Preston trace apartments frisco tx reviews

[GB] JRIS65 R2 PCB Gasket Mount Customize Keyboard Group Buy Information- Only 3 Days Left! Review links Update

2023.06.09 16:12 Mykeyclub [GB] JRIS65 R2 PCB Gasket Mount Customize Keyboard Group Buy Information- Only 3 Days Left! Review links Update

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for your support and patience regarding JRIS65 R2. The GB has only 3 days left, and we have updated the review links. Please check the following GB information.

JRIS65 R2 Group Buy Information

SKUs and pricing
JRIS65 R2 GB Page
GB Time
31st May to 12th June
Estimated Delivery
Start packing and sending to vendors and Mykeyclub direct customers in August 2023
All component is compatible with the R1.
Vendor List
Please check the extracted GB info from the vendor you plan to order.

JRIS65 R2 Information

JRIS65 R2 Renders

What are the differences between Jris65 R2 and R1? 
We have received much feedback about the JRIS65 after they built it. Most of the customer love and enjoy the build and love our Jris65. And we also received some improved feedback or issues they were having. So we have improved the R2 according to the R1, please check the details below:

JRIS65 Specifications 

What can you customize for JRIS65 R2? 
Case Options:
Highlight reoxidation finish for the chamfered in makes the overall front more three-dimensional and exquisite.
Weight Options:
PCBs Options:
BT PCB is cooperating with Li Dana. LDN’s PCB is famous in China because his PCBs are stable and qualified and use friendly. It has its drive and software, which can edit the key mapping. Please check the software driver interface here.
  1. 8 devices can pair with at the same time, and it is easy to switch devices you want.
  2. The power switch is on the PCB, easy to turn BT function on/ off.
  3. The fastest response time is only 1.25ms
Plate Options:
Plateless Options:
We highly suggest building plateless with 5mm extra plate foam and solder PCB. The 5mm extra plate foam will bring a more soft typing feel, and the typing sound will be cleaner. But without the 5mm plate foam, it will also work fine, and the typing feel and sound are very different.
What's in package? 
Gift(will not send make-up or replacements)

Please check the prototype photos below# 

Review links

Content Creator Prototype (JRIS65 R2)
Yo_keebs Orange Case+Black PVD Weight
Rx003 Silver Case+Silver PVD Weight
hi_keebs Black Case+Chroma PVD Weight
YBBK Limited Edition Black Case+Black PVD Weight
SeungupKBD DarkGreen Case+Gold PVD Weight
Preston's Thoughts Milky-White Case+Silver PVD Weight
bored bear Limited Edition Red Case+Silver PVD Weight
kittykat.keys E-White Case+Chroma PVD Weight
whnkeys - Custom Tastaturen Pink Case+Silver PVD Weight
get.switched Lilac Case+Purple Weight

Content Creator Prototype (JRIS65 R1)
Alexotos E-White&Black Case+Gold PVD Weight
Keybored Milky-White Case+Black PVD Weight
nearLucid Milky-White Case+Gold PVD Weight
Yo_keebs Milky-White Case+Chroma PVD Weight
Tofutypes E-White Case+Chroma PVD Weight
sviz ify Pink Case+Silver PVD Weight
Clackbait Titanium Grey+Black Case+Black PVD Weight
Shoobs Black Case+Chroma PVD Weight
Mecha Store Maroon&Black Case+Silver PVD Weight
edwardtanujayaa Milky-White Case+Chroma PVD Weight Black Case+Chroma PVD Weight
tomshardware Pink Case+Chroma PVD Weight

Mykeyclub Team

We are a platform that integrates creativity and innovative design, helping more studios join this hobby community and bringing more fun and cool products to you guys. Please participate in our MKC family for more discussions and future updates.
Mykeyclub discord
Mykeyclub Ins
Best Wishes
Mykeyclub Team
submitted by Mykeyclub to mechmarket [link] [comments]

2023.06.09 14:45 girl_from_the_crypt Stuck on earth and looking for a job: Fog dimension

So I guess newsreaders can hide their emotions really well on TV. I’ve never seen Mary Markov in any state of heightened temper. The time she came down to help after I’d burned down the FunFlair building with Frankie was definitely a first in that regard. Then again, I’d never committed arson before either, so there were a lot of firsts that night. It’s been two days, but I can still see her angry face before me when I close my eyes. It frightened me a little.
After the fire had been doused by her staff, she gave Fran and me a look unlike anything I’d ever seen before. There was a homicidal rage in her eyes, her mouth had turned into a thin, steely line and the vein on her forehead threatened to pop. To my surprise (and admittedly relief), she turned the entirety of that wrath against Frankie Preston. “What in the world were you thinking?” she thundered, looming dangerously over the shorter man. “You committed a goddamn crime! If you were a normal person, I’d have to get you behind bars now!”
“Wait, I’m the privileged one here?” he snapped. “That woman tortured me! She brought me into this world by fault and proceeded to make me wish I’d never been born! And there was nothing I could ever do about it, because, oh, that’s right, I’m not a normal person! As you so endearingly put it. No one has a fucking clue what I am, so it’s okay for me to suffer, isn’t it?”
Mary opened her mouth to respond, but only ended up shutting it again. Then she focused her scrutiny onto me. “I thought you’d have known better.”
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I knew what I was getting myself into. This was a contemplated decision.”
“Was it ever.”
I motioned for her to step aside with me, bringing a bit of distance between ourselves and my waiter. “I’ll make it up to you,” I began. “I will, but please, please drop this.”
“Did he force you to come?”
“You don’t actually believe he could force me into anything, do you?”
Mary Markov sighed. “I guess not. Look, it’s not like I don’t understand his grudge. And from what I know of Ms Wallis, she won’t be missed by many. I just wish it didn’t have to come to this. This means a ton of work for me.”
“It means so much more to him.”
Another sorrowful moan. Then, “Alright. I have your back. But don’t, um… encourage this kind of behavior in him, please.”
“I won’t,” I promised. “What are you going to do about the other doll?”
“She’s in bad shape—”
“Trash shape,” Fran chimed in from behind, having inconspicuously strayed closer.
“She’s in bad shape,” Mary repeated, pointedly ignoring him, “and currently unresponsive, but since you said she’s shown signs of sentience, I guess we’ll have to look into her. It prompts a very interesting question, after all.”
“Being?” I offered.
“Think about it. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the other two living dolls, Zion Boyd and Bunny Martell, but they came alive after Frank tinkered with them. And now there’s this one. Maybe your little boyfriend has some kind of yet to be explored ability, seeing as he was the first to gain awareness.” She fell silent for a pregnant pause, glancing between the two of us. “Something to ponder on your drive home. Which you will be starting now.” She made a shooing motion with both her hands.
The message being quite clear, Frankie and I got back into his car. The ride was quiet at first, but it wasn’t an uncomfortable stillness. It felt like a weight I didn’t know I’d been carrying had been lifted. I stared at the server’s profile, alternately framed by nightly darkness and moonlight, drinking in every little detail about it. It was hard to believe that someone as cruel as Philomena Wallis had created something this breathtaking.
“So you’ll probably wanna talk about all of this, huh. About what I am, I mean.” Frankie’s voice was light and relaxed with only a hint of uncertainty gnawing at it.
“What’s there to talk about?”
“Aren’t you surprised? A little… disgusted, maybe?”
“I always knew you weren’t human. Beyond that, it doesn’t really matter to me what you are.” I shrugged. “I mean, I’d be fine if you were human, too. I’d be fine if you were a squonk.”
“What’s a squonk?”
“I don’t know, I just made that up. Anyways, did you actually think I would be grossed out? Did you?”
He smiled. “I guess not. This’ll sound crazy, and it’s hard to explain, but it’s like I got a voice in the back of my head constantly telling me that… that I should wash myself again or that I ought not to touch you. I suppose it’s not really a voice; it’s only these thoughts that kind of keep pushing into my mind even though I should know better. And I do know better. But that doesn’t stop the thoughts.”
I nodded slowly. “I think I understand. I can’t tell you how much I disagree with that voice, though. You’re the cleanest person I’ve ever met and if I could, I’d live in your hair like a cootie."
"That's how close you want me?"
He let out a soft laugh. “I’m really, really glad you came with me. If there’s ever anything you need, I’ll do it. No matter what. If you want to bury a body, I’ll dig the hole.” He paused. “Actually, we should sell any corpses you might have. It’s wonderfully lucrative.”
I shot him a quick smile before turning to stare out the window with knitted brows. “What do you think about what Mary Markov said? About you being able to make the dolls come alive somehow.”
“I don’t know if there’s anything to it. I don’t remember doing anything special with them. Zion and Bunny were just standing around when I turned them on, and they came to within minutes. I figured they were sentient before, and it was simply repressed. I woke up randomly, too, after all.”
I hummed pensively. “I wouldn’t be so sure.”
“Well, if you’re implying it’s some kinda superpower, then that’s probably the most useless one ever.”
“We don’t have to talk about this now,” I told him, to which he gave me a grateful half-grin.
Per my request, he dropped me off at Nettie’s place. I kissed him goodbye on the crown of his head and told him we’d text the following day. He thanked me again and I watched him drive off before going up to ring the doorbell, mentally preparing an apology for showing up at five-thirty in the morning. My savior human was surprisingly quick to answer, giving me an indulgent wave as soon as I stumbled over my first “I’m sorry”.
“It’s fine,” she muttered. “I hadn’t gone to bed yet.”
I gave her an incredulous look and she sighed, crossing her arms in front of her chest. Her normally soft, rounded cheeks were sunken, her eyes oddly dull. Judging from the angry red marks, she’d apparently been chewing on her lower lip with some force. It was only then that I took note of the sweater she was wearing. A faded, shaggy piece of fabric that clearly hadn’t been washed since Kit Sutton had given it to her on the cliff that day. I felt a sharp pang in my chest and pulled her into a hug as soon as I’d stepped inside with her.
She stifled a sob when she wrapped her arms around me in return. “It’s hit or miss with me when it comes to sleep lately,” she confessed in a brittle voice.
I swallowed. “I’m working on it. I’ll get her back for you, I have a lead. Is there anything I can do in the meantime?”
“Not really. I just gotta distract myself ‘til the morning comes, I’ll be fine then.”
“Then I’ll stay up with you.”
It was thus decided. We sat down in the living room for a while, then went out into the garden to watch the sunrise. My savior human had taken her place in her mother’s chair while I whipped up some chocolate chip pancakes (one of her favorites) for her for breakfast. I carried them out to her on a little plate with a cup of tea, and for a moment, her expression cleared up for a beam of happiness to shine through. “We should do something productive,” she remarked, and I gave her a questioning tilt of the head. “I’ve been thinking,” she went on. “Isn’t it weird how all these years, you didn’t hop dimensions once, and now all of a sudden it keeps happening?”
“Don’t worry about that right now.”
“I always worry, baby girl. It’s my natural state of being.”
“It shouldn’t be,” I insisted. “It feels wrong. You have your own problems, I don’t want to add to that.”
“Seriously, that’s not what’s happening here. This is just how I keep my mind off… things.”
I rolled my lips together. Blue-haired things, probably. “You deserve so much better. You deserve this to be way, way easier,” I stated.
“That’s a nice thought. But it doesn’t change anything right now. You can control your body, can’t you? Your teeth and tentacles?”
“Yes. It happens automatically when I get scared sometimes, but for the most part, I’m actively doing it.”
“Then how about if we could somehow start getting you on top of your dimension jumping, too? It would be a tad risky and I’m not sure how to go about it exactly, but it would be far better if you could toggle it. You’d be able to stop yourself from hopping when you don’t want to, but maybe you could venture into these other spaces for exploration purposes, too.” The words spilled out of her like a babbling little waterfall as she plucked apart one of her pancakes and stuffed them into her mouth. “Because there has to be more to this. I just have that feeling. So I reckon we try and find a way to work with this. What do you think?”
“Sure. I guess I’d be… open to that.”
“Really? I-I don’t want to pressure you…”
“No, no, it sounds fine! I wanna try!”
“Okay!” She set aside her plate, rubbing her hands in blatant excitement. “So it happens when your flight instinct kicks in, correct? How about we get you in that headspace on purpose?”
“How would we do that?” I asked cautiously.
When I was sitting cross-legged on the ground among my savior human’s countless flowers with my eyes closed and her hand in mine, that question had pretty much answered itself. Nettie Peterson was leading me in a “guided meditation” consisting of several intrusive queries about my first ever jump—the most terrifying moment of my entire life.
“The thing, that floating maw, what did it look like?” she began, referring to the creature that had ended it all.
I furrowed my brows. “It didn’t look like anything,” I replied meekly. “Mostly, it was just… really big and dark.”
“Dark? What color dark?”
“Black, I guess. It swallowed the light.” A pulsating pain began to flare up behind my forehead. “It was nothing. It was like a giant ball of nothing.”
“You told me once that it made a noise,” my best friend went on, her fingers grasping mine a little tighter. “Do you remember that sound?”
I winced. “Yes.”
“Describe it.”
“It was more like a vibration that went through everything,” I mumbled. “The ground was shaking. And then we all screamed.”
“Did you see inside its mouth?”
“No. There was nothing inside of its mouth. There was nothing inside of it. Just emptiness.” I shifted my weight. Images were flashing in front of my inner eye, filling the darkness behind my closed lids. My breath had caught in my throat and it felt like ants were crawling beneath my skin. “And then all of us were suddenly… nothing, everything was gone and at that last moment, everyone was so terrified. They all knew it was over. All of them.”
At first, I thought Nettie Peterson’s hand was trembling. Then I realized it was my own, shaking hers through the contact. For a moment, my body felt feather-light, but not in a relaxing or comfortable way. It was as though I was afloat, out of control and weightless. I didn’t like it. “Can we stop?” I choked out.
“Of course,” my best friend replied, gently squeezing my fingers.
I let go of a deep breath, blinking my eyes open. Across from me, Nettie was giving me a soft but deeply apologetic smile. “Did I push you too far?”
“It’s not your fault. I think I simply wasn’t ready for this.”
“I understand. Let’s go inside and make some more of those—” She stopped mid-sentence. She’d been pointing her chin at the plate of pancakes resting on her chair, only to see that it had changed.
The food I had just served her half an hour ago had turned into a moldy, rotten mess. A couple flies were circling it, emitting a low, almost melodic buzz. My savior human and I traded wide-eyed glances, disbelief, fear and excitement mirrored in our eyes. We then got up to take in our surroundings. The flowers surrounding us weren’t the same anymore. They were either withered or deathly pale; formerly pink, yellow and red petals had become either light gray or iridescently white. Thick, soupy fog was hanging over everything, it was denser and heavier than any we’d ever had in town before. The mist seemed to have consumed all the noise and color in the world, leaving only cold, oppressive silence.
Nettie was the first to regain speech. “It worked! Oh my Lord, it actually worked.”
I clasped her arm and she immediately fell silent. Wordlessly, I pointed at the rolling fog on the other side of the garden fence. There was something moving within. An enormous, caterpillar-like shape soundlessly dragged itself through the air, its long body slowly moving along across the street. My savior human’s jaw had dropped, her mouth wide open as she followed my gaze. Neither of us moved a muscle as we waited for the creature to pass by. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to take note of us at all. I didn’t want to imagine what could happen if one were to draw its attention.
“This is… I don’t believe this,” Nettie breathed, running a hand over her mussed coils. “You did it. We’re not home anymore.”
“What do you propose to do now?”
“Keep our heads low and try to find out anything useful, I’d say.”
I nodded and she folded her hand into the crook of my arm. Together, we proceeded through the open door back into the house. Wammawink and Nettie’s old convertible were standing in their garage, a pool of motor fluid surrounding each vehicle. The paint was peeling from the car doors, matching the way the pictures and photographs around her house had faded.
The food in her kitchen had morphed into a self-contained ecosystem. Bugs were crawling up and down the walls and ghostly white mice scuttled across the floor with shocking brazenness. There was no trace of human life anywhere in sight. We stepped out the front door and into the street only for Nettie to grab me and fling me to the ground next to her. We flattened ourselves against the curb as another one of the gigantic caterpillar-figures snaked its way along just a couple feet above our heads. I craned my neck to give my best friend a sidelong glance out of terrified, saucer-sized eyes. I could see my reflection in hers as she pressed a finger to her lips. I gave her a tiny nod.
Finally, it was gone again and we helped each other to our feet. Nettie brushed down her sweater with great care before tilting her head at me as though asking if I was alright. I gave a reassuring, albeit wavering smile which she returned with a slight strain to her brow. We linked arms again and started walking down the street. The whole dimension seemed to be a mirror image of our hometown, only deader. Aside from the flies and vermin, there seemed to be very little life. All of the houses we were so familiar with looked decrepit, old and empty. Walls were crumbling down, roofs looked to be seconds away from caving in and most windows were shattered. It was impossible to see ahead through the mist, but we managed to hide from the flying worm-things everytime they came up.
We were starting to become a little frustrated seeing as our exploration yielded nothing of note. There was hardly anything to be seen safe from the depressing alternate version of our neighborhood. On top of that, the clammy chill that hung in the air along with the fog was making us increasingly uncomfortable. Finally, we decided we should try and get back home. We returned to Nettie’s garden where we crouched down once again, hand in hand. Before my savior human could begin her questioning though, the ground beneath us suddenly began to shudder, heaving as if moved by some kind of subterranean pulse.
Nettie Peterson and I snapped our eyes open at the exact same time, mouths agape in bewilderment. And then we saw it. It was in the sky, partially veiled by the thick fog yet impossible to overlook. It became darker and darker as it neared, its indescribably large form seemed to envelop the entirety of the heavens. It had been five years since I had last seen it, but I recognized it immediately. Not that it had any features I could have recognized. I remembered though, and in that moment, it all came flooding back to me. The breeders that threw themselves in front of their young, the cries that echoed across the plains together with the stones and soil sent rolling by the earthquake. I caught my best friend’s gaze, read the terror in it and knew that it was just as immense as my own. Her lips were parted in an ear-piercing scream that ended up being drowned out by the hovering roar of the Devourer Of Worlds.
I squeezed her hand so tightly I feared I’d snap her fingers. And suddenly, before I knew it, all was silent again. The air was warmer, filled with the fragrances of countless different flowers. The early morning sun was shining down on us, and it felt like it was heating up my very core. We were back. In the blink of an eye, Nettie had thrown her arms around me, pulling me close to her chest.
“Baby girl,” she whispered.
“That was it,” I rasped out. “That was it.”
“I know.” Withdrawing just an inch, she wiped a thumb over my eye, careful not to scrape me with her nail. It was only then that I realized I was crying. Tears were streaming down my cheeks, noiseless and hot, dripping from my chin and wetting my chest.
"You're not hurt, are you? Look, it's going to be alright. You just take it easy now. We'll go inside, have some tea or coffee or whatever and calm down, a-and then we can figure this all out. Come on. Get up. Easy, easy now." She hugged me even as she pulled me to my feet and into the house alongside her. "So tea. How about strawberry? Or Turkish apple? Or classic chamomile? Something for the nerves, at any rate."
"Wait," I stammered, interrupting her monologue. "What about you? Are you okay?"
"Oh, no. No, no, no, far from it. I'll sign us both up for therapy once I find the time, but for now, tea! Tea."
"Nettie, please don't strain yourse—"
"Listen here, I'm gonna make you some goddamn tea and we'll sit down with it and it's gonna be warm and nice and we'll forget all about this. I'm here. I can take care of you. You do not need to be scared." She pressed her face close up to mine, her voice sharp and a mite threatening.
"I'm sort of scared of you right now."
"Oh." She drew back. "Pardon. I'll put on the tea." A forced, crooked tune tumbled from her lips as she went ahead into the kitchen.
We've both simmered down a little since the incident. It's been two days now. I used most of that time to unwind and recover from what had to be the single most eventful night of my time here on earth. Keep in mind, this happened the morning after the fire. The calm is not going to last much longer, though. I don't mind that, I just need to brace myself.
Rhonda's been in touch.
2: deadbeat roommate
3: creepy crush
4: relocation
5: beach concert
6: First date
7: Temp work
8: roommate talk
9: a dismal worldview
10: warehouse
11: staircase
12: explanation
13: hurt
14: hospital
15: ocean
16: diner
17: government work
18: something in the caves
19: shopping cart
20: olms and Jewels
21: long hair
22: recruitment
23: waitresses
24: dollhouse
25: burning plastic
submitted by girl_from_the_crypt to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.08 10:17 PocketFMofficial Cathy betrayed Alex, but will she come back after knowing the truth that Alex is Millionaire? How will Alex heal his heart?

