Frederick, MD (Freddit)
2010.10.14 20:35 jbird80 Frederick, MD (Freddit)
We are a subreddit community for those who live, or have lived in Frederick County, MD and welcome guests.
2023.05.27 07:15 Proletlariet Fred Saved
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2023.05.10 06:25 mvd722 Anyone know what happened at warehouse cinemas tonight?
As we were leaving our movie at about 11pm there were several cop cars outside as well as about 6 cops inside speaking to employees. It looked like they were reviewing cameras on a laptop with the employees. Checked the scanner and Frederick police page and didn’t see anything. Was wondering if anyone knew what happened there?
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2023.05.08 18:45 Fieldyskins1984 Incident on Market St yesterday afternoon
Was eating lunch with my family at Brewer's Alley yesterday around 1pm and heard shouting from across the street. There were a handful of police vehicles and a black man was being restrained by a few officers (it looked from across the street like they were trying very hard not to hurt him) During the struggle he was asking others to record the incident, asking a bystander to pick up his phone. Police responded by yelling at everyone to stay back and that he had a gun. The last i saw of it, he was handcuffed and all the police vehicles were rolling out.
I didn't see anything on the Frederick Scanner Facebook page and nothing in FNP. Wondering if anyone knows what happened...
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2023.04.14 06:20 Previous_Truth_6215 Via Frederick scanner one hour ago
1 W. 2ND STREET. @ MAGOO’S PUB, FREDERICK CITY— STABBING— REPORTED 2 PATIENTS. VICTIMS ON SIDEWALK. MEDIC 2-8 ON SCENE CONFIRMS 2 PATIENTS. LARGE CROWD. PD ON SCENE. BOTH STABBED IN ABDOMEN, BOTH CONSCIOUS, REQUESTING AVIATION FOR BOTH, WILL TAKE BY GROUND TO TROOPER 3 HANGER
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2023.04.02 03:12 dirtychai0218 Visitation Academy on fire
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2023.03.31 19:11 Trifling_Truffles Found the warrant half way through the flight? Still on the way to Toronto
2023.03.28 23:33 Randycheeseburger42 Scan your hand for bread
AI and face/palm scanning technology coming out at exact same time. Coincidentally after a worldwide forced vaccination assault scam and during a potential ww3 nuclear holocaust scenario. Will Sodom survive?
"President Xi said that by 2030 he wanted China to be the preeminent country in AI research and development. Putin has said that whoever controls AI controls the future," Frederick said…
On AI bias, Gade gave examples of associations and stereotypes that AI can fall for since they are relying so heavily on the internet. One example, he said, is that AI might conclude that women are almost always associated with "fashion or beauty" or that certain religions are tied to violence….
Imagine a hack shifting the software into the ultimate phishing, hacking and emotionally manipulating machine you can imagine," he said. "It has the brain power of Albert Einstein installed plus years of private data, audio recordings of your entire family’s voices and with its speech synthesis standard software."
Revelation 13:15-17 King James Version 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Its not hard to imagine a post nuclear world where Russia and China are on top and America is a smoking hole. Just like the pandemic where if youve not had your injection you cant buy or sale with AI overseeing the whole system. Wine and oil and bread would be scarce and the economy of earth crashed. The moneytables flipped thats what happens when you buy and sale in the body. The rich man in hell tormented in the flames wanting a drop of water on his tongue. Lazarus in the bosom.
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2023.02.23 17:00 peaceman14 Humans don't do magic Chapter 5: A battle above the clouds
Meanwhile, at the docking bay everything had seemingly gone according to his plan. Well besides the unexpected rapid evacuation. The archmage now stood confident that his boarding forces will take control of the station and in turn be able to turn some of humanity's most powerful orbital weapons upon them.Though unknown to him the control systems for these weapons had already been rerouted to the ground.
Stepping forward towards the locked door to the main corridor. His finger shapeshifting into that of one of the security crew he had just killed. He placed his finger onto the biometric scan, quickly unlocking the door and revealing a large wide corridor, big enough to allow forklifts and other loading equipment to move freely back and forward. Many doors flanked the central corridor, With a wave of his hand, his undead warriors walked past him, expertly clearing out the rooms. Which he found to be storage rooms. Holding vast quantities of resupply equipment, like food, tools, fuel, water and armour. The corridor ended in a T junction with 2 signs indicating that one led to the crew quarters and the other led to the observatory.
Taking a step forward, sudden ringing echoed throughout the station, swiftly the archmage pulled back. Only to realise that it was coming from the intercom speakers above.
“ Hello! Archmage Duke I presume.”
“You presume correctly, and who might you be?”
“ I am Fredrick, head science director of the Unified Terran Nations, and I will be your tactical opponent today.”
“Huh, a head scientist, you're not a tactician, no matter your memories will serve me well.” The Orc commented, slowly moving into the station as his forces expertly and efficiently clears the now abandoned lower levels.
“S-sirrr, b-br0adcast location… sub-level 3… near holodeck.” His undead comms tech, informed him.
“ Good job,” The archmage praised, willing a small squad of elite forces in power armour to follow him towards the crew quarters, as multiple other squads stayed on the lower levels to secure it. From the memories he had absorbed there is a main elevator in the quarters that leads to every level of the station. Following the signs, he once again encountered a huge locked door which he opened with a simple biometric scan. This revealed a large open area. An elevator stood in the centre with bridges of concrete leading to the smaller open apartment corridors on the left and right. On the ground concrete pathways sprawled through lush greenery placed on elevated concrete platforms, These pathways led to the many doors on the left and right on the ground floor as well as a concrete fountain that stood in the centre in front of the elevator. Plants, trees and other greenery defined these paths. The lights were off, but the flashlights on the power armoured suits as well as the starlight coming from the open glass roof were enough to illuminate the open space. Walking cautiously forward, the squad attempted to make their way towards the elevator, only to suddenly be met by a loud bang, that quickly ended the life of the Elven mage in the powered armoured suit to the left of the Archmage.
“Cover!” One of the guards yelled, the archmage instantly jumped behind an elevated concrete platform, narrowly dodging a high calibre round that was heading for his head. The cacophony of gunfire erupted from the open corridors above, and bullets whizzed by the archmage coming from all around.His soldiers returned fire around him, as he thought of a plan. Their enemies had the high ground and they were in the centre. Their lights were giving them away, so he willed his squad to turn it off. Causing the battlefield to dim into a pitch black with only muzzle flashes to light the way. He willed his forces on his left to cover him as he repositioned. Moving quickly alongside one of his elf comrades to another concrete platform. The shots coming from above slowed for a second before continuing, as accurate as before, picking off the soldiers behind him one by one as they attempted to peek their head out to return fire. It was evident that the enemy had switched to night vision.He had also begun to take note of where the muzzle flashes were coming from. They were moving after every shot so predicting them would be difficult. He grabbed a flashbang off the belt of the elf ducking next to him, and cooked the grenade. 3.2.1 He threw the nade up in the air, and shielded his eyes.Instantly a blinding white light illuminated the room. He heard a few pained screams from above and then ordered his troops to quickly turn their lights back on and return fire. Swiftly his squad popped their heads out from behind cover, and with many resounding bangs sent multiple streaks of lead into the blinded humans killing them.Feeling a little more secure. The Archmage peaked his head out, to ensure it was clear, before making his way to the central elevator.
A few moments later, more undead warriors poured into the chamber and began combing the upper levels as the Archmage and his escort made their way up. The bridges that connected the elevator to the apartments lead towards 2 doors on either side. Which separates 2 set of crew quarters which resembled apartment blocks.
“ Which way?” The archmage asked
“ S-Signal…. Towards… left.” His undead technician replied.
Acknowledging this the Archmage made his way towards the door on the left. It had a large sign over it, which detailed the many facilities that the corridor leads to, Cafeteria, command deck, holodeck, laboratory, server room and war room. Placing his finger on the biometric scanner, he wondered what some of these rooms actually did. Of course the war room was self explanatory and even with the memories of quite an amount of soldiers, he had no recollection of anything beyond this door. The humans did quite an incredible job at keeping this level classified. An unpleasant beep came from the biometric scanner and the display turned from green to red.
“ Access denied, class 5 security clearance required.” A robotic voice sounded from the door.
The archmage sighed, “ Guess we have to do this the human way, Ramirez, prep the charges” He commanded.
“Y-Yes sir.” he responded with a hoarse dead voice. Walking towards the reinforced steel door and placing a shaped charge on the door. After which he and the rest took cover. Shortly after an explosion rocked the station. Sending steel shrapnel down the corridor, soon after any bangs and crackles echoed down the hallway, as a series of automated defence turrets down the corridor opened fire on the Orcish force. Before finally being silenced by a rocket launcher.
Shortly after, squads of undead began pouring into the hallway, securing and clearing the few doors that lead to the corridor. The archmage then began slowly walking down the hallway. The cafeteria on his left was cleared. The tables are still in an untidy mess, topped with unfinished meals and drink cans. The corridor ended with a reinforced door, with a small sign mounted on the wall next to it that read command centre. Cautiously walking forward, he asked Ramirez to ready another charge. A quick explosion and the archmage was in, at the heart of human high command. Stepping inside, he expected to see a room full of control panels and tactical display, but what met him instead was a vast empty cubicle room. At the centre of it seated upon a grand stone throne was a man in a lab coat. As soon as he realised what this was. The door behind him sealed shut, leaving only him, his elite squad of infantry and the human. A loud boom echoed throughout the empty white chamber, the room then began to shake and rumble. The Archmage then quickly realised that the distance between him and the rest of the undead slaves began to widen. The fucker had jettisoned the command deck, isolating him. No matter his objective was still here, and now so was the human head scientist.
“ That was a mistake my friend.” The Archmage announced to the scientist, sitting on his stone throne at the centre of the wide empty chamber
“ Really? Looks to me like you just became my prisoner.”
“ No, you became mine.” The Archmage retorted, walking forward, towards the seemingly unarmed scientist, and attempting to grab him by the neck only for his arm to pass clean through the man.
“ Yea? Still think I’m your prisoner?” The scientist’s voice now echoed throughout the large chamber. As the white background began to shift and walls began to move in and appear. Quickly isolating and separating him from the rest of his squad. What was once a simple wide open white chamber quickly turned into a stone labyrinth. As the Archmage quickly found himself standing alone in a dark narrow corridor.
“ You really thought it would be that easy?” The voice echoed like an omnipotent god throughout the dark labyrinth. The archmage took out his pistol and held it close, slowly walking towards one of the walls, he placed his hand on it. It looked to be stone but what he felt was solid steel. Seems like most of this labyrinth is an illusion in combination with shifting walls. A distant gunshot rang through the labyrinth, It was quickly followed by many more. Closing his eyes, the archmage began to feel out the facility, shutting down his sense of sight the Orc began to heighten his other senses including his primal Orcish ability to feel the location of souls.His ears shapeshifted to that of a bat and his nose shifted to that of a wolf. He felt 2 elven souls and multiple undead that belonged to his squad, and many human souls crawling through the maze. Using this he navigated the maze, holding the wall to his left in an attempt to find an opening to regroup.Sensing something was wrong the Orc stopped dead in his tracks, Suddenly another gunshot echoed, and a bullet whistled by grazing his cheek and drawing blood. The sound of the gun immediately gave him a read of where the terran soldier might be. Bringing his gun up to aim, the orc swiftly took a shot. The bullet tore through the air and ricochet harmlessly off a heavy steel plate. Powerarmour, he thought quickly changing forms, his legs quickly turned into that of a powerful horse, propelling his light body through the air with immense speed, strafing left and right, even up onto the walls and the ceiling in an unpredictable manner, till he was finally on top of the target. His fist pounded the soldier in power armour with the strength of a gorilla and combined with the momentum of a cavalry charge.
He expected the soldier as well as the frame to fall on their back, but instead the soldier stood there blocking with his rifle his boots dug firmly into the ground, skid marks on the floor showed that he was pushed back but never left the floor. The soldier took advantage of this momentary stun to quickly elbow the archmage in the face. The force hit like a truck, slamming him to the ground. Thinking face, the archmage rolled out of the way of a shot from the soldiers gun, quickly grabbing the barrel and pushing it upwards, sending a streak of red hot lead down the corridor behind him, and then up into the ceiling. Leaning forward, he shifted his entire body weight onto the soldier and using his arms to separate the man from his weapon. This sent the rifle flying down the corridor, and the soldier onto the ground. Once again, he shapeshifted his arms to that of a gorilla before attempting to slam the soldier into the ground. As expected the soldier with help from the armour caught both his punches with ease, grabbing the archmage’s arms with both hands. The power armour clad soldier, pushed the archmage off of him. Even managing to lift the orc high off the ground before flinging him down the corridor. Flipping back onto his feet, the orc managed to stabilise himself and get back on the ground. Looking up, the 2 stared each other down, the rifle was lying equidistant between them. Quickly shapeshifting his legs once more the orc pounced towards the gun, as the soldier sprinted towards him on the other side. With his superior speed the orc managed to make to the gun first but the soldier was not far behind, The Orc grabbed the gun and rolled over narrowly avoiding a kick that would have undoubtedly rendered him unconscious, Turning the weapon quickly on the terran soldier the Orc opened fire. Sending a single enchanted lead round into the man’s head ending his life instantly.
Walking over to the corpse he began to feed on the soldier’s soul, expecting a wealth of information and experience. What he got instead was extreme pain, the soldiers memories were just rife with physical pain, worse than any he had encountered on the battlefield. He hesitated to even still call this person human, after it all. Apparently this particular soldier was bred in a capsule, a product of hybridising human technology with Elven life magic, with the intent on creating the strongest most efficient killing machine. This man had gone through excruciating pain, as his body was broken down and rebuilt in order to achieve perfection. He has no good memories,his past was being released prematurely from his capsule and being deployed here. Reeling back from the pain of feeding on such a soul. He patted and straightened his clothes trying to regain his composure.From this man’s mind he at least had managed to glean together enough information from this man’s mind to be able to navigate the maze and find the real human scientist, and when he finds that piece of shit he will make him suffer for what he did.
