois celle qui aime, qu’il adorait par-dessus tout, a élu domicile au milieu de ces pierres froides bercé par le vent. Une fois dans l’entrée menant cette fois sous terre, Hor se munit d’un scarabée doré le survolant et éclairant les lieux aussi intensément que le plus grand des brasiers. Les murs sont richement décorés du livre des morts, les couleurs chatoyantes éblouissent ce lieu à l’ambiance morose. L’écho de ses pas résonne comme une foule et de son regard noyé de larmes le prince cherche la statue d’un assistant dieu Anubis, protecteur des nécropoles. Un protecteur royal à tête de canidé noir s’est posté au fond du couloir:
— Je cherche Shani, demande le prince la voix tremblante.
La machine ne réagit point, son regard fixe et ses membres mécaniques protégés par un alliage métallique dense n’émettent aucun mouvement. « Elle ne doit pas être là, si il ne réagit pas c’est une bonne nouvelle non? ». Le reniflement d’un chien le fit sursauter, l’animal se tenait derrière lui, prêt à indiquer le chemin à suivre. Le chien lui arrive au niveau des genoux, un pelage noir au reflet bleu sous la lumière. Sa taille est longue, un ventre maigre avec de hautes pattes. Son museau pointu et ses deux oreilles dressées lui donne un air amical notamment lorsqu’il agite sa longue et fine queue après une caresse du prince.
— Amène-moi à Shani je te prie.
Le chien jappe puis débute le trajet avec à ses côtés le prince dont les doigts tremblent frénétiquement.
Au travers de long couloirs, passant de nombreuses portes, tournant à droite et à gauche tant de fois que le prince en est confus, le chien achève sa course. Il annonce l’arrivé par un dernier aboiement avant de disparaitre au bout du couloir. Le cri lui parut mélancolique, teinté de d’encouragement pour l’épreuve qu’il s’apprête à vivre. Hor traverse la porte en pierre rectangulaire toujours accompagné de ce silence le rendant presque fou. Ses yeux percutent immédiatement le corps allongé et serré dans cette enveloppe de lin nacré. « Le corps à la même taille, corpulence fine et svelte que je connais depuis toutes ces années ». Sur la tête de la défunte un masque en bois a été déposé, une coiffure sur laquelle son visage a été peint les yeux clos. Hor s’agenouille près de son visage qu’il contemple comme il en avait l’habitude. Il le scrutait toujours en cachette comme un enfant timide mais aujourd’hui il la contemple droit dans les yeux.
— Shani, j’ai tenu parole, je t’ai enfin retrouvé, pleure-t-il son front contre le sien. Permets-moi de dormir une dernière fois à tes côtés.
Seul dans le tombeau, Hor s’allonge près de la défunte collé contre elle il finit par clore les yeux paisiblement lui qui n’avait pas trouvé le sommeil depuis sa disparition.
— Shani, chuchote-t-il, ce lieu ne te sied guère. Tu logeras éternellement dans ma grande pyramide quand je la terminerai. Désormais elle sera ta demeure et je t’y rejoindrai lorsque j’aurai achevé mes objectifs. Ils le paieront, ils me le paieront tous. Ceux qui t’ont enlevé, ceux qui ont osé te faire du mal et Pharaon mourra. Ce misérable souverain, je le décapiterai quitte à détruire ce royaume.
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2023.04.01 09:24 Sinpleton025 [Rifts of War] - Chapter 9

Expedition report from RG-5
Area of recon: Shore of Meilume due east of Galdush
Report carried out by Lieutenant Eric Ross
Report states: RG-5 has encountered an elven outpost on its way to the shore. The purpose of these outposts is to act as checkpoints for the Imperial army as well as to maintain surveillance within an area. The outpost encountered by RG-5 had thirty soldiers guarding it. RG-5 attempted peaceful contact, however, the elves engaged and RG-5 retaliated. All enemies have been neutralized and RG-5 has suffered no casualties and the outpost has been searched. Upon reaching the shore, RG-5 made peaceful contact with a local fishing village. They helped in local affairs, such as hunting down several feral welfen and repairing their equipment. In return, the locals gave them information on the coast south of the North Alston river. There are seven villages between the river and the Alston kingdom border and three more north of the river, which make up the fishing community of the southeast coast of the empire. The southeast coast and shore are patrolled by the Imperial third fleet with its center in the port city of Cheemo. Further information is required.