Cathy betrayed Alex, but will she come back after knowing the truth that Alex is Millionaire? How will Alex heal his heart?
Chapter 1
"Hello. Heavenly Lion Convenience," Alex Ambrose answered the store phone.
"I need a box of condoms and two packs of tissues delivered to room 1302 of the Sheraton South River Hotel. Hurry!" The caller hung up.
Alex shook his head. People never seemed to be prepared.
He packed the required items, put on a raincoat, and rode his electric bike toward the Sheraton Hotel on the southern side of the river.
It was nine o’clock in the evening and raining heavily, and his pants and shoes were soon wet and filthy. Luckily, the merchandise was still dry, but he didn't dare delay any longer, so he hurried toward the hotel.
When he arrived at room 1302, he knocked on the door, and it was opened quickly.
"Hello, here’s your—" Alex was stunned into silence.
The woman in front of him was none other than his girlfriend, Cathy!
She was dressed in a white robe, with her long, dark, wet hair draped over her shoulders. The scents of shower gel and shampoo assaulted his nose.
"Cathy? What are you doing here?" He stared at her in disbelief, still feeling dazed.
"What are you doing here?" Cathy asked. Her heart skipped a beat, and she took a small step back into the room. Her mind went blank and then started to spin.
"What's wrong?" Another guy walked up to the door, wearing a robe and slippers, and Alex immediately recognized him.
"You! You dare to touch my girl?" Alex couldn't suppress the anger welling up inside him, and he started moving toward Billy, determined to teach him a lesson.
"Stop!" Cathy stepped in front of Alex. After a brief burst of panic, she had managed to get back a bit of control. Since her boyfriend had already discovered her betrayal, there was no point in trying to hide it now.
She looked directly at him. "Alex, we need to break up."
"Break up?" Alex was stunned. He stared at Cathy with wide eyes. "Cathy, we've been together for more than a year. Are you going to break up with me now?"
"Yes. We need to go our separate ways." She kept steady eye contact with him and spoke with a strong sense of resentment. "Are you surprised? You have no money, Alex. You can only barely afford the cheapest essentials. We never have anything nice. As long as I’m with you, people will always be laughing at me, and that just isn't the life I want. I’m too good to be living in poverty like this. I was too naive when I was in my freshman year, and I let myself get tricked into being with a loser like you!"
She hugged Billy's arm and said to Alex, "Billy is my boyfriend now. From now on, I want nothing to do with you. Don't bother me again!"
"Well, seems like you’re just her good-for-nothing ex now!" Billy looked at Alex with a provocative smirk.
Alex, standing there in a raincoat and with mud stains on his pants and shoes, felt like Cathy was right. He was a complete loser. Billy took the plastic bag from his hand and took out the box of condoms. He waved it at Alex and laughed as he said, "I’m staying in a nice hotel, having my girlfriend’s ex bring me condoms. And you’re single. Sure was good of you to help me out."
"Why are you still here?" Cathy scolded Alex.
"Nah, it's good that he didn't piss off. Maybe you want to see me beat him down, huh, Cathy? Gotta give a lady what she wants," Billy sneered.
Alex felt utterly defeated. He slowly turned around and walked out of the room.
"Bro, you're not even taking the money? Heh, nice. I get a girlfriend and a gift." Billy felt great watching Alex's slumped, dejected posture as he closed the door behind him.
When Alex left the hotel, it was raining even harder than before. He took off his raincoat, allowing the cold rain to drench his entire body and help clear his head.
Cathy had discarded him because she believed he had no money. Losing such a materialistic woman should be something to rejoice over, so why should he be sad?
[Buzz buzz!]
His phone vibrated in his pocket. Alex took it out and glanced at it, but when he saw the number, he stopped walking. His entire body was shaking as he read the text.
[After a review, the Ambrose family has decided that their son, Alexander, has met the conditions required for entitlement to his inheritance. From today onward, control of his property will be returned to him.]
The bean-sized raindrops plopped onto the screen, causing the text message to gradually become blurry.
Alex's mind began to spin. If not for this message, Alex would have almost forgotten his identity as a super-rich kid. Over the last seven years, his family had been assessing him, withholding his fortune until they were satisfied he met their draconian conditions. And now, finally, it was over.
Everything that rightfully belonged to him was finally his to claim.
Alex woke up early the next morning and drove to the city. In a great mood, he got out of his car and went straight to Metro Sky Bank, right in the heart of the wealthiest part of the central business district of New York.
Various luxury cars were parked around the bank. The people walking in and out of the surrounding plaza were all rich; it was obvious from their clothing and demeanour.
Alex strode to the door of the bank and pushed it open.
The main door could be opened both inward and outward, and Alex had been a bit careless when he pushed it open from outside. As a result, the door had bumped into a long-haired young woman who had been heading out of the building.
He quickly apologized, "Sorry. I didn't see you."
"What do you mean, you didn’t see me? What am I, invisible?" She held a hand to her forehead and glared at him.
The bank’s assistant manager, Karen Young, had noticed the incident and hurried over. She checked on the woman first, and then looked at Alex in disapproval. When her gaze swept over him, a trace of suspicion appeared on her face.
Metro Sky Bank was different from most banks, as the clientele were almost exclusively high-end businesspeople. Karen knew the young woman was there with her father, but she didn't know why Alex was there. Judging from his appearance and age, he wasn't their usual type of customer.
"Sir, can I be of assistance?" she asked with a polite but forced smile.
Alex simply said, "I’m here to withdraw money."
"Withdraw money?" the sullen woman asked, sneering at him.
"Do you have a card?" Karen asked, continuing to smile politely.
Getting a Metro Sky Bankcard was not easy. A million dollars of savings was the minimum requirement to qualify. Karen felt certain that the man in front of her couldn't have much experience with the bank and wouldn't know their rules. Perhaps he had thought that other banks' cards could also be used here.
"No," Alex replied, shaking his head.
The woman he had accidentally hit with the door couldn't help but giggle when she heard his honest reply. He wasn't worth any more of her attention.
"Let’s go." Her father had walked up, still arranging the documents he was carrying.
"My dad and I are leaving." The woman shook Karen's hand, and then looked over at Alex. "Ms Young, having someone like this around could damage your bank's image and upset your customers. I hope this will not happen again."
With that, she took her father’s arm and opened the door.
"Take care, Mr Scott." Karen followed them out a few steps, watching as they got into a car and left. Turning around, she headed back inside, having made up her mind to encourage Alex to leave as soon as possible.
There was no one standing where Alex had been. Oh! Where’s he gone? she wondered.
Was it possible that the kid had been embarrassed and had quietly slipped away?
She felt relieved at the thought. Then, just as she was about to go back to work, she caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of her eye.
There’s the brat! No wonder I didn’t see him at first, she thought. He had already reached the entrance to the VIP lounge, and a pillar had blocked her view of him.
The VIP room was only for high-status customers who were worth at least thirty million dollars, and this young man had admitted that he didn’t even have a card. If she let him get through, she would be in trouble with her boss.
"Stop! Don't move!" Karen yelled, feeling desperate. The other customers all looked around at her, obviously annoyed by her shouting. She could only smile apologetically as she walked quickly toward Alex.
But he had already walked through the lounge, opened the door to the VIP room, and stepped inside.
Chapter 2
Does he have no shame? Karen hurried after Alex with a look of chagrin on her face. She tried to open the door to the VIP room, but it had been locked from the inside.
"Hello?" Inside the VIP room, Robert Miller, the bank manager, was leaning against the sofa, looking at his phone. When the door suddenly opened, he quickly sat down and hid his phone away. Normally, when a VIP was coming in, Karen would notify him in advance.
As the customer manager, he was responsible for thirty-one VIPs, and he knew them like the back of his hand. He immediately began to launch into his normal professional greeting, hoping to undo the poor impression he’d made by slouching against the sofa, but when he saw Alex, his expression froze.
He was certain that Alex was not one of his VIPs, nor was he a relative of one.
"May I ask who you are?" Robert asked, looking at the young man, who appeared to be around twenty years old. Robert had no idea who he was.
Alex got straight to the point. "I'm here to get my money."
"You have one of our cards?" Robert asked, suspicious of Alex's calm expression.
"No," Alex admitted frankly.
Robert was relieved to seemingly be proven right, but even more confused. Access to the VIP room required a minimum worth of three million dollars, but this man didn't have any money. Why was he so composed?
"I'm sorry, sir. We can't give out money without a card. Do you require anything else?"
He's crazy, Robert thought. Why on earth did Karen let him in? I’ll have to speak to her about this at Monday’s meeting.
"You have fingerprint recognition here, right?" Alex suddenly asked.
The fingerprint ID system at the bank was for the wealthiest families and businesses to use. Only a few people had their fingerprints recorded in the system, at least in the New York branch, and no one had used it to access their holdings yet.
"You want to use it?" Robert could no longer bring himself to call Alex "sir."
"Yes." Alex nodded.
Robert was feeling more confused by the second. Why would someone who wasn't even a customer request to use a fingerprint ID?
To be honest, even though he was curious, Robert felt that it was barely worth humouring the request. But after considering for a few seconds, he finally decided to let Alex make the attempt rather than risk making him angry.
He opened the safe and brought out the fingerprint identification device, which he had never used before.
"Place your thumb here." Robert indicated the verification area to Alex, who placed his thumb on the sensor.
The device lit up with a glaring red light, and the LCD screen displayed the words [Fingerprint not recorded].
Immediately, Robert’s expression turned hostile, and he glared at Alex. He picked up his phone, ready to call the police.
"Wait, wait!" Alex said quickly. "Maybe that was the wrong print. I'll try using my index finger this time."
Robert smiled coldly. "What’s your plan here? Your thumb doesn’t work, so you’ll try your index finger. Then, if your index finger doesn’t work, you’ll try your middle finger. When you run out of fingers, will you try using your toes?"
But Alex had already pressed his index finger on the verification area.
Robert resolved that if the man’s fingerprints weren’t accepted this time, he would immediately call the police and have him arrested.
[Beep!] A green light appeared on the device and new details flashed up on the LCD screen: [Verification successful. Family account: 01. Verifier: Alexander Ambrose. Account: 01104.]
Robert gaped at Alex in disbelief for a moment, and then hurriedly squeezed out a smile. "Mr Ambrose, I'm sorry. I didn't realize. I'm Robert Miller, the customer manager for the New York branch. Please allow me to assist you."
"It's fine," Alex said lightly and stood up. "Can I see how much money I have left in my account?"
"Please wait a moment." Robert sat in front of the computer and typed away for a while. On his instructions, Alex provided a few more fingerprint scans as authorization.
"It's done, Mr Ambrose." Robert clicked the "OK" button on the screen, and Alex's account appeared.
Robert pointed to the computer screen and said, "Mr Ambrose, the balance of your account is currently eighty-six million dollars."
Robert couldn't help but suck in a breath of cold air.
This young man had an enormous fortune. It placed him in the topflight of the one per cent. Most people would never be able to even dream of that much money.
Alex felt strange as he stared at the numbers on the screen. He reminded himself that he needed to get used to his status as a rich kid as soon as possible.
"Oh, and you have other assets as well. Let me show you now." Robert clicked through to check several pages in a row. Finally, he clicked the "OK" button again.
The computer brought up a 4 x 4 grid of display screens.
"This surveillance screen displays all the physical assets that you hold elsewhere," Robert explained. He clicked on the upper left corner of the screen and brought up the feed from the bank's branch at The Hague, which revealed a sports car. In the lower right corner, it said, [Ferrari Pagani Huayra].
Robert opened up other screens for Alex, one after another.
The Hawaii branch displayed a Dominica blue pearl bracelet and four stacks of gold bars.
The feed from the French branch in Nice revealed three original Picasso paintings and two Rodin statues.
And the Cape Town branch had fifteen 10-carat diamonds, ten pieces of ivory, and another couple of stacks of gold bars. Robert's eyes almost popped out as he looked at Alex's assets. He had never seen anyone so rich. Maybe not even one-tenth as rich.
"All right, I’d like a card," Alex said before Robert could collect his thoughts.
"Yes, I will see to it right away. Please wait a moment." Robert immediately started to make the necessary arrangements. Within ten minutes, a Supreme Card was produced.
Robert looked at the Supreme Card and thought about Alex's assets. This card wasn’t good enough for Alex’s status, but it was the highest grade of card they were authorized to issue at the New York branch.
Robert presented handed the card over. "Mr Ambrose, your card."
"Thank you." Alex took the card, stood up, and went to walk out of the room.
"Mr Ambrose, please wait." Robert didn't dare to appear to be neglecting such an important customer. He should see him out personally, but the asset checking system on his computer had not been turned off yet, and the fingerprint verification machine, iris recognition apparatus, and other sensitive equipment had not been returned to the safe. The monitoring system in the VIP room was connected to the district manager’s office.
Karen was anxiously waiting in the hall. What's been going on in there for so long? she wondered. Could that brat have murdered Mr Miller in the VIP room?
The more she considered it, the more scared she became. She was on the verge of banging on the door and demanding a response when Alex walked confidently out of the room.
"Stop!" Karen shouted. She walked quickly over toward him and grabbed at his coat. "You can't leave. You broke into the VIP room. Once we confirm that nothing is missing, I will call the police and have them hold you for questioning."
"What are you talking about?" Alex asked. "Let go!"
Karen grappled with him for a while, but she couldn't manage to search his pockets.
What’s wrong with this woman? Alex thought. He wasn’t even arguing with her, but she was manhandling him.
"What is this?" Karen spotted the Supreme Card that was peeking out of Alex's pocket. She quickly pulled it out and looked at him triumphantly, as if she had found evidence of his guilt. "Oh, you stole a card. This is a crime, and I have to call the police."
It didn't even cross her mind that the card could belong to Alex. She imagined he had entered the VIP room, pretending to be there by mistake, and had then distracted Mr Miller with questions and stolen the card when the manager wasn't paying attention.
"Let go!" Alex was sick of this woman.
"Don’t you feel guilty about being a thief?" She was even more determined.
With the two of them creating such a scene, other customers started to walk over toward them, intending to help Karen keep Alex from getting away.
Just then, Robert, who had finished tidying up, strode out of the VIP room.
Having seen Alex's assets, Robert now knew he was the most important customer the New York branch of the bank had ever had. He had also noticed that the system listed Alex's was listed as just one of multiple accounts attached to a family group, labelled 01. If that single account was so lucrative, then what about the rest of the family?
It was rare to meet such important people, so Robert knew he had to be careful to curry favour with Alex. If they got along well, it would be a tremendous success for Robert, and the potential benefits were huge.
So, when saw Karen struggling with Alex, he was enraged. Karen's expression was hostile, and Alex was becoming very angry. Karen was an idiot who was playing with fire, and she might drag Robert himself down with her.
Of all the bank’s many, many customers, why did she need to pick this one to try and remove? A simple flick of Alex’s finger could be enough to end both their careers.
Chapter 3
"Stop!" Robert dashed between Alex and Karen.
Before Alex could speak, Karen waved the Supreme Card in the air. Her eyes flashed with triumph as she said to Robert, "Mr Miller, look! He stole a card from the VIP room!" She smiled at him, her expression a little smug.
Surely, Mr Miller would be happy with her for preventing theft. He had a lot of authority in the eastern district of Metro Sky Bank, and when he had arrived at headquarters, he had seemed impressed with her, so she was hoping for a promotion. Her imagination began to run away with her as she dreamed about her possible future.
Mr Miller's face had always been a little glum, but as she watched, his expression grew darker and darker. Before she could figure out why, she was startled by his explosive roar, leaving her entire body trembling.
"Let go of Mr Ambrose!" As he yelled, Mr Miller knocked the Supreme Card out of her hand, and she was so scared that she let go of Alex. Mr Miller pushed her aside and bent down to pick up the card. "Mr Ambrose, your card. I'm very sorry. I haven't trained Ms Young properly. I do apologize."
Mr Miller's expression showed a mixture of respect, embarrassment, and unease, as the bank's customers looked on in amazement. Karen was stunned.
Could the Supreme Card be his? she wondered.
Her eyes widened. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't make sense of it.
If this man had a Supreme Card, then he had at least three million dollars, yet he appeared to only be around twenty years old. A poor, lower-class loser with that much money? No, it was just too unlikely.
"It's not your fault, Mr Miller," Alex assured him, slipping the card back into his pocket.
"Thank you, Mr Ambrose." Robert dipped his head and paused briefly before straightening up and shouting at Karen, "Why are you just standing there? Apologize to Mr Ambrose immediately!"
How could Karen still not understand? Robert thought. The young man standing in front of them was seriously rich and needed to be treated with respect.
Karen immediately bowed her head at Alex. "Mr Ambrose, I'm very sorry for my rude behaviour. I made a mistake, created a fuss over nothing, and put my hands on you. It was my fault, and I will reflect on my behaviour—"
Alex ignored her and walked away.
"Mr Ambrose," Robert called after him. "If you ever need anything, just give me a call, and I'll do my best to help."
Robert was excited by this opportunity. It was rare to meet someone as important as Alex, so he shamelessly tried to charm him.
"Okay, Robert." Alex smiled faintly. Robert had come to his defence, after all.
The use of his first name made Robert feel quite emotional. The wealthiest customers called him by his first name, and now so did this poorly dressed young man, who displayed not even a hint of arrogance.
Alex strode out of the bank and hailed a taxi to take him back to Preston University.
As Alex entered the university building, he accidentally stepped into a puddle, splashing a lot of mud on his legs.
He checked his watch then rushed toward the classroom, where Mr Morgan was already standing at the podium, lecturing. He spotted Alex out of the corner of his eye and a hint of disappointment flashed across his face.
Feeling guilty, Alex lowered his head.
Of all his teachers, Mr Morgan was his favourite. The other teachers tended to ignore Alex because he had no money, and some even openly mocked him. Only Mr Morgan treated him like any other student.
Alex slipped quietly into the classroom, aware that all the students were staring at him, and he could hear them whispering.
"He isn't usually late. Hell must have frozen over."
"Look at his pants! They’re filthy. Doesn’t he have any clean clothes?"
"Are you joking? It’s not like he’d have the money for new ones. It looks like he's just thrown on whatever he could find."
Some of the boys continued to talk, and the girls in the front row covered their mouths with their hands as they joined in. Their eyes flashed with contempt when they looked at Alex.
"Stop talking!" Mr Morgan said loudly. "And pay attention."
Throughout the lecture, Alex noticed that Mr Morgan kept glancing at him, his eyes full of disapproval, as if Alex had failed to live up to his expectations.
Eventually, the lecture was over.
"Class dismissed."
Mr Morgan packed up his textbooks and left.
"Cathy." The voice came from the doorway.
Everyone turned in the direction of the voice and saw Billy walking through the door and going straight to Cathy, who was sitting by the window. She stood and hugged him, both of them were in love
Many of the students turned to stare at Alex. Everyone thought that he was Cathy's boyfriend, and they weren’t aware that she had broken up with him.
Alex watched in disgust. He’d heard that Billy had taken at least five different girls to stay at that hotel. Cathy was just the latest in a long line, and Alex had no intention of fighting for her.
Billy strutted past Alex with his arm around Cathy's shoulder.
"Darling, wait a minute," Cathy said to Billy as she stopped in front of Alex and held out her phone. "Since we've broken up, I don’t want to owe you anything. Here's the phone you bought for me a few weeks ago. You can have it back."
Alex glanced at the Samsung Galaxy phone and then took it.
"Hah, you would have to work part-time for six months to afford one of these!" Cathy took a brand-new phone out of her pocket and showed it to Alex. "This is the latest iPhone, and it’s much better than your phone."
"Of course, it's far too expensive for a loser like him." Billy raised his chin and looked at Alex. "Cathy told me that she kept asking for that phone for six months before you finally bought it for her. Do you think you can pick up a girl so far out of your league? You're just embarrassing yourself, so give up. And I'm warning you now: don't even think about her. If I find out you’ve gone anywhere near her, you'll regret it!"
"Don't waste your breath talking to a loser like him. Can we go to De Luca’s for lunch?" Cathy had already dismissed Alex.
"Call me baby," Billy said, smiling at her.
"Baby, let's go." She flirted with him right in front of Alex.
"Cathy!" A petite girl stood up, glaring at her. "You're taking it all too far. I never thought you'd break up with Alex, and I'm ashamed of you."
"Emma, why do you care?" She scowled. When things had been going well with Alex, she’d been on good terms with Emma, who was a decent person. Sometimes, when Cathy had been fighting with Alex, she had asked Emma’s opinion about who was in the right.
"You gave up Alex for someone like Billy?" Emma asked. "How could you treat Alex like this? When you were sick and couldn't even get out of bed, Alex sent you lunch and dinner every day for a month. And when you were walking in the mountains and twisted your ankle, he carried you on his back for miles down the mountain. Don’t you remember that? You know he doesn't make much money from his part-time jobs, but when you wanted a phone, he worked hard for months to save enough money to buy it for you. And this is how you repay him? By breaking up with him and ridiculing him?"
Cathy scowled. "I never forced him to do anything. If he was stupid enough to go along with it, that's his problem! And so what if he bought me a cell phone? It was only a Samsung. And why would I want a Samsung when I can have an iPhone?"
Emma shook her head. "Cathy, I don’t understand you. Do you only care about money? Will money get you everything you want?"
"Yes!" Cathy barked out a laugh. She stared at Emma and said, "I admit that I like money. Is that so wrong?" She took Billy's arm and said, "Come on, baby, let's go. These two poor people disgust me."
She glared at Alex and Emma and then swept out of the classroom with her head held high.
submitted by PocketFMofficial to u/PocketFMofficial [link] [comments]

2023.06.08 03:15 MisfitCA Apartment Search

I'm looking to move into an apartment around September-October, kind of NW around the Medical CenteHuebner Oaks area. I can do the research of pricing and floor plans and go visit apartments, but it helps so much to get direct opinions of complexes. Many apartments have mostly negative reviews because I feel like many satisfied residents don't think to leave a survey after leaving. So I'm turning to Reddit :) I've listed some apartments I'm looking at below, but I'm 100% open to hear any and all opinions on complexes in the area!
To help, my criteria I need is:
-2 bed, 2 bath
-Pet friendly (dog and cat)
-Budget would be $1,800 max

The apartments I've had my eye on:
-The Parc on Wall Street off Vance Jackson
-Indigo Apartments off NW Military Highway
The Keller off Jackson Keller
-Preston Peak off Medical Dr

Thank you so much for your time!
submitted by MisfitCA to sanantonio [link] [comments]

2023.06.07 19:22 wecanhaveallthree [a very short story] In which we learn the importance of adblockers, a man misses his daily KPI, and a long bow is drawn between corporations and cults.

Starsector is fun. This story is slightly less fun than usual: it contains an incident of self-harm, and requires a little audience participation at the end (if you're so inclined). I hope you still find it enjoyable all the same.
A murmur of wind whispers through perfectly straight streets. It ruffles perfectly manicured hedges, row after row, terrace after terrace. It freezes tears on the perfectly beautiful face of a woman leaning on her apartment balcony as she looks at the perfectly arranged pictures of her perfect family. Her sad, perfect smile is not private. She might make it into the next edition of the migration brochure, perfectly touched up beneath a heading perfectly designed for maximum customer impact. The holo-drones are always watching - she signed her privacy away with a perfect signature.
Her fall is a perfect parabola. Her velocity is perfectly terminal.
The second her heartbeat stops registering, a corporate cleaner is contacted and dispatched. A waiting list is consulted. A profile is scrutinised. And someone’s personal assistant chimes with good news: one of the prized upper-city domiciles has become available. Act fast, or this opportunity will pass you by. Ascend to Xanadu. Take your next step up the pyramid scheme.
Remade from tundra world to an awe-inspiring paradise of fjords and dales, Eochu Bres shines day and night with the best of pre-Collapse comfort and modern genius. Instant communication via global hypernet means keeping in touch with friends and family while you relax in one of our modern apartment complexes between flexible, friendly shifts at a Tri-Tachyon corporate facility. At Xanadu, we invest in your future with us: comprehensive partnership packages and twenty-four-hour childcare and education in specially-tailored community creches ensure your own legacy is secure as you work with us to lay the foundations of tomorrow.
What went wrong?
A technician at Sidhe Human Resources scratches their head at the data. None of it makes sense. This isn’t within the furthest tolerances, the most epileptic model. He takes another sip of synthetic cola - made right here at home - and the chemicals work their mimic magic on his tongue. Just like the real thing, he thinks, and that’s the rub, that’s the root of the problem: the simulations are preferable to reality, and so the reality is discarded.
The company made that mistake before, when they marched on the Hegemony, when they put aside the old Director.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is a woody perennial that has beautiful silvery grey foliage. That is the primary reason it is planted. All parts of the plant should be considered poisonous.
Not everything plays out as planned. One must never forget the human element.
He digs deeper. Here we have the husband, assessed at an excellent 97.4 per cent compatibility on the PartneGenetic/Stability matrix that feeds the intra-company relationship application. A happy courtship, a stable relationship, a near-equal position in a similar-but-not-too-similar subsidiary. A handsome face. An earnest smile. He made all the right noises in the inevitable exit interview. ‘What about the children?’ he asked.
Dig, dig, dig. These files are surprisingly sticky. This is by design - not the personal joke of one of the many Gargoyles, inter-department sabotage, or a cull coming down the line. Tri-Tachyon hedges their bets. They hold their cards close. Every possible advantage must be protected. Even a hydra can be taught to fear the loss of another head.
What about the children?
The message of Spread Your Wings Life Learning is simple: take flight!
We are dedicated not just to preparing young minds for their life journey, but finding what makes your little one truly special, how they stand out from the crowd. Possibility isn’t just in the towers of Tri-Tachyon or Sector spacers, but within: every child is different, learning in different ways, and even seeing the world differently.
Where some might say ‘troubled’, ‘wayward’ or ‘delinquent’, we say ‘gifted’. We see potential, and we know that you do, too.
Give your child the opportunity to spread their wings and fly with our specialist programs and initiatives. Conveniently located in Lugh, we offer an initial, intensive intake free of charge to determine if we’re right for you. We’re confident that the change you’ll see will make us your first choice in youth education.
(SMALLTEXT: Initial intake is a seven-week residential stay and assessment, with further boarding to follow dependent on initial integration.)
The right noises. The right question. It satisfies the models. The algorithmic assessment rang no alarm. But the technician isn’t satisfied. He quarantines that section of the interview. He plays it back, once, twice. Fingers drum the beat of curiosity. Activity warnings go unheeded. The case-action metric drops.
What about the children?
There are two, similarly aged, early teens, the most difficult age. Sticky files ease open to spill circuitous citations. You have to read between the lines - you have to know the lines are there, to begin with - to see the frowning language. Negative phrasing is not in the educational handbook. No child truly fails in this system. The system simply works around them, little bezoars, undigested grits in the corporate stomach. What happens afterwards? A stomach leads inevitably to the bowels. What the body cannot make use of, it discards, and the slums and shanties below Xanadu do not feature in any migration material.
Security chimes. The technician waves them away. He wishes to proceed. The children were shuffled from one early learning centre to another. There isn’t the usual association with violence or disturbance that precipitates such a decision, nor the stellar ascent to the ‘fast-track’ schools that deal with the uncommon genius. But at Spread Your Wings, they stopped, they stuck - they are, according to the records, still there.
The father’s question becomes stranger with context that the datasets cannot assimilate. There is no suggestion of familial breakdown. There are no domestic reports, not even the subtle ones - the little midnight arguments after a long day at work, the blankets that occasionally appear on a couch. The children appear well-loved and well-contacted.
Look: here are electronic letters home, regular as clockwork.
Hi Mum and Dad!
We know you’re sad not to have us home all the time, but the Wings are great! Between classes, we play board games and they have the latest Nebula Blaster in the rec! Movie nights are our favourite. They have all the classics here.
We’re doing so much better. We’re learning how to get rid of all the weights that used to hold us down. They tell us that we just have to spread our wings, and it’s so easy! Concentrating was so difficult in the old schools. Now we can really focus on what’s important.
Much love! Sorry, we couldn’t see you last visit! The curate said you were here and Mum was crying.
Please don’t cry any more.
Eyebrows rise. The language is correct, perhaps. The words, too. But there is a wrongness to it that doesn’t match the increasing urgency of the parent’s responses. The technician tap-tap-taps through a series of communications that have begun to border on desperation. Always the same replies from the children. No need to worry. Do not be alarmed. That isn’t right. None of it is right.
Information accumulates like stagnant water. It smells wrong. It contradicts previously established patterns.
The charter of the educational institution is examined more closely. There are certain similarities there to something half-remembered, something read and mentally discarded long ago. But memory is a funny thing. You can erase databanks. You can purge all the files, wipe the disks, and leave not a trace. The human brain is not so wonderfully simple.
What was it? An introduction to the Luddic faith for unbelievers, some half-cred garbage on the TriMedia store. Some ridiculous screed about the one-who-would-become-Ludd - an impersonal creation, a mantling, a persona that can be adopted by anyone. Spiritualist rot that suggests anyone can become great - that the prophet could be among them, undiscovered, unknowable. Such a synthesis between corporate loyalty language and some cargo cult is impossible. Something so absurd would never be allowed here, not in blessed Xanadu, not in the very shadow of Tri-Tachyon tech supremacy. It’s too incongruous. Too incompatible.
Isn’t it?
Another sip of cola, another wash of chemicals, and it all suddenly becomes too much like hard work. Suddenly, the progress alerts and metrics come into sharp relief. Just how far behind on today’s work the technician is. All the other things that require his attention. All the other more important details. Almost reluctantly, he marks off the whole affair as random factors outside the model.
We weren’t wrong. The simulations were correct. It was the human element that failed. And if he isn’t completely comfortable with that final assessment, the sweet ping of ‘job complete’ - so perfectly calibrated to release dopamine - reassures him that he’s done the right thing. On to the next, then home to hold his delighted daughter tight, though he can’t say why.
That night, he dreams of enormous, beating wings and tiny motes of light. He never mentions this to his psychologist, and he passes his upcoming performance review with only today’s small blemish on his record.
What about the children? Did they ever learn to fly?
All knowledge is a cypher.
The code word is ETEMENNIGURU.
submitted by wecanhaveallthree to starsector [link] [comments]

2023.06.07 05:11 Ecstatic_Valuable868 chance a wasian girl from TX who really wants to go to USC!

Here are my statistics. I am a rising senior and I would truly love to have some advice on my application. Thank you so much! :)) I apologize for how long this is

DemographicsGender: FemaleRace/Ethnicity: 1/2 White, 1/2 Asian 💀 (Both parents are immigrants but completed grad school in the US), so I am 2nd generation for college
Residence: US
Type of School: Competitive Public (Apart of STEM Magnet Program w/ around 70 selected students out of a class of 750 and features STEM classes w/ diff teachers and EC requirements)
Hooks: None 💀💀
Income: around 300-400kIntended Major: Biochemistry or Molecular Bio 😍🌿AcademicsGPA: 3.97UW (One 89 Freshman yr💀) 5.1 Weighted
Note: AP/College courses worth 6.0 at my schoolRank: 31/750, expect to go to at least 26/27 when SEM2 Junior yr updates# of Honors/AP/Dual Enrollment (all 4 yrs): 16 + 1 self study APSenior Year Course Load: AP Calc BC, AP Bio, AP Gov/AP Econ, AP Lit,
Standardized TestingSAT: N/A
ACT: 35 (35 W, 35 S, 34 R, 34 M) , technically 34.5 LMAO but they round so yay
My first attempt I got a 32, will not submit unless required.
AP: All 5s so far (freshman & sophomore yr) (AP Psych, AP World History, AP Comp Sci Principle, AP Human Geo)Extracurriculars/Activities (Not in proper order yet)
  1. Nonprofit (Co-founder) (10-12)
Hosted hackathons with pretty high turnouts (500 submissions/10k in sponsor prizes), set up a tutoring network, donated over $1k to reduce healthcare disparities in Afghanistan. Hosted medical camps and had professors from CMU/NYU come out and talk to students via zoom.
  1. Intern at local med school (11/12)
Helped assist with virology research. Helped Edit research papers, set up laboratory equipment, and shadow various processes
  1. Intern at local Emergency Room (10,11,12)
shadowed numerous doctors and nurses. Wrote detailed case studies to understand medical symptoms. Assisted basic needs, vitals/giving towels
  1. Vice President, National Honor Society (11/12)
Helped manage/ provide volunteer opportunities in student led organization to over 200 upperclassmen. A pretty big deal at my school.
5) Founder, president of Chem Olympiad Club (11.12)
Hosted meetings to prepare for the test. Covered a variety of subjects including Ochem. Although 3 of us were close, none of us advanced unfortunately. Plan to expand more next year. Overall I had fun with this club and it fueled my love for chem.
  1. Vice President/Marketing Lead of Red Cross Club (11,12)
Helped created volunteer opportunities, held a blood drive, managed members in fulfilling service hours, led meetings alongside the founder.
7) President of Public Health Club (11,12)
- Created with my friend, we addressed current issues, donated sanitary supplies to local shelters and clinics. Wrote cards to ICU patients. Had healthcare professionals speak to a group of students on education required/overall aspects of job.
8) Secretary of Science Honor Society (11/12)Managed volunteer hours, meeting hours, help create sign-ins for meetings as well as communicating when meetings will occur.
9) Student created Business Club, member (10,11,12)
Hands-on collaboration with local businesses. Help with marketing, inventory management. Worked with a laboratory and a nonprofit. Helped advertise events to targeted demographic
10) Independent Research (10)
Placed at regionals, districts, and advanced in state as a finalist of about 800 kids in TX
I wont get too into it but it was related to biochem and tested whether a substance could alter the DNA of a strain of ecoli in a lab setting.

- State finalist in Science Fair
- 3rd place in regionals (Science Fair)
- Presidential service gold award x 2
- AP Scholar w/ distinction
- John Locke Essay comp, special award

Letters of Recommendation8.5/10: AP Chem Teacher: Pretty close with her, made the club & had her for two years. She is older and sometimes forgets what class period I am in but knows me as a student. We hugged on last day of school and I wrote her a very long card on how she inspired me to do pre-med and I frequently came during free blocks to review tests.
9/10: AP History, also NHS founder (I am VP), will def be working alongside him for a while. Also a lit major and I heard he writers bomb LORs. The only thing is I was pretty quiet in his class lol.

Essays I currently have a rough draft but idk if I want to trauma dump because every time I talk about it, it brings a lot of emotion. It's basically about the process of overcoming my mother being diagnosed with cancer and being told she had months to live. She was constantly in surgery/therapies. Thankfully, she is fine now, but it was a pretty low point in my life leading up to freshman year of HS. I also want to focus on how the event impacted my values/future goals/personality without it being a sob story if that makes sense.
Where I am Applying
I am currently auto-admit for UT (top 6% of my class)
Rice University
A&M (Safety)

CaliforniaUSC (EA) My DREAM school since I was like 10 😍😍😍
All the UCs (UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Berkeley...)
Santa Clara Uni
MA: Boston Uni, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston College
Other Schools: UVA/UNC Chapel Hill, Umich, WashU, Notre Dame, CMU, NYU, Georgetown
Ivys: Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, & UPenn (I do not expect to get in)

I would love if someone could humble me and also lmk where they could see me getting into. Again, any advice to improve my odds and responses are highly appreciated. Also if anyone has any recs on where I should ED to maximize chances that would be great.
submitted by Ecstatic_Valuable868 to chanceme [link] [comments]

2023.06.07 00:07 ForrestOfIllusion The Vanishing of Rico Harris: What Happened to the Former Harlem Globetrotter?

