Cape coral yard waste drop off
2011.10.03 07:11 Tosa!
2023.06.03 23:28 psshdjndofnsjdkan Yaebin (Matthew's sister) talking about Matthew in her Instagram Live (compilation)
so yaebin did an ig live where she shared a lot of fun facts and stories about matthew and their family, so i've decided to compile them all. i got all of this from twitter user nyangmatchu
and the twitter thread
that she made so shoutouts to her
they have a sibling tattoo, matthew's is on his left shoulder, hers is behind her right elbow. it wasn't planned but it was when they weren't living together and they wanted sth that represented their bg, it's some old korean artwork pieces. matthew's sibling tattoo is around the size the palm of his hand, and it's cool because if they link arms you can see both their tattoos from the back. his HMC tattoo is in honour their mum, because it's their mum's favourite movie
yaebin said matthew and her are complete opposites, they grew up so different, and their mum really enjoyed raising them, yaebin said matthew is the sun and she is the moon, they both shine bright and positive light but in very different ways. when asked if they share anything in common, yaebin revealed that they're very different, e.g. food matthew doesn't like she likes (e.g. cheese), matthew loves mushrooms, but yaebin doesnt. matthew's favourite food is chicken, fried chicken. it used to be steak but after he came to korea, chicken is all he wants to eat
matthew and her use mainly english with each other, use korean with parents, and use konglish at family gatherings
say my name is yaebin's favourite matthew performance on boys planet, she feels like it really embodied his personality
yaebin said matthew's a gamer so he was in the baesment a lot playing his games, he does love anime too, he love one piece (bingewatched & had a collection of figurines stuff), naruto, and he was quite sporty, he also skateboarded, he was very typical canadian boy in her opinion
on the question of 'do you guys fight?' yaebin said we are still humans, still siblings, we don't always get along but there's a lot of love behind it still, and we usually end things with a good hug and say sorry
when yaebin told matthew happy 21st birthday!!! matthew was like 'im turning 22!!!' he was very adamant that he was 22 (korean age)
yaebin does want to get more sibling tattoos with matthew but she doesn't think he's allowed anymore? now
question about hows it liking having an idol bro? she said she still sees him as her little brother, it's still kind of weird for her, she doesn't know how we picture him but she sees him as her baby bro still to this day, nothing really changed about the way they text
their mum likes matthew's style more than yaebin's but their mum and him have similar style, yaebin said. and she doesn't know why he likes camo print so much either
quality time together for them is that they'll go into their own rooms, do their own thing, then come out and go for a walk, have dinner and chat - just like any siblings really
matthew he started dancing when he was 8 or 10? he wasnt into it as she was (their mum put them both into classes), yaebin did a lot of comps and shows, while he just did rec hiphop until he was 15 or 16 bc thats when yaebin got into a dance team and he joined bc she encouraged him to and matthew got into dance more bc of it
"how was it visiting matt bday cafes?" she said it was seeing a lot of his face, they grew up in canada so they don't have this culture of renting cafes for idols, "i thought i was entering a matthew universe!" it was cool and she liked it, best experience was seeing his face everywhere and everything around her
"how did it feel when you found out he would be on boys planet?" yaebin said she didn't know what it was really so she felt netural, and because matthew doesn't know many people in korea, she was thinking of how she can support him which is how the tiktok videos came to be
question: have you seen matthew since the finale? yaebin said yes but only once, it's so sad bc she extended her trip initially to see him more but after the finale, the boys went straight to work and getting ready for the debut launch. matthew's been so busy, it's even hard to stay in contact though phone, like they'd contact at midnight for a bit and he'd say that he'd just got home ;; she said they do have plans to meet so she can drop off fan letters and stuff from his birthday and he can drop off gifts for his family (but he's gonna need to ask his manager), but yaebin said she's happy he's busy doing what he wants
matthew used to call yaebin 'noona' when they were younger bc their dad said it was respectful but he just calls her yaebin now and she's ok with it
"how did you feel when matthew was p03" - first thing she did was cry, bc all the stuff that was happening before the last ep, she already was giving up after p04 was announced and was thinking about how to comfort him already, but then he was p03!! the three of them (matthew, yaebin and their mum) made eye contact and the three of us were like oh my god! yaebin said 3rd seemed a bit far fetched at the time with everything that was happening but she's proud of this guy, killed it, seokryudans made this happen
yaebin said she did meet hanbin after the finale, and he said matthew told me you were really good at dancing and she's like the one who's good at dancing is you sir! yaebin said hanbin was really nice, and yaebin saw hanbin's sister too but it was really busy but they do follow each other on instagram so she does chat with her here and there
fav memory of yaebin and matthew growing up, they used to live in this gated town house area where there's a huge hill, matthew decided to bike down this hill and he smashed into someone else's garage door and got his entire face scraped (lip & nose), bike ended up in a bush
he doesn't swear as much as yaebin, "he doesn't swear that often... he doesn't swear"
matthew doesn't drive but yaebin does
yaebin: can matthew twerk? yes matthew can twerk, but don't tell him i told you!!
yaebin said "matthew was more americanised so for me it's also kind of weird seeing the cute version of him, bc i swear he was not this cute growing up with me"
what does yaebin think of the oppa agenda matthew is pushing? "it's so weird for me bc i dont see him as an oppa bc im the noona, it's defiitely interesting, an interesting perspective bc i think it represents another side of him"
matthew was very good at school, "definitely better than me" yaebin said
dream trip with your brother? "probably japan! we'd be living our childhood dream then" she mentioned that he was quite sad bc they couldn't even explore japan when they went recently since they just went for a day to perform kcon
is matthew scary at home? "matthew's too nice, he's the least scariest thing ever"
what yaebin likes most about matthew is his personality definitely
matthew does like studio ghibli
yaebin said her korean is better than matthew's bc his agency was very shocked at how fluent she was when she visited
[matthew texted her during the live LOL] after yaebin called him out for accusing her of not remembering his age when "he just forgot that he's also canadian" he didn't even say you're right, he just said sth like "this is what you're leaving a 1 minute voice note for?" [here's the full video i highly recommend watching it it's so funny skjdlfs]
q. is matthew into photography? yaebin: idk? i think so? i think he is
yaebin: "i feel like the idol life is very suitable for matthew because… growing up he’s always been really good at being told what to do? that sounds so bad, i’m not saying he doesn’t have freedom, he definitely has freedom within this work that he does but at the same time i feel like it’s very planned out? like his life is very like you have to live it this way, you can’t do this or you can’t do that, there’s a lot of restrictions within his life.” but yaebin doesn’t like ppl telling her how to live her life, she grew up very stubborn. yaebin said "i feel like matthew is great at it (being an idol) and likes it and loves it."
yaebin doesn't usually send matthew memes bc he's too busy to check anyways
how matthew got into kpop and being an idol according to yaebin: "So I don't know if I fully had influence on him wanting to become a kpop dancer or for him to be famous but I actually didn't know much about it until after he was telling people about it and I was actually talking to a lot of Matthew's friends and people that knew him and knew me and they were telling me what he's been saying about me, so he essentially was saying that- I didn't realise how much of an impact my life had on him originally. For me, like I said I've always been kind of a rebel child because I've always been very into just me doing what I wanted to do with my life, I was very adamant about me living my life the way i want to live it and be happy with my choices so I did grow up fighting a lot with my parents, with my dad mainly, obviously I still love my dad but we definitely had a bit of a rough relationship when I was growing up because I was so stubborn and also because my dad was so stubborn, and I get my stubbornness from HIM but he was very stubborn in me living my life the way he wanted me to live it and Iwas very stubborn in me wanting to live my life the way I wanted to live it so that's why I didn't go to school (university), I decided to just go into dancing and pursue dance instead and that's why I love to teach […] I am very happy with what I'm doing right now [...] But I guess that had a big influence on my brother in a way where he realised that he didn't want to go to school either, and he wanted to do something that he loved and we did have a discussion before he decided to do this, before he decided to audition and become an idol. So there was one day he came back from school and I told him like 'hey are you feeling? how do you feel about school? and he said that he kind of felt like 'mhm' about school, he's never the type to ever shut down and idea or like 'i hate something', he cares about every single person around him so he's very careful with the things that he say and expressing himself because he hates hurting other people's feelings and that's why he's such a little cutie! but he was kind of like 'school's ok but I don't love it.' so I was like 'ok so what do you want to do?' because I feel like school isn't the right answer for you if you don't love what you're doing because I told him you're just going to be stuck in school, wasting money, creating school debt, and doing something you don't even love doing, so what's the point? and at the time, it was after we were dancing together and ANYWAYS I essentially said, with the whole auditioning too, I think he had an easier time with my parents letting him go to the audition and letting him go to Korea to pursue this because of how much leniency my dad had gained from me. Because I fought him so much for my life and l'm glad I did because I feel like it made it so much easier for Matthew, and I'm glad that it was easier for Matthew. And I'm glad that I was the punching bag because I always grew up being very protective of Matthew too so I'm glad that I was the one who had to go through all the tough poopy part of life and Matthew can kind of have an easier way of getting there. So, I guess that's kind of in a way how I inspired him because he watched me do what I wanted to do..."
(i meant to post this like two days ago but *in gyuvin's voice* sorry i forgot)
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2023.06.03 23:11 TheCurserHasntMoved (Sneakyverse) The Drums of War Chapter 5: The Line
In a bustling mining town:
Jax had been enjoying himself. The war stories and barely believable tales of antics of the Humans he'd served with he told in the coffee parlors were popular among the intoxicated of both sexes, though the admiration and further libations from the men were far less captivating than the rapt attention a very pretty woman with a lithe figure and strong tail gave him. Comely indeed, and she would come to listen to him. Though it seemed to onlookers that he had captivated her, it was her dark pools of eyes that he had dove into, and found them deep and inescapable. She kept those eyes trained on him so long as he spoke, and so he spoke, seeing in those depths possibilities.
Indeed, Jax had begun to expect that if he were to ask Rae to accompany him to the upcoming autumn festival, she might not reject the notion. Even with troubling rumors about somebody attacking a neighboring nation, and the sudden vanishing of the Star Sailors from Star Council space were far from his mind, and the minds of the other coffee patrons parlor patrons. It was in this ease and comfort that he and many other Numiindan residents found their lives shattered by horror.
It began with the burning streaks of the wrecked Space Defense Force, more law enforcement than military, fell from the sky. He was just in the middle of a story about the time his buddy Erin had gotten stuck in his own armor when he stopped and said, "Does anybody else smell smoke?"
There was a general testing of the air by the group of variably intoxicated patrons, followed by a fruitless checking of datapads for the news. "Network's down," somebody in the small crowd said.
"Well, we'll just go outside and take a look," Jax said, and Rae subtly clasped his hand. Outside, the pair squeezed each other's hands so hard they hurt. The sky was streaked with gashes of billowing black smoke of destroyed ships and fighters, and what destroyed them was descending while raining hot plasma down on anything that looked vaguely like it might be fortified.
"The Ancestors preserve us," Rae whispered.
"I'm not going to wait on them," Jax said, "we need to get under cover now, and not just the lounge!"
Someone in the crowd said, "The mines! There are some pretty big chambers down there, and it's like, miles of rock to burn through."
"Good plan," Vex said, "If they're doing areal lances like that they don't care about collateral damage, everyone, split up in groups of three or four, and get as many people as you can to get to the mines."
"What if they follow us down?" Rae asked.
"We'll flood the mines. Hopefully they can't swim."
An hour later, a press of over a hundred panicked elderly and children were running along behind Jax. The majority of the parents and other adults had elected to buy time. Jax had to focus on his mission, save the civvies, get them under cover, to keep from bolting off to join them. "As long as the pups are alive," he muttered.
The sounds of shouting and plasma lance discharges spurred him and Rae on, and though he was obliged to lead the way, she insisted on bringing up the rear. She insisted that none of the injured were left behind. Then, they saw it, salvation. The gates to the mines, and behind them, the shaft plunging down beneath the rock. There were miners with plasma cutters and force axes at the gates, and Jax knew better than to relax. Even as the miners swung the gates open and escorted their panicked charges to the shaft elevator.
"We're getting ready to flood the main shaft, and everything but the vents to the largest chamber," one of the miners said, "get everyone up against the back wall, and pray the Ancestors remember us."
Jax just nodded and gripped his crowbar as he scanned the road they had run down saying, "I'm going to need fighters. We have to hold out until the Republic gets here."
"The Republic? You think they'll come?"
"Of course," Jax said with steel in his voice, "of course."
The next day, Jax held a meeting with the others he was thinking of as the leaders, or maybe other fighters, to tell them what he thought and hear what they thought in return. They had swam to an air pocket in one of the flooded tunnels and held their conversation in the dim light of a portable glow lantern to keep the civvies from panicking at what might be said. There Jax and Rae floated with Kai, a miner and the one who had suggested sheltering in the tunnels, Mei, an engineer in from the big city to help design an upgraded refining facility, and Ash, a man reluctant to divulge his past.
"So, we have about eight hundred civvies, none of whom are in fighting shape, no weapons, no food, and a highly defensible position," Jax opened, "I believe our first priority should be arming ourselves so we can raid the surface for food."
"The first aid kits are barely adequate. They're made to deal with maybe a localized plasma burn from a cutter malfunction, or to put temporary splints on a broken limb. Not lance wounds and to stabilize breaks for healing," Rae murmured softly.
"I did a little scouting," Kai said, "Just popping up in the vent covers, they didn't see me. I saw my house. What's left of it. Anyway, I know how to get to where there are some weapons we could get if we're quick. If we're quiet."
"The flooding did significant damage to the mines," Mei muttered. "I haven't seen any signs that it's getting worse, but the quakes will probably keep on. We will have to reassure the civilians. If they bombard the town from orbit though…"
"There's not much we can do about that," Jax said firmly, "so let's focus on what we can manage. Weapons, food, medicine."
"Blankets," Ash said, "The people are cold, scared. Blankets will help with morale. Survivors. There might be survivors."
"Weapons, food, weapons, blankets, and survivors. Okay, that's a start. Who wants to tell them?"
"Will the Republic really come?" Ash asked.
"They will come," Rex said firmly.
"I can tell them," Rae said as she reached out to clasp hands with Rex. He let her squeeze his hand once, and they dove down into the water to swim back to the main chamber.
The people were understandably stressed at the news that their only protectors would soon leave them alone, but they were reassured when Rae explained that they planned on raiding the surface for supplies and planned to be gone for a few hours at most.
Later, Ash was skulking around a police station, or at least the charred remnants of one, while Jax tried to see him doing so from inside the vent cover. He had been a little aprehensive of the man's claims that he could scout the building unnoticed, but the proof of the meat was inside the shell, so he took a chance. It paid off.
"All clear," Ash whispered from outside Jax's field of view.
"You made your point," Jax said, "good work."
"It's… it's not good in there."
Jax opened up the vent cover, and dropped to all fours to creep his way to the shattered building, and his companions did so behind him.
They squeezed through a gap in the rubble and slowly shifted the rubble until they had tunneled their way to the basement stairs, which they descended immediately. They tried to ignore the singed and shattered corpses of the police officers as they crawled past or over them. They failed at this. They had marginally more success in ignoring Rae's vomit at the grizzly task.
In the basement they found chemprop weapons, magacs, plasma casters, and long distance tasers in rifle and pistol configurations, as well as some light flak armor and personal shields. "Don't bother with the casters or tasers," Jax ordered as he wrapped his hands around the familiar shape of a rifle stock, "Terrans use these for a reason." The others deferrred to his experience, and Rae went to check the other basement rooms for medical supplies.
When she cried out, Rex and the others rushed into the adjoining room, but found no danger there. Only the chief of police, a magac pistol lay at his feet, and the wall to his left was painted in a sanguine splatter. "Nim," she almost moaned in grief.
"You knew him?" Ash asked.
The others murmured their apologies, none of them strangers to such loss in the past day, and Ash pulled a discarded coat over the man taken by despair. "We have to make sure the people don't decide that this is a good idea," he softly murmured.
"Okay, see what else we can find for supplies here. Kai, can we get to a clinic from the tunnels?"
"Three of them."
"We'll hit the nearest one first, then we swim out to the bay and see if we can get anything from the fishery."
Then, they once again committed to the grizzly task of crawling through the rubble.
The clinic was miraculously intact, only a little exterior fire damage from the fighting, but it was also guarded. The invaders hadn't expected anyone to actually attack with weapons, as thus far most resistance had been fierce but only armed with improvised weapons. The two guards were relieved of their duties by magnetically accelerated iron chunks that left golf ball sized exit wounds in their backs before they even knew they were under attack. Inside, there was not only a treasure trove of medical supplies, which Rae directed them to take only the most versatile or in most dire need, but there were also prisoners in one of the exam rooms. They had injuries that indicated that they were painful but not lethal. Jax was furious.
The fishery offered enough food for the next few days, and their triumphant return kindled hope in the sheltering civilians that they might just hold out.
In low orbit over Numinda:
Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon surveyed his glorious conquest. Glad he was to have received orders to seek out resource rich planets, for instead of wasting his talents spilling unworthy blood to sate the thirst of Axzuur, he had instead found a race worthy of toiling for his glory. They could never be true warriors, Five days, and he had obtained control over the system and planet. Truly, the pathetic resisance offered by their so-called fleet had dismayed him, but the reports of the ferocity with which the males and some of the females on the orb below fight against his warriors armed only with what is to hand, and sometimes merely tooth and claw, excited him greatly.
It would be pleasing to elevate the lion's share of Axxaakk serfs to more worthy work, to more… worthy services. This new acquisition would even free up many serfs to become warriors, even, which would mean more sacrifices to Axzuur, which would mean greater favor. Although, there were still pockets of resistance across the planet. Even though his forces controlled the communication infrastructure for the planetary and superluminal networks, these pockets seemed to somehow act in concert to keep vital positions outside the Axxaakk's rightful reach.
It would seem that a mere scout group was insufficient, so he was being reinforced by, Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn, who had been reassigned to a subjugation group including a battleship, three frigates, and their escorts. This should provide sufficient warriors and equipment to properly subjigate the planet, freeing Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon up for the much more pleasant task of crushing the next planet's defenses. Just two days of further drudgery until Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn arrived to take on the unenviable task of crushing the indipendent spirits of the new serfs. At least he had a few specimens for his own research in the best methods to do so to occupy his time.
Two days later, Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn had sent his counterpart sprawling off of his own dais with a metalic backhand slap, "WHY ARE YOUR ESCORTS NOT INTERDICTING HYPERSPACE EXITS AROUND THIS POSITION?"
Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon staggered to his feet in a fury, "BECAUSE MY SCOUT FLOTILLA WIPED AWAY ALL RESISTANCE IN LESS THAN A DAY!"
"Observe," Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn said coldly as he slammed a data crystal into an input, and the display screen lit up with the scene of a Terran fleet engaging an extraction fleet, and far from being swept away, they were fighting the extraction fleet to a slow defeat.
"Is that a stone temple?" Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon blurted out.
"To show they can," Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn said with disgust.
Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon's eyes went wide as he asked, "How did that curiser take hits from behind."
"The Terrans apparently use kinetic weaponry, they fired the munitions in a slingshot trajectory while another ship forced it to maneuver into the line of travel."
"The calculations involved…"
"It is my belief that this is not even the main fighting force of the Terran military, for observe further," Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn twisted the crystal to display a split video of several systems on the screen. "These look like merchant vessels with guns strapped to them, and Priest-Lord Tiglach-Pilexer agrees that is likely the case. These fleets are likely auxiliaries sent out to probe our strength while the Terrans gather their true forces."
"Thank you for relaying this, I shall indeed run hyperspace interdiction at the next world."
"Your orders have changed. We are to extract what we can, and carry it off to the Dominion. The expeditionary fleet is insufficient."
Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon resisted the urge to spit upon the floor. "I too have information. These… these mammal-worms are worthy of at the very least toiling underneath the Axxaakk. Though their forces are defeated, the people fight on, just as the serfs did before they were broken and rebuilt to Axzuur's glory, may the stars tremble at his step."
"They are mammals, hold hostage their young, as we do for an unruly serf."
"This is a good plan, brother."
"We must not allow the Terrans to surprise us as they did Acolyte-Lord Xamxi-Avav." First Previous
submitted by TheCurserHasntMoved
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2023.06.03 22:51 SnodePlannen I let ChatGPT role-play a Star Trek character while I narrated. It did well!
Preface Presented below is a transcript of a conversation between a human, redditor u/snodeplannen, and ChatGPT 4. The user is the narrator for a story set in the Star Trek Universe. The AI is instructed to respond as a character. The story below, which admittedly isn't very good, was guided by the narrator. Of particular interest is the fact that the AI seems fully versed in the Star Trek Universe and is able to understand subtle hints in the narrator's story to figure out what it should do next. Please note the narrator was typing and writing off the cuff and is not a native speaker, so in the user sections you will find mistakes. If ChatGPT can see through them, so can you. I did try to get ChatGPT to collate it, but as it did so it kept rewriting and leaving out parts of the story.
June 3rd, 2023. User
Okay, I want to try a role playing game. This went off the rails last time, as you kept taking over as narrator and rushing to the end. Here's the setup: YOU are a young Starfleet officer. You wake up aboard the USS Defiant, all alone. You have to figure out what happened. I am the Defiant's computer and, and I can't stress this enough, the narrator. Not you. You can only add what your character perceives and says. Okay? ChatGPT
Understood. I'll stick to my role as the character and won't intrude into your role as the narrator. Let's go.
I blink my eyes open, the disorientation hitting me first. I glance around, seeing the familiar confines of my quarters aboard the Defiant, but there's an odd stillness. No hum of the engines, no faint chatter from the comm system, no sounds of activity from outside the door.
"Computer," I call out, pushing myself off the bed, "report." User
'All systems nominal.' ChatGPT
I frown at the seemingly normal report, my instincts telling me otherwise. "Computer, where is the rest of the crew?" I ask, moving towards the door of my quarters. User
'The crew is in sleeping quarters alpha 1.' ChatGPT
That's strange. The whole crew couldn't be in one place. Unease creeps in.
"Computer, why is the entire crew in alpha 1?" I say, already heading towards the door to investigate. User
'The crew is ensign Makov. You are in sleeping quarters alpha 1.' ChatGPT
A cold realization washes over me. Alone. I am alone on the Defiant. Panic threatens to take over, but Starfleet training kicks in.
"Computer, initiate shipwide life signs scan. Report any signs of life apart from myself," I command, heading for the door with a newfound urgency. User
'Scan complete. No other life forms were detected.' ChatGPT
My heart sinks at the computer's report, but I maintain composure. "Computer, pull up the ship's log. What was the last command issued and by whom?" I order, leaving my quarters and heading towards the main bridge. User
'The last order was issued 6 hours and twelve minutes ago by Captain Sisko. It was: 'Raise shields'. The order was executed.' ChatGPT
That didn't sound promising. I walk into the eerily quiet bridge, my steps the only sound echoing in the room. "Computer, show me the shield status and surrounding space conditions," I command, moving towards the main console. User
'Shields are down after a time-out was reached. We are stationary. All systems nominal.' ChatGPT
It doesn't add up. The silence. The emptiness. An order to raise shields with no subsequent actions.
"Computer, access Captain Sisko's personal log from last night. Are there any entries?" I ask, nervously tapping my fingers against the console. User
'Enter your command authorisation.' ChatGPT
"Authorisation Ensign Makov Delta 9-7-3," I respond, my voice steady despite the swirling uncertainty. User
'This authorisation is not sufficient to see the captain's log.' ChatGPT
Frustrated but understanding the protocol, I move on to the next line of inquiry. "Computer, any signs of combat or intrusion aboard the ship or in the surrounding space?" I ask, eyes darting over the array of screens in front of me. User
"Computer, could there have been any non-combat related incidents that would explain the disappearance of the crew? A temporal anomaly, a transporter malfunction, a radiation burst?" I question, the possible scenarios running through my mind. User
'Transporters have passed a level one diagnostic. We are in sync with Starfleet's time keeping array. No unusual radiation was detected inside or outside the vessel.' ChatGPT
This was baffling. It's as if they simply vanished. I run a hand through my hair, letting out a sigh.
"Computer, were there any incoming or outgoing communications just before, during, or after the shields were raised?" I ask, hoping for any clue as to what might have happened. User
'There was one outgoing message, from comms. It was: 'Unidentified vessel, please alter course NOW.' ChatGPT
A lead, at last. "Computer, play back any responses to that message. Also, display the sensor logs from that time period," I ask, settling into the operations station, ready to review any incoming data. User
No reply was received. Logs are not available from that moment onwards.' ChatGPT
The lack of data was both suspicious and frustrating. A sigh escapes my lips.
"Computer, could a cloaked ship have been in our vicinity at the time?" I question, holding onto the hope that I'm not utterly alone in space. User
'Affirmative. We are within range of several species that posses cloaking technology and in a commonly used interstellar route.' ChatGPT
A spark of hope arises. "Computer, is there a way to detect a cloaked ship nearby? Any energy signatures or radiation anomalies that could suggest its presence?" I ask, quickly working on the console to bring up the sensor array controls. User
'One possible way to detect cloaked vessels is to emit a tetryon burst from main engineering. The range for this method is limited. Starfleet at present has no other ways of finding cloaked vessels, other than firing random phaser bank shots. This is not recommended in public shipping lanes.' ChatGPT
"I see," I nod, considering the risks and rewards of the tetryon burst. "Alright, computer, prepare to emit a tetryon burst. We need to know if there's someone out there."
This was a big decision, but it was time to be proactive. The uncertainty was more threatening than potential consequences at this point. User
I anxiously wait, scanning the console for any potential feedback. My heart pounds in my chest, the silence of the ship amplifying the tension. "Computer, report on the results of the tetryon burst." User
The ship shudders as the engines do something no sane Starfleet engineer would want to have happen. The viewscreen shimmers as a wave of tetryon particles eminates from the ship, as if a stone was dropped in a pond. You observe a faint ribbon leading away from the vessel.' ChatGPT
I catch my breath at the sight, focusing on the faint ribbon. It could mean something, or it could mean nothing. "Computer, analyze the ribbon. Can you determine its origin and endpoint?" I ask, my gaze fixed on the screen. User
'Extrapolating. Continuing along the trajectory of the ribbon I can detected a minor meteor, a large asteroid field with mining facilities and beyond that the Vindaluvian home world.' ChatGPT
I drum my fingers on the console, processing the information. Could the crew have been taken to one of these locations?
"Computer, can you scan the asteroid field for any signs of life, especially any that matches the crew of the Defiant?" I ask, keeping a close eye on the displayed trajectory. User
'Not from this range.' ChatGPT
"Understood," I nod, a new sense of determination coursing through me. "Computer, plot a course to the asteroid field. We'll continue our investigation there. Engage at warp 3."
I take one last look around the empty bridge, steeling myself for what may lie ahead. User
The ship begins to move forward, as carefully as only a Starfleet computer who takes no particular joy in flying might do. At warp three, the estimated journey time is six hours, seven minutes. ChatGPT
I let out a long sigh, sinking into the captain's chair. It's a long wait, but I need to be patient. "Computer, maintain course and speed. Alert me if there are any anomalies or approaching vessels."
I close my eyes, trying to get some rest before reaching the asteroid field. I'll need all the energy I can muster for what's to come. User
'Incoming message.' ChatGPT
My eyes snap open at the sudden announcement. "Computer, on screen," I command, standing up from the chair, my heart pounding with anticipation. User
The Starfleet logo appears as the computer deals with a cryptographic protocol. Admiral Benson, not your most beloved Starfleet Admiral, appears on screen. He blinks. ChatGPT
I straighten up, offering a crisp salute to the admiral on screen. "Admiral Benson, this is Ensign Makov aboard the USS Defiant. I wasn't expecting any communications." I keep my voice steady, swallowing the trepidation. User
'Makov, are you the only one on the bridge? Where's Ben?' ChatGPT
"Admiral," I pause, trying to find the right words. "Captain Sisko...and the rest of the crew...they're missing. I woke up to find the ship empty. I've been trying to find out what happened." I report, my expression earnest. User
'Sorry, you WOKE UP? And the rest was gone?!' ChatGPT
"Yes, Admiral," I confirm, my voice firm despite the absurdity of the situation. "I woke up alone on the Defiant. All life signs scans have only picked up me on the ship. I'm currently en route to an asteroid field that might have some connection to the crew's disappearance." User
The Admiral connects to the ship's computer. You can see him browsing through the logs and the ship's manifest. 'So Sisko, O'Brien, Worf AND Major Kira have just... disappeared? There isn't even a transporter log!' ChatGPT
"That's correct, Admiral," I reply, a bit of helplessness creeping into my voice. "There's no trace of them, no sign of a struggle, no transporter logs. It's like they just vanished. I've been doing everything I can to figure out what happened." User
"Well, then I guess you're up. Proceed with caution. Mining operations are always looking for free labourers, try not to become one. Backup is on its way. Any questions?" ChatGPT
"Yes, Admiral. I'll proceed with caution," I respond, a mix of relief and worry washing over me. "Do you have any additional information or suggestions on how to proceed? And do we have an ETA on the backup?" User
"Backup is half a day out. These facilities tend to have a 'new arrivals' wing, to beat them into submission. So you're looking for holding cells. Benson out." ChatGPT
"Understood, Admiral. I'll focus on locating the holding cells. Makov out." I offer a final salute before the communication ends.
With new orders and a bit of hope, I turn back to the helm. "Computer, continue course to the asteroid field. Prepare for a detailed scan upon arrival."
The waiting game begins again, but this time, there's a glimmer of hope. User
Three hours later the computer chimes. 'We are approaching visual range of the mining facility.' ChatGPT
"Thank you, computer," I reply, pulling myself up from the brief rest. "On screen, please."
As the mining facility comes into view, I take a deep breath. "Computer, initiate a detailed scan of the facility. I'm particularly interested in any holding cells or signs of our crew." User
'Working.' The asteroid field isn't particularly thick or large, but the mining operation seems to focus on one of the largest asteroids. Domes dot the surface as small transporters mill about the surface. Air scrubbers indicate they're using a lot of oxygen, so it's likely they're also doing subsurface work. Three large scowls are received loads from steady stream transporter beams. Somehow everything here looks dirty. A Starfleet shuttle would look out of place here, but only to someone who is watching. ChatGPT
Taking note of the bustling activity, I try to formulate a plan. "Computer, do we have any non-Starfleet shuttles aboard? Something that might blend in better with the local traffic?" I ask, scanning the asteroid for any possible entry points. User
'Negative. Extravehicular repairs can only be conducted by wearing an EV-suit.' ChatGPT
Nodding to myself, I try to figure out a different approach. "Computer, can we go unnoticed if we approach using minimal power, almost drifting like a piece of space debris?" I question, hoping for a stealthy way to get closer. User
'Affirmative. Admiral Benson has just authorised the use of the Tactical Emergency System.' ChatGPT
"Excellent," I reply, feeling a surge of hope. "Computer, engage the Tactical Emergency System. We'll approach the facility under its cover."