Fredrick, sat on the control deck high above the holodeck, rubbing the implant that he had placed on the back of his neck,it was a chip slot in which a military chip containing the memories of a few deceased senior officers was slotted. This had allowed him the tactical awareness and prowess to keep up with the orc.
The glass window in front of him, provided a nice top down view of the stone labyrinth below. An environment he had cherry picked, to him it had the perfect blend of irony and functionality. The shifting walls ensured that the archmage’s squad below would always be separated and picked off one by one by his gene soldiers which were all connected to the deck’s mainframe. As such they would always know which walls are real and which are fake, weaving in and out of the shifting wall, his gene soldiers to the enemy resembled spectres and ghosts, coming out of the walls to take out their enemies. Slowly isolating, separating and killing whilst inspiring a sense of primal terror in the unfortunate elven soldiers that had apparently been mixed in with the undead ones.
Though his ambush on the Archmage had not killed the orc, it had managed to confirm an important factor that was paramount to his plan and now he was confident it would work. As if on cue the muffled sound of metal screeching could be heard from the door behind him. Gripping the dart gun tightly Fredrick still couldn't help but feel a little nervous, a little scared for if his plan had been miscalculated it would no doubt lead to the end of his life. The raucous sound of the steel door behind him bending and tearing filled the room and Fredrick turned to face the monster, a humanoid being one of its arms resembled that of a Gorilla’s but had long talons like that of an eagle which gripped the torn reinforced steel door like prey. Quickly its arms shifted back to normal, as it walked forward to greet the human scientist.
“We meet at last…” A bang interrupted his monologue, followed by a slight pain in the archmage’s arm;he turned to look at it revealing a small dart stuck to it. Quickly the amnestic began to take effect wiping out a small chunk of the memories that he had accumulated in his mind before his body could adapt.
“ You insignificant worm, how dare you!”, He yelled angrily pulling the amnestic lased dart out of his arm. “ I will torture your soul for that!” he said, quickly advancing on Fredrick who was fumbling the reload of a second dart. “Heh, wait…Wait, aahhhh” Frederick let out a bloodcurdling scream as the Archmange grabbed him by his windpipe, forcing him to drop the dart gun. “ I am going to kill you very slowly.” The archmage threatened as he began the soul absorption. Frederick let out another scream as he grasped at the memories being taken from him, his right hand pounding at the unflinching Orc while his left hand struggled to pull apart the orc’s grip from behind his neck. “ This…is… this is not a good idea for you…let..” He begged under his breath. The Orc ignored his pleas, continuing to absorb the precious memories from the dying scientist. He watched through the scientist life, from the moment the man was born,his time in a military college?, and… what the… does this man have 2 consecutive lives. The memories and images soon began to shift from that of a scientist or a military officer to pure and utter nonsense.The images that began flooding the archmage mind made no sense, ranging from stupid pictures of random humans with large white text over them. To stupid videos of cats and dogs then to a fat version of a rabbit that the humans nicknamed big chun-... “What the what sort of…” He yelled, realising that Fredrick’s expression of despair had quickly turned into a grin. “What have you done!” He yelled, realising that the memories, images and videos of what he now knows the humans called, memes and shitposts began corrupting and replacing actually useful information and experiences, as his mind quickly reached its limit trying to absorb every shitpost, meme, video and crappy facebook and twitter post ever made by humankind since the year 2006. “ What…the…how…hell…hehe funni rabbit… NO! STOP IT!” The mage yelled, but it was too late the soul absorption and memory absorption process cannot be stopped once started. “ Gotcha.” Frederick grinned, biting through the pain as the chip in his neck began to heat up from streaming in multiple terabytes of information per second. “NO! Do you know what you’ve done!.... Generations of memories…. Tactics… AHH!... small yellow man… NOOO!” The Archmage's arm finally went limp, and Fredrick was let down. He quickly tapped the back of his neck,and ejected the chip, gripping it and throwing it to the far corner of the room before it spontaneously combusted.
Standing in the now quiet room, he looked down on the Archmage who was lying on the floor drooling and muttering to himself. The Orc was essentially lobotomised, now a husk of his former self. Frederick touched his head, realising that he himself had forgotten his entire childhood, everything up to his graduation from college was gone, replaced by images of a poorly drawn spaceman with the words amogus over it.
The door to the holodeck opened, letting in a ray of sun. An indication that the jettisoned section had entered the atmosphere and landed safely. Frederick watched from the glass window as a squad of friendly soldiers had entered the holodeck, led by none other than Jean herself. Pressing the button on one of the intercoms he spoke slowly into the mic. “Marshall, this is Science director Fredrick, the final Archmage has been neutralised.”
“Science director, forgive my rudeness but we will have to come see for ourselves to ensure that you are not compromised.” Jean yelled upwards into the stone ceiling, which was invisible for Fredrick but looked all to present for Jean.
“I understand, deactivating the holodeck now, you can come see for yourself.” Previous
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2023.02.21 15:07 DogfishHeadBeer Geoff Rowley - Combat Proven
Picture of my first ever skateboard, 2001.
Figured I should put this on the internet as I couldn't find any pictures of the board other than one showing the artwork. I don't currently have a scanner, so this is the best I can do at the moment. I bought this setup at a shop called PITCREW in Frederick MD back in 2001. I'm still trying to find the name of the wheels I put on this board, but its been so long I can't remember.
Sorry, the glare in the picture is from the original photo. Must have been a sunny day.
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2023.02.02 16:00 _call-me-al_ [Thu, Feb 02 2023] TL;DR — This is what you missed in the last 24 hours on Reddit
If you want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox, you can now join at this link Hacker Group Releases 128GB Of Data Showing Russia's 'Wide-Ranging' Illegal Surveillance Of Citizens Comments Link Ukraine is fighting Western war fatigue, Ukraine's deputy foreign minister Andrij Melnyk says: "We need everything that our partners can deliver. We’re not doing this for amusement." Comments Link Georgia Wants Russia to Leave Its Land in a Ukraine Peace Deal Comments Link Lawsuit can proceed against Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse
Andrew Tate: Court upholds decision to extend controversial influencer's 30-day detention after appeal dismissed
No classified documents found in FBI search of Biden's beach house
Conversing with a friend just once during the day to catch up, joke around or tell them you’re thinking of them can increase your happiness and lower your stress level by day’s end
Women who had drunk alcohol up to the legal limit for driving were able to recall details of a sexual assault in a hypothetical scenario, including details of activities to which they had, and had not, consented.
Vitamin D3 Supplementation at 5000 IU Daily for the Prevention of Influenza-like Illness in Healthcare Workers: A Pragmatic Randomized Clinical Trial
Investigations reveal more evidence that Mimas is a stealth ocean world
Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry 20 years ago today, killing all seven astronauts on board.
What is a theory about space that still baffles you?
ChatGPT is just the beginning: Artificial intelligence is ready to transform the world
Plastic Water Bottles May Be Next Ban In Hawaii’s War Against Pollution Citing the significant amount of plastic found in oceans, lawmakers advanced a bill that would ban the sale of plastic water bottles as early as 2024.
Robot Lawyer Stunt Cancelled After Human Lawyers Objected
Who is the most overrated musician?
What cover song is actually better than the original?
What 90’s album still slaps?
TIL that a main reason historians are sure Frederick the Great was gay is on July 1750, the Prussian king unmistakably wrote to his gay secretary and reader, Claude Étienne Darget: “Mes hémorroïdes salient affectueusement votre v…” “My hemorrhoids affectionately greet your cock”
TIL that Abraham Lincoln - a fearsome wrestler as a young man - once wrestled the county champion outside the store where he worked, as the whole town looked on. When his opponent began cheating, Lincoln picked the man up and flung him to the ground, knocking him out and starting an all-out brawl.
TIL a Looney Tunes director and animator, Robert McKimson, bragged to colleagues for getting a good bill of health at 67. His family history of living past their 90s caused him to tell his colleagues: "I'm going to be around after you guys are gone!" He died two days later of a heart attack.
Explanation of Taxes (US Federal), 2023 update, kind of [OC]
Rivers of the World! coloured according to the major hydrological basins they are part of. [OC]
Controlled Access Highways across the US and the EU. Based on Google Maps traffic layer zoom level 5. Highways, Motorways, Expressways with at least two lanes, no traffic lights, no intersections, and no direct property access are included here. January 2023 data 🇺🇸🇪🇺🗺 [OC]
In restaurants their cheese enchiladas say they use Jack cheese, but when I use Monterey Jack it doesn't have the "buttery" flavor that the restaurant uses. The same thing applies for bean burritos from Baja Fresh. What is different?
Is bone broth just a scam? Isn't that just regular broth?
Every time you thought that you could just add corn starch or flour to your sauce and you felt like an idiot.
[homemade] Esquites Mac & Cheese
[homemade] Mac and cheese (Irish cheddar)
[homemade] classic pot roast
New Image of Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann’s ‘FERRARI’
New Image of 'Bottoms' ,The movie is about two unpopular girls (Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri) in their senior year who start a fight club to try to impress and hook up with cheerleaders.
New Poster for 'Creed III'
Porcelain Dress, Li Xiaofeng, Porcelain, 2011
Black Coffee, by me, Oil Pastel, 2023
Frogdonald , Me , b&w graphite , 2023
Amazon Renews ‘James May: Our Man In…’ For A Third Season
Netflix Now Offers Spatial Audio on 700-Plus Titles — but Only for Customers on Most Expensive Plan
Paramount+ Removes Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone,’ ‘Real World: Homecoming’ and More Titles
I eat Waffle House every 3 months. The all star breakfast is my personal inflation tracker
One of my many blessings.
When you live in Svalbard, Norway and forget to close the window in the office
Making wooden pliers with 10 cuts
Biking on shrooms
[OC] The Emerald Alley
Owners of a KY restaurant have brass molds of their genitalia displayed
They made Oreo-flavored Oreos.
I just cut into unsalted butter that hasn't been touched for over 2 years.
The last delivered Boeing 747 made a crown with 747 on its flight from Everett Washington to Cincinnati Ohio.
If 8 billion people stood side by side
The bodies of Mussolini and Petacci photographed by a US army cameraman in the Milan city morgue
smoking that sea weed
Car with bumper stickers saying they support police has a police scanner in the front to avoid police.
Got em twice
I thought I bought an ottoman. Apparently, I bought a pet bed. (OC)
Orange cat appreciation post - here is Bug and Ropey!
Get this as a daily email!
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2023.02.02 04:18 Frostdraken Far Too Close (Part 2)
An HIS Rebellion story set in my lager TOC setting.
+ Part 1
____________________________________________ Continued From Part 1
The TAG made its way out onto the main road, its tracks grinding against the duramite roadway without damaging the superhard cement. Kaviel kept his eyes out for obstructions and other things that might cause them issues but saw none. The road was clear as they rumbled along towards the mustering point. Essentially just a large cleared area where troops, vehicles and VTOL aircraft could be gathered in one place before heading out. The Old man rolled out onto the large open patch of duramite and Kaviel checked the IFF to see where his escort was. The computer sorted through the signals till it located two in particular.
He read the screen, it listed off a series of numbers that identified the two vehicles he was to rendezvous with. The identifiers read as Hull#300-324-IFV542-2[Haggard Grinskal] and Hull#300-324-IFV542-3[Saile Onessa]. They were a pair of M3A2 Edward Infantry Fighting Vehicles, these particular IFVs also of Human design. They were armed with a 40mm Autocannon, 12.7mm coaxial heavy machine gun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher each. This wasn't exactly the same level of destructive armament that the Old man was wielding, but against light targets or infantry it would be perfectly deadly.
As a light escort, the two vehicles were not there to act as front line combatants anyways. They were simply there to make sure he was able to complete his orders without the fear of an ambush. Kaviel directed Haggy to their escort over the internal comms and popped the top hatch before poking his upper body through it. Not something he would do in the contested zone, but behind friendly walls it was safe enough. That and he always liked to see the people he was trusting his life and the lives of his crew to before they potentially got into a dangerous situation.
The air was warm and the sun was fully over the horizon now, the warm rays illuminating the area brightly. He saw the two Edward IFVs sitting side by side like a pair of bodyguards near the far exit. Their respective commanders seemed to have the same idea as him, sitting with their upper bodies jutting from their vehicles.
As the Old Man Death ground to a halt in front of the two vehicles, he took note of the two soldiers in front of him. The left vehicle stood out to him immediately as its entire front was covered in the stylized white skull motif of a Grinskal. The savage carnivore features turning the somewhat dull blocky vehicle into a symbol of terror and power. The Human man atop the armoured vehicle saw him and gave a crisp salute that Kaviel returned with his uppermost arm.
The man lifted his headset and called out “Are you Staff Sergeant Kaviel?”
Kaviel had to partially remove his headset as well to hear the man and replied loudly so as to be heard over the growl of engines “Yesss. Pleasse sswitch to local channel four hundred point ssix.” He waited a moment as the two men fiddled with their headsets and then looked back at him. “That’ss much better.” He said as he replaced his headset and the sound of power hungry engines immediately lessened.
The other man spoke this time, a Slaaveth male. The vehicle he was situated atop was similar in structure to the first but differed in the style of its paint. It was painted a muted blue gray and had a pair of female Slaaveth painted across the front. They might have been very pretty but Kaviel couldn't really tell, the scaled and frilled alien women looking a bit too different for him to judge. “You are a bit early.” The vehicle's commander gurgled to him.
Kaviel just shrugged with his three upper pairs of arms and replied “Better early than never I ssuppose. Ssergeant Gursshnik, Sssergeant Juliass, am I correct?” He asked them as he remembered the names the IFF had shown him.