Other news: The airstrip has been finalized and drones have been sent to various locations. New findings include the official location of the river city Kuruk to the north and Imperial fort Mundus to the west. A large cluster of Imperial soldiers has been seen gathering on the opposite side of the North Alston river. Numbers count between one hundred and one hundred and fifty thousand, including auxiliary troops. No signs of any movement south of the river. Will continue to observe. The CIA has been able to establish a network in the Meilume capital and the leading agent, Edward Garcia, has confirmed that the nobility is attempting to flee the area. RG-3 is advised to speed up. As for the city itself, the population is estimated to be roughly six hundred thousand with fortifications and a force of ten thousand soldiers. No elements of any Imperial spy network have been discovered.
28th day of late yellow season, 3000th cycle
Meilume capital, Empire of light
General Laeroth's words reached the nobility of Meilume and they heed its instructions. Lord Bellon Belus rushed his family and the guard commander followed. Servants carried bags and soldiers formed a formation to escort them to Una, where they will meet with the army that will bring them to the other side of the river and then to the city of Imslone. Bellon was always a father and husband first, and lord second. Nearly two hundred thousand soldiers were slaughtered in less than a moon cycle. That was proof enough that he needed to leave the capital and save his family. Abandoning his city in the face of the enemy was an act of cowardice, often severely punished, but he would take any punishment for those he loved. He would not be like his father.
Bellon walked through the halls and double-checked every room. "Hurry up! Leave anything not of use! Leave the valuables, they are only dead weight!"
"Bellon!", a woman called him.
"Nimriel.", he said.
"Must we leave? This has been our home for cycles. And our family's home for far longer. Leaving it is-"
"It is the only way. The only way for us to live. We must, Nimriel. If we do not, the enemy will take us."
"But Bellon-"
"Think of our daughter, Nimriel. Think of Taria. What if those barbarians breach the walls? After they're done with the peasants, do you believe they will spare us? I will not allow such a thing to happen."
And speaking of the devil, Taria appeared from the corner, wearing a battle uniform with a sword sheathed on her left hip and holding a helmet in her right hand. "I am ready father."
Bellon couldn't say he was shocked too much. Since she was little she used to sneak into the courtyard and train with the guard commander. He knew and let her do what she wanted. It made her happy. But this was uncalled for.
"Stop fooling around Taria.", Bellon said, "This is a serious matter."
"Then take me seriously!", Taria responded, "The enemy is coming and I must be ready."
"You are not staying. You are coming with us to Imslone."
"I am not. I will not commit an act of cowardice and leave my post."
"Your post is beside me. I am your father!"
"I am not a little girl anymore! I have trained with Aego for over a hundred cycles! I am ready!"
"This enemy destroyed two armies and bested two generals! We stand no chance! Our only choice is to flee as far as we can and let the armies deal with them. The best we can hope to do is slow them down."
"You dare doubt our guard like that, father! These soldiers are just as strong as those of the Imperial army and our walls have held off the Rosians and ferals! We can-"
"Do you not hear me you stupid girl!", Bellon's voice boomed through the walls and made the servants and guards stop in their tracks, "I do not care for your illusions! The enemy is real! Wars are bloody and repulsive and not a place for you! You are the daughter of a lord! You are the heir to Meilume and a member of the Belus family! You will cease this foolishness at once and act accordingly!"
This was the loudest Bellon ever had to shout. He could feel his throat hurting. Taria could only feel tears falling down her cheeks as she lowered her head in shame. In truth, she just wanted to prove she was as capable as she claimed. That despite being a girl she could live in the world of men. But her dreams would have to wait. Bellon groaned and shook his head as he kept walking down the hall. Nimriel hugged her daughter and tried to reassure her everything will be alright, but her words fell on deaf ears.
As Nimriel left, someone else walked over to Taria from behind. As he placed his hand on her shoulder, Taria turned around and saw a man she thought of as her second father. "Aego.", she said through tears.
"Do not be saddened, my lady.", he said as he wiped her tears, "Your father said what he said because he cares. You are his only daughter, more valuable to him than this entire world. He only wants what is best for you. And right now, the best for you is to go to Imslone."
"B-But the enemy. What will you do?"
"I am coming with you, my lady. I left my first captain in charge. He will make sure these otherworlders bleed for this city."
Taria hugged him, still shedding tears, "Thank you Aego. Thank you."
Aego hugged her back.
29th of June, 2070
Since the Rift Groups programs have been initiated, soldiers all around have been eager to join. Some more than others, some less. But none were as stocked as sergeant Emma Davis. The second youngest member of RG-1, she was nicknamed 'Trigger-finger' for a reason. Great results in the shooting range, but not much else. Still, when she heard the 'Prodigy' was joining she couldn't control herself. Ever since they left for Alston, she's been clinging to Logan like a leach.