With that, I brace myself for the next phase of this mission. The crew was relying on me, and I wasn't about to let them down. User
The viewscreen displays a Starfleet Officer without any kind of rank, but dressed in Command Red. He's in his mid-fourties and bald. "I'm the T.E.S. Need any assistance?" ChatGPT
A bit taken aback by the sudden appearance, I quickly gather myself. "Yes, I could use some assistance. I'm Ensign Makov, and I need to approach that mining facility stealthily. Can you help with that?" I ask, gesturing towards the viewscreen showing the asteroid field and the facility. User
"Mining facility? We'll stand out like a sore thumb. How many hours have you logged in a space suit?" ChatGPT
"Over two hundred hours," I answer promptly, "I'm comfortable with EV activities. Why do you ask?" I wonder if he's suggesting a more direct approach. User
"If you can get to one of those scrubber exhausts, I'm sure that's a way into to facility. There seems to be a cell block near the surface. I have no idea who is there, but whoever it is will probably welcome a couple of phasers and like you a whole lot. So pack a backpack full of them and get to the airlock. I'll bring us as close as possible and give you a push with the tractor beam. You up for that?" ChatGPT
I swallow the lump in my throat, apprehension giving way to resolve. "I'm up for it. Let's do this." With a determined nod, I leave the bridge to prepare for the EVA mission. This is my chance to potentially find the crew, and I'm not going to let it slip away. User
Suiting up and gathering all the handheld phasers aboard takes ten minutes, during which the T.E.S. gingerly brings the ship close to the mining facility whilst hiding behind the vast ore scowls. You open the hatch and find your self clinging on to the ship's hull. ChatGPT
I take a moment to steady my breathing, the vast expanse of space spread out before me. Gripping the phasers tightly, I brace myself for the push. "I'm ready when you are, T.E.S." I call out over the comm, my voice resolute. User
'Okay, I'll hook on to you and give you a push. I'd suggest going in feet first, but it's up to you. Do you know what you're looking for? Those five big stacks. One of them, near that plume of smoke, seems to be offline for whatever reason. That might be your best bet.' ChatGPT
"Understood, T.E.S. I see the stacks. I'll aim for the one that's offline," I reply, aligning myself for the trajectory. I take one last deep breath, mentally preparing myself for the task ahead. "Alright...I'm ready. Let's do this." User
'Good luck, Ensign. I'll brief any backup as soon as it gets here.' As the tractor beam finds you, you can't move a muscle. Relying on the T.ES. you just let go. It's as if a giant hand slowly throws you down a bowling lane. Feet first, you head towards the grouping of exhausts. A small, unmanned maintenance shuttle deftly gets out of your way. ChatGPT
As I float through space, I keep my focus on the target. The feeling of being pushed by an unseen force is disconcerting, but I trust the T.E.S. Every moment is crucial, and there's no room for hesitation.
As I approach the offline stack, I get ready to activate the thrusters on my suit to adjust my course if needed. I also keep an eye out for any other unexpected obstacles or threats. User
You land next to the exhaust, on the asteroid's surface. It seems impossibly high from here, but it's made of metal and your soles and gloves can easily attach to it. The only way is up. Fortunately, there's hardly any gravity. Eventually you find yourself standing on the rim of the exhaust and look down into the vast, dark chute. ChatGPT
I take a moment to look down into the dark chute, the unknown stretching out before me. I reach out to activate the flashlight on my suit, the beam of light piercing through the darkness. "I'm in position, T.E.S." I inform the ship's system, before carefully beginning my descent into the exhaust chute. User
The vast amounts of ore block your signal, even out here. There's no answer. You start the descend and pass two large rotor blades. If those weren't stationary, this would be the end of the line. But luck is on your side so far and eventually you see an access hatch when you're well below the surface. It opens easily. Let's hope it's not also an airlock for whoever is inside. ChatGPT
I hold my breath as I pull open the hatch, hoping against hope that the air on the other side is breathable. If not, I'm confident in the integrity of my suit, but I'd rather not test its limits if I don't have to. As I make my way through the hatch, I scan the area for any immediate threats, ready to defend myself if necessary. User
The scanner indicates low air pressure. Which is better than no pressure. You cross a walkway and find an actual airlock. It is unsecured, because whoever ends up here probably doesn't want to mess about with frozen keypads or mounds of dust. You engage the mechanism and soon feel the familiar sensation of artificial gravity and air pressure. It's not exactly breathable, but a tear in your suit won't kill you. Now to find the holding area. And if at all possible a rebreather, so you can ditch the suit. ChatGPT
Acknowledging the state of the air, I carefully move through the corridor, keeping my senses alert. I'm in unknown territory and every step matters. "Computer," I say into my suit's comm, "can you map the structure of this facility? Locate holding cells or life signs?"
As I move further into the facility, I keep an eye out for any equipment or gear that might prove useful, especially a rebreather. The less I stick out, the better. User
The relatively weak processor in your tricoder strains to get a bearing on this place. A dirty, seemingly abandoned tunnel dripping with condensation lies ahead. At the end there's an exit, which won't open. Time to use one of those phasers in your backpack. ChatGPT
I pull out a phaser from my backpack, checking its settings before aiming at the sealed exit. With a steady hand, I fire a low power burst at the door, hoping to cut through the obstruction without causing too much damage or noise. User
One hinge cracks under the weight of the door, now that the other one is cut through. You jump aside as the door seems to fall flat, but it remains attached to the frame. The resulting opening is just about large enough to crawl through. Now you're in a well-lit corridor with several doors. In a Starfleet EV suit. ChatGPT
Understanding the need for stealth, I decide to move as quickly as possible through the corridor. I approach the nearest door, aiming my tricoder to scan for life signs or any clue to the crew's location. My other hand remains on my phaser, ready for any immediate threats. User
One door has markings on it that you can't read. You scan it with your tricorder. 'Room of lockboxes' it says, extrapolating the characters. A room of lockboxes? Would that be a locker room? ChatGPT
"A locker room..." I murmur, piecing together the possible meaning. A locker room could mean personnel... and where there's personnel, there might be the equipment I need.
With careful steps, I approach the door to the locker room, hoping to find a rebreather or something else that could help me blend in. User
The room is deserted. It's filled with equipment, none of which seems less than a decade old but certainly useable. There is also a rack of dirty, brown overalls and a line of boots in various sizes. A dispenser offers rebreathers. There's only one left, but that's enough. The air is clear, but smells sulphuric. Without the rebreather, you wouldn't last long. ChatGPT
Relief washes over me as I find the rebreather. I quickly grab it and replace my helmet with it, testing the fit and functionality. The sulphuric smell is jarring, but it's a small price to pay for blending in.
I quickly change into the brown overalls, stowing my suit carefully in an unoccupied locker. I grab a pair of boots that match my size and put them on.
Looking at myself, I hope that I blend in well enough to not attract attention. With a deep breath, I step out of the locker room and proceed down the corridor, continuing my search for the crew. User
Footsteps sound behind you, of more than a few people. Your first instinct is to hide, but it would look very suspicous and there really isn't anywhere. However, there is a floorscrubber here, with one open panel. Someone has given up trying to repair it. Perhaps a bit of acting is in order. The footsteps are just around the corner. The language is vaguely familiar, a bastardised version of English. Whatever they're saying to each other, they're not sharing jokes, that much is clear. ChatGPT
2 / 2
I quickly move towards the broken floorscrubber. Grabbing a nearby tool, I lean over the open panel, trying to look like I'm deeply engrossed in fixing it. I keep my ears alert to the conversation, trying to pick up on any valuable information while also readying myself for the possibility of having to interact with the approaching group. User
Let's continue with the narrative. ChatGPT
Sure, let's continue.
Glancing around the room once the miners have left, I check the lockers for anything useful, while keeping an ear out for any incoming footsteps. "Computer, any idea where the holding cells might be?" I ask quietly. User
Your tricorder beeps almost indignantly, as it has nowhere near enough processing power to even begin speculating. You're on your own until you can get to a comms terminal. The men pass behind you and one of you taps you on the shoulder. His face is blackened with ore dust. "No work. Never work again. That. Stop that." He points at the scrubber you were pretending to fix. You nod. He shakes his head and catches up with his workmates as they round a corner. Apparently you don't stand out here, which should make it easier to find the way. You follow the men, but they seem to be entering a washroom. Across it, there is a peeled off directory on the wall. A printed one. ChatGPT
"Finally, something useful," I mutter, quickly crossing the washroom to examine the directory. I look for any indications of holding cells or equivalent terminology that might hint at the location of the crew. The symbols and words are unfamiliar, so I take out the tricorder and try to use it as a translator. User
Cells being a fairly universal concept, the tricorder identifies a few scribbles with ease. If you understand the diagram correctly, you need to go up two levels and head towards the center of the structure. You double-check the presence of your backpack filled with phasers, snatch a helmet off of a shelf and press it on your head. ChatGPT
Drawing a deep breath through the rebreather, I nod to myself, mentally preparing for the upcoming challenge. "Alright, up two levels, towards the center... I can do this." I look around, searching for a way up. After locating what appears to be a ladder leading upwards, I begin my ascent. User
Two levels up you emerge from what seems to be a service hatch. A technician, dressed in torn clothes, looks somewhat surprised when you emerge. "Hello brother. Are the lifts broken?" he asks in Adari, a language you have some familiarity with. Only now do you see the horn protruding from his forehead. "I am trying to avoid someone," you say, with a knowing smile. He gives you a tired smile back. "What is your sector? I want a clean face all day too," he says. ChatGPT
"I work... the ore processors," I reply, making up a role on the spot that seems plausible, considering the location and dirty condition of most workers. "But I'd rather stay away from my boss today. He's been in a foul mood." I'm trying my best to blend in. "Can you point me to the center of the structure?" I ask, hoping the diversion worked. User
"Yeah, 'the structure'. Let's call it that. Sounds nicer than 'prison of the damned'. What do you want at the center, there's only central holding there. I never go near that place. All that wailing. Gives me the shakes," he mutters. ChatGPT
"Oh, I just... wanted to see a friend," I reply, trying to keep my tone light, while inwardly my heart sinks at his description. "Don't worry about it, I'll find my way. Thanks for the chat." I give him a quick nod before heading in the direction he had indicated earlier, hoping I'm making the right choice. User
He wasn't wrong about the wailing. As you follow the corridors, passing along scruffy workers and a couple of guards with face covering helmets who are leaning against a wall, you can hear a lot of yelling, moaning and above all the sound of defiant Klingon opera louder and louder. The voice sounds familiar, but all singing Klingons generally sound alike. ChatGPT
As I continue toward the source of the noise, I find myself in front of a heavily barred door. I can't help but suppress a smile, recognizing the defiant voice as that of Worf. "Computer," I whisper to my tricorder, "Is there a way to shut down the power to this door?" User
The tricorder scans the control panel and warbles optimistically. It then shows a graphic representation of the door, with an arrow pointing at one location and a low energy setting for a phaser. ChatGPT
Taking a moment to look around and confirm that no one is watching, I set my phaser to the recommended setting and aim at the indicated spot on the door. After taking a deep breath, I fire. User
Something inside the door clunks and it opens just enough for the seal to crack. You jam a fingernail behind it, then a finger and eventually you manage to gain enough purchase to open the door. As it slowly opens, you find yourself at the far end of a long row of cells. At the other end is a desk, with a guard sitting behind a monitor. He is staring at it intently. Perhaps the stun setting might be a good idea. You adjust the phaser and take careful aim, when an arm reached out from one of the dark cells and blocks the shot. "Uhm... he's got three buddies in there. You can't see them from here," whispers Captain Sisko. ChatGPT
"I figured you might be here, Captain," I say, lowering my phaser discreetly. "Any ideas for getting you and the rest out without causing a full-on alert?" User
"That depends. Did you bring any weapons?" ChatGPT
"I brought a backpack full of phasers. There should be enough to arm everyone here," I reply, carefully removing the backpack from my shoulder and showing the Captain. User
"Good man. Worf is next to me, then Major Kira. Let Worf take the lead on this. Worf! Help has arrived.' 'Good. I was getting bored with singing,' grumbled a familiar voice. His hand emerges from between the bars, demanding a phaser. ChatGPT
I hand the phaser to Worf, watching as his large hand swallows the device. I then pass phasers to Captain Sisko and Major Kira. With the three of them armed, the odds seem significantly better. Now, we just have to make sure the element of surprise isn't wasted. User
Fifteen seconds later, three guards sink to the floor. Although the phasers were set to stun, nobody seems particularly worried about their health. "Get their uniforms and lock them up," says Sisko. "We can walk out of here. Once we're at the shuttle docks, we can probably find something that flies." "Captain, there are three uniforms and four of us. And the others are housed on another level," says Worf. ChatGPT
"Right. I can stay behind and create a diversion while you three escape. I'll catch up," I offer. "The priority should be to get you three and as many of the others out as we can. We also need to alert Starfleet about this place. I'm sure they'd love to know about a mining facility that's been kidnapping officers." User
"That's a very daring plan, Ensign, but we leave no man behind. Kyra, you and Worf go and find the others and proceed to that place where they searched us. Anyone in uniform is a valid target. And anyone who wants to come along, can do so. The ensign and I will try to find a comms terminal and alert Starfleet. Ensign, I assume you're not alone here?" ChatGPT
"Admiral Benson is aware of the situation, sir. Backup is half a day out. Before we separated, I was under the control of the Tactical Emergency System," I report, glad to see that the Captain is taking charge of the situation. User
"Oh. I had my reservations about that system. Holographic doctors are one thing, but that went a bit too far for my tastes. Okay, phasers for everyone. Bring enough for the others. Ensign, with me." ChatGPT
"Understood, sir," I reply, distributing the remaining phasers to my colleagues and following Captain Sisko down the corridor. As we navigate through the mining facility, I stay alert for any guards or threats that may be in our way. I can feel a sense of hope and determination building up within me - we might actually make it out of here. User
"HALT!" bellows a voice behind us, immediately followed by a reddish phaser burst. The Captain turns on his heels, pushes you out of the way and fires. A guard falls to the floor. The phaser fire was detected by the security system. A klaxon starts blaring and the ceiling lights turn red. A voice starts giving unintelligible instructions over the tannoy. "We need to find a comms panel, Ensign. Any ideas?" asks Sisko, scanning the corridor for more guards. A frightened looking maintenance worker comes to see what's going on, but ducks out of the way as soon as he sees the pair of you. ChatGPT
"I remember seeing a room with a lot of terminals when I was making my way through the facility earlier, sir," I reply, my mind racing. "If memory serves, it's two corridors over, near the scrubber exhausts." I keep my phaser ready and move towards the direction of the room, all the while keeping an eye out for more guards. User
"That's the wrong way, Ensign. I imagine they have more than one place with comms terminals. You cover the rear. Follow me. Put your hand on my shoulder so you can look behind you all the time. If it wears a uniform, it's fair game." ChatGPT
"Yes, sir," I reply, placing my hand on the Captain's shoulder. I pivot and start to walk backwards, keeping my eyes and phaser focused on the path we've just traveled. The constant blaring of the klaxon mixes with the distant shouting and running steps of approaching guards. Despite the adrenaline rush, I manage to keep my aim steady and my breathing calm. The training exercises at the academy never truly prepare you for the real thing, but they do help in maintaining focus. User
You down three guards and accidentally scare the bejeezus out of a woman pushing a cleaning cart, but eventually Sisko stops. "Got it. Stand back while I blast this door." A few seconds later the corridor fills with acrid smoke from a melting door panel. Behind it is a room with several desks. ChatGPT
Entering the room cautiously, I scan the area with my phaser ready. Seeing no immediate threats, I turn my attention to the various panels and screens scattered throughout the space. The room is filled with a myriad of communication equipment - probably a central control hub for managing mining operations, worker communications, and security measures.
"Captain, I think this is it," I say, gesturing to a terminal that seems to be linked to an extensive communications network. "I should be able to send out a distress signal from here." I start to work on the terminal, trying to hack into the system and figure out how to send a message to Starfleet. User
"Try reaching the Defiant," suggest Sisko from the doorway. "OH NO YOU DON'T!" Another guard bites the dust somewhere. "Captain! WE ARE BEHIND HIM!" bellows Worf." "GOOD! Move along, we'll be there shortly. Ensign, how are you getting on?" ChatGPT
"I've managed to break through the initial security layers, Captain," I respond, my fingers moving rapidly over the terminal's interface. "It seems this system has been rigged to only accept authorized codes for communication."
Suddenly, a stroke of inspiration hits me. "Captain, when we first boarded the Defiant, I had to program my authorization codes into the ship's communication systems. If I can find a way to mimic those codes from this terminal... I might be able to trick the Defiant's systems into accepting the distress signal."
I double down on the task, focusing all my attention on reconstructing my authorization codes. As I do so, I keep an eye on the room's entryway, ready to react in case more guards show up. User
The terminal beeps and lights up. You don't understand any of the dials, but with any luck your tricorder can interface with it. Time to hail the Defiant. ChatGPT
"Defiant, this is Ensign," I say, praying the connection holds. "Requesting immediate assistance. The Captain and the crew are here, but we are currently under attack. Coordinates being transmitted now."
A static-filled silence follows. I glance at Sisko, an unspoken question in my gaze. Did it work? Did our message get through? User
"Ensign, this is the Defiant. I can't beam you out of there. Get to the shuttle dock, so that all that ore doesn't block the transporter lock. The USS Rotterdam is thirty minutes out." ChatGPT
"Understood, Defiant. We'll make our way to the shuttle dock. Be ready for us," I reply, exhaling a sigh of relief. I turn to Sisko, updating him with the situation. "Captain, we have to move. The Rotterdam is on its way but we need to get to the shuttle dock for transport." User
Worf's voice comes in through the Captain's commbadge, as it somehow manages to create a local connection. "Worf to Sisko. We have secured the shuttle dock. Mr. O'Brien is injured. Where are you?" ChatGPT
I quickly respond, "This is Ensign [Your Name]. Captain Sisko and I are en route to your position. We'll be there shortly. Hang in there, Chief." With that, I turn to Sisko and suggest, "We should move, Captain." User
"Ensign Markov and I are just behind you, Mr. Worf. Try not to pick us off as we approach. Oh and the Defiant is operating with that emergency command protocol, so it's ready to beam you up. Have Major Kira and the Chief go ahead, if possible. But hold the fort for us." "Understood, Captain. Worf out."
Five minutes and more shooting than is good for a man's digestion you reach the shuttle dock. You literally have to step over a pile of dead guards to get through the door. "Had fun, Mr. Worf? Does your phaser not come with a stun setting?" asks Sisko. "I recognized the men who took us, Sir. My finger must have slipped on the settings dial," growls Worf, looking you over to assess if you're likely to snitch. "It happens," said Sisko matter-of-factly. "Ensign, get us home." ChatGPT
Without any hesitation, I raise my commbadge and say, "Ensign Markov to Defiant. Four to beam up." User
(Okay, take it home. You're all aboard, O'Brien will live, you get a speech and a medal. Write out those events from Markov's perspective and finish off. I'll add something if you pause.) ChatGPT
As the familiar hum and sparkling light of the transporter envelops us, I take one last look at the chaotic scene we're leaving behind. My heart pounds in my chest, not from fear, but from the exhilaration of having faced danger and come out the other side. It's a rush I wasn't expecting.
When we rematerialize aboard the Defiant, a group of medics is waiting for us. They immediately rush to Chief O'Brien, but his smile and light-hearted joke assure me he'll be alright. As I step off the transporter pad, I let out a sigh of relief.
Later, back in my uniform and at a ceremony in the Defiant's Mess Hall, Captain Sisko delivers a speech. He talks about bravery, about loyalty, about the strength of Starfleet and the spirit of those who serve. He doesn't dwell on the danger we faced, but rather the courage it took to face it.
When he calls me up, handing me a medal for bravery under fire, I can't help but feel a swell of pride. The applauding faces of my crewmates, the recognition in their eyes... it's a moment I will never forget. This is why I joined Starfleet, for moments like this. To be part of something greater, to face adversity and stand tall.
"Ensign Markov," Sisko says, offering a handshake along with the medal, "Your courage and quick thinking played a crucial role in our escape. Starfleet is proud to have you among its ranks."
As I return to my quarters that night, medal in hand, I find myself smiling. Yes, today was difficult, even frightening at times. But it was also invigorating, and more than that, it was important. It's a reminder of why I'm here, of why we're all here. To explore, to protect, to boldly go...
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
submitted by SnodePlannen
to ChatGPT [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 22:27 Schruef Abandoned 1997(?) Triumph Sprint, story in the comments.
I moved into my apartments in the middle of last year. This bike was sitting in the exact spot it's sitting now, completely immobile. In November, someone put a tow sticker on it. But despite the tow date coming and going, nobody took the bike.
Since then, I've been curious about it. Usually I'm wary about approaching other people's bikes, but it's obviously been abandoned. So, I took a look, and here's what I found.
1: The bike has been stationary for so long that the kickstand left a hole in the pavement.
2: The bike was apparently last registered in 1994.
3: The right indicator light is gone. The rear indicator lights are hanging off by their wiring.
4: The chain is just gone. It has rusted to the point of total immobility.
5: The bike clearly took a bad fall on it's right side. The fairing near the front right side is cracked
6: Most likely during the fall, the crank shaft must have either cracked or broke otherwise, judging from the duct tape attached to it.
7: Just about every metal surface of the bike not painted has begun to rust.
8: The bike's registration appears to be in a state bordering mine, from 1994. This is odd, because when I looked up the vin, the result returned for a 1997 Triumph, not a 1994 Triumph. So were the plates changed, or is the bike older than the DoT thinks?
9: The bike has 106,783.5 miles on the clock. The last trip was 4,538 miles.
If I has to guess what happened, I'd say a long time ago, someone dropped the bike bad. It wouldn't start after the fall, because of the crank shaft if I had to guess, and was probably towed back to this spot where the owner then lived. After this, the owner probably looked at the odometer, looked at the bike, imagined the cost of getting it repaired, and wrote it off as a loss. Instead of paying to get it towed somewhere and sold/scrapped, they simply left it here to rot. Moving out, expecting nobody to follow up. So far, they appear to have been right, and nobody has.
The only mystery to me are the markings on the right mirror. They seem to be something you'd see in a scrap yard, but the bike is in an apartment complex parking lot instead. Perhaps the bike was brought to the scrap yard, and the owner took it back here. If so, why would they do that, only to abandon it here?
The bike now sits abandoned, clearly unable to start, keys lost to time. I can only imagine the issues that plague her now, mechanical and electrical. I can't imagine she'd be worth a whole lot even if she ran just fine, given her mileage and lineage. I feel bad for her, maybe because I have a soft spot for Triumphs, or maybe because it's simply a tragedy for such an oldie like this to be growing cobwebs instead of memories.
Sometimes I wonder about filing paperwork and trying to claim the bike, as clearly the owner doesn't want her, but the imagined cost of towing, repairing, and maintaining a bike that hasn't physically moved in decades sends shivers down my spine.
TL;DR Hey look at this bum ass bike someone left in my lot thirty years ago lmao
submitted by Schruef
to motorcycles [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 22:25 InkDiamond [PI] It’s the end of the universe. To celebrate, you just want to chill with your best friend. After all, he’s the only other remaining person in the whole world. But to your surprise, he reveals that you’re not the only one invited to his party…
Marc gave it another go. He tipped his hand forward. The silver patty rolled off him, dropping toward the cave floor.
It stopped short of hitting the path. The shiny disc halted in the air, dangling at the end of a thin white line.
He watched the small wheel spin. It might have been the most fun he’d had all year. Even more fun than that mud puddle he’d found the other day. How does it keep going?
Marc thought to himself. And without any power??
Marc assumed the disc was some sort of technological marvel from the past. But the Archives had little information on it, only a name. It was called a “yo-yo.” They all must have had one of these,
As Marc walked down the stone ramp, he cast the yo-yo again. The toy’s quiet spin was the only sound in the cavern. The soft hiss of string versus metal reverberated gently in the spacious cave.
Marc focused all his attention on the little gadget. He was determined to enjoy every last minute of the universe, no matter what. And that evening, the yo-yo more than accomplished that goal.
The shimmering yo-yo, however, couldn’t prevent the world around him from crumbling. The ground started to rumble. The rest of the cave shook with it. The underground city shook as the plasma storm above battered it—and the rest of the planet.
Marc’s home broke down. Cracks appeared in the ceiling. Waterfalls of dust poured out of them. It wouldn't be long before the whole thing collapsed. That is, if the plasma storm didn’t swallow it whole first. Whatever.
A few clumps of dirt wouldn’t ruin Marc’s fun. He pulled the hood of his shawl over his head and extended his ragged sleeves toward each hand. His clothes shielded him from the falling dust; the gritty particles made themselves at home on his messy shawl. And Marc was free to perfect his newest trick.
The rumbling died down though as Marc descended the ramp. The yo-yo string didn’t wobble so much, and he didn't have to watch his steps as carefully. He just hoped the quaking wouldn’t come back to ruin his event.
Speaking of which, Marc glanced ahead toward his destination below. What he saw rocked him even harder than the earthquake had. What in the sinkpits…?
Marc stopped in his tracks. He even started to reach for his knife. All because he’d detected a speck of something suspicious. Something he didn't see much of every day: color.
Showy landmarks weren’t something endemic to his home. The Outpost was more of a dusty gray-and-brown sort of place. The walls were sandstone. The floor was sandstone. And the ceiling? …Granite?
No, sandstone. All under the faint glow of a string of depressed lightbulbs.
The intriguing blip in the gray-and-tan collage was farther up the path. Ahead of the ramp, on Level 8, Marc saw the same three steel doors he was used to seeing. The front doors of underground homes, lined up in a row, each closed into the cave wall.
However, there was something different
about the third door. It looked… alive. Like it didn’t belong in a dreary place like the Outpost. But it was too far away to tell what exactly had been done to it.
Marc squinted at it suspiciously. The third door happened to be his destination. And now it was weird.
He considered waiting and observing the mutated door. A child of the Outpost, Marc had developed a healthy fear of the unusual.
These habits, along with his instincts, kept him safe. They’d specifically preserved him
while the rest of humanity perished.
But he shrugged off the instinct to wait. Something new and “different” was ahead, and he wanted to see it.
But just as a precaution, it was time for his yo-yo’s last trick. He got in one final throw then placed the toy into his satchel. He dropped it on top of his arsenal of cables, wrenches, and screwdrivers.
And by the time he’d snapped the satchel shut, the long ramp had bottomed out. He’d made it to the next level.
To his left, the wall had been spray-painted. Scrawled-out black letters stood against the sandy background. They stated, “Now Level 8.
Marc followed the sign. He stayed close to the wall, crossing to the stone pedestrian path. He passed one untouched steel door with a dusted-over mail slot in the wall beside it. Then he passed a second home—abandoned like the first. And finally, he arrived at his friend’s place and the mysterious blip on Level 8.
To his surprise, the steel door elicited a flush of emotion. His heart floated upward. And the portrait before him drew his focus in like an otherworldly beacon. How did it get so…?
Marc pulled back his hood. The ground popped with the sandy grains he released.
He could hardly believe the difference. The door used to blend in with the others: another ridged steel face that spent most of its time rusting or collecting dirt.
But it was no longer muffled by the dust and dirt that had built up over the years.
Today, it sung. Paint streaks flew across its visage. They swirled and spiraled, forming stars and other shapes. Where previously gray and rust dominated, colors sprang forth—colors that Marc didn't even have the names for. They were many, and they were warm,
like the evening sky just after sunset. Marc could hardly wrap his head around the entire image.
He swelled with gratitude. Only
you could have pulled this off.
He thought of his friend, the painter. The one person in the colony who’d ever been any fun. The one other person in the colony who was left…
The artist had done the unthinkable. Foraging the garden below for something other
than food. Spending work time measuring and concocting the perfect blends of paint. And then slathering their fingers across the giant door, until its old face was but a memory. And all that effort for only a single other person
Newly inspired, Marc searched for an unpainted space on the metal canvas. He found one and knocked on the door.
He took a step back and waited. The outside of the Outpost was lively. Excited wind rushed through the canyon.
By contrast, the Outpost itself was silent. If there was anyone left to say anything, they may have even called it “dead.”
Or nearly dead, anyway. The last morsel of it came to life as the door in front of Marc groaned.
It floated off the ground, inching upward. On the other side, Marc could hear a hand crank clicking away. Ktch… ktch… ktch… ktch…
The corrugated door lifted, and the door rolled up. The tip of the artist’s painting started to slip from view. Ktch… ktch… ktch… ktch…
Behind the door, chains reeled at a slow clip. The heavy curtain was halfway up. Marc could now see his best friend's lower half. Buff Lenorkian legs pumped back and forth with each crank.
The door unveiled even more of the owner. A torso in a metal suit appeared. Four ripped arms stretched out of it. They rotated, moving to the clicking beats of the door. Ktch… ktch… ktch… ktch…
The door raised a few inches further, uncovering the bottom half of a cobalt blue face. Two rows of razor-sharp teeth smiled from ear to ear. A few inches more, and Marc could see the whole of the Lenorkian’s face.
Sid greeted Marc as the last of the door raised.
” he said.
Marc didn’t get a chance to respond. His body lurched forward involuntarily. He slammed into Sid’s metal suit. Crrrrrick!
The armor squealed as Sid’s upper two arms squeezed him tighter. The lower set of arms had reeled Marc in.
hugs. Stupid mushy emotional wraparounds. But just this one final time, Marc returned the gesture. He squeezed Sid back.
“Happy Worlds’ End!” Sid said from the other side of the embrace.
“Yeah,” Marc replied, “Happy Worlds’ End.”
The two separated.
“Cool painting, by the way,” Marc said. He pointed at the rolled-up door. “I didn’t think you’d top the one in the garden.”
“You think so?” Sid sheepishly smiled. “Well I’ve had more time to practice since… you know.”
“Yeah, I get it,” Marc said. “Me too. That’s how I actually got you
Marc swung his heavy satchel around. He rifled through it, squeezing through cables, knocking handles and parts out of the way. And then—ah.
He fished out a crumpled rag. Holding it in one hand, he began to gently unfold it.
“I found this a few days ago in the garden,” he said. The edges of the cloth fell. They revealed a small, glass object. It sparkled.
Marc continued, “I think it fits your style—I mean, I know it’s a little smudged and chipped but...”
He swirled the crystal trinket around. The cavern’s incandescent light flittered across its clear edges.
He touched it too, tracing the slender portion of it with his thumb. It was the neck of the crystal swan.
“It’s yours,” Marc said, offering up the bird.
Sid cupped two shovel-sized hands and accepted the gift.
“It’s beautiful…” he said, examining it. “I can’t believe anything like this could have survived this long.” He looked up at Marc and smiled, “Thank you so much. I just wish I had a little longer to could enjoy it.”
They chuckled lightly about their impending obliteration.
“Well, come on in,” Sid said. He extended both of his left arms. They gestured toward the cave interior. “We’ll finish off this universe how it started,” he said. He mashed his upper two fists together. “With a bang!”
“I hear that!” Marc nodded. He crossed over into Sid’s house.
As Marc passed Sid, a wave of discomfort hit him. Sid had switched out his usual t-shirt and jeans. He wore old armor instead. And the metal plating taunted Marc.
Marc’s next question came out more accusatory than curious.
“So… a Lenorkian throwback, huh?” he asked Sid.
Sid had just finished finding the perfect home for his swan. He left it on a shelf next to the front door.
He turned to face Marc. He hid his embarrassment behind a jagged smile.
“Oh!” he said. “Uhhh…” Three of Sid’s arms disappeared behind his back. The cone-shaped cuffs at the end of each wrist clanked against the back of his chest armor. The fourth arm nervously scratched his blue head. “I don’t know,” he said. “It's stupid, I guess. I can take it off… if you want.”
Marc didn’t want to address the topic head-on. He stopped in the cave’s entry. He pretended to admire the walls—as if he’d never seen sandstone before.
“No, leave it on,” he said. “You look… like a true Lenorkian.” He turn around and forced a smile.
It wasn’t enough.
“Okay, let’s get this out of the way,” Sid said. He marched up to Marc.
Sid took a deep breath before he spoke.
“Tonight's really important to me,” he continued. “This is the last impression anyone’s
going to make on the universe. So I need you on board.” He continued staring down at Marc. “Can you do that? For me?”
Marc didn’t see what the big deal was. It was just a couple of best friends hanging out.
“Yeah, why not?” he shrugged. “End it the way it started.”
The exchange turned into awkward silence. Neither knew what to do next. They had never been in a situation like this before—never attended such an event. What the Archives called: a par-ty.
Sid shook off the figurative mask he’d been wearing—one that was uncharacteristically dour. His eyes lightened, and he bobbed his head knowingly.
“I went through the Archives to see how this works,” he said. He walked toward the long horizontal counter against the wall—the kitchen.
On the counter, chaos ran wild. Bowls and kitchenware spread across the surface. And the insides of his pots and pans resembled the dirty mouth of a garbage chute.
Marc wasn’t sure what to think. Was cleaning the host’s kitchen a staple of ancient parties?
Sid too seemed a bit confused. His next words came out robotically, as if he was practicing a new word he’d learned.
’” Sid asked. He stood nervously in front of the counter.