The Human, Sergeant Julias gave a vigorous nod and said “Yes indeed. We got you covered. Though I must admit I am a bit apprehensive about our new orders. We are moving into a hot zone with minimal support and virtually no backup.”
Gurshnik seemed a bit less worried but raised his own point. “We are to cover your vehicle as you commence shelling of enemy fortified positions? Do you know if our deployment has a resupply planned or not?”
Kaviel’s antennae rose as his thoughts from before came back to the fore of his mind. “I don't know. I wass wondering the sssame thing asss it iss not sspecified in the ordersss. My guesss iss that no ressupply isss planned, or they would ssurely have mentioned it.”
The two other men exchanged glances and then saluted him again to which he responded appropriately. “Well, if there iss nothing more to disscusss then I ssugesst we head out forthwith.”
He got two affirmations in return and the men reentered their vehicles, their hatches closing with two metallic thuds. Kaviel hunkered back down into his command area, the hatch closing behind him with a meaty clank. He said “Haggy, we are green to go. Proceed to the targeted zone, take the safe route. We are ahead of schedule.
Over the comms he said “Kaviel to esscort, we are moving out. Pleasse fall in a defensssive formation, one in front, one trailing.” Sergeant Julias took the lead with Sergeant Gurshnik moving in behind them.
They all knew the location of their new orders and so Kaviel watched through the screens as Haggy followed the lead IFV out onto the main lane and towards the edge of the camp. It took only a minute of driving to reach the main gate checkpoint. Again he popped the top hatch, while not expressly required, it made for an easier interaction when the gate guards could see if you were really you.
Julias was checked and waved through before the TAG moved up to the checkpoint proper. The heavy assault gun came to a stop and the main guard walked close to inspect the vehicle quickly. Seemingly satisfied with their cursory examination they walked over to a spot underneath Kaviel’s position atop the armoured vehicle.
Kaviel noted their features, a Nerivith male, his short horns barely poking from the somewhat scruffy black hair covering his head. He pointed up at him and asked loudly “Order authorization code?” Kaviel handed a small card to the man, it was his electronic authorization ID badge and should tell the guard they he was who he said he was as well as his current license to leave the base with heavy armament.
The slender man checked it with his reader, the tablet flashing a few times before showing a small wall of green text. The man handed his card back and waved him through, the Old man started to move as Haggy spooled up the engine. Kaviel gave the guards a casual wave and salute that they returned. No sense in getting annoyed, they were just doing their jobs after all.
After all three of them had made it through the main checkpoint they headed out into the city proper. Well, what was left of it. The military encampment was stationed on the outer limits of Vastolnok, the city one of the primary manufacturing bases of Dreyvan II. Such was its importance that the Hegemony had elected to try and take the city with a ground invasion instead of just shelling it from orbit. The macrocannons of any Yeown battleship would have easily reduced the city to ashen rubble. But the factories and foundries of Vastolnok were a critical recourse to the war effort, for both sides.
The HIS forces had made landfall in the early part of 775 PU and had proceeded to set up near the southern portion of the huge municipality. That had been over two years ago, the grueling ground war had reduced a large portion of the city to ruins, many of the manufacturies that the Hegemony had originally captured now lay in shattered ruins from missile strikes and brief orbital bombardments.
Dreyvan II had originally held air superiority for the beginning part of the war, but this had quickly waned as existing fighters were shot down or disabled. The orbital coverage wasn't much better with both sides having dedicated defensive stations in position over their camps and the Union forces having a battery of Zackary cannons. While they were still subject to probing bombardments from time to time, the damage done by these were generally minimal as counter ordinance defense platforms were able to deflect or destroy a large percentage of incoming fire. The only thing that still threatened the camp were close range ballistic missile attacks, though they were rare now that the main defense cordon had been pushed more than fifteen kilometers away.
He looked around, the screens giving him a clear view over the surrounding area. They were driving through the city proper now, this far from the front line many buildings still stood tall, if damaged. Most had blown out windows and chipped facades, their once bright faces now streaked with ash and grime. Their garish paint jobs cracked and sullied by the fallout of a protracted war.
Many of the structures here were residential in nature and still housed refugees who refused to flee completely. As they ground by one of the buildings, a three story apartment complex with a faded yellow exterior, a small figure waved to them from a porch. It was a young Human boy, dirty and slightly disheveled looking, the small boy nevertheless waved to them excitedly. Kaviel could see the excitement on the boy's face and felt compelled to give the TAG’s horn a blast. He hissed quietly in amusement as the boy jumped first in surprise and then waved more excitedly.
It was a wholesome reminder of why he was here. He wasn't here to protect some government claim or obscure corporate structure, he was here to protect people. The Hegemony had showed on multiple occasions its chilling lack of regard for sapient life. He thought of the attacks on Sabith and the destruction of the Goldbard system. Cowards attacking civilian targets, the attacks had killed tens of thousands of innocents that had been defenseless.
The fact that they had been defenseless was a sore point in his mind, the Union should have known the levels the traitors would stoop to. There had even been murmurs of an attack on Gorlich station. He wasn't sure if they were true or not, surely not even the rebels would stoop to the point of attacking a neutral zone. That would be almost unthinkable in its cruelty as the megastation was home to thousands of young families that had fled the war after the destruction of their homes. The station had been declared a neutral zone for the rehabilitation of refugees left destitute by the wanton destruction of the rebellion.
Such thoughts would serve no purpose but to darken his already tenuous positive outlook. He checked their position again, they were well to the east of the main bulk of the fighting. Many of the reports coming in on the local network were from dug in defensive positions and anti-air SAM sites. It seemed as though the eastern edge of the front was quiet at the moment. Some minor skirmishing and light contact all across the front, but no concentrated attacks or armoured pushes for the last ten hours at least. If he could have frowned he would have, instead his antennae twitched in consternation. That wasn't like the rebels to leave them so untouched for so long. Kaviel didn't like it, it felt too much like a buildup. The rebels were likely gearing up for a large offensive push, and they would be right in front of it.
Turning to his command screen he messaged his escort. ‘Stay alert, something feels wrong.’ The blue text looked like some prophetic declaration of suffering. He shook his head slightly, unable to blink as he observed the surrounding area. The screens showed a more and more dilapidated vision of hell on the ground around them. Crushed buildings, burnt out vehicles waiting to be salvaged, and cratered debris that had once been fortified positions.
They were close to their objective point now, they were to set up about one and a half kilometers from the current front line and connect to command post alpha-thirty-kilo in sector eighteen. The post was commanded by a grizzled Human that Kaviel had worked with before. One Captain David Melisner, the man had a reputation for holding his ground under fire, and it was well deserved. His position was one of only two on the entire eastern front that had not been abandoned a single time over the duration of the fighting. It was seen as a hardpoint and lynchpin of the eastern defensive line.
To his left he saw the flashes of muzzle fire, bright tracers from an anti-air emplacement reaching towards the sky far above. He couldn't see what they were shooting at however, it could have been an enemy bomber, cruise missile or extremely unfortunate cloud drifter, the large flying creatures big enough to set off radar alarms.
It would not really matter what it was, if it was a bomber or cruise missile, they wouldn't be wasting their precious munitions on two light vehicles and a single artillery piece. ‘Probably.’ He said to himself with a bit less confidence than he liked. Nothing he could do about it either way, the TAG wasn’t equipped to deal with air targets and neither were the Ewards IFVs escorting them.
He was jostled slightly in his crash couch as the TAG rolled over the remains of a collapsed building that had strewn itself across the street. This close to the main bulk of the fighting, many of the once colorful structures of Vastolnok had been reduced to so much rubble and debris. He had two of his lower arms gripping hand rungs to stabilize him against the rough ride however so it ultimately didn't bother him. He wondered briefly to himself how the Humans got anything done with only two arms and two legs. He almost shuddered, his antenna twitching in discomfort as he thought of only having four limbs. What a terrible fate of evolution, and not just the Humans, most of the other races of the Union had only four limbs as well. At least the Skorp had a handy number of limbs, still not enough, but ten was much better than four.
He checked their surroundings again, ever vigilant for signs of enemy combatants or worse, incoming smart munitions like the Astral Wrath IPM system. Such munitions could be stopped by the active protection systems of the Edwards IFVs, but he really didn't want to take that chance. No sense tempting the Mother’s Fates after all. He had always wondered why the top brass and command folks didn't see the good sense of mounting such protective systems to mobile artillery and the like. Surely they were just as worthy of the protection as more front line units? It must have been some sort of ranxshit cost saving measures.
Haggy spoke out over the internal comms “Nearing mission location Commander. Ssould I put it in ssiege mode as ssoon ass we sstop?” he asked.
Having gone over this many times before Kaviel gave the smallest of sighs, the small sound covered by the rumble of the vehicle's powerful engine. “Yess, pleasse do.” switching to the local area communications network he found the local defense net and reported in. “Ssector command, thiss isss Sstaff Ssergeant Kaviel, reporting in for heavy sssupport role in ssector ssseven.”
He waited a second for a response and then a slightly stifled voice crackled through. The tell-tale gurgling accent of a Slaaveth spoke “Receiving you Staff Sergeant, please confirm Hull number please.”
Kaviel replied immediately and from memory “Hull#300-324-FAR441-1.”
After a few seconds the voice returned. “Identity confirmed, Go ahead with fire support. Will call, handle Old Man. Thanks for coming, we have a series of targets for you already, Fire mission target enemy positions as marked. Sending you the coordinates now. Please confirm receipt.”
Kaviel checked the screens in front of him, after a moment the secondary command screen flared as it received new targeting data. “Fire mission received, thank you Ssector Command.” The link was severed without any ceremony, not that he cared at all. They were in a warzone, not at some military ceremony after all.
He loaded the coords as well as the data into the targeting computer of the TAG, the mission called for a double strike on a fortified position, four kilometers away, two HE rounds. Turning to Joana and Fredrick he commanded “Load high explosive, follow with another high explosive then wait for orders.” They went to work without question, the actions and responses drilled into them by many such missions over the last few years. He kept his attention on them in his peripherals while also maintaining his watch on the main screen. His two hundred and seventy degree field vision making the task doable if a bit strenuous.
After a minute, the meaty thud of metal on metal reached his tympanal organs, followed shortly by the deeper thud of the breach closing shut. Frederick announced over comms “High explosive loaded!”
Without hesitation Kaviel depressed the firing trigger on his gunner's station. A tremendous noise filled the cabin of the vehicle, less a noise and more a wall of pure force, it rocked the Thunderscream Assault Gun back on its tracks. Even the vehicle’s sixty eight ton weight was not enough to fully dampen the main gun's behemoth recoil. With a sense of awe that always followed the first firing of the main gun, Kaviel watched on the scanners as the huge two hundred and eighty millimeter mortar rocketed through the air, seemingly as graceful as a julips in flight.
After no more than a few seconds he got a confirmation on his screen, target was hit, negligible drift on the shell. He saw that Joana was already busy hauling another of the heavy projectiles out of the ammo stowage. She wrestled it onto the railed ammo cart and then ran it to the breach while Freddy extracted the spent propellant cap from the previous shot.. From there it was a simple matter to shove the new shell as far in as it would go and then close the breach.
Freddy again relayed “High explosive loaded!”
Taking the barest fraction to double check that their firing angle had not shifted, he depressed the trigger again. The same wall of force slammed through him, his armoured body more than capable of standing up to the force of the blast. The shell sailed up, up and up in a mighty arc before dipping below the line of sight in the far distance. A flash of light and plume of barely visible smoke lifted from the distant detonation on the screens and he nodded to himself. He knew it was another successful hit even before the confirmation came in moments later. This was why he existed, to deal out the Union’s punishment on those who would cause chaos and despair.
“Two confirmed hitss, both good!” he hissed loudly to the others. Kaviel checked his orders again, their next target was a big one. A fortified structure that was housing not one, but three heavy gun installations. High explosives were acceptable but thermobarics were recommended, that way the structure and any underlying infrastructure would be destroyed by the extreme low pressure detonation. “Next load, thermobaric!” he ordered while adjusting the vehicles targeting parameters. Their new fire mission required the traversement of the vehicle's hull and Haggy immediately complied to the new direction upon receiving the new bearing, the vehicle shuddering slightly as it ground the rubble under its tracks to powder.
After a moment they had their new firing position locked and Kaviel input the coordinates into the firing computer. While it was possible to aim the massive gun manually, it was generally not necessary while the vehicle was powered. He thanked the Mother for that, he had trained with the manual cranking mechanism before and it was a massive pain in the carapace to be blunt.
The new firing solution finished its adjustments to the main gun and he waited till Freddy confirmed the gun was armed and ready. Taking a minor note of their position, he pressed the trigger. That all too familiar pressure washed through the fighting compartment making his vision swim for a bare moment. He watched the shell on the outer feed as it rocketed up and away, falling slowly in a titanic arc that saw it disappear into the distance under a row of shattered towers. A second later a series of bright flashes lit the horizon and he twitched his antennae in satisfaction. That had looked like a direct hit with secondary munitions cooking off, generally a giveaway that a fighting position had been wiped out.
The breach of the mortar launcher groaned slightly as Freddy and Joana opened it, the smell of burnt propellant wafted through the hull and was quickly pulled out by the vents. In the case of a biological or chemical attack the vents could be sealed, but they were very useful in keeping the fighting compartment breathable in the meantime. The large spent casing was discarded back into an empty ammo rack as Freddy and Joana readied themselves for another order.
Kaviel looked through their orders, they had two more firing orders to finish before they went to standby status. Looking at them he selected the closer of the two, a prefabricated bunker had been pulled into a crossroads the night before, the Spine Spitter heavy machine guns inside were keeping the local sector from advancing on it. A single anti-fortification shell should sort it out. One again, the cabin shook as Haggy adjusted their position slightly.