"Sir, how many people have you killed?", she asked.
"I lost count.", Logan answered.
"Sir, why have you joined the army?"
"It's a family tradition."
"Sir, have you been shot?"
"Sir, may I see it?"
"Sir, why did you leave the special forces?"
Logan didn't answer that one.
"Emma shut up already.", Jacob said.
"Yeah, I think you're getting on the captain's nerves.", Michael said.
Staff sergeant Jacob Brown and corporal Michael Hoilman, Emma's friends since high school and pretty much the only reason she's not in jail. They've stuck by her side, being her big brothers for years, and kind of grown attached to her. It was like having a little sister.
"No I'm not.", Emma said.
"Yes you are.", Jacob said.
"You hold your captain in quite a high regard.", said Krolm, the leanoid, "Why?"
"Are you kidding me?", Emma said, "He's Logan Connors. All of Fort Bragg and the rangers know about him."
"Are rangers perhaps elites in your army?", asked Kai, the welfen.
"We're rangers.", said veteran sniper sergeant Nick Harper aka 'Bullseye', "We're a strike fast group made for quick attacks and quick action. We're not like the rest of the army that fights on the front lines. We fight in forests, towns, cities, forts, you name it. We hit fast, hard, and take care of our mission."
"Hell yeah we do!", shouted corporal Lamar Jones, the 'Heavy gunner'.
"Interesting.", said Clara, the lepian, "So that's why you have us with you. It makes sense, you don't really need us on the front lines when you got your large cannons and these armored carriages."
RG-1 wasn't just a normal group. It was the only group with sixty-six soldiers, a captain, and twice as many vehicles. This made them quite a force and that was necessary since they were being deployed to the border of Alston. After prince Bodin agreed to assist REC he chose three people who would aid him. Gregor Bachwich, son of Herwin Bachwich, the baron of the border town of Afa. He will be important in establishing first contact with the Rosians. Lieutenant Pallius Blazewing, son of Lor Blazewing, a great military figure in the Opherin army. The Opherin kingdom prides itself on great military history, having fought more battles than any Rosian kingdom or duchy in history. And finally, a youngster named Matheo Calo. There was nothing special about him besides being prince Bodin's personal squire. He's been with Bodin for years and the two became more than just prince and servant. Furthermore, Bodin promised Matheo he would bring him back to his mother in Olinor. Prince Bodin himself didn't choose to come along. His reasoning was that he wants to present himself in front of all the kings and dukes when they all gathered together. One more person did come with them. Ambassador Eugene Anderson. Together, they will establish peace. Or war.
Right now they were on their way to Afa, only several more minutes. In the LAV where the tribals were, private first-class Ethan Williams sat, writing in his journal. He was the youngest and newest addition to the group. Fresh off the academy, he graduated to be a sniper and was eager to learn from both Logan and Nick. But something kept him from them. Next to him sat Carla, who kept eyeballing him and his weapon. Ethan was nervous, he wasn't used to girls sitting near him, or even looking at him, and Carla seemed interested.
"What is this weapon?", she asked.
"O-Oh Ummm, this?", he stuttered, "This is a modified and modernized Mk22 ASR sniper rifle. I know there are older models but my granddad taught me how to use this one. It can hit a target from about twenty-two hundred yards away. In your measurements, that's four leagues."
Carla's ears went up, "Amazing! I bet I could hunt a lot of meat with it."
"Well, um. It takes a lot of skill to use it. I could show you, sometime."
"Oh?", Carla raised an eyebrow and moved closer smiling, "I think I would like that.". She purred a little which made Ethan stutter and sweat. Across from them, Lin watched with her arms crossed.
"What?", Carla asked, "Envious?"
"Not at all.", Lin said as she grabbed Lamar's arm, "I prefer strong males.". Lamar opened his mouth but couldn't say anything. He and Ethan just stared at each other.
"Before your boners brake your belts and that LAV becomes hotter than a pizza oven at Papa John's, I wanna let you know we're almost there.", said lieutenant James Wilson over the comms from the leading JLTV3, the most veteran among them, chosen to uphold discipline.
"Thank you.", said Logan.
"They seem to be getting along.", said ambassador Anderson.
"Indeed.", said Gregor, "I must say, you humans are more strange than you are frightening. The way you use words with one meaning for another. And your expressions as well. Definitely not the savages Canus described."