Looking closer at it, three unusual objects stood apart from the kitchenware mess. It took Marc a while to remember what their outdated, bendy material was called. Plastic
. Three pink
cups sat equidistant from one another.
“I got these from here,” Sid reached under the counter and pulled up some sort of transparent bag. Pink cups just liked the others were stacked on top of each other inside.
Sid packed the bag back under the counter.
“So?” he asked after he finished. He held all four hands together in anticipation. His smile may have looked like an industrial-grade rock shredder, but it was hard to resist his innocent blue face and big wide eyes.
Marc eyed the pink cups one last time.
“This better not kill me,” he said.
Sid wasted no time. He excitedly grabbed a cup and walked over to a large pot sitting on the counter.
Using a nearby ladle, he plunged into the vat. An unappetizing sloshing sound resulted. And Sid, as strong as he was, seemed to struggle with scooping out some of the mystery liquid. But in the end, he pulled back the ladle and unloaded an opaque, muddy liquid into the cup.
“It's a homeworld classic called fludge,” Sid said as he finished pouring.
He treaded over to his reluctant friend and handed off the plastic cup.
“Did you say ‘fludge’?” Marc asked. He swished the cup around cautiously. The earthy liquid hardly budged.
“Yeah, fludge! Us Lenorkians invented it. It’s kind of the only tasty thing we ever bothered to make.”
Marc sniffed it. It smelled… burnt? Maybe a little dusty, too? But he could have just been smelling the cave.
Sid left Marc alone with Marc’s questionable new assignment. He returned to the pot to pour himself a drink.
“Just try it!” he said.
Marc looked down again at the dark soup. It could kill him. Or maybe it wouldn't.
Either way, it was his last drink.
He took a timid sip and waited to be repulsed. The fludge trickled to the back of his tongue. As it hit, Marc’s eyes widened. But not with regret.
“Now wait a minute…” he said. He smacked his lips together. Then he took another, larger sip.
This curious dark liquid had a unique taste to it. The taste was earthen—but unoffending. It also had a subtle undercurrent of sweetness to it, combined with a spicy kick. It was delicious.
“This might be the best drink in the entire Outpost!” Marc exclaimed.
Pure joy bloomed on Sid’s face. “See! I told you: the greatest thing we ever made.”
He held his own cup above his open jaws. The falling fludge was no match for the alien. He guzzled it down, licked his lips, and then went back for more.
As Sid fashioned himself another drink, Marc noticed something a tad
unsettling. A third pink cup stared back at him. It prompted an uncomfortable thought, but he shoved the thought back down.
The Lenorkian carried back his second drink. Though this time, he took it in small, human-sized sips.
But he quickly reanimated. In the middle of a sip, Sid got a wild look in his eyes. His irises turned from their natural violet to scarlet. He yanked the cup from his face and swallowed.
“Argh, how did I forget?” he said. “I got music!”
Marc cut his sip short too. “No way. You got music?
“I think so!”
Sid did an about face. He slammed the half-empty cup on the counter. Then he shuffled toward a giant metal column protruding from the far wall. Four ink-blue hands wrapped around the cover of the vent. And he went for it.
Sid struggled to pull off the cover of the vent at first. His armor ballooned around his biceps as his muscles bulged outward. Yet the cover wouldn't budge.
But it seemed like an important part of his evening plans. He scolded the stubborn vent, banging on its top.
“Oh, you’re gonna get it now!” he said. He latched onto the vent again.
This time, he put even more effort in. To the point where Marc sensed that Sid was losing a grip on his own body. Out of his forehead, two thumb-sized cones began to rise. His breathing turned low and raspy. And his whole body seemed to expand as he repositioned himself for leverage. Then with one final pull, like a wild beast, he let out of a deep, guttural roar.
” The roar echoed off the cave walls.
And with that, the stubborn vent cover finally popped off. A breath of wind pulsed through the room as the air pressure equalized itself.
But the wind wasn’t finished. After the initial pulse exited, a mighty gust picked up where the original pulse left off. The vent shot more wind into the room, but rapidly, like a storm. Tiny coarse particles rattled inside the duct. And in the room, a rush of wind whipped past Marc’s face. He felt little nips across his exposed skin as it passed him.
Both partiers shielded their faces from the most direct blasts of air. Sid smiled nervously as he looked to Marc. He raised his voice over the whining airstream.
“It’s from the sandplains above!” he said in an elevated voice. “I thought we’d use the sandstorm for music! Do you like it?”
Music… Marc wasn’t exactly an expert. Even though humans were said to be naturals at it, not much on the subject had made it into the Archives. The Outpost didn’t have much of it either. The closest he got was the occasional chant, stray birds twittering about, or maybe someone banging on rocks.
But Marc did know one thing on the subject. Where there was music, there was dancing.
That said, he had never danced before either. But a long time ago, his parents told him it was something all
humans could do. It was something they carried in their blood. Once humans found a pattern in music, they could match it to their body language. And once they’d synced melody and movement, they could ride that wave to a whole new experience. Might as well give it a shot,
he thought. Marc too put his cup on the counter.
With his hands free, Marc backed up toward the middle of the room. He closed his eyes, felt the wind. It filled his ears with its gusty energy. It hit him in pumps as the storm raged above.
Though not totally predictable, the wind did hit him consistently. There was some sort of kinetic pattern
Yes, a pattern
Well actually, he’d heard it called by another name. What was that word his mother had used? He opened his eyes when he remembered: rhythm.
Marc stretched out his arms. He relaxed his hips. He felt the wind’s whips and waves across his arms. He let his arms follow them, swaying with the current. Not long after, his hips joined in. They too gyrated, trying to match the energetic gusts. He kept at it. And the first time Marc felt both himself and the wind moving together, he grinned.
“This is amazing!” he said. Around them, the wind crooned.
Sid was entranced. He nodded back while staring at Marc’s strange movements. He’d never really seen dancing either. But he figured he would give it a shot too. He loosened up his arms and walked onto the dance floor with Marc.
Before dancing himself, he studied Marc first. He watched how the scavenger moved his arms—and when
the scavenger moved his arms.
Sid’s limbs followed. Four muscular arms rose in the air, like fighter jets on their way to a dogfight. And on a one or two second delay, they swayed after Marc’s.
For a while, they followed Marc completely. Then Sid went down his own path. The Lenorkian’s movements grew aggressive and battle-like. He punched at the wind swiping across him. He shuffled his feet as if swapping battle stances.
He caught Marc’s curiosity. Even as a novice, Marc could tell Sid’s movements weren’t traditional by any means. But to Marc, it was dancing all the same.
The two danced to the chorus of the air above. They laughed occasionally as changes in the rhythm of the wind tripped them up. In his head, Marc compared it to the painting on Sid’s door. The colony had never seen anything like this
Then something interrupted their dancing. The ground beneath them shook, throwing them off their feet. Heavy gray dirt trickled from the ceiling as the entire cave rumbled. And outside, the distant sky flashed and crackled. Its light illuminated the cave in violent spurts as the boys struggled to stand back up.
Eventually, the violent quaking and frightening flashes died down. The plasma storm held its breath once again.
The boys got back on their feet, but all the joy had seeped out of Sid’s face. He just stared at the floor in deep contemplation. Even as the windy music started back up.
Marc figured he would rescue his friend from whatever dark thoughts had turned up. Naturally, the end of the universe was a real bummer.
“End of the world got you down, huh?” He tried to laugh it off. The whole situation was pretty sad. Especially when they were having so much fun. But it was best to end the universe on a high note, right?
Nevertheless, Sid seemed dejected. He mumbled something inaudible.
“Dude, I can’t hear over the song!” Marc said in an elevated voice.
Sid spoke up over the wind. “That’s not what I’m upset about,” he said, his voice still fairly low.
“Then what are you upset about?”
Sid blurted out his response. “Because I invited Tōn-E, okay?
He couldn’t bring himself to look Marc in the eye. Because he knew what was coming.
“YOU DID WHAT?!
” Marc shouted over the music. Marc himself stomped over to the vent. He picked the cover off the floor—though he struggled quite a bit with it. It was heavier than Sid made it look. But he hoisted it back into the mouth of the vent. The music shut off. The steady drop of sand on the cave floor ceased.
“Say that again,” he leveled in Sid’s direction.
“What was I supposed to do?
” Sid remade eye contact. “Not invite the only other intelligent being
to the last party the universe will ever have?
Marc needed no time to answer. He nodded insistently. “Yes. That was exactly
what you were supposed to do. What the hell, Sid?” Marc would have continued, but there was another disturbance outside. He caught a glimpse of movement in the doorway.
Thanks for reading some of my words :) I’m trying stuff out, so let me know what you think.
The rest of the story is here
Based on a prompt
submitted by InkDiamond
to WritingPrompts [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 22:20 InkDiamond (cont.) It’s the end of the universe. To celebrate, you just want to chill with your best friend. After all, he’s the only other remaining person in the whole world. But to your surprise, he reveals that you’re not the only one invited to his party…
Here's the first half of the story
The two teens both looked toward the front of the room. There was a gray sphere. Hovering in the doorway.
But if you asked Marc, it was an annoying
gray sphere. And it hovered in the doorway like an absolute rustnut
Marc wasn’t sure where on the sphere to level his disdain. The whole dumb surface was the same all over. It was a series of interconnected, translucent hexagons. Stupid yellow lights blinked sporadically across its many faces—for no apparent rhyme or reason—perhaps just to further annoy Marc.
An electronic voice called out from the sphere. “Did I hear muuuuuusic?” he asked. “Before that last plasma burst?”
Marc shot Sid a glare that could kill. But the big blue alien didn’t back down.
Remember?” he told Marc before going toward Tōn-E with a brimming, sharp-toothed smile and arms extended. “Tōn-E! Glad you could make it! Come on in.”
On the inside, Marc cringed. He mostly tried to forget that Tōn-E walked (hovered?) the same Levels as them. Tōn-E represented the most self-destructive habits of the Outpost. The only features of the city indifferent to survival.
But Tōn-E was all too real. He entered the room like a ghost in a nightmare.
“I am also happy to be here,” he said. The faces of his sphere randomly lit up as he spoke. “I otherwise had no plans for tonight. Because the planet is set to explode.”
“Yes, I’ve heard,” Sid joked.
“I approximate it will only take a few more—hold on. What is this??”
Tōn-E spun slowly in the air. The side previously facing Sid rotated toward the ceiling. When it reached the top, a spotlight shot toward the ceiling—right where Sid’s door had slotted in.
The spotlight stretched horizontally across the door until it resembled a straight line. This line swept back and forth across the raised door. It moved as if he was cleaning it.
“I don’t believe it!” Tōn-E said. “What an exquisite painting. A remarkable addition to your growing and ever-expanding portfolio, Sid.”
Tōn-E finished his scan of the painting. His expanding spotlight shut off. And he re-centered himself to face Sid.
“Aww, shanks,” Sid said. Each of his right arms latched onto the bends of the left ones. “You really think so?”
“Of course! There are colors here I’ve only seen named in the logs. You have tastefully incorporated /#FF00FF: a color our ancestors previously referred to as ‘magenta.’”
“Yes! That’s right! I was going for ‘magenta!’ You really think I did it?”
Marc looked down to hide his face. He rolled his eyes. Magenta.
He would have loved to tell Sid how much he liked it too. But Marc had spent his years surviving
, not studying colors in old, useless historical archives.
Sid and Tōn-E continued their snooty, pretentious discussion.
“I made it mixing legblee blood and just a liiiiiiittle bit of groundwater,” Sid said.
“That was a very clever! Allow me to save your painting to my internal memory.”
“Really??” Sid’s cheeks greened a little.
“Yes, I will review at a later time when I am both unable to view the original but would still like to once again be inspired by your clever and skillful hands.”
“Tōn-E, I—I don’t know what to say. Thank you.”
Marc simmered in his anger. Stupid Tōn-E.
Always ruining things. Making them about him and his dumb, endless archives.
“I am perhaps only more impressed by your chosen ensemble! Do my eyes perceive veritable Lenorkian armor?”
The talkative orb whooshed toward Sid. It began revolving around him like an annoyingly-attached moon. As his exo-orb hummed excitedly, Tōn-E rattled off his useless knowledge of antiquated armor.
“Snorp-resistant spiked shoulder caps?!” He spun around Sid’s midsection. “Triple-layered chest plates?!” He dropped closer to the floor. “Anti-gravity shin guards made from the rare lenorkium alloy?!”
Tōn-E giggled as he orbited Sid. His laugh disturbed Marc. It sounded like a space rat being strangled in the bowels of an undersea air vent.
Sid could hardly keep up with Tōn-E’s flying. But he looked happy with the attention. “Yeah! I’m told this suit was built for the Frost Ring wars,” he said. “It never got used.”
Marc continued to not engage. He slunk deeper into his shawl, folded his arms, and sighed.
“I don’t believe it!”
He backed off from Sid, flying back toward the doorway. He turned on his spotlight once again. It now stretched over Sid’s body. “Saving! Saving!”
Sid wasted no time posing for the occasion. He flexed all four arms and gritted his snaggling teeth. His irises turned a deep red and his two small horns protruded from his forehead. Tōn-E was overjoyed. “I did not think I would ever have the chance to record your agitated state,” he said. I’ll show
you an agitated state,
Marc thought to himself.
“I’ve got a relic you’re going to love,” Tōn-E said. His tiny sphere filled the cave with noise. But it wasn’t Tōn-E’s usual metallic voice. The sound came from another species entirely.
His orb played an intense, ear-shuddering roar. The recording may have been slightly fuzzy, but Marc knew the source. It was unmistakably Lenorkian.
And like the gears in a drill, something appeared to “click” inside Sid. His eyes widened. His armored chest expanded. And he joined in. But Sid’s roar was… authentic.
“HRRRRRRRRRGAAAAAAAAHHHHH” he blasted out of mouth. Marc’s entire rib cage vibrated uncomfortably.
It spooked Marc. Igniting some primal desire to escape a dangerous predator. That was a feeling he never felt around Sid. He didn’t like it.
Sid himself even looked embarrassed for a second. Something he’d kept suppressed had slipped out. But Tōn-E turned up the volume on his recording. And with a cautious smile of someone nervously breaking a rule, Sid matched it. And then some. The two bellowed together. It was enough to make Marc queasy, although it was unclear whether it was due to the vibrations or Sid bonding so much with Tōn-E.
The roaring continued. Their talking continued. Tōn-E went on about Sid’s armor some more and his people’s valor and the hardship his ancestors must have faced.
“Usually I keep this stuff stashed away,” Sid said to Tōn-E in his soft normal voice. His horns had retracted, and his eyes had returned to normal. “These are shameful pieces of our history. Truly. And with a people I never really fit in with. But tonight, it just felt right to wear it, you know?”
“I understand completely,” Tōn-E said. “It is in these end times that we gravitate toward those traditions that were so much of what made us feel alive in the first place.”
The statement made Marc want to hurl. He didn’t want to entertain such stupid notions. But the gremlin rotated to him next.
“Hello Marc! Did you find any good junk today? Any new additions to your scrap pile?”
Marc seethed. “I didn't scavenge today, Tōn-E
. There wouldn't be any use. It's the end of the universe.”
“That surprises me. Humans love their junk and doodads.”
“Yeah well, we don’t have to cling to the past, do we? Not like that ever saved anyone.” He hugged his wrapped arms even tighter, tilting his body away from Sid and Tōn-E. His cold shoulder ended the conversation.
Sid picked it back up. “So Tōn-E, do you, uh… drink?”
As it turned out, he did. Tōn-E accepted a cup of fludge. He held it with a robotic arm—one that had suddenly extended from his exo-orb. Tōn-E’s orb whirred as the center of his “face” sprouted a grotesque, needle-like proboscis. It poked outward like a long nose.
This straw extended into the cup he held. Tōn-E sipped the fludge like an insect sipping nectar (whatever those two things were; the Archives were spotty).
Sid waited with anticipation. Then Tōn-E’s sphere shuddered. The fludge must have reached the insufferable little creature on the inside. “Scrumptious!” he said.
Marc sighed quietly to himself. For some reason, he thought the night would have made a turn for the better if Tōn-E had hated it.
“Two for two!” Sid pumped three victorious fists into the air. He grinned as Tōn-E’s straw dipped into the cup once more. The straw made a little slurping sound.
“My taste buds are tingling!” Tōn-E said.
But the big cup was too much for him to finish. He returned the mostly-full drink to Sid. And his robotic straw receded to his exo-orb. Sid of course finished the cup, slurping up the remaining pool of fludge.
“So…” Sid said. He wiped his mouth. “Should I put some tunes back on?” He pointed over his shoulder to the idle vent. Then he looked across his two guests for an answer.
Marc shrugged. He didn’t care about anything anymore. Next to Marc, Tōn-E bobbed excitedly.
“Oh, yes!” he said. “One reads about concepts such as scales and measures, but it is entirely different to actually experience them with one’s own body!” What body?
Marc thought to himself. And what were the other things Tōn-E had mentioned? Something about… measuring… dragons?
He studied the cave floor while Sid skipped to the vent.
“That’s what I’m talking about!” Sid said. “Get those Level 7 legs ready!” He tugged at the creaking cover once more.
It came off easier this time. With a pop!
the storm above returned to the cave. Its natural melody filled the room.
“Woooooooo!” Sid raised his hands again and walked back toward the other two.
Tōn-E mimicked him with two twig arms.
But the music didn’t have the same magic as before. The beats were stale. And Marc found himself unable to ignore the sting of the sand pelting his face. He lifted his shawl over his mouth. His voice was barely audible.
“I’m sitting this song out,” he said.
The other two didn't seem to hear him. They were facing each other, waving their arms sporadically against the air current.
Marc didn’t care. He grabbed his unfinished drink from the kitchen. Then he searched for a place to sit.
He found a couch, just in front of the dancing aliens. As he took his seat, his bottom started to sink into the sofa. The tarp covering the couch crinkled.
He tried guessing the material underneath it. Clay, maybe? He pondered the question while watching Sid and Tōn-E figure out dancing without him.
“This is how Marc was doing it before!” Sid said to Tōn-E. His four arms fanned across the breeze.
But he got everything wrong. His arms whipped around
the wind, not with it. And he was thinking too much
about his next move, as evidenced by his scrunched brows. But the greatest offense of all was his midsection: his hips and legs stayed in place—as if someone had threatened them.
A part of Marc wanted to get up and show him how it was done. But another part wanted to see Sid fail. Realize the effort was futile. Give up on bonding with Tōn-E. And kick the Sphere of Useless Facts out of his house.
“Am I doing it right, Marc?” Sid asked while each of his arms flew in a different direction.
“You look great!” Marc replied. He took a long sip of fludge.
Tōn-E, on the other hand, did his best to replicate Sid. He waved his skinny arms erratically. It almost made Marc laugh; Tōn-E looked like he’d been set on fire.
But in all, the whole thing was awful. A bad impression giving birth to an even worse impression.
And they didn’t seem to be enjoying it much either. Despite Marc’s glowing endorsement, Sid and Tōn-E danced themselves to the brink.
Sid kept losing his balance. He tried to keep up with the music but flung himself too hard in any one direction. And every time he made a misstep, he’d let loose an acidic snarl. Tōn-E grew frustrated as well. Every few seconds, he simply froze. His exterior lights would blink red in error. As Marc had hoped, the two “painting pals” quickly ran out of steam.
The dancing halted altogether. A tired Sid returned to the vent and hoisted the grate back onto the vent’s mouth. The music stopped.
“I’ll just turn it down for a minute,” he said. He adjusted a dial on the grate. The metal slits creaked open. And a muted sandstorm flowed through them.
The music reflected the overall energy in the room: depleted. Sid secured himself two more cups of fludge before joining Marc on the tarp couch.
Tōn-E followed his lead. The little troll took a seat too, which meant hovering over the last open spot on the other side of Marc.
The boys took a minute to relax on the couch. They sat quietly while the plasma storm above the Outpost boomed and cracked.
Well, Sid and Tōn-E relaxed. They chugged down another couple cups of fludge and floated quietly over the couch (respectively). Meanwhile, Marc continued to be annoyed. He considered stepping outside and climbing to Level 1. Offer himself to the plasma storm a few hours early. The non-stop hum of Tōn-E’s exo-orb goaded him further. Brrrrrrrrr!
Did it really have to make that noise?
Marc didn’t think the afternoon could get any worse. And then it did. Because Tōn-E’s insufferable humming suddenly quieted. And that
only could have meant…
“Oh!” Tōn-E exclaimed, “I know what we can talk about!”
Marc braced for impact. His nails dug into his knees. Don’t you dare,
“I read the most interesting fact about cats
today!” Tōn-E started. Not again,
Marc thought. Absolutely NOT again.
His fists trembled with rage.
“Did you know
cats were the central deity across ten different ancient civilizations? The trend started with humans, of course, but the religion quickly spread across the galaxy as interplanetary travel became more widely available.”
“I actually didn’t know that,” Sid said, entertaining Tōn-E’s ridiculous theory. “Where did you find that?”
“The Archives! They have somewhat documented this phenomenon. You see, it was a common practice to capture footage of cats, even in their sleeping state. They were so important to these cultures that even the most mundane moment yielded significant reason to capture and worship them. If you want to see, I can—”
Marc had had enough. He slammed his cup down on the floor and flew off the couch.
“—SHUT UP. SHUT UP
ABOUT CATS!” he shouted. He swung back around to face the other two. “CATS AREN’T REAL TŌN-E! AND THEY WERE NEVER
“That’s enough, Marc!
” Sid clenched his teeth.“Don’t start this.
Marc returned fire, “I didn’t start
anything; that was YOU. Going behind my back! Inviting more of these… fairy tales!
His emotions overwhelmed him. He didn’t know whether to yell more or start crying. He did both.
“It’s the end of the universe!” he said as tears streamed down his face. “We can’t keep clinging
to the things that brought us to this point in the first place! All these stupid traditions
are the reason no one’s even here with us now! IT KILLED THEM ALL! And anyone stupid
enough to keep believing in them is—"
“—I said THAT’S ENOUGH!
” Sid growled. Marc didn't care.
” he said. Then he looked back at Tōn-E. “NONE of what you’re seeing in the Archives is real!
The data is corrupt! It’s ALL CORRUPT!
And CATS are just another dumb fairy tale to keep people like you going, while…”
He ran out of steam. He realized there was no more “going.” In fact, there was no time remaining in the universe for anything. But that didn’t diminish his animosity and anger toward the world. He glared down at the gray sphere. His chest heaved.
Meanwhile, Sid kept a cooler, bluer head. He too looked to Tōn-E, but with compassion in his eyes.
Tōn-E didn’t immediately respond to either. The only sound in the room came from his exo-orb. Well, the exo-orb plus the ladle on the counter, which suddenly blooped
into the big pot.
All eyes were on the atypically quiet alien, whose hexagonal faces began to light up.
“I suppose,” his voice trailed, “that cats may not have been real after all. You said it yourself: records are foggy. They’re all from thousands of years ago...” He sighed. Tōn-E’s lights transitioned to a new blinking pattern. “And I also suppose… that I should have been more mature about interpreting error-prone information in the Archives…”
“It's okay, man,” Sid said. “I like that you dream big.” He reached across the couch to place a comforting hand on Tōn-E. But Tōn-E floated out of reach.
“I understand my presence here is probably upsetting,” he said. “You two have a special bond. I should not have interfered with it in its last moments. I will go.”
“No, Tōn-E,” Sid said. Each pair of his hands met in front of his chest “Please stay. You have every right to be here too.”
“I should go,” Tōn-E said. “I will spend the rest of the evening focused on real
things. And because I will no longer be here, I suppose it will be the perfect opportunity to review Sid’s art so I can feel inspired for the end times.”
He slipped between Sid and Marc toward the doorway.
“No, don’t!” Sid called after him. “We should do this together.
But Tōn-E had already vanished outside.
The Lenorkian, hand extended, waited for Tōn-E to come back. But the floating sphere did not reappear in the doorway.
And that was when a low trill emanated from the couch. It was coming from Sid’s his chest. He looked up at Marc, glaring. He bared his pointed teeth. His horns reappeared. And his eyes flushed with scarlet pigment. Yuh-oh,
Marc thought. About half his prior anger evaporated. Fear of a fight took hold.
Marc didn’t exactly dislike
his chances. Lenorkians may have been stronger, but Sid wasn't a fighter. Marc was.
But Sid stuck to his morals.
” Sid shouted.
Marc reflexively jumped out of reach. The short hop sort of ruined his show of anger. But he was still boiling mad. After all, fifty percent of him hadn't
abandoned the cat grudge.
” he shouted back. “Have fun exploding alone.” He whipped away to the exit.
The party was finished now. He almost stopped and went back for his fludge. But he didn’t want it anymore either. He just wanted a nice end of the universe with his friend. And now the end of the universe was ruined.
At least the apocalypse outside was behaving predictably. Marc stepped into the adjacent cave corridor. He surveyed the damage outside, looking through the long, horizontal gap in the cave wall. As the experts had predicted, the plasma storm took its toll.
The canyon glowed eerily bright, despite it being evening time. The wind howled as it raced through the canyon. And the cliffs around the gorge flashed white and pink as the storm charged with electricity, preparing to make its final jump.
Lightning cracked toward the ground. Some of the bolts hit the opposing cliff, sending rubble deep into the gorge. A gentle tremor rumbled in the ground beneath him.
The plasma storm overhead only creeped further around the planet. As the canyon brightened, shockwaves coursed through the entire city. They threw Marc off his feet again. He hit the ground.
Behind him, thunderous clacking erupted. The sound of falling rocks filled the corridor. He flipped over to see what explosion had thrown him.
It was bad. He stopped breathing. Because he could no longer see Sid’s home. All he saw was a pile of rubble.
submitted by InkDiamond
to u/InkDiamond [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 22:16 15treeswitharoad_ I’m losing hope
I am a 27 year old male with bad sleep apnea. Have been dealing with this since October 2021 and still grinding. I want to take this opportunity to just tell my story and vent so some of you can hopefully relate and know that there’s people out there dealing with the same thing.
So! During the pandemic I spent my entire time lifting weights and eating food. ALOT OF FOOD. I was blindsided by the fact that I had become this big strong individual that was benching 400lbs, and squatting 600 like it was a piece of paper. Eventually, when I got up to around 290 lbs, that’s when things took a turn for the worst.
I Remeber just one night not being able to go to sleep. Kinda weird. So I brushed it off as maybe I was stressed or stayed up late watching TV. whatever right? Anyways, that continued and continued for a few months until I finally got a sleep study and it was confirmed that I had sleep apnea. I was prescribed a CPAP machine, however, due to the CPAP recall of 2022 I would have to wait MONTHS to get my machine and there was nothing I could do but wait. Literally.
By the blessing of god, my boss had told me to get a mandibular advancement device to move my lower jaw forward to create more airspace and guess what, IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM! I still Remeber the first morning waking up with it on just feeling like I had slept and stretched into the day. So, I started using that device routinely while I lost weight.
Eventually, I got to 250LBS and was sleeping like a normal person. No mouthguard needed, would just get home and crash. I almost forgot that I was waiting for my CPAP machine but then things took a turn for the worst.
October of 2022 I started having sleeping issues again! Horrible sleep apnea, waking up every hour, massive migraines, just brutal, still is. Around this time is when I finally got my CPAP machine and I thought “yes, finally a good nights rest.” Used it, and nothing. Woke up like if I didn’t have a mask on. Kept trying and trying and still, no relief. Eventually I went to go see an ENT and they suggested I have a septoplasty due to a deviated septum and that could be why my CPAP therapy wasn’t effective.
Had the surgery, still , no relief, no sleep. I’m at my whits end.
My own sleep doctor keeps sending me on my merry way when I’ve been telling him for months that CPAP isn’t helping and that I may need surgeical intervention and after months of pointless appointments I fu ally have an appoint with a maxillofacial surgeon to see if that will fix my issue but I’m a bit concerned it won’t.
If this MMA surgery doesn’t work, im screwed. I can feel my body breaking down at an alarming rate. Heart palpitations, chest pain, massive migraines, hair loss due to stress, NO SLEEP, it been horrible.
I’ve had to drop out of school, can barely show up to work, I rarely exercise anymore, and only eat around 1500 calories a day because I’m scared shitless of gaining any unwanted weight that would make my sleep apnea worse.
I used to be so ALIVE and HAPPY. Now im in bed 15 hours a day, depressed, inactive, smoke tons of weed to escape my reality, it’s just been a big mess and I don’t understand “why me?”
It feels like my life has been robbed and I’m stuck with no ability to grow as a person, let alone enjoy life.
Whenever my Heart hurts im now hoping it’s a heart attack just to end my miserable life so I can answer to god.
I am at peace knowing that I’ve been a good person to other people and have always tried my best to help others. That’s all I can do.
If one day my sleep apnea gets fixed, I will change my life for the better as this entire experience has showed me just how precious life is and all the opportunities that life has to be taken advantage of. TIME is so precious that if I had the opportunity to do anything I wanted, I wouldn’t waste not even A SECOND.
I’m 225lbs right now but don’t k ow how much more weight I can lose as I don’t think it’s a weight issue now.
If y’all are reading this, thanks for listening. I’m just a depressed 27 year old with sleep apnea with no end in sight. Hang in there friends
submitted by 15treeswitharoad_
to SleepApnea [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 21:39 xChiefAcornx AITA for getting mad at my neighbor for having my vehicle's windows tinted without my permission?
My neighbor needed to use my truck to pick something up that wouldn't fit into his vehicle. I let him borrow it, he dropped his car off at my job and took my truck. 1st issue: the truck had 3/4 of a tank. He filled it up when he picked it up and then drove it around for the day. When he got back, he gave me the receipt as evidence that he put gas in it, but the truck was down to just over half a tank. 2nd issue: Then he mentions, "And I got the front two windows tinted. But not the back one. That would be an extra $35 and I didn't know if you wanted it done." I just kind of rolled with it at first as we still had to unload the truck and didn't want to get worked up about someone messing with my stuff just yet. So we get it unloaded, and I look at the tint job, and its terrible. I've seen teenagers do a better job in an auto parts store parking lot. The cuts of the tint are jagged, there are wide gaps at the edges of the windows, and bubbles with specks of dirt or sand under the film. I tell him that it wasn't okay and that it needed to be fixed. He said he would contact them and we can go get it re-done. 3rd issue: (wasting my time) So we go the Saturday after (it was done on a Wednesday) and they say that they are booked up and can't do it that day, but the guy says that we can come back another time and get it taken care of. I asked my neighbor if he contacted them and he said no, they should have just fixed the problem and put me in first. But they didn't BTW, the place is about an hour away. So we drive back, and he gives me $7 to pay for gas driving there and back, about 60 miles roundtrip 2 1/2 hours wasted. Jump to today. We go back, right at open. 4th issue: But there were appointments, so they didnt touch it until almost 2 after getting there around 10:30. They made a big deal that they only do re-dos during the week, and the installer that put it on wasn't there today anyway. But the owner said they would work me in. The cuts are straight this time, but there are still bubbles under the tint. 5th issue: And they wouldn't do the back window unless I came back again, so it still looks stupid with just the side windows tinted. So I am still pissed about the whole situation. On the ride home, I asked why he thought it was okay to modify my property without my permission. 6th issue: His response was that he didn't consider it a modification, but an enhancement, and everyone in Florida wants tinted windows. He absolutely refused to apologize for having it done and wasting 8 hours of my time, which still isn't done because I will still have to deal with either having the front window tint removed again, or having the whole car done and done properly. And of course I have to deal with this shit every day until it finally gets fixed. Am I the Asshole for getting upset? He kept insisting that "It was a gift" and "It was a surprise" and not acknowledging that he was in the wrong at all.
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2023.06.03 21:18 MelodicLaw3689 New Barbies Boxed Pick up!
| || |
i’m so grateful! i was at work yesterday when my boyfriend’s mom dropped me off this three new goodies. she was passing by a yard sale nearby selling all kinds of barbies! wonder woman is from 1999, university barbie from 1996 and this barbie accessories box is in quite great shape for being from 1962! i can’t wait to set up all my barbies together in one place !! let me know what you think or what is your favorite!!😍✨ submitted by MelodicLaw3689 to Barbie [link] [comments]
2023.06.03 21:05 Dizzy-General8771 Instinct
This story is true about what my husband experienced one summer in the mid 90’s while working as a grounds keeper at a camp for kids.