“Load Armour Piercing!” He said with a slight hiss over his headset, true to their training, Freddy and Joana immediately complied. The heavy shell was slightly more angular than the high explosive variants they had used so far. As a bunker buster round it was designed to pierce either three hundred and seventy five millimeters of face hardened steel or about two and a quarter meters of reinforced duracrete. From the report he was reading of the bunker, it seemed to be a hardened steel cage faced with thick slabs of duracrete. It wouldn't stand up to a direct hit from the TAG.
The thunk of the breach closing was like a death bell tolling for the souls of the rebels sheltering inside the distant fortress. With a sense of determination Kaviel fired the main gun, this time the vehicle was pressed down instead of back. The high firing angle of the shot slamming the recoil into the ground under the TAG’s wide tracks.
This time he had a live feed from an officer on the front. The webbed hands of a Slaaveth gripped a Jule2000 laser rifle and the picture showed a large squat box sitting in the middle of a desolate crossroads. The buildings to either side had given up entirely, their shattered remains forming slight mounds of rubble that the rebels had piled into improvised bulwarks and trench lines. The prefab bunker dominated the square, as he watched the feed a stream of tracers from the mounted heavy machine guns lashed out across the Union lines. The suppressive fire didn't seem to hit anything, but it did its job and kept the friendly troops pinned while the rebels set up their heavier guns.
As he watched, a dark mass smashed into the roof of the bunker suddenly. The feed jerked as the roof of the structure was lifted off by an explosion, the fire and smoke exiting from every single opening in the structure. Rubble was catapulted dozens of meters into the air, some of it raining down on the Union lines. The Hegemony forces fared much worse, with the loss of their cover dozens of them were mowed down by retaliatory fire from the freshly motivated Union troops. The picture rose as the officer attached to it stood and ordered a charge.
Kaviel shifted his antennae till they brushed the roof of the cabin, it was a clean hit. To see the Old Man’s handiwork inspire such instant courage was uplifting. “Direct hit!” He exclaimed. “That filled in their burrowss for ssure.” He chuckled.
The local comms fizzed slightly as another voice spoke “That was a hell of a shot Sergeant! God damn it was beautiful!” Kaviel started slightly then perked up as he realised it was Julias, one of the IFV commanders.
“Thank you Juliasss, I can’t take all the credit, the Old Man did mosst of the hard work after all.” Kaviel responded.
The other man chuckled over the mic and was quiet for a minute as Kaviel turned back to his last firing mission. Julias spoke again and said “Well, it doesn't matter anyways. You are the one I'm giving my thanks to, you have saved our boys out there countless times. I just hope I get the opportunity to return the favor one of these days Staff Sergeant.”
Kaviel nodded even though the other man couldn't see him “Thank you. I hope the day doessn't come anytime ssoon. If you need to protect me it meansss something hass gone terribly wrong.” He said. The comms stayed silent. He piled his focus back onto the task at hand.
Their last preselected mission was on an extensive system of trench works that spanned an open field between two large structures. While a high explosive shell would do damage, it likely would not provide enough of an opening for friendly forces to push the gap.
He widened the call and sent a signal to sector command. “Sector command, this is Old Man. Current firing ssolution iss Unssatisssfactory. Recommend switching to incendiary round.”
The same gurgling Slaaveth voice replied “I read you. Hold for a moment please.” He hissed in annoyance, he knew he was right. But of course any change in orders had to be approved through command. That was the biggest gripe Kaviel had with the way the Union did things, there was always somebody in charge and they didn't always like to listen to reason. He could only hope that the current idiot in charge was smart enough to see the point of his recommendation.
An incendiary shell would clear the trenches without damaging them very much, thus leaving the Union forces free to move up and occupy them. This would be a much better solution than just blasting the fuck out of them, though it would likely have the same effect in the short term.
Haggy spoke up as Kaviel was still waiting on a response. “It would be nice if we could operate with a bit more autonomy.”
Kaviel let out a long exhale and agreed “Yess it would. Though I undersstand why they don’t. Can you imagine the anarchy if everyone wass able to do what they thought wass the besst way? Chaoss.” He finished.
Haggy turned away slightly, seemingly thinking it over. This time it was Joana who spoke. “I am fine taking orderss asss long as they are well defined.”
Kaviel waved a few arms for silence as his headset cracked to life again. It was the Slaaveth again “Sector command to Old Man, your suggestion has been taken into consideration. You may change to incendiary ammo. Good luck.”
The link cut without another word. Generally they would at least give him an opportunity to respond, but it seemed like they must have had other more pressing matters than them. Whatever it was it likely wouldn't affect their mission too much. He turned to get a fuller view of the others and said “New orderss, load incendiary.”
Freddy and Joana compiled, reaching for a blue tipped shell with white warnings scrawled across its black lower portion. Kaviel hated incendiaries almost as much as he hated nuclear weapons. They caused unnecessary suffering in his opinion, though he couldn't argue with their effectiveness. They got the job done, and right now he had a job that needed doing.
The firing computer calculated a steep arc and set the shell to airburst twenty meters over the target ensuring maximum spread on the compound. All he had to do was pull the trigger and it would be out of his hands. Such a small action, no effort at all really.
Kaviel pressed the trigger, the main gun screamed as the rocket assisted mortar soared up into the sky. He turned to Haggy and said “Move uss fifty metersss easst, it would be embarrasssing to get counter fired if they are paying attention.”
The vehicle rumbled as it moved slowly over the rubble to a new firing position. The risk of counter battery fire was omnipresent, they had been counter fired upon several times before. So far the heavy armour of the TAG had held up, but why risk it? Their escort followed them, staying close.
Kaviel checked their communications with the local area network again as they stopped, still quiet. This was the worst part of the war on Dreyvan II, the waiting. He could deal with the fast pace of coordinated fire missions, but the one thing he had always struggled with was downtime.
The communicator flashed at him signaling another good hit. They were to remain on standby but transition four hundred meters to the north. His antennae lowered at that, they would put them right behind the main push. If the secessionists counter-pushed then they would be right in their path. Then again, it made sense to have them there as it would lower the time to call in support.
‘Orders were orders after all.’ he told himself while letting out a mildly strained hissing sigh. He motioned to Freddy and Joana that they were getting ready to move. “Haggy, ssector command wantss usss to move four hundred meters north, to the marked location. Let me tell our esscort and then move out.”
Haggy’s antennae rose as they responded “We are moving closser?”
Freddy replied “Lookss like it. Ready when you are commander.”
Continued in Part 3
==End of Transmission==
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2022.12.25 18:43 veldraws There were no cmdrs in the instance so I had to do it myself 💦 First solo Interceptor kill (with NPC support xD) yayyyyy 😊🎉💖✨🌸
2022.09.28 08:10 thelovebat Beat the rare NPC Mordu's Special Warfare Unit Operative with my Federation Navy Comet tonight. Feels good as an EVE player on an Alpha account.
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2022.09.25 03:28 Seann-JA-Butler Miners under Olympus Mons, Mars’s largest volcano, have toiled for centuries. Read the first chapter of The First Olympians here now - FREE! 🚀🚀🚀
Miners under Olympus Mons, Mars’s largest volcano, have toiled for centuries. They take pride in sending Earth minerals to aid recovery from its mass extinction event.
Sixteen-year-old Gordon is finally awarded a prestigious explosives apprenticeship when his world crashes down. His mother is murdered, and in taking up her cause he uncovers a dangerous conspiracy.
Dalrene cares about two things: her granddaughter and overthrowing the Martian AI that controls their lives. When it fights back, will she choose to lead a revolution or protect her family?
Alex wanted to be an engineer, but instead she’s stuck studying to become the next CEO of the family business. Boring. She takes to the skies in the Zoya 🚀, a next-gen short-hop racing vessel. What she finds threatens to tear apart everything she knows about her family’s wealth and power.
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🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀 Chapter One: Gordon
They were supposed to leave for the ceremony together. Normally, Gordon’s mom filled the kitchen with the sound of cutlery clacking, feet stomping, and rambling storytelling, but now there was nothing more than the hum of the air recycler. He pushed the powdered milk ration around his bowl, worried yet exhausted by her never-ending irresponsibility. The protein mix was soggy and had been for some time.
Today, Gordon would finally find out if he secured an explosives apprenticeship. It would mean an honest, hard-working job where he’d earn enough credits for premium rations, new clothes, and more origami paper than he’d have time to fold.
It’d also mean being able to give back to his mom, who sacrificed so much. The two-bedroom apartment and its round, paint-chipped kitchen table and dirty beige walls was their home, and Gordon was thankful for it. But he couldn’t wait to buy them something better.
He looked at his handheld. It was the same as last time, no new messages. The ceiling lights flickered, and Gordon wondered if there’d be another rolling power outage. Their back-alley, old district building was always to electricity preservation efforts.
A siren outside blared. Gordon jumped to his feet and added his dishes to the growing pile in the sink. It was shift change. Time for workers to make their way to the pits of Olympus Outpost, the underground mining base at the foot of Mars’s largest volcano. There were ten minutes until the career award ceremony started, and Gordon rushed to put his boots on and get out the door.
His mom was probably fine. It was probably nothing. But he’d lost his dad this way. He woke up one morning, and never saw him again. That was a long time ago, but it still haunted Gordon. He ran his hand over his shaved head, a requirement for the ceremony, and tried to calm his mind with acronyms of safety procedures and technical know-how he'd memorized.
Schematics, power modules, and the order in which wires must be cut and buttons must be pressed. These familiar topics were what distracted Gordon as he opened the door to the streets of Olympus Outpost only to have it slammed back in his face.
He pinched his nose, but bright blood filled his hand.
“We’re a little busy here,” someone growled.
Gordon grunted in frustration. How had he been so careless? His mom taught him to always look through the peephole before just walking into the street.
He heard her voice in his head, “Keep your head up! Put the books down and pay attention to the real world. That was your father’s problem, too.”
Only a few more hours, Gordon told himself. After that, he’d have a job and a new life, and he’d laugh in memory at the “before-times.” Gordon bottled up his frustration, wiped the blood off his hands with one of the grease rags always in his pockets, and looked out of the peephole. Three ugly mugs stared back at him. It took him a moment to realize they weren’t looking at the door, but at a fourth person pinned against it.
“That’s the second protection payment you’ve missed brother,” a squat man said as he smacked a metal wrench against his open palm. His voice was muffled by the door. “You know what happens when you miss a third.”
“You can have my rations this week. All of them!” a squeaky voice replied.
“We don’t want rations. We want credits,” the squat man said. He took a swing and Gordon felt the vibrations of the impact. It must’ve been a warning.
Gordon headed to the back exit and tidied up in the mirror that hung by the door. As much as he wanted to help the man who’d missed his payments, there was nothing he could do. His mom and him had their own problems. His nose bleed had slowed to a trickle. Thankfully, it didn’t look broken.
He checked the peephole this time, and cautiously stepped out. The street was crammed with thin, two-storey buildings made of clay, mud, and rock extracted from the mines. People called them holes, a term leftover from the first settlers who lived in caves created by ancient lava flows deep underground.
The residential level was closest to the surface, above both the ancient cave system and the mines. The farm domes stood on one end, on a hill overlooking everything, their pointed tips almost touching the ceiling. Below, people were crushed into a mix of holes, ration distribution centers, and security checkpoints. Medical centers, cafes, and schools made up the remainder of the buildings. They all gave way to the spacious gardens and auditorium of the Mission Control Center, a giant stone and compressed dirt structure beside the mine elevators.
As Gordon turned onto Torres Street, the main pedestrian walkway, a flow of miners in hard hats, farmers in overalls and lab coats, and nurses in blue-gray scrubs walked past. They were good citizens of the outpost doing their part to help the cause and on their ways home to see their families, or to a well-earned stop at a bar. His dad had been one of them, and they inspired a sense of purpose in Gordon. If they all worked together, they could achieve great things.
Ahead of him, a boy half Gordon’s age leaned against a café wall. His handheld was in front of his face, but his blue eyes scanned the crowd. His clothes were tattered, his face dirty, but his boots looked new, without a scuff or scratch between them. Gordon instinctively crossed to the other side of the street. He kept his hands in his pockets and stole a glance over his shoulder.
The boy was no doubt Faithless, a term for those who didn’t contribute to the collective. Some didn’t even believe in the outpost’s goal of shared progress. To varying extents, they were all outcasts. But there was nowhere for them to go, so they stayed, and survived by ripping people off or participating in the underground economy. Gordon pitied the boy, too young to know better.
Faithless were easy to pick out of a crowd if you knew what to look for. There were the skittish drug dealers hanging out under the flickering lights. There were the conmen, full of bravado and too eager to help. And there were the pickpocket kids, like the boy he avoided, who could steal the lunch from your mouth before you had the chance to chew. Gordon knew how to spot Faithless because his mom taught him to.
Because she was one herself.
His aunt died last year. It had devastated Gordon but was even harder on his mom. She withdrew from life and slunk from depression into Faithlessness. Gordon watched her go from being a proud worker, to being unable to leave her bed, to committing petty crimes and espousing conspiracy theories. On the good weeks, she got work from gang members. On the bad weeks, she dumpster dove to put food on their table. Gordon wished so badly that she’d pull it together and get a regular job, so they could have a normal family life. Well, as normal as possible without his dad.
His mom’s unsavory lifestyle was a source of embarrassment for Gordon, and his motivator for studying hard in school. It was also a source of disdain. He knew she could get back on the right track if she just got out of her own way. He loved his mom, and she deserved better, so it frustrated him that she didn’t take the right steps to improve her situation.
It would be tough. It was rare for someone to re-gain their faith, but his mom was one of the smartest people he knew. If anyone could do it, it was her. Gordon would never give up on her.
The streets grew wider as he walked deeper into the heart of the outpost. It was brighter, and not just because there were more functional overhead lights, but also because of the light seeping out from the bars, cafes, and workshops. The red dirt streets had deep grooves, proof of how well-trodden they were.
“Fresh skewers here! High-quality protein!” one weasel-faced man hollered.