As a big guy myself, standing at 6’4” with a size 13 shoe, I often wonder about what it would actually take for someone like me to disappear. I’m the type or person who friends use as a marker to find their way through a crowd, and I’m almost instantly recognizable walking down the street.
That being said, there is one place where I could almost certainly disappear without a trace: the wilderness. I think many underestimate just how easy it is to go missing in the wilderness, even a rather small wilderness. A single wrong turn or a mistaken landmark can spell doom for even seasoned woodland travelers.
Honestly, I attribute this underestimation to the popularity of “Missing 411” cases. Many assume that those who went missing in heavily wooded areas or national parks must have disappeared as a result of something supernatural or conspiratorial, simply because they can’t accept just how easily and remorselessly nature can gobble us up.
If I suddenly decided to go missing within society, I think I’d be found in no time. But if I went missing in the wilderness, it’s always possible that I would never be found, even if my body came to rest nearby well-traveled thoroughfares.
I bring all this up because I think much the same for former American professional basketball player Rico Harris, who is even more recognizable than myself. Harris is a Black male, who stands at 6’9” tall, weighs 300 lbs., and has distinctive tattoos, such as one that reads “BALLIN IV LIFE” across his left forearm. If he’s alive, he’s almost certainly worked very hard to keep his presence secret, both from his family and from law enforcement.
Police investigators have suggested that Harris simply walked away from the scene of his disappearance, got in a car, and headed somewhere to start a new life. While there are certainly factors that point to this being a logical possibility, at least in terms of where Harris was in his life mentally and emotionally, I think that the lack of sightings of an individual that matches his description in the almost nine years since he went missing makes it far more likely that Rico Harris’ body is lying somewhere in the wilderness near where he vanished and that it simply hasn’t been located by anyone.
I feel that police assertions that Harris may have simply left the scene to start a new life are wishful thinking, designed to provide the family with false hope and perhaps prevent law enforcement from having to conduct further searches to recover Harris’ remains. Regardless of your opinion on the case, let’s review what we do know so that we can make an educated guess on what we don’t.
Rico Harris’ Life and Struggles
Rico Harris’ life followed a tragic path tread by far too many young, talented athletes. He had the physical talent to play in the NBA but none of the mental or emotional intelligence and maturity to deal with such instant stardom.
Harris seemed to maintain a sort of love/hate relationship with the game of basketball and had actually taken a break from it before returning for his final two years at Temple City High School, where he quickly became a local star, with scouts comparing his play style to that of NBA player Lamar Odom.
Harris was soon recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 prospects and received scholarship offers from such blue-blood basketball programs as Connecticut, Kentucky, and UCLA. Ultimately, however, Harris would commit to Arizona State. He would never play a game there.
He wasn’t eligible to play during his freshman year but stayed on campus, away from family and other positive role models in his life. He struggled academically and socially before being accused of unlawful imprisonment and sexual assault by two young women on campus.
These women stated that Harris and two of his other teammates had prevented them from leaving and forced them to perform sex acts on them. However, after further investigation, police dismissed the charges against Harris and his teammates after noting discrepancies in the girls’ stories. Nonetheless, the Arizona State basketball team had seen and heard enough to sit Harris for his upcoming sophomore season.
Deciding that he needed to pursue his basketball career elsewhere, Harris transferred to Los Angeles Community College where, surrounded by inferior talent, he began to shine once again and again became a star, attracting NBA scouts to games who still saw potential in the young phenom.
After the season, Harris planned to transfer to Rhode Island. However, a failed class prevented his transfer from going through, and he chose to return to LACC for a second season. An offer from Rhode Island remained on the table next year, but Harris shocked everyone by instead transferring to Cal State Northridge, stating to one confidante that he believed that the LACC coach was merely trying to use him to help out his friend, who was the Rhode Island head coach.
Instead, he wanted to remain closer to home and work with a coach he trusted. Harris sadly had a long history of rejecting and mistrusting men who tried to play a fatherly role in his life, likely an issue stemming from his own broken relationship with his father, who could quickly turn from friendly to violent and who his mother eventually moved away from with the children to escape.
Eventually, Harris would also be suspended by Northridge as well, which officially brought about an end to his collegiate career. Harris spoke out about feeling pressured by everyone around him; this pressure led him to increasingly turn to drugs and alcohol, which likely further hampered his performance on the court.
In the 1999 NBA Draft, no team decided to take a risk on Harris, leaving him to go to the now defunct International Basketball League. In 2000, Harris joined the Harlem Globetrotters, and it felt like his big break. Their fun-loving antics seemed like a great fit for his skills and talents.
Unfortunately, only about a month after joining the Globetrotters, Harris was driving with his girlfriend in South Los Angeles, when he got into a dispute with several individuals. He got out of the car to confront them when someone cracked him in the back of the head with a baseball bat.
Though Harris recovered from the wound, his balance never fully returned, and he continued to suffer from frequent intense headaches. Harris’ basketball career was, sadly, over.
Harris Spirals, Then Seemingly Recovers
Harris felt completely rudderless. He did not know what to do with his life now that his basketball career was over. His alcohol addiction worsened, and he began to develop dependencies on heroin, methamphetamine, and crack.
Harris was arrested over one hundred times, most often for public intoxication, and he was clearly struggling. His lowest moment came in 2007, when he overdosed on prescription medication and nearly died.
After a lengthy rehabilitation period with the Salvation Army in downtown Los Angeles. Afterwards, he began working in security, a role that he seemed ideally suited for and seemed to enjoy well enough.
In 2012, he began dating Jennifer Song, an insurance broker from Seattle that he met while working a security detail. In September 2014, Harris abandoned his apartment in Los Angeles, intending to move in with Song full-time up in Seattle.
Though Song reported that they had a good relationship, many of Harris’ friends and relatives saw quite a bit of tension in their relationship leading up to Harris’ disappearance. Based on Harris’ history, it seems likely that some of this tension was connected to his living away from home, which had always caused problems in the past.
But despite this perceived tension, Harris seemed to have truly turned his life around, with his addictions in the rearview mirror, when he suddenly went missing on October 10, 2014.
Rico Harris Vanishes
On October 9, 2014, Harris visited his family home with the goal of completing his move in with Song. His visit was brief. He apparently purchased a new phone for his younger brother, which shows that his financial struggles likely were not at the forefront of his mind.
He also spoke with his mother. Song told police that she thought Harris was seeking closure related to some difficult childhood events. His mother later stated that she did not feel that he got what he was looking for.
Harris’ close friend David Lara had spoken to Harris on his trip down to Southern California and reported that Harris seemed optimistic and was looking forward to marrying and starting a family with Song. Little is known, however, about Harris’ mood after visiting with his family.
Harris began his drive back up to Seattle, heading north on Interstate 5, stopping for gas in Lodi before continuing up north of Sacramento. There, about 10:45 am on the morning of October 10, Harris decided to get some rest, convinced by Song’s urging since had now been awake for 36 straight hours. He left Song a voice message, telling her that he was going “up into the mountains to rest.”
I’ve always found this phrasing particularly odd. I’ve heard people say they’re figuratively going “into the mountains” to find a place to pull over or find a motel, but the full “up into the mountains” has always struck me as being very literal, and perhaps a sign that Harris was already suffering through a bit of a mental breakdown before officially stopping for the day.
Regardless of intention, at 11:15 am, Harris turned off his phone. He has not been officially seen, heard from, or positively identified since.
The Search for Rico Harris
Friends and family initially assumed that Harris would just turn up. It wasn’t unusual for him to disappear for a couple days at a time. However, by October 14th, after missing an interview he had been excited for in Seattle, Harris was finally reported missing.
Later that day, Yolo County police located Harris’ vehicle, seemingly abandoned in a county park parking lot near Cache Creek. The inside of the car was a mess. It was also out of fuel and had a dead battery.
A mile south of Harris’ car they found his backpack. Inside was his cell phone, which was dead but otherwise seemed fine.
There were also two plastic bottles, one filled with a solution that seemed to be hard liquor mixed with an energy drink. The other was empty but smelled strongly of liquor. Sources seem to disagree on whether the bottles were found in his car or his backpack. Regardless of where they were found, it is clear that Harris had either relapsed or had been successfully hiding his addiction as of late.
Police combed Cache Creek Canyon without success. They used infrared imaging from planes, perused the area on foot and on ATVs, and brought out tracking and cadaver dogs. There was no sign of Harris, and nobody could imagine how such a large man had simply vanished.
Several sightings were reported of a man who matched Harris’ description, and to be quite frank, I can’t imagine there were that many men who could be mistaken for Harris in the area at that time. He was spotted walking along the side of the road and sitting on a guardrail, looking at the creek. These sightings took place on October 10 and 11, shortly after Harris’ last known contact with family and friends.
Police found selfies on Harris’ phone showing him posing joyfully beside a sign welcoming him to Yolo County; perhaps he was amused by the name, with YOLO being common parlance (particularly at the time he went missing) for “You only live once.”
There was also an apparently accidental video that showed Harris rifling through his glove box, singing along to his music and seemingly in good spirits despite his somewhat erratic behavior.
Had Harris’ story ended here, it would have still been compelling, but it went further. On October 18, a truck driver reported seeing a man who matched Harris’ description walking near the parking lot where his Nissan had been left.
Imprints were later found in the parking lot that were not defined enough to have a cast made. However, they were apparently not consistent with animal prints and were large enough that they could very well have come from a size 18 shoe. As someone who wears a size 13, I can tell you that that’s a huge footprint and not something that could be left by just anyone. The shoeprints were allegedly leading away from the parking lot.
No legitimate sightings of Harris have been reported since.
Analysis of Harris’ Disappearance
Let’s begin by looking at the official police narrative of Rico Harris’ disappearance. Law enforcement has asserted that there is no evidence of foul play in Harris’ disappearance. I tend to agree with this assessment. By all accounts, Harris came to Yolo County alone, and there were no signs of a struggle surrounding his disappearance.
Furthermore, if you find the eyewitness testimony of those who allegedly saw him reliable, as I do given his unique stature, he was never spotted with anyone else.
Where I differ from law enforcement is in my belief about what happened to Rico Harris and his intent throughout the whole process. Police believe that Harris only arrived in Yolo County by accident, that he took a wrong turn and ended up out there.
I’m not sure he did. He told Song that he planned to go “up into the mountains.” Perhaps this is what he meant; perhaps something within him led him to stray from his established path, perhaps because he was having a mental breakdown or for spiritual reasons or simply because he felt like he needed a place off the beaten path to rest.
I think it’s possible that he took a wrong turn and got lost, but neither his selfies nor his communications with Song (where he mentioned nothing about being lost) nor his actions thereafter really suggest this.
Next up, police don’t seem to have any kind of theory, at least publicly, as to what happened in the days between Harris’ initial disappearance and his return to the parking lot on October 18th. I doubt he was in town anywhere nearby, since local law enforcement was actively working to ensure that locals knew they were looking for Harris. Despite this, there are no reports of him in town, despite his size which would have immediately set him apart.
I theorize that Harris was likely out in the woods during this time. If he had relapsed on alcohol, it is not beyond reason that he may have had access to other drugs as well. Perhaps Harris turned this incident into an unexpected retreat. Detectives say that Harris looked like “a free man” in the videos found of him. Perhaps this inspired him to go into nature, even with or without the influence of drugs and alcohol.
So why did Harris not return for eight full days? Maybe this is when he ran out of drugs. Maybe he had become lost and only found his way back by that point. Perhaps he had finally had a reality check and decided that it was time to return to his life.
Regardless, I do believe that Harris returned to the parking lot. The shoeprints along with the sighting are enough to make me feel that this was legitimate. After this, police suggest that Harris either went into the woods or into town. One detective goes so far as to suggest that, “We have no sightings, so he probably got a ride.”
This is where I strongly disagree with law enforcement. I don’t think that Rico Harris left to start another life. He seemed to struggle mightily with being far from home and family, and I can’t imagine he would run away, then spend almost nine years without so much as briefly contacting a family member or friend.
And to return to the subject at the beginning of this piece, I don’t mean to suggest that it would be completely impossible for Harris to vanish into a new life, but his physical circumstances would make that especially difficult. I think that it would take a whole lot of work for Harris to disappear into another life fully, and I just don’t think the evidence points to him either being at that point or being willing to commit himself to so difficult a project.
Personally, I find it far more likely that Harris wandered back into the woods, dejected to find his car missing, and either committed suicide or accidentally died, having seen his missing vehicle as the final proof that he wasn’t meant to return to ordinary life.
Looking at photographs of Cache Creek Canyon, I’m honestly surprised this is not brought up more often. Police often speak as if Harris went missing in a small city park and that they’d certainly find him if he was there.
I’m just not so sure. Cache Creek Canyon looks like it contains plenty of dense foliage. I feel like a body, even one the size of Rico Harris’s, could easily evade detection, particularly if located far from the main trails.
Unlike many cases I cover on here, where the victim has been missing for far too long to realistically still be alive, Rico Harris has been missing for less than a decade. If he did indeed run away, as the police seem ready to accept, he could very well be alive.
If you know a 6’9”, 300 lbs. Black man with a “BALLIN IV LIFE” tattoo and a mysterious past, please consider contacting Yolo County law enforcement. Heck, if you are Rico, consider contacting them yourself. I don’t know anything about the demons of your past, but I do know that there are people who love you and who deserve to know that you’re okay.
However, I find it far more likely that Rico is still out there somewhere near Cache Creek Canyon, his tale sadly having come to an end in a corner of the park that nobody’s checked yet. Maybe he’ll stay there forever, unfound and unburied.
This is truly a case where I just don’t know what to think. I don’t understand why law enforcement’s active theory, or at least publicly promoted theory, is that he hitched a ride and drove away. It just doesn’t add up to me, and I can’t help but wonder if they have additional reasons for thinking this that they haven’t shared with the public.
Nonetheless, I hope we can find Harris one way or another, so that his family have can closure if nothing else. These days, they sit around wondering what happened to him, and wondering if one word, one phrase, one answer could have changed things entirely.
submitted by ForrestOfIllusion to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 14:40 girl_from_the_crypt Stuck on earth and looking for a job: We're burning down a dollhouse

When somebody suggests you commit arson together, your reaction is most likely to differ based on the identity of that person. If anyone else had asked me to come along to burn down a building, I would have assumed it was a joke. However, being aware of Frankie Preston’s barely suppressed murderous tendencies made me take his request quite seriously. Of course, three main questions presented themselves upon first consideration.
“What building?”
“A small developmental factory owned by FunFlair.”
“Do you plan on burning it while there are still people inside?”
“Only one, and that one deserves to burn alive.”
Shelving my thoughts on that answer for the moment, I inquired as to when he was hoping to go about this endeavor.
“The sooner the better. My sister—you haven’t met her—found out that they’re going to move sites in the near future, so if I want to take revenge on my old boss easily, I need to do it now. It won’t be too difficult. I know the layout of the place really well, they can’t have changed much these last three years. It’s small, hidden but unprotected. A bunch of containers in some woods a couple hours from here. The human I hate most in the entire world is there, every night, working all alone.” His shoulders twitched. “I drove by the place a couple times, and I kept thinking about doing it, but I was too scared. Having you there would make all the difference.”
“It would?” I echoed.
“Yes! Sunshine, you’re strong. Amazingly so. I don’t want you to feel like I’m using you, but the thing is, I can’t do this on my own. If you tell me to go away and never mention this again, I will. That I swear to God. Or whatever sadistic omnipotent being has put me on this world to suffer.” He briefly glanced heavenward, or rather at the ceiling, then back at me. “I can’t hurt anybody, remember?”
I nodded along slowly. “This person, your old boss… what did they do to you?”
“Simply put, she’s why I hate everything.” He spoke with an uncanny intensity, staring past me like he was miles away.
“Who is she?”
“Her name is Philomena Wallis. She’s the one who keeps sending people after me. She wants me back to do fuck knows what to me because she's still pissed I screwed her over." He paused. "She did—does horrible things. You'd want her dead, too."
"Why isn't she in prison?"
"Nobody gets taken to prison if they're rich enough. Either way, what she does isn't technically illegal… and no one knows about it either. It's a tricky situation."
I took a deep breath. “Do you have a plan?”
“I do. We’ll go there at night, I’ll slip in and make sure the door to Phil’s workspace is locked, and then we’ll douse the whole thing in gasoline.”
“Are you sure you’ll need me for that? It doesn’t sound like you’d be inflicting hurt directly. I mean, you wouldn’t have to actually raise a hand to your boss, not physically. Or can you not do that either?”
“The risk lies rather within what could happen if she finds me.” He rubbed his arm, a look of uncertainty crossing his features. “I’m different when I’m around her. I can’t help it, she… she can just walk all over me. She made me be this way. There’s nothing to be done about it, except to get rid of her once and for all.”
“I’m not following. She made you be this way? What do you mean?”
“Exactly what I said!” he snapped, only to shrink back and raise his hands. “Sorry! I’m so sorry!”
I stared at him in silence for a beat. “You’re terrified,” I said.
He glanced at his chucks, then back at me, looking like he wanted to say something but didn’t know what.
“Sad, too,” I added. “Sometimes, I can’t tell what you think, so I apologize if I’m reading this wrong…”
“You shouldn’t have to guess what’s going on inside my head anyways,” he muttered. “I can’t believe what I’m trying to rope you into again. It’s like I didn’t hear myself talk for a minute there.”
“I’ll help you.”
He raised a skeptical brow. “I don’t want to force you. I swear I don’t. I will do this, and I’d feel so much better if you came with, but if this is something you’re gonna resent me for in the long run…”
“The long run?”
“I mean—” He started playing with his gum again. “Are we not doing this? You really like me, I think?”
I think we shouldn’t be talking about this in the same breath as committing lethal arson.” I rubbed my nose before letting go of a long breath. “If I can’t stop you from doing this, I’ll at least make sure you come back out in one piece.” I wonder if this is how Nettie Peterson usually feels.
Frankie beamed. “You will? You’re absolutely sure?”
“Yes. Here’s the plan, I drop off what I bought for my savior human and then we can prepare; do what’s needed. I don’t want to put this off. The sooner it’s over, the better.”
“Definitely,” he agreed with an eager nod. “I’ll drive you right over.”
“Good. And Frankie… you know precisely how I feel about you.”
We got on our way the following morning. The car ride lasted several hours, most of which I spent fast asleep stretched out on the backseat. It was a wonderful nap; I hardly felt any of the vehicle’s movements, admittedly a credit to the server’s abilities as a driver. Eventually, the road was getting too bumpy to ignore, and I drowsily lifted my head to find us pulling onto heavily wooded terrain. Upon noticing I was awake, Fran gave me a fleeting, quite obviously forced smile. After a few more minutes, we came to a halt on a clearing. I got out and produced a canister of gasoline from the trunk, handing it to Fran after opening the door for him. He looked strangely absent, gazing off into the distance with a vacant look in his eyes. He grabbed the offered canister and clutched it to his chest, almost like he was hugging it.
“We’ll be going the rest of the way on foot, then?” I inquired.
He nodded wordlessly.
I couldn’t hide my frown. The air around us was warm and fragrant, the moonlight shining through between the branches that seemed to reach out for us as we began walking. There was not even a hint of a breeze, and yet, a chill ran down my spine. My companion’s demeanor was nothing short of uncomfortable; he seemed to suck the warmth out of the atmosphere around us, together with my initial confidence and the sweet scent of pine needles. His silence instilled in me a clammy sense of dread, and I couldn’t shake it no matter how hard I tried. Normally, I would have probably appreciated the perfect calm and serenity of the lush forest around us, but seeing him in such obvious, unspoken distress drove away all my idyllic thoughts.
“This seems like an odd place to hide a factory,” I remarked, trying to open a conversation once more.
“That’s the point. You wouldn’t go looking for a doll manufacturer in bum-fuck nowhere,” he replied.
“It’s strange to think about. What kind of shady stuff can a toy manufacturer even get up to? Don’t get me wrong, I trust you when you say they’re bad people, I just wish you’d give me a little more information. I feel like I’m not getting something here.”
He let out a low hum. “You… are really innocent.”
“No, I’m not,” I argued, affronted.
“Not in a bad way. I said innocent, not naive. I’ve been cagey again, I know that, but the thing is, you’ll see exactly what I was talking about when we get there. You’ll understand everything, and to be honest, I’m very afraid of what you’ll think once you do.”
We finally reached the building Fran had told me about. If it could indeed be called a building. It looked more like something that had been thrown together by a larva using Lego bricks. It was, as predicted, a bunch of containers lined up and stacked atop one another, small corridors and open metal staircases connecting them. It seemed to be almost entirely empty—all the lights were out, except for a single one. From behind a window on the upper floor, filtered through gray blinds, a cool, bright glow shone down upon us. It bathed Frankie in its surreal luminescence that seemed completely out of place given our raw, natural surroundings.
“You were right,” I stated, tearing him from his rigor. “Seems like there’s only one person in there.”
“That’s Phil,” he mumbled. “I’m certain.”
“Then let’s do this.”
Frankie detached himself from the canister, peeling it off his body like a piece of clothing. I took it from his hands while he walked over to the nearest door, reaching into his pocket to produce a set of shiny, slim tools. Despite the darkness, he set his fingers to work on the lock. It didn’t take long at all for him to let out a satisfied sound, straightening up as he held the now open door for me. “I’m very skilled at lockpicking,” he said lightly, by way of conversation.
I couldn’t hide the admiration in my gaze, and I gave him a proud smile that briefly caused his features to soften. I had not yet crossed the threshold when he grabbed me by the wrist, holding me back. “One more thing,” he whispered, his voice suddenly ringing desperate again, “you won’t like what we might see in there.”
“I know,” I answered. “It was implied.”
Stepping forth into the dark room, the smell of plastic and coffee instantly hit my nose. Fran fumbled for a lightswitch before thinking better of it and turning on the flashlight he’d brought. We were clearly in a breakroom; there was a table in the middle surrounded by chairs, an espresso machine in the corner and several calendars and posters taped to the walls. Unsuspecting. Frankie didn’t comment, immediately moving across the cube and towards the door on the other side. It led out into a small corridor, improvised using more corrugated iron elements, and into another larger container. There was a desk with a computer in one corner and an empty operating table in the center.
A large shelving unit occupied the entire left side of the room. A closer inspection revealed that it held all sorts of small parts, though what they were parts of was beyond me. Opening the plastic drawers at random, I glimpsed all sorts of metallic and silicone pieces, forming strange little… thingies.
“What is all this?” I asked Frankie.
He had been standing by the operating table, staring at it with unblinking eyes. His expression was once more perfectly vacant. Not even his jaw was moving around his bubble gum. He didn’t look up, and for a minute, I wondered if he’d heard me at all. “Doll parts,” he suddenly answered, his voice lacking any inflection.
I frowned, picking up one of the tiny metallic objects and inspecting it closely. I could see what he meant now—it appeared to be a very small joint, perhaps for a finger. “When you said FunFlair made dolls, I thought you meant these stiff little baby dolls. I didn’t know they made them this detailed.”
“Oh, they can be detailed alright.”
“Is this, like, a robotics thing? Can they move on their own, too?”
Frankie let out a sharp, mirthless laugh that was much too short. He fell completely silent again, and it felt as though the room had gotten colder. I bit my lip, placing the finger joint back in its box. I tentatively reached out to Fran and rested a hand on his upper arm, only for him to flinch, drawing away as if burned. “D-don’t touch me right now,” he pleaded.
“I’m sorry,” I breathed.
“No, I am. Don’t mind me, okay? Let’s—let’s just go on.”
So we did. Another makeshift corridor led us over into the next container. The beam of our flashlight cut through the darkness, revealing a sight that made me stop in my tracks. There were several bodies propped up in the corners of the room, bodies that I only realized on second glance were artificial. They were of roughly the same size as the average person, with fully formed arms, legs and everything. Their faces however were different. Most of them weren’t even fully complete, the skin-like material not fully covering their heads and leaving the mechanical structures underneath uncovered. Their eyeballs—sitting in hard plastic sockets and unframed by lids—stared out at us blankly, utterly void and expressionless.
Cold dread began to seep into my bones, paralyzing me for a second before I managed to break from my stillness. Taking a step towards one of the lifeless figures, I bent down to get a closer look. Keeping my distance, I reached out a single finger to trace along one of the countless delicate wires peeking out from the soft patches of facial material. It was cool to the touch, making my skin crawl. I pulled back, turning to Frankie in bewilderment. “Wh-what is all this?” I asked hesitantly.
“That’s them. That’s the dolls.”
“Well, yes, I can see that but this… this is really, really unnerving.”
He let out a strangled, mournful sound. “I guess it is,” he said eventually, his voice low and flat. He knelt down beside me, a little closer to the doll, and started fumbling around with the back of its neck, clearly looking for something. Finally, I heard a little click, followed by a whirring noise as the doll jerked up its arm. I squeaked, scrambling back on my hands and rear, only to find my back suddenly pressed up against the chest of another mannequin. I hadn’t done a thing, but it instantly sprang to life; robotic fingers clamping down around both sides of my nape. The painfully fierce touch wiped away every last bit of my composure, and I let out a shriek that seemed to tear apart the relative silence. Frankie spun around to fix me with the beam of his flashlight, causing me to squeeze my eyes shut. My heart was hammering against my ribcage, seemingly exploding when the hands started pulling me closer against the lifeless, yet animate body.
The next thing I knew was that Fran had leapt forward and removed me from the doll’s clutches with one swift, powerful yank. My chest was heaving and I couldn’t suppress a low whimper when I pressed myself to his side, frantically glancing about my surroundings. My fangs were bared, but my racing pulse was admittedly overtaxing me. I couldn’t seem to form any coherent thoughts. My flight-instinct was kicking in, further setting off my panicked response when I realized I might end up involuntarily jumping dimensions again.
Suddenly, I felt Frankie’s hand on my cheek, the gentle pressure tilting my head up to make me meet his gaze. “It’s alright,” he said, his voice equal parts firm and understanding. The fog in my head lifted just a little.
“They’re not going to hurt you,” he went on, his thumb stroking the curve of my outer ear. However he managed to convey such certainty when he himself had been so uneasy mere moments ago was beyond me, and yet, I found myself believing him. My breathing slowed and I hazarded a second glance at the doll I had bumped into.
It had stopped moving, its body having locked into an unnatural, almost feral-looking position. It was cowering on all fours, its torso lowered and its head up. Its neck was bent at such an extreme angle that it was approaching the comical.
“What the fuck was that?” I whispered, the curse word escaping me before I could stop myself.
“Some of them have to be activated manually, others can be turned on just by touch. I remember that,” Frankie replied. “There’s no need to be afraid of them, though. Even if it’s hard to believe considering… well.” He gestured at the oddly crouching doll at our feet.
“Something’s very wrong here,” I muttered, unable to tear my eyes off the lifeless, incomplete face. “I didn’t even know they made toys like that.”
“They’re not for children,” Frankie said, his eyes glazing over once more.
“Are they, like, robots? Do they know what they’re doing?”
“Not if they’re lucky, they don’t.” He paused. “They’re not made to think. Any awareness they might have would be unplanned for.”
“And you really used to work here? Did you help build them?”
“We can talk about that once we’re out of here.”
I swallowed. “Look, I’m freaking out. This can’t be a normal production site.”
“It’s not. I wish you didn’t have to see this. It… it only gets worse. And your instincts aren’t failing you, none of this is right. If you want to back out, I don’t blame you. This place shouldn’t exist.”
I took a deep breath. I wished I had insisted on knowing the full truth before coming here, but it couldn’t be helped now. Instead of prying further, I pointed at the canister of gasoline. “Then let’s remedy that.”
Despite himself, Frankie smiled.
Instead of mirroring the expression, I felt my own features suddenly derail. “Oh crap.”
“What is it?”
“Do you think she heard me scream?”
2: deadbeat roommate
3: creepy crush
4: relocation
5: beach concert
6: First date
7: Temp work
8: roommate talk
9: a dismal worldview
10: warehouse
11: staircase
12: explanation
13: hurt
14: hospital
15: ocean
16: diner
17: government work
18: something in the caves
19: shopping cart
20: olms and Jewels
21: long hair
22: recruitment
23: waitresses
25: burning plastic
submitted by girl_from_the_crypt to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 15:12 ScribblingFox98 The Survivor Becomes a Dungeon (Chapter 78)