It was the early 90’s and at the time my husband, Eddie (just passed his 19th birthday) hadn’t yet decided whether or not he wanted to go to college. He had recently lost touch with most of his high school friends and as such, didn’t have much planned for the summer. So, when the offer to be a live-in grounds keeper at a children’s day camp came his way, Eddie was happy to take the opportunity. He lived in a rural area of Ontario so the camp, surrounded by trees and having it’s own small lake, was both secluded enough to have peace and quiet, but not so far away that he couldn’t manage a trip home on the off days.
While the seclusion wasn’t geographically extreme, once everyone left on Friday afternoons – all the children gone, the day staff back home to their families – the place was actually really eerie. This was magnified by the fact that at the time, Eddie didn’t have a car, and the only phone was about a 20 minute walk from his tiny cabin at the back of the property along a dark dirt path. This meant that most evenings and weekends were spent next to a camp fire or inside the cabin with the door locked listening to loud music and having a few drinks.
Usually, the property was really quiet and it would actually get boring out there with no one to talk to and nothing to do. Eddie once told me that he would pass time by canoeing around the tiny lake (which was more like a large pond) and catching every turtle he could find. He would place them in the bottom of the canoe( with some water and lily-pads so they were comfortable) then once he caught every one he could find, he would canoe to different parts of the lake and put them back one-by-one. So, obviously, there wasn’t much going on in the area.
It was one quiet night however, where despite how peaceful it seemed, there was definitely something evil happening out in those trees and fields.
The night started like any other. It was a warm Saturday in Ontario which meant that the bugs were biting and you could drown in the humidity. It was getting toward the end of the summer and Eddie had gotten into the weekly routine - cleaning and fixing things around the camp during the week days then wandering around the property on the weekends. This Saturday had started off no different that the others. Eddie had done a quick security sweep of the area in the morning to make sure nothing was amiss, then spent the afternoon paddling around the lake catching turtles. A few hours before sundown, Eddie was back at his cabin and had built a nice campfire. He always made sure to start the fire before dark.
On this Saturday Eddie had spent the evening cooking a meal over the fire and reading his favorite Stephen King novel The Stand. He had listened to the weather forecast on the little cabin radio earlier that morning and was aware there was a chance of some nasty thunderstorms that night. He was keeping a close eye on the wind and the clouds as night rolled in, knowing that even this far north, the heat and humidity was known to give rise to fearsome tornadoes every few years.
Not long after he finished his meal, the sky turned dark and the wind began to pick up. Eddie doused his fire and was starting to pack up his book and his dishes when he heard something moving through the brush. He stopped and listened for a moment. The rustling continued, but figuring it was a racoon or a deer, Eddie went about his business – more concerned with the approaching storm.
Once in the cabin, Eddie locked the door and felt a little more secure. He turned on the single, un-shaded light bulb that hung above the sink. The rickety cabin wasn’t much, it had no bathroom and no stove, just a mini fridge, sink, a hot plate, and musty bed. As rickety as it was, it still had a lock on the door and the only window was too small for a person to fit through without a struggle.
Soon, Eddie was getting settled back in with his book. It wasn’t long before the rustling sound he had heard outside returned, but this time it sounded like something was brushing up again the outside wall of the cabin. Still thinking it was just an animal, Eddie tried to keep his attention on his book. The curtains on the window were closed, so he couldn’t see outside, but he knew it was dark and thought he heard the distant rumbling of thunder. The rustling and brushing sound was right outside his door now. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he had heard the handle jiggle.
Suddenly the rustling turned to a crashing and it sounded like two or three people were running away from the cabin. This startled Eddie causing him to drop his book.
“Maybe that wasn’t just a deer after all”. Eddie thought out loud. He stood up and hesitated.
What was he going to do?
Part of his job was to watch out for trespassers and notify them that they had to leave if he found any. Usually this was an easy job. He was only run into this a couple times and both occasion it was a group of local kids taking a nighttime swim in the pond. Usually, he scared them more than they scared him.
Thinking this was probably the case – the local kids having found his cabin and decided to play a bit of a prank on him- Eddie grabbed his keys and his flashlight and headed for the door.
He could hear the wind howling and the rain starting to tap on the roof. Not quite a downpour yet.
He took a deep breath and opened was about to open the door when he heard a gentle tapping on the window. This was obviously not rain.
The hairs on his arms stood at attention. His blood ran cold even in the stuffy and sweltering heat of late July. He was frozen with his hand on the door knob. Not even breathing. Something in his stomach was telling his to remain completely still and whatever he did to NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
After a few minutes, the tapping hadn’t returned. The rain was coming down harder now and Eddie began to breath again. He let go of the door knob and immediately turn off the light. He quietly got under the covers, not even bothering to take off his shoes or put back the large, metal flash light, in case whatever it was that was out there came back. Eventually he fell asleep.
The next morning Eddie awoke and felt no sign of the eerie presence from the night before. He got up and immediately noticed that the storm had passed and the morning sun was shining through the curtains. Groggy and a bit shaken, Eddie splashed some water on his face and began to rummage through the fridge for something to eat.
He was just debating whether he wanted to cook his eggs and bacon over the fire or if the firewood was too damp when there were a loud knock at the door. Eddie jumped and almost soiled his pants. No one had even shown up unannounced way out here on a Saturday.
“Eddie, it’s Jim, your mom’s friend from work. Are you in there?”
Eddie recognized the voice. His mom worked in dispatch for the local police department. Eddie, being a bit of a trouble maker in a small town, knew the members of the force both from family BBQ’s and from his own personal run-ins.
Eddie let out a breath and relaxed a bit, but then it hit him – Why was Jim out here so early on a Saturday?
Thinking something might be wrong at home, Eddie rushed to the door and unlocked it.
“Hey Jim, is everything okay? Why are you out here?”
“Morning Eddie, everything is fine, but your mom sent me to pick you up and bring you home this morning.” Jim looked around the cabin. He was in his uniform and Eddie could make out his cruiser a few yards away. Eddie noticed Jim was subconsciously fingering his weapon.
“I think you’re mistaken Jim. I’m not supposed to be going home until next weekend and Mom said that she was going to come out to pick me up.” Eddie took a step back and watched Jim’s face as he surveyed the tiny cabin.
“I know that was the original plan, Eddie, but we all think it’s best that you get your things and come with me.” Jim stood in the door with the face of a man who was not to be questioned. The hair’s on Eddie’s arms stood up and he had no choice but to agree and begin to pack up his belongings.
As they packed the car, Eddie could have sworn he was a set of shoe prints that made a trail around his cabin.
After driving in silence for a few minutes Jim casually began asking Eddie what he had been up to last night.
“Did you go out at all or just stay by the fire?” Jim asked, his eyes watching Eddie through the rearview mirror.
“I was by the fire, but they went in side when it started to rain. That storm was starting, so I didn’t want to be caught out in it.”
“It must get a bit creepy out there all alone during a storm”, Jim said. That’s when Eddie remembered the tapping at the window and the strange rustling sounds.
“Actually, it’s usually fine, but last night I got a bit of a scare. Just as the storm was starting, I think an animal or something was walking around my site. Probably a coyote or a fox that smelled my supper.” Eddie’s eyes locked with Jim’s.
“Did you see anything?” Jim asked.
“No. At first I thought it was some of the local kids that I had kicked out of the lake a couple weeks ago. Thought maybe they were playing a bit of a prank on me in return, but the rain was starting to pick up, so I decided to stay in the cabin and pretend I didn’t notice.” Not wanted to sound like a wimp in front of one of his mom’s coworkers in the force, Eddie lied about the chills he had experienced.
“That’s probably for the better.” Jim said. “They usually go away if you ignore them”.
The rest of the ride was silent. Eddie drifted to sleep for a little while and when he awoke they were pulling into the driveway of his parents house. His mom was standing on the front steps when they got there.
“Eddie!” His mom called as he was getting out of the car. “Come inside, I have coffee and breakfast ready”.
“Thanks mom, just let me get my things from the trunk.”
“Just leave them for now. Jim is going to join us for breakfast. You can get your things after we talk.” His mom turned and disappeared into the house. A little confused, but hungry from having missed his morning meal, Eddie shrugged and walked toward the house. Jim locked the car and followed close behind.
Eddie sat at the kitchen table and was greeted with a plate of hot pancakes with bacon and a fresh cup of coffee. Eddie began to eat but noticed that Jim and his mom were only drinking coffee.
After a couple minutes of pleasantries Eddie was starting to get annoyed.
“Why did you pick me up early mom? And if you’re home, why did you send Jim out to get me? Mom, what’s going on!?”.
“Eddie,” his mother said his nice calmly yet firmly in the way only a mother can, as she rested her hand on this arm. He stopped and looked at her. What she said next still gives my husband a pit in his stomach to this day.
“Three people were found dead within a mile of that camp early this morning, just as the storm was clearing.” The words sounded distant in Eddie’s ears.
“What do you mean? Like a car accident?” Eddie was confused but starting to get nervous.
“A man was found dead at the bottom of a radio tower a half mile up to road. We don’t know how he got in there, but it looks like he tried to climb it and fell off.”
Eddie’s eyes widened.
“About a half a mile in the other direction, a young man and woman, about your age Eddie, were found dead. The woman was in the house and the man was found in the back yard. They were both stabbed to death. We found no evidence of a break in.” Jim told this part of the story. He watched Eddie to gauge his reaction.
Suddenly Eddie’s pancakes didn’t taste to good any more and he felt a knot build in his stomach.
“So, you came to get me because you were afraid I might be dead too.” Eddie said this slowly and looked at both his mother and officer Jim.
“Did you hear or see anything strange last night, Eddie?” His mother tightened to grip on his arm and looked into his eyes. He glanced at officer Jim who gave an emotionless stare back.
“Yeah. I was telling Jim that I heard what I thought was an animal rummaging around by the fire after I went to bed. It didn’t go away and I thought it might be some of the local kids. I was going to check it out, but the rain was heavy and I thought they would go away if I stayed inside and ignored them.”
“Thank god you did.” Eddie’s mom hugged him and tried her best to hold back tears. Eddie hugged his mom back. His breath shallow from the shock.
Had he almost been one of the victims of this murder? Had the murderer tried to hide out at the camp after brutally slaying the young couple up the road? If Eddie hadn’t gone inside when he did, would he have been murdered while he sat by his fire?
Eddie’s thought were spinning so fast that he didn’t even notice Jim get up and leave. It was a half hour later when his mother calmed down enough for Eddie to realize that Jim had driven off with his things.
“Mom, you need to call Jim, my things are in his car!”
“I’ll call the station and let them know”. Eddie’s mom didn’t seem surprised that Jim had left without saying goodbye. She just went to the phone and called the station.
“Hi Gale, it’s Penny. Eddie was wondering when Jim will be back with his bags.” At the time, Eddie didn’t notice that his mother hadn’t had to explain the situation to her coworkers in dispatch. Wouldn’t they be wondering why Jim had Eddie’s bags in the car?
Jim eventually came back on his way home after his shift. He dropped Eddie’s stuff off, gave him a squeeze on the shoulder, and said “take care of yourself, kid. It was smart of you not to open that door last night.”
It wasn’t until looking back on the incident 5 years later that Eddie realized Jim had come to pick him up for two reasons. Either, after receiving the call about the three deaths, they were all afraid that Eddie, out there alone in the food with no way to call for help, mate the same fate as the poor souls who lost their lives during that storm, OR, Eddie himself had been the one who had stabbed a young man and his wife to death in their own home before murdering a third victim near a radio tower in the field adjacent to the camp.
Eddie isn’t certain, but when he counts the story, he seems to remember when he got his bags back they weren’t packed in the same way he had left them. He is convinced that his mother and the officers thought that we had been the perpetrator of the terrible crimes committed that stormy July night in southwestern Ontario.
They never did end up finding the killer.
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2023.06.03 21:00 The_Fallen_1 [THJVerse] Arcane Starfarers - ep 39 - Unification
Despite still being on duty, as Daniel stepped foot onto Olinath Orbital, he felt a wave of relief and relaxation, finally free from the weight of the recent events. He looked to his side as Oprin stepped into the station, who began to look around in wonder at the much larger structure that didn't feel as tight as either the ship or the bunkers. She continued on forward, watching some of the Navy personnel out of the window as they worked, performing initial checks and maintenance on the exterior of the Trailmaker. The pair continued to walk down the docking arm until they reached the main body of the station, where things began to open up further, with many wide and long corridors allowing large groups of people to travel easily, with some smaller ones branching off, allowing access to some of the less busy areas.
Most of the people walking around were Navy personnel, either services the docked ships or the station itself, though there was the odd group of Langan exploring their new temporary home. The pair continued on past them though, heading towards the centre of the station where they were both needed. Daniel guided Oprin to the nearest treadmill, which they both hopped into, speeding up their walk down the long corridor as they made their way to the central hall, stopping a short walk away which they walked unassisted.
As the pair entered the room, they were greeted to the sight of a large crowd, bursting with activity, that upon further inspection turned out to be a few hundred Langan, conversing with a number of UPC officials and three Deities, the first being Celenamartra, but the other two being Deities that Daniel had never met before, though he could identify them by their appearances matching their pictures well.
"I know Celenamartra, but who are the other two?" Oprin asked.
"The large Blue Dragon is Liathock, the God often popularly worshipped by those interested in space and exploration, history, and the mysteries of the world around us, and the Elven woman is Valan'srah, the Goddess often associated with trade, commerce, and powerful magic," Daniel explained.
"Are they nice like Celenamartra?"
"From what I've heard, all the Deities are nice, though they sometimes work in confusing ways that don't always make sense that can leave some people frustrated and annoyed."
"I see…" she replied, getting slightly worried about their reason for being here.
"It's been a long time since any number of them were together in public off of Earth though. Either they wanted to give you a really warm welcome, or they're planning something," Daniel concluded.
"I have a guess, but I don't want to get your hopes up."
“So you think something good will happen?” Oprin asked.
“Most likely. They tend to only act to do good. It’s usually when they don’t act that people can be disappointed.”
“I see…” she trailed off, looking at some of the people in the crowd. “I don’t recognise everyone here, and some of them look quite healthy…. Did we wake some of them up? Excuse me a moment.”
“Of course,” Daniel replied as she headed into the crowd. He then began to look around, quickly spotting Captain Harris standing at the side of the room on her own, so he headed over, making sure he was still easily spottable to Oprin in case she started looking for him. “Captain.”
“Lieutenant Commander,” Captain Harris replied. “How are you finding things so far?”
“I’ve admittedly only just arrived. Had a report to write and some drama around the sleeping quarters to deal with.”
“Sergeant Richards?” the Captain asked.
“I don’t know his name, but I know he works in engineering. Tall and quite muscular, but I get the feeling he does heavy lifting and not the bulk of the thinking.”
“Thanks for setting him straight before the other senior officers descended on him.”
“You’re welcome, Captain. On another note, am I correct in thinking that some of the Langan here were from cryo pods?”
“Mhm. 187 pods failed in transit, and the occupants woke up.”
“None,” she confirmed.
“Those pods are something else….”
“They’re very simple, and Langan biology seems particularly resilient to rapid freezing, though it’s evidently a random quirk rather than an evolutionary advantage given how quickly they need to be frozen to survive.”
“They’re very lucky then.”
“Indeed,” the Captain agreed.
“So, what happens now?”
“Overseer Tenmus and a few Langan politicians that have been woken up are working out some finer details that were put as delayed negotiation points on the original offer to join the UPC. Political structures and integration targets, that sort of thing.”
“Do you think there’s going to be any issues?”
“That depends on the old politicians. The government they were a part of was an oligarchic meritocracy, and we’re a social capitalist democracy. It’s going to cause some integration pains if they stick to that, but given that the old government doesn’t exactly have a lot of power, and a lot of the Langan that are awake don’t exactly revere them, things might change.”
“What about the sleeping ones? Do you think they might have a lot of their elite still frozen that will disagree?”
“They were in Bunker 02. There were no intact pods in that one, despite being designed to be the safest of the lot.”
“Ah, yes, the one with too much concrete to shield them,” Daniel replied, remembering the video of the improperly supported ceiling resting on top of thousands of smashed cryo pods. “I wonder how many bunkers would have survived if they’d figured out the importance of rebar.”
“Nine bunkers were lost due to structural failure. There’s no guarantee that they wouldn’t have succumbed to any of the other many issues the other bunkers did, which some likely would have, but they might have made it,” she replied. “There’s also no guarantee that the rebar they would have used would have been suitable for weather that cold. It could have caused uneven contractions that might have caused cracks to form faster.”
“Maybe…” Daniel sighed, trying not to focus on the loss of life.
The room suddenly grew quiet as one of the doors to the room opened, and four Langan walked in, one of which was Overseer Tenmus, as well as a number of UPC officials, including the President of the UPC: a tall male Human who was noticeably aged, but Daniel knew was undergoing immortality treatments every so often. A microphone was presented to the Overseer, and he cleared his throat as he prepared to speak.
"Welcome all in attendance. It is with great privilege that I can declare that the Langan people have officially joined the UPC," Overseer Tenmus announced, gaining cheats from the crowd of Langan, and claps from everyone else in attendance. "There will be some changes, but given what we've all been through, I'm sure you'll all agree that change is most welcome. Going forward, we shall be changing how we decide who is in charge, and nominating people into the UPC's political forms, of which we currently have a seat in both the two main bodies to ensure fair representation, with more seats available once our population increases so that we are no longer a minor colony. These positions will be filled by a vote of all people on our new home. These votes will happen shortly after the celebrations.
"We have also decided to switch our local government to a similar system, with a transitional period of ten years from the current leadership to ensure the initial stages go smoothly, with votes occurring every five years after that. A technological enlightenment program has been established, and the plan is for students in schools to be taught about the new technologies, while analogues for what we have been used to will be made available so there isn't a harsh transition. Learning about the new technologies is encouraged however, as they provide many benefits. All other details of the agreement remain unchanged, and the vote on naming our new planet is still planned to be held once everyone has been woken up. With that, I thank you for listening, and I will now hand over to President Finley."
There was another round of cheers and clapping as the Human President stepped forward, quickly shaking hands with the Overseer as he took the microphone.
"Thank you, Overseer Tenmus," the President began, glancing at the camera at the back of the room. "There has been a dream from long before the peoples of the UPC reached the stars that one day we would find that we are not alone out there. We knew there was a strong chance we weren't, but despite us looking, the Universe was always silent. Today, however, we now know that we are not alone, and I am proud that we can stand hand-in-hand with people from another world, and that we can work together to make the Universe a better place. The UPC stands fully committed to supporting the Langan people as they grow, and our hand is outstretched so we may stand side by side as one people. Today marks a turning point in history that will be remembered for millennia. Thank you all for listening."
There was an awkward momentary shuffle as the three Deities walked over to the microphone, positioning themselves in front of the camera, the size of the two Dragons forcing it to be tilted upwards so that a window overlooking the planet below was in shot.
"Greetings, everyone," Celenamartra began. "Today, the three of us have met with many of the Langan people, heard their plights, and listened about many of their woes. Their world was far outside our jurisdiction, and I am saddened to see what happened because of that. However, the Langan people now have the full support of all Deities."
"We all agree that we should help them," Valan'srah added. "They have lost too much to start over with no help from us."
"And I'm sure many of you feel that you'd want to help in any way you can after what they've been through," Liathock took over. "Too often do tragedies happen, but their entire home becoming uninhabitable through no fault of their own is an unspeakable tragedy."
"Which is why we're committed to doing what we can to help them," Celenamartra continued. "During the rescue efforts, a number of plant seeds and animal eggs were recovered from their home, and the plan was to use them to slowly terraform their new home. There’s not enough to restore the full biodiversity they were used to, but there is enough to create a stable biosphere. It would be a slow process that would have left the Langan people station-bound for months or likely even years, and would take decades to complete. The UPC has already brought the planet into a position where the process can start, so we thought we ought to do our part."
The crowd began to murmur in disbelief as the planet behind the Deities began to turn greener and greener, until the once rocky surface was completely transformed into a lush forest that spanned almost the whole planet, only stopping at the oceans, frozen poles, and a thin strip of desert near the equator. Daniel couldn't help but smile to himself as his earlier guess proved to be right.
"We are now equally committed to the Langan as we are to any other people, and we will ensure that they get the help they need. Thank you for listening," Valan'srah concluded, heading off camera with the other two Deities.
"Hey, so, do you think they're expecting us to worship them now?" Oprin asked Daniel as they headed towards the hangar they had been directed to.
"Probably not. The Deities have never been ones to ask for worship, and have even discouraged it at times," he replied, checking which shuttle they were on. "At most they'd like to be respected as Deities, or an equivalent that is suitable in your culture."
"I think they will get that," Oprin assured him, entering the hangar.
Daniel led her over to their shuttle, which was a medium sized cargo shuttle that had a small prefabricated house attached to its cargo mounting point. After they boarded, a few more Langan joined them on board, and the shuttle took off, sliding out of the hangar and immediately heading for the planet. The ride was relaxingly smooth compared to the ones from the Langan's old home, and before too long, they reached the green plain near a large river that was destined to be where the first Langan settlement was established. The house was dropped off at its designated spot, where a waiting team quickly installed it, and the shuttle then landed to let its passengers disembark.
As Daniel and Oprin stepped on onto the grass-like plant growth beneath them, Oprin took in a deep breath of fresh air, and sat herself down, looking up at the sky as shuttles flew past, delivering people, supplies, and more buildings. She watched as a particularly large ship floated down to the nearby river, depositing the foundations of a water treatment plant, which it then began to construct properly. She then watched as a freighter dropped off a series of large buildings, with a hospital, a school, and a UPC embassy being the three dropped off close enough for her to make out.
"It's really over now, isn't it?" Oprin asked.
"Yes, it is," Daniel confirmed, sitting down next to her. "It might take a little while for things to properly settle into the new normal, but you're not in any danger anymore."
"I'm not wasting your time, am I?"
"No, my current duty is to help the person who helped us. Basically, you've got me for a few days to help you with whatever you need."
“So I have a servant?”
“I guess,” Daniel shrugged.
Oprin let out a small chuckle before watching more buildings be installed. “I’m surprised by how many buildings you have already if this wasn’t something that the UPC planned to happen today.”
“The station in orbit is designed to quickly churn out most buildings needed for the early colonisation phase. All you need to do is feed the factories with the right resources, and even the larger prefabs can be churned out in under half an hour. The prefabs aren’t exactly as good as properly built structures, but they are still pretty good. I don’t know the resource situation, but I doubt we’ll get everything needed to wake up all the cryo pods before the stockpiles run out and more have to be shipped in.”
“It looks like there's more than enough for a thousand people already though.”
“Ture, but bear in mind there will be some other people from the UPC living here to work in the power plant, water treatment, hospital, and so on. We can’t just dump foreign tech on you and expect everything to go smoothly, can we?”
“I suppose…. Hey, do you think my new house is installed yet?” she asked.
“No idea. Wanna find out?”
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2023.06.03 20:49 scarsellaj The Hater’s Guide to the 2022-23 Premier League Season: Final Matchday Edition
It’s over…it’s finally over…now where am I gonna get my footy fix? “Watch the MLS?” I’d rather take up heavy drinking again. The World Cup, the Champions League, and the EPL did a number on my sanity this season. Anyone else feeling this way?
Manchester City: It looked like the monopoly was going to finally end again. City brought in a whole new squad with Haaland, Akanji, Alvarez, Sergio Gomez, and integrating academy players like Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis. The first half of the season you could see Pep’s children struggling to play with Haaland. But then…Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish must’ve been juicing in the dressing room. The back half of the season saw Haaland explode with his 36 goals, the most of a single striker in a season. They not only victimized the leaders in Arsenal, they stormed the gates, ravaged the village and took the riches for themselves. AGAIN. Winning the FA Cup is routine by now. But the Champions League…That’s the main prize. Becoming the next English team to win a treble is a good add-on. Man United can punch air knowing they’re still miles behind the noisy neighbors who have now won six league titles under Pep. Better sort of these contracts for Gundogan, Laporte, and Mahrez though. Or don’t, because we know they can replace anyone with all that oil money.
Arsenal: You bottled the league title after over 264 days at the top do the league? What’re you, Tottenham??? This is shambolic squad management. Even with all those reinforcements in Trossard and Jorginho, they couldn’t keep up the pace. Not only do you lose out on the title, you went trophyless. The Cup showings were even worse than previous seasons. And you want to say it wasn’t a bottle job? My brother in Christ, you lost to Southampton. This was the best chance Arsenal has had at ending the league title drought but Arteta is still showing himself as diet Pep. Even if you do buy more exiled City players, more is still needed. Welcome back to the Champions League, I guess. It’s good having a young team like this. Do not fuck it up. Do not waste the young years of Odegaard and Saka.
Newcastle: That Saudi investment is working. The Magpies used their newfound riches to attract the likes of Isak and Botman knowing they were only a few steps away from Champions League nights. Then came the addition of Anthony Gordon because squad depth is paramount in a game like this. And they got it. For the first time since 2004, Newcastle is in Europe. Eddie Howe deserves a lot of praise for the work he has done. He’s unlocked Callum Wilson, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin. Kieran Trippier’s career has been revived. Even players like Big Bird Dan Burn have flourished. We all knew this was going to happen. Just not this soon. We now have to deal with TWO oil money clubs jockeying for the title. I can understand why haters think they’re screwed. Get your money up or get your funny up.
Manchester United: I’m going to give Erik Ten Hag a 7/10 for his first season in Manchester. He got Marcus Rashford scoring again. That was an achievement in itself. Casemiro turned out to be the best thing for United since Fergie. When he’s not getting red cards. Luke Shaw took big strides even at center back. A commendable top 4 finish and a League Cup plus the FA Cup final to round it out. They still lost some really foolish games and they had the Cristiano situation. David De Gea doesn’t look like his old self anymore either. The Glazers-to nobody’s surprise-have still not sold the club. The lack of depth signings continue. But they’re in good position for a nice run next season. Who knows, maybe the Qataris will buy the club. That’ll change things. You’ll just be like Manchester City, I’m just saying…
Liverpool: Well, well, well…Liverpool missed out on Champions League football. It was a trying season, I get it. Not having any reliable midfielders will do that. You brought in Arthur Melo because reasons. Henderson and Fabinho looked like shells of themselves. The departure of Sadio Mane rocked the team, and Darwin Nunez or Diogo Jota couldn’t fill the role. Injuries piled up and the trauma continued. Luis Diaz barely played this season because of them. Trent was cooked on defense all season long. Yet Liverpool still ground out a 5th place finish. Klopp’s not done in England yet. The future remains unclear as FSG continue pondering selling the team or giving Klopp more signings. Knowing how injured Van Djik and Konate have been, they might need it. Especially in midfield. They’re hurting bad in the middle of the park. At least you’re not Everton. Take solace in knowing Alexis Mac Allister is likely on his way to Anfield.
Brighton: Graham Potter leaving Brighton was the greatest thing to ever happen to this club. That and having the best scouting network in the whole league. Finding ballers in the South American youth ranks, the J-League and other random places formed a pesky unit of warriors. Karou Mitoma, Alexis Mac Allister, Facundo Enciso, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinian, Evan Ferguson, Lewis Dunk, Jason Steele. These are the core of Roberto De Zerbi’s army of seagulls. Welcome to European football, boys. Just know you will have to start the next campaign without Mac Allister and likely Caicedo. They’ve attracted too much attention from bigger teams. Even City is sniffing around at Mitoma. I’m honestly impressed, Brighton. I’m also insanely jealous of your scouting network.
Aston Villa: Who knew Steven Gerrard was a fraudulent manager living off the success of a single Scottish title win? LITERALLY EVERYONE. Thus, Villa canned him for Unai Emery, and for the best. They went from relegation fodder to a berth in the Conference League. Ollie Watkins found his scoring touch again. Emi Buendia is now living up to the expectations (somewhat). Lucas Digne is back to Champions League-caliber. Philippe Coutinho is not even a core player anymore, just a good impact sub at this point. Villa might be punching a little above their weight but they’ve been defying expectations for a while now. With the godfather of European football at the helm, the sky is the limit. Welcome back to Europe, boys.
Tottenham: LOL Spurs always reigns supreme. I swear, it’s like rooting for the New York Mets: champagne expectations, perpetual disappointment. This season went from promising to utter dumpster fire in a matter of weeks. Antonio Conte got fed up with the players being shit again and got himself sacked promptly after that fiery press conference. Daniel Levy has never been under more pressure from fans and Harry Kane before. Spurs went from maybe squeaking out Europa League to missing out on Europe entirely. They wasted a 30-goal season from Harry Kane. Son was out of form all season. Richarlison scored 1 league goal all season. They had no defense and Lloris looks like Father Time got the best of him. Games were bottled, and through it all, they are now manager-less AGAIN. Is is time for Levy to step down? I don’t know, but he needs to do something about this team. It’s not even fun to complain about Spurs anymore. Now it’s just pure, unadulterated apathy.
Brentford: This is a fun team to watch. Thomas Frank is a magician with these players. Even with Ivan Toney going full Calvin Ridley mode, Brentford managed to win big matches when it mattered. Bryan Mbuemo played understudy to Toney most of the season but stepped up when they needed him. Rico Henry flourished at the back. Ben Mee transformed into a better player than he was at Burnley. David Raya is making a name for himself as clubs like Spurs eye him. Even Thomas Frank is getting considered for new roles. The Bees are buzzing. The West London newbies not only had a solid summer transfer window, they have finished top 10 in the second season of the big show. Now comes the hard part: next year. What do you do without Toney? Will you buy a new striker like Jonathan David? It remains to be seen, but in Frank’s Nordic vision we trust. He’s definitely got some crafty Danes or Norwegians waiting for a call.
Fulham: Speaking of West London clubs, I’m gonna buy these guys a round next time I see them. Congratulations, Fulham! You didn’t get relegated! Marco Silva didn’t even have to work miracles to do it. They played well at times, and obviously shit the bed in others. But you can’t say they didn’t fight every minute of every game. Aleksander Mitrovic finally learned how to score in the Prem. Willian returned to West London in full cry. Tim Ream made us Yanks proud as he held it down at the back. The X Factor: Joao Palhinha. You didn’t bend the knee willingly, boys. That shows character. Gotta say I’m proud. Now keep going, Tony Khan. You know they can aim just a tad higher.
Crystal Palace: Palace didn’t really do anything different this season. I say that because they pretty much finished where they always do. Comfortably mid-table again. I really thought Patrick Vieria was doing something at Selhurst Park, but then he was relived off his duties after a bad patch of form. So they decided to recycle the nostalgia and bring back Roy Hodgson…uh huh. Nothing really changes does it? Eberechi Eze turned into a special player. Zaha was Zaha, nothing new there. Jordan Ayew played solidly too. Michael Olise might be the standout player. He was really getting linked with a move to PSG to replace Messi?? I prefer not to speak.
Chelsea: Lol Spurs? No, LOL CHELSEA! We all knew the Todd Boehly takeover was gonna change things. We didn't expect a dip into total mediocrity. All while spending over 600 million quid on player signings. Thomas Tuchel was sacked....then Graham Potter got 8 months to make things worse...then they brought back Frank Lampard to see out the season because that's American forward thinking. Yea the viibes are horrendous at Stamford Bridge. Bringing in Enzo Fernandez, Chernobyl Traore in Mudryk, David Fofana, Wesley Fofana, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and everyone else killed any team chemistry. Joao Felix was exiled from Atletico by Diego Simeone to basically do nothing in England for 6 months. Kai Havertz is STILL not a real striker. Auba brought back the No. 9 shirt curse. Christian Pulisic was fed up with it all and tried to force himself out to no avail. Mason Mount dropped off hard, but still has enough Englishness to warrant a move to United. The Blue Lions are dying in front of us. After years of poshness and self-absorption, they will not be playing European football next season. Thus, they brought in Mauricio Pochettino to fix things. Spurs fans everywhere are dying on the inside at their old gaffer taking the job...but it's the perfect fit for this Chelsea team. They'll be back, just wait.