The faintly sweet smell of gutter oil frying filled Gordon’s nose. Men in the street were selling food, and shift change was prime time.
“C’mon, son, you’re a growing boy! You need to put some muscle on those bones,” he said, blocking Gordon’s path.
Gordon tried to step around the meat-hawker, keeping his head down.
“Hey, you’re the Onyango boy, yeah?” the man asked as he wiped sweat and oil from his forehead, his voice softening.
“Yeah,” Gordon said, shuffling awkwardly around the man. “Have a skewer, kid. It’s fresh!”
“I already ate,” Gordon said politely.
“Say hi to your mom!” the man said, turning back to the crowd.
Gordon bit his lip. He hoped he could say hi to his mom soon. She promised she’d come to the ceremony. She had to be there.
The street food was likely stolen from a farm dome’s protein vats, or, worst-case, made from the rodents that lingered around the dumpsters. His dad never ate the stuff, and Gordon did the same. His mom, on the other hand, had no shame. She would take protein wherever she could get it, and always tried to make sure Gordon was as strong as possible too. He hoped he’d no longer have to question the source of his food after today. If he received an explosives apprenticeship, Gordon was headed toward premium rations for the rest of his life.
The career award ceremony was being held outside the Mission Control Center, in the auditorium that boasted a massive screen and seating for four hundred people. Expansive shrub and flower beds ran along both sides. Real gardens, with live plants in open air, the only of their kind at the outpost. It always astonished Gordon to walk through them and smell the array of different scents, but it made his mom angry. She said it was a shame for plants to take up so much space while people lived on top of each other. She wasn’t wrong, just a grump.
Gordon approached the entrance to one of the gardens from the street when a woman’s voice erupted from the speakers that dotted the side of every building.
“Earth needs our help! Together, we’re reviving the blue planet to its former glory. It takes each and every one of us to achieve this goal. Thank you, brave workers of Olympus Outpost, for doing your part!”
Gordon smiled and hustled through the garden to the ceremony. His mom often said that Olympus Outpost was better in the old days, when she was a kid, and even better before then. She could be right, but to Gordon, it’d always been the same. Maybe she was just yearning for her youth like old people always did. He desperately hoped she’d be there to see him win an apprenticeship. It would show his mom that it was possible for things to get better.
Olympus Outpost, or just “the outpost,” was humanity’s last chance, and had been ever since Earth’s mass-extinction event, known as X-Day. It had been seventy-seven thousand, three hundred and eighty days, and living conditions were still tough. Humans hadn’t evolved to live underground, without ever seeing the sun. Even with population controls, they were crammed together like rats on a skewer.
It wasn’t perfect, but things were working out for Gordon, and life was certainly better than on Earth. Together, they made it work, and strived toward a better future. His ancestors lived and died with the sole purpose of extracting raw materials to rebuild the blue planet back into the crown jewel of humanity.
Gordon was proud to do his part.
He spotted his friend, Corrina, in one of the back rows. She waved, and Gordon made his way up the stands to the back of the auditorium. People were packed into the seats, spilling into the aisles. Everyone’s parents, grandparents, and extended family was there to support their loved ones. And of course, they wanted to see how the career awards would improve their family’s income and standing in the community.
Gordon estimated there were eight hundred people stuffed into a space meant for half that. The outpost was claustrophobic on a good day, but the annual career award ceremony was unlike anything else. He was lucky Corrina had saved him and his mom a seat. She was an orphan and had no one cheering her on.
Although, neither did Gordon.
“You’re late!” Corrina hissed.
“Woah! So weird to see you with a shaved head! Can I touch it?” Gordon reached out his hand and Corrina playfully swatted it away. She normally had curls down to her shoulders.
“It’s not like you to be late. Did you get detained for being too good of a citizen? Were you too polite to a bot or something?” “Give me a break! I’m right on time,” Gordon said, gesturing to the stage. “And no, no badge of honour for me today. There was a ruckus outside my hole.” Gordon gritted his teeth, trying to be quiet as he stood for the pledge of allegiance.
Corrina gasped. “Your mom?”
Gordon cringed. Some of his classmates made fun of him for his mom being Faithless, but Corrina understood. That’s one of the reasons she was his best friend.
“I, uh. No, it wasn’t about her. She’ll be here,” Gordon said, trying to convince himself that it was true.
Corrina put her hand flat on Gordon’s back, but he shrugged away.
“She’ll be fine,” he said. “Everything’s going to be great. We’re both going to get jobs, and we’ll have a big party tonight. And when I get my first pay, I’m going to buy you a wig, so I don’t have to look at your shaved head anymore.”
“Maybe I’ll keep it shaved, just because you like it so much.”
Someone shushed them, and they turned their attention to the front of the auditorium. Their explosives teacher, Mr. White, a robot with a head full of spinning sensors, sat on the stage in front of the building. The bot was roughly humanoid--wheels instead of legs, and an ugly assortment of cameras, radar, lidar and more where a person’s head would be. Its midsection was a hard plastic rectangle housing its battery.
“I commit to a life of loyalty to Olympus Outpost,” it recited. “I will be faithful to the System that has given us hope and will lead humanity to a new glory. Above all, I pledge allegiance to the System and excellence when performinnnn--"
Mr. White glitched and abruptly stopped reciting the pledge. It stuttered back and forth on its wheels and emitted a low drone. The audience watched, unamused, wondering if it was going to reboot and make them start the pledge from the beginning again. Some covered their ears. The outpost’s fleet of robots were aging, and technical issues were common.
Robots were all over the outpost. They worked in the mines, the classrooms, the farm domes, and most importantly, they served as human safety and security. Every second that Mr. White was teaching class, and not glitching, it fed data to the System, the AI network that controlled every aspect of life at the outpost. The System decided and enforced all the rules.
And it assigned people jobs. If they deserved one.
There were human teachers in the classroom, too. Gordon had grown particularly close to one master explosives technician, master Tracey, who would be assigned a dozen or so apprentices to take under his wing. Despite Gordon being from a Faithless family, they bonded over a shared love of geology.
He spied the older man at the side of the stage and wasn’t sure if his infectious smile or bald spot was shining brighter. If he did get an apprenticeship, being assigned to master Tracey would be the icing on the cake.
The lights above Mr. White’s cameras dimmed and its chin tilted down, indicating it was off.
“Electricity rations?” Corrina asked. There was sarcasm in her voice. If there was electricity rationing, the bots would be spared.
Mr. White’s head spun three hundred and sixty degrees and re-set. It started to get on with the ceremony, and the crowd sighed in relief that they wouldn’t be stuck in a pledge of allegiance loop today.
“Hello, class. I am so proud of you all. We are gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s graduating class. We are also here to assign your lifelong careers. Although I have great confidence that all of you will contribute to Earth’s restoration in your own way, these assignments are for those ready for the next step.”
Mr. White rolled to the side of the stage. Behind him was a massive screen on the Mission Control Center’s wall. A voice bellowed from all directions. It was deep, loud, and less robotic than Mr. White’s voice. Gordon’s mom said that the System’s voice used to be lighter, but the AI trained itself to be more intimidating to humans.
One by one, the System announced the successful students and their name flashed on the screen. They walked up, their faces glowing and their families cheering, and accepted Mr. White’s best approximation of a handshake.
Gordon could hear his heart pounding. He’d either become the blaster he knew he could, or be relegated to a life of back-breaking labor, rotten food rations, and communal living.
He exchanged a nervous glance with Corrina. It was surreal. They were finally graduating.
He pulled out a sheet of folding paper from his breast pocket. Origami was something his dad had taught him, and he used it to calm his nerves and train his fingers for explosive disarmament. If Gordon did win a blasting job, he would have his dad and his origami skills to thank. He folded the thin paper one way, then another. He closed his eyes and kept folding.
Maybe it was a good thing his mom wasn’t there. She would have only made him more anxious by talking through the whole thing.
Gordon’s mom always walked the fine line between scoundrel and criminal. The first time he realized how close she got to that line was during a food shortage. After receiving a few morsels, she cut her hair, changed her clothes, and re-entered a ration line, determined to get Gordon more protein. Gordon wondered how she got past the fingerprint scanners, and years later learned that his mom had a thumbprint implant.
Punishment for that escapade could have been devastating. The System wasn’t afraid to target family members, and Gordon would’ve been without protein rations for weeks, or even months. His mom could’ve ended up in a forced labor camp, or worse, solitary confinement in a prison hole. He begged her to stop doing things like that, but if anything, her brazenness only increased. The risk was always worth it to her. Gordon was still skinny, but it wasn’t for his mom’s lack of trying.
His mom blamed the System for his dad’s disappearance and Aunt Tess’s death.
Aunt Tess wasn’t actually his aunt. Only certain citizens of the outpost were allowed to have more than one child, and neither of his parents had siblings. But Aunt Tess and her big, brown eyes had been there for Gordon after his dad disappeared. She was the one that took him to play soccer and basketball in the dust fields. She bought him textbooks when his mom didn’t have the energy to get out of bed. She helped them both through tough times, until one day robots came and swept her away to a prison hole, and she never came out.
“Mr. Arno Mahlangu,” the System said. “Awarded an apprenticeship on the Robot-Human Mediation Council.”
“Damn dustlickers,” Corrina said with scowl.
“Please, Arno is a genius. He truly, truly deserves this prestigious placement,” Gordon said, tongue-in-cheek.
Corrina howled with laughter and a red-headed woman sitting in front of them turned and shot them a dirty look.
Gordon looked away and hid his snickering. Arno was not the brightest student in their class, but his family had a long history of egregious sucking up to the System. Dustlickers would do anything, including licking the dust off a robot, if it gave them preferential treatment. Many weren’t shy about it, as currying favor with the System was the only sure-fire way to success.
For normal people, like Gordon and Corrina, the job award ceremony was a crapshoot. Even though they had good grades, their families’ lack of grovelling was a mark against them. Master Tracey said he put in a good word, but it was hard to know the extent to which the System would consider his input.
His mom thought master Tracey was an insufferable dustlicker. She wasn’t wrong, but Gordon nonetheless developed a strong friendship with the man. He was kind, hardworking, and incredibly knowledgeable. Any sucking up to the System he did was just what he had to do. There was no shame in it. Master Tracey was certainly way more respectable than the leeches on the Robot-Human Mediation Council.
“Mr. Frederick Neumann,” the System said. “Awarded an apprenticeship in mining repair operations. Assigned to master Faisal.”
On and on the System went, reading names of Gordon’s classmates fortunate enough to be selected. Gordon kept his eyes closed and focused his fingers on his folding. Still, he couldn’t stop himself from worrying about his mom.
His mom hadn’t been sad after Aunt Tess died, like she was when Gordon’s dad disappeared. She was angry. Gordon overhead whispered conversations in their kitchen about overthrowing the System and installing a human-run government.
Once, his mom told him she thought the entire justification of the outpost, to mine materials to re-build Earth, was a sham. Gordon hushed her. You couldn’t let anyone hear those kinds of crazy conspiracies. And besides, anger was pointless. The System was indestructible, and the only way to get ahead was to play by the rules and get a good job. Gordon wished his mom would do exactly that. She was smart, and she’d succeed if she tried, but either her trauma was too much, or she enjoyed Faithless life. Gordon tried not to resent her for it. Despite being put in a tough position, she was doing her version of the “best” she could do.
He loved her more than anything. She was the reason he worked so hard. And he desperately hoped she wasn’t hurt or in trouble. His mom was often late. Maybe she just got tied up.
She will be fine.
She always stayed on the right side of the System’s fine line. He could only hope the line hadn’t moved.
Gordon opened his eyes, the seat beside him still empty. In his hands was a lotus flower, folded to perfection. He placed the origami in Corrina’s lap, and she picked it up with a smile.
“Thank you. But that’s a pretty crappy consolation prize if we don’t get blasting jobs.”
“If I make more, you can wear them as a hat until your hair grows back in.” Gordon pulled out another sheet of folding paper. Corrina rolled her eyes.
The System read the successful names excruciatingly slowly. The robots and the System were one and the same, or near enough. The bots fed all their sensor data to the System, and they received orders from it, although they appeared to have discretion in how they fulfilled those orders. Gordon could only hope he’d impressed the System with his work ethic. And that his mom hadn’t colored its impression of him too negatively.
“Mr. Gordon Onyango,” the System said.
Gordon’s heart skipped a beat.
“Awarded an apprenticeship in explosives. Assigned to Master Tracey.”
Corrina screamed in surprise.
Gordon sprang from his seat and hugged her.
The screen panned to a close-up of him and Corrina to polite applause. He collected his breath and walked down to the stage. It was weird and nerve-racking to have so many people looking at him. Gordon was never one for public speaking or being the center of attention.
By the time he got to the stage, he no longer cared. He had done it. He was going to make something of himself. He floated across the floor and collected his apprenticeship offer from Mr. White. He smiled wildly the entire time, not caring if he looked like a maniac. He pumped his fist in the direction of master Tracey who returned two thumbs up.
He walked back to his seat no longer feeling like a boy. He was a man now.
“Your mom is going to be so proud of you,” Corrina said when Gordon arrived back at their seats.
“And you too, shortly.”
The assignments weren’t done yet. Gordon was confident Corrina would be blasting through the rocky Martian crust by his side.
Gordon couldn’t wait to share the news with his mom! He’d move them to a nicer neighborhood with no crime. She’d never have to beg for food or wear clothes that were falling apart ever again. She’d never have to worry about anything.
He took his handheld out of his pocket, but there was already a message. She’d finally responded.
“Meet me at home. Now!”
Gordon’s fears came rushing back. Was she okay? He wanted to see her, to tell her that he’d got the job, and that everything was going to be great.
“Corrina, I, uh.” The words got stuck in his throat. Trying to say it out loud made all his anxieties come rushing back. He held up his handheld for Corrina to read.