Vitmori POV
Well, that fight went about as well as I expected. Between the slight disconnect of having to think about how to move and command my new body and facing a warrior experienced in combat against other beings of this world, I knew I didn't really stand a chance. However, it was an excellent opportunity to figure out how people in this world fight. After Reonim dismissed himself, I was approached by a few people; Trisha and Sylvia were the two I immediately recognized, though, after a couple of moments, the names of the remaining two came to mind, that being Miriam and Isaak. I offered a smile at their approach as my hands came up to the black cloth that Historietta wrapped around me; I had only barely noticed it was starting to unravel and fall off due to it being ripped apart after Reonim cut me in half. "Hey there, what's going on?" I ask, with a healthy amount of curiosity in my voice as they draw closer.
Miriam was the first to speak up, even if it looked like Sylvia was about to speak as well, though she patiently held her tongue and listened as Miriam pat my arm in an encouraging manner. "You did very well out there, Vitmori; I feel you performed valiantly against a superior opponent, though I'm certain that with time, you'll be able to reach Reonim's level." She enthused cheerfully before looking me over.
I was a little surprised by her opening. Had I really performed so poorly that I needed my spirits lifted like that? Well, I can't sense any ill intent from her, in fact, she sounds rather genuine, even if the expressions of those around her betrayed that they felt she made a faux pas. After a moment, I decided to just match her energy and smile a little more. "Well, thank you for your kind words; I shall do my best to get the hang of my new body, maybe I'll figure out how to make use of my mana heart while I'm at it." I said before looking among the group as a whole and continuing. "Was there anything else?"
Sylvia piped up at that as she stepped forward beside Miriam. "Vitmori, if you would allow us to borrow you for a little bit, we'd like to take your measurements so we can get started on making your clothes and armor." She explained, Miriam offering a nod of confirmation at that.
Trisha spoke out as she stepped out from behind Miriam and offered a bit of a smile. "And I was hoping to talk a little shop, figure out what sort of weapons you're looking for, and maybe we can go see that forge you've prepared for me." She explained, sounding somewhat hopeful near the end.
I couldn't help but smile a bit and nod. "Very well, feel free to take your measurements." I said as I looked between Sylvia and Miriam, though I looked over to Isaak as he stood close by. "Can I help you with anything?" I offer since he seemed to be waiting so patiently.
Isaak was vaguely surprised when I addressed him, and after he took a moment to look between the others, he shrugged and then looked back at me. "I'm just here because I don't have anything better to do." He said simply as he nodded at his own words.
I wasn't sure what to make of that, my head tilting ever so slightly at his words before Miriam grabbed at my arm. "Come on, let's get you inside." She said excitedly, leading me into the longhouse and sitting me on one of the benches along the tables. "Wait right here, I've got to go get my things." She said cheerfully enough as she stepped away, Sylvia following after to grab her own things.
"So..." Isaak started to say, trailing off as he seemed to need another moment to gather his thoughts. "When was the first time you killed someone?" He asked, earning him a smack against the back of his head as Trisha frowned at Isaak.
"You just sat down; who starts a conversation like that?" She admonished before looking at me while shaking her head. "Sorry about him, I think he has a bad case of foot in mouth." She explained apologetically to me before staring daggers at Isaak.
I couldn't help but offer a kind smile as I lean back against the table behind me. "It's fine; I don't mind." I offer in response before looking at Isaak and looking him over. He definitely looks like some kind of warrior between the well-cared-for sword on his hip and the unique set of hide armor that he wore. "Why do you ask? Have you killed anything or anyone before?" I decided to start with regard to Isaak's question.
Isaak averted his gaze, and I can feel a sense of embarrassment coming from him, though about what, I'm not sure yet. "Not really no, I haven't gotten the chance. I was just a guard recruit before this, a few weeks fresh out of my apprenticeship, and assigned my own set of city guard armor." He explained, staring at his hands as he wrung them together.
I reached out, gently patting his shoulder, and gave him a little shake before pulling away. "I don't know what sort of expectations you were raised on in this world, but there's nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to having never killed anyone or anything before. The act of taking a life is a weighty one, and it should never be taken lightly." I explained as I watched him closely.
Isaak nods intently, and I could see he had a lot on his mind; though before he could continue, Miriam returned with her tools, followed closely behind Sylvia as the duo set their things down on the table behind me. "Alright Vitmori, would you mind taking off that wrap, it's too thick to even think about measuring over." She explained politely as she procured a roll of measuring tape.
I bobbed my head in response. "Sure, no problem." I replied as I stood before shrugging off the ruined black fabric. As it fell to the ground, I heard an 'Eep' sound coming from Miriam, though Sylvia let out an impressed whistle. I could feel their eyes wandering my back and shoulders, and watched as the four of them looked at my chest and stomach, their eyes tracing the recreation of the injuries I sustained up until my late thirties. "Sorry if they're disturbing to look at, medical professionals were few and far between, and dangers were plentiful. I often had to treat my own wounds in the field and they were never pretty." I explained with a dry chuckle as I rubbed the back of my head. "Hell, these aren't even all of them, Reyvyre recreated my body while I was in my prime, I still have a couple decades of wear and tear not present here." I mused, hoping to lighten the mood. Though looking over at Miriam, that didn't really seem to help.
"Wow." Was all that came from Trisha as she took a seat beside Isaak.
Miriam just reached out and gently placed a hand on my shoulder, I could feel the unfiltered compassion coming from her as she looked up into my eyes. "You've sure been through a lot, haven't you?"
That... Damn... I wasn't expecting that. It's a good thing I'm just wood right now, I have a feeling that some tears might have escaped if I was flesh and blood. I'm able to contain myself well enough as I reach around and gently pat Miriam's hand before pulling back. "Yeah, but I think I'm in a better place now." I offer in response. I have a feeling that she might not entirely believe me, but she didn't push the topic as she started measuring my arms while Sylvia went about measuring my legs and feet. While that happened, I decided to look back over at Isaak and offered a bit of a smile. "Let's continue our talk later if you don't mind." I offer, it's clear the guy is after something and I don't want to outright ignore him.
This earned Isaak a curious look from Miriam, though Isaak just averts his gaze and nods. "S-sure, alright, later." He replied almost sheepishly.
After a few moments of silence, Trisha spoke up while staring at one of the scars along my back. "So... Vitmori. I've got some big questions for you." She said as she stood and walked around in front of me to make eye contact while making sure to stay out of Miriam and Sylvia's way as they measure my chest and hips.
Meeting her gaze, I offer a smile and nod. "Sure, and I might have some big answers." I reply with amusement.
This managed to wrangle a small smile from Trisha before she continued with her thought process. "What sort of weapons do you want me to make for you?" She asked as she held her gaze.
Weapons eh? Right, now that it has come down to it, what do I want? I trained with all sorts of weapons during my youth, but what should I use now? My mind does wander to the fancy-looking bow next to the elf corpse in Lictdren's chamber, as well as the red spear embedded in the ceiling, but those would just draw too much attention. I also shouldn't limit myself to the gimmick and improvised weapons that I had to rely on more often than not, I had a professional blacksmith with a fully stocked forge and all the supplies I could procure for her now. "I want a shortsword, a dagger, a set of ten throwing knives, a spear, and a bow with thirty arrows that have barbed tips." I listed out before offering a bit of a smile. "I'll let you decide on what to use to make them, but don't use that mithril stuff, I don't want to attract too much attention."
Rather than look intimidated by the size of my order, I could swear that she had a fire of excitement in her eyes. "Yes sir, while I may need help making the bow and arrows, I should be able to handle making the arrowheads just fine. I'll be able to manage everything else myself though, no problem." She exclaimed as she flashed a toothy grin and a thumbs up, though, after a moment, she had a curious look on her face as she looked me over. "How do you plan on carrying all of that?" She asked, slightly tilting her head as she stroked her chin.
I chuckled softly as Miriam measured my neck while Sylvia took precise measurements of my hand. "I have a magic storage place where I can keep it all, remember how I pulled all that stone from nowhere?" I offer as an example, and after a moment she understands and nods intently.
Sylvia spoke up as she finished committing my measurements to memory. "Your armor will be simple, yet practical as you obviously don't have any gooey bits you need to protect, but you need to at least look the part." She explained with a hint of amusement while looking me over. "Since you like to be light on your feet, I'll get you set up with some leather boots, pauldrons, bracers, and gloves. You won't look particularly impressive, though I have a feeling you wouldn't care about that." She listed out before nodding to herself with satisfaction.
I returned her nod with a bob of my head. "Sounds good to me, just let Legosi know how many hides you need for the leather, he'll have his pack bring you the materials as long as you let them have the meat." I offer as Miriam pulls away, finishing up with her own measurements.
'"Do you have any preference for the clothes?" Miriam asked as she glanced over at me before stepping away to put the measuring tape away.
I think about that for a moment before speaking up. "I don't have any preferences about the colors of my tops or bottoms, all I ask is that they're all made with long sleeves." I explained though I consider something else as I glance over at her. "I would like a brown cloak if it isn't too much trouble."
She flashes a bit of a smile and nodded intently. "Of course Vitmori, I'll get right on it." She said cheerfully, moving to leave with Sylvia as they grabbed their equipment. Isaak moved to leave as well, heading outside, though he was soon intercepted by one of the drakewardens and dragged off somewhere.
I took a moment to collect what remained of the black fabric that I wrapped around my body, tearing a hole in the middle of one of the bigger pieces before pulling it on like a poncho. "There we go, at least I won't be exposed." I mused cheerfully to Trisha, earning a bit of a smile from her as she nodded. I could tell she was clearly excited to go see her new workspace. After a moment to consider it, I decided I should make her first day in my service to be really special, though at the same time, I wanted to be alone with my thoughts for a little while as I looked over at her again. "Go get Reyvyre, Rita, and Hephtio, I'm going to go on ahead and wait for you."
This earned a curious look from her, but she nodded and went to step away. "Sure thing boss." She replied as she walked off.
With Trisha on her way, I start heading up my mountain and go over how the fight went in my head. From what I can tell, Reonim managed to circulate his mana around his body, it flowed and pulsed with his heartbeat, much like his own blood. While I don't have blood, I did appear to have some sort of veins circulating a minimal amount of my mana, which was what appeared to keep my body functional and mobile. I had to consider what Reonim told me about this 'barkskin' and 'stoneskin' defense, based on what I saw, it seemed Reonim had to actively will the defenses to take effect; actually hitting Reonim with my stone blade confirmed that there was something at work that reduced the impact of my strike.
Reviewing the battle some more, it was clear that Reonim had also used a form of mana to cause some kind of whirlwind to spin around his greatsword. The effects of the wind were rather potent, as they were enough to knock me off my feet even without direct contact. It probably didn't help that I'm not as heavy as I used to be, but that is not something I mind all too much; after all, a lighter body means lighter steps. Reonim had a decent mana capacity, though it was nowhere near the extent of Reyvyre or even Rita, it was considerable as far as I can tell without refining the mana in his mana heart into mana rings. From the looks of it, mana hearts and mana rings serve two different functions which appear to be complimentary to each other. Mana hearts serve to improve the physical capabilities in someone's body, spreading the mana around in order to be used in various ways, and with enough skill and know-how, they're able to extend the mana out into a weapon, shield, armor, or even their own skin. Even minor magic can be used as long as someone has a mana heart established, that is if what Hephtio told me was accurate when he and Trisha fended off one of those feral goat horses with bursts of fire breath.
As for the specifics of mana rings, I'm still not too sure, I'll need to talk to Reyvyre and Rita about it. But it seems the more rings you have, the more complicated the magic you are able to use. I have a feeling it is like the difference between using a lighter to illuminate a room to using either a torch or a flashlight to illuminate the room. Using a torch or a flashlight are both valid escalations from using a lighter, they're two completely different methods that achieve similar but overtly different effects.
Before I knew it, I had been sitting on the steps leading up to the entrance of the smithy while watching the horizon. It was nothing but trees as far as the eye could see and it was beautiful. The forests around most settlements back home had been gutted for the wood and fuel over the years, conservation wasn't really considered necessary since the world had already ended as far as my generation was concerned. Aside from that, there was usually enough to go around when the supply lines weren't being interrupted by raiders or the communities outside of the alliances. The only things we needed to keep scavenging for were the non-renewable goods and equipment like the stuff at that warehouse. Things that weren't easily sourced, even if we were making excellent progress with mass 3D printing. Though all that's moot for me now.
My musings of my old life came to an end as I spotted Hephtio excitedly leading Rita, Reyvyre and Trisha up along the steps of my mountain. Hephtio was the first to reach me, lunging onto my legs as I scooped him up and brought him around to my shoulder. "Glad you all found your way up alright, sorry to wake you Reyvyre." I mentioned apologetically at the sight of the elven woman.
Reyvyre yawned, shrugging but flashing a smile. "It's alright, you wouldn't have woken me for nothing after all."
Rita looked around curiously, not having been to this part of my mountain yet.
I looked over at Trisha and waved her over. "Come along, your forge awaits." I said cheerfully as we all headed up the rest of the way.
Within a few minutes, I led the group down the magically illuminated tunnel and into the forge room. Trisha, for her part, was ecstatic as she moved from one end of the room to the other before hopping around with a grin on her face before going over to Hephtio and scooping up the cat. "Hephtio! The fires of the forge await!" She exclaimed, Hephtio mrowling with delight as he wiggled about excitedly.
I couldn't help but grin at how excited she was, but I cleared my throat and spoke up. "Before you get started, we have a bit of business to attend to."
Trisha looked fairly surprised but nodded as she clutched Hephtio close. "Oh, sure boss, what's up?"
"Do you have a last name?" I ask curiously.
Trisha looked taken aback by my apparently random question. "Umm… No? Are… Are you offering?"
I chuckled a bit at her reaction before nodding. "Yeah, among other things. I would like to form a bond with you if you're interested, I'll grant you a last name and a title. These two things will grant you a considerable amount of power and allow you to communicate with all my nonverbal beasts." I explain, gesturing to Hephtio as Trisha glanced down at the red cat and looked rather thoughtful.
"I… Hmm…" Trisha starts to say, lifting Hephtio up and looking him in the eyes. Hephtio offered a feline smile and gently pressed his paw against her cheek. Trisha chuckled a bit before bringing him back down to her chest and looking over at me again. "I'll do it, thank you."
I nod intently and looked over at Rita and Reyvyre. "Do you mind coming over, Trisha has a mana heart but no mana ring; and I have a feeling that she's gonna need some help forming her first ring."
Reyvyre and Rita share a glance before nodding as they approach, the two women placing their hands against Trisha's back. Trisha looked rather confused at the mention of mana rings and gulped with anxiety, though she remained still.
After another moment of considering what I want to say, I approach Trisha and look down into her eyes before placing my hand on her shoulder. "I welcome you into my service, I grant you the title of Arsonist and bestow the last name Vulcan. May you grow and become your best self as we go together in the future." At that, two doses or mana start flowing into her, strangely enough it doesn't flow from my avatar, and is instead flowing down from the core above as Trisha jolts and shudders from the rush of mana. Thankfully both Rita and Reyvyre set to work and quickly stabilized the teen blacksmith, her mana heart growing and pulsing dramatically when a ring starts to spiral and swirl around it.
Trisha panted heavily, clutching her chest and shuddering, looking between Rita and Reyvyre before looking over to me and flashing a wild grin. "W-what a rush! Say… What's an Arsonist?"
Prev First Next
submitted by ScribblingFox98 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 02:12 Omansurver The second part of the fourth section of a certain super well-made-like-oh-my-god-this-is-so-good literary piece of media that was inspired by a animated piece of media, or the second part of the fourth chapter.

So yeah, second part. I forgot to say the page count last time of this chapter last time, so I'll say it now. Chapter four is about fifty pages long, so it fits the bill when it comes to these things. Not much else to say, so enjoy.

* * *
Jacob pondered.
On what exactly? Oh fine, I’ll tell you.
Jacob had just received what was, hopefully, a relatively unfiltered version of the recent events and situation on the planet. After about an hour of explanation, A had finished on the arrival of the disassembly drones, and the subsequent widespread assault on the worker drones. When Jacob had asked for the specific story of A’s squad, A had skirted around it, only lightly touching upon the subject. It was slightly suspicious, but Jacob didn’t plan on doing anything about it.
However, if it was the truth, it only raised more questions than answers. The fact that a company was willing to exterminate the entirety of what was probably a massive investment was just baffling. Jacob could only come up with two explanations, one of which was rather worrying to think about. The first was that of changing times; perhaps the company was so rich, and technology so advanced, that the worker drones could be replaced with the ease of buying another shipload of tissues. If you threw away an entire box of tissues, it would be annoying to say the least, but it wouldn’t cost a lot to just get another one.
But, it just didn’t make sense to Jacob that that would be the case. The United States military in the time of Jacob had heaps, thousands of missiles, and could afford to replace them as they were used. But if they all disappeared at once? It would take lots of time, money, and effort to replace each and every single last one of the lost payloads, and not to mention the logistical nightmare it would be.
So, that led Jacob to his other solution, one that insinuated a scenario far more confusing and sinister. If the company decided to just annihilate every worker drone, which is a very radical and illogical decision by a galaxy-spanning megacorporation, then it would line up with certain other decisions made by other people in the past.
During the Second World War, the U.S. government was fearful of a potential Japanese invasion. They believed that, if they did land boots on American soil, that the Japanese-Americans would rise up, taking the side of the invaders. And so, Roosevelt made the Executive Order 9066, ordering over one hundred and twenty thousand Japanese-Americans to be interned in concentration camps, where they would remain until near the end of the war.
This was an apt example for how even the most level-headed of individuals could make bad decisions under the influence of fear. If Jacob assumed that the same was true for this day and age, then perhaps the administration at the company had sent machines to kill the entire worker drone populace due some or maybe even all of them being much more dangerous than what was being let on. It was a bit far-fetched, but was the one of the only viable solutions at the moment, aside from his theory that nothing was real and they were all figments of the imagination of a being so complex they were nothing but fiction to it, but the chances of that were little to none.
Jacob’s pondering was interrupted by someone waving their hand in front of his face.
“Ugh, hello?” A snapped his fingers twice. “You there?”
Jacob blinked, refocusing on his present company. “Uh yeah, just processing.”
A scoffed. “Processing what? I thought humans were superior or something?”
Jacob smacked A’s hand out of his face. “Me too.”
A raised an LED eyebrow.
“Doesn’t matter.” Jacob waved hand in a dismissive way. “What now?”
“I dunno. That's all I had.” A shrugged.
“Nothing else you’re hiding?” Jacob questioned.
“No. There isn’t.” A glared at Jacob. “Now drop it.”
Jacob held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, jeez man, calm down. I just don’t wanna be bored for however long I’m stuck here.”
“Yeah well, that's not really my problem.” A stated.
Jacob didn’t reply, only sighing, before standing and getting up out of his seat.
A startled. “Wait, where are you going?”
“Out.” Jacob simply replied.
“Why?” A inquired.
Jacob shrugged. “Bored.”
A got to his feet as well. “Fine then. I guess I’m going as well.”
“You’re coming with?” Jacob asked incredulously.
“Yeah. I can’t have you running off and getting yourself killed.” A reasoned.
“They kept saying that too.” Jacob grumbled.
“Who said that?” A tilted his head.
“K and X.” Jacob answered. “Also, why don’t y’all have normal names? Why just letters?”
“I dunno.” A non-committedly replied.
“Huh.” Jacob took that as a cue to leave, turning to the ladder.
A followed closely behind, waiting until Jacob had gone through the small exit to ascend himself.
Jacob didn’t bother to use the ladder on the way down, buckling his knees and dropping the last few feet, hearing the snow crunch beneath him. He had been prepared to absorb the impact, but it seemed like whatever advanced mechanics his suit possessed had done the job all by itself, which was pretty nice. He made a mental note to test out the capabilities later on, just to get a general sense of the limits and what would be a danger to him.
Jacob heard a similar crunching noise behind him, causing him to look backwards, seeing A just awkwardly standing there.
“Just gonna follow me? Really?” Jacob was slightly annoyed.
“Yeah. I’ve gotta keep you safe until someone else takes you off my hands, or else I’ll-” A cut himself off.
Jacob took note of that, inferring what he might have been about to say. It only served to confirm his notion that he was sort of a VIP on the planet. He was to be protected at all costs, which was pretty nice for Jacob.
“So, you gonna do anything?” A asked.
* * *
The sound of snow crunching filled the empty room as the pair walked into it.
“Can we go back already?” X complained.
“No, and be quiet.” K scolded him. “It’s too echoey in this room, it’s annoying.”
X scoffed. “Pff, it’s fine. Nobody’s around for miles, we’re all good. Now when can we go back?”
K rolled her eyes. “We can go back when we find something, You heard what he said.”
“What who said?” X inquired.
“You idiot, our squad leader!? Our boss that we’ve spent who knows how long with!?” K cried out.
“Calm down, just messing around.” X leaned against the wall.
“Whatever, you know what A said. We can’t come back until we’ve found water.” K reminded X.
“Why do we even need it? I’m sure he’ll be fine.” X waved off the issue.
“He’ll die.” K deadpanned.
“He can walk it off.” X waved off the issue again.
“I don’t care, just get off the wall, we’ve gotta search every building.” K gestured for X to follow.
“How can we even find anything in here? Everywhere else we’ve checked has been empty.” X took his place next to K.
“You never know, now get to it.” K kicked over a rock, exposing a small marble.
X trotted over to a dented metal counter on one side of the room, peering underneath it.
“Nothing here, this is useless.” X whined.
“Shut up.” K called out.
X surprisingly obliged, kneeling down and searching the small cabinets that were connected to the counter. After finding nothing but a small skeleton huddled inside one of them, X sighed heavily, before making his way over to a large metal box. It might’ve been taller than him if it wasn’t tipped over on its side, with an assortment of power cords snaking out from an outlet on the back of it. Seeing a small handle on the front, X tugged on it, the slight rust giving way to superior strength.
However, X’s eyes went wide with shock, which changed to glee.
“Hey, look what I’ve found!” X called out to K.
K’s head whipped up, staring at the prize that X was brandishing. “You found- what is that?”
If the two had any idea what warm food was, they would’ve recognized the lumpy frozen good that X had in his hands as a perfectly preserved rotisserie chicken. If they had any sort of reheating device, and if they had proper taste buds, they might have been able to enjoy the sweet experience of a Thanksgiving dinner. However, they were ignorant robots who were about as smart as a middle schooler, so the only reaction that they, or at least one of them had, was confusion.
“I dunno, but it says chicken on the side!” X proudly exclaimed.
“What’s chicken?” K questioned.
“I’m . . . not sure . . . but I’m pretty sure it's food.” X’s LED eyebrows furrowed in thought.
“How do you know that?” K asked.
“Uh, I don't?” X seemed more confused than ecstatic now.
K shook her head. “Did you find anything useful?”
“Well I found this clear thing, but it only says something called ‘Dasani’ on the side.” X held up a clear plastic bottle, putting his finger in quotation marks when he said it.
“Give me that!” K dashed across the room, snatching the item out of X’s hands.
“Wha- hey!” X tried to grab at it, but K held it out of his reach.
“Back up!” K swatted X in the face, inciting a squawk of surprise.
“I found it first, give it back!” X shot back, tackling K, causing the bottle to roll across the ground.
The two began slugging at each other, scrabbling across the ground for dominance over a goddamn bottle, like a gang of the aforementioned middle schoolers. Nearly crushing the contested item multiple times, the two spent a good thirty seconds duking it out. And after K finally managed to curl into a ball around the bottle, X tried to no avail to recapture his former possession.
“You motherfu-” X was cut off by a noise from the door that led deeper into the building
The two highly professional disassembly drones shot to their feet, their gazes snapping to the origin of the sound. Standing there was a figure, about the same height as K and X, with familiar black plating and armor, kneeling down to grab a small blue marble that was on the floor. It appears as though the idiot had been trying to be sneaky to avoid capturing the attention of the killer robots, which clearly didn’t go as planned.
“Uh, hi.” The drone said after a moment of silence.
Even more silence.
The military drone took that as a cue to scoop up the marble, before dashing out of the room.
K and X instantly took chase, with K pocketing the small bottle for later. The military drone wasn’t quite fast, but it did make use of its head start well. The unnamed drone disappeared behind the corner, with the pair of disassembly drones right on his heels. However, when K turned around the edge, a bullet tore through the air, finding its home in her head. Completely unprepared, she fell to the ground.
X, contrary to what some might do, didn’t stop to assist her, instead just simply vaulting over her body, speeding onward. He was rapidly closing the distance between him and the military drone, when his prey suddenly whipped around with a pistol in its hand. X, unlike his comrade, was prepared for this inevitability, turning to the side and out of the path of the trio of bullets as they flew by him. X followed up on this by diving down onto the hapless drone, trying to skewer it on gleaming metal claws.
The drone didn’t have a chance to fight, but unknown to X, he did have time to press the small panic button on its jawline, or where the jawline would be if it was a human. If anyone on this planet was familiar with standard police or even military practice, they would recognize the small button as the useful yet annoying panic button.
For a bit of context, the panic button is usually represented as a small and easy-to-access device that, when activated, sends out an emergency distress signal that would notify the proper authorities of the panic button’s location and a dire situation. The panic button is common in the military, police personnel, elderly homes, schools, corporate buildings, apartment buildings, and basically everywhere else that isn’t a ghetto.
The drone, however, proved to be much smarter than his predecessors, much to the dismay of X. It dove to the side, dropping down and through a weakened rusty grate. As X’s claws scraped against the wall, the fleeing drone tossed a metal panel that was blocking the way out to his side, before dashing through the door. X jumped down to the lower floor, before continuing his chase.
A flurry of bullets ripped towards him, but X brought his arm up, letting his forearm absorb the projectiles that hit, and most missed. The drone ran down a comically long flight of stairs, taking three steps at a time. The stairs continued downward, eventually opening up to a basement with a gaping hole in the wall, which led straight into darkness. The drone nearly fell into the hole from the momentum of jumping down the stairs. But, it just managed to skid to a stop at the edge.
X landed at the foot of the stairs, crouching to absorb the impact. X’s gaze focused on the drone that was pointing the pistol at X, sights drawing a solid bead on his head. However, when it pulled the trigger, it was only met with a slight clicking sound. The drone gaze jerked down to the pistol, then straight back up to X, who was now diving towards it, claws outstretched.
The drone jumped backwards, losing his balance. Its foot slipped off the edge, and while the sudden space between it and X saved its life for the time being, it did have to contend with gravity, which was now pulling on the drone by a considerable amount.
X watched as the drone tumbled down the pit, hitting the sides. However, the sides of the pit were both sloped and slick with a thin sheet of ice, causing the drone to slide down to the bottom. The drone slammed against a large rusty metal pipe, which was a solid indicator of the pit’s identity as a sewer.
The drone scrambled to its feet, caving the skull in of a skeleton that appeared to have been a former inspector when one took into account the corpse’s clipboard and tattered clothes. X slammed down onto the large pipe, causing it to resonate like a gong. The drone snatched up a small length of rusty metal rebar that had impaled itself on the ground, the edge of the steel surprisingly sharp. The drone adopted a fighting stance, pointing the business end towards X.
The robotic predator didn’t care, however, just simply stabbing his prey with his own pointy stick, the sharp end of his nanite acid tail. The sharp tool stuck itself in the drone’s shoulder, causing it to drop the bar and curse. X took the opportunity to grip the drone by the head, while digging the claws of his other hand in its chest. X then looked into the opaque black visor of the military drone, before pulling in two opposite directions.
The effects were made known quickly, with the head of the military drone migrating away from its home connected to the body. Oil splashed down onto X, who took the opportunity to feed. X dropped the head, letting it hit the ground with a clang, dropping the body as well.
X stood over the fallen corpse, claws gleaming with oil. K landed next to him, retracting her wings.
“So you got it?” K asked.
“No I didn’t, he got away. This body right here is just a random pigeon, and you’re just hallucinating.” X replied sarcastically. “Also, how the hell did you get here so fast?”
K rolled her eyes. “Oh, be quiet. I’m just making sure, because knowing you, you would probably let him go for the funny.” She ignored his latter question.
“Well now that you mention it . . .” X looked sorrowfully at the body.
K punched him in the arm. “Whatever, we gotta go. I seriously doubt that he was alone-”
She was cut off yet again by a loud crash that originated from the hole up on the wall. The duo whipped around, only to see several guns pointed straight at them.
“Sup.” X nodded at the intruders.
* * *
The sound of conversation could be audibly heard from the lit tent.
The tent had been designated as the de facto headquarters for the former facility personnel, with a smaller offshoot serving as a meeting room for the leadership. The offshoot tent in question was currently being used for its purpose, with an emergency meeting being called. Not because of the discovery of a dead body, but for a different matter entirely.
“Can anyone at least tell me how this happened?” The Lead Engineer leaned on the table.
One of the data officers stepped forward. “We believe that when we were evacuating the facility, an error occurred that declassified the file.” They answered.
“An error did this.” The General wasn’t convinced.
“Well, yes. The computers had been degrading for a while now, and we had noticed that several of our autonomous programs were misbehaving, or just outright not working at all.” The data officer replied.
“And we did nothing about this?” The General glared at the trio of data officers that had joined them.
“We actually were doing all we could, but we didn’t have the materials to make a complete fix.” The Lead Engineer interjected.
“Why didn’t you tell me then!?” The General exclaimed.
“I did. You probably just forgot again.” The Lead Engineer suggested.
“What? I have the best memory here.” The General puffed out his chest proudly.
“Alright then, what were we just talking about?” The Lead Engineer inquired.
The General frowned. “We were talking?”
The Lead Engineer facepalmed. “Goddamn idiot.”
One of the data officers stepped up. “Uh, sir? There is still the matter of the ones who discovered the information.”
“Oh yeah, uh, dump them off the eastern bridge.” The Lead Engineer waved off the issue.
With a simple nod, the data officers left, accompanied by a few guards as well. The Lead Engineer sat back in his chair, before steepling his fingers on the desk. He looked back and forth between the assembled leadership, before the General spoke up.
“So, are we gonna continue or what?” He crossed his arms.
“Yes, sorry.” The Lead Engineer motioned to one of his ministers. “You take the lead, Kane.”
Kane got up, walking to the front of the tent, dragging a projector on a cart with him. When he arrived, he pulled down the white screen, securing the hook on a latch on the bottom. He then adjusted the cart, facing the lens towards the screen. He then attached a laptop to the projector, pressing a few buttons and fiddling with a few switches, cursing once. Finally, the projector flickered to life, shining an image onto the screen.
Kane cleared his throat. “Ahem, so. What you are seeing here is the first page of the document in question. As you can see here, it appears to be warning against a drone viewing whatever the contents of this file is.” Kane flicked to the next slide. “It continues to vehemently express this multiple times, not really differing in its warning at all.”
One of the military ministers, Alicia, raised her hand. “Uh, question?”
Kane paused. “What is it?”
“Its warning against drones? She asked.
“Yes, it is. I’ll explain this later on, so save your questions for the end please.” Kane looked back to the projection, skipping through the slides until he landed on the first one without a warning.
“Ah, here we go. So, as you can see here, this appears to be a logo for JCJenson-'' Kane was interrupted by a faint, “In Spaaaaacee!” from an unknown source. “Uh, anyway, as all of you know, JCJenson was the company that owned this planet, and the one that provided the drones that the government were using in their facility, which was us.” Kane flicked to the next slide.
“Here we can see a title for a project, along with several bits of accompanying information, like locations, associates, page number, references, you get the picture.” Kane then produced a long ruler from what seemed like thin air, before pointing the end at one of the words. “Pay attention to this one here ‘AbsoSolv’ as it’ll come up several times later on.” Going to the next slide, Kane cleared his throat yet again.
“This page is more confusing, as it appears to be mentioning several unit serial numbers that don’t match up with standard format, which are mixed in with several other ones that are in different format, like this one here,” Kane pointed his stick at a random one from the line. “This one says, S-010011X01, which I believe has a main identifying letter instead of a string of numbers based on time of construction.”
“Additionally, while some of these feature the normal serial numbers that worker drones use, they have another identifier after it, separated by a dash.” Kane flipped to the next slide.
“This one is more straightforward, as it appears to be featuring a set of technical designs of a modified worker drone with the serial number and other associated information listed at the top. The notes on the side are observations on the modifications that can be seen in the designs. Some of the original worker drone parts can be seen, but a majority of the inner and outer mass seem to have been altered or replaced with a substance that is described as ‘fleshy’. You can see at the very bottom a signature of an unknown human administrator, and a notice that marks the drone for ‘disassembly’ as an addendum can be seen that marks whatever this is as a failure, and a recommendation to request more data from their source.”
Kane took a breath, before going to the next slide. “This is essentially the same as the last one, and this continues for a few slides. Nothing of note can be found in them, save for a few different serial numbers that were listed in one of the prior slides.”
Kane flicked to the next slide. “This one has two addendums, which I will say in a moment. The image is different as well, with noticeably less random mutations and more of a form taking place. This one was supposedly much more successful than the others, and while it was still marked as a failure, the first addendum said that the team working on the project should strip the data from the drone in as best a condition as they could. The second one simply noted they were naming the specific strain of code they were using to ‘Absolute Solver’. The addendum does not mention any reason or motive behind the name, only noting the fact that their shareholders would be pleased.”
“The next one is the first apparent success in the line of experiments that JCJenson seemed to be doing. A single growth can be seen protruding from the back of the spinal transmitter, and several other growths have sprouted inside. However, it is noted that the drone survived the process, and remained somewhat coherent for a period of time afterwards, which seems to be an outlier when considering the others. There isn’t an addendum on this one, only a request from the team for more extensive data from their source to compare to this experiment.”
“This trend continues for a good while, so I’ll just summarize the important bits for all of you.” Kane stated. “Each version continued to show more and more productive attributes and traits, as is par the standard course. Throughout the notes, requests, and addendums, whoever was typing up the document repeatedly noted some things that I will review later, such as Absolute Solver, the ‘source’, Camp 98.7, Cabin Fever Labs, and disassembly drones.”
Kane flicked to the final slide. “This is the final page, with some items to note. It appears to be a reiteration of the specifics of the agreement between the government and JCJenson, with a few additional key things. It includes the standard formalities and the usual junk that we all know, but something else as well. When mentioning the exchange of data that came from the asset-” Kane paused as the room underwent an uncomfortable shuffle in their seats. “They mention a clear correlation between this project that JCJenson is, or was, working on, and the asset. They also instructed the government contacts that any unauthorized personnel, which included government agents, were now barred from entering Camp 98.7 due to ‘hazardous environmental conditions’ and that this was nonnegotiable.”
Kane turned away from the projector, clasping his hands in front of himself. “And now to explain.”
“From what me and the team I assigned could gather, we deduced the meanings and purposes behind several items that were mentioned in this file. The first and most obvious, the ‘source’ that is mentioned. They are receiving data from this source, which seems to be essential to the development of what they were working on. Based on their words, we figured that the source is likely the asset, and yes, the same asset that we are all familiar with.” Kane paused, seemingly to let his words sink in.
“Continuing on, we began to dissect what Camp 98.7 was. It was very clearly a location of sorts, but where it was and what it was used for was more complicated. While we never arrived at a solid conclusion, we believed that the most likely avenue was that Camp 98.7 might have been an outpost of sorts, perhaps used in conjunction with these Cabin Fever Labs.”
“On the matter of the Cabin Fever Labs, we can clearly assume that research and development of this Absolute Solver was being conducted there, and perhaps Camp 98.7 was a sort of staging ground or other type of location related to the lab. We believe that the location of one or both of these sites are hidden within another file.”
“And perhaps the most intriguing and complex matter of them all, Absolute Solver. We figured that it was likely that this Absolute Solver was instrumental in whatever experiments they were doing, or even being one of the subjects of the experiments themselves. From what we gather, Absolute Solver is something, maybe a piece of alien machinery, some sort of unknown lifeform, an experimental strain of cutting-edge code, one of those things, but whatever it is, it is not something that is ‘normal’. It appears to have a unique effect on those it hosts or comes into contact with, rapidly generating new organic material, with sometimes uncontrolled effects. While the file only shows the experiments that used drones, we don’t know if any humans or other organic lifeforms were included either. Likely not, considering the legality of the situation, but it's open to discussion.”
Kane took a large breath, before continuing.
“And finally, the disassembly drones. They seem simple, but my team believed it to be heavily related to our current situation. They aren’t mentioned very often, but they appear to be a direct result of their experiments or related to one. From what we could gather, they are meant to, well, disassemble. Drones on par with military-grade ones that are capable of a variety of things, like bullet fire, rocket launching, melee combat, flight, digital warfare, and regeneration.” Kane watched as his words dawned upon his audience, expressions filling with shock.
“Yes, those drones. The disassembly drones that we read about are likely some variant of the unknown assailants that attacked the facility, and stole the asset in the process.”
The General sputtered. “B-but that would be a severe political incident! If those drones were under the command of JCJenson, and they stole GOVERNMENT property, then they would be liable for retaliation!”
Kane tried to calm the room. “Now, hold on, I’m not done-”
The Lead Engineer also appeared to be shocked. “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier!?”
“You told me to wait for the meeting!” Kane exclaimed.
The room erupted into disarray.
“We need to mobilize, hunt down those damn traitors!”
“What's their last known location!?”
“Where is the nearest transmitter, send out a request for retaliatory action!”
Suddenly, a drone burst into the room, knocking over the projector cart in the process. Everyone turned to look at him, ceasing the chaos for a moment.
“Er, uh, sirs?” The drone asked.
“Yes?” The General and the Lead Engineer stood up at the same time.
“I, uh,” The drone looked back and forth between the two administrators. “Well, we received a panic signal from one of our scouts.”
The General scoffed. “Why would that be enough to warrant our intervention? He probably just tripped on a conveniently placed banana peel.”
The messenger fidgeted nervously. “Well, his partner reported moments before the signal came in that he heard gunshots.”
The administrative drones shared a collective uneasy look.
“What did you do?” The General asked slowly.
“The officers who received the signal first sent in two of the patrol squads that were nearby at the time.” The messenger answered.
The drones in assembly all either looked down in disappointment or facepalmed.
The General spoke up after a moment. “Send in a squad as fast as you can to their last known location. Only veterans, and outfit them with heavy weaponry and explosive ordnance.” The General paused, before adding an afterthought. “And give them some cutting equipment too.”
The messenger blinked in surprise. “Wait, sir, are you sure-”
“Just tell the officers already!” The General slammed his fist down onto the cheap plastic table, which formed a crack.
The messenger saluted quickly, before dashing out of the room.
The Lead Engineer took a cursory look at the assembled drones, before he sighed.
“We’re screwed.”
* * *
“Are you going back anytime soon?”
Jacob looked back at his unwanted companion.
“No.” He answered simply, before resuming his casual trot.
“We’re getting too far away from the spire, and the sun is coming up in an hour or two. I for one don’t want to get caught out.” A insisted.
“Well I don’t die from a bit of sunlight, so too bad.” Jacob stepped over a tire rim.
“I’m not sure that’s your choice.” A stated.
Jacob paused and looked backward. “Oh, so you’re bossing me around now?”
“Maybe, if you keep on making dumb decisions like this.” A stopped as well.
“Pff, I’ll be fine.” Jacob waved his hand in the air to emphasize his point.
“You won’t last ten minutes.” A dead-panned.
“Nah, I’ll speedrun this stuff, I’ll be off-planet in an hour.” Jacob proudly said.
A shook his head and sighed. “Whatever you say.”
Jacob didn’t answer.
Jacob then looked around. “Wait, where are we? I wasn’t keeping track.”
“And you said that you would- whatever, we’re like, three miles away from the base.” A replied.
“Huh, went that far?” Jacob asked.
A frowned. “Three miles isn’t that far-”
A was interrupted by a rather loud crack that resonated through the landscape.
Jacob blinked. “Uh, ok then-”
Jacob was also interrupted by a trio of cracks and bangs, sounding slightly familiar.
“Are those-” Jacob was, yet again, interrupted by even more bangs.
“-gunshots?” He finished.
“I wouldn’t worry, those idiots are probably either messing around, or they found a worker drone to kill.” A nonchalantly answered.
“Shouldn’t we go check it out though?” Jacob inquired.
“It isn’t a problem.” A said, annoyed.
“Well it would give me something to do.” Jacob insisted.
A checked the time, before looking at the horizon for signs of sunlight.
“Eh, fine. Wouldn’t hurt, I guess.” A shrugged.
“Nice.” Jacob grinned underneath his ballistic visor.
* * *
K sliced through the head of the last desperate drone, before spitting out a bullet.
“You done?” K called out to X.
“Yeah, I guess. By the way, do you still have my Dasani thing?” X looked at K hopefully.
“Yes, I do. And besides, it isn’t yours, it's for Jacob.” K answered.
“What? Why is he getting it? Why not me?” X exclaimed.
“Because it's water, idiot. An uncontaminated source, like A told us, remember?” K glared at X.
“I guess, but that's water?” X asked.
“Yes, it is. It matches the description.” K replied
“Description?” X questioned.
“Yeah, the description. You know what description means, right?” K seemed even more annoyed.
“I know what it means.” X snapped. “But how do you know what water looks like?”
K just shrugged, before turning towards the exit.
“Come on, we gotta get back soon.” She flew upwards, landing on the ledge.
X followed suit, tracing their steps back through the building. X looked back up at the rusty grate that the drone had fallen through, which he now identified as being part of a weirdly placed catwalk. Scanning the environment, X found that the only entrance to the small alcove would be the hole in the catwalk. The basement that the small room was connected to didn’t have an entrance either, only having the gaping hole in the side of the room, which likely wasn't intended. That would mean that a person would have to chop through the sewer wall to get into the basement and adjoining alcove, or jump off the catwalk. Both of those options didn’t make any sort of sense at all. In fact, the catwalk wasn’t even needed, someone could have just removed the entire basement-and-alcove plan entirely, which also removed the necessity for a catwalk. All in all, whoever designed the building was either high off of some crazy drugs, an idiot, or both.
But, none of these thoughts went through X’s head, as he was only thinking about the devastating loss of his cool plastic bottle.
K hefted herself up onto the rusty catwalk, with X following close behind. K went through the doorway, only for a rather eventful event to stop her momentarily.
A rocket screamed through the air, smacking K straight in the chest. The resulting explosion blew X backwards and K apart, with oil splashing onto the ground in the process. With a clatter, X hit the ground, slightly dazed. He looked to his left to see what looked like the arm of K, twitching slightly. X tried to get up, only to fall again, after he put his weight on a hand that wasn’t there.
X, seeing the failure of Operation: GTFU, adjusted his position so that he could get up with his other hand only, which was thankfully still there. Investigating his left arm, he could see that everything down from the elbow had been separated from himself in the blast. He didn’t have time to look for it or go get it, so he simply let the matter go.
Standing up, X stared through the smoke, before diving back down onto the ground when another rocket came streaking past him. It scratched his face, sending small sparks up, before heading down the other hallway. X pointed his own rocket launcher into the fog, before firing off a flurry of shots. He heard explosions, but wasn’t rewarded with screams or grunts of pain. Problematic, to say the least.
X took the opportunity to kick K’s assorted dismembered body parts down into the lower alcove, where she should eventually reassemble herself. She was really taking a beating recently, and she would probably be frustrated about that when X was all done, but that wasn’t his problem-
X nearly met the same fate as K when another rocket flew from the open doorway, the fog starting to clear up. X jumped up and over the RPG, letting it fly into the unexplored depths of the building. He couldn’t do this dance forever, so he made the executive decision to charge into the unknown.
* * *