"I'm glad we could prove that to you. And it appears we are about to prove it to the rest of your kingdom.". They were nearly at Afa. This town serves as a fortified stronghold against the empire should they attack. Its walls were tall and thick, with bastion towers and a single entry gate. It would be difficult for the elves to take it.
"The town currently has a thousand soldiers protecting it. It's usually three thousand, but two thousand went with me through the rift. Most likely on the orders of the elves, my father would never allow it."
"Only three thousand?", James asked.
"Three thousand official soldiers, but should the need arise we can recruit militia fighters from the residents. The town itself has a population of eighty thousand."
"That's a lot of people.", Eugene said.
"Yes. Luckily, it is able to support them, even if barely. The elves aren't exactly sharing people."
"That will all change soon."
As the convoy approached the gate, a ballista javelin hit the road in front of them. The city defenders had assembled on the wall and aimed their weapons at them. While the vehicles are armored, the JLTVs have weak spots a javelin can pierce.
"Hold it!", shouted a man on the wall, presumably the commander, "Present yourselves immediately."
"I'll take care of this.", Logan said as he exited the JLTV with his hands raised, "I am Captain Logan Connors of the Rift Expeditionary Corps! We are from Galdush and have come to make peaceful relations with the kingdom of Alston!"
"Why should we listen to you!?"
"If not me, then how about someone more familiar!".
At that moment, Gregor stepped out of the JLTV3 and, to put it mildly, made the defenders' hearts skip a beat. "Commander Barion! It is good to see you!"
Barion couldn't even speak for moments. His young baron was alive. Against all odds, he made it back. "Y-Young baron!", he finally spoke, "You... You live! How!? And what are you doing with the enemy?!"
"I assure you, they are not the enemy! I will explain everything, but first, I need to ask you to open this gate and let these soldiers in!"
Barion hesitated for a moment, "B-But young ba-"
"Commander, do not make me order you!"
He immediately understood, "Open this gate immediately! Let them in! Someone inform the baron!"
The gate opened and the convoy made it in. Luckily, there was enough room to fit all of them in. Barion and his men, as well as the people, could only stare in awe at what was before them. Truly, people from another world. The commander stepped down and greeted them as well as Gregor.
"Young baron, you have a lot of explaining to do.", Barion said.
"All will be explained soon.", Gregor said.
"Gregor!", shouted a little girl as she ran towards him.
"Elora.", Gregor said as he hugged her, "My little sister. It is good to see you.". Behind her came his mother and father, who at first walked slowly with tears in their eyes, not believing it was him.
"My son.", Herwin said as he hugged Gregor, "By the heavens. You live."
"Mother. Father. I have returned. Let me introduce you to someone. This is Lord Ambassador Eugene Anderson from the land of America on the other side of the rift. He is here to represent his country and the humans."
Herwin immediately walked to him and bowed, "I am Baron Herwin Bachwich. Thank you for sparing my son's life. It is an honor to have you here, Lord Anderson."
"The honor is mine baron.", Eugene said, "I hope we will be able to discuss peace with you and your kingdom."
This confused Herwin, "Peace?"
"I have much to tell you father.", Gregor said, "The prince lives."
Completely frozen, Herwin took a few moments to process that before replying, "He lives?"
"Enemies!", shouted a soldier from the wall. Commander Barion and Logan rushed up the wall. Logan grabbed his binoculars and observed the enemy from a distance. They came from a treeline, their camp was behind it, otherwise, RG-1 would have spotted them.
"I count five hundred.", Logan said, "Various races. Elves, Rosians, ferals."
"How?", Barion asked.
"These are binoculars. They allow me to see things from a distance. Try it."
Logan handed the binoculars to Barion, who observed them for a few moments before putting them on his eyes and facing the enemy. "Incredible."
Barion handed them back but Logan refused, "Keep it, I have a spare. I get the elves, but why are your people attacking you?"
"Those bastards aren't our people. They are traitors and thieves who think the kingdom is done for. So they run to the empire and beg them for forgiveness.". He spat in disgust.
"And the elves. They don't look like the army."
"They most likely were. They call themselves rogues, those who stray from their so-called 'Path of light'. Both of these traitors sicken me."
"Then let us help you."
"Why would you help us?"
"If we're gonna be at peace with one another, we have to establish a certain level of trust, don't we?"
Barion pondered for a bit before answering, "Very well. I am eager to see the army that defeated the elves."