“Oh, Gordon.” Corrina put her hand on his shoulder. “I’d go with you but,” she held up her hands and gestured to the stage.
“It’s okay. You stay. I know your name will be called soon.”
His handheld beeped again.
“Dodge the bots. Run!”
They stared at the message, slack jawed.
“Dodge the bots. What?” Gordon said.
“Are you messing with me?” A half smile crept onto Corrina’s face. “No, I swear it!”
The red-headed woman tossed them another dirty look.
“Those?” Corrina whispered.
She didn’t have to explain herself. Two protector bots stood at the bottom of the stands and looked up. The security division of the System, protector bots looked a lot like Mr. White, except taller, thicker, and with larger wheels. Their robotic arms featured an array of attachments that differed by the day. Usually batons, other times tear gas, syringes full of sedatives, or tasers. On the rare occasion there was an emergency lockdown test, like a fire drill, they sported menacing spinning blades.
Today, they had the blades.
Gordon swallowed hard and slinked down into his seat. Something had gone terribly wrong. His mom was in trouble. But were the bots really after him? That seemed unlikely. He had just received a prestigious career award!
He took a peep and saw the protectors rolling up the ramp of an adjacent aisle. His mom was in trouble, and he wouldn’t be able to help her if went with the bots. He had to make a quick decision, and he wanted nothing to do with the arsenal of weaponry coming toward him. But still, he was a good student. He never disobeyed the System.
“What do I do?” Time slowed. Gordon’s heart raced.
Corrina gripped his arm. “Firstly, we need to stay calm.” “Are you kidding me? I’m gonna crap my pants!”
“Okay. Well, uh, don’t do that.” A bead of sweat dropped from Corrina’s brow onto her lotus flower. “Listen. Your mom is, well, your mom. But she’s still your mom. Does that make any sense?” She scrunched up her face.
Gordon had slid so far down in his seat that he couldn’t see the bots approaching. He could only assume they’d arrive any second. “What I’m trying to say is, run to her! The bots aren’t going anywhere. You can always talk to them later.” Corrina shrugged, like it was an obvious choice.
Gordon bit his lip and nodded.
He walked across a row of people, making his way to a clear aisle. He glanced back at Corrina, who now looked like she was the one that was going to crap their pants.
She gave him a shooing motion, telling him to go.
Gordon held his breath and moved fast, scooting down the stairs. He was at the bottom of the stands, about to slip into the gardens, when an alarm went off. He looked up at the big screen and saw a picture of his mom.
SUSPECT, FAMILY, AND ALL ASSOCIATES WANTED IMMEDIATELY FOR QUESTIONING
Gordon felt like he’d been pushed off a cliff. No! Why? Why now? Why couldn’t his mom have just taken it easy for one day? Why couldn’t she just be normal?
He took a quick look up to see Corrina talking to the protectors. Oh no! Was she in trouble now too? He didn’t know if he could handle the guilt if she got screwed over because of him. He grimaced before dashing into the gardens.
His mind raced, and it went to the worst places. People that went in for questioning were sometimes not seen or heard from again for a long time. The anxiety of waiting for his name to be called for a job was nothing compared to this.
Gordon ran along a row of lilac shrubs, their sickly sweetness overwhelming him. Everything had been going so well, and now his mom had to go and screw it up. Gordon had gone from the System’s good books to being wanted for questioning so fast it gave him whiplash.
But having a legitimate mining job might give him some power, or at least some leverage. Blasting was a highly skilled apprenticeship program that only admitted the best of the best. The System was protective of its mineral production above all else, and if Gordon could convince it of his value in that regard, maybe he could gain some leniency for his mom.
He’d have to get master Tracey’s help. He was the only person Gordon knew that had any semblance of political power.
But first, he had to find his mom.
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2022.08.06 12:44 jdixonfan Fatal “incident” on I-70 WB @ Exit 62?
A little before 3 AM last night/this morning, I was driving westbound on 70 when traffic came to a complete stop shortly after the ramp to get off at exit 62, MD-75. I could see that there were only ~10 cars ahead of me (in all three lanes) before the road had been completely blocked off. Past that, I just saw one or two cop cars and one or two non-emergency vehicles that had their hazard lights on almost directly underneath the bridge that carries 75 over 70. The initial reports from Frederick scanner and WTOP were “debris” on the road, but WTOP in particular was mystified at the lack of info being shared by cops and the state highway administration. I ended up being stuck there for almost two hours, as they had both sides of 70 shut down for that entire time.
Eventually, a highway administration employee walked down the side of the road and told us to reverse past the ramp to get off at exit 62 and then take that to bypass whatever happened. I asked the employee what happened and all he said was that there was an “incident” that was fatal. I’m not sure if the use of the word incident was intentional because there was no crash and something else happened, or if that is how all crashes (and other things) are referred to.
Adding to the weirdness and possibly supporting the notion that it wasn’t a crash, there seemed to be very few emergency vehicles coming and going on our end. Right after traffic stopped, a tow truck and a fire department SUV went down the shoulder. At intermittent times throughout the road closure, I could see a cop car stopping at various places in the eastbound lanes. I only saw one fire truck coming away from the area, and the only cars that came up on the shoulder after the initial stoppage were what appeared to be a work van and a pickup truck, both with orange emergency lights. I never saw an ambulance.
Anyone know what happened?
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2022.04.01 22:21 JustTheRealNews TSA checkpoints at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport get new state-of-the-art 3-D checkpoint scanners to improve explosives detection
2022.03.27 23:20 Emperor_Cartagia Fall of Man 60: Interrogations
Ancient history tells of the Alvarez Plague, a devastating disease released by a mad scientist and terrorist which caused the collapse of human society on Earth 40,000 years ago leading to the adoption of the Pre-Phenomena (PPa)/Post-Phenomenon (PP) dating system. This history is a fabrication. Upper-level Peacekeeper Officers are told that it was released on accident due to an EMP discharge released from an experimental "Displacement Drive" tested in orbit. This too is a fabrication. In truth, every 40,000 years the Earth's solar system moves within the Milky Way to be in alignment with several stellar phenomena which allow strange energies to be tapped and used. Certain intelligences make usage of this interval, and it is their interference that caused two near-extinction effects, 80,000 years ago in the stone age, and 40,000 years ago, in 2018CE, under the old dating system.
Investigator Hoel cycled through the various command and control systems that were still accessible. Life support was out of the question. Half the ship's weapons systems were unpowered, but it didn't matter, the targeting systems were down anyway. He accessed the communications system, but it was locked, keyed to command officers only. He turned back to the captain's corpse, which was bouncing off the forward bulkhead. He disconnected from the console and took a few steps, grabbed her, and pulled her back to the console, reconnected his armor to it, then placed her right thumb on the scanner. The console scanned it and granted access.
He immediately downloaded the records of all communications going in or out over the past six months. Additionally, he downloaded all the captain's logs made over the same period. He then switched on his armors comms and patched them through the console before turning the vessel's transceiver to the frequency of the Phalanx.
"This Hoel, come in Phalanx."
There was a moment of dead air.
"Investigator, have you-"
"Need to make it quick Lahn, the Peacekeepers abandoned me here, they may choose to attack, launch a decoy and use cold propellants to rendezvous with Callisto and get me the hell out of here!"
He was about to give further instructions when he felt the ship shudder and the captain's chair informed him that one of the emergency bulkheads surrounding the main cargo bay had breached. The motion sensors showed whatever had been outside the bridge was now moving aft, towards the cargo bay. He decided to take care of another, more important task first.
"Lahn, I'm sending you all the data I've pulled from the Callisto under our standard encryption, I want you to save us a copy, then re-transmit it out on OPCA dedicated Investigative frequency, mark it as a high priority. Do that before you make any moves to come to get me, understand?"
"Good, in the meanwhile, I'm going to see about setting up a distraction."
With that, he cut comms and accessed the power systems again, routing power to the primary cargo bay doors and opening them to space. There was an immediate response. Motion sensors all over the ship showed movement, dozens, hundreds of beings, it was impossible to tell, were suddenly converging on the cargo bay.
Rivet looked as they absorbed her declaration. Vagner looked thoughtful, Fhast was unreadable, Jachus looked ill, and Yadav seemed extremely nonplussed, and proceeded to speak first.
"Councilwoman Rivet, your assertions notwithstanding, we have every reason to believe that you have communicated with the Hegemony without authorization, and with your access to sensitive information even if it were to appear completely innocent we couldn't take that at face value, it could be code words designating pre-arranged messages, and that still makes you a traitor to the Colonies. So we will make sure you get a traitor's punishment-"
At this, Fhast interjected.
"Investigator Yadav, that may not square with Colonial Law."
"Oh? And how so Colonel?"
"Saturn Colonial Law allows for extreme measures in face of an extreme threat. The example used in the Officers School is a comet or asteroid threatening to destroy a populated body, in such an event, where the threat of complete loss of life is present, the Colonial Government and Peacekeepers are allowed to take whatever actions they deem necessary, even actions specifically prohibited by law, so long as the intended effect of the actions is the preservation of lives. Note I specifically didn't say Colonial lives, the principle of saving lives is held as higher than political considerations. To my knowledge it's never been tested practically, but, if what the Councilwoman says is true, if there is some kind of extra-solar threat making its way through the Colonies, wiping out everything in its path, then any actions she's taken to preserve lives, Colonial or Hegemony, may very well be within the law."
Governor Jachus nodded in agreement.
"Indeed, it's descended from a pre-Exodus legal principle summed up as 'what is necessary is therefore also legal'."
Vagner, Yadav, and Fhast looked at the Governor in surprise.
"Before I got into politics I practiced law, not too successfully, but I made it a point to memorize as many precepts as I could."
Yadav looked incredulous as she looked between the Colonol and the Governor.
"I can't believe you two. Here we have a traitor, who admits to being so openly, and you're debating principles of law?"
The Governor looked at his hands as he spoke quietly.
"Investigator, your authority has significant breadth, but any arrest or sentencing on a colony or station must be made with the cooperation or assent of the local government and/or highest-ranking Peacekeeper. That is why the Colonel and myself are present here, normally it's a formality, we generally accede to the expertise of OPCA Investigators as a matter of policy, but this is not a normal situation, as I think we can all agree. For you to have the Councilor 'punished' as you say, you need a two-thirds vote. I do not assent, I think her assertions deserve investigation. I know your vote, Yadav. So, Colonel, it's up to you."
Colonel Fhast looked Rivet in the eyes for a few moments before speaking.
"I don't believe her-"
Rivet felt her stomach drop.
"-however I do believe in being thorough. What's more, every time in history where military men have decided that they are above the law, or when the law has been applied blindly, without consideration of exigent circumstances, it has almost always resulted in cruelty, and untold human suffering. I may be Peacekeeper, but I am not blind, nor is my trust. For now, I do not assent to her execution. I will, however, have her held incommunicado as we work to decrypt her transmission. If she's being truthful, then I will make my superiors off-station aware of the threat, and we will see what can be done. If she's lying, I'll be happy to carry out the sentence myself."
Captain Sayle was unsuccessful in his attempt to nap aboard the Falchion as he was ferried to the Gate to transition to the Hub. The flight suit and helmet he had to wear, not to mention the combat seat and harness, did not allow for a comfortable recline. He made the best of it by using his CACC to review reports on the repair and resupply of the fleet. The damage to the Lightning Rider was going to put her out of commission for a month at least, the Ebony Glacier, the Tip of the Spear, the Alpha Centauri, the Archer's Quiver, the Gilded Gauntlet, the Ceres, and the Rosethorne were all looking at a few days or weeks of repairs. But, considering the Gates at Jupiter and the Saturn Gate were gone, they were looking at at least a month before any Outer Colony vessels could threaten facilities in the Belt. His review was interrupted by the pilot.
"Coming up on the Mercurial L1 Gate, sir, ready for the transition."
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
There was the momentary flash of light as they went through, and from their perspective, they were at the Hub instantly. It was abuzz with activity, as far as he could tell, nearly a quarter of the fleet was in port docked along the central spire. Cargo hoppers were flying every which way within the shell of the station. The Pilot was immediately contacted by Port Control and relinquished control to be safely routed through the chaos to the appropriate docking bulb. The trip through the station was direct, seems his arrival was prioritized as he saw everything from hoppers to full frigates stopped to allow his passage. Docking was performed in short order, and the bulb was closed and pressurized within five minutes after they transitioned. He was escorted into the station as the pilot was refueled for the trip back to Crimson. His escort, a young Peacekeeper Ensign, didn't say anything as he navigated him through the bowels of the spire to the central lift and delivered him to a series of offices belonging to the Diplomatic Corps.
Inside, he was seated in a large conference room, alone, and told to wait. It seemed rather peculiar to him. They asked for him to come urgently, then he was left waiting. He pulled his CACC back out and went over the list of repair estimates and made a file on what vessels he'd take to the Belt where he assumed he was headed next. If the Outer Colonies didn't sue for peace, he bet he was going to be fighting a war amongst the asteroids and was already thinking of the tactical advantages and disadvantages of that battlespace. He didn't have long to wait as it happened, after about ten minutes Rear Admiral Linnorm entered flanked by a Commodore and a civilian by the looks of their suit. He stood at attention and saluted as they came in. Linnorm spoke first as he returned the salute.
"At ease Captain. This is Commodore Velleth, I believe you're familiar."
"Tangentially, we were at the Old Mans's birthday party a few decades ago but we were never formally introduced nor did we speak."
Indicating the civilian, he continued.
"This is Consul Andrew Elimak of the 12th Jupiter Delegation. We should take a seat Captain, we may be here for a little bit."
As they sat the Admiral went to the door and spoke to the Brigadiers guarding it before shutting the door and locking it before he took his seat opposite the Captain.