Anyway, I'll be posting the next part tomorrow, so hang on tight for the singular person that made it to the end. No need to like, this is purely for my own benefit. See ya.
submitted by Omansurver to MurderDrones [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 21:38 daavor Daavor's Duobingo 6: Young Adult (Hell Followed With Us, House of Hollow)

This year I'm trying to fill out two bingo cards with one all on hard mode, and the other available for whatever might catch my eye. This post is about the YA Square (HM: Published in the past five years). Because I'm me there will be a subtheme of creepy body horror (or maybe that's just indicative of these truly addressing young adulthood). So let us get into it.
Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White
Hard Mode: Yes (pub 2022)
Other Squares: Horror (HM), Arguably Angels and Demons.
Content warnings: Body horror, pandemic horror, extreme transphobia and homophobia, religious extremists, abusive families.
Brief Review: Religious extremists blending extremely conservative evangelism with eco-terrorism have unleashed a flesh melting plague (aptly named the Flood) on the world and devastated most of it. In the small (fictionalized) city of Acheson Pennsylvania a trans boy named Benji has escaped a cell (possibly the leading cell) of that same sect and finds sanctuary with a band of armed queer youth living out of an old LGBTQ+ youth center.
What Benji is hiding is how deep in the sect his family (their mother in particular) were and that he is the key to their next planned stage in unleashing further terrors of the Flood and the strange flesh-monster-angels it has reshaped people into. The death squads of New Nazareth want him back and will do horrible things to get to him.
This is a raw book in the best of ways. It conveys a raw nerve of terror and conflict with accepting oneself and ones relationship to one's body. It is gripping and well plotted, visceral and gut-wrenching. In depicting the small and fragile community of the youth center, it portrays with accuracy and subtlety the many different strands of identity that can get someone labelled as or to label themselves as queer and how difficult true solidarity can be (without diminishing how worthwhile it is to strive for).
Overall rating: 5/5, highly recommended
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Hard Mode: Yes (pub 2021)
Other Squares: Magical Realism/Literary SFF (HM), Horror (HM)
Content Warnings: Body horror, suicide, child disappearances and harm to children, sexual harassment/threats of assault.
Brief Review: This book follows Iris Hollow. She is the youngest of the three Hollow sisters. When they were little, the three of them disappeared without a trace for a month, returned strange, and in the course of all this shattered the happiness and health of their family. She's trying to carve out a normal life for herself and keep her controlling mother happy, her two older sisters are off gallivanting around the world in rebellion, one as a punk rocker travelling Europe, the other as a globetrotting supermodel and fashion designer. When fashion designer Grey Hollow, the eldest sister, goes missing instead of meeting up with her two younger sisters, they and her boyfriend (also a famous model) get dragged into the weird and spooky world of mysteries that already tore their family apart once before.
A lot of the marketing describes this as a dark modern fairy tale. Which is pretty damn accurate. It is fairly dark. It has a lot of fairy tale vibes and tropes. And it feels quite modern and current in a way that almost risks feeling dated in about 5 years (though maybe in 5 years people won't know to think the one section where it supposedly shows an excerpt from a reddit thread is unbelievably off-base). It doesn't skimp on showing how technology and the internet entwine with gossip and news and controlling family members.
It also deftly rides a pretty fine line in it's treatment of the supernatural elements where one the one hand they feel very concrete, in your face, and actually there without ambiguity, but also managed to be sprinkled in sparsely enough for most of the narrative and with enough of a creepy thematic core (things that are rotting, broken, half forgotten, or that we can't let go of) that it feels genuinely magical and wondrous and mysterious. And the mystery at the heart of the story is compellingly written and entwines well with the modern mystery aspects.
Overall rating: 4/5
submitted by daavor to Fantasy [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 17:26 Drakos8706 Powerless (part 36)

Admiral Shane stood in the room usually used for training, but had been cleared out so he could make the conference over holophone, and a larger room helped with the scale when they were addressing the entire Federation Council.
It had taken only about 2 ½ days to get to the Golden Egg’s position, as with their progress in the uplifting process - and the fact that they had access to FTL technology - they had been allowed to send a ship out into the Federation, albeit supervised. As such, they decided on sending a military ship, seeing as there was a much smaller chance of an interstellar incident happening with disciplined Marines.
The chamber was a semicircle, with the Chairperson’s seat at ground level, in the center of the floor, with each next row elevated slightly, so that the gathered Representatives were situated in a step-pattern, ascending to the top row of the chamber. He noticed that the ‘insectoid’ species all were situated to his right of the chamber, if he was looking out at them.
Beside him stood Admiral Ree’Scote, being his ‘escort’ into the Federation; Kyle, as the boots-on-ground witness; Officer Kit’Ahnj, being the Federation’s liaison officer; and Captain Vohr’Doe, as the commander of the vessel that found the planet. But of course, it was him that was currently the center of attention.
He had reviewed the team's video logs, and he agreed that whatever was on that planet was likely hostile; the sounds that came from that darkness - not to mention the fear he felt when looking into it - were so… wrong, he didn't feel any other classification would be right. And - after the testimony of Officer Kit’Ahnj, backing up Kyle’s report, and the video - the Council felt the same way; however, they were less inclined to destroy the planet. He was currently being addressed by the Council Chairwoman, a bipedal crocodile, whose title was Chairwoman Hahss’Chom, (which - when she pronounced it - was little more than a hiss, followed by her snapping her jaws shut.)
“We have ways to prevent… whatever this is - from ever being able to exit their system, even if they were to develop FTL technology.”
“With all due respect, ma’am,” he said, keeping his focus on her, and not the - obviously - judging races that surrounded him, all of whom represented different animals from Earth, each one the Speaker for their respective races, “We’ve dealt with a mindless force of nature that was only intent on killing…
“Europa was one of Jupiter’s moons, and was roughly 90% the size of Luna. When we began spreading out from Earth, the question of drinkable water became a problem. And while it's - relatively - easy to make it from its base components, Europa was almost entirely water, though not all of it was liquid.
“Once we had developed the technology to land there, we set out drilling to the ocean, which was located beneath a shell of ice that was estimated to be between 10-15 miles deep… We made it four miles before we lost all resistance. The drills were shut down, and new readings were taken; but by the time they realized what was happening, it was too late.
“At first, the teams thought that it was a geyser, which are - were - a fairly common thing, though there had been no signs that one was building up there. Well, they managed to get far enough away before… The ice where they had been working melted, but there was no geyser. What came out of the hole resembled, well, it most resembled a machine AI that humanity dreamed up as a monster in a movie. The one I reference here was basically a metal ball with countless metal tentacles from its ‘back’, and what came out of that hole looked remarkably similar.
“And it wasn't alone. About a dozen of those [‘squids’] came out, and made straight for our people. It was… a massacre; our weapons had no effect on them whatsoever. And after they were done killing everyone, they began dismantling and consuming the ships and equipment. And afterwards, they turned their gazes upwards, launching themselves from the surface of the moon with the force of their limbs, alone.
“Judging from the fragments of their bodies we were able to recover after encounters with them in space, we determined that they were iron of the Fe oxidized variety, so the metal of their bodies didn't interact with the water. They were also incredibly light, especially for how dense they were; it took several missiles to destroy each, and we had no other choice, as they were heading directly at the ships in orbit.
“We retreated to a tactical distance, and while we tried so many different ways to communicate, we found nothing. We even captured one alive, and still, there was no way to communicate. Every attempt was met with the utmost hostility. And throughout this process, they continuously sent out others from beneath the ice, most of them sent towards our ships, yet others were sent out towards the asteroids that share Jupiter’s orbit around the sun. We had no idea what they were doing with the asteroids, whether they were mining them for food, or using them as places to reproduce - or both - so we eventually decided to bombard them with munitions until they crashed into the planet. But this was after we had exhausted every possible avenue of communication.
“We eventually came to a decision - as a people - to destroy the moon, but we had to be smart about it. The Europans had already proven they didn't need to breathe, as they could survive the cold, irradiated vacuum of space without any external protection, which took blowing Europa up off the table.. So - after much deliberation - it was decided to create a ship that could use tractor beams to move the planet. For this, we converted another of Jupiter’s moons - Ganymede - into a ship, and once the construction was complete, we renamed it the Europa Contingency.
“From there, we caught Europa, and towed it to Sol, where we cast it in, to destroy the Europans, down to the last one… It's not something that we’re proud of - as a people - but it was what we needed to do, in order to survive.”
There was a resounding silence after he finished with his speech, and he allowed them the time to process what he'd just told them. He was suddenly very self-conscious, and he felt as if he hadn't explained their plight sufficiently. They were already classified as the most aggressive that their measurement system could register, what must they think of humanity after this. Finally, the Chairwoman broke the silence.
“Though it sounds as if you may have committed genocide on a sapient species… This Council can claim no better. While we have ways to contain FTL travel, this was only put forth as a possible avenue to explore after our predecessors had glassed multiple planets who had turned out to be too hostile to conduct civil interactions with. To have that threat in the same system as you, with no real barrier between your peoples, well, I don't believe any here could truly blame your people for coming to this decision… However, we can't be sure that we face the same threat. Nor can we order anyone to go into the darkness to find out.”
The suul’mahr representative, Grol’Rosh - a solid white coloration to his fur - spoke up, his voice playing out over the speakers, as he was sitting in the topmost row.
“We could send a probe into the midst of it; that could tell us what we're dealing with. And if they are entirely hostile, we could take a specimen up to the atmosphere, to see if it survives.”
He heard a strangled sound of protest, and he didn't need to look around to see the fearful look on Kyle’s face; he gently held up a hand to assuage the Ambassador, as he knew full well what his concern was.
“We believe that the contents of the darkness are… harmful to the generally accepted term of ‘sanity’. And not in the sense of ‘it would be dangerous to any non-human’; as in, to anyone. If - however - you should need a volunteer, then-”
I will watch it,” Grol’Rosh cut him off. Admiral Shane merely looked at him, sighing lightly as he nodded once in acknowledgment to the suul'mahr. Captain Vohr'Doe stepped up at that point, calling to the hangar to release the drone, and to program it to enter the darkness just beyond the leading edge. A small communication satellite was set out after it to retain contact with the drone when the curve of the planet would render it beyond their scope of reach.
It took several minutes, during which Grol’Rosh inserted earbuds into his ears, and had his personal screen connected to the probe's camera. While he was watching the drone's progress, it was also taking its own readings, and sending them back as text. Which is how they knew when it was breaching the atmosphere, and when it encountered the darkness; Kyle had been right: it wasn't natural.
The reports coming back from the drone were confusing, to say the least; firstly because ‘the darkness’ was actually solid material, though ‘solid’ was used loosely here, as it was more like a ‘dust storm’. Except that it wasn't just dust - as there were readings of sand, and soil in the mess - because nanoscanners inside the drone determined that each grain of soil was coated in a thick, viscous material that absorbed all light that hit it.
The material was what caused the confusion, as when it was analyzed, it was determined to be… everything. There were traces of all genus of races, from canines, to felines, insects, to pachyderms; there was even all manner of aquatic animals, as well. There was no plant life detected in the sludge.
As imagined with readings like that, the drone had more difficulty descending to the surface of the planet than it normally would have, but strangely, not as much as one might expect; it was only when the craft sped up that they realized it was being pulled. The altitude of the drone continued to drop at a steady rate, until it was about 50’ from the ground, according to the readings from the expedition team, as it was heading for the exact location they had originally made camp. However, the drone was sending even more confusing information, as it was now reading the ground to be 25’ away, and moving quickly.
The drone was about 10’ from the ‘ground’ when Grol’Rosh began howling like he’d been stabbed. Looking up in his direction, everyone gasped in horror as he began clawing at his eyes, quickly rending his face, and entirely destroying the delicate orbs within. He wasn't done, however, as he then began clawing at his ears, his Gift obviously activated, as he tore straight to his skull in only a single swipe, the unnerving sound of claw scraping bone filling the room.
Two suul'mahr guards rushed towards him as soon as he'd begun clawing his eyes, and were almost to him when he reached his hands out to the sides, and brought them together - with his head still between them - with obviously tremendous force.
One of the guards - a dark gray specimen - leapt forward at the last second, tackling him by leverage of his left arm. That still left his right arm free, though it had only succeeded in a glancing blow, which still knocked him unconscious with a sickening /thud**. There was a stunned silence that followed that ordeal, until Chairwoman Hahss’Chom shakily gave an order for medics, who soon arrived, two kanfi’doe that - after stabilizing his wounds - quickly carried Grol’Rosh down the stairs, and loaded him onto a stretcher they had brought with them.
The silence reigned for a long minute after they’d wheeled him out, broken finally by the Chairwoman’s subdued voice.
“I call a vote: all in favor of allowing the humans to bring their ‘Europa's Contingency’...?” She tapped a few commands into the datapad in front of her, and there was a quiet flurry of movement as the rest of the Council cast their votes.
“It's unanimous: Admiral Shane, we hereby give the Europa’s Contingency permission to travel to this system, and then to return to Sol when the job here is done. Are we clear on this?”
“Crystal, ma’am. I can have the orders dispat-”
He was cut off as a keen'yohng appeared by his side.

Commodore Vah’Rin came out of subspace, his prey already in his sights. The eight other captains under his command confirmed lock-on status, and his communications officer informed him that they had an opening into their link, though it was protected by an unusually strong defense system.
“Well,” he replied, “We did intercept the report on humans; they have artificial intelligences. They probably have one with that cylindrical ship that has too many guns to not be military. Well, this certainly changes things: an a.i. would be by far more valuable than an entire hold of drahk'mihn. If we can capture it, and reprogram it to obey us, we could drop down far enough into subspace that we could make a trip of several months cut down to as many weeks… Patch me into their communication; I’m done hiding…”
He let a cruel smile play across his face as his entire bridge turned into the Federation Council Hall; his ship would project his image into their conversation, but not those of his crew around him. And there in front of him were the objects of his focus, as he was certain he appeared before them, wearing his black Commodore’s jacket.
“How nice of you to join us, Commodore.”
He turned to the owner of the cold voice that ‘greeted’ him.
“Ah, Council Member Toss’Vah,” he replied cheerily to her, “Good to see you again. How are things back home?”
She regarded him coldly, then almost spat,
“It was widely believed that you were still alive; I regret to have that theory confirmed.”
“What can I say?” he asked, smiling, “This ship was just too good to not take it. Give my regards to the president; this ship truly is state-of-the-art… But, I didn't break into this conversation to speak with you.” He turned to the humans, who regarded him with wary expressions, if his experience with the suun'mahs and kanfi’doe was anything to judge by.
“Greetings,” he began jovially - no reason not to be civilized, “I - as you may have gathered - am Commodore Vah’Rin, and I regret to inform you that you are under the guns of 9 ships, all of which are heavily armed. Now, this is normally the part where I tell you that if you cooperate, then we can get through this with a minimal amount of casualties - someone always has to try to be the hero, don’t they? - but I have a different proposition for you, today: give me you a.i., and we’ll leave this system - and your ships - without any hostilities. Refuse, and… Well, I think you get the idea.” He smiled a predatory smile that was more of a leer than anything.
“This is outrageous;” the current Councilwoman stated, righteous anger evident in every syllable, “We not stand for-” but he cut her off.
“We’re too far away from any Federation outposts, and the nearest suun’mahs patrol is… well, right here.” He gestured to Admiral Ree’Scote.
“So, no matter how this plays out, there’s really nothing that this council can do about the goings-on here. So - as I said earlier - I’m not speaking to you; this has nothing to do with any of you.” He turned his attention back to the humans.
“So, what is your answer? And might I remind you, while you may - or may not - be able to take on our ships at 3-1 odds, one of your ships is not only not made to fight, but is also filled with civilians; are you willing to risk all of their lives?”
“How about this,” the human who was obviously military began, “You choose six of your ships, and use those to square off against us; the other three can hang back, and guard the Golden Egg from leaving. If you win that battle, you can take the A.I. stationed there. If not, then your other ships have to leave us in peace.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name and rank.”
“Admiral Shane of the Sol Defense Force.”
“Ah,” he continued, “Well, Admiral Shane, I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. It’s all, or nothing, which means that even if you feel comfortable taking on all of our ships at once, we will still target the civilian vessel. There is no other option; sometimes you only have bad paths to choose from, and you must take the lesser of the evils.”
Admiral Shane stood taller, and defiantly responded with,
“We of the Sol Defense Force cannot - in good conscience - hand over a single soul to slav-”
But he was cut off by the other human behind him, the one he actually recognized. Reaching into his pocket, he retrieved a small blue cube, which he held out as he angrily stated,
“You can have mine.”
“Ah,” he replied jovially, turning to the smaller human, “Mr. Redding, I believe?”
“It’s Ambassador.” The defiant little monkey at least seemed pretty fearless in the face of life-or-death negotiations, so he figured that he deserved at least that recognition; he certainly seemed to realize the value of diplomacy over fighting.
Ambassador, then; good to see someone here has a level head on their shoulders.”
The cube reformed into a small human, as the Admiral rounded on his civilian counterpart; they both started talking at the same time.
Excuse me?! You have no right to auction me off like some-
“... hell do you think you’re doing?! How dare you offer up a Sollian to a slaver?! I ought to knock the sh-”
But they were both cut off as Ambassador Redding simply stated, talking louder than both of them,
“Artificial Intelligence Override Code: JKJKLOL69!
The small android stiffened up, and remained rigid, as if it were a simple robot, while the Admiral recoiled, raising an arm slightly as if to defend himself.
“How dare you?” he said with disgust to the Ambassador, “That’s only to be used in the event of a rogue A.I., this-!”
This,’ the Ambassador interjected angrily, “Is bigger than all of us! I know what I’m doing.” He turned to address the Commodore,
“You will take it, and you’ll leave. In peace. Give me… 12 Standard minutes - I have to collect the memory core - and we’ll meet halfway between the 'civilian’ ship, and your group, ‘cause you sure as hell aren't coming aboard either of our ships.”
“That sounds acceptable; however, once the transfer is made, you will keep your shuttle in position until we have determined that the package is authentic, at which point, we will leave. If it is a fake, then I won't hesitate to blow your little shuttle to dust, and then I’ll take everyone I can get my hands on; and with 9 ships, we have more than enough space to hold you all. And we will both come unarmed.”
“I’ll be accompanying you,” the Admiral said sternly to the Ambassador, “I need to document everything that happens so I can send it back as evidence in your hearing.”
“Yeah,” the smaller primate answered testily, “You do that…”
With a vindictive smile, Commodore Vah’Rin motioned to end the transmission.