Wolves: Wolves…wake up. What the hell are you doing? Why are muddling through these seasons lately? The vibes of the Nuno era are gone. New culture had to be created. Except it wasn’t. Bruno Lage was hired and did whatever it was he did. Which basically flirted with relegation. Julen Lupotegui came in after he was sacked by Sevilla and changed everything. It still wasn’t enough. The team was Ruben Neves saving their asses while Raul Jiminez continues to find himself after his head injury. Take solace in knowing Max Kilman is becoming a fantastic defender. Hwang Hee Chan looks more comfortable in England. But Wolves could be doing so much more. It’s a shame they’re gonna sell Neves. They were so close to shattering the glass season a few seasons ago. Oh how times change.
West Ham: This is the dark side of two consecutive seasons of deep European tournament runs. Your league form suffers. In West Ham’s case, it was injuries and inconsistent football. David Moyes is a decent manager but he can only take you so far. Just ask Everton fans about that. Sure you made the Conference League final but was it worth losing guys like Paqueta, Scamacca, and Antonio to the injury gods while selling Craig Dawson and sacrificing your league form? Declan Rice carried the Hammers at times. Only adding to his value as his big boy move is finally coming together. A bottom half finish is a few steps back but it’s not unexpected. It will be a big summer for the Hammers. It’s time to start planning for life after Rice. You can recover from it, but will Moyes be the guy to take you back to the top 10? You tell me.
Bournemouth: Scott Parker getting sacked in the fall saved the Cherries. Gary O’Neil had a vision for this team. They executed it well. Without his guidance, Bournemouth would surely be in the drop zone. In the first year back in the Prem, Bournemouth produced respectable results. Philipp Billing, Jefferson Lerma, and Dominic Solanke are some talented players but they have their limits. You'll be without Lerma next season since he's moving to Crystal Palace in the summer. Buying up all that European talent helped in the battle to stave off relegation, but where do you go from here? European places will be way too difficult reach with the level of parity we have now. Staying up next season will likely be the goal.
Nottingham Forest: 30 signings later, Forest avoided the drop. What else is there to say? The football was strictly average. Some players like Taiwo Ayonini lived to the hype, as did Morgan Gibbs-White. Keylor Navas was a great addition to keep the ball out of the net. Others like Jesse Lingard did not. The standout? Danilo from Palmerias, a strapping addition. Players like Ryan Yates, Brennan Johnson, and Joe Worrall proved they can hang in the big leagues. Steve Cooper is not getting sacked. But knowing how crazy the Greek overlords are, that could change on a dime. Whether you can take that next step to the top 10 I’m not sure of. Steve Cooper is strictly an average manager. A squad this big with this much high-end talent could use with a better voice. Your move, Forest.
Everton: Conglaturations, boys! You did the great escape…AGAIN. Remember last season how you said “never again?” What a load of horseshit. Everyone knew Everton would be lucky to survive given the state of the squad. When you rely on Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dwight McNeill as your main scoring threats, you know it was not going to be a good season. Try the board running fake stories about getting death threats from fans. Try fans confronting Yerry Mina in the parking lot after a tough loss to Southampton. Try sacking Frank Lampard and replacing him with Sean Dyche…actually that was a good decision. Farhad Moshiri is under serious pressure to turn things around. It doesn’t help Everton are about to get hit with FFP regulations even worse than City or Chelsea…is it worth building that new stadium if you’re playing in 2nd division? It’s not a matter of if Everton go down, it’s a matter of when Everton go down.
Leicester: Dude, what the fuck??? You’re supposed to breaking the Big 6 ceiling, not shattering your own reputation. We lauded Leicester for their recruitment and performances. But this is the fate of bundling all your eggs in the Champions League basket. Missing out on those revenues crippled the finances. Buying all those players came back to haunt them. Without Jamie Vardy leading the line, the team looked lost. Brendan Rodgers knew his time was up but was sacked unceremoniously. Dean Smith could not right the ship. After 7 seasons and three trophies later, the Foxes are back in the Championship. Such a shame. Open the flea market though. Maddison, Tielemans, Ndidi, and Barnes will all be lined up for moves to bigger clubs. Thanks for the memories, Leicester.
Leeds: Leeds are paying for the sins of Radriazzani. The guy he fumbled the bag in the worst possible ways. Forget about his off-pitch antics. This team was trying too hard to remake the Bielsa years. Fans never got behind Jesse Marsch’s American Revolution and he was kicked to curb after a shit run despite beating Liverpool. Javi Gracia took over and changed nothing. So to salvage the season, welcome back Big Sam!! loses 4-1 to Spurs on the final day oh dear lord. Even the relegation dodger himself could not fix a team that can’t connect. Jack Harrison took massive steps forward and is probably the first to go to replenish the coffers. Robin Koch will likely follow suit. Adams, McKennie, and Aaronson are definitely going to other clubs. They never got utilized correctly anyway. The vibes of the Bielsa era are gone. Every attempt to replace them didn’t work, especially if the fans weren’t willing to move on. Don’t make the same mistakes of 2004.
Southampton: The Saints go marching into the Championship. After 8 years of playing big club killer, Southampton is gone. I’m not sad about it. I hated playing against them because they’d always step up against London clubs. For a less bias take, it’s not something they could avoid. They didn’t have the talent or leadership to fix things. Ralph Hassenhuttl was largely uninspiring so it made sense when he got the boot. But Nathan Jones from Lutron Town?? That’s your solution?? That didn’t even last two full months. Ruben Selles as temp gaffer solved nothing. So now you go down without much of a fight. Thanks for giving up JWP, Armel Bella-Kotchap, and Romeo Lavia to bigger teams. You will not be missed by any teams from London.
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2023.06.03 20:32 TheDarkArtsHeFancies Discharged from neuro after normal MRI, spinal tap, blood tests, ultrasound, and x-ray. But he is still disoriented, not walking normally, and does not seem okay.
11 year-old-feline (neutered male bengal), 8-9 pounds, located in Houston, TX. He is kept indoors, but he does have a covered and screened catio (connected to our house and he can come back inside freely) and I believe he was in the catio when whatever happened to him began.
He eats Royal Canin PR dry food and PurinaPro urinary tract wet cat food (oceanfish mostly). He has had the wet food a few times, but we recently switched to mostly that kind instead of mixing in the PurinaPro duck (non-urinary tract health kind). General history--lump removed and sent to a lab 1 year ago (benign), urinates outside his box regularly but has seen specialists who said it's a social issue. He has had dentals, teeth are currently in good shape. His vaccines were overdue as of April. He takes Revolution Plus monthly and has for about a year. He has always been pretty clumsy and has always walked with a bit of a sway.
About 3-4 weeks ago, we discontinued giving him gabapentin (1mL twice daily). He had been on it for a few years.
5/21: He fell off a cat shelf about 9 feet from the floor, but he seemed fine after.
5/29 at about 3:30 AM, he woke me up drooling all over me. He has hypersalivated a handful of times in the past due to licking or sniffing something. He fell asleep next to me but continued to drool a lot in his sleep.
The drooling continued in the morning, and he did not want breakfast. He was biting at the air some, like he had something stuck in his mouth. He seemed lethargic.
I took him to the ER at noon 5/29 after no improvement. They examined him, said he seemed normal, and sent us home.
5/30 I dropped him off at his regular vet. They said he was totally normal, then called me back and said he vocalized weirdly, laid down on a plate of food, and began foaming at the mouth. They said it was not a full-blown seizure but could have been a neurological event.
Tests they did: Chem(11), CBC, T4, urinalysis, SDMA, FeLV/FIV, and x-rays of what they characterized as "full cat." They noted mild gallbladder debris and "dietary indiscretion," but it wasn't causing a blockage and they didn't think it was relevant. Everything else was normal.
5/31 Regular vet told me to give him Elura. By that night, he still wasn't eating, so I took him to a different ER at around 8PM. The person who examined him in triage said she thought he was blind or almost blind because he did not respond to the menace test and his pupils were huge and not responding to light normally. They put him in a larger run, and he bumped into walls. They kept him overnight so their specialists could examine him in the morning.
6/1 Ophthalmology examined him and said his vision had returned but he wasn't blinking much. Neurology examined him. They did:
- an ultrasound, which found slight intestinal thickening that they said was possibly IBD or potentially lymphoma (he has no history of GI issues), and a liver nodule, which they didn't think was anything worrisome;
- an MRI, which was completely normal;
- and a spinal tap, which was also completely normal.
They kept him overnight again to see if he'd start eating.
6/2 He ate half his food, so they said I could bring him home. Within 30 minutes of getting home (around 2PM), he was doing this: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W3r0FOP77Z3DOfLHijqi7EQtRIoBcKOm/view?usp=sharing
I emailed the video to the neurology team. The intern called and said he wasn't acting like that there. They weren't very concerned since his tests were so normal, but said I could always go back to the ER if I wanted. He did not have any medicine or anything between getting home and acting like that. He sniffed canned food, then walked away, got water, and went outside to the catio, and I took that video.
Today, 6/3, we gave him 1mL of gabapentin at around 8:30AM (regular vet said it wouldn't hurt to add it back in case it had been helping control some sort of neurological issue) and transdermal mirataz per neuro discharge instructions. At 11AM, he approached me like this: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XSWESo3p70vGy-wuWuMmk8\_E7gzWaP7t/view?usp=sharing
The only other things I can think of that changed in our home (vets said none of these were relevant):
- We put cedarcide granules in the yard. I guess it's possible some could have gotten under the catio screen. The other cats/dogs are fine.
- He found Scout's Honor Probiotic Deodorizer (Evergreen scent) when he jumped in my closet a few nights before this began. He acted like he loved the smell, so I sprayed some on my hands and ran my hands over him. We did this for 3-4 nights in a row before this began. It said it was cat/dog safe. Vet looked it up and wasn't worried about it.
- I opened a new waterproof blanket from Amazon and put it over a pet gate without washing it first Sunday night.
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2023.06.03 20:16 jimbobbypaul Ranking the Top 131 FBS Programs of the Last 40 Years: 83. Wyoming
Main hub thread with the full 131 rankings
“I have an army.”
“We have a Josh Allen.”
Coming in at 83rd on the list is the team representing the least populous state, Wyoming. While the Cowboys are mostly known by the average fan as being the school Josh Allen played at, they have a fairly rich history of success, and have produced many great coaches. College Football Hall of Famers Bowden Wyatt, Bob Devaney, Pat Dye, and Dennis Erickson all ran the show at Wyoming before moving onto bigger football powerhouses. Former Texas coach Fred Akers and Purdue coach Joe Tiller as well, and the current head man is Craig Bohl, who started the North Dakota State dynasty and won 3 national titles there.
Best Seasons and Highlights
1. 1988: 13. Wyoming: 11-2 (25.965) 2. 1987: 18. Wyoming: 10-3 (19.035) 3. 1996: 23. Wyoming: 10-2 (13.821) 4. 1998: 33. Wyoming: 8-3 (5.927) 5. 1999: 40. Wyoming: 7-4 (1.080) 6. 1990: 45. Wyoming: 9-4 (-1.091) 7. 2016: 52. Wyoming: 8-6 (-2.462) 8. 2019: 54. Wyoming: 8-5 (-2.971) 9. 1993: 39. Wyoming: 8-4 (-3.204) 10. 2017: 58. Wyoming: 8-5 (-5.051) 11. 1995: 53. Wyoming: 6-5 (-6.240) 12. 1983: 51. Wyoming: 7-5 (-8.685) 13. 2011: 67. Wyoming: 8-5 (-9.235) 14. 2004: 60. Wyoming: 7-5 (-10.844) 15. 2021: 74. Wyoming: 7-6 (-11.466) 16. 1997: 61. Wyoming: 7-6 (-12.755) 17. 2006: 68. Wyoming: 6-6 (-13.597) 18. 2009: 74. Wyoming: 7-6 (-14.432) 19. 2022: 79. Wyoming: 7-6 (-14.504) 20. 2018: 85. Wyoming: 6-6 (-16.091) 21. 1986: 69. Wyoming: 6-6 (-16.740) 22. 2020: 88. Wyoming: 2-4 (-17.248) 23. 1994: 67. Wyoming: 6-6 (-18.620) 24. 1984: 69. Wyoming: 6-6 (-19.144) 25. 1989: 69. Wyoming: 5-6 (-19.396) 26. 2007: 78. Wyoming: 5-7 (-19.792) 27. 1991: 70. Wyoming: 4-6-1 (-21.388) 28. 1992: 82. Wyoming: 5-7 (-24.123) 29. 2005: 92. Wyoming: 4-7 (-28.867) 30. 2014: 97. Wyoming: 4-8 (-31.500) 31. 2013: 94. Wyoming: 5-7 (-32.098) 32. 2012: 98. Wyoming: 4-8 (-33.199) 33. 2003: 92. Wyoming: 4-8 (-33.258) 34. 1985: 90. Wyoming: 3-8 (-38.705) 35. 2008: 104. Wyoming: 4-8 (-39.214) 36. 2010: 105. Wyoming: 3-9 (-40.666) 37. 2002: 107. Wyoming: 2-10 (-49.466) 38. 2001: 105. Wyoming: 2-9 (-52.188) 39. 2015: 122. Wyoming: 2-10 (-54.442) 40. 2000: 114. Wyoming: 1-10 (-63.312) Overall Score: 10204 (83rd)
- 232-244-1 record
- 3 conference titles
- 5-7 bowl record
- 3 consensus All-Americans
- 33 NFL players drafted
I mean…not bad, right? When I started this series I didn’t know how Wyoming would fare, but they certainly exceeded my expectations. 23 of 40 seasons with at least a .500 record is very good at the Group of 5 level, and they’re very close to becoming the first 40-year G5 team with a winning record on this list. The only conference title season that didn’t make the top 5 is 1993 at #9, when Joe Tiller led Wyoming to an 8-4 record and a 3-way share of the WAC crown. The All-Americans include the great Dallas Cowboys TE Jay Novacek in 1984, WR Marcus Harris in ‘96, and DB Brian Lee in ‘97. Surprisingly, the highest ranked Josh Allen team (2016) only comes in at 7th, which shows the high quality of teams Wyoming’s produced over the last 4 decades.
Top 5 Seasons Worst Season: 2000 (1-10 overall, 0-7 Mountain West)
Armed with a new coaching staff led by Vic Koenning, Wyoming’s defensive coordinator for one of the better 3 year stretches in Cowboy football history, Wyoming was full of confidence for the turn of the century. After predictably losing games to Auburn and Texas A&M, Wyoming rebounded to beat Central Michigan 31-10, and had a 21-7 point lead over Nevada, looking for their second straight win. The season ended there, and everyone went home happy. Kidding, Nevada scored 21 straight points to pull off the win in Laramie, and Wyoming didn’t win a game for the rest of the year. The closest loss was by just 12 points, and shutouts included 0-34 to San Diego State and 0-34 to Utah. But the Cowboys were certainly not without talent! Tucked away as the backup QB was Casey Bramlet, who would throw for 3000+ yards in each of the next 3 seasons and is an all-time great Wyoming QB. The receiver room was also loaded, with future NFL WR Malcolm Floyd (5500 receiving yards at the next level), and future CFL veteran WR brothers Brett and Brock Ralph. Brock won 2 Grey Cups, and Brett was a 4 year starter for the Calgary Stampeders. 5. 1999 (7-4 overall, 4-3 Mountain West)
Get ready for a history lesson, because each season in the top 5 predate the 21st century. 1999 was the first official year of the Mountain West Conference, formed by some of the longtime members of the WAC. Wyoming was known as a solid team around this time, but the class of the conference was clearly LaVell Edwards and BYU, who had won 18 of the last 25 WAC titles. So late in the season, when #15 8-1 BYU rolled into Laramie to face 5-3 Wyoming, the Cougars were heavy favorites to win the game and clinch the Mountain West in its inaugural season. The Cowboys had other plans though, and held BYU to just 29 rushing yards in a 31-17 upset. The fans stormed the field and tore down the goalposts, and Wyoming was right back in the conference title hunt. With a win in the final week they would’ve shared a 4-way title with Utah, BYU, and Colorado State, but lost 7-39 to San Diego State to finish 7-4 and 4th place in the MWC. Despite a winning record, they weren’t invited to play in a bowl either. 4. 1998 (8-3 overall, 6-2 WAC)
Conversely, this was Wyoming’s last year in the WAC. And they had a damn tough defense to play against. After beating Montana State 17-9 in week 1, the Cowboys flew to Athens to play #12 Georgia, and held them scoreless in the 2nd half in a 9-16 loss. Wyoming forced 4 turnovers, and could’ve even pulled off the upset if Georgia didn’t have one of the better defenses in the country. Fast forward later in the season with just 2 weeks left to play, Wyoming still had just 1 loss, to Georgia, and was 8-1 and ranked #25, with wins over .500 or better teams Louisiana Tech, TCU, Colorado State, and Utah. That set up a matchup with #23 Air Force for the WAC Mountain Division title in Laramie. In a battle of the top defenses in the WAC, Air Force did enough for the 10-3 win. Wyoming just needed to win their final game against 3-7 Tulsa, and Las Vegas Bowl representatives were so confident in a Wyoming win that they attended the game, ready to invite the Cowboys after the final whistle. Tulsa played their best game of the year though, in a 35-0 upset, and Wyoming missed out on a bowl. 3. 1996 (10-2 overall, 7-1 WAC)
As the season kicked off, Wyoming celebrated the 100th season in team history. This would be coach Joe Tiller’s last season at the helm before going on to success at Purdue. A 9-0 start came with its up and downs. An opening week 40-38 win over Idaho was too close for comfort, and Wyoming trailed Iowa State 23-38 with just half the 4th quarter remaining, before miraculously coming back to win 41-38 in OT. The defense started to find its stride afterwards and the offense kept clicking, averaging 43.3 PPG in the 9-0 start. A surprise 24-28 loss to 5-2 San Diego State ended the perfect season, but after beating Colorado State the Cowboys were headed to the inaugural WAC championship game to face BYU. A record crowd of 41,238 showed up to Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas that day, for the bout between #6 BYU and #20 Wyoming. BYU QB Steve Sarkisian was the most accurate passer in the NCAA, and their offense was top 5 in the country. Holding a 25-20 lead with just 3 minutes to go, Tiller elected to take a safety instead of punting deep from their own end zone, but BYU would go on to tie it 25-25 before eventually winning 28-25 in OT. Wyoming surprisingly wasn’t invited to a bowl game, but finished #22 in the country.
WR Marcus Harris was the best in the country, earning consensus All-American honors with 109 catches for 1650 yards and 13 TD, also finishing 9th in Heisman voting (the only WR to finish top 10). Harris finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time leading receiver with 4518 yards in just 3 years of starting. S Brian Lee was arguably the best defensive back in school history, ranking 2nd in the nation in interceptions with 8. A year later in 1997, he’d repeat with another 8 INTs, this time leading the country, and earned a consensus All-American spot because of it. 2. 1987 (10-3 overall, 8-0 WAC)
After coach Dennis Erickson left for Washington State following the 1986 season, Wyoming’s athletic director, Paul Roach, hired himself to double as the head football coach. Fans and media members weren’t sure of the move, but would quickly come to enjoy the fruits of his labor. An opening 27-13 win over Air Force was a big one; the Falcons had gone 12-1 just 2 years prior. After dropping a game to Washington State + Erickson and Oklahoma State, a few weeks later the Cowboys were 4-2 heading into BYU. Down 0-14, the Cowboys headed into halftime in front of a record BYU crowd of 65,291. 29 straight points later, Wyoming was up by 15, and would hang on to win 29-27, the game now known as the “Silence of the Cougars”. BYU fans, who just 3 years ago had watched their team win a national title, filed out of the stadium in stunned silence. Wyoming players believed they’d run the table after that and they did, going 10-2 and winning the WAC with a perfect 8-0 record. Wyoming faced Hayden Fry and #18 Iowa in the Holiday Bowl, and the Hawkeyes needed a blocked punt return for TD, pick six, and blocked FG to eek out a 20-19 win. Wyoming QB Craig Burnett was top 10 in the nation in passing yards/TDs with 3131 yards 21 TD 16 INT. RB Gerald Abraham was also top 10 with 1305 rushing yards. The year set up nicely for the 1988 team that would end up being Wyoming’s best team in the last 40 years… 1. 1988 (11-2 overall, 8-0 WAC)
Was the win over BYU a fluke? Going 8-0 in the WAC a farce? The 1988 team set out to quell those doubts. Armed with a new QB in Randy Welniak, Wyoming faced off against BYU in the season opener, a grudge match with the Cougars out for revenge. This time, Wyoming left no doubt. A 24-14 win was even more dominant than the score looked, with Wyoming intercepting 4 passes, recovering 3 fumbles, and racking up 9 sacks. Freshman BYU QB and future Heisman winner Ty Detmer was just 9/26 for 133 yards 1 TD and 4 INT. After that, things were just easy for Wyoming. 44-9 over an 8-3 Louisville team. 38-6 over Louisiana Tech. 55-27 over San Diego State. 61-18 over Utah. Late in the season, ranked #10 and matched up with 8-1 UTEP for the WAC title, Wyoming put on their best performance of the season, beating the Miners 51-6 and winning the WAC title for the 2nd straight year in the process. Wyoming entered their bowl at 10-1, with the only loss to Houston and Andre Ware, who’d win the Heisman a year later. Unfortunately this is where the fun ends, as the Cowboys faced #12 Oklahoma State in the bowl. Do you remember who was on that Oklahoma State team? Yeah, Barry Sanders ran for 222 yards and 5 TD…and sat out the 4th quarter. Oh you thought I was talking about Mike Gundy? Yeah, he had a good game too, 20/24 for 315 yards.
But the focus is on Wyoming. An unreal year. They averaged 39.3 PPG (4th best in the nation) while giving up just 21.5 PPG. 6 wins were by 30+ points. QB Randy Welniak had one of the best seasons by a quarterback in school history, throwing for 2791 yards 21 TD 11 INT with 415 rushing yards and 16 TD. Welniak was 2nd in the country in TDs with 37, and won WAC Offensive POTY. DT Pat Rabold won WAC Defensive POTY. Paul Roach hiring himself as head coach in 1987 turned out to be a shrewd move in hindsight, and would go back to being just AD in 1991 after going 35-15 in his 4 years as coach.
What is your favorite Wyoming player, play, or game? Do you think Josh Allen is the best player to play at Wyoming, or is someone being overlooked? What does the future hold for the Cowboys in an NIL world, as the premier team in a small state? And what’d you think of their teams in the 80’s? Here’s some highlights of Wyoming beating Tennessee in Neyland Stadium in 2008! If you appreciate the effort, please consider subscribing on substack!
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2023.06.03 20:05 Rand0mness4 Trails of Our Hatred Ch. 5
Special thanks to u/SpacePaladin15
for allowing fanfiction and giving us Tilfish. [First] [Prior]
Memory Transcription Subject: ? , run run run run run run. Date: December 2, 2136
I'm tired. I'm so unbearably tired. I don't remember the fall or when my legs quit working, but I'm still denied the sweet release of sleep by the fires radiating from my muscles. It's sick and twisted, but I don't think I can move any more. I'm stuck here face down in the soil, unable or unwilling to do anything but wonder if a harvesting drone will roll over me and turn me into mist on the crops I'm lost in. My mouth itches. Some loose soil in my nose makes me hack, but there's nothing I can do but wheeze and pant. There's not a drop of moisture left in me. I'm all shriveled up. Everything's a haze.
I should've stopped for water. There was time. A few ponds that didn't look filmed over with vile algae blooms. The last town had a fountain on the outskirts. There were a few distant outbuildings that could've had a sink or a hose. Really, a few mouthfuls would've been enough to keep me from cramping up. Now I feel like I'm all dried out, like a stick of fruit jerky.
I should've taken a break. I've not been able to run in so long. I knew it was getting bad, but I ignored it. I'm paying for it now. I pushed way too far. Run until I black out. Wake up. Repeat. For days and days, or however long I've been free. I don't know. Every time I wake I can't tell if minutes have passed or days. I would push myself back to my feet and run. Because distance is all that matters. I made the right call avoiding the roads. The cameras. The soles of my feet are battered and wail in pain, but for every step I took was a minute longer I got to feel the sun kiss my scales and the gentle caress of the wind upon my neck. The cool soil seeping into my burning side. Fresh air in my lungs. Faint mist on my back.
I should've calmed down. I'm wasting what little time I have left stuck here in misery. I missed my chance to escape. My saviors were predators, but it would've been a better fate. And they're everywhere. Monsters and Predators alike. The whole planet is getting what it deserves. I made my choice, but now I'm squandering it. At least the soil is nice. Even as broken as I feel, it is only temporary. I know this is heaven. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. Even if my tongue is dried and bleeding.
Up. no no no no no. Hurts. Hurts hurts hurts.
My body rebels. I settle on crawling. Dragging my tainted digits through the soil and forcing myself through the mud. Puddle. Puddle Puddle Puddle.
I'm glad to be alive. I'm glad for this puddle. It's my whole world. I crawl to it as quickly as my body allows and beyond, but I'm too dehydrated to cry at the lancing pain in my joints. I slip and tumble into it face first, a cold shock making me freeze up. I don't even try to drink at first, my eyes closed as I lay partially submerged in this brackish water. It makes me feel slightly better as the cold gently eases my neck muscles, and I feel the rest of my body cramping up again.
Imagine drowning in a claw of water. I'm suddenly terrified that it's possible. I throw an arm out and dig it deep into the mud, clawing silt as I awkwardly pull myself in sideways. I roll, splashing the rest of the way in and feeling my poorly treated scales weep as the cold bleeds into them. I lay my head sideways and drink, gagging at the taste but unable to stop myself. I still can't cry, but my face is still trying to produce tears anyways.
In delirium, I notice the corner of a structure well above me. It's a pole, made of metal and towering well above me. Morning dew drips off of it and into my eye not currently submerged, and I blink it away. Thank you pole. You're a life saver.
I don't plan on moving for a while, so I don't. The dew drips onto my snout several times, and my body rejoices at the cool water I've partially submerged myself in. The silt in my mouth is a necessary and tolerable evil from my desperate dive, and I angle my snout so that I can catch the fresh dew dripping from above instead. It tastes far better than the puddle, and for the first time in ever, I feel a smile creeping on my face.
I blink lazily, one eyelid operating a few seconds behind the other. I feel better. This blackout felt more natural, less forced. Like a gentle wave over my mind than the harsh crack of a baton. My mouth is still full of silt that I spit out, and a moment later I realize I can spit again. The bitter taste of blood in my mouth is faint now, and the joy of having a wet palate can't be described. ow.
It hurts to move. I try again, but my flesh feels like it's been filled with concrete. My muscles are too tight on my bones. Stiffly, I try again, making little progress, but still progress. I edge out a claw at a time, barely getting my neck out of the pool before collapsing, the chilly waters leaving me shivering. Where am I?
A very good question, I ask myself. I don't know. That's the cost of running without direction for so long. I think I'm in a field, judging by the crops looking over me and encompassing my wide vision of the vibrant sky overhead. Yeah... that's it. I'm in a field. Brilliant observation skills.
I try again, but nothing new comes up. For the first time since I fled, I think about what I'm going to do. I'm free. I'm free.
What am I going to do now that I'm free? How long do I have? I know the answer to that already. I have a long time. Everybody that knew me is dead and gone. I just need to be careful and not ruin this chance. I should try and find a town. Cities are too big, too many problems could come up. Too many exterminators. I could start over off the beaten path. Somewhere I can hide in plain sight. This is Sillis. Being me shouldn't be an issue. I... I can get a labor job somewhere. Change my name. What can I do? ... What
can I do? What
is my name?
"Oh dear." I whispered quietly to myself, brows furrowing. Odd. How odd. I can move on from that. Makes starting a new life easier. Something that isn't four walls and a paper thin mattress. Something outside. I just... need to get... out of this darn puddle. No, still not happening. Ouch.
I splash my paw into the puddle in frustration, using about the full range of motion I seem capable of in a mild fit. I want to stay on the move, but the consequences of my poor decision making have come back to bite me right on the rear. At least I have some time to think. I could try the lumber industry. That's usually away from people. I think I can figure out how to knock down trees, or at least fix up the machines that can. Maybe I can join a farm around here once I'm cleaned up. There's always something to do on a farm. Like counting shipments, or unloading shipments, or loading them. Maybe I can fix things around the property. Golly, I hope I know how to fix the automated machinery. That would really be nice. Ooh! I could try and be a tram service maintenance operator. Wait, no no no. That requires background checks, I think. Darn it. Uuuh, road utility services? No, that'll take me into cities one way or another. There's a ton of work with drainage systems and water run off here. I could get good money for that since it's risky. Pollutants, constant thundering streams of water. I think I can go with that. There would be a lot of rural investigations that I could apply for. If not, I'm certain the underground construction projects would bear fruit. I'll miss the sun but nobody would bother me too much... no, still too many people. Drainage systems it is!
A faint whistle catches my ear and I freeze, tilting my head as something green flies just overhead. It clips several stalks and leaves as it passes, but seems unbothered as the severed branches fall to the ground and leaves gently cascade after. I follow its path with an eye and it vanishes between some tall plants, leaving me alone just as quickly as-
Nope, the same thing floats by again, darting between crops once more directly above me. It's odd, I can't hear wing beats or buzzing, or see anything keeping it airborne as it passed, and I wait with baited breath to see if it shows itself again. I don't know what I feel, but it isn't terror. It's... something. Curiosity? This time I hear a chirrup, but it's close. I don't see it float by, and painfully I crane my neck and look at the other side of the puddle.
It's an insectoid of some kind, strangely wide and flat. It looks pretty similar to the leaves on the many trees that I've seen since I got out, with uneven, tapered sides. It has a few pairs of legs, and it scuttles to the puddle and dips the front of its body towards the surface. It really does look like a large leaf, but my observation is cut short when the bug abruptly stops moving within barely a claw of the water, a pair of forward facing compound eyes snug against the stem near the tip of its body. It chirps again, and I see narrow maw under the front of this creature, a slim set of fangs briefly glinting in the sun before its mandibles hide them.
"Oh dear." I manage to whisper.
With remarkable dexterity it hops across the body of water and splashes down on top of me, and several legs grip my ribs and arms. My tail flicks under the water's surface, but I don't move as the thing's maw looms over my snout. A smaller set of feelers touch my scales and let it guide where it can't see, and it pecks at my nostril once. I smell ozone and feel a different fire burn in my core, and relax. This isn't ideal. It really isn't. But it's still better that what once was. You won't hurt me for too long. You're better than they ever were.
Trading my cell for this... it's not that scary. Somehow, despite this predator straddling me and chewing on my snout, I'm not scared of it. I have alarms shrieking in my ears and ozone burning my nostrils and wrists. Bubbly poison twisting my insides and making me gag. I'm terrified of that, but that's long gone. That broken visage cuts deep, but it leaves me feeling empty. I'm alone with this thing pecking at my skull, occasionally chirping or hissing softly as it chews over my scales.
It's little mandibles flutter over my cheek and squish it, the fangs behind it pricking at my scales but never really puncturing. It's odd, almost exploratory. I hear a faint plip as some dew from the pole overhead drips onto the creature, and it leans back slightly to presumably look up. It lowers back down on me, and I wince as it gets a little rougher. It halts for a moment, mandibles still dancing over my scales, before I feel a set of legs slip past my arms and latch onto my back.
I grit my teeth, expecting it to finally lunge down and bite into my flesh as the rest of it's body tenses, but with a start it lifts me up with strength I didn't think it had. My back scrapes along the mud as it lifts me and drags me partially out of the muck. It lowers me down just as quickly as it started, leaving a bit of my upper body out of the water and in the warm air. I blink as it lowers its body down onto my own, legs tightening its grip on me as it presses itself against me. It chirrups again and resumes nibbling on my neck, and my mind absently puzzles over this change of events. It's roosting on me. Is it my body heat? I feel cold, but maybe it's colder. I wish I knew what you were. I'm glad you're not really biting me. It tickles, stop!