"Now before we begin I need to make sure we're all up to speed and address the shadow in the room. Several months ago Hegemony Peacekeeper Intelligence operatives within the Outer Colonies passed the word along that the Outer Colonies had lost contact with some of the furthest facilities in the Oort Cloud. Shortly thereafter they lost contact with Pluto and Charon, and over the intervening time frame they've lost contact with colonies at Neptune, then Uranus, and now the outermost moons of Saturn. This has triggered a panic among the colonies civilian populations, and started a wave of fear, misinformation, and denial among colonial governments."
Consul Elimak leaned forward in his seat.
"The Legislature was not made aware of these losses of communications, Admiral, may I ask why?"
"We'll get to that Consul. At the same time, a certain organization which specializes in a different kind of intelligence organization operating within the Hegemony received long-expected indications of a significant threat to, well, everything, was about to manifest itself."
Commodore Velleth locked eyes with Captain Sayle, and suddenly the Captain realized, Velleth was a member of the Project, as was the Admiral. The Consul interjected again.
"What kind of intelligence organization?"
"That's what we're here to discuss. Consul, The Commodore, the Captain, and I are all members of a group that calls itself The Project. Most of our membership exists within the Hegemony, but one of our members in the Outer Colonies recently delivered to us a complete report on the events occurring amongst the colonies, and it acted as the final confirmation for us that all the preparations we've been making are about to be needed."
"What is this, some kind of soft coup? Do you expect the Legislation to just-"
"Please Consul, let us explain, please understand we are not a threat to the Hegemony, or democracy, we're trying to save it. By the end of this conversation, I believe you'll understand why we've not operated in the open before now."
"I'll give you your time Admiral, but first I want answers to some specific questions, then, if I feel you've been honest with me, we can move forward with whatever you're proposing here."
"Ask your questions."
"What is the nature of the threat you alluded to?"
"How good is your knowledge of history, Consul?"
Jordan and Walthers continued their conversation as they rested along Geneva Avenue headed west-northwest towards the shore. The prints from whatever horseback group that had taken the survivor of the helicopter crash were still readily apparent in the mud and debris lining the gutters of the street. They were passing a fire station with a faded mural of a horse drawn fire pump decorating it which Marcus and Leonard had taken as an opportunity to search for supplies, specifically, bottled water. Meanwhile Brian and Cole had gone into the gas station opposite to look for bug spray, as the afternoon wore on mosquitos were becoming a nuisance.
"So Lamar, how did you end up with the Captain?"
"Well when everything went to shit, I was working supply out of Camp Lejeune doing overnight inventory, I was lucky, I was trapped somewhere with a couple years worth of MREs and bottled water. Me and couple other guys, we hunkered down and made it through. Afterwards, we loaded up and started reconnoitering the Camp and the surrounding area, found about a dozen other survivors, two Marines and ten civvies. Then, we loaded up and headed for DC, looking for any surviving government, didn't find much. But about a week later the Oregon came sailing up the Anacostia River, caught sight of her as she crossed under the Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge, and we met them when they docked at a pier at the Navy Yard."
"So you've basically been with the Captain since he started playing Mayor."
"Playing? Hell, he's been a better leader than most my old CO's and a damn sight better than any politician. You know he tried to set up a civilian election a couple years ago and-"
"I remember, he told me, he didn't run at all, couple other folks did, and a woman, I think?"
"Yeah Lindsay, a bank manager from Denver but-"
"But like three quarters of the vote were write-in votes for Longmire anyway."
They shared a brief moment of laughter as Marcus and Leonard emerged from the fire station, each carrying a case of bottled water. Walthers grabbed up his pack.
"Ok guys, break up the water, everybody take a four or five bottles and leave the rest, we've got to get moving again. We're burning daylight."
Marcus started divvying up his case, but as he did so he looked to Walthers.
"Professor, these fireman had a bunch of bicycles in the garage."
"And they've been sheltered from the elements the whole time, they look like they're still in good repair. Maybe a low tire or two but there's a hand pump in there too."
"You thinking we might use them?"
"Couldn't hurt to check them out."
"Well there's six of us, how many bikes are in there?"
"Nine or ten, easy."
"Alright, if you can get six of them in working order, we'll take them."
"Right on, Prof."
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2021.12.09 23:51 FlannelSheetGhost Helicopters Around Mt. Phillip and 70 West
There has been a helicopter circling around the Mt. Phillip and 70 intersection but the Frederick Scanner hasn't been updated since yesterday. Does anyone know of any traffic or police activity that is causing this?
submitted by FlannelSheetGhost
to frederickmd [link] [comments]
2021.09.28 23:47 walnutwheat Baker Park Police Chase?
Anyone know what happened at Baker Park around 4:30 today? Saw a police officer chasing a guy and then there were several police cars that showed up. Just curious. Couldn't find anything on Frederick Scanner.
submitted by walnutwheat
to frederickmd [link] [comments]
2021.09.02 19:40 twocantherapper We unearthed a time traveller's ship at an archaeological dig.
No introduction needed, right? Archaeological dig, time travellers ship. You want me to get to the point. This works for me, because I don’t have long before the government spooks figure out which car I’m hiding under.
I won’t bother telling you how I graduated from Oxford, or how I was pulled out of my previous dig salvaging the Baniyam Buddha’s in Afghanistan when the US & co withdrew. All you need to know is I went with them, and that’s how I found myself about 50 miles southwest of Las Vegas staring at a pearlescent metal hatch.
“Blimey Freddy, you weren’t kidding.” I whistled, scratching the mole on my chin, staring at the mottled blue-steel column protruding from orange earth at the bottom of the 30ft pit. Even though I was used to the baking sun from my time in Hazarajat highlands, the shade and coolness of the pit were welcome by the time Freddy and I had climbed down there.
“I told you,” Freddy said, taking off his battered trucker cap to scratch his balding head, “it’s a Goddamn flying saucer.”
"I don't know about an alien spacecraft, but it's definitely older than any metal construction buried here has any right being." Leona stood, brushing the dust off her knees, and turned away from the oil barrel-size column with its wheel-lock hatch roof. She greeted me with a warm hug, Freddy a nod.
This was unsurprising. Leona and I had been undergraduates together at Oxford. Leona and Freddy had only met the day before, when her current university had called her
about the phone call they'd
received from him
the day before that. She'd
when she arrived, because I'd
the previous week to let her
was safely out of Afghanistan.
I’d agreed because of how Freddy found the hatch. Or, more accurately, why he’d been digging up the remote stretch of the desert he’d somehow come to own. He’d told Leona’s university, who told Leona, who told me, that he’d found a treasure map.
He owned a house on the same land. While renovating the remote property, he’d found the map and coordinates hidden under some floorboards. Three days ago he’d rented a bulldozer and started going to town until he found the hatch. He’d told the university he’d found a UFO. The university told Leona she still owed them for the prescription opioid addiction they kept hushed up. She told me a lot of swearwords in French. I told her I’d get the next plane ticket from Wisconsin, once I was done being processed at Fort McCoy.
Confusing? Sorry. All you need to know is that everyone was where they were when Scott, who none of us knew, removed his headphones and turned off the metal detector he'd been waving around.
"It's definitely not a saucer," he said, scratching his goatee, "wherever this leads, it goes off in one direction. No signal round any edges of the pit except where you're stood. If it is
a ship, this is at the nose." He gestured with a thumb over his shoulder to the hatch, his words intercut with the smack
of chewing gum.
"So like a pirate ship?" Freddy asked, raising a pudgy eyebrow at the news the thing buried on his land wasn
a UFO just like the one his grandpappy was there when they found at Roswell.
"More like a submarine, I'll bet. That is if it is a ship. It's probably just a bunker left here by some prepper during the cold war."
"A bunker that's over 5000 years old?" Leona had her hands on her hips, greying-haired face incredulous. "I've seen a lot of buried metal. I don't know what this thing is made of, but it looks like steel. Do you know how long steel takes to rust? When it's buried somewhere as dry as the desert? Seigneur, sauve-moi de cet imbécile.
I couldn't see Scott's eyes behind the sunglasses, but I know they looked sheepish. It had been decades since I'd made the impatient Leona swear in her native tongue, but I still remembered the experience. I felt for Scott. If he was here and Leona was here it meant he was Leona's assistant. This meant he was an undergrad. If there was one thing Leona couldn't stand even when she was one, it was undergrads. Fortunately for Scott (and for you if you're bored of a middle-aged man getting nostalgic for a former flame), we weren't in the awkward silence long.
The shrill hiss was deafening as soon as it started.
"Oh hell no." Freddy reached a pudgy arm into a duffel bag at the base of the pit's ladder. When he stood back up, the meaty limb was holding a shotgun. Before we three academics could register what was going on, Freddy had the barrel pointed at the corroded pearlescent steel column.
"Oh oui bien sûr, un bunker de la guerre froide. Putains d'étudiants.
" Leona threw herself to the pit’s edge, yelling, grabbing Scott by the arm and taking him with her as she went. They fell to the ground just in time to avoid being blasted by the thick vapour projected from three-fifths of the hatch's rim. Had Freddy and I stood a fraction to the right we'd have had to do the same. I ducked anyway though, only because the sudden high-pitched gaseous whistling triggered the attuned fight-or-flight response I'd honed back in Afghanistan.
It wasn't until I looked up that I realised how lucky Scott was that Leona had developed the same senses during the time with me she'd spent there, living under the constant threat of rockets, grenades and gunfire. The flat almost-ring of steam reached all the way to the walls of the pit. Once it subsided after a few seconds of whistling, the densely packed sand and rock wasn't sand and rock anymore. It was glass. Sparkling, slightly glowing, still cooling, glass.
"Thanks, professor," Scott mumbled, pulling himself to his feet once the hatch had stopped shrieking. The sheepish look I imagined behind those dark sunglasses had only gotten worse.
"Never mention it." Leona was already on her feet, once again brushing dust from her khakis. She turned to Freddy. “Monsieur Frederick, please put down the gun.”
Freddy spat on the orange Earth. “The hell I will. I ain’t about to let myself get et’n by some space monster.”
“Mon dieu, qu'est-ce qu'il y a avec les hommes et les armes...
Monsieur Frederick please, whatever we’re dealing with here I don’t think it’s a-” THUNK
Only Freddy didn’t throw himself back to the pit floor. He raised the shotgun, aiming down the sights at the turning rusted wheel on the centre of the hatch. Leona, Scott, and I could only look up at the corroded steel column, mouths agape, as the wheel lock unscrewed. It turned for thirty long seconds, unseen gears and cogs grinding for the first time in, according to Leona’s assessment, millennia.
Leona wasn’t protesting anymore. She’d run out of words, French or English. She was staring with wide eyes at the hatch just like the men of the pit, too shocked to speak. She didn’t even have words when there was a second loud THUNK,
followed by a loud creaking. The fiery archaeology professor was silent even as the rusted circular plate started to open on its thick ancient hinges. She didn’t need words when it clanged fully open with a last energetic swing, though. None of us did. We were too busy screaming.
That’s when I learned Freddy wasn’t a man who messed around. I heard the click of him readying his weapon the instant the two sets of rubber-covered fingers appeared on the rim. He grunted in unison with the top of a helmeted head emerging. He’d already fired before I got a chance to take in any details of the figure pulling itself out the hole. “QU'EST-CE QUE AU NOM DE DIEU EST MAUVAIS AVEC VOUS, VOUS FOU PUTAIN D'AMÉRICAIN!”
We unarmed three screamed again. We heard the distant metallic thump
of the headless body hitting the bottom of the shaft within the pit, but not before we had time to wipe blood and glass from our shocked faces.
,” Freddy yelled with a grin, staring around at the mess of bone, glass, gore, and plastic on the opposite wall, “I TOLD
you nerds it was a UFO, I TOLD
you there’d be a space monster.”
this blood tastes real human for a space monster…” Scott was still laying on the floor, spitting dramatically and wiping flecks of splatter from his goatee. “What? I’m just saying what we’re all thinking.” He added, when he saw Leona and I’s horrified expressions. I couldn’t argue with him though.
If you’re screaming while in the presence of someone getting shot with a shotgun at point-blank range, chances are you’re going to get some blood in your mouth. I recognised the coppery tang on my tongue, too. I also couldn’t shake the knowledge that the chances of an alien having fingers and hands shaped exactly
like a human being were astronomically slim.
We couldn’t stop Freddy going down the hole, though we did try. We followed him of course. Leona and I weren’t about to let whatever lay inside this… whatever it was, be claimed by a redneck with a bloodlust for aliens. Scott came too, but he didn’t have a choice, because when he protested Leona swore at him in French, and that was the end of that.
We were descending the ladder for about two minutes before we reached the bottom.
“Good thing I packed flashlights, eh?”
Sure enough, Freddy had three battery-powered torches in the duffle bag he’d slung over his shoulder before climbing into the hatch. This was indeed a good thing, too, because the space at the bottom was pitched black aside from the thin rays of Nevada sun able to find their way this far down the hole. Scott vomited when they clicked into life, and even Freddy let out a “Jesus”
followed by a sharp intake of breath.
The figure Freddy shot had broken several limbs as it tumbled down the hole. A fair few more when it landed at the bottom. There were a few sharp bones poking through its dark rubber suit. It didn’t have a head, because as you’ll recall Freddy had eviscerated its head with buckshot. What did remain of the lower jaw, neck, and base of the skull was surrounded by the remnants of a thick plastic-looking helmet. The interior was lined with a lime green gel, and various pipes and frayed wires ran from the interior into a thick tube. The socket where this tube would have connected had been lost to Freddy’s shotgun, but the pack full of fluids with the wire and pipe filled cable trailing from it allowed me to paint a rough picture. One I’d confirm in a few moments once we started exploring the rest of the ship.
What shocked me about the figure, what caused me to yell and Leona to clasp a pair of hands to her mouth, was the name badge on the headless, distressingly human, female corpse’s chest: IPSET: Dr Harper-Girard.
“A name you know?” Freddy asked, poking the body with his gun.
“Mine.” Leona and I replied in unison, shooting each other an awkward glance immediately after. Freddy looked confused.
