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2023.03.29 23:55 wow_i_exist The Enemy in the Dark Forest
Unknown Date, Unknown location
The spacecraft were traveling at no faster than eighteen and three-quarters percent of the speed of light and were no bigger than several hundred meters in length. What little crew they had were all put under cryostasis and all systems were completely shut down, producing no more than a few dozen watts of waste heat for the entire fleet in total, rendering the vehicles almost invisible to anyone, if there were anyone, who was not looking hard enough.
The spacecraft continued on their journey of millennia, sent by their creators with a less-than-benevolent intent.
Standard Year 3275, Day 321, V2 Draconis, Control Center of Laser Highway Station 7G-S
*Sensors and Trajectory Officer Xyvan Karvyk*
Nu Draconis, a binary star system consisting of V1 Draconis and V2 Draconis, was probably the most boring system owned by humanity, having been colonized only recently almost a century ago. The system was barely populated even for its immense volume. It was very unlike Sol, which Xyvan Karvyk departed from, more than 500 years ago, on a ship zipping by at a leisurely twenty percent the speed of light, due to the lack of a laser deceleration system on the then untouched system, save for a few probes sent for fly-bys throughout the centuries.
If Xyvan remembered correctly, the population back on Sol was so high that there were millions of deaths every few seconds. Despite that, death itself, was not problem most folks had to deal with nowadays. Nu Draconis itself was very sparse, with a population of a few billion at most, though this was increasing extremely rapidly and steadily due to incoming immigration from some of the more developed systems humanity has already colonized, though the term “humanity” here is disputed, because this includes uploaded minds, true AI, and genetically engineered humans and animals…
Xyvan himself was a product of a bygone era. He was a baseline human, unmodified by the countless advancements that had been made in the centuries since he was born. It was a rare sight these days to see someone like him, who looked like they could have walked straight out of a history book. While gene editing had become a ubiquitous technology, allowing individuals to modify their genetic code to enhance their physical and mental capabilities, Xyvan had chosen to eschew these enhancements in favor of maintaining his original genetic makeup.
Pick any two people randomly from even the same star system and they would look as alien to each other as an actual hypothetical alien. Some have artificial enhancements, like bionic limbs and computer brains, making them essentially cyborgs. There are also those with animal DNA spliced into their own, resulting in strange new forms of life. And then there are those with completely artificial bodies, where their consciousness is uploaded into a machine. It's even possible for one person to exist in multiple copies or clones. The possibilities are endless, and the distinction between humans and non-human is now almost non-existent.
Xyvan, on the other hand, decided that he wasn’t gonna have any of them newfangled robot arms and computer brains so he decided to stick with his original layout, though with millions of nanomachines loaded inside his bloodstream, keeping him well-maintained and alive, possibly for millennia.
The 7G-S, nicknamed “The Golden Sunbeam” affectionately by its occupants, was of the standard dual-use medium-sized O’Neill cylinder and laser station variety designed to both keep areas traveled by spacecraft traveling at high fractions of the speed of light clear of dangerous debris and to either decelerate or accelerate those spacecraft to those speeds.
Most people on the station chose to remain baseline humans, though some opted for cybernetic enhancements to improve their physical abilities or to supplement their jobs. The residents all came together to Nu Draconis and were part of an interstellar colonization fleet, looking to escape Sol’s relatively cramped conditions, where they felt that they were no longer needed there. As much as they would not like to admit it, the baselines knew that they were no match for the other human variants. The uploaded minds could process information at lightning speeds, the AIs could analyze data with unparalleled precision, and the genetically-engineered humans and animals possessed physical and cognitive abilities that far surpassed their own.
So, they had set forth, on a centuries-long trip to a pristine star system untouched by anything intelligent, so that they’d be of use once again. At least that was the plan anyway. The company that had funded the colonization mission promised not to send anyone else with them for a few millennia, in exchange for developing the system. However, this promise did not stop other non-baselines from coming in much sooner, as they were able to fund their fleets and make their way to Nu Draconis by themselves. Though on the bright side, Nu Draconis is still very undeveloped as a system, especially compared to the inner-volume systems like Alpha Centauri and 40 Eridani, and may take several more millennia to catch up to them.
Xyvan sank into the plush, leather-like cushions of his chair, savoring the way they molded to his body. As he reclined further and further back, the chair let out a soft, high-pitched chirp of protest. He could feel the barely imperceptible vibration of the 1G spin-gravity that kept him comfortably grounded. The faint smell of recycled air and sterilized surfaces filled his nostrils, and the soft glow of the control panels cast a warm light on his face. His actual residence was on the 0.2G spin-gravity level of The Golden Sunbeam, which he complained that he felt too weightless at lower gravities, having grown up on Earth, where he was used to the constant pull of its gravity. Since leaving, he had been stationed on different planets and space stations with varying levels of gravity. While he could adjust to lower gravities after a while, it never felt quite right to him, and he always longed to return to the familiar 1G of Earth. He’d rather spend his time at his workplace, rather than at his residential room because it is at the 1G level, in addition to the Coriolis effect being significantly lesser this far out from the center of spin.
“Heads up, dirtballer,” his colleague Astrogation Officer Fejka Azmah said, jolting Xyvan out of his daydreaming.
“Dirtballer? Didn’t ya come from Mars yerself eh, dustballer,” Xyvan retorted.
“Umm…akshually, I grew up in a rotating drum AROUND Mars, not on it”, Fejka replied half-jokingly, pushing up her glasses for effect, the servos in her arms whirring softly.
“Why’d’ya even have those, yer basically a robot now,” Xyvan remarked.