Kahv’Hosh sat in the pilot’s seat, having been chosen to transport the humans out to the meeting spot. They were both currently silent, and the air was so thick with emotion that you could cut it with a knife. They were already in place, and were currently waiting on the pirate ‘commodore’ to reach their shuttle, with an estimated thirty seconds until they made contact. With a solid /thud/, they were connected, and Kahv’Hosh equalized the pressure in the sleeve, and soon heard a slight knock on their door. Kyle and the Admiral had already moved to the door - the large metal cube with the interface screen sitting beside it - and Kyle reached forward to open it.
The keen’yhong walked onto their shuttle, and his eyes immediately fell to Kyle’s waist.
“I thought we agreed no weapons.” The man’s voice wasn’t as hostile as he would have expected, as he stared at the big gun on Kyle’s waist, and the smaller - but still obviously deadly - pistol on the Admiral’s.
Yeah,” Kyle replied sarcastically, “Because you don’t have some hidden weapon on you…”
The ‘commodore’ simply smiled, and turned to the box.
“This is my a.i., I take it?” he asked, still smiling.
Kyle’s mood seemed to darken further as he reached into his pocket, pulling out the cube that became Kay’Eighty at his command.
“Begin downloading into the core, and commence factory reset.”
He set the cube down on top of an open slot beside the monitor, and a loading screen immediately came up. It only took a few seconds, but it was still a tense few seconds; soon, the box chimed, and Kyle removed the cube.
“I’ll be taking that, as well,” the ‘commodore’ replied, reaching a hand into his jacket; Kyle simply scoffed.
“No, you want to make your own mithril, then you figure out how to make it, yourself. You’ve already got the core, that’s all you need. And that’s all we agreed on. If you wanted the mithril, too, then you should’ve said so; not my fault you failed to specify that point.” There was no amusement as he said it, though it was obvious that he enjoyed that little stunt. And while the ‘commodore’ obviously had his hand on the handle of his gun, he wouldn’t be able to move faster than two humans; the two suul’mahr lurking just beyond the airlock wouldn’t be much help after he was already riddled with bullets.
The ‘commodore’ regarded him for a few moments, then began laughing a cruel, calculated laugh. He gestured behind him, and one of the suul’mahr - all-brown fur - came aboard, carrying the large box onto their shuttle. After he’d observed its successful transfer of the package onto his shuttle, the ‘commodore’ turned back to Kyle.
“As stated before: you will hold this position until either my flotilla leaves, or destroys you for trying to trick me. And this time, I expect you to follow my directions, because you’re already targeted by my lead ship… Well, until next time.” With that, he exited the shuttle, their airlock door closing behind him, both humans remaining staring at the door.
They finally turned away when the shuttle disconnected, moving to look out the viewport to watch the other shuttle go back to its ship. Finally, his nerves got the better of him, and he asked to no one in particular,
“Do you think he will truly spare us?”
“There’s a chance,” Admiral Shane replied, “Depending on what kind of pirate he is; they can have varying codes of honor. He does - however - self-admittedly sell people into slavery, so I don’t know how strong his sense of ‘honor’ may be.”
They were all quiet for a while as he considered this, until Kyle’s soft voice - filled with sorrow - broke the silence.
“I’ve never killed anyone before. I mean, the mahn’ewe were all in a fit of rage; and while I’d fantasized about it, I didn’t exactly plan it. Now, though - with all this time to stop and think about it…” He fell silent at that, watching the shuttle go, though Kahv’Hosh wasn’t sure he was actually seeing it. To his surprise, Admiral Shane reached up and grasped Kyle’s shoulder, his voice gentle as he replied,
“It’s never easy. And while the mahn’ewe can probably be overlooked by your conscience, this is - obviously - a different situation entirely. There’s a chance that you never truly recover from this, but just always remember the innocent lives you’re saving by doing this; they’re what’s going to get you through the low points.”
Kyle nodded in acceptance, and then his face contorted, and a predatory smirk lit up his countenance.
“Have you ever seen one go off?” he asked, not taking his eyes off the viewport.
“Well,” the Admiral replied, a mischievous note in his voice, “I have seen a number of tests; of course, there was that pirate faction that we traced to their base in an asteroid. One on each side, and it was history.”
Kyle let out a cruel snort of laughter, and - not taking his eyes off of the viewport - said,
“Kahv’Hosh, did you ever get around to reading about the women of Weinsberg?”
He wasn’t sure where this was going, but he decided to play along.
“I did," he replied slowly.
“And if you knew nothing else about humans,” Kyle began, a cruel smile on his face, “Would you have accepted that deal?”
He managed to take a breath in before something in his mind clicked. Something had seemed off from the beginning, but he couldn’t place exactly what it was. He’d been given clearance to review the transmission from the part where the ‘commodore’ broke in, and he had been replaying it in his mind ever since then, trying to figure out what was gnawing at his mind like a pup with a bone.
But nothing came out at first, as his mind struggled to form words; he managed simply to point out the viewport to the shuttle - that was almost to its ‘mothership’ - and to look back and forth between him and it, before he finally managed to spit out,
“Wh-... you-... why would the arti-... the ‘override code’: why would it be in Galactic Standard?!
The smile on his face widened, and he was suddenly aware that he was on a small shuttle with two Class 12 aggressors. Kyle - however - merely pulled the cube from his pocket, and said,
The cube began to dissolve, reforming into the humanoid shape that was her android form.
Yes, Ambassador Redding?” she replied in a distinctly… robotic voice. Kyle merely scoffed, however, and rebutted with,
“Aw, come on; it’s not like he gave us ample opportunity to talk: I had to think of something on the fly…”
She suddenly became much more ‘sapient’ crossing her arms, and looking off to the side as she sighed.
Fine,” she replied, “Whatever; what do you want?”
Kyle snorted in laughter, and asked,
“Has he made it to the optimal range, yet?”
Kay’Eighty sighed again, and looked out the viewport.
“Just about, yeah.”
“Then I leave the honors to you,” he finished, holding her up for a better view of the viewport.
“Detonation in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…”
Kahv’Hosh found that though he was sure this was going to be on par with their aggression level, he also couldn’t look away; like watching an asteroid impact a planet: he knew something bad was coming, but he just couldn’t bring himself to break eye-contact with the nine ships in formation, the middlemost one having already received the shuttle. And even as he watched, the ships seemed to draw closer together.
At first he thought that it must be his eyes playing tricks on him, but soon enough, not only were they drawing closer together, but they began to spin around the central ship, as if caught in the gravity-well of some insanely dense celestial body. He saw small explosions issuing from the sides. with little bits breaking off into the void of space, only for the expanding singularity - for that was obviously what it was - to suck the life-pods back into its center, where everything seemingly disappeared into nothingness. Soon, the ships themselves began breaking apart, still doing their destructive, tumbling dance around the spot where the ‘commodore’s ship used to be.
Piece by piece, the ships began to break apart, ‘falling’ into the center, where they were obviously compressed beyond what physics would normally allow. He tried not to think about the fate of the people aboard the ships, gravity increasing to the point that you were crushed under the weight of your own skin, having to watch - if they could even survive - as the ship around them broke apart, exposing them to the blackness of space.
He managed a quick look back at the humans, and was granted some small consolation in that the evil smiles had left their faces, and both had looks of somber determination gracing their features. And at that moment, he believed he knew what it was that set them so high on the aggression scale; even they were appalled by their actions - by their own weapons - and yet not even the prospect of becoming a monster would stop them from removing a perceived threat.
Soon, all pieces of the ships were gone, and about a Standard minute after that, the anomalous gravity readings disappeared. And suddenly space had returned to ‘normal’, as if nothing unnatural had just happened. Kyle broke the silence in a neutral voice as he said,
“Well, let’s get back to the ship; Cap’m’s gonna tear me a new one for this…”
Next. Patreon
submitted by Drakos8706 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.31 05:13 Zelphster Last year, I legally changed my name TWICE! LOL

If anyone has questions about legally changing your name, I'm happy to share what I've learned. I live in Austin, TX in the US. I'm also happy to guide others through the legal process. It is easy to do yourself. Or it was in Texas last year.
Some things I've learned:
Update your name everywhere as soon as you can. It will simplify your life. I would start with your Social Security Number. My employer wouldn't change my name until it, the SSN, was updated with my new name. Even though I had the legal paperwork, that wasn't enough for them. I understand that is not unusual. They want the tax info to match.
Other places to update your new name include your driver's license, passport, bank accounts, credit cards, whoever is in charge of your home -mortgage financing company or lease from apartment, insurance, company you pay your car payment, utilities, cell phone, colleges and schools you attended (needed to verify education levels) and work certifications or licenses. You should also update and get a new birth certificate. It will be important if you want to get a passport later.
Another place to update your records is the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, Trans Union). They will eventually update your name as the accounts that report to them report new info with your new name, but you can simplify things by being proactive. If you do anything that triggers a credit review, (apply for financing, apply for a job, shop around for insurance rates), you can run into problems with the name mismatch.
As far as updating your name at work, I understand most employers will be as accommodating as possible while helping you change your name. As I stated earlier, my employer would not change my name until I had the document for Social Security that showed I had updated my name there. Getting an appointment as the SS office took weeks. In that time, my work changed my name everywhere with a "preferred" name. This took place instantly and appeared as a legal and permanent a change to everyone. I got a new badge that same day with updated name, new company email with the new name, updated my info in the company directory. Then when I got my official Social Security document, I updated everything officially.
Why did I do it twice in one year? :) Well, I had been wanting to change my name for several years, but struggled to choose a name. There was so many to choose from! Finally, I made an appointment to file my documents with the name change request, and filled out the paperwork with my favorite name as of the day of the appointment. Then, once the legal name change was finalized and I started changing my name on documents and hearing the name used to get any attention, it hit me - I chose the wrong name. It was a great name, but a great name for someone else. However, this experience did give me clarity. Somehow, once I started hearing this new "wrong" name used for me, I understood with complete clarity on what my name SHOULD be. I was embarrassed to go back to change my name again but knew it was the right thing to do for me long term. So, I changed it again and now I love, love, LOVE my new name! I'm so glad I didn't let the embarrassment hold me back from completing the legal change the second time.
Any other questions? Fire away!
submitted by Zelphster to namenerds [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 09:57 thepuzzlingcentaur Legitimate reviews suddenly removed because of fake bot reports

I apologize in advance for the long post, but I need to explain what happened in order for you to understand the situation.
I am mostly asking for advice. Is there a way to directly contact support and see if they can stop false flags against my account?Here is how it began and how am I certain of it.
A lot of my reviews (some of them years old) were quietly removed/delisted without any notice and I cannot even complain about it. I only noticed it after my few hours old review was suddenly removed without reason despite being already liked by someone. how I suddenly have a much fewer number of reviews. I received absolutely no notice, no mention what was wrong and I see that I can normally complain about delisted review.I think I know exactly what happened.I am talking about both highly positive and negative reviews. They were removed despite being informative, legitimate and having photos of dishes/apartments that prove that I was using the services of the places I reviews. I was already forced to repost several reviews, but what really pissed me off is a removed review that I left for a small family business (bed and breakfast) that offered highest praises, along with photos that were viewed hundreds of thousands of times (lots of tourists). That review was there for years and was legitimate.Only one negative review that was delisted was very harsh and emotional, BUT it has been there for years as well. And I am certain that nobody reported me for that review. No.
Here is what happened and the only only way it could have started. Last year, one family business (restaurant) was reviewed bombed everywhere across the internet by one sad individual with nothing better to do. It was horrible to witness, local news and blogs wrote about it, a lot of the reviews were full of hate speech based on ethnicity (same thing as racism) and only because the owners were ethnically Russians. Those weren't some horrible people who waved Putin images in refugee faces, no, those were ordinary people that lived here for years, but one hateful bigot with nothing better to do decided to pick on them. A lot of us reported fake accounts and posted positive reviews. I explicitly mentioned my activity in reviews and said publicly that Google needs to protect that business. And so they did, I see that newer reviews are not allowed. Fair enough.This is relevant to business, it was necessary mentioning that it was targeted by hateful people who never visited the place and how it was highly ranked before false reviews.A few days ago I saw that review was delisted for breaking some rules. Fine, I could have accepted that, even though part of the hateful reviews remained (some were removed).What I cannot accept is that after posting the mentioned review, I am being obviously targeted by bots who make sure that google takes down my reviews automatically? Even when photos are posted, even when I post 5 star reviews on hair salon. 100% legitimate reviews.Wtf.I like supporting small, family business. But this is demotivating.
I know it was one sad individual, that can be easily traced, he is not the smartest guy.
submitted by thepuzzlingcentaur to GoogleMaps [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:28 Skarlit-Sage There was a strange post on my reddit account, I don’t recall posting it.

It's said that no matter what happens, the average person will experience multiple paranormal events in their lifetime. They might choose to ignore them or attempt to come up with a reasonable and alternative explanation for most of these events. However, at least once in their life there will be an alarming supernatural event or series of events that they experience. This time, they won't be able to simply ignore or explain them no matter how hard they try.
The most recent of these events to happen to me involve an online account of mine. Specifically, this one. I noticed it this morning when I saw a post that was made on my account that I don’t ever remember posting. It seemed to imply a possible sinister force behind a string of recent abductions in my area.
Sure, it could've been a hacker but no would gain anything from simply posting a weird SOS-like post on my account. I can't explain it as some sort of health issue as I don’t have any signs, medical history, or family history of memory-related disorders. When it comes to possible drug use as the cause, I'm clean and sober.
Therefore, I should’ve remembered posting what I'm about to repost and yet I don’t. The original post was titled, “A former work partner sent me a strange email last night, now I fear for my safety.” I discovered the unknown yet vaguely familiar post this morning right after I woke up to a loud tune. It was my computer's low battery notification.
"Had I left my laptop unplugged? Why would I do that? Why can't I remember anything from last night?" Before I could ponder these questions any further, I had the sudden urge to vomit. I ran to the bathroom and for the first time since a horrible sickness I had in 2019, I puked.
The cause of me vomiting was unknown however, that wasn’t what worried me. At least not as much as the fact that the puke was mostly black. While closing the lid of the toilet to then flush the vomit in it, I noticed something on the underside of my left forearm. “Subject Number 9: Attempt number 1; Result: Conversion Rejected; minimal to no physical alteration; failure” where the words printed on my arm with no explanation. That was the final straw and that’s why I’ve decided to repost the original post rather than simply deleting it.
-Original Post-
It happened last night around 11:30pm. I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard a notification sound from my laptop. It was an email titled, "If you get this email, you’ve been selected for a true opportunity. Don’t resist it!" and attached to it, was a Word Document. It was from an ex-coworker whose name I will blur out. Not wanting to stay up for what I thought was an advertisement or promotion of some kind, I simply saved the attachment after verifying the email's origin.
I then went to bed before being woken up around 3:00 at night to a loud thumping sound and my laptop being turned on seemingly by itself. Upon opening the laptop, I saw that it was opened to the word document while a page to reddit had been open. After reading the Word Document in its entirety, I was dumbfounded. It wasn’t an advertisement; it was a warning. At first, I would’ve assumed it was just a dumb, ridiculous prank. However, the following events made me convinced that’s not the case.
I attempted to delete the word document and close reddit with no success and the only windows my laptop would open were Outlook, Word and this site. I then tried to turn off my computer, but it only gave an error sound in response. There's definitely a virus on my laptop. Worse yet, my phone won’t even turn on for some reason so calling for help via my phone isn’t an option. Furthermore, in the process of then trying to leave my apartment the door wouldn’t unlock, and the peep hole was obstructed. Since my apartment is on the fifth floor, leaving through the window isn't an option. Following the failed attempt to exit, I tried to scream for help, but nothing happened. This only made me more desperate and nervous. That's why I've decided to post the document I received here so the hack will stop.
To give context on how I knew this former coworker in question, we met each other when we were both hired in the same new hire group at our previous job. Long story short, the job simply wasn't for us, and we were both let go the same day right before the end of our job's probationary period ended. Right After that we parted ways but kept in touch via Outlook and WhatsApp. I went to work for a warehouse job to continue paying for monthly bills. I'll admit it's not the best job, but I won't complain because it pays enough for me to afford my monthly expenses. However, that didn't stop me from being jealous of [***] once I had learned that he had found work in some mysterious, experimental bioengineering facility that paid him handsomely by the hour.
I reside in an area on the southeast coast of North America that's known for constant innovation. My ex-coworker, on the other hand, lived 20 minutes away from me. That's partially why it wasn't so hard for both of us to find replacement jobs. However, it didn't explain his luck as I never took him as the kind of guy to work in the field of Biology and Gene Therapy. He seemed more of a mechanic than a scientist. Regardless, I was happy for him and moved on with my typical life.
That was all about 2 months ago.
The document that was attached to the email was a letter from my former coworker. Any details such as my name, the CEO's employee name, or the company they worked for have been removed. This was the message I saw when I read the document.
-Message Starts-
If you’re one of the people, I sent this to. You need to read everything that is in this document very carefully, word for word and then post this to a site that it is or will be pulled up on your device. I’ve installed a virus on your computer that will only be nullified once this document has been posted onto a specific internet page designated as “Safe to post” by the virus’ code. I’ve only done this to ensure that the truth gets out there, not to harm you. I’m sorry it had to be this way.
However, I shall give you some context first.
It all started after I didn't make my previous job's probationary period. I had moved to the local area just for that job. So, when I didn’t make the cut, I originally was planning on moving back to my home state. However, that soon changed as two nights before I was going to begin the move. I had gotten a letter from [***] Inc. It was a job offer.
"Hello [***], we've heard about your recent and unfortunate separation from [***]. We would like to extend a job offer after reviewing your skills and experience as we’ve determined that you'd be a better fit here with us and your contributions valued. Your job would be relatively simple, safe, and rewarding. You will be trained, costs covered by us. Should you choose to stay, you’ll enjoy our amazing benefits including, but not limited to, full insurance coverage, competitive pay, and 152 hours of PTO! All we ask is that you're willing and able to work 12-hour shifts, lift more than 50lbs, comply with our reasonable NDAs and do the job with quality and safety in mind. Should this offer pique your interest, don't hesitate to call us or email us!
Sincerely, [***].”
“Today’s biological questions are tomorrow’s biological achievements here at [***].”
I must've read it twice before deeming it as "too good to be true" However, the truth is, I was desperate. Desperate enough to take the time and reach out to the company. The fact is, I didn't want to go back to my home state. If I had a chance to stay here, why not try and see if the job is genuine. “The worst thing that can happen is I get my time wasted” I thought.
I called the CEO the next day and to my surprise, long story short, it was successful! I was hired! Not only that but the job's hourly wage was $10 more than my previous job and I only had to work 3 days a week! I was told to come in the next available shift for training.
I eagerly began my first two weeks here normal enough. It was mostly training videos relating to our job procedure, receiving hands-on training for simple tasks, and meeting my coworkers. On the first day, I noticed that all the coworkers barely ever talked. I chalked it all up as, "they're simply being standoffish to me because I'm the new hire". I figured they just needed to warm up to me.
After the first 2 weeks were done, I had a good idea of what I'd be doing. I would be experimenting on human and wild animal tissue as well as live animals. This was to study the effects of mutating and altering certain genetic codes. I know the last part might seem unethical, but it was to discover cures for diseases using gene therapy. I wasn’t hurting animals; I was helping them. However, the job still began to feel wrong in other ways.
It started with me meeting the CEO on day 7. Immediately I noticed something was different about her. Specifically, the way she looked for a CEO. She towered above me at almost seven feet in height and her skin was insanely pale. Her hair was jet-black as was the color of her eye’s irises. Her pupils being indistinguishable, and the shape of her upturned eyes made her gaze very intimidating. She looked young, perhaps 25 at the oldest. Furthermore, the way she dressed; she wore a black and grey camo military-style uniform didn’t help. There was what looked to be the patch of a flag or symbol on her left shoulder, but it wasn’t that of any nation or group I recognized. The symbol/flag in question was a red-letter X in the middle of a red outline of an eye with a black background. Her voice was also very off.
After meeting the strange matriarch-like figure, I was then made to sign several NDAs and other contractual documents. The documents I was signing seemed standard but something in me felt wrong with it. After signing the NDAs, I was then introduced to Arin, the person I'd be job shadowing. Everything went downhill from there. Immediately, within 5 minutes of meeting him, Arin began to give me a list of ominous, strange suggestions that sounded more like warnings.
  1. If you hear the CEO seemingly talking to herself behind a locked door with the hallway lights flickering outside, walk away. She’s talking to the voice. Whatever they are talking about is none of your business and you want to keep it that way.
  2. If you are working by yourself and the lights turn off. Don't move. You will hear a voice, cooperate with it, answer any questions it has and do what it says. I don't want to have to clean up after another, "unfortunate work accident."
  3. Though this is unlikely, if the CEO tells you to meet them in their room. Do not keep them waiting. She doesn't like it when you're late because it is likely demanding your presence.
  4. If you have questions about what exactly we do, don't ask. Don't try to tell anyone outside of this facility the nature of our work and its end goal should you find out. It's not us that will come for you, it's the voice.
  5. If you happen to see the figure that the voice belongs to, it has respect for you. Keep it that way but avoid eye contact with it.
  6. Do not refer to the voice as the CEO or a mental illness. Even if that’s what it seems like, I promise you It not that. You treat it with the utmost respect and legitimacy even when it's not around.
  7. None of the previous suggestions I gave you were a joke of any kind.
I didn't say anything, but I was more than confused. I could tell by his face that he was intent on convincing me. In fact, he had the most serious look I had ever seen on anyone’s face. He then said, "I have your back but don't get yourself in trouble. Don't mention what I've told you at lunch either. Everyone learns in their third week. Now, you know what they say about Rome? When in Rome, do as the romans do yeah? Well, you're in Rome so do as we do. Oh, and I'll say this one final time, nothing I've told you is to be talked about outside of the workplace. Don't think about it too hard though. Just don't forget either." My heart began to race slightly after hearing this as I struggled to go about the work routine of isolating and studying DNA strands, reorganizing documents, Injecting certain labelled syringes into various lab animals, etc.
The next 4 days went roughly the same as I got into the routine of things. I got better at my tasks and was even allowed to work alone by the end of the week. All the other coworkers at lunch would say things like, "I went to go work at my station but the door to the room was locked, I then heard the CEO talking on the other end." or "The lights went out at my station yesterday, IT didn't say anything. The lights came on after 2 minutes. IT must've been observing." As these things were said, they exchanged knowing looks with no sign of any joking going on. At this point I was beginning to be convinced that the CEO was insane just by that alone.
The following 4 weeks were almost completely normal. There was no mention of "The Voice" except towards the end of my 4th week when Arin said, "IT must be taking a break or a vacation if it does that sort of thing." before one of our coworkers apparently got a little too clever and said, "IT might just decide to screw off for once." Everyone then stopped to look at him with stern expressions and no one even smiled. No one else said anything about the voice for the rest of lunch that day. The whole event made me nervous even more.
Midway through my 5th week, I had my first encounter with the voice while working the last hour of my shift. I was in a level A biohazard suit and about to mix two separate solutions in a petri dish based on instructions projected on my station's computer screen. One was dark red and labelled, "Human Blood; O- Type" and the other was black and simply labelled, "Black Mutagen." I was just about to mix them when the all the lights, including the light from my computer monitor cut out. Then, I heard a low-pitched, inhuman voice speak, "So interesting.” It spoke before continuing, “Tomorrow you will be made to do something dangerous but very important. In fact, that's why we brought you here. You are expendable due to your lack of prior experience and knowledge. However, I know you need the money and if you come in tomorrow, I’ll pay you 100k after you complete the task.”
The voice was beyond haunting because of how abnormal it sounded. It was like 3 people speaking at once. One voice was a deep, yet feminine, prominent, and loud voice while the two sounded like a man’s faint whispers echoing the same words. The voice then continued to my dismay, “Now, you were about to mix the two agents. Remember to destroy the petri dish after 3 minutes.” I didn't even ask how it knew to respond with that. I just stood there drenched in sweat and shaking, horrified at the whole experience. Then I thought back to the rules I was told on day seven. There was no doubt in my mind that this place was insane!
The voice then left without a trace as the lights came back on. I then completed the task according to instructions given. I watched as the Human Blood mixed with the Black substance. The entire petri dish became black within 1 minute before reverting to blood. When analyzing the liquid under a microscope, I saw that the cells had their entire genetic code rewritten. There were also what appeared to be stem cell like cell in the blood. They were black and moved through the other cells mutating any that hadn’t been converted. I immediately stepped away from the microscope as I gasped and then disposed of the mutagenic waste by placing it in the incinerator. The day then ended not long after that. I was reluctant to come back but the money promised was undeniable.
When I got to my assigned station at the basement level of the facility the next day, I was greeted by the CEO again who told me we’d be working on a "willing test subject" for an experiment. She also told me that I and my immediate coworkers were the only employees on site except for a few executives that would also be present. I was still shaken up from the previous day’s experience and the weirdness of that current day. However, I was then fully convinced with the promise of an additional 100k being deposited into my account immediately after successfully completing my task. I would've turned back had I known what would happen less than 30 minutes later.
I was escorted by the CEO to an all-steel room except for a panel of heavily reinforced, thick observation glass and door that looked like it belonged in Fort Knox. In the middle of the room lies a medical bed with a tube full of black fluid beside it. Several of my coworkers then stepped in the room with me as they saw my confusion. The door then closed behind them. Then Arin spoke, “So I guess the CEO didn’t tell you. Listen, there’s a reason why our team is the only one here today. It's to put you on that bed.” I shouted in protest, “What! No! I don’t agree with this! Please! You can’t do this to me! This is illegal! Stop it!” Arin then replied with the last words I ever heard him speak, “Sorry buddy, this is why we brought you here. No one’s going to find out! We are all getting 100k individually to do this. You’re not the only one who needs money right now. Now let’s just make this easy for everyone. Get on there!” I then replied with, “Fuck you! I kill all of you!” as all 6 of them wrestled me to bed with ease. They then cuffed my feet and hands to the bed with metallic restraints. The last thing I remember is a cloth being put over my nose as a strong scent filled my nostrils and the world went dark.
The next thing I remember was my eyes being covered by my hands as cried. I then pulled my hands away to see that they had become elongated, and my fingers had become claw-like. I then looked down at my mutated, blood-soaked body in horror. All around me was death and bodily destruction. I didn’t recognize a single body. The bed, equipment, walls, and floor were painted with blood and littered with human tissue. I immediately froze for a second time before retching. As a towered above the destruction, I realized I was significantly taller than I remembered. Then I looked ahead of me and saw that the tube with the black fluid was empty. “…No” Was the only word I could get out. That was when I noticed that my voice was altered. I sounded like the voice except prominent voice was a demonic version of my original voice and the faint whispering voices that came from my throat afterwards were feminine. Then I heard The Voice call out to me from the direction of the door behind me. I turned and saw the CEO. “It’s okay child, you’re mine now.” Were the words she spoke to me… and they will be the words she speaks to you.
To the person this letter is addressed to, I'd like to introduce myself. I am known by many names, one of them is Cerridwen. You've received this message because were meant to be transformed into something more than your current self and soon you will be. You will be one of the first as well everyone else receiving an email supposedly from [***]. Your device will be tracked at time the virus has been installed onto it. Know that I’m on my way to save you. You may spread the word. It will do you no good, no one will believe you.
-Message ends-
After I first got done reading this, I thought it was some ridiculous joke but now I no longer feel that way as the lights have begun to flicker and I’m beginning to hear whispering sounds from my closet. I’m going to try one more thing to escape.
I thought of an idea to get out of this situation and that was to start a fire in my kitchen to trip the fire alarm and get help. However, as I went over to the stove the power shut out and all the light from the outside streetlights seemed to dim unnaturally until no light came through. The only thing illuminating my entire apartment was my now laptop with its now eerie blue glow lighting up the dark world around me.
I decided to do the only thing I could think of, post the document on reddit. However, just as I was about to do this, I heard what sounded like three demonic voices speaking at once coming from behind me. Then I lost all hope of escape as the horror of reality sunk in and froze my body still as Cerridwen spoke, “Once your device was fully hacked, I simply manifested myself near your device’s location. I then waited for the perfect time to introduce myself. That’s how I’ll get the first of the other ones too. You are mine and there's nothing you can do about it. Now go on, post it.”
-End of Original Post-
As I’m reposting this on the web, there’ve been two additional reports of people going missing in my area with no trace. It's likely that whatever "Cerridwen" is, It's responsible for the disappearances in my area. Not only that but it's not human. It's something supernatural.
“The first ten people to have gone missing had received an email from an individual identified as [***]. However, now people are going missing without having received any previous let-” I turned off the TV after hearing that. The local news had also been saying that some other people had been waking up with words stamped on their arms. Some of these people that had reported words stamped on their forearms have since gone missing as well.
Either way, it's coming for me now and I know this for a fact. I say this because the light coming through my apartment windows has begun to dim considerably despite it still being mid-daytime with no clouds in sight. There are faint whispers coming from all around me and the lights of my apartment have begun to flicker and turn off. I feel like this isn't the first time this has happened.
submitted by Skarlit-Sage to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 14:18 ezhes Lattice CrossLink NX gives "ID Error" when trying to load bitstream?