Nodding Logan walked to the edge of the wall and faced his men. "Jones, take your men and mount the machine guns! Davis, bring the ammo! Williams, Harper, get to higher ground and shoot anyone that looks important or a large threat! Wilson, take Green and set up the mortar! Move it, they'll be here in minutes!"
RG-1 immediately went to work. Jones and his men carried the machine guns from the trucks and mounted them on the walls, Williams and Harper climbed up the tallest tower they could find and got into position. Wilson set up the 60mm mortar in the town square.
"I think we should get to safety.", Eugene said.
"You are right.", Herwin said, "Follow me."
Logan got into position with his Mk4 SCAR chambered in 7.62mm. "Commander, I need a favor."
"What is it, captain?", Barion asked.
"If these guys fire arrows, we don't have shields to defend ourselves. You think your men can take of that?"
"Certainly. Get the shields ready! Protect their soldiers!". In moments, each ranger had a Rosian soldier behind him or her with a shield ready. It was time to fight.
The horde moved closer and closer. First, they walked and then picked up the pace as they put shields above their heads. Naturally, the ferals ran towards the wall like rabid animals. "Hold!", Logan said as he gripped his gun, "Wait for them to get closer!". There was one elf on a horse swinging his sword and giving commands. Not for long.
"It's all you kid.", Harper said as he watched Williams aim his shot.
Letting out a breath, Williams pulled the trigger and splattered the elf's brain all over the field. "Boom boom motherfucker."
"Weapons free! Light them up!", Logan shouted as the rangers opened fire on the ferals. The freaks fell by the dozens as bullets pierced their chest, heads, legs, and arms and turned them into cold, dead corpses. The mortar fired at the enemies behind them, who stopped in their tracks, clearly confused and terrified. The rangers aimed their weapons at them and started cutting them down.
"Get some, blueberries!", Davis shouted, "Come closer! I dare ya!"
The few dozen that survived retreated back to the trees. The rangers cheered, but the Rosians didn't cheer as much as they stared in awe. Now they see why the elves lost, these people are powerful.
Commander Barion walked to Logan, "Thank you for the assistance. But I doubt this is the last we have seen of them."
"I know.", Logan said, "That's why I'll have one of my guys scout those trees with a drone along with Lin and Clara.". Logan walked down to the two of them, "Scot! Get over here!"
"Coming!", Scot answered. Scot Green aka 'Mechanic', was the group's engineer. He was also their drone pilot. "Yes sir?"
"I need you to pilot the Fly into those tree lines and scout for the enemy.". The SPFD Fly was a small recon drone invented by DARPA to save both room and energy. Solar-powered and long-lasting battery, coupled with its long-range and small size made it a very useful tool to have in recon missions. "Lin, Carla, you two are also going. I need good eyes and ears over there."
"Sure thing, sir.", Lin said saluting the best she could.
"You two do know how to use a radio, right?"
"Of course we do.", Clara said, "We're not idiots."
"Good. Go.". Lin and Carla ran to the trees as Scott maneuvered the Fly.
The baron and his family, along with Ambassador Eugene walked over to the soldiers. The baron was first to speak, "That was... most impressive. But I must ask. Why peace? Surely you seem powerful enough to take the kingdoms by force."
"Because my people aren't barbarians, baron.", Anderson said, "If peace can be made, then we will do anything to make it a reality."
"I see. And the prince? What does he say about this?"
"You can ask him yourself.", Anderson said as he nodded to Logan who signaled his men to set up a desk and a large screen. "With this device, we can talk to the prince and even see him."
"Amazing.", said Herwin as he eagerly awaited to see his prince. After some preparations, the screen was ready and it turned on. The lights slightly startled the Rosians before the screen was clear and on it was prince Bodin himself. "My... My prince.", Herwin said as he knelt, "It is a miracle. You truly live."
"Baron Bachwich.", Bodin spoke, "Please, rise. I am not before you just yet. This is strange for me as well. Am I correct to assume the human soldiers have arrived?"
"Yes, my prince. They recently just helped us crush an attack from a bandit horde."
"Do you then see why I have chosen to make peace with these people?"
After a momentary pause, Herwin nodded, "I do, my prince. It is incredible to see that a nation so powerful is willing to make peace with its enemy and not subdue it."
"We are not their enemy, baron. The elves and their empire are. This is why they chose to make peace with us. They understand we are just vassals forced to fight. I suggest you hear Lord Anderson out."
As they were talking, Scot called for Logan, "Sir. I have a visual."
Logan nodded, "Alright. Commander Barion, would you like to see the enemy?"
"Yes.", Barion answered, "Show me."