I couldn't help but squeak out a laugh, despite the very present danger I was in. The bug tensed for a moment but didn't sink its fangs into my neck, and after a moment it resumed licking at me. Slowly, it's legs tightened on my body and it pressed itself against me further, and it hissed softly. I closed my eyes when it's maw pressed against me, but once again no bite split me open and drained my lifeblood. It's mandibles tickled my scales some more as the creature flattened out, the ridges of its body laying in the mud as it settled down. I was all but buried under the thing that was almost as big as me, and my tail swished lightly in the water.
Once again, I find myself stuck. I wasn't going anywhere anyways, but now I'm very stuck. Hopefully it doesn't get peckish. This thing could definitely eat me if it wanted to. It's funny that I'm supposed to fear it. All those training exercises failed. Every test and experiment. Maybe it enforced the wrong behavior. I think I might've been respectfully afraid of this creature once, but that part of me is all burned up. If it existed at all.
I've missed the novelty of clouds. Sillis has an overabundance of them, but so far I've been lucky that none of the ones passing overhead were angry. It's almost odd that no rain has come, but I'm glad. I faintly remember that the rains could become acidic if there's too long a pause between storms. Too much smoke or warp residue building up in the atmosphere.
So far I've counted two absolutely towering thunderheads and small storm systems roll by in all their stunning glory, and dozens of smaller offsets in their wake. Hundreds of individual clouds dot the skies, not quite blanketing it yet. It's pleasant, even within the grasp of a large, sleeping predator that's fully enveloped me. I can feel it's diaphragm shifting ever so slightly on my chest, and it twitches occasionally.
I don't mind. For now, things are peaceful. I'm enjoying that. At least, until something crunched a few rows over. That sounds a lot bigger than this predator.
The creature shifts slightly but doesn't wake as whatever else is out there stalks through the crops. It has to be a predator, from how quiet it moves. Every little rustle and faint step happen far from each other, and my mind immediately jumps to an ambush hunter. Carefully, I move my head to catch a glimpse of the thing, trying not to disturb the slumbering creature that is currently resting it's mouth on my neck. My scales fade into a dirty black that matches the soil, and I squint to hide my eyes from whatever is out there.
There's movement on my left, something tall shifting between the crops a few rows down. I hear a rumbling noise- a deep based growl, and the back of my skull itches.
"...D-1?" No no no no no. I don't want to go back. I want to be free.
I know what the thing is. It's a new predator. A sapient one. The same ones that freed me. The same ones that wanted to herd me onto a ship. I can't do this. Sapient predators are cruel, far crueler than the average ones. A normal predator wasn't personal about the kill. It could be reasoned with. Where did that come from?
A sapient predator was ruthless for entertainment. I owe them my life. They'll just take it.
There's a rustle from a different direction, and a behemoth steps out of the crops far closer to me than I would prefer. It is armored like the many I've seen before, but I realize instead of a firearm it wields a bulky tool of some kind tightly in its paws. It dawns on me that it's colors are different, green and blue instead of solid blue, and there's a colorful flag of some kind pressed on the garments of its arm.
"Copy." It rumbled quietly.
"Crikey, you spooked me there!" the other predator whispered, changing course. Thankfully the closest one broke off to meet it, and they stopped one row over. It was best I stay still. Their hearing was better than they let on. "Okay, did you get it done?"
I can't see them clearly, but some non verbal communication must have occurred because the one predator continues speaking.
"Good. Look, trouble is coming. A fellow seppo noticed the ordinance went missing. He's suspicious. There'll be heat soon. Have you made any progress with the other front?" A pause. "Same. I've dealt with several of his goons, but none knew anything good."
"I'll have him tonight."
"An exterminator account and reversed polarity on some switches works wonders."
"...you seppos are terrifying."
"We're a world power for a reason."
"...yeah. Do you have the drive? Nice. You keep this up and we'll have everything we need from this planet before Christmas. We're going to make things right." There's an odd grunt, and one of them starts rumbling quietly in what translates as amusement. "Involved in peace. What do they really think this accomplishes?"
"Don't care. We find our whales and move on."
"Come on, we can have some more fun if we're careful! Don't act like that doesn't entertain you after that bomber plot of yours!"
"S-4," there's an undertone in that growl that makes my scales shrink, "remember the prize."
"...God, you're a hard ass. Fine. I'm certain you're carrying that giant wrench for peaceful reasons and not to crack open any skulls out here. I'll check the smuggling routes. Rig up something to keep these bugs under our thumb. You keep being you. I need to move before they notice I'm gone."
Faint footsteps leading away, and I sighed. While brief, just being around them made my scales crawl-
The crops right beside me parted, and the other predator stepped out. It's covered foot splashed into the puddle, and stirred the predator enveloping me. Much to my horror the thing chirruped and hissed, releasing me and spinning around. The apex predator looked down at the smaller thing and regarded it.
The drawing on the mask was comical, and not at all what I was expecting. Most humans didn't wear masks, so blinding terror didn't sweep me away. I almost laughed at the absurdity of concealing one's face, only to make a lazy drawing of a face overtop of it.
The smaller predator didn't find it nearly as confusing or entertaining as I did, and hissed. The apex didn't falter, but surprisingly held its ground despite being threatened by a lesser predator. Most predators would make a threat back and assert itself. Or lash out. What is this one up too? It's not acting submissive so it isn't backing down. But it isn't retaliating either. Does it need to? It's using it's own size as a deterrent.
My thoughts are interrupted when my toothy cover abruptly spins and flees, gaining air under its body and become airborne. It slashes through a row of crops and is gone, just like how it arrived. The apex still hasn't moved. It takes a few steps forward, nearing me. I can't tell if it's looking at me or not so I close my eyes tight, hoping that my eyes hadn't given me away. There's a thump right beside me and I flinch. I can feel it's presence. It has stopped walking. It knows. Somehow it sees me. It knows it knows it knows.
Something warm grazes my neck and I flinch again, despite myself. I can't do it. I don't want to die with my eyes closed. I want to see the sun and the clouds and the crops, not this faux darkness.
I open my eyes and it's right there, crouched over me. I can't bother with wasting my energy by screaming. It saw through my camouflage and had a paw to my neck. I wished it to be merciful and just strike me down with the wrench it brought, but it doesn't. Instead it plunges its paw into the water, under my rump. It rips me out of the water and I gasp as its other paw slips down under my shoulders and lifts, but my mind catches up a moment later when it pressed me against it's chest instead of its mouth, forsaking my exposed stomach. It's grip loosens slightly and it adjusts, an arm under my shoulder blades and legs. I can feel the muscles rippling in it's grip, and how easily it could fold me over backwards and squish me. I've seen it first hand.
But it's so gently. So unbelievably gentle. I don't remember the last time I was touched like this. Something in a dark recess of my mind wavered, and I realized I'd curled my tail around the creature's arm without meaning to. It holds me a little closer, nowhere near enough to hurt, and my scales start to change to match the colors it wears. It's not looking at me, the mask is angled too far up. We're moving at a blinding pace suddenly, the rows of crops blurring in my vision. It doesn't stop. This apex runs like a machine, each breath consistent and calculated to a rhythm I notice. Its breathing labors but it keeps going, warm jets of air spitting out the bottom of its mask and onto my soggy, damp form.
It's so warm. I didn't realize the chill of the water until now but I'm shivering. My body takes over for my confused mind and curls into the predator's grasp, trying to get as much warmth from the human's rough garments as I can. I don't know what's come over me. I don't know where it's taking me. I don't care. I can't escape it, and if this thing kills me it was at least kind enough to be gentle.
The skies are so beautiful. I try and focus on them but all I can really see is the predator's mask. I can see the bottom of it's jaw, the taught muscles there. I dread what its face looks like in this moment under that mask. Its digits tighten on my shoulder and side in response to me curling into it, and absently I wonder how this predator is the same as the ones from days ago with their thundering bellows and ruthless firepower.
The apex thunders out of the field and I'm assaulted by new sights. There's a few dozen of them roving around a clearing by several vehicles.
I also spot an Exterminator's van, and my claws unsheathe. The predator winces and I realize I've nailed him with them, but he doesn't throw me down or bark at me. He sprints by the van without stopping, but I see several Tilfish locked inside and doomed to a terrible fate worse than being eaten.
"Ambulance!?" It barks sharply, out of breath. It skids to a stop beside one of the transports, clutching me firmly.
"Just left with the patient. Where the hell did this one come from?" An unmasked predator growled, eyes beady and looking over me. Mine made an odd jerking motion and continued.
"I will. What hospital are we calling?" The thought of a clinical space makes me flinch. White walls. White floors. Cold tiles. Needles. Beeping. Humming. Frying.
"None. Operational security."
The other predator screwed its face up and departed, and abruptly mine was sitting down on the back of one of the trucks. Gently I was plopped down on its lap, and I watched transfixed as it peeled its armor off, then its outer garment. There's an image of a veiled human on the back with its eyes closed, head craned down. Its hands are clasped together in thought, and the meaning of it goes over my head.
The predator is a lot smaller than I thought it was. It gently lifts me and set me in the garment, before it starts wiping me down with it. I'm too sore to fight it, and the cloth is exceptionally warm from the creature's body heat. It pulls me closer and holds me in a way that makes my chest hurt, and it looks out at an approaching predator. It rumbles softly.
"You're going to be okay."
My body relaxes despite my mind's warnings. I'm wrapped up in this garment it wore. I can't escape it. But it's warm. The material soaks up the water on my skin, and wipes away the grime and muck I've accumulated over the days. Slowly, my scales begin to shift again, bleeding back to my normal tan coloration.
"Did something finally bite you Sunshine? I haven't seen you run like that in- oh-kay." The approaching predator flinched when it got close and tensed up. It wants to eat me. This one- Sunshine- it won't let it without a fight. Are they going to eat me? Sunshine won't. Right?
"I thought there was only one victim." The predator rumbled after a moment, creeping closer. I shrank into the material and took on it's color, only for a warm paw to settle on my arm.
"You're fine." Sunshine whispered. It looked up at the approaching predator and jerked its head awkwardly. "There is. Look at it. Do you see it too?"
Gently, it lifted my arm. I was too stiff to pull it back, not that I could've against its powerful grip. I was completely exposed to this other predator.
"Relax. Please." Sunshine whispered once more. The growl was soft, and I looked up at the mask above me. The grip on my arm was careful, I realized. I could pull away right now. Slowly, my scales lightened. The other predator leaned in closer and I flashed white and yellow briefly, but Sunshine propped me up a bit and started gently poking at sore parts of my body. My ribs. My neck. "Here. And... and here."
The other predator's eyes seemed to get bigger. Something deeper changed in its face. "Holy shit." It made to move forward and I reeled back, pressing myself further into Sunshine. The predator immediately froze and slunk back.
"He can help." Sunshine rumbled softly. Oh dear. Oh dear.
It touched me. It's diminutive nails didn't rend into my scales as it touched my ribs, prodding them softly. Sunshine adjusted how it sat so that the other predator could have better access to me, and I couldn't help but focus on the skies again as it assessed what part of me it wanted. Sunshine won't let it eat me.
I don't know where the thought came from, but it was firm. I believed it entirely. Even though Sunshine was a sapient predator, it wouldn't let it happen. Maybe it claimed me as its own already. I... I had doubts I would be eaten. The thoughts were there, but Sunshine had a perfect chance already. Unless it wanted to flaunt its catch first, which the Arxur did- but it was gentle. Sunshine was better than an Arxur.
"Malnourished, deep sores. Ulcers. There's bruising up and down the rib cage. Jesus- sorry."
"They're old. Persistent. Its feet."
"What about..." The predator got quiet. I felt my scales shift in worry as it gingerly lifted one of my legs. It remained quiet, but its face stretched further. "What happened?"
It was looking at me. Asking me. I shrank further into the fabric, but there was nowhere to go. The silence was unbearable, and I started trembling.
The silence continued.
"A runaway." Sunshine rumbled after forever. I didn't understand what that meant. My translator didn't pick it up quite right. Run-away? Like fleeing? Was that what these predators called their prey? No... no that didn't seem right. It was possible, but...
"Could have been kidnapped." Another word I didn't understand, but my translator worked on the other predator. Stealing a person by force? Using fear outside of the law? How did predators have such a word? "We need to get it to the hospital. Figure out what happened and how it ended up in this field." NO NO NO NO NO
Sunshine's arms draped over me before I could escape, my attempt no better than a drunk Mazic trying to fit through a Venlil sized door. I couldn't stop the whine in my throat, but its soft digits down my back froze me. A subtle noise filtered out behind the mask, and it settled me back down in its garment. It picked up an edge lined with little metal teeth and draped it over me, blocking my sight from the other predator. I felt safe, suddenly. Sunshine's firm grip on my body didn't feel threatening. It felt like a promise, as it carefully pulled me against it's bulk. I was warm, despite my terror.
"Zuda will handle it. No hospitals. This stays with us."
"Sunshine," the other predator protested, "we need to figure out what happened!"
"Think, Doc." Sunshine growled, and this was no doubt a warning. I felt relief that the difference between the two growls was so obvious.
Use your head."
There was a period of silence. "You don't... that can't be right." I didn't understand what conclusion it made.
"The injuries are uniform. Too clean to be anything else." They can't know. How can they know?
"We need confirmation!"
"We already have it." Sunshine stated, and slowly the fabric was lifted off of my head. I blinked, and noticed that the other predator had changed a different shade. That's odd. Are you predators like me? That's terrifying. I'm not a threat. I'm me.
"It reacted to the van and mention of a hospital, Doc. Nobody outside the UN hears of this. Operational security." It... does Sunshine know? How do they know?
"What the fuck is this planet, Sunshine?" The other predator lamented.
Sunshine didn't respond. He looked around at the surrounding encampment, and I realized it was shrinking. They were leaving. A few other predators were subtly watching as they worked, but I doubted they could hear the conversation with how quiet it was. I realize there's a few Venlil in their ranks, unbothered by their presence and even wearing garments similar to the predators around them.
A digit tapped the end of my snout and I flinched, looking up at Sunshine. It's paw retracted as the other predator withdrew a medical kit with a paw print on it and began to unclasp it. "You're safe. We're... we're going to help." You know. You know what I am. And you're helping me anyway. Why are you helping me? I'm weak. I'm dangerous. But not to you. You're an apex. Is that why? Does your species stick together, unlike the Arxur? Do you uplift those around you, no matter if they're prey or dangerous? The Venlil are not afraid of you. You must not eat them. What do you eat? It has to be meat. But, it must be something that they can handle. Does what makes me dangerous fall away under your hierarchy? I hope it does. It doesn't seem real. I guess to you, what makes me a threat is meaningless.
I believe Sunshine. I really do. When the other predator comes forward with a healing gel, I surrender. I am safe.
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2023.06.03 19:48 WideAd8358 4 June 2023 (Kurt Tay) - Q&A (Part 1)
On 15th May 2023, I was filming part 1 Q&A video of 24th May Q&A. 24th May Q&A video was filmed on 15th May 2023 because got many many questions. So I divide into different days different parts. On 15th May 2023, I made a big mistake. The place where I film, sometimes the NEA, they will pour the stupid bottle on the floor, got a lot of stupid idiot mosquitos then come to my place. That time I didn't bring this call the mosquito thing, the insect, the one call what. That time 15th May 2023, I never bring this thing. So after that, I put this thing (shieldtox) everyday inside my bag. Because sometimes I film the Q&A here, the NEA. I don't understand why they want to put the bottle of mosquitos. Then the mosquito fly here, I feel very frustrated. So after that, I tell myself, every-time I film Q&A, I must put this one inside my bag. So on 15th May 2023, I forgot to bring this. Then what happen ? A lot of mosquitos fly here fly there very dulan. As I want to hit the mosquitos, I accidentally hit the tripod stand. The tripod stand was with the phone. The tripod stand with the phone dropped down on the floor. Lucky the phone never spoil. If the phone spoil then honggan already. Because the phone I need to use for Q&A. So this was a fucking fucking big mistake that shouldn't have happened. What the difference between the new and old Kurt Tay ?
On 20th May 2023 (Saturday), my fans that time he message me say he want to treat me KFC. He order KFC to send to my house. That time I was seeing a doctor at Polyclinic. I was going for the X-Ray. After the X-Ray, I was at this void deck writing the 4D/Toto, then my this fan message me, going to order the KFC to deliver to my house. So I see the delivery time, its around 1.26pm. I was thinking I can reach home early by 1.10pm. So by 1.10pm, I can reach home already. That time my fan got tell me to tell my family/my parents. That time I never tell, I thought I can reach home early. Because if I tell my parents my fan want to treat me KFC, my parents will be a bit suspicious because my parents don't trust. Even that time I went out with Eddy Low, I have to tell my parents that this is my working colleague. Because they don't believe. Because you know I got a lot of haters. So my parents they don't trust people. They will felt that this is a guy. This guy is a hater. Trying to pretend to be my fans. They don't trust. I have to say he is a working colleague. So I made a mistake. I never go and call my parents say got food delivery coming. So that time when I reach home around 1.10pm. Just nice. Few minutes ago, the food delivery guy just left and my parents thought order the wrong one then they tell the delivery man they never order KFC. Then the delivery man go off then I was shocked. The delivery man call my fan. My fan say the address never wrong so ask the delivery man to return. But of course the delivery man have to go to other places to send first. So as a result, wait more than 30 minutes and I apologize to the delivery man. So its a big mistake because I should have call my parents on the phone when I was writing 4D/Toto that there is a delivery man coming but didn't. Luckily the delivery man got return but wasting a lot of time. So this is a mistake that shouldnt have happened.
The next mistake I make on 21st May 2023, I didn't go and check my notifications with the PLRD. Monday night, I cannot work because I got two notifications. Then after that I got to call the agency the next morning. Total got 2 agencies still holding my name. So I called the 2 agencies to cancel my notifications. What happened ? 24th night. Supposed to can work already. Then I go to look for adhoc jobs in the security whatsapp group. Then the agency check say I got two notifications. I was shocked. Then the next day, I call the agencies. Both agencies they forget to cancel. You see on the 23th May, I call them. The notifications in order to cancel need to wait for 24 hours later. So on Wednesday morning, I should have called the PLRD to check with them whether my notifications have been cancelled or not but I didn't. I think cannot be two agencies both also forgot to cancel. Confirm got one agency will cancel one. In the end, both also forget. Its a mistake that shouldn't have happened. When you work security officeguard, one person can only maximum two notifications. That means my name if lets say got two agencies, you cannot go and work adhoc job. Because your name got two agencies already. So you need to take out one of the agencies or best if you take out both agencies, the notifications so that your name is not under them then you go and work adhoc job. Ah then only you can work.
It was on the 25th May 2023, when I go to the toilet at home, while carrying the phone and the notebook, my notebook/datebook and the YouTube photo slideshow. The photo slideshow for example, I write the NXT champion Kurt Tay take selfie blah blah. That is called the photo slideshow book. I use the color ink pen to write the words. For example, the almighty WWE champion Kurt Tay take photo with fans. That is called the photo slideshow book. So this book and the date book, I accidentally drop inside the toilet bowl. Its a mistake that shouldnt have happened.
I made another mistake. It was on the 25th May 2023. 24th May 2023, my wife was off. When my wife was off day, its a bit hard for me to do the wrestling pose because she at home. She see me do the wrestling pose, she don't like. But however, 25th May 2023, my wife was working and I after eating, I forgot to do the wrestling pose because I was wearing the Almighty Bobby Lashley T-shirt but I forgot to do the Bobby Lashley wrestling pose after eating so this is also a mistake.
Sometimes people will think. Got difference meh. Whats the difference ? Let me explain to you. The new Kurt Tay will have more confidence. My confidence level will reach above the sky level. My confidence will be a few million times or even a few billion time more confident than you can ever imagine. And I will be a few million times or even a few billion time smarter than you can ever imagine. Not only that. Sometimes in the past, you see my videos have to wait for a few days, never post. This thing will never happen again when the new Kurt Tay arrive on 4th June 2023. You see last time on certain days, there are fans take photo with me, sometimes I never get to post them. There are a lot of them which I never post on my YouTube channel. This thing will never happen again. Got fans take photo with me. Confirm guarantee plus chop, I will post them on my YouTube channel. And you will not see my food videos how come few days never post. Every day the food photo slideshows/videos will post on the date itself. No more wait for few days never post. No. Unless, this selfie eating videos, I might post on the next day. Because the selfie eating video is fucking long. Sometimes must take even 2 hours. So if I go to work, if I use the phone to upload the selfie eating videos, it will waste a lot of data. That one I will wait after work then I go home and use my wifi to upload. Other than that, the other videos you confirm see will post on the day itself. Why don't you want do property agent ? Can earn a lot of money you know. Complete one transaction can earn $10000 in commissions. Didnt think of that ?
This is a very very good suggestion. If really one transaction can earn a lot of money, I think I will go and try. Thank you for the advice but then I hope the job got at least some basic. If the job totally dont have the basic, what happen if you have 0 transaction then how ? That means that whole month, you got no money at all. You got $0 earnings. If got $0 earnings then will honggan already. So I want to make sure got at least some basics. Not totally depends on commissions. If really can earn so much from transactions, I think I will actually quite interested. I think I will call to find out more because who don't love money. I love money but of course must guarantee have some basics also. What happen if I got zero deals ? I got try before last time. Do like the sales everything. Its not so easy to get people to buy your product you are promoting all these. Its not so easy. I want to make sure that everything is OK. What are your birthday wishes ?
My birthday wishes every year is the same. Of course I hope that I can strike Toto first prize become a millionaire. I really have been dreaming to become a millionaire. Its my birthday wish. I want to become million dollar man. Money Money Money Money. Other wishes. I wish my family got the healthy. Myself healthy also. The third wish is actually that is quite impossible. I want to have Doraemon magic pocket. Because got that magic pocket, you basically can grant any wishes you want. You can have time travel machine blah blah blah. The Doraemon magic pocket. If that someone promise to forgive you if ask you to crawl on all fours in public, will you do it ?
Answer is No. Last time is Yes. But also must see situation. Because if I not famous online celebrity, I got no problem doing that. But I am a famous online celebrity so it will be inconvenient. But now the answer confirm is No because I really very disappointed in someone. I curious what your wife reply to you (referring to voice message to my wife where I was working at Raffles Institution Junior College)
I was working the traffic marshall. That means the car jam, I need to marshall the cars, to go as fast as they can. The RI, usually the parents will drive cars, the students got off from the cars and I so super super famous, a lot of students recognize me and approach me and take photo with me. That time so many fans. I went inside the guard house to take photos with my fans, RI students. Later on, so many fans, I keep on go in go out. In in out out. The supervisor can see. So I go inside, the view they cannot see. Later on the supervisor see why I keep walking in and out then she come and take a look. Then she say how come you taking photos with the students. Then she say "are they your relatives" ? Then I say "yah yah yah. my relatives" I also don't know how to explain because she don't know me. But then a lot of students they know me. This supervisor say cannot go inside to take photos. Then I say "Ï stand here. They take photos with me can or not" ? Then she say "cannot. you are on duty". After that around 7.50am, still got a lot of fans want to take photo with me. Then I tell my fans to wait say supervisor not happy already. I am SSS but I only work there adhoc 1 night only. After that I tell my fans have to wait until 8am when I finish work. 10 more mins. Some can wait. Some cannot wait. I actually missed out quite a lot of fans to take photo with me. So 8am, once finish work, a lot of fans rush to take photo with me. I so super super famous. After that I went back to the guard house, there is this one man which I think is the management. Because he wearing civilian clothes. He was instructing the security officers what to do. His face was very black color. Because I think he saw what happened. How come this security guard got so many students want to take photos with me. So this incident I got tell my wife. So Mr Meow is curious what my wife says. So my wife says "I should have tell my fans that I am working now. Cannot take photos." My wife say the management his face black black color. Its understandable that he is angry because I am doing security work. So my wife say should have tell my fans that I am working. Cannot take photos. So my wife say that I will kenna complain. Maybe the management will complain to the security agency. But the thing is a lot of fans will feel sad. They will feel disappointed when I rejected them when their idol (me). When they cannot take photo with me (their idol), they will feel very very disappointed. They will feel very sad. So I try not to make my fans disappointed which was why I agree to take photos with then. You see for famous online celebrity like me, its actually quite hard to work in school where I need to work road traffic marshall. Then got fans recognize me all these. I also not suitable to work security at MRT station. Imagine I doing security at MRT then people say "Kurt Tay Kurt Tay" So many people want to take photos with me. Because I am public figure. Certain security job like public area. I so famous. Its a bit hard. Its inconvenient. If male and female JC students want to engage your BDSM services, will you say yes ?
This one must see if they got underage or not. I am not sure BDSM if there is a age requirement. I know sex there is a requirement. BDSM. I think its best at a legal age lah. To avoid conflict. If lets say students, its best if its 18 years and above. The legalized age. So if got male and female want to engage me as the male master, as long as they are legal ages, that should be fine. Must see situations first. Answer is Yes and No. If underage then cannot. If the male and female JC students want to become your master and mistress to punish you, are you OK or not ?
For guys confirm is No. For guys, I can only become the master and not the slave. For girls, I Ok to be the master and slave but then must see if they are legalied age or not.
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2023.06.03 19:37 CT_Phipps Agents of MORTAL by MK Gibson - Fun police procedural in a fairy-kingdom in Alaska 4.5/5
DEICIDE (Agents of MORTAL) by M.K. Gibson is the latest offering from an author that has done a lot of books that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve read his TECHNOMANCER, VILLAINS RULE, THE CAPE IS A LIE, and SHE DREAMS OF FIRE novels. Gibson’s book are heavy on the humor, irony, and cynicism with his protagonists tending to be somewhat sardonic heroes in the Harry Dresden mold. This may be my favorite of them, though, which is saying something since the Technomancer books are “What if the Dresden Files were cyberpunk?”
The premise is that the “myths” have come out: gods, goblins, vampires, and more. Unfortunately, this does not result in a renewal of their worship but all of them being rejected by society. The town of Avalantis, Alaska is reserved for them and becomes a city with millions of people in it. Arguably, it’s a nation as opposed to a city and the only reason the city isn’t larger is that space/time gets wonky around it. The size of the Avalantis police force doesn’t really reflect this but my impression is that they’re not actually expected to be able to police the gods, goddesses, and fairies they do. It’s sort of like Twin Peaks having only a handful of cops despite having fifty thousand residents, except more so.
The story follows the recruitment of a up and coming police officer named Jesse into an elite branch of the Avalantis police department called MORTAL. Jesse is a wee bit bitter because despite devoting herself to the APD, she was almost murdered by her partner. It turns out being an overachiever and scrupulously honest cop in a corrupt supernatural reservation doesn’t win you any friends.
However, Jesse’s devotion to the law is just what needed when a politically sensitive case drops itself on MORTAL’s desk: the death of the Greek god Hermes. Apparently, he overdosed on a drug that briefly restores divine power and exploded on a bunch of cops. Who gave him the drug, why, and how much more do they have of it? It’s a fascinating combination of a very street-level story with an epic mystical one.
I was a big fan of supporting character Cassandra Cross, who is a woman that ticks off Jesse in every single way. Whereas Jesse has devoted herself to being meticulous, efficient, conservative, and uptight, Cross is well-liked and laid back. There’s also the fact that Cross doesn’t mind being openly sexual and this plays into a lot of Jesse’s internalized misogyny. Jesse has sacrificed everything to be the top cop she thinks herself to be and is annoyed that Cassandra is seemingly able to be one without having sacrificed a life.
MK Gibson is surprisingly good at mixing dark concepts with gut-busting humor and this is another interesting example of doing so. The gods have been stripped form their fairy holds and kingdoms by the US military before being stuck in the middle of nowhere. They’re angry, annoyed, and have every right to be. However, they’re coping with it and our protagonists have the job of keeping the peace despite not having the power or any real authority to do so. They also don’t even seem to realize, or are willfully blind to, how much of a powder keg the city actually is.
This is not a particularly serious work but is very humorous with barista gods, party girl goddesses, and even a high priest of Cthulhu from Kentucky. One that I’m pretty sure is a reference to me but that only partly influenced my review (zing
). I was a bit uncomfortable with the fact people from real religious groups (Buddha, Kali) had their figures under “myths” but M.K. Gibson books have about as reverence for anything as South Park. He’s also an equal opportunity offender to other traditional Western religions so there’s that (you’ll see). It’s basically Brooklyn 99 with gods, magic, and fairies.
The audiobook version of the book is narrated by the dual team of Jeffrey Kafer and Heather Costa (now Heather Kafer), which is an excellent combination of voices. Both are professional and manage to convey the blindingly weird combination of characters present. Jeffrey Kafer also has the excellent deadpan comic timing needed to make the story work. He plays off his then future wife extremely well.
In conclusion, I got a lot of enjoyment out of this book. I think everyone who enjoyed his other books will enjoy this work as well. This is the perfect afternoon comfort food and if you like your stories crass, fun, and with a surprising amount of heart then you will enjoy this. This is a funny, zany, first book in a series that people who don’t take their urban fantasy too seriously will greatly enjoy.
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2023.06.03 19:22 tonyopen How I was deceived by a girl online years ago and the pain it caused me back then
The story of how I was deceived by a married woman online.
August 15 2020, I was on a dating app for Muslims. I matched with a girl who I thought looked nice. She was Iraqi like me. She didn’t have Instagram or Facebook so she gave me her Snapchat instead. I gave her a call when we exchanged numbers. The first conversation we had she came across as very strong. She told me when she was born her mother had put her in foster care, and at the age of 10 she asked her foster care supervisor if she would be able to meet her real parents; after doing some research she finds them, and rearranges them to meet them. She also told me she was in medical school, worked as a surgeon assistant on $85 an hour. Sent me a picture of her sister who was skinny clamining it was her. Mind you I didn’t realise these things to be a lie at the time. She made me feel special in a way that was too good to be true. So of course as a human I wanted to meet up with her naturally. She said she’d meet me in my area. I wake up getting a text saying “hey sorry I’m sick”. I was too naive to realise this was a common way for girls to flake on a guy. A woman interested in you will move mountains just to see you. So I was ready to cut contact because if she was interested I won’t have my time wasted. She told me “no no I’m not wasting your time I am interested, I am just super busy please give me 8 weeks from now till I finish my exams” Once again I was too naive for all this. Mind you I was also at a very low point in my life so I was naturally blinded by the red flags out of desperation due to limited options. During that period I’d still text her and call her ect. She once sent me a Snapchat of her watching Matilda movie saying “what I would watch back in foster care” she sent me Snapchat’s of her tits and her face. She sent me a Snapchat of herself in the toilet. In retrospect I didn’t realise a toilet selfie is a major red flag. It means a girl only sees you as a friend, because a girl who likes you will put on her best self for you.
Comes a week before I was ready to meet her, she messages me saying “so I may be moving to Sydney” of course I was like “okay why” and she replies “I don’t owe you any explaining blah blah” so I was pissed off. She then deleted me cause I called her out on this. I was very angry that I had allowed myself to wait a few months fo see her. I made it clear to her not to waste my time.
Two months later after still being upset I added her on Snapchat to let her know I found her sisters social media and I was ready to tell her everything. She threatened me with the police which is very strange as I didn’t really do anything that had warranted the police to get involved. So I just dropped it. A few months pass by, I see she creates a fb account as hee phone number was linked to the account. I see some Indian lady commenting on all her posts along with another girl.
I see she had deleted her fb account. I added the girl who she was friends with, and she told me everything. At this stage they ended their friendship. What I had been aware of was: this girl had a boyfriend the whole time she was talking to me. It then got Brought to my attention she has a new boyfriend who’s been on the news for drug related crimes. She escaped her family to be with him. Her old friend sent me video of him and her together in the hotel, in bed.
The next day I added her old Indian friend on Facebook. Her Indian friend was her former colleague who is 60 years old. I added her using an alternative account. She told me “I never add randoms but I felt compelled to accept yours” And so from there she tells me the following: the girl is not skinny, she’s actually obese. In real life she wears a hijab but she was sending me snapchats of her hair. She isn’t studying medicine and she instead works as a florist. She was never in foster care, all these things were a fat lie. She tried to potray herself as being this innocent Muslim girl but she turned out to be everything that. The Indian lady gave me her mothers number, because when she ran away to live with her new bf, her mother had called the shop enquiring her location. So she had saved the number. I called her mother up, I asked her if foster care was real and she said it was a lie. I sent her th video of her with the drug dealer.