Hey! I'm working with an LIFCL-40 on a custom board I developed (discussed here). I'm struggling a bit with getting a bitstream on the FPGA and I'm not sure whether it's a firmware issue or a bitstream generation issue (I've never used Radiant before and hand crafted my tcl file because radiant keeps crashing due to OpenGL not working over X forwarding lol).
The issue is that after sending in my bitstream over I2C, DONE stays at 0 and the device status register updates BSE (I assume Bit Stream Error?) to 4'b0001, which the docs call an "ID Error". I can't find much about what this actual error condition is, but from similarity I guessed it was related to the Verify_ID command which checks whether or not the bitstream was built for the same part that it's trying to be loaded on. Extracting the device ID from the bitstream, I get 0x43100f11 which correctly corresponds to the LIFCL-40 according to the docs. So, kinda stumped there.
Does ID Error mean something else? I looked at the included sspiembedded C source code but I can't seem to match up any of what it's doing with this protocol.
If it helps, here's the code I'm running on my ESP32-S3:
and here's a trace of the output of running it:
04:22:33.119 -> done = 0, initn = 1 04:22:33.413 -> TX activation 04:22:33.413 -> OK 04:22:33.480 -> FPGA_CONFIG_INITN 1 04:22:33.480 -> TX LSC_RESET 04:22:33.480 -> OK 04:22:33.480 -> TX LSC_RESET_CRC 04:22:33.480 -> OK 04:22:33.480 -> TX READ_STATUS... 04:22:33.480 -> TX OK 04:22:33.480 -> RX READ_STATUS... 04:22:33.480 -> RX OK 04:22:33.480 -> status = 1110000 04:22:33.480 -> TX READ_ID... 04:22:33.480 -> TX OK 04:22:33.480 -> RX READ_ID... 04:22:33.480 -> RX OK 04:22:33.480 -> IDCODE1 = 43100f11 04:22:34.458 -> TX ISC_ENABLE 04:22:34.492 -> OK 04:22:35.475 -> TX ISC_ERASE 04:22:35.475 -> OK 04:22:35.475 -> TX LSC_CHECK_BUSY... 04:22:35.475 -> TX OK 04:22:35.475 -> RX LSC_CHECK_BUSY... 04:22:35.475 -> RX OK 04:22:35.475 -> busy=80 04:22:35.573 -> TX LSC_CHECK_BUSY... 04:22:35.573 -> TX OK 04:22:35.573 -> RX LSC_CHECK_BUSY... 04:22:35.573 -> RX OK 04:22:35.573 -> busy=0 04:22:35.671 -> TX LSC_INIT 04:22:35.671 -> OK 04:22:35.671 -> TX LSC_BITSTREAM_BURST 04:22:35.671 -> OK 04:22:35.671 -> TX BITSTREAM 04:23:56.694 -> OK 04:23:57.675 -> TX ISC_DISABLE 04:23:57.675 -> OK 04:23:58.198 -> TX READ_STATUS... 04:23:58.198 -> TX OK 04:23:58.198 -> RX READ_STATUS... 04:23:58.198 -> RX OK 04:23:58.198 -> status = 501110000, done = 0, initn = 1 
Does anyone have any other good resources to look at for writing these drivers?
submitted by ezhes to FPGA [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 18:03 SalmaanQ Endgame Part 1 - Context is Everything

No one is always a liar and no one is always corrupt. Everything is a situation.
Sgt. Jerry Martens, NYPD Blue S3 E8.
I don’t know what it is about NYPD Blue, but recalling some key quotes has the effect of clearing mental logjams in my head. People and issues are complex. Treating them as binary will make it impossible to truly understand what happened. Yep, these are the new and hopefully improved versions on the quartet of posts titled "Pathetic" that I took down a couple of weeks ago. I wrote them and posted without giving too much thought to flow, organization and potential impact. They were too long and complex for most to digest. So what do I do? I make the post even longer by expanding it into a six-parter, but hopefully with better context to give the narrative a stronger logical foundation. I also needed to take a beat and balance the importance of the information against the effect it could have on real people--particularly Hae Min Lee's family.
For those who lack patience and curiosity, this post can be distilled down to: Adnan participated in the murder of Hae Min Lee. The police and prosecutors illegally fabricated evidence to secure a conviction of first degree murder. Jay Wilds is owed the world’s biggest apology. What follows demonstrates the absurdity of identifying as a "guilter" or an "innocenter."
If you want to understand the who, what, where, when, why and how, along with the supporting evidence, you have to read the rest. If you choose to stop here, that is entirely understandable. This post is definitely not for everyone. It requires tapping into your intellect more than your emotions. TLDR works for certain things like the weather or the outcome of an NBA game. If you are reading this post, I assume that you spent at least 8.5 hours listening to the Serial podcast. Leaving aside the amount of misinformation packed into that program, what else did you consume? Rabia Chaurdry’s book? The several hours of her own podcast on this case? Her blog? Her tweets? The 4 hour HBO documentary? If you spent dozens of hours being lied to and expect a three sentence explanation, you are asking to be lied to some more. This is not me providing a caveat for this post as much as lamenting how the TLDR mentality and expectation resulted in our being increasingly uninformed.
The MPIA page cites are truncated so if the page number is MPIA 15 459 231-263, the shortened version reads as MPIA 231-263. The trial transcript cites are in a format where 8:12-16 means page 8, lines 12-16. I think that I indicate each time I include mock transcript exchanges, but to avoid any doubt, if I do not provide a specific transcript cite, I am taking creative license with a mock discussion. If I missed linking any MPIA cites please use the page number provided and look them up yourself.

One in Six Billion

Let’s begin with something about which we can all agree. In the 24 years since Hae Min Lee was murdered, there has only been one single witness who has come forward claiming to have personal knowledge about Adnan Syed’s role in the crime. It is important for us to ponder this fact for a moment. It has not simply been 24 years. A little over eight years ago this case became a global phenomenon. Millions of people became fascinated through the storytelling of Sarah Koenig. It made celebrities out of Adnan and Rabia Chaudry, his most outspoken advocate and sister of his best friend, Saad. It propelled Asia McClain from anonymity to a household name with a book deal. It destroyed what was left of the reputation of the late Cristina Gutierrez, the attorney who represented Adnan during his trial. It dragged individuals like Jay Wilds and Don Clinedinst into the spotlight despite their efforts to avoid it and move on with their lives. It reopened the wounds of Hae’s family and forced them into an inescapable and permanent nightmare. This time, however, it was worse because the man convicted of murdering Hae was celebrated by millions as a victim of injustice.
The most remarkable thing that occurred in the wake of the Serial Podcast was not its wild popularity. It was not the fact that it was discussed by almost anyone with an internet connection. It was not the broadcast media awards that its creators collected. It was not the millions paid by the New York Times to acquire the program. Even after the case invaded the consciousness of millions of people, one thing did not change. The only witness claiming to have personal knowledge of Adnan Syed being involved in the murder of Hae Min Lee is still Jay Wilds. No one who upon listening to the podcast recalled having seen something suspicious going on at the Best Buy on January 13, 1999. No one among Adnan’s classmates or friends from his mosque to whom he let it slip that he was responsible for Hae’s murder. None of the inmates with whom Adnan was imprisoned said a word reflecting Adnan mentioning what he allegedly did. For those who are certain of Adnan’s guilt and believe that he acted alone, this should be acknowledged as a remarkable level of discipline demonstrated by a 17-year-old. They talk of this being a garden variety crime and Adnan being a typical stupid teenager who screwed up. If that were the case, a lot more people would have come forward--especially in the last eight years.
The tipster who called on February 12, 1999 did not claim to have any specific knowledge, only suspicions. Jay’s friend, Ernest, told their neighbor Laura that he saw Hae’s body in the trunk of a car. Laura told her father who subsequently reported it to the police. When the cops questioned Ernest, he denied any such knowledge. For those who forgot what it’s like to be a teenager, that was Ernest trying to impress Laura with something that Jay told him. It sounded better for Ernest to tell Laura that he saw this interesting thing first-hand instead of telling her that he heard it from Jay. Jennifer Pusateri never claimed to have any first-hand knowledge and acknowledges that everything she knew was from Jay. Others in Jay and Jen’s circle learned of what Adnan had done to Hae, but the source always traced back to a single person: Jay.
Teenagers are not typically capable of that degree of discipline because they simply cannot be expected to keep that type of secret. Seriously though…of the roughly 6 billion people who were on our planet in 1999, only one fucking person had knowledge of the crime committed by this 17-year-old? Obviously, I'm making a heavy-handed point. No sherpa assisting with carrying an amateur climber's gear is gonna say that he could see Adnan murdering Hae from the summit of Everest. It's just that if Adnan was as careless as the state's case suggests, witnesses would've come out of the woodwork after the podcast dropped. Thus, it is tempting to assume that Jay’s story is bullshit. I can understand these arguments and seeing Adnan as an extremely unlucky victim of countless shitty circumstances.
It is not my place to sit in judgment over Adnan. That has already happened when the jury rendered a verdict, notwithstanding the politically motivated clusterfuck that was the motion to vacate. People keep bandying about the term, "reasonable doubt." That term is reserved for a jury verdict that is based on evidence that was presented at trial. The Asia letters were never produced as evidence by either side during Adnan’s trial in early 2000. The letters were never challenged for authenticity. Asia never took the stand in 2000. Team Adnan has dedicated itself to polluting the legal landscape with all sorts of unchallenged “evidence” that was never presented to the jury during the trial. Team Adnan has been bombarding us with ex parte arguments with their podcasts, documentaries, books, etc. to successfully trick us into thinking of their bullshit as “evidence” causing us to engage in these inane debates about whether the prosecution proved Adnan’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
My certainty of Adnan's involvement in the crime is independent of the state's case. I previously assumed that the correct verdict was reached because the state made a good faith effort to prove Adnan's involvement in Hae's murder. While I am still certain that Adnan is responsible for Hae's death, I no longer believe in the legitimacy of key evidence that was presented to the jury. My certainty of the role that Adnan played in Hae’s murder does not make him guilty. Fuck any small-minded person who feels compelled to slap me with the reductive and idiotic label of “guilter.” I, like most people with eyes and a brain, am also certain that OJ Simpson was responsible for murdering his ex and her lover. But I am also certain that the jury got the verdict right when they acquitted him. Regardless of how they rationalize it, the cops and prosecutors are not allowed to frame someone they have prejudged as guilty. In OJ’s case, the evidence against him was challenged in real time by his “Dream Team.” In Adnan’s case, despite having 24 years, his “Latrine Team” is blind to how the evidence against him was fabricated. Instead, they make up fantasies that are untethered from anything resembling the truth or common sense.
This will be long because I do not simply want to tell you shit that I expect you to believe. I want to give you the courtesy of understanding what happened and why. Please note that none of the parts of this post are standalone. They are interconnected. As tempting as it may be to comment before reaching the end of this ridiculously long post, I ask that you hold off until you have reviewed the entirety of the narrative and evidence. Unpacking more than two decades of lies told by all sides is not something that can be summarized in a tweet. Rabia Chaudry’s book on this case that is packed with false and misleading information is 416 pages long. Add to that the original 12-part podcast largely consisting of Sarah Koenig getting conned by team Adnan. Let's not forget the 4-part HBO documentary grounded in false and misleading information. Then, of course, there is the actual evidence in the form of the 2000+ page police file, the parts of the defense file that team Adnan didn’t shred and thousands of pages of briefs, trial and hearing transcripts. It is not reasonable to expect someone to distill that down to a few sentences. It was hard enough to get my head around the mind-bending reality of what actually happened in this case. Explaining it without sounding nuts is not easy. If you have issues with my writing style there is not much I can do about that. This is dark stuff and I do not want you or me to get pulled down into the darkness. Please do not mistake my style for not taking the subject seriously. If you keep an open mind and take the time to absorb this post, you will be surprised--regardless of your position.


There are multiple prisms through which this case can be viewed. A true understanding of what really happened will never be achieved by relying on a one-sided perspective gained by viewing the case through a single prism. Doing so will always result in your seeing a kaleidoscope of possibilities with several loose ends for which there is no accounting. This leads to endless speculation and creation of random narratives to make a few pieces fit. These speculative narratives always fall apart under a modicum of scrutiny. If, however, you take the multiple prisms and combine them, the noise falls away and you are left with a single, clear image: The police and prosecutors successfully framed one of the criminals who participated in the murder of Hae Min Lee.
Of the many prisms through which this case can be viewed, we will focus on the four big ones: Of course, there is the prism of the evidence that was actually presented at trial through which Adnan was found guilty. Conversely, there is the prism that kicked off the Serial podcast wherein Adnan ostensibly had a rock-solid alibi that his supposedly bumbling attorney failed to use. Then there is the prism wherein Adnan was framed by the police who used Jay Wilds as their patsy. Finally, there is the prism of Hae’s murder being the plot masterminded by Adnan’s mentor, Bilal Ahmed. Distinguishing the lies from the truth is possible if you allow yourself to see the case simultaneously through multiple prisms. Clinging to a single prism will result in a skewed perspective whether you think Adnan is a murderer or not.
We have a natural tendency to gravitate toward one perspective or another. Whether we embrace a polarizing world view or not, that is how information is presented to us these days. Like we are children who are incapable of thinking for ourselves. We are encouraged to draw lines. We are to either believe that Adnan is a murderer or he was framed and unjustly imprisoned. Everything is black or white. We are either liberal or conservative. Add to that the nature of social media that thrives on vilifying those who hold an opposing point of view. Because outrage and conflict generate more clicks, which is the currency that drives our discourse. It drives us to attack one another with insults. Embracing such meaningless labels is an insult to our intelligence. Our need to make complex issues binary and align with one side or the other blinds us to obvious truths that could help us find common ground. We must remove these obstacles to escape the ideological entrenchment that prevents us from achieving a meaningful understanding of the issues.
It probably sounds like I'm saying that I'm above all that shit, but I'm not. Once I became aware of the lies coming from Team Adnan, I only saw their lies. The inconsistencies in Jay's story and the police investigation did not bother me. I saw evidence that unequivocally proved to me that I had been duped by a bunch of con artists. The Asia alibi that had us all worked up and outraged after the first episode of Serial dropped turned out to be a fraud. But the fraudulent alibi had nothing to do with lies that originated with Jay or the police. The Asia alibi came from Adnan. "Fuck him," I thought. He's not my client. He was a kid with whom I identified and wanted to help.
But then while piecing together how the crime likely went down, other lies started presenting themselves. Lies told by the police and prosecutors in building their case against Adnan. These are different than the lies that form the basis of alleged misconduct that is argued by Team Adnan. They align with the facile narrative that Adnan was a stupid kid who acted alone. The involvement of the police and prosecutors in fabricating the narrative is not obvious, but it's there if you look at the paper trial they left. It can be proven with more substantive evidence that audible taps during Jay's recorded statements. But make no mistake: Jay is not the villain here. Making Jay the villain is easy. Understanding that he is the biggest victim in this case after Hae Min Lee is more complicated, but that is what will be explained in these posts.
It would be so much easier to explain all this if the lies told by Team Adnan and the lies told by the police and prosecutors were independent of one another. I would love to say that if I saw the police/prosecutor lies first, I would have been entrenched in the belief that Adnan did not commit the crime. I wish that I could extend that olive branch to those who identify as "innocenters." Unfortunately, the lies depend on one another wherein you can only understand the frame up if you are able to accept the truth that Adnan was involved in Hae's murder. That is particularly frustrating to me because distilling the truth from the mass tangle of lies in each prism is already a bitch. Accepting that Adnan was framed for a crime that he actually committed is easier for those who already see him as a murderer. It is a particularly heavy lift for those who identify as “innocenters.” It requires being open to and accepting some uncomfortable truths. Regardless of how I may have come across in my previous posts, I do not look down on those who identify as partisans who believe in Adnan’s innocence. I respect your optimism and desire to support the unjustly imprisoned. Your well-intentioned support for the innocent was preyed upon by Team Adnan. The anger in my writing comes from having been duped myself by these charlatans. There is no shame in advocating for an individual whom you sincerely believe was unjustly imprisoned. The only ones who should be ashamed are those who seek to take advantage of our better angels for their cynical purposes. That said, we should address the difficult truth that Adnan was, in fact, involved in the murder of Hae Min Lee.

The Uncomfortable Truth

My previous posts HERE and HERE discuss how the Asia letters were fabricated and why. I did not emphasize enough that the letters were also an admission of Adnan’s participation in Hae’s murder. At the time of my earliest post, I incorrectly assumed that he and his inner circle subverted the grand jury proceedings exclusively to improperly extract information about the state's theory of Hae's time of death. Although that may be part of what was going on, it was mostly Bilal Ahmed attempting to stage manage the proceedings because, as you will see in the next section, that is who he is.
Remember that the police had already given up to Adnan the identity of who ratted him out. It was the "black guy who puts pins through his mouth." App-071. That meant that Adnan had to cover his time before he saw Jay after school on January 13, 1999. Information from the grand jury may have served to confirm that the window of time for when the murder occurred according to the state was consistent with what Bilal and Adnan knew happened.
Most people who know some of the details surrounding the letters know that they were fabricated. If you do not, I suggest reviewing the posts linked at the beginning of this section. But fabricating an alibi is something that can be explained away as the act of someone desperately trying to prove their innocence. Making up an alibi doesn’t necessarily prove that Adnan was involved in the murder. It was the timing that is underscored in each letter that serves as the admission of Adnan’s involvement.
Asia claims in her letters that she saw Adnan immediately after school. She specifically provided the time of 2:15 PM. Four years ago, I took a lot of shit for suggesting that the timing of Hae’s murder could not have been known by an innocent person on March 1, 1999. Especially when her body was not found until a month after she was last seen alive. So many hindsight spewing people with their heads appropriately up their ass declared with unearned certainty that everyone knew that Hae was murdered right after school. We know that is factually incorrect because Adnan’s own lawyers did not know the state’s theory of when Hae was murdered. They had to petition the court to compel the prosecution to provide that information. While demanding this information, Cristina Gutierrez’s letter dated July 7, 1999 specifically states:
“Defendant can’t possibly mount a defense or determine if an alibi disclosure is needed without being on notice of the alleged time of death.” (emphasis added).
Yes. Assuming that Adnan was innocent, no one could be working on an alibi until they knew Hae’s time of death. If that was not enough, we now have prosecutor Kevin Urick’s notes that were recently disclosed with information that he received from Bilal Ahmed’s ex-wife. In the wake of the news of Hae’s body being found, Bilal’s ex said that Bilal and Adnan talked about the police’s ability to determine the time of death. They also asked Bilal’s ex, who is a physician, about her experience in determining the time of death. That was on February 11, 1999–one month after Hae was last seen alive. Seventeen days before Adnan was arrested. We know it was February 11th because Hae’s body was found on February 9, she was identified on February 10th and the first news reports to the public of her body being found were on the 11th. The Baltimore Sun, February 12, 1999, pg. 8C. We also have Adnan’s cell record wherein his phone was pinging the tower near Bilal’s house located at 2915 Chestnut Hill Drive during the evening of the 11th. This address info is publicly available in Bilal’s 1999 divorce proceedings.
Then magically, there are two letters from Asia that provide Adnan with an alibi that are purportedly dated four months before an innocent Adnan would know the timing for when he needed one. While the actual dates that the fabricated letters were written is unclear, they predated the state’s July 8, 1999 disclosure of its theory for when Hae was murdered. We know that Gutierrez visited Adnan in prison two days later on July 10, 1999 to discuss potential alibis following the state’s disclosure. That is the date of Gutierrez’s suspiciously undated handwritten notes referring to Asia that were found in the defense file. Team Adnan had a penchant for selectively disclosing info from the defense file that was helpful and almost certainly shredded anything in the file that hurt Adnan’s case.
Remember. This was not a case where Hae left school and a shot rang out on January 13, 1999 at 2:20 PM and her dead body was found at 2:21 PM. She was last seen alive at 2:15 PM and her body was not found until four weeks later. The window for when she was murdered was wide open. The way alibis work in cases like this is as follows. The suspect waits for the police investigation to determine the time of the murder. The suspect is then presented with the relevant time frame. The suspect then considers whether he has anyone who can vouch for his time. In this case, Adnan had the alibi all lined up before conclusions were made regarding Hae's time of death. He then sat there drumming his fingers waiting to be confronted with the time that the state believed Hae was murdered. Upon finally being asked to account for himself, he had his prefabricated alibi. Prefabricated alibis are admissions.
There is also the police interview of Adnan’s friend, Ja’uan Gordon, who told the police about Asia’s letters in April of 1999. MPIA 912. Specifically, Ja’uan indicated that Adnan sent Asia a letter that she was supposed to transcribe and send back as her own. Team Adnan tried to “fix” Ja’uan’s statement by having him revise history 17 years later through an affidavit. It claims that the letter solicited from Asia was for letters of support attesting to his character in advance of Adnan’s bail hearing. Thus, even though there already instruction sheets for writing such letters circulating at Woodlawn High where Asia was a student wherein several students were tasked with collecting the letters (MPIA 1178), we are expected to believe that Adnan sent a special letter to Asia personally asking for her support. Did Asia ever even write Adnan a letter of support for his bail hearing? According to Asia, no. Asia admitted on the record in 2016--around the same time as Ja'uan's delayed affidavit--that the only letters she wrote were the two alibi letters. PCR Transcript, 2/4/2016 at 43:18-20.
We have not even discussed how Adnan and his family went out of their way to prove on the record that Asia’s alleged visit to the family home on March 1, 1999 never happened. You can read about that in more detail HERE where they also prove that their allegation that the information from Asia’s letters was immediately shared with Cristina Gutierrez was a demonstrable lie. If you have evidence at your disposal that proves that anything in the preceding paragraphs is factually incorrect, please share. Otherwise, it’s ok to finally acknowledge that Team Adnan has lied to you. Your support and attention should be directed to those who deserve it.
While you come to grips with the unpleasant truth, rest assured that your belief that Adnan was framed is grounded in facts. Note, however, that it is not based on the bullshit that Team Adnan has been trying to sell. Nor does it resemble the silly arguments found in the motion to vacate when the Baltimore prosecutor's office was run by Marilyn Mosby who was desperately trying to distract attention from her federal indictment. The police/prosectuor conspiracy is not as broad and comprehensive as many believe, but it is more insidious and depraved that you can imagine. The police investigation was not completely an exercise in bad faith. They resorted to fabricating evidence when they realized that they had nowhere to go. To understand the predicament in which the police found themselves, you need to understand how Bilal Ahmed operates. A foundation in understanding Bilal’s twisted mind and his relationship with Adnan sheds light on how the plot to murder Hae was supposed to go down, how it did go down and, most importantly, how Jay Wilds was wantonly and recklessly used by almost everyone involved in this case.

Entering the Mind of a Monster

This discipline and secrecy that resulted in Jay being the only witness claiming to have personal knowledge of the crimes committed by Adnan is beyond the capability of even the most devious 17-year-old. It came from Bilal Ahmed. The ridiculous discipline that was required to minimize the number of witnesses is a testament to Bilal’s meticulous nature. The only reason that the prosecution even had Jay was because Adnan deviated from Bilal’s plot. Had Adnan stuck to Bilal’s plan, there would not have been any material witnesses testifying against Adnan.
Thanks to Urick’s recently leaked notes, many of you have caught up to the idea that Bilal Ahmed played a role in the murder of Hae Min Lee. But then I see all the ridiculous theories that Bilal acted alone. Or that Bilal worked with Jay. Or that Bilal used one of those space lasers that exist only in the thing between Marjorie Taylor Green’s ears that neurologists mistake for a brain to blast Hae to death. Slow down. There is no need to treat this like toddler soccer where everyone, including the goalies, chase the ball around the field. We must disabuse ourselves of these false assumptions. Bilal did not work with Jay, communicate with Jay or have any direct connection with Jay. That demonstrates a degree of carelessness that is absent in Bilal’s DNA. Nor did Bilal carefully have Hae murdered without Adnan’s participation or knowledge. Anyone who thinks otherwise does not understand Bilal and the facts of this case.
It is important to pause here and note the ridiculously close relationship between Bilal and Adnan for those who are not familiar. Bilal has known Adnan since the latter was 11 years old. After Adnan was arrested, he told the detectives that he wanted to speak with Bilal. Bilal was Adnan’s first call from jail. Bilal hired the lawyers who were calling the police department within an hour of Adnan’s arrest. Bilal organized the local Islamic community’s fundraising efforts to cover the cost of Adnan’s defense. Bilal hired Cristina Gutierrez to represent himself when he testified before the grand jury and subsequently had Gutierrez take over Adnan’s defense. From his arrest through early October 1999, Bilal visited Adnan in prison more than any person who was not a member of Adnan’s family or legal team. When Bilal himself was arrested in mid October 1999 for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, he had a photo of Adnan in his wallet. That’s all I can remember off the top of my head. That’s the guy you heard almost nothing about in the original podcast.
I’m not saying this to gloat, but when I concluded a few years ago that Bilal was the mastermind behind the plot to murder Hae Min Lee, I was not just throwing anything at the wall to see what sticks. I was not making a wild guess and got lucky like I filled out a fluke NCAA bracket. I wasted a shitload of time analyzing the evidence and studying how Bilal operated. He is an extremely careful criminal. That explains how he was able to evade capture for nearly two decades despite his preying on children, his dental patients, US taxpayers (bilking Medicaid), etc. He does an excellent job covering his tracks. His problem was his tendency to go way over the top while doing so. This manifests through his concocting overly complicated plots and, in the case of Hae’s murder, going to extreme lengths to give himself plausible deniability by not getting his hands dirty. Thus, even if the cops suspect him, as they did in this case, they do not have enough evidence to charge him. Recall that Bilal’s cell records were subpoenaed around the time Adnan was formally indicted on April 13, 1999. On the surface, Bilal’s cell records did not give the cops enough to make him a suspect in the conspiracy to murder Hae. You have to go a few levels deeper to understand the game Bilal was playing.
It’s helpful to examine some of examples of Bilal’s extreme risk aversion and theatrics to understand why he would never have Jay knowingly participate in the plot to murder Hae. Let’s begin by reviewing the steps Bilal took regarding the phone that he purchased for Adnan.
Is it becoming clear why there are so few witnesses against Adnan who actually saw or heard anything? No? Ok, let’s revisit how Bilal and Adnan concocted such an elaborate alibi that it ended up becoming an admission.
Given that backdrop, it is absurd to believe that Bilal would say, “Hey Adnan! Tell that acquaintance of yours who is outside of our circle of trust about our plot to murder Hae and his role in it! Imagine the fun we'll have sweating buckets wondering when he will tell his friends and the stories we will have to make up to stay ahead of the police and prosecutors!” Bilal’s failures as a criminal mastermind include cramming way too much detail and having too many moving parts–demonstrating too much care. Injecting a witness like Jay into the plot that can later sell you out is beyond careless. Bilal had other plans for Jay. Without knowing it, Jay was supposed to help Adnan get away with the murder. It is a bitter irony for Adnan that Jay ended up doing the exact opposite.
On to Part 2
submitted by SalmaanQ to serialpodcast [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 16:12 Xzenergy Cube [Chapter 3]