“Well, mine is Harper, hers is Girard,” I explained. “surely the university sent some paperwork?”
He shrugged. “They mighta done, but I’ll be honest, the wife checks the mail. I just knew they were sending some science folk to poke around and sign the bit of paper that said I’d found a bonafide UFO.”
Leona rolled her eyes before turning to me. “What do you think it means? What’s IPSET? I’m frightened, Robert.”
“I know,” I replied, “me too.”
“I recognise those hips, they’re-”
I shot her a glare. I couldn’t bear to hear out loud the observation we’d both made. I recognised those hips too; I’d spent a whole evening staring at them on a dancefloor many decades ago, on the first night Leona and I’s friendship gained the suffix “with benefits.”
We both tried to ignore our growing fears as we poked around the ship’s entrance. The word IPSET meant nothing to me at the time. It wasn’t until my torch illuminated some signage on the rusted wall spelling out Institute of Paranatural Science, Events, and Technology
that I even knew it was an acronym. Other than this revelatory information, the room was pretty barren save for a rack containing another suit of the same kind the now-deceased Dr Harper-Girard had been wearing. Scott had been right, the hatch was indeed at the nose of the ship. The room was a sharp triangle shape, with the suit storage set into the thin wall at one end. The wider one at the other was featureless save for a door and keypad.
The keypad was a kind of fingerprint scanner. Its screen was still half-illuminated, despite the rust and chipped paint of the walls and floor grates. The small LED flashed red with Freddy and Scott pressed their thumbs on the surface. With a faint BEEP
it turned green for Leona, prompting a gulp from us both. Her hand found its way into mine when the steel door hissed and slid open, something that hadn’t happened for a long
“Holy shit,” Freddy yelled, when we’d collectively had enough time to try and make sense of the room beyond, “you still don’t think this is a UFO?”
“No,” Scott replied, voice weak and quiet, “no, I think you’re right. This is a UFO.”
Leona and I exchanged a sidelong glance when we took out first steps across the threshold. A UFO with signs on the wall in plain English? Aliens with names like Dr Harper-Girard? Cultivez un cerveau
, as Leona would say. I didn’t say anything out loud because I didn’t have a better explanation, but I knew straight away whatever we’d found here wasn’t
extraterrestrial. It wasn’t until we got to the final room at the other end of the ship that the horrifying truth revealed itself. The vast chamber we found before this only created further questions for us to torture ourselves with in the interim.
It goes without saying that none of my knowledge of ancient civilizations was helpful. I’d stopped relying on prior experience the moment I saw the hatch. In this region of North America you expect to be excavating lost Gosiute and Panamint holy sites, not ancient steel vessels that are somehow both rusted and more technologically advanced than anything you’ve ever seen.
The middle section of the ship was mostly used as some kind of storage bay, from the looks of things. This much we could work out. It doesn’t take a genius to recognise stacked crates no matter how unfamiliar the plastic-like material they’re made from looks. We were walking between stacks of these dark red crates for about five minutes when we emerged in the clearing we’d spied from back at the doorway; visible only because of the dancing and swirling lights above it on the distant ceiling.
The heart of the ship was unlike any engine I've seen. Our torches were unnecessary. The hundreds of clear tubes sprouting from the floor-ceiling vat that made up the bulk of the engine's body were filled with a luminescent green liquid. It cast the engine in an emerald glow, carving out the array of components and mechanisms whose purposes I couldn't fathom with eerie chlorophyllic highlights. I could guess the purpose of the bulbous dome set into the base of the vat, though. You don't need a doctorate in esoteric engineering to work out the meaning of POWER LEVEL- 2%.
It was a battery. And, thanks to a glass viewing port on the dome's face, I could see from where the ship drew its power. I could see it, but I'm not sure I could believe it. I'm still not sure I want to.
There was a man inside, a man wearing a mottled blue mask
of the same pearlescent metal as the hatch (although without the rust or corrosion). A man suspended in clear, bubbling fluid, connected to the engine by the glowing tubes that ran from it into the hidden ducts in the ship's ceiling. A man that, as we could hear even through the thick glass and blue-steel mask, was screaming.
I couldn't tell you how old he was. That's why all four of us started screaming with him when we saw him. His age kept changing.
He was... flickering, phasing in and out of existence every few seconds as we watched, at completely random intervals. When we arrived his body was ancient; wizened and wrinkled and thin. Then he'd flickered like his body was disrupted by static on an old television set. When he emerged he was middle-aged, only a year or so younger than Leona and me. After the next flicker he was a baby, then in his twenties, then a child, then on the cusp of puberty.
“My God…” Freddy was so taken aback he actually lowered the barrel of his shotgun. Scott was somewhere off in the shadows, being sick again. I know the eyes behind those glasses weren’t sheepish anymore, unless Scott sobbed and blubbered when he was embarrassed. Leona’s grip on my hand tightened.
, Robert. We have to help that poor soul. Aide-moi à trouver une porte!
“I don’t think there is a door,” I replied, mouth dry, “don’t touch it, we don’t know what it is.” I pulled her back towards me, stopping her from rushing to the shrieking man/boy/baby with tubes painfully grafted to his back. Aside from the pearlescent blue-steel mask, they were the only thing in the battery tank that didn’t shimmer or flicker. Just the poor man/boy/baby and his wretched, twisted body.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t close enough to stop Freddy.
“Son of a bitch. We’ve got to get him out of there!”
Before any of us could stop him, he’d dropped the shotgun and was feeling around the rim of the viewing glass for a hatch or mechanism to open it. He was hammering on the flashing POWER LEVEL- 2%
screen when the alarm started going off.
“ALERT! NON-CLASSIFIED PERSONNEL DETECTED! MISSION COMPROMISED! FLUSHING REMAINING DISTEMPORAL ASSETS! FLUSHING NON-CLASSIFIED PERSONNEL! ALERT! NON-CLASSIFIED…
The darkness around us was pierced now with red as well as emerald lighting. A shrill ringing blasted from hidden speakers, competing with the repeating security message to see which could deafen us first. Even Scott had to stop puking to ram his fingers in his ears. I felt Leona’s grip leave mine, though I’m not sure who let go of who. From somewhere up ahead in the darkness, from the depths of the ship we hadn’t yet explored, I could hear a man’s screams even above the din. Because of what happened to Freddy and Scott, my own screams soon joined his.
As soon as the message had repeated itself twice, dozens of needle-thin hooks on string-like steel cable shot up from the floor around both of them. They both yelled as the miniature barbed grapples found purchase on their skin. My ears screamed when I had to take my hands off them, but if I hadn’t I couldn’t have held Leona back when the cables retracted.
I’ll never forget Freddy’s face when the dozens of hooks snapped back into the floor. I’ll never forget his screams as the barbs took lumps of his flesh with them. What will haunt me more is Scotts tears, the way I could see him mouthing for his mum even after one of the pneumatic micro harpoons tore his bottom lip clean from his face, leaving teeth, gums, and jawbone exposed for display.
The second wave of hooks followed the first, and just as quickly flayed whole sections of Freddy and Scott. By the time the rapid-fire onslaught of barbs and cable was finished I was sobbing, backed into a corner, with Leona trying her hardest to bury herself forever in my chest.
The ships defence mechanism worked through both men like a school of piranha; turning them from men, to a cloud of red mist, to slack-jawed glistening skeletons in a few short minutes. The hooks didn’t stop there though. They continued shooting and digging, slicing and crushing bones until nothing at all remained of the American’s in our party.
“NON-CLASSIFIED PERSONNEL FLUSHED. REMAINING DISTEMPORAL ASSETS FLUSHED. MISSION COMPROMISED. BREACH REPORT FILED. CONTEMPORARY IPSET PICKUP INITIATED. NON-CLASSIFIED PERSONNEL…”
The new message repeated as loudly as the first, but at least the alarm had stopped. Neither of us was in much of a state to appreciate that though. I was too busy crying like a bullied child, Leona was too busy jabbering nonsense in French.
Somehow one of us managed to compose ourselves, and then the other. I don’t know which was which. I do know it was Leona that pointed out the scream from deeper in the ship, I was the one who wanted to run and never come back, and she was the one who won that argument.
So it was we found ourselves, after another five minutes walking between more rows of dark red crates, at a second door. I think somehow I knew even then what would happen when I put my thumb to it, because I didn’t jump as much as Leona did. It was still enough to make me yelp, though. The sight of that door unlocking and hissing open for my thumb filled me with dread and horror second only to that spawned by the contents of the room beyond.
It was a bedroom. A poorly lit, but remarkably clean and not rusted, bedroom. There was a double bed against one wall, a desk, and a small tiled section in one corner with a curtain to hide a combination showetoilet/sink space. It was a bedroom that had been lived in, too. There were pens on the desk, and a notepad, and a half-eaten sandwich free of mould. There was a red book
face down on one pillow, and a cup of still-steaming coffee on one of the bedside tables. There was even a microwave set into one wall. There were photographs next to the microwave, held on with plastic magnets to a bulky metal box which I assume was a fridge.
I recognised the people in those photos, even though the faces were older than when I’d seen them. So did Leona. She knew the woman with hair slightly greyer than her own stood with a team of scientists in one, just as much as she knew the same even greyer woman in a modest wedding dress stood next to the man I recognised in another. He was in a lot of the photos, almost always with her. I knew his hairline, even if there was less of it. I knew the mole on his chin, too.
That alone would have been enough to prompt Leona and me to turn and run from the ship as fast as we could. We did, but not just because of how familiar-yet-old the couple in the photographs was. We ran because, at the opposite end of the room, were two glowing-green pods. Both had Dr Harper-Girard
above them on steel plaques. One was empty, a trail of glistening footprints leading from it, to the showetoilet space, to the fridge area, then microwave, desk, and out the door.
The other had a man in it. A man wearing a rubber suit with an IPSET: Dr Harper-Girard
badge. A man with thick black sludge pumping into him through the tube set into his mouth. Even though his eyes were crossed, there was blood pouring from his nostrils, and tar-like slime pooling at his chin, I knew his face as well as I knew my own.
Because, despite a few more wrinkles and a little more male pattern baldness, it was.
We’d been running so hard and fast that both of us had to stop and retch when we found ourselves back in the pit. I do remember that it was I who took Leona’s hand the second time. Seeing my dead self in some kind of stasis pod broke me. I think it was also the final piece of the “who was the Dr Harper-Girard Freddy shot”
puzzle that snapped Leona, too, because she didn’t resist. She didn’t stop to ask me why, or swear in French. She just ran with me.
She ran with me all the way to the hire car. She ran with me all the way to the airport, on the flight back to London, to my old home. She’s been running with me since the IPSET spooks showed up outside our house, even though we changed our names and went to great lengths to burn every paper trail. She was running with me all the way until early this morning, when they finally got her.
We’ve been moving around the UK for the last four years. We thought we’d be safe in somewhere as remote and forgotten as Dovercourt. We were wrong. They’re nearly at the car I’m hiding under now. They’ve been chasing me on foot across Essex county all day. It’s nearly midnight. I’m tired. Part of me thinks I should give myself in. I won't though.
They keep saying they just want to talk, to ask a couple of questions about what we’d seen in Nevada. They keep telling me that Leona is safe. I believe them, but I’m still not going. I know that once I do, everything will be fine, and somehow in a few years, I’ll find myself agreeing to be frozen in that damn time machine. Someone, probably Leona, will convince me that if we can set the awakening date just a little earlier we’ll be able to change things this time around.
There’ll be some reason we had to go back too, of course. Some apocalypse event so disturbing, so horrific, that decent people like Leona and I will agree to travel in a time machine powered by a temporally displaced human in an arcane mask.
That’s why I’m hiding under the car. Destiny has called me, but I don’t want to answer. I don’t want to join IPSET. I don’t want to save the world. I already tried, and I already failed. The version of me that got out from under the car is dead, filled with black sludge somewhere and rotting in a stasis chamber underneath the Nevada desert. I know it won’t be any different when it’s my turn.
If you’re reading this please, somehow, volunteer yourself. I know one of you will be crazy enough to want to try this suicide mission in my place. I know there’ll be plenty of you who hate your own mundane lives enough to pick apart the IPSET
puzzle, to give your life purpose by sacrificing it to prevent whatever this apocalypse is.
You might hate your life enough to want that. I don’t. I’ve only got a few decades left before I’m officially old. I wanted to spend them with Leona. Just not like this.
I don't want to die as a "distemporal asset
". I don't want to spend my last seconds with a toxic purge fluid being flushed through my system, choking and in agony because my younger self allows Freddy to set off a security failsafe. I don't want to kiss Leona goodbye in the future knowing what happens when she opens the hatch in the past. Our future selves weren't that much older than us. We'd finally found eachother after all these decades. We deserve more time. It's not fair.
I’m a coward, and I’m not ashamed of that. I don’t want to die like my future self; cold and alone, outside of my own present. I refuse for that to be my destiny. I’m not a martyr, or a saviour, or some kind of chrononaut. I’m just a guy. A scared, helpless guy, hiding under a car.
Please, someone else step up and be the tragic hero of this story. I never asked to discover my future self in a time machine at an archaeological dig.
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2021.06.22 11:32 Shenloanne Getting paintings scanned.
I mostly paint on Frederick canvas paper and for the most part they are bigger than a4. The biggest I'm using at the moment is 16x10 inch.
I don't want to buy an a3 scanner for this because it's rather expensive and was wondering does anyone get their paintings scanned to reproduce as digital copies? And if so what kind of quality did you expect and receive?
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to acrylic [link] [comments]
2021.04.06 14:48 LGNJohnnyBlaze Shooting and Lockdown
I saw on Frederick Scanner about the shooting at Monocacy Blvd, but what is going on at Ft. Detrick. Every LEO in Frederick is headed over there. I also saw that some schools are being locked down. What in the world is going on?
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to frederickmd [link] [comments]