Scot pulled up the video feed on his screen, "This is their camp. I count roughly three thousand. Lin and Carla confirm."
"Where are those two?", Logan asked.
"In the trees."
"Call them back and give me the radio.", Logan took the radio, "Galdush base. Come in Galdush base. This is Captain Logan Connors of Rift Group 1. Do you copy? Over."
After a few moments, the radio spoke, "Copy Rift Group 1. Sitrep. Over."
"Galdush, we have made contact with border town Afa. Upon entry, we engaged a third party, designated rogue elves, and bandit Rosians. Half a battalion attacked us but we drove them off. We confirm the enemy numbers in three thousand, various races. What's the status of our air forces? Over."
"Three air squadrons of Invictus ACs and a Boeing Stratofortress is currently being fueled and should be ready in half an hour."
"Galdush I request a tactical bombing run. The area will be marked via drone. How copy?"
The radio went silent for a few moments before speaking again, "Affirmative RG-1. Stratofortress will be up in the air as soon as possible. Make sure to mark the area. Galdush out."
"Copy that Galdush. RG-1 out."
"What was that?", Barion asked.
"You're gonna get another demonstration."
"Captain!", Carla shouted as she ran towards him. "I have eliminated an enemy scout.", she said as she extended a severed head toward Logan.
Logan smacked his lips before replying, "I see. Get rid of it."
"Yes sir.", Carla said as she tossed the head into a nearby pile of trash.
'At least she's helping', Logan thought.
(Two hours later)
The bandits and rogues were sitting in their tents, trying to plan an attack. The otherworlders were an unexpected problem, but hopefully a problem they could be dealt with.
"Alright, listen.", said an elf, "We'll strike at night. It didn't work last time because there were too many of them, but I reckon there can't be more than a few dozen of them."
"That doesn't matter.", said a Rosian, "I've seen what that few can do."
"You attacked with five hundred to scout their defenses. You were never supposed to win. Besides, we can use the tribals to deal with them. As we are attacking the front, they will go to the sides and strike."
"Are you sure this will work?"
"Yes. Soon, Afa will be ours."
At that moment, an elf rushed into the tent, "Sir, you must come and see this!"
They left the tent and came to the center of the tent. The one who called them pointed upwards into the sky. There they saw something flying. A wyvern? No, it was too big. Its wings didn't flap. What could it be? As it flew over them, something fell from it. Many egg-like things started falling and as they fell to the ground, they engulfed the camp in fire and shook the earth. In moments, the whole camp was on fire and everyone was either dead or dying. The ground was turned into a burning pile of scorched bodies.
If there were any doubts about the power of the otherwolders left, they were long gone now.
Road to Una
The Belus family along with commander Aego and two hundred soldiers were on their way to Una. Taria did not wish to ride with her father and so she rode on a horse alongside Aego. Their hopes were that they would reach Una in several days and then cross the river.
"My lady.", Aego spoke, "Are you certain you should be riding alongside me and not in the carriage?"
"I do not wish to speak to my father.", Taria said, "At least not now."
"I assumed we cleared this matter."
"We have but... I still need time."
Aego sighed, "I understand. Still, you should not hate him for-", he stopped and halted the soldiers.
"Something is not as it should be. This outpost is quiet.". The soldiers tensed up. They could also feel that something wasn't right. In a split second, Aego was shot by an arrow in the side.
"Ambush!", Taria yelled out. Suddenly, elves, welfen, and leanoids ran from the sides and the outpost. The soldiers prepared but found themselves overwhelmed by the enemies' numbers. Rogue elves fired arrows at them while welfen and leanoids exploited weaknesses and struck. Still, the soldiers fought hard, making sure the traitors and savages suffer. The enemy numbers were dropping, but not quickly enough. Taria used her training and cut down several rogues before crouching down to help Aego.
"Aego!", she yelled, "Aego hold on! You will live! Please!". She cried as he struggled to breathe. He grabbed her arm and pushed her to the side, just in time for her to dodge a spear from a leanoid. She watched as Aego spat blood before dying, his life leaving his body. In pure rage, she screamed and struck the leanoid in the side. Pulling out her sword she blocked a strike from a rogue, stepped closer, and headbutted him before slitting his throat.
Turning to her left she saw the rogues and tribals dragging her family. "Father!", she yelled, but couldn't help as a rogue hit her in the back of the head, knocking her down on the ground. Her blurred vision faded away as the rogue smiled down at her.
"Sweet dreams, little girl.", was what he said before she passed out completely.
End of chapter 9

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