“It’s a Chiron-pattern pneumatic vault, modified slightly. There are intakes that run high power conduit and data lines, suggesting some sort of data protection. We think it’s a server bank.” Trigam, the lead tech, explained.
Gareth stood over the glowing holoscreen and glanced over the scan data and projections of what inner structures lie tangled and hidden inside the massive spherical machine.
“It jammed the shaker, fucking thing is enormous.” Trigam added.
The two stood in front of the data holoscreens, raised above the other technicians below, awaiting their assignments.
“Let’s crack it open then.” Gareth finally said, as he moved to the CNC actuator module.
Trigam stepped forward, “we haven’t tapped or done any kind of chemical isotope tracing.”
Gareth waved him away, “as long as there aren't dense plating layers, we can assume it's environmentally stable. Our concern here is preservation of the data inside.”
Trigam shook his head, “I just don’t think-”.
“Route our virtual banks, I’m setting into outer proximity removal.”
Gareth’s new smooth carbon plated hands controlled the milling machine, his manual touch removing the outer layers of the sealed vault.
“What are you doing still standing here?” He asked, not looking away from his work.
Trigam stormed from the control center of the large research bay, the echo of his leave stoking the fury that Gareth felt. His assistants should respect his authority and set to work when asked. Trigam always had issues in direction the short two years he served under Gareth. The boy was excellent at what he did, but had zero respect for the way of command.
Down below, the underlings scrambled into work, busy trying to keep up with the almost manic pace of their boss. Tubing and more conduit was brought in followed by tanks filled with liquid hydrocarbons at temperatures that would freeze and shatter steel, which began being pumped into the large data vault’s own cooling arteries, keeping the sealed and frigid temperatures low, minimizing the chance that any data inside become lost due to mechanical temperature changes, one of the most common loss vectors in archeotech recovery.
Trigam supervised the large operation, keeping careful attention to his engineers and their smooth stable flow of instruction, “Bring in another twelve converter couplings, we need redundancy for our side.”
Gareth followed the instruction path the CNC matrice guided him along, showing him which valves and layers could be peeled away. The work was slow and tedious, just the kind of thing he needed to focus on. The edge of the cutting bit was enlarged in his vision, his optics magnifying the work through auxiliary camera feeds inside the enormous machining bay. He watched the metal peel away, brittle and and pitted from over a milenia of erosion.
What are you hiding? He thought, as his hands injected machine precision adjustments to the cutting bits.
Likely, it was a datagem from the ruined military airfield they were currently trudging through. Banks of servers containing all manner of information, only useful to a specific set of hands in a specific time. All military archeotech was like this, in essence.
An old way, uncovered by those who had refined.
Was he refined? Gareth mused.
Out of the long tenure of expertise, sights and complex things happening all around him, he felt simple. A single spot of direction, from which an entire flood of others moved around. He supposed that was complex, but he was only a single part of it, disconnected from perceiving the whole. A being with a wide enough awareness might destroy itself upon reflection, just as the human race was doing now.
Trigam’s voice manifested, “deep scan’s show another chamber in the center. Possible artifact, unknown. But, it is behind thick shielding. I still think we should do a small tap and measure for radiation–or EM, anything.”
“Prelim scan’s would have been alerted. This model is archaic, I’ve popped thousands of these vaults open. Please, continue.”
Trigam fell off without a word, probing Gareth’s rage like a child poking a stick into the side of a dog. He wanted to bite, to tear apart and savage. There was something inside him screaming, pressing at the edges of his rational mind.
Just another thing to report to counsel, lest it snowball. He couldn’t afford another scene like Hekund Sigma, an entire shift’s worth of gloves straight onto his contract.
What would Helena think?
Would she be furious at his lack of care, or disregard for others? Would she scream at him for building a debt with Aetherguard so large, it ensured he would be working until the moment his biological heart stopped beating? He tried to manifest her image in his mind, the look of anger on her face. The youthful pearl whites of her teeth flashing in rage.
“Warning: electromagnetic lattice detected. Proceed with extreme caution.”
Gareth knew exactly what his wife would do, if she were still alive. She would probably laugh at him. She always had a way of making you laugh at the difficulty you experienced. It was a rare talent she carried with her everywhere she went. There were work contracts that balanced on the edge of oblivion, yet she could untangle the mess and keep everyone from biting each other’s faces off.
He loved her for it.
Trigam’s voice came through the cloud once more, “transfer banks are set and ready to receive. Cooling is optimal, there are no breaches in the inner seal.”
Gareth bristled at being read the obvious, “initiate transfer then.”
Trigam wouldn’t have replied, but he reported the eight minute estimated time anyways.
“Rube, can you ready a transport levicor? Medium size.” Gareth asked, anticipating whatever artifact lay sealed within the center.
There was no reply, but he knew that Rube would obey.
Gareth opened a wide broadcast channel to the rest of the crew below, “initiating seal breach. Emergency protocols on standby.”
He watched the group of work gloves below move away from the half closed blast doors that the pressurized vault sat behind. They retreated over all of the conduit and wiring and when everyone was sufficiently removed, Gareth started the breaching process.
Yellow claxons flashed on, bathing the research level in light which shouted “stand ready”. A massive actuating arm folded down from above and began inching its way through the openings Gareth had cut with a spiraling routing bit.
“Breaching seal in 3….2….1.”
The howling sound of rushing air filled the milling bay, white steam escaping from the depressed seal valve. It sputtered out after a moment, signaling the release of the centuries old air inside. Gareth input a set of smooth coordinates and a pair of actuating arms pulled the front armor plating from the vault.
Trigam stepped forward, “alright everyone, Ready plasma cutters.”
Gareth gazed down at the activity of his technicians, wondering how long they would last under Trigam’s tough management style. The running record was eight months, or somewhere around there.
“Feed check is good, we’re in transfer.” One of the technicians reported.
“As soon as we’re finished we can tap into the center. Figure out what they thought was worth locking away in this piece of shit.” Trigam huffed.
Gareth glanced over the incoming flow of data, not surprised that most of it was caching from daily air base operations. He would have the team review it later, what he was interested in was the flight traffic audio files. Traffic control chatter might contain the rest of the Hell Viper’s fate, along with an answer for the repeating file and data corruption.
“Shit, shit, no!” A technician near the front of the unsealed spherical vault shouted, as he backed away from the cooling coupling he was working on. He patted the front of his glove’s chest, as if he were covered in some invisible fire.
“What-”, Trigam said, backing away through the door to the emergency contamination shelter.
Everything in the research bay began to melt and unfurl, fluffs of metal, plastic, and wire becoming exposed, showering the area in sparks and noxious fumes. There was some sort of molecular fire working its way through the floor of the bay. Gareth’s technicians tried to run towards the emergency access, but their gloves fell and were ripped apart by the atom until only a slurry of organic material remained.
“And there goes the fucking data-”, Trigam threw his hands up behind the already sealed emergency chamber. He stood and watched as the massive data conduits split and fell apart like water unto sugar.
Every surface began to change and shift as it was pulled at the seams, walkways and ramps folding like soft clay and then dripping to the gathering pool on the floor level.
“Purge laboratory bay seventy, begin environment.” Gareth said, swiping over the emergency protocol module on the control panel.
Jets of Co2 and argon gas flooded the entire bay, slowing the caustic annihilation Small drones appeared, who were spraying a thick purple foam over every gooey surface.
“Trigam, I’d like you to-”. “You can get fucked. I’m reporting this to MOSD.” 
submitted by Xzenergy to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 13:39 Mykeyclub [GB] JRIS65 R2 PCB Gasket Mount Customize Keyboard - Group Buy Information and Giveaway

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for your support and patience regarding JRIS65 R2. The GB will launch in five days. Please check the following GB information and join our giveaway. Good luck to everyone!

JRIS65 R2 Group Buy Information

SKUs and pricing
JRIS65 R2 GB Page
GB Time
31st May to 12th June
Estimated Delivery
Start packing and sending to vendors and Mykeyclub direct customers in August 2023
All component is compatible with the R1.
Vendor List
Please check the extracted GB info from the vendor you plan to order.

JRIS65 R2 Information

JRIS65 R2 Renders

What are the differences between Jris65 R2 and R1? 
We have received much feedback about the JRIS65 after they built it. Most of the customer love and enjoy the build and love our Jris65. And we also received some improved feedback or issues they were having. So we have improved the R2 according to the R1, please check the details below:

JRIS65 Specifications 

What can you customize for JRIS65 R2? 
Case Options:
Highlight reoxidation finish for the chamfered in makes the overall front more three-dimensional and exquisite.
Weight Options:
PCBs Options:
BT PCB is cooperating with Li Dana. LDN’s PCB is famous in China because his PCBs are stable and qualified and use friendly. It has its drive and software, which can edit the key mapping. Please check the software driver interface here.
  1. 8 devices can pair with at the same time, and it is easy to switch devices you want.
  2. The power switch is on the PCB, easy to turn BT function on/ off.
  3. The fastest response time is only 1.25ms
Plate Options:
Plateless Options:
We highly suggest building plateless with 5mm extra plate foam and solder PCB. The 5mm extra plate foam will bring a more soft typing feel, and the typing sound will be cleaner. But without the 5mm plate foam, it will also work fine, and the typing feel and sound are very different.
What's in package? 
Gift(will not send make-up or replacements)

Please check the R1 prototype photos below# 

Review links

Content Creator Prototype (JRIS65 R2)
Yo_keebs Orange Case+Black PVD Weight
Rx003 Silver Case+Silver PVD Weight
hi_keebs Black Case+Chroma PVD Weight
YBBK Limited Edition Black Case + Black PVD Weight
SeungupKBD DarkGreen Case with Gold PVD Weight
Preston's Thoughts Milky-White Case+Silver PVD Weight
bored bear Limited Edition Red Case+ Silver PVD Weight

Content Creator Prototype (JRIS65 R1)
Alexotos E-White&Black Case+Gold PVD Weight
Keybored Milky-White Case+Black PVD Weight
nearLucid Milky-White Case+Gold PVD Weight
Yo_keebs Milky-White Case+Chroma PVD Weight
Tofutypes E-White Case+Chroma PVD Weight
sviz ify Pink Case+Silver PVD Weight
Clackbait Titanium Grey+Black Case+Black PVD Weight
Shoobs Black Case+Chroma PVD Weight
Mecha Store Maroon&Black Case+Silver PVD Weight
edwardtanujayaa Milky-White Case+Chroma PVD Weight Black Case+Chroma PVD Weight
tomshardware Pink Case+Chroma PVD Weight


How to join
Fill out the Giveaway Google form to enter

Mykeyclub Team

We are a platform that integrates creativity and innovative design, helping more studios join this hobby community and bringing more fun and cool products to you guys. Please participate in our MKC family for more discussions and future updates.
Mykeyclub discord
Mykeyclub Ins
Best Wishes
Mykeyclub Team
submitted by Mykeyclub to mechmarket [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 00:42 fail_cascade My "grind" to Jinan

Shortest tier 10 "grind" for me so far although, admittedly, I skipped Sejong due to a lack of blueprints. Really fun too, that's why I put "grind" in quotation marks.
I can highly recommend going up this line of ships for the entertainment value alone.

All set up, I even transferred and retrained my lvl 12 Fushun captain for max awesomeness.

Before I take my new ship out into TX battles to get rekt by the good players, I thought I'd just do a really short review about the ships in tier 5-8.
All ships were played with "Rising" camo for max xp, but with no stat buffs (ugh), the same, developing standard Joe commander for all ships, standard consumables (except Chumphon which had premium rep kits) and 100% solo.

A slightly gimped Huanghe bumped down to tier 5.
The skills are a little different, the torpedoes are now deep water instead of vanilla torpedoes and while the signature characteristics of this line are not yet pronounced enough that you can play to them, it's actually a solid ship at this tier.
You generally can't stealth torp. Nor can you torpedo alpha everybody off the field, but if you play it like any other light cruiser at the tier and you know how to dodge and use fuel smoke, you can do well.
I used boosters 1st win bonus and ad bonuses, so it was a rather short and comfortable affair.

Meh support stats but the job got done.

For the whales out there, like me, who are used to playing Sirius with historical camo and the best legend in the game, Rahmat is a pretty big step down.
Generally speaking, the ships are the same, apart from some tweaks such as Sirius having better acceleration and traverse, but Rahmat has slightly better rudder turn. Or Rahmat having a bit better shell damage but shorter range.
Like the rest of the ships in the line, the signature gimmicks are torpedo reload (DWTs) and fuel smoke, but because of the low tube count, I actually feel like the torpedoes on Sirius have more utility, as they can be used to hunt DDs. In Rahmat you have to rely on guns only.
Also, torpedo range and concealment means that stealth torping is a mostly theoretical possibility.
Two fuel smoke 1 instead of 3 regular smoke 1 is a downgrade.
Overall, Rahmat is workable, but meh, and the tier 6 is full of excellent cruisers, so it's not easy to compete.
I think the vast majority will grind through Rahmat and then forget it.

Overall a decent performance but the least fun of the ships.
This ship is an Atlanta with some tweaks, most notably being quite a bit more sluggish, but having slightly longer range and, I believe, slightly better ballistics - Although the shells are still quite lazy and you get one less turret per broadside.
Now, your torpedo power is starting to make an impression and you can actually take a chunk out of most enemies in a pass. You just have to either snipe and run or choose the time for your yolorush really carefully, because, just like Atlanta, this ship is fragile and blows up at the drop of a dime.
The first evening I played it, I got rekt pretty hard and was just about to give up and just fxp it.
But I slept on it and reconsidered my strategies and on the second day onwards, I got the hang of the ship.
I found out that there are actually two viable builds for it: Stealth and speed.
If you build for stealth, you can get a really low concealment range, but the ship is rather slow at 31 knots which means that on large maps, you will lack tactical mobility to contest caps or simply be in a position to matter. I played this build for about a third of the grind.
At one point, I decided to go for speed instead. Most importantly, I ditched the concealment mod and went for top speed instead. That increased speed to 35 knots which made it much easier to stay in the fight while still enjoying a reasonable concealment range.
I even played a few battles with the Yellow Alert camo. In that case, you get a top speed of 36.1 knots and then your speed becomes your concealment in many cases.
To do well in Chumphon, you really have to practice situational awareness and never broadside a BB or CA without smoking up.
You have three charges of fuel smoke and I recommend waiting out the cooldown before each "deep dive", so you have a (maybe) get out of jail free card when you do.
Out of the four ships, I found this one the hardest to play, but actually quite fun once you get the hang of it.

That first day of hard lessons really impacted my final stats..

This ship is probably one of the most fun, competitive ships at tier 8 right now. Perhaps even borderline OP.
While playing Chumphon, I remember checking the stats and noticing it had less guns. But they are in fact superior to Chumphon's guns. Very superior. The reasons for that are primarily the turret traverse speed and the fact that it gets Soviet 130mm guns with their vastly better ballistics.
You can disassemble DDs, even at max range, at a terrifying speed with these guns. Just load AP and go to work.
For CLs you can go AP too, but CAs and BBs, I would recommend using HE - In part because you will be playing at range. Especially if you want to live through the battle, because Harbin has about 10k less HP than other tier 8 cruisers.
Even with HE, it's fairly easy to whittle down heavy enemy ships, though, but I will say this:
According to the stats, it has a 4% fire chance. This is an outright lie. In my experience, the fire chance is really more like 1.5 - 2% but that's probably for the best too, since the ship is already very strong.
I had lots of battles with 200+ HE hits and 2-3 fires to show for it. Even a few with none at all.
That said, the guns are awesome.
Harbin is the ship where the signature gimmicks of pan-Asian CLs become really good.
You have plenty of fuel smokes, lots of torpedoes (9 x DWTs for approximately 35k damage plus another 20k-ish if you can get the other side off as well), they have long range, are fast and with good flood chance. On top of that, your concealment is very low and speed and agility excellent.
Take gunfights only with DDs and damaged or otherwise disadvantaged or distracted cruisers/BBs and spray torpedoes liberally and you will do good.
Harbin also has very decent AA although, of course, CVs don't give a f...
Overall, Harbin is a great ship although it requires some skill to do well in. I'll be playing mine long after unlocking the Jinan. I just wish I had a commander with 6th sense.

Most fun \"grind\" in the game right now, IMO.
submitted by fail_cascade to WoWsBlitz [link] [comments]

2023.05.25 14:54 kittehgoesmeow What A Day: Soft Target by Julia Claire & Crooked Media (05/24/23)

"They're living on planet crazy, and I don't frankly want to be on that same planet with them because they've lost their minds." - Former Arizona GOP candidate for governor Kari Lake, perhaps projecting just a tad after losing yet another legal challenge to the election she definitively lost.

The Death Ceiling

With a little over a week left until the government runs out of money, defaults on its debts, and sends the global economy into a tailspin, Republicans in Congress have seemingly unified to ensure that happens.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen them pull this shit.
President Biden has built his entire career on “reaching across the aisle” to compromise and “get things done.” But, with all due respect to our guy, what good can come of compromise when one side is saying “Raise the debt ceiling” and the other side is saying, “We’re gonna shoot you in the head,”?

Look No Further Than Crooked Media

What happens when a mysterious stranger comes to town, with a wild idea that weed can solve all of the city's problems That's the question of Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto - Crooked’s newest podcast and an official Selection at this year's Tribeca festival. Dreamtown is the zany but true story of one down on its luck city in the Southern California desert, and the scrappy - sometimes morally dubious - cast of characters determined to reinvent it.
Listen to the Dreamtown trailer now and subscribe to hear the first episodes on June 7th wherever you get your podcasts.

Under The Radar

It has been one year since the devastating mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, and many of the victims’ families are still searching for answers. A Washington Post investigation found that law enforcement’s deadly decision to wait more than an hour to confront the gunman was not solely the fault of the former chief of the school district’s police force. It was also caused by the inaction of an array of senior and supervising law-enforcement officers who had direct knowledge that the shooting was taking place inside the classrooms, but did not intervene. Those officers remain on the job in the area to this day. The Post reviewed dozens of hours of police body-camera video footage, as well as post-shooting interviews with officers and other resources, and found at least seven officers who stalled even as the evidence that children were still in danger became incontrovertible. Top state law-enforcement and government officials promised to hold all those responsible for the 77-minute delay accountable, but all of the officers in question remain employed by the same agencies they worked for last year. The Texas Department of Public Safety cleared almost all investigations into six officers for wrongdoing, and the department’s chief, Col. Steven McCraw, who said he would personally resign if his agency had failed Uvalde, still insists it did not. Only four of the almost 200 officers who responded from state and local law-enforcement agencies were fired in the wake of the tragedy. Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered one year ago today, and they deserve closure they have not yet received.

What Else?

In an award acceptance speech at the American Law Institute, Chief Justice John Roberts said on Tuesday night that he is “confident” the Supreme Court will resolve its ethics issues and regain public trust that it “adheres to the highest standards of conduct.” Lol, sure.
The House voted to overturn president Biden’s student debt relief plan, with Reps. Jared Golden (D-ME) and Marie Glusenkamp Pérez (D-WA) joining all Republicans in supporting the GOP resolution.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) launched his presidential campaign in disastrous fashion on Twitter Spaces with his pal Elon Musk. Like anvilles-falling-out-of-the-sky-level calamity.
Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been—once again—referred to the police by government officials to assess accusations that he may have further violated coronavirus regulations. Johnson was fined last year while still in office for breaking a bunch of Covid rules in 2020 as part of a series of scandals that brought down his administration.
Following a report about Iran’s new underground tunnel system near a nuclear enrichment facility, the head of the country’s nuclear program insisted that the government would cooperate with international inspectors on any “new activities.”
Meta executed the last round of a three-part series of layoffs today. Since March, the company has eliminated 10,000 roles after laying off 11,000 employees last fall.
A United Nations migration agency announced on Wednesday that fighting between Sudan’s military and paramilitary forces has displaced over 1.3 million people.
Special counsel Jack Smith is wrapping up his criminal investigation into whether or not disgraced former president Donald Trump stole classified White House documents and then took them to his Mar-a-Lago home. Real mystery there!
Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) declared a state of emergency for North Carolina’s public education system due to “extreme legislation” being pushed by the state’s GOP lawmakers who plan to “starve public education” through further tax cuts and funding increases for private school vouchers.
The United States has announced nearly $524 million in additional humanitarian aid for the Horn of Africa in an effort to address some of the extreme effects of climate change and the region’s worst drought in 40 years.
Queen of Rock and Roll Tina Turner passed away today at age 83.

You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me

After rolling out its Pride Collection at the beginning of May, retail giant Target has decided to kowtow to a bigoted right-wing mob by removing some of its products from stores. The company said in a statement that since introducing the collection, “we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work.” In other words, increasingly violent right-wing bigots have been throwing the merchandise on the floor, vandalizing stores, and harassing or even physically assaulting Target employees. The merchandise Target pulled from its shelves and website included items with slogans like “cure transphobia not trans people.” Target has been celebrating Pride Month with dedicated collections for over a decade. Framing the issue as the Pride merchandise putting Target employees in danger, rather than bigoted psychopaths putting everyone in danger, is a dangerous (and cowardly!) precedent to set. The problem is violent, hateful (let’s be honest) Trump supporters, not a tote bag that says “too queer for here.” Historically, giving in to violent extremists has [checks notes] not worked out.

What A Sponsor

Hotter weather used to mean "goodbye" to a good night's sleep... until Cozy Earth! Cozy Earth bedding is so soft, luxurious, and temperature regulating... you’ll sleep better than you have in years.
Cozy Earth is the brand that has made Oprah’s Favorite Things Five Years in a Row! And thousands of customers agree with Oprah, like Halle. "Honestly the best sheets we have ever had! Absolutely a dream to slip into each night! Everyone deserves to splurge on these sheets… you’ll have no regrets!"
Cozy Earth sheets are made from the finest luxury materials, including soft viscose from highly sustainable bamboo. And they're temperature-regulating and very breathable, so you’ll sleep cool and comfy year-round.
Whether it's their luxury sheets, loungewear, pajamas or bath towels-- you'll love shopping at Cozy Earth. Check them out and SAVE up to 35% on Cozy Earth. Hurry, offer ends soon. Go to

Light At The End Of The Email

A man who has been paralyzed for 12 years is reportedly able to walk naturally again after receiving brain and spine implants, with technology that creates a “digital bridge” between his brain and his spinal cord.
With a slim majority in the state Senate and a trifecta in the state government, Minnesota Democrats have been racking up huge Ws and passing a slew of progressive bills like enshrining abortion access into state law, legalizing recreational marijuana, requiring universal background checks for gun purchases, paid family and medical leave, free breakfast and lunch for all schoolchildren, and a new child tax credit, along with the biggest transportation bill in 15 years.
The Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee blocked a ban on gender-affirming health care for trans minors from advancing, a rare such victory in the deep south.
After more than two years of contentious negotiations, including the first newsroom walkout since the 1970’s, the New York Times reached a deal for a new contract with the union representing the majority of its employees.


Cats That Heal Your Depression on Twitter: "* 1 wholesome image attached *"
submitted by kittehgoesmeow to FriendsofthePod [link] [comments]

2023.05.24 02:12 smrfygryffindor My (33F) BF (32M) will not clean up

Before I get into it, I have two important points that I want to make clear:
  1. My boyfriend and I are in a poly relationship. I know this sub is more monogamy leaning, but I don't know Reddit well enough to know where poly people tend to get their advice. Regardless, that isn't even remotely the thing I want to get advice on, but his girlfriend (31F) will come up, so just wanted to put it out there.
  2. I absolutely do not consider this a breakup worthy offense. At least, not yet. It's entirely possible that if nothing changes and I don't get any good advice, this will end up being something that becomes breakup-worthy down the road.
So anyway, basically what the title says. I've lived with my boyfriend for almost two years now. We've had this issue since we first moved in in August of '21. I called his mom, who I have a good relationship with, a few months into our moving together to ask for her advice about it. By that point I had had several conversations where I said I did not want to be the only one to notice when things needed to be done around the apartment, and I didn't want to fall into the role of being the person to handle most of the household tasks. Mom's advice was that this is the way he always has been, regardless of what she has or hasn't done to try to help him out with it, and that things around him take much longer to bother him than they do other people. For that and other reasons, she suggested he might be autistic, but they never had him tested.
The thing is, we already knew and had discussed that. We're both neurodivergent: we both have ADHD, depression, and anxiety disorders, although I have several more anxiety disorders than he does and he is autistic. He's never been diagnosed by a professional, but he meets a lot of the criteria and I know the autistic community (and even professionals) are big on the validity of self-diagnosis so I don't bother seeing the point in forcing him to get one when it's a self-diagnosis we can both live with and work around. So after talking to his mom, I tried to just settle myself with the fact that he would never be someone who would take initiative around the apartment, and I would have to always ask him.
That's worked pretty well for us, until the last few months. He will do 98% of what I ask him to without complaint (because come on, who does chores 100% of the time without complaint?), but there have still be a few persistent issues. Namely, the dishes and the laundry. We made a "joke"-deal which I was completely serious about that he hates doing dishes and I despise folding laundry, so I would do all the hand-washing of the dishes and he would fold the laundry. You think that'd be a done deal, right? Except he almost never folds the laundry. He doesn't like to do asynchronous chores, for lack of a better term; if he's doing chores, he wants me to be doing chores, too. I've tried to adjust to that. But he's been a full-time worker for the entirety of our living together, and I only just graduated with my Master's. I was originally working from home part time around school and classes, but I quit my job for a variety of reasons in August and despite 5 or 6 interviews with on-campus jobs I never got one, so he's been the sole breadwinner since then. We reviewed our finances and made the decision that I wouldn't get a job not connected with the school, because most jobs don't understand the dedication and time that graduate school takes, and I needed to put that first. He has always been so supportive of my career and me being in school, so I don't think there's any hidden resentment here. When I texted him while he was at work that I got my first published article last summer he didn't congratulate me, he instead immediately turned around and started bragging to his mom about how his amazing girlfriend got published. I only found out when she called me ten minutes later congratulating me. (Don't worry, he made a big deal out of it in-person when he came home.) All of this to say that I have been home much more than he is, and with the way that my ADHD works (we present differently), it's easier for me to just get things done throughout the day. So when I would ask him to fold laundry or do something at night but I wouldn't be doing anything, he would be upset about it, even though he could see that I had done dishes or washed the laundry or whatever throughout the day.
I switched around my chore schedule to accommodate him, or asked him to do chores while I was doing homework, and that seemed to work for the most part. I've also left him post-it notes on his computer monitor for when I got to class asking him to do things, and 9/10 times they would be done by the time I got home, or at least mostly done, or at least started on. But he does have clutter blindness, we both do to a degree. The two big things that I had asked him to do were to help out my ADHD-block by just putting away the clean dishes in the dishwashedish rack so that there is one less step blocking me from being able to do the dishes, and to also just fold the laundry for me after I clean it. He consistently forgets to do either thing. I wrote a post-it note asking him to "please remember to check the dishes and laundry today!" but because it was constantly in front of his face he blocked it out and I just took it down because what was the point. People have recommended chore charts or things like that, but I'm worried that it will amount to the same thing: they're constantly around with writing in his field of vision so he'll just block it out. (Before anyone says to just not do his laundry, oh trust me I've considered it, but our apartment building has coin operated laundry so it would just be more expensive to make him do it separately and I decided it wasn't worth it.)
Now, I will heavily admit that part of this is because he hasn't been able to get his Adderall since we've moved in, and it's nothing related to the shortage. We met online and were long distance for the first six months of our relationship, but we knew within the first week of talking that this was it and I got him to move from Texas to New York to come with me when I got into grad school. He's tried to get his doctor to prescribe him here, but they won't without a prior diagnosis, and his office in TX has been absolute shit about sending the appropriate documents no matter how many times he or the doctor's have called so he just stopped trying. I know that the lack of his proper medication is probably playing into all of this. He also got a promotion at work a few months ago, and has transitioned to a work from home position. He's been in it for... three or four weeks, I think? Honestly, time is an illusion. I tried to give him a few weeks to see if constantly being home would do anything, but he just sits on his computers at work all day and then remains sitting on his computers playing games and it's like the monitors block him from seeing everything that needs to get done.
I just ended school a few weeks ago, and had a big discussion with him about how I'm willing to take on all the chores right now because I have literally nothing to do, but that I've been generally unhappy with the chore distribution and that I'm worried for when I get a job and am out of the apartment all the time, that I'll still be the one to have to do everything. I brought up that I have had the worst depression of my life this past semester, which he knew about and knew the reason why and has been nothing but supportive when I've had entire days that I just can't get out of bed, and the place became disgusting at certain points because he just didn't pick up the slack. If I don't ask him to do it it doesn't get done. Additionally, I mentioned that I wanted to wait to see if being home would improve anything, and it hasn't. He said he's been setting up alarms on his computer to remind him to check work queues so he could try to do that. We had that conversation a week and a half ago or so? I hadn't noticed a difference. So I asked him a few days ago, hey, did you ever set up those alarms? He had not. Reminded him several times yesterday until he said that he did and it was set to go off at 7PM. I ran a load of dishes today and his alarm supposedly went off an hour ago. I didn't hear it, so if it did he turned it off quickly and from what I can tell he didn't even bother to check the dishes. Don't worry, I'll point that out to him real quick.
He started dating his new girlfriend about two or three months ago. The two of us got to talking and I think I mentioned the dishes-and-laundry deal, I honestly can't remember, and mentioned how much I loathe folding laundry. She said she loves folding laundry, and I immediately asked her to please, please, please fold ours. She said if I cooked her dinner she would, so last Friday was the first time it happened and I was so, so pleased. I also offered to wash her laundry for her since that's the part she doesn't like doing and I don't mind, but she declined. (She went out of her way to state that I was so sweet and I was like I really think you're underestimating just how much I don't like to fucking fold laundry.) I helped her out to show her the certain ways that we both like things done, and said we can put it away no worries, and also because I've been switching out my seasonal clothes so I still had winter stuff from the wash I wanted to put away. But my boyfriend was sitting playing Minecraft the whole time and I started to get resentful, thinking about why should I be the one to not only show his girlfriend how to fold our clothes when he's more picky/specific about it than I am, but also when this was supposed to be his job the whole time?
I would like to clarify here that I am not, and never have been, a particularly neat person. There are messes that I make that bother him for sure, and he comments on it. But at least I clean up most of the apartment aside from my side of the room, he really can't say that same unless I bring it up and ask him. Yesterday I interviewed for and was offered an amazing job position which will likely start next week (I haven't heard back about the start date yet), but it's a two-hour round trip for me, without traffic. So now I am here to ask Reddit, before I lose my absolute shit about the state of my apartment when I come home because my boyfriend has done absolutely nothing, what on Earth can I do to get this man to do his fucking chores without me instigating it?!
submitted by smrfygryffindor to relationship_advice [link] [comments]