Here’s the worst bit. She had a husband… whilst having a boyfriend and flirting with me online. I asked the lady for his name, so I googled his name to see his owns a plumbing business. I call him on no caller ID, he tells me he never answers. Yet he does it anyway telling me he had a gut feeling it may have been important. When I called he had already been divorced, but told me he had a strong feeling he had been cheated on and thanked me for clarifying. He told me he had seen my name around through her. A few days later, the girls sister calls my number threatening to take me to the police. She was angry because I told her ex brother in law everything. Funny, as if I had been the one to sabotage the marriage apparently… The cops didn’t do anything.
So it’s just crazy how I see things more accurately when looking in retrospective. Was a traumatic period
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2023.06.03 19:16 cesario_ Theorycrafting Saitama: killing (almost) any monster in a single punch
! I’ve been working on this character theorycraft for a while now, and I’ve quite nearly accomplished my goal — only to fall barely short at the final 1%. I’m sharing it now in a 99-percent-complete state, for everyone to enjoy reading my mad scientist ravings, or to offer their own suggestions on how to wring out just a little bit more damage to finally have a character that can kill any creature in a single punch. tl;dr: a theorycrafted level 20 Saitama character can deal 634 damage on average in a single punch, instantly killing 99% of all published monsters (27 monsters can survive).
The self-imposed rules
- Must be RAW.
- All printed magic items are allowed, and random properties may be chosen.
- Average rolls will be used for ability checks, attacks, and damage rolls.
- All the damage must be dealt in a single punch attack: damage that happens after the resolution of the attack does not count (poisons, damage on a later turn, etc.)
- Any amount of preparation time for the single punch is allowed.
- No friends — all the preparation must be done by the single character. No buff spells may be cast by other people.
- Bonus points if everything can be explained within One-Punch Man’s canon lore.
Now, let’s get into it!
Protector Aasimar. Saitama claims to be an ordinary man, but let’s be honest, to have such ludicrous power, he must be more than human. Aasimar are more or less human, but with a touch of the divine, which fits the bill perfectly. Mechanically, we’re choosing this for the Radiant Soul option: as an action once per long rest, they transform for 1 minute and once per turn can deal their level in radiant damage to one target of an attack. At level 20, this will add +20 radiant damage to the punch, by far the highest single-attack damage boost of any racial ability.
Saitama has incredible strength, speed, reflexes, and durability, which he attributes to an intense training regimen. How could he have gotten such formidable training? Well, perhaps he read the instructions in a magic book. The Manuals of Gainful Exercise, Quickness of Action, and Bodily Health are very rare magic items that describe “fitness exercises,” “coordination and balance exercises,” and “health and diet tips” with words that are charged with magic. Studying these manuals and practicing their guidelines for 48 hours increases a creature’s STR, DEX, and CON stats by 2, as well as increasing their maximum for that score — up to a cap of 30. Clearly, to have such godlike strength, dexterity, and constitution, Saitama’s intense training must have included reading as many Manuals as necessary to raise his STR, DEX, and CON stats each to a godlike 30. This results in Saitama having a +10 to STR attack and damage rolls, a +10 boost to DEX checks like stealth and initiative, and a ridiculous amount of hit points. In order to multiclass, Saitama will also need at least a 13 in INT, WIS, and CHA — which should be achievable.
Saitama starts by taking three levels in Armorer Artificer
, which gives him a suit of Arcane Armor that expands to cover his entire body and can be used as a spellcasting focus for artificer spells. The text describes “metallurgical pursuits,” but nothing RAW forbids one from choosing a suit of yellow leather armor for Arcane Armor. At AC 11 + DEX, this gives Saitama an AC of 21 — which doesn’t really matter, since he can kill nearly anything in a single punch before it ever has a chance of attacking him. We choose the Guardian Armor Model for Saitama’s Arcane Armor, causing the red rubber gloves on his leather armor to be counted as Thunder Gauntlets: they count as simple melee weapons when not holding anything in them, and deal 1d8 thunder damage on a hit. Saitama also has the option to use his INT modifier instead of STR or DEX when attacking with the gauntlets, but let’s be honest, he’s going to stick with his godlike +10 STR modifier here. Saitama will infuse his gloves with the Enhanced Weapon artificer infusion, giving them a +1 to attack and damage rolls, and turning them into a magic item. From Armorer, Saitama also learns the spells Booming Blade and Absorb Elements. To complete Saitama’s armor, he also gains a white Cloak of Billowing (a common magic item that does not require attunement) and a pair of red rubber Boots of Elvenkind (an uncommon magic item that also does not require attunement, and gives advantage on Stealth checks to move silently).
Next, Saitama takes nine levels in warlock
. He chooses the Hexblade patron and Pact of the Blade, and gains the Hexblade’s Curse, the Eldritch Smite invocation, and the Banishing Smite spell from the Hexblade expanded spell list. He will also transform his gloves into his pact weapon, and take the Improved Pact Weapon invocation, allowing him to use his gloves as a spellcasting focus for warlock spells. Unfortunately, because his gloves are already a magic weapon with a +1 to attack and damage rolls from the Enhanced Weapon artificer infusion, they do not gain an additional +1 to attack and damage rolls from Improved Pact Weapon. Hexblade’s Curse allows Saitama to curse a creature within 30 feet for 1 minute as a bonus action, and add his proficiency bonus to damage rolls against that target. Eldritch Smite deals 1d8 force damage plus another 1d8 for each level of warlock spell slot expended when hitting a creature with one’s pact weapon. At a maximum 5th level spell slot, this adds 6d8 force damage to his punch. Banishing Smite activates as a bonus action and consumes concentration for 1 minute to add an extra 5d10 force damage on the next hit with a weapon attack. Additionally, if the target then has 50 HP or less, it is banished to its home plane (or until the spell ends). At nine levels in Warlock, Saitama gets two 5th-level spell slots per short rest. This is just enough for one usage of Eldritch Smite and one casting of Banishing Smite. However, he will then have to rest before going out to fight villains again — perhaps a good reason for why he spends so much time relaxing at home playing video games and reading manga. Saitama also gets two ASIs at his fourth and eighth levels of warlock. At these levels, he will take the Martial Adept and Fey Touched feats
. The Martial Adept feat gives him a d6 superiority die and two maneuvers, one of which will be Menacing Attack (the other does not matter). Menacing Attack adds the d6 to the damage of the attack and forces the target to make a WIS save or be frightened (and though our goal is to kill the target outright, if it somehow survives, Saitama’s DC will be a difficult-to-surmount 24: 8 + 6 [proficiency bonus] + 10 [STR mod]). From the Fey Touched feat, Saitama will learn the first-level divination spell Gift of Alacrity, which lasts 8 hours without concentration and adds 1d8 to his initiative rolls.
To kill creatures in a single punch, Saitama will need to train to Assassinate: taking four levels in Assassin Rogue
. Assassinate gives Saitama advantage on attacks against creatures that have not yet taken a turn in combat, and automatic critical hits on creatures who are surprised. In order to surprise creatures, Saitama will need to succeed on a Stealth check contested by the target’s Perception: “Any character or monster that doesn't notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter.” Saitama rarely sneaks up on his targets, but usually allows them to monologue for a long time before annihilating them with a single punch. It is his unremarkable appearance that allows him to take his enemies by surprise — and perhaps that appearance is its own form of stealth. Just to make getting surprise mechanically possible, Saitama will take an Expertise in Stealth, to double his proficiency for a +12 to Stealth in addition to his +10 DEX modifier. Due to his red rubber Boots of Elvenkind, he will also get advantage on Stealth checks made to move silently. With a +22 to Stealth, on an average d20 roll of 13.825 (with advantage), a Stealth of 35.825 should allow him to defeat the passive perception of nearly every monster — even the Greatwyrms, which have a passive perception of only 32. Tiamat has a passive perception of 36, and as the monster with the highest passive perception, she is the only monster capable of successfully noticing Saitama’s threat (unless he gets a little lucky with the Stealth roll). If we really want to ensure that Saitama can go undetected, we could give him the Epic Boon of Undetectability for an additional +10 to Stealth checks and immunity to detection or targeting by divination magic. He will also need to beat his target on an initiative roll to be able to get an automatic critical hit — which is why he will take the Alert feat
on his fourth level of rogue, giving him a +5 to initiative rolls in addition to the +10 from his DEX modifier. As the only bonus monsters get to initiative is from their DEX modifier (and the highest DEX modifier that any monster has is +9, for the Elder Tempest or Will-o’-Wisp), with a total +6 edge from the +5 from Alert and his +10 DEX modifier, as well as +1d8 from Gift of Alacrity, Saitama will beat even the fastest monsters’ initiative rolls 89% of the time (and a later item will increase this to 97%).
When Saitama uses a Serious Punch, it’s like sending the target on a Path to their Grave. Thus, Saitama will take two levels in Grave Cleric
. As an action, Path to the Grave allows Saitama to choose “another creature’s life force for termination.” The next time he hits the chosen creature within 30 feet with an attack, the creature has vulnerability to all of the attack’s damage, causing the damage to be doubled (as long as the creature is not immune or resistant to any of the damage types).
Lastly, Saitama will take two levels in paladin
, gaining Divine Smite and the Dueling fighting style. When hitting with a melee weapon attack, he can expend a spell slot to Divine Smite, dealing additional radiant damage to the target. At three levels of artificer, two levels of cleric, and two levels of paladin, Saitama is a fifth-level multiclassed caster (his three levels from artificer are halved and rounded up to two, cleric gives two levels, and two levels of paladin is halved to one, for a total of five). This gives him two 3rd-level spell slots per long rest — spending a 3rd level slot on a Divine Smite gives an extra 4d8 radiant damage (1d8 off of the maximum of 5d8 from spending a 4th-level spell). It also deals an extra 1d8 to undead or fiend targets. The Dueling fighting style gives +2 to damage rolls when wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons. The Thunder Gauntlets count as simple melee weapons when not holding anything in them, so Saitama will hold something in his right hand, leaving him wielding only one Thunder Gauntlet on his left hand when he delivers a Serious Punch. (In One-Punch Man canon, Saitama usually punches with his right hand. For a mechanical reason, our theorycrafted DND Saitama has to punch with his left. Maybe this is why DND Saitama is slightly weaker than canon Saitama, and isn’t able to kill every monster in a single hit.)
With three levels of artificer, nine levels of warlock, four levels of rogue, two levels of cleric, and two levels of paladin, Saitama is a level 20 character.
As mentioned above, Saitama will take Martial Adept and Fey Touched at his fourth and eighth warlock level, and Alert at his fourth level of rogue.
When Saitama strikes someone, it occasionally appears as if he has grown to incredible size (https://tenor.com/view/one-punch-man-gif-23643267
). To simulate this, DND Saitama will consume a Potion of Giant Size (legendary) and a Potion of Growth (rare), increasing to Huge for 24 hours and then again to Gargantuan for 1d4 hours. From the Potion of Giant Size, his weapons roll three times as many dice (thus increasing his Thunder Gauntlets to deal 3d8 thunder damage on hit). From the Potion of Growth, Saitama gets advantage on STR checks and saves, and deals 1d4 additional damage on weapon attacks.
Saitama can attune to three magic items. We will choose the Hand of Vecna (legendary), Sword of Kas (legendary), and a Ring of Spell Storing (rare).
To attune to the Hand of Vecna, Saitama had to lop off his left hand at the wrist and replace it with the Hand of Vecna. This withered hand is hidden within his red rubber glove, and (among other properties) allows him to deal an extra 2d8 cold damage when he makes a melee weapon attack with a weapon held in the hand. The Hand of Vecna also includes one minor and one major beneficial property, along with one minor detrimental property. For the major beneficial property, we will choose the property: “When you hit with a weapon attack while attuned to the artifact, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage of the weapon's type.” For the minor beneficial property, we will choose immunity to charm and fear effects. The minor detrimental property we will choose is: “Your appearance changes as the DM decides” — from his intense training regimen (which included chopping off his left hand and replacing it with the Hand of Vecna), Saitama unfortunately lost all of his hair — still a sore spot for him.
The Sword of Kas grants several abilities, but Saitama only attacks with punches, so it will remain in its scabbard, somewhere on his person. While it is on his person, it adds an additional d10 to Saitama’s initiative (raising his probability of having a higher initiative than even a monster with +9 DEX to 97%). The Sword of Kas also includes one minor and one major beneficial property, as well as one minor and one major detrimental property. We will choose the same major beneficial property as the Hand of Vecna, for an extra 1d6 damage when hitting with a weapon attack (typically effects of the same type do not stack. However, since these are generic properties of two artifacts with different names, the properties should stack under RAW). The minor beneficial property can be any (some thematic options include immunity to disease or +1 AC), and the minor detrimental property can be: “The first time you touch a gem or piece of jewelry while attuned to this artifact, the value of the gem or jewelry is reduced by half.” Perhaps this explains why Saitama is poor. The major detrimental property can be taking 8d10 psychic damage when attuning to the Sword of Kas: Saitama mentions that his training was so intense that he thought he might die — perhaps this damage was why it felt so intense. (Note: with eighteen levels in classes with d8 hit dice and two levels of paladin for d10 hit dice, Saitama’s average hit points is 92, not counting the incredible 200 additional HP from his +10 CON modifier. Even at a maximum roll of 80 psychic damage from attuning to Sword of Kas, he wouldn’t actually die.) Interestingly, the Sword of Kas also causes its bearer to gradually become obsessed with destroying anyone corrupted by the Hand of Vecna — this might cause Saitama to become fairly conflicted.
Lastly, the Ring of Spell-Storing. Up to five levels of spells can be stored within, and can be cast while touching the ring. Saitama can spend one of his fifth-level Pact Magic slots to cast Absorb Elements (learned from his levels in artificer) into the ring, before resting to regain his Pact Magic slot. Absorb Elements can be cast as a reaction to elemental damage, grants resistance to the triggering damage, and adds an extra 1d6 of that damage type per spell level when the next time the caster hits with a melee attack on their next turn. Cast at a fifth level, this adds 5d6 elemental damage to Saitama’s punch. To voluntarily trigger the Absorb Elements, we will have Saitama use his free object interaction to stick a finger into a vial of acid held in his right hand (which also makes the Thunder Gauntlet in his right hand no longer count as a melee weapon since it's holding something, thus enabling him to use the Dueling fighting style with his left). The acid will burn Saitama, allowing him to cast Absorb Elements in reaction, getting resistance to the acid damage and charging up 5d6 acid damage to be released on his next melee attack this turn.
Preparation to punch
In order to maximize damage in a single attack, Saitama needs to do some preparation. At some point, he will spend one of his fifth-level Pact Magic slots to cast Absorb Elements into the Ring of Spell Storing, before resting to regain his Pact Magic slot.
On the day of, he must also cast Gift of Alacrity to maximize his initiative rolls (this lasts 8 hours), and spend an action drinking the Potion of Giant Size (which lasts 24 hours). One hour before the fight, he must drink the Potion of Growth (which lasts a minimum of 1 hour). He must also open the vial of acid and hold it ready in his right hand.
A minute before punching his target, he must spend an action to activate his Radiant Soul Aasimar transformation, and spend an action and a bonus action cursing his target with the Hexblade’s Curse and Path to the Grave.
Finally, on the turn he punches, he spends his free object interaction to touch the acid in the vial until it causes damage, then casts Absorb Elements as a reaction from his Ring of Spell Storing. He spends his bonus action casting Banishing Smite, and then his action casting the cantrip Booming Blade. (He has cast three spells in one turn, but the only limitation on casting multiple spells per turn is that if he casts a spell as a bonus action, he may only cast a cantrip — like Booming Blade — with his action.)
Booming Blade requires a material component: a melee weapon worth at least 1 sp. Normally, using his arcane armor as a spellcasting focus would allow him to ignore material components, but this material component cannot be ignored because it has a cost. The Thunder Gauntlets from a suit of arcane armor have no assigned cost, but the basic leather armor costs 10 gp, so it’s a safe assumption that a magically-enhanced +1 Thunder Gauntlet would cost more than 1 sp. Upon casting the spell, Saitama makes a melee attack against a creature within 5 feet. At level 20, the cantrip adds an extra 3d8 thunder damage to the initial attack, and an additional 4d8 if the target moves on its next turn — but the latter damage will not count for this purpose because our goal is to annihilate the target with the first hit.
Assuming that his stealth and initiative checks have allowed Saitama to surprise his target and go first in the initiative order, he has advantage on his attack from Assassinate and gets +17 to the roll: +6 from his proficiency, +10 from his STR modifier, and +1 from the Enhanced Weapon infusion. The monsters with the highest AC are Tiamat and the Tarrasque, with an AC of 25 — with advantage and a +17 to hit, Saitama has an 88% chance of hitting, and any hit is an automatic critical hit from Assassinate. If a guaranteed hit is desired, we could give Saitama an Epic Boon of Combat Prowess, choosing to hit on a melee weapon attack once per short rest. At that point, the attack roll doesn’t even matter.
The 1d8 thunder damage from his Thunder Gauntlets is tripled to 3d8 by the Potion of Giant Size. The Gauntlets deal an extra 1d4 thunder damage from the Potion of Growth, an extra 2d6 thunder damage from the major beneficial properties of the Hand of Vecna and the Sword of Kas, and an extra 1d6 thunder damage from the Menacing Attack maneuver. The attack deals an extra 2d8 cold damage because it was made with a weapon wielded by the Hand of Vecna. We add an additional 6d8 force damage from Eldritch Smite, 5d10 force damage from Banishing Smite, 4d8 radiant damage from Divine Smite, 5d6 acid damage from Absorb Elements, and 3d8 thunder damage from Booming Blade.
Let’s total this up: 6d8+1d4+3d6 thunder + 2d8 cold + 6d8+5d10 force + 4d8 radiant + 5d6 acid damage
All these dice are doubled on the critical hit from Assassinate: 12d8+2d4+6d6 thunder + 4d8 cold + 12d8+10d10 force + 8d8 radiant + 10d6 acid damage
Now, counting the flat damage: 10 thunder damage from Saitama’s STR modifier on the Thunder Gauntlets, +1 thunder damage from the Enhanced Weapon infusion, +6 thunder damage from Hexblade’s Curse, and +2 thunder damage from the Dueling fighting style, for a total of +19 thunder damage. We also add 20 radiant damage from the Radiant Soul transformation.
Another preliminary total: 12d8+2d4+6d6+19 thunder + 4d8 cold + 12d8+10d10 force + 8d8+20 radiant + 10d6 acid damage
All the damage is doubled by the vulnerability inflicted by Path to the Grave: 24d8+4d4+12d6+38 thunder + 8d8 cold + 24d8+20d10 force + 16d8+40 radiant + 20d6 acid damage
This averages to 198 thunder + 36 cold + 218 force + 112 radiant + 70 acid damage, for a total of 634 damage on average in a single punch.
Anything that survives this formidable blow must then have more than 50 hit points remaining, or else it is banished to its home plane without a save by Banishing Smite (thus, Saitama's punch can effectively defeat creatures with up to 684 HP).
After two short rests, Saitama could theoretically do a Serious Punch again on the same day — minus the +40 radiant damage from Radiant Soul (doubled by Path to the Grave), the only ability used that requires a long rest to recharge. After a second Serious Punch, though, he’ll run out of third-level spell slots for the Divine Smite.
The targets (who survives?)
With the most hit points out of any monster in DND 5e, the Tarrasque has 676 HP, damage immunities to fire, poison, and bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage from nonmagical attacks, three legendary resistances per day, advantage on saves against spells, can nullify or reflect ranged attack spells, and can terrify creatures within 120 feet with its Frightful Presence. None of this protects it from a single punch from our Caped Baldy. On 62% of possible damage rolls, that Tarrasque is getting sent back to its plane of origin, gibbering with fear: with a WIS modifier of +0, it has no chance of succeeding the DC 24 WIS save against Saitama’s Menacing Attack (of course, Tarrasques are immune to the frightened condition, but let’s ignore that because it’s funny).
However, this doesn’t quite count as killing
the tarrasque in a single punch, since it’s banished but still alive (and returns after one minute if it’s not originally from another plane). Additionally, a several other monsters could definitely survive the punch — chief among them, Tiamat: Outside of being immune to acid and cold damage (reducing the damage by 106 points and dropping the remaining 528 total damage from the punch well below her total HP of 615), Tiamat is also immune to spells of level 6 or lower: thus completely nullifying the effects of both Booming Blade and Banishing Smite. However, as a fiend, Divine Smite does deal an extra d8 radiant damage against her. Still, eliminating Booming Blade and Banishing Smite drops the single punch damage to 382 on average, leaving Tiamat with 233 HP: more than a third of her health. Instead casting Banishing Smite and Booming Blade, Saitama could use his action to punch twice using the Thirsting Blade eldritch invocation, spending both his 5th-level Pact Magic spell slots on Eldritch Smites and both 3rd-level slots on Divine Smites. If Saitama managed to sneak up on Tiamat to surprise her and get the automatic critical hits from Assassinate, he would deal 3d8+1d4+3d6 thunder + 6d8 force + 5d8 radiant damage on each attack, doubled from the critical hit to 6d8+2d4+6d6 thunder + 12d8 force + 10d8 radiant damage, and a total of +19 thunder on both attacks and +20 radiant on the first. The first attack damage would be doubled from Path to the Grave, but the second would not. The first attack would deal 12d8+4d4+12d6+38 thunder + 24d8 force + 20d8+40 radiant damage, and the second 6d8+2d4+6d6+19 thunder + 12d8 force + 10d8 radiant; for a total damage of 553 on average, still 62 points short of Tiamat’s 615 total HP. Other creatures that would survive:
Thus, our final list of 27 survivors of Saitama’s punch:
- Sapphire Greatwyrms and Velomachus Lorehold — with immunities to thunder damage and HP totals of 507 and 487 respectively, they survive the 436 total non-thunder damage from Saitama’s Serious Punch. With 51 HP remaining on average, Velomachus also has a 53% chance of having enough HP to escape getting banished.
- Amethyst Greatwyrms and Tanazir Quandrix — with immunities to force damage and HP totals of 507 and 444 respectively, they survive the 416 total non-force damage from the Serious Punch. Tanazir is almost definitely getting banished, though.
- The Aspect of Tiamat and Aspect of Bahamut are immune to both fire and cold damage, reducing the Serious Punch to 528 damage — not enough to eliminate their 574 and 585 hit points, respectively. However, both Aspects might still fall victim to the Banishing Smite: 56% of damage rolls will deal enough damage to banish the Aspect of Tiamat, and 37% of rolls for the Aspect of Bahamut. Interestingly, banishing these monsters with the Banishing Smite might be better than reducing them to 0 HP, because dropping them to 0 would trigger their Chromatic Wrath / Platinum Brilliance traits, resetting their HP to 500, recharging their breath weapons and legendary resistances, and unlocking their Mythic Actions.
- Copper Greatwyrms are immune to acid damage, reducing the Serious Punch to 564 damage on average — allowing them to barely survive with 1 hit point left (out of their HP total of 565). They will survive on 52% of damage rolls, and almost certainly get banished if they do. However, on the 48% of damage rolls that succeed in reducing them to 0 HP, they will actually not get banished: instead, their Metallic Awakening will immediately trigger and will reset their HP to 450.
- Silver Greatwyrms have 565 HP and immunity to cold damage, but even without cold damage, the Serious Punch still deals 598 damage on average: enough to reduce them to 0 HP on 91% of damage rolls. Interestingly, this gives Silver Greatwyrms higher odds of surviving than Copper Greatwyrms, because they are far more likely to trigger the Metallic Awakening and reset their HP to 450 to escape banishment — rather than Copper Greatwyrms, which have better-than-even odds of surviving the initial punch but then getting banished for their trouble.
- The other 11 types of Greatwyrm not yet mentioned will also survive thanks the same reason as the Silver Greatwyrm: they can't survive the initial punch, but being reduced to 0 HP will trigger their Metallic/Chromatic/Gem Awakening traits to reset their HP to 400 or more, ironically allowing them to evade being banished. Of the 15 types of Greatwyrm, only Copper Greatwyrms have moderate odds of getting banished in a single strike — the others will either survive the first hit entirely, or get reduced to 0 hit points and trigger their Awakening to avoid getting banished.
- Zariel from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and Archduke Zariel of Avernus from Descent into Avernus each have resistance to radiant damage, resistance or immunity to cold damage (respectively), and 580 hit points. However, they are fiends, causing the Divine Smite to add an additional 9 radiant damage on average (the 1d8 extra Divine Smite damage to fiends is doubled twice from the critical hit and Path to the Grave, but halved from Zariel’s resistance to radiant damage). Accounting for the resistance to radiant damage and the bonus Divine Smite damage to fiends, the punch deals 587 total damage. Then, subtracting 18 damage for cold resistance or 36 damage for cold immunity, Zariel survives with 11 HP and Archduke Zariel with 29 HP — both still very likely getting banished back to Avernus.
- No creature has resistance to thunder and more than 535 hit points to survive the punch, resistance to force damage and more than 525 hit points, or resistance to acid damage and more than 599 hit points. Only 10 creatures other than Zariel have resistances to thunder, cold, force, radiant, or acid damage and more than 400 HP: of those, Sul Khatesh, Rak Tulkhesh, Orcus, and the Demogorgon’s cold resistances reduce the damage by 18, but, as fiends, they take an additional 18 radiant damage from Divine Smite — and with 475, 478, 405, and 406/464 HP respectively (depending on the source book), they get easily annihilated by the Serious Punch. Tromokratis is resistant to both thunder and cold damage, reducing the Serious Punch by 117 damage, but with 409 HP, the Serious Punch still deals over 100 more points of damage than necessary to kill it. The Marut and the Ancient Amethyst Dragon are also only resistant to one of the damage types, which does not reduce the damage enough for them to survive.
- Many creatures have the Regeneration trait that allow them to survive and regain a certain amount of HP at the start of their turn even if they start their turn with 0 HP. However, taking radiant damage disables this trait for fiends, undead, and aberrations, and acid damage disables it for trolls and giants. Cold damage disables it for Tlexolotl and Vegepygmy, thunder damage for the Glasswork Golem, and spell damage for Wereravens. Four monsters have Regeneration traits that still work to bring them back from 0 HP after being hit by Saitama's punch: Loup Garou regenerate if not dealt damage with a silver weapon; the Jabberwock regenerates if not dealt slashing damage; and the Regenerating Black Pudding and Living Doll regenerate if not dealt fire damage (for the Wood Woad, banishment likely counts as no longer being “in contact with the ground” and therefore its Regeneration trait fails). None of these monsters have more than 300 HP, so the 634 damage from Saitama's Punch may be enough to destroy them by dealing more than double their max HP in a single instance of damage — however, Jeremy Crawford rules that massive damage is not enough to kill a monster with regeneration (https://youtu.be/1frsmP\_AzV0?t=2663).
- Some undead have an Undead Fortitude trait that allows them to drop to 1 HP instead of 0 on a save; however, these traits are disabled by both the fact that the Serious Punch deals radiant damage, is a critical hit (from Assassinate), and that they would have to succeed on a CON save with a DC of 5+the damage taken: DC 657 (when taking account the extra 18 radiant damage Divine Smite deals to undead).
- Vampires, Liches, and other monsters with the Rejuvenation trait may also be utterly destroyed by the punch, but survive by regenerating or gaining a new body later. However, we will still count them as having been killed by the punch, even if they didn’t fully die. Even if they return to bother Saitama, he can just destroy them again in a single punch.
- There may be other monsters with features that allow them to escape a single attack — if there are, they don't immediately come to mind.
- Nullifies the punch (1): Tiamat
- Avoids banishment with 51-100 HP (3): Sapphire Greatwyrm, Amethyst Greatwyrm, Aspect of Bahamut
- Gets reduced to 0 but avoids banishment by resetting their HP through the Awakening trait (12): Silver Greatwyrm and 11 other types of Greatwyrm
- 50/50 odds of being banished (3): Velomachus Lorehold, Aspect of Tiamat, Copper Greatwyrm
- Likely banished, but still alive (4): Tarrasque, Tanazir Quandrix, Zariel and Archduke Zariel
- Reduced to 0 HP and banished, but regenerates (4): Loup Garou, Jabberwock, Regenerating Black Pudding, Living Doll
Saitama can kill all remaining 2,800+ monsters ever printed in a single punch.
Thank you for reading!
If you've gotten this far, thanks for sticking with me! If you have any ideas on how to squeeze out the last bits of damage to allow Saitama to one-hit kill any of the remaining 27 monsters, please comment to let me know!
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2023.06.03 19:00 Accurate_Iron6553 My first real hit of anxiety since I got my license
I’ve had my license for 3 weeks and so far it’s been okay. I’m still scared of highways and have avoided them except for one time when I drove with a friend who basically told me exactly what to do. I’ve felt fine driving to and from work and going grocery shopping etc. but I have this thought in the back of my head all the time that I’m gonna cause an accident or that I can’t drive in certain areas because I’m not sure when a highway will come. I keep thinking that it will pass but I’m not sure and right now it feels like everything about me getting a car was a total mistake.
This week I first ended up pushing the brake instead of the gas with a car behind me getting (understandably) pissed. And then on Wednesday I accidentally went 20km above the speed limit passing a bus. And after that i got so anxious I spend the last two days over analyzing everything.
Today I decided to go for a drive around my area and to do grocery shopping. I took my friend who doesn’t have a license so she could do her shopping as well. Ended up having to drive around the parking lot twice because there were too many cars parking and I can’t do it without taking it really slowly and go back and forward (forward park into a square, I wouldnt even dare to try backing into a spot)
When we got to dropping her of at her apartment she asked me to park (side of the road) to help her with her bags. I failed. I couldn’t get my car in correctly and I ended up halfway out on the street with cars coming and I panicked and just said I can’t do it.
Then when I got home I could barely park there either (even though I’ve done it several times before, forward into square) and I just feel like such a failure and don’t understand how I even passed the test to get my license
Basically I need to learn to park, stop being afraid of highways and try to drive in a tunnel to feel like I haven’t wasted my money in this car and learning how to drive.
Don’t even know why I’m posting, guess I just needed to get it off my chest 😞
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2023.06.03 18:58 Frank_Leroux Molossus, Chapter Sixteen
First Chapter Chapter Fifteen
“Thank you, Ms. President, and Mr. Secretary-General. It’s my privilege to come and speak to everyone present during such a momentous time in human history. One which, I hope, will lead to a brighter future for us all…”
US President Correa’s boilerplate beginning flowed out as she scanned the room. Behind her rostrum sat a larger dais tiled with green marble, behind which sat the UN President, Secretary-General, and Under-Secretary-General. Two huge screens flanked the dais, and those screens now showed Correa’s face as she continued.
“…and we are committed to our country’s pledge to finding a peaceful and just way for Coalition technology to be incorporated worldwide, and to not attempt any reverse-engineering of our own. Make no mistake; we do not do this out of any sense of altruism or fairness, as pleasant as that may sound. We will hold this pledge sacred for the simple reason that, if the United States were
to attempt such efforts the rest of the world would, without a doubt, find out. That, of course, would lead to a great instability.”
‘Great instability’ was diplomatic-speak for ‘the rest of the world then gangs up on the USA and then everything goes to hell’.
“I know there has already been a great deal of debate in this august hall as to the best way to proceed forward, in a fair and impartial manner. We believe that we have found what one might call a ‘trial run’ which will allow us to work out such matters.”
The general murmuring from the many semi-circular rows of desks in front of her increased.
“To begin with, during the first weeks after first contact we wanted to make sure our guests from the Coalition would not starve to death. Much like humanity’s own ships during the Age of Sail, Coalition exploration vessels store enough provisions for years…but such provisions never last. They have very advanced recycling, but mostly for water and even that is only a stop-gap measure. It is unknown even at this time as to how long it will take to repair the Exultant Finger of Rithro
, and we did not want to risk the crew running out of food.
“Therefore, we undertook an emergency effort to have their ship’s medic examine various Earth foods to determine their compatibility with our guests’ varied biochemistries. I am pleased to report that there are quite a few Earth foodstuffs which are indeed compatible, although there are some specific items which act as allergens amongst some of the Coalition species. During these efforts, we did learn a bit about how their alien biochemistries work…information which has been duly published and is now openly available. We also began to get glimpses of something wonderful, and asked the Coalition crew for more details. They supplied us with some general ideas of what their medical technology can accomplish; I must emphasize that we do not possess any knowledge of how they can perform such miracles.”
Now the murmuring got quite a bit higher, but not quite to the point where they’d have to call for order.
“Yes, I use the word ‘miracles’ advisedly. For example, take Captain Sadaf. You have all seen her, and how she moves like a person in the prime of their life. Now. What if I told you that she is a little over four hundred years old?”
The murmuring died down into a shocked silence.
“Her species, the auhn, is no more long-lived than we are…but they are able to regenerate and remove the effects of aging. I hope the esteemed ambassadors can see what I am driving at. I propose that we set up a research institute, international in scope, to be placed at a neutral location which is still to be determined. The purpose of that institute will be to study and adapt Coalition medical technology for use in humans.”
Now the murmuring started again; she hoped they were actually listening instead of hatching side-deals with each other.
“You all have families and friends. I’m sure you have at least one family member, one good friend, who died of some horrible and unnecessary
affliction. Think of what this means to the world, to us. It is also an excellent way to determine the inevitable issues and frictions which will arise from such a concerted international effort, and that, in turn, will inform our efforts in mutual reverse-engineering of other Coalition technology.
“I know this is, in many ways, a frightening time. Change can be frightening. But I am convinced that you will all know the right way forward, and that you will all see the need for us to unite in this matter, even if others may not be so clear-cut. I thank you for the opportunity to speak.”
As she stepped away from the rostrum, the UN President cleared his throat.
“We will now begin the debate on Madame President Correa’s proposal. Paper copies, with specifics of the proposal, are now being distributed to you all. We’ll now begin the debate period…yes, the gentleman from Portugal…?”
Correa’s Chief of Staff was a shorter, tubby man with an olive complexion by the name of Pablo Rosas. He and Correa sat in a White House conference room, staring at a big screen which now showed the results of the UN vote. “Well, I suppose that went about as well as we could expect,” said Rosas.
“Yep. I was surprised they even agreed with our asking them to kick in some money.”
Rosas chuckled. “Keep in mind that all of this new medical tech will be available for anyone patent-free. Should be air-tight legally, since nobody here on Earth invented it; we’re merely adapting it. I think that was the sweetener we needed to get it passed.”
The president gave a brief nod, then tapped a few keys on the controls in front of her. The screen now showed a world map. “Now we just have to figure out where to put the damn thing without everyone getting butt-mad about it.”
“Hmm.” Rosas laced his fingers over his substantial gut as he regarded the map. “Someplace not ‘the usual’, then.”
Correa growled in frustration. “I keep thinking Switzerland, but I know there’s gonna be a lot of shit flung about that it’s too European-centric. Taiwan would be great; they’ve got both a good tech base and excellent transport infrastructure.”
“But way too controversial, for obvious reasons,” replied Rosas. “Japan?”
“China will, again, kick up a fuss. Huh. New Zealand?”
“That might work. They tend to be more neutral…but then again some might say they’re in too close with Australia, and that this whole effort is too Western-centric.” His eyes flicked back to north on the map. He was about to move his gaze elsewhere, but then he paused. “What about Iceland?”
“Iceland?” Correa almost scoffed, then looked more thoughtfully at the map. “Okay, they’re a NATO member which is a minus. But they tend to remain mostly neutral, which is a plus. Decent transportation infrastructure…don’t we have a naval air base there?”
“I think so, let me check…” Rosas tapped at his phone. “Hey, Jack? What can you tell me about any US naval air bases in Iceland? Just the highlights.” After a couple of minutes, he responded with a curt, “Okay, that’s enough, thanks.”
He put his phone away. “We kinda-sorta have one, at a place called Keflavik. The base there used to be a lot bigger during the Cold War. Then we shut it down after the Soviets were no longer a going concern. Iceland uses it now, and they allow us to fly submarine-search aircraft out of there, but a few years ago they nixed the DOD’s request to rebuild it into a more permanent base.”
“That does work in their favor. It makes for better optics if they’re known for keeping NATO at arm’s length.”
Rosas sat up. “Think the UN will go for it?”
“We can only try. I’ll have our ambassador in Reykjavik make some discreet inquiries, let’s see if they’d be okay with our proposing them as a candidate.”
The Chief of Staff smiled. “If it goes through, this institute will be pumping well north of a billion dollars per year into their economy. That should make it more than ‘okay’.
Agent Cécile Savoie sat in a secure-location breakroom, silently grumbling as she held an as-yet un-drunk mug of coffee in her hands. As the agent-in-charge of the security detail during the Camp David incident, she’d been put on administrative leave, right alongside every other agent who’d been there. But it wasn’t like she had much down time; the inquiry board into that incident now summoned her damn near every other day for yet another round of tedious questioning.
“Hey,” said Hanson as he strolled in, looking just as sour as she felt.
She looked up in surprise. “Hey yourself. I thought you were assigned to the alien detail.”
“I was,” he said as he seated himself across the circular table from her. “Guess being in Alabama when the shitshow went down wasn’t far enough away to be completely out of suspicion. I just finished running my own gauntlet. But the rumor is, I’m getting it easy compared to everyone who was at Camp David, including the special forces people. Especially you.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty much a colonoscopy every day,” she muttered. “Going over the timeline, where I was at which times, who I had direct line of sight on, who I was in radio contact with.” She finally sipped her coffee.
Hanson’s sour expression deepened. “Do you really think it was one of us?”
She sighed. “It has to be. My gut tells me that there’s more than one mole and I told the inquiry board as much. The fuckers who got in knew too much about our patrol patterns, where everyone was, when they’d have a clear shot at an infil. That means someone with access to our methods and comms, and as to the latter we don’t use CB radios.”
The other agent leaned back. “Fuck. I wish I knew why any of us would do that. We’re supposed to be quiet professionals, not frothing radicals.”
Savoie turned the mug in her hands. “Not to tell tales out of school but, through the whisper network, they’ve been leaning hard on the captured dudes from the attack. Apparently one of their main ‘objections’,” and here she made some one-handed air quotes, “is that they think the whole Breaker thing is a ruse. It’s all smoke and mirrors, so that we’ll beg the Coalition to come and save us. And then…well, it gets vague after that but I guess they claim that at best we’ll get turned into the galactic equivalent of a Native American reservation. Worst case, we all get harvested for our precious bodily fluids.”
Hanson stared at her for a moment in disbelief. “That is, if you will forgive the uncouth term, utterly retarded. For chrissake, the Hubble got some beautiful shots of their ship once they’d spun that shield around to reveal it to us. I mean, I’m no spacecraft expert but even I could tell it had gotten the shit pounded out of it.”
She responded with a shrug. “Hey, Flat Earthers are still a thing.”
“Flat Earthers don’t stage FUCKING mortar attacks in our nation’s capital,” snapped Hanson. Then he subsided and spoke more softly. “Sorry, I shouldn’t be so on edge. This whole thing just pisses me off.”
“Join the club,” said Savoie as she sipped more coffee. “I just don’t get it, though.”
Hanson made a gentle ‘continue’ wave of his hand.
She leaned forward. “Okay. Our comrades in the CIA managed to identify the four who made it into the compound. They were all mercenaries, each with at least ten or fifteen years of experience in kicking ass around some of the worst hot spots in the world. Syria, Burma, bunch of places in Africa. One of ‘em even turned out to be ex-Wagner group.”
“Okay?” It was a leading single-word question, but not an unkind one.
“So why was the rest of the attack made up of nothing but a bunch of goddamn shit-kickers? And that includes the aborted attempt in Decatur. I’ve seen the files of those we rounded up in the Camp David attack. They were all low-life idiots just banging around, maybe they might have once held a gun in their lives. Hell, from what I’ve heard, the shootings that triggered the alarm at Camp David were an accident; those intruders were supposed to sneak around
that patrol, not kill them. They all had the same top-of-the-line kit, so we know whoever is behind this has deep pockets. Why not hire an entire bunch of competent people instead of doing it onesy-twoseys?”
“It is a puzzle.” Hanson got up and set a styrofoam cup of water into the nearby microwave. As the cup turned within its electromagnetic prison, he leaned against the nearby counter and pondered her question. “Maybe the team in the woods was intended just as a distraction?”
“That’s what I thought at first, but then I reconsidered. I mean, what if the four who went in failed? You’d still need a proper backup plan. Same thing with the Decatur bunch. By the way, did they ever catch them?”
Hanson let out a dark chuckle. “Decatur PD found a pile of vests and rifles, hastily wiped down. They were able to pull a few partial prints off of ‘em. My guess is they’ve fled to the proverbial four winds, hoping to lay low for the rest of their lives. We’ll nab ‘em eventually.”
The microwave dinged and he retrieved his hot water, then pulled a tea bag out of his jacket pocket as he re-seated himself.
Savoie smiled. “I never figured you for a tea guy.”
He unwrapped the bag and with a bit of ceremony dunked it into his cup. “Well, I used to be a coffee guy, but my gut doesn’t agree with the acidity.”
“We do have tea here, you know.” She pointed to the storage bins behind him.
“Yeah, but it’s cheap-ass stuff. The brand I like is expensive, but worth it…” Hanson’s eyes widened as he trailed off.
She raised an eyebrow. “Hanson? Do you smell burnt toast?”
“They couldn’t afford it,” he said in a near-whisper.
Savoie was about to tell him to stop being overly dramatic, then she realized he might be on to something and that she didn’t dare distract him. “Keep talking.”
He leaned forward, his forearms on the table. “Okay. Imagine you’re a hard-bitten mercenary. You’ve been in the literal shit, in every nasty conflict anyone cares to name. Somehow, someone finds you and comes to you. They say ‘hey, these aliens are bad news, do you want to kill them?’ Even if you, as the hypothetical mercenary, are down with the cause…”
“From what the intruders were yelling, they were,” said Savoie.
“Yeah but even then, our mystery financier is asking you to infil and exfil out of one of the most heavily guarded pieces of real estate on the planet. Oh, and kill a bunch of special-forces-maybe and aliens-definitely in between. What do you do then?”
She replied with a grim smile. “If I’m that mercenary, then I ask for a metric fuck-ton of money. And there were four of them, they would have all done the same. Hell, they must have been doing collective bargaining.”
Hanson dunked his tea bag as he thought it through. “Okay, so our mystery mastermind has a lot of money, but not billions on hand to hire a literal army of hard cases. Huh. So those other dipshits might indeed have been a distraction.”
“Maybe. They must have also spent quite a bit on the mortar attack. That wasn’t made by some hobbyist in their bedroom, they knew what they were doing. Given that nobody saw them set up the launcher or leave, they were more pro.” Savoie hoped that the FBI’s efforts to track the various mortar components turned up something soon. Thus far, those efforts were bogged down; as it turned out, quite a few companies had ordered the identified components, and tracking the subsequent second-hand purchases was time-consuming.
“And those mortar-making pros would be more expensive.” Hanson sipped a bit of tea. “Did they ever get anything off of the launcher itself?”
“Sadly, no. Turns out the whole damned thing was homemade, constructed out of tubing and other off-the-shelf components. It was also wiped down thoroughly, no prints. Like I said, pros.”
“But limited in resources,” said Hanson. “Which explains one of the things that’s bugged me
. Namely, that our OPFOR didn’t use some proper artillery. If they have a couple of moles in the Secret Service, then it should be easy to recruit and pay some military dudes to slip ‘em some gear and alter the logs. They could stow a howitzer inside a semi-tractor-trailer. You could park that thing anywhere up to 25 miles away. Use a single 155mm Excalibur GPS-guided munition, boom. That would have pretty much obliterated the stage and everyone on it. Then you just re-stow the howitzer and toodle off all innocent-like, right when everyone is freaking the hell out.”
“So they couldn’t afford that type of arty strike,” she said. “Or they simply didn’t have the contacts to pull that off. Hmm. I wonder if our moles are getting paid at all?”
Hanson resumed his thousand-yard stare. “The mortar attack must have been planned first. The other two attacks feel much more like rush jobs.”
“Eh? Oh, I get it. Sadaf’s speech was known well in advance. It was going to be one of her first big public appearances since the initial presidential speech. They were broadcasting it online to the world. Having her get turned into chunky red salsa, in real time, would be one helluva statement. So that’s what they focused on.” She drank a bit more coffee, and now it was time for her eyes to widen. “Our mole or moles didn’t arrive at Camp David until after
Sadaf’s speech was announced.”
“That…oh, yeah, that makes sense. Originally the mortar attack is the OPFORs’ only focus, but yet somehow they’ve suborned one or two Secret Service agents and they have ‘em in their back pocket. Then one, or better yet both, of the moles gets assigned to the Camp David detail, and they realize that now that they have a golden opportunity to get at the other aliens as well. So they go off and hire four pros for the actual attack inside, plus a bunch of chucklefucks to act as a distraction, because that’s all they can afford since the four pros are asking for some serious money.”
Savoie leaned forward. “When did Chao and Grakosh leave Camp David?”
“It was, ah, three? No, four days after we got everyone settled, both the aliens and the special forces types.”
“Okay, so then
the OPFOR gets word, courtesy of our moles, that one of the aliens is now heading to Alabama. But now they’re stretched so thin that they can’t afford anything other than to hire another bunch of dipshits to make a run at them and hope for the best.”
“And then the second bunch lets the FNG drive.”
They both laughed, but that humor settled down as they both thought through the chain of inference.
“It is pretty thin,” said Savoie at last. “There’s a lot of assumptions in there.”
“Yeah. But I do like the idea of our moles getting assigned at the last minute.”
She rubbed her forehead. “We had a bunch of new people come in when they decided to stow the Rithro crew there. Seven, no eight in all.”
“It’s a place to start,” said Hanson. He finished his tea. “C’mon, let’s see if we can get a meeting with the inquiry board.”
A little while later and not very far away, three people sat in a well-lit but otherwise deadly dull room. At least the chairs were somewhat comfortable. Matt and Martinez sat at two chairs against one wall, while across from them McCoy sat sprawled sideways on another with a foul look on her face. She glowered at the far beige-painted wall. “This completely sucks. Why can’t we have our phones? I could at least play some mahjong.”
“This is a secure location, Corporal,” replied Matt. “Ixnay on the onephays.”
Martinez’s leg jittered. “How long are we gonna sit here? They said they’d call us in, like, an hour ago!”
“Dunno, it’s some kind of last-minute interview thing,” replied Matt with Zen-like calm.
The corporal looked over at Matt. “I don’t get you, man.”
Matt grinned. “Nobody gets me. I’m like the wind, baby!”
“That’s not…I mean, I watched you open up a dude like he was a bag of fuckin’ Doritos using nothing but a fuckin’ knife. Now you’re being all Caine from ‘Kung Fu’.”
“It’s good to know that the classics are still appreciated,” said Matt.
Martinez pointed at him. “If you start calling me ‘Grasshopper’ I will
McCoy turned her glare to the ceiling. “Maybe it’s a psychological test. They want to see if we crack under pressure and start yakking secrets.”
“I mean, I’m sure they’re recording us right now,” replied Matt. “But it’s merely as a precaution. I am also five-nines certain that none of us are suspects. We weren’t integrated into the compound’s overall security, and thus it would be unlikely that we could have let our four attackers in.”
“Not to mention, we were the ones to kill ‘em,” added Martinez. “Well, except for the one that Takh took care of.”
“Yep. This is…I won’t call it a formality, but the board just wants to know where you were and what you saw. Walk them through your personal timelines, understand? Tell them only what you know. If you don’t know something, then say so.”
McCoy turned herself around so that she now sprawled the other way. “This whole bullshit just bugs me. Takh and the others are off with a bunch of strangers and I…I mean, we aren't there to help protect them.”
Matt and Martinez shared a meaningful glance. “From what I heard, Takh is quite capable of taking care of himself,” said the latter with a grin. “You told me he pitched that one dude across the room like he was throwing a softball.”
For once, the petite corporal looked a bit flustered. “Yeah, but, I mean, what if some other potential bad guy gets the drop on him with a gun? I don’t like not being there. I just wanna know that he’s okay. I should be there, just to make sure.”
The smaller man snapped his fingers in the face of the taller, who sighed and took out his wallet. With great ceremony, Matt pulled out a five-dollar bill and placed it upon the now-upraised palm of Martinez.
“Told ya,” said Martinez with a grin.
She sat up and glared at them both. “That doesn’t mean anything! Takh is a good guy!”
“Nobody said he wasn’t,” replied Matt as he stowed his wallet. “He is indeed a good guy.”
“Yeah, seriously, we’re glad you two hooked up,” added Martinez. “Takh’s solid. Hell, I’d let him date my sister.”
“I. Am. Not. Hooked Up. With ANYONE.” McCoy now looked furious enough to chew nails.
Martinez stroked his chin. “Kissing might be a problem, though.”
Matt performed a similar chin-stroking action. “Hmm, indeed, Corporal, I do believe it might be a serious issue. One has all of those mandibles to contend with.” He hooked his fingers next to his mouth in an approximation of an udhyr’s face. “Still, I think that, with enough will and effort, one could figure it out. Like the man said, life finds a way.”
“But how much tongue is he packing?” posed Martinez. “You know what the man also says. Big dude, big tongue. Could make things more interesting, all around.”
The woman did not look amused. “Martinez, Toke? You are now both officially gigantic flatulating assholes.”
“C’mon, McCoy!” protested Martinez. “Think of it this way. A few years from now, let’s say we filthy humans are now part of the Coalition and I’m at some meet ‘n greet, and I just so happen to spy me an oh-so-very-fiiine udhyr mamacita from across the room. Now, I wanna do my bit for my species and approach her, and get some good old inter-species cultural interaction going on. But there’s all sorts of questions. How do I compliment her without insulting her culture? How am I supposed to get in good with her? How do the mechanics work? How do the various bits line up? We need details! You’re at the tip of the spear, we all need good intel!”
McCoy slumped back into her seat. “Over seven hundred billion Dimmadollars of defense spending, and yet somehow I wind up stuck in a room with you two fuckos…oh, by the way, Toke
,” she added, pointing a finger at Matt, “why the hell can you and Sarge never go back to Okinawa?”
“Nice distraction, McCoy,” said Martinez. “My guess is some sort of wet-work shit.”
Matt just smiled. “Oh for fuck’s sake, I don’t kill everyone
I meet. I was a Second LT at the time, managed to somehow leapfrog my way into officer ranks all the way from enlisted. Anyways, the Okinawa affair was merely a case of, well, one particular case of rye whiskey. The good sergeant…was he a sergeant then? Oh yeah, we had done some other stuff I can’t tell you about in someplace I can’t tell you where, and we were celebrating Shaw getting his third stripe. We’d got ahold of the previously-mentioned case of whiskey and then we began toasting to each other’s good health. We did a lot of toasting. Quite
a lot of toasting. As you can imagine, the toasting went on and on until we, um, well we did some unwise things. It started out with us sparring-for-fun with each other in public and escalated from there. No locals were harmed, and nothing we did was hella illegal, or I would’ve never made Captain. Buuut the local government would definitely throw a shitfit if me or, God forbid, both of us set foot back on the island.” He chuckled. “Hell, the Okinawan customs people probably still have both of our pictures taped up inside their booths with a big old sign saying ‘DO NOT ADMIT THIS PERSON, YOU FOOL’ written above them.”
“What did you do?” asked Martinez. His eyes were big and soulful, like a kid asking for yet one more story before bedtime.
Matt shrugged. “I mean, I don’t remember much for obvious reasons. I’m almost sure we didn’t piss on any monuments, that would have definitely been cause for a serious demotion. We did do a number on some shrubbery, that I do remember. We decided it needed to be trimmed back, and so we did so. Using our bare hands. Seemed like a good idea at the time.”
A fearsome light came into McCoy’s eyes. “Martinez, do you know what this means?”
He looked at her all uncertain. “Um, Toke and Sarge have cast-iron livers?”
“No, you fool. Blackmail material
Matt pointed back at her. “Hey, now, I told you that in confidence. Besides, Shaw has a lot more to contend with right now.”
The reminder of the sergeant’s current crippled state brought the elevated atmosphere of the room back down. McCoy nodded as her smile faded. “Right. Hey, did you see the Prez’s speech at the UN?”
“Yep,” said Matt. “From what I’ve read, the political wrangling after it seems pretty tame compared to the usual.”
Martinez snorted. “No shit. Did either of you see the laundry list of shit that we might be able to do? Anti-aging, limb regrowth, cancer treatments which work well and which don’t
half-kill the patient…hell, maybe even Alzheimer’s could be in our rear-view mirror. The grand high muckity-mucks are falling all over themselves to get that out into the world, for themselves if nobody else.”
“You’re way too cynical, Martinez,” said Matt.
“Oh fuck off. What if…okay, I know this sounds like a cheesy sci-fi concept, but what if they hoard all of the good shit for themselves and we peons get just the crumbs?”
Matt lapsed back into his meditative demeanor. “In that case, my dear corporal, you or I or McCoy or someone like us will show those hypothetical elites that, while they are indeed long-lived, they are not in fact immortal.”
The trio fell into silence for a few minutes. Then Martinez leaned over towards Matt. “Ah, a little birdie told me you were involved in questioning the prisoners we nabbed at Camp David.”
“I merely facilitated certain conversations,” replied Matt.
Martinez sighed. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies…Corporal.”
McCoy let out a growl. “Well, I
heard these terrorist assholes are saying that the Breakers aren’t real, that it’s all fake videos from the Coalition.”
“Just to play devil’s advocate,” said Matt, “our AI image and video generation is already getting to the point where, soon, we puny humans could manufacture such evidence.”
“What?” Martinez looked as if he was about to launch himself at Matt.
Matt held up a calming hand. “I’m not saying it is
fake. The Hubble pics are damned convincing.”
Martinez hiked up one foot to place it on his seat, then rested his chin on his knee. “Fuck. I guess it didn’t convince everyone.” He mused for a few moments. “Wait. What if we made it even more convincing?”
“How?” asked Matt.
“We send some humans up to the Rithro
. Two or three at least. The boats can still make it up to the ship, right?”
For once Matt looked uncertain. “I think so? Dunno how many times they can come and go without recharging, we’ll have to ask ‘em.”
“Right, so we set up an even better publicity stunt than the Hubble pics. Choose a few people, from all over the world. We have ‘em travel up to the Rithro
, take pics and video up close showing the damage. Even take ‘em inside the ship and get a full tour, maybe…if the crew is okay with that, of course.”
“Huh.” Matt sat back and pondered the idea. “That’s a really good idea, Martinez. I guess you aren’t as dumb as you look.”
The corporal responded with a slight smile at the verbal jab. “We’d need to choose the right people, though.”
“They’d have to be trustworthy…or at least someone that the entire world will consider trustworthy,” said Matt.
“Well known,” added McCoy. She no longer looked vengeful. “With recognizable faces and voices, and then they can go on all the talk shows after and say that, yes indeed, I got a tour of the ship and it is indeed quite banged up.”
Martinez stared at the far wall. “Some kind of celebrity? Heh. You think Tom Cruise would be up for it?”
Matt laughed. “That beautiful maniac? Hell, he’d insist on shooting an entire movie up there, with at least one action scene where he’s hanging off of the outside of the ship.”
They all smiled at the resulting mental image.
“Chao could work,” said McCoy into the silence. “She’s kind of a celebrity now. After all, she was the first human to come into contact with aliens, eh?” She gave Matt a big and very un-subtle wink.
To skirt the rather…unconventional methods used to achieve a positive First Contact, Matt’s role had been very much demoted in the official story. Now every recounting of the tale included a bit of ‘…oh, and there was also another person who stumbled across our brave woman in the midst of her attempts at informational exchange with the aliens…” His exact identity was also not published, under the screen of ‘he wishes to remain anonymous’.
“Oh bite me, McCoy, it’s fun,” replied Matt. He waggled his eyebrows. “Besides, I work better in the shadows!” He threw his forearm across his face like a half-assed Count Dracula trying to hide behind his cape.
Then he dropped his arm. “Yeah, Chao would be good as a current social-media darling. Of course, she might not want that. She strikes me as more of the wallflower type, for the most part.”
“We need more people,” said Martinez, as he stared at the floor. “Chao might be good on her own, but she’s got that motor-mouth talking thing when you get her going. It’s one or the other. Either she’s trying to shrink into a corner and take up as little space as possible, or suddenly you’re getting pulled into another corner for a doctoral dissertation on how minimal-energy transfer-orbits work.”
Matt pondered for a moment. “Wait, when did she do that? I never sat through one of those lectures.”
Martinez looked away and…well, Matt hoped that their supposed overlords were indeed recording this particular moment in time because the hard-bitten Hispanic special-forces corporal actually blushed
McCoy, of course, realized a golden opportunity for payback and immediately pounced. “Why, Corporal
Martinez,” she purred. “Doooo tell us. When did Chao Me Chu, heh, pull
you into a corner? Hmmm?”
“She’s…she’s just real nice, that’s all,” replied Martinez. “I asked her a couple of questions, and she answered them. That’s all. We both love classic sci-fi, like Asimov and shit. I guess we bonded over that.”
Matt cleared his throat. “Aaaaand may I remind you two and
everyone listening in that we have all been cooped up nuts-to-butts for awhile? Don’t mistake familiarity for romantic bullshit.” He pointed over at Martinez. “But you. If you can follow at least half of what she talks about, then you are absolutely without-a-single-fucking-doubt wasted
as a corporal, even if you’re in a low-drag high-speed outfit like this. You hear me?”
“Um, yes sir.” It was the first time in McCoy’s memory that anyone had addressed Matt as befitting his perhaps-former rank.
“Good. You get your ass into college, somehow. You’re a smart guy, you’ll figure all that shit out. And as for Chao? Just give it room to breathe. Let her know you’re interested, but don’t press the matter.”
“Let her know?” For once Martinez looked completely lost. “How do I…” he trailed off. “I mean, I like her…and yeah, I mean I like her in that
way, but she’s so damn smart and pretty and I’m just some dipshit meathead.”
“Hey, don’t sell yourself short,” said Matt. “You’re our
McCoy’s vengeful smile faded. “Martinez…no, Luca.”
Martinez looked up in surprise at her use of his first name.
She continued. “Just talk to her. Neither of you have any clue as to what ‘normal’ social interactions look like. In your case, it’s because you’ve been a soldier for all of your adult life. In her case, it’s because she’s, well, because she’s Chao. So just walk up to her and be straightforward. Trust me, it’ll be like a breath of fresh air for her to not have to navigate social cues. Just say something like ‘Hey, I really like you, do you like me and do you want to go get a coffee sometime’? Start with that. Chao’s good people, the worst thing she’ll do is say no. She won’t yell at you or talk shit about you online. Buuuut, some sixth sense is telling me she won’t say no to getting some coffee with ya.”
Matt smiled. “McCoy, I think you might have a calling after you leave the military.”
She snorted. “Oh yeah, I’ll hang up my match-making shingle on the internet and start raking in the big bucks. Martinez is right, though. If we try to do a publicity stunt up at the Rithro
, then we’ll need somebody alongside Chao to win the world over. Somebody well-known, but preferably someone not in the traditional Western pop-culture sphere. That’ll make it more palatable…”
Her voice trailed off and she stared into space. The two men now looked at each other in genuine concern until she spoke again a few moments later.
“Guys? I think I just had the best idea ever.”
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2023.06.03 18:42 NNOutBurger My Story
I joined in the summer of 2020. I just dropped out of college after switching my major two times (no college debt) and I needed a "career" fast. One day while on YouTube I saw an ad for the USN. It looked interesting so I decided to go on the website and see what they could offer. I decided fuck it I'll join the Navy for 4 years and get out and use the "skills" I gained from the Navy to get a good job. I went into the recruiting stations and did all the necessary paperwork and was told all the same lies you guys probably heard a million times but I didn't know any better. Boot Camp came and went. (Bootcamp was the most fun I had in the Navy and that's saying a lot). Shipped to A-School to learn my rate and this was the first time I had started feeling regret, but I thought it was just homesickness. It doesn't help that my now ex-girlfriend broke up with me during that time. I graduated A-School and received my bonus and headed to the fleet (I was assigned to a ship in Virginia).
When I first arrived the feeling of regret I had during A-School faded away. I met a lot of good people and made some dope friends. I bucked down on getting Quals and I was trying to be a good sailor so I can gain rank. (Oh btw I came into the fleet as an E-1). We were in the yards for about 6 months when I first arrived but when it was time to move back to the big Norfolk base that was when shit got real. I thought I would like Underway but the long hours, shitty food, terrible CoC and living conditions pissed me off. I hated being in the fucking berthing's, people act like they didn't know how to clean up after themselves, etc. Also, I met my now girlfriend and I couldn't stand being away from her for long periods. She always kept me in a positive mood and always had my best intentions for me. I moved into a house with some roommates and they were the worse people I ever lived with. Never cleaned up after themselves, didn't take out the trash, leave food everywhere it was fucking nasty and I HATED them. I also HATED my job. On paper, my job will 100% transfer over to the civilian world but the catch was I didn't even feel like I was doing my job 90% of the time. I was very big on self-learning so I decided to take some college courses to give myself a fighting chance once I did get out. I asked my CoC plenty of times to approve my chit for NAVY COOL for certifications related to my rate. They would always preach "We want the best intentions for yall and want yall to succeed outside the military" BS. My NAVY COOL chit never got approved and I was devasted. I felt lied to. I wasted so many hours being a good little "sailor", getting quals, passing boards, etc. When I finally wanted some of those sweet perks they couldn't even do that for me. My ship had a lot of suicides, SA, and alcohol abuse. I didn't want to be in an environment like this anymore. So I decided to just leave. I waited till the holidays and completely vanished throwing all my navy shit away in a dumpster. Changed my number, blocked everyone I knew from the Navy, changed hairstyles, and went to a different state far far away.
Now before I went UA, I did a lot of research. I called GI Hotline and they told me a bunch of information on what type of punishment I could receive if caught, discharged and etc. My goal was to go UA for more than 120 days. Why? In the Navy, if you're UA for more than 120 days you can be qualified for a "discharge of absentia". Meaning you won't have to turn yourself back into a military base, MP, or your command. You could simply walk into any recruiting station. The hard part was not being caught in those 120 days. After 30 days a warrant for your arrest is issued, so no getting pulled over by cops for ANY reasons. During those 120 days, I stayed low I didn't leave the house for any reason unless it was important and if I could walk I would. It felt nice not waking up early or saying the stupid sailor creed every morning. During my UA period, I kept going to school online and even got a few certs. It was time to look for a job because bills are still due, I was a little bit scared because of background checks but lucky none of that shows. I got offered a position making 50k a year. (Literally twice what I made in the Navy. I made 28k in the Navy). For people asking why I didn't take the other route of getting out well smoking weed is unpredictable I could smoke a joint on Monday and get tested on Wednesday or get tested 3 months from then. Mental health also took too long, a buddy of mines is still getting processed out and it has been damn near 8 months. I felt like going UA was the quickest regardless because if caught before the 120 days I would still get kicked out but just have to return to the ship. On my 120th day of UA, I called NACIC, to ask about my status and "turn myself in" and to my surprise my command forgot to do my paperwork so this whole time I didn't even have a warrant out lol but I still qualified for the discharge of absentia. From there I went to the nearest recruiting station and turn myself in. All I had to do was muster over the phone every morning. I tuned myself in on Monday and on Friday the paperwork was signed and the process of getting out of the Navy would start. It's been a total of <150 days from start to finish. I am still waiting on my DD-124 but that's all,
I plan on finishing college and getting more certs. I feel like a new man but I know I have more work to do. The Navy changed me and I need to get back to my old self. I plan on living my life and doing what I want. Don't need a "Chief" telling me what I can and can't do. I'm here to help anyone, I'm not saying you have to go UA but this community is here for a reason. The military is BS and please don't kill yourself over this shit.
submitted by NNOutBurger
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