“Well apparently, glasses are the ‘in thing’ in Sol right now, or at least a century ago, considering light lag. Also, I believe the correct term nowadays is ‘Cybernetically Enhanced Biological Lifeforms’,” Fejka said, smirking a bit.
“Huh? What is ya even talkin’ about? Anyhoo, why the hell is starin’ at screens for ‘ours on end even a job? What’d I even see ‘ere? Hell, these ships and trash floatin’ in space follow a ballistic trajectory, and ‘eir paths should be predictable out for light years, so why can’t the computer just do it itself?” Xyvan grumbled, looking begrudgingly at the screens showing the trajectories of various incoming and outgoing ships and numerous debris.
“Beats me. I guess that these jobs give people like us an excuse to be employed,” Fejka said. “I mean, it's not like anything exciting happens around here. Those VR-addicted slackers might have the right idea, but I’d rather be doing something productive. That being said, I totally agree. We just babysit these silly interstellar ships that come in, which is fine, but it's not exactly thrilling work,”
“True reality,” Xyvan said, nodding. “We're basically glorified security guards for ‘em ships. What’s worse is that we ain’t seeing any of ‘em interstellars passin’ by for years. Even the company stopped sendin’ us extra fusion fuel shipments for the laser, so even the laser’s useless for vaporizin’ debris. Kinda ironic, don’t ya think? ‘Cause we call this spinnin’ bucket the ‘The Golden Sunbeam’, yet the sunbeam’s never gettin’ any use,”
“Yeah, it's pretty disappointing,” Fejka agreed. “But hey, speaking of upgrades, when are you going to get around to it? We might as well make the most of our time here,”
“Upgrade? Um, yuck, no thanks! I’d like to keep me arms and guts until the Iron Star era, thank you. Kinda a waste of perfectly good limbs eh? There’s a reason why I’m in this bucket and not back in Sol!” Xyvan replied in disgust, sticking his tongue out for comical effect.
Xyvan continued, “Heck, ain’t those robo-eyes of yers only good for watching movies and shows all day. Ya sure ye ain’t a VR-addicted slacker yerself?”
Fejka laughed. “Well, you got me there. Though, I still look at the console every so often, so at least it’s considered as ‘working’. Anyway, have you heard that some guy on Epsilon Eridani apparently discovered a ‘cut and paste’ version of mind uploading, instead of simply creating a digital clone?”
“Yer considerin’ to do that?”
“Nah, it’s not worth the risk,” Fejka said with a shrug. “For all we know, it actually kills the user’s original consciousness in the process and replaces it with a digital imposter, with all the memories of the original, thinking that it is the original,”
Xyvan nodded in agreement “Yeah. To an outsider, it ain’t really makin’ a difference, but to the original…Well, it’s safe to say that the original is no longer with us,”
As they continued their conversation, the alarm on Xyvan's station suddenly blared, and red lights filled the room. Both of them jumped up from their seats and rushed over to the screen.
“Ughh…what is it now? Better not be some delivery freighter accidentally shining their thrusters directly at us again” Fejka murmured in annoyance.
“Huh? That's weird. There ain't supposed to be anyone passin’ round these parts—but looksy, a few dozen drive plumes just happened to appear out of nowhere,” Xyvan said, pointing to the infrared view of several blobs on the screen.
“They're decelerating hard too, 7Gs,” Fejka pointed out.
“Ain't that supposed to be rather soft for ya, Fejka? Anyhoo, why are they usin’ their thrusters to decelerate from that velocity, when the system already has lasers to do that for 'em?”
“I only got my limbs and eyes replaced!—Really wouldn't wanna be inside those ships for long. Back to the point, well, they DID seem to want to hide in the first place. Also, their current trajectory puts them on a relatively close fly-by,”
*Captain of 7G-S, Vong Zan’ir*
“Oh come on, why now‽ Why the fuck can’t it happen later!” Vong Zan’ir grumbled irritably, disturbed from his sleep by blaring sirens to a crimson-lit room.
“Hell, I should replace these shitty alarms with some Zen meditation chants,” Zan’ir snarled under his breath as he was putting on his clothing while cursing up a storm, the remaining remnants of sleep washing away as he injected himself with an anti-fatigue stimulant. Since he was a baseline human like the rest of the crew on The Golden Sunbeam, he was still entitled to some damn sleep.
Being the captain of The Golden Sunbeam, his living quarters were right next to the control center, should he be needed on short notice. Zan’ir dragged himself to the control center next door and entered.
“Captain Vong on deck!”, an officer announced.
Everyone in the room stood up and bowed.
“Damnit! What in the hell is happening‽” Zan’ir asked, to no one in particular.
“Cap’n, I think somebody just solved stealth in space,” Officer Xyvan Karvyk answered.
“Holy shit, really? That’s just what we needed today,” Zan’ir replied, rolling his eyes. He strode towards the sensors and navigation stations, and looked at the displays.
“Wha—what the absolute fuck is this?”
Displayed on the screen were the current positions of the ships and their calculated future trajectories. Each ship staggered from each other at varying distances, with some having a separation as far as a few light-seconds.
Zan'ir opened a telescopic view of the nearest spacecraft, located a few light-hours away. A new window on the screen appeared, depicting a view of the nearest spacecraft, displaying an infrared image of it. The drive plume appeared as an extremely bright steep cone, shaded in various hues of yellowish-white, indicating its intense heat. The actual spacecraft was a barely visible dot on top of the long exhaust stretching thousands of kilometers. Zan'ir couldn't help but notice that it resembled a pencil tip, reminiscent of the days when people used to write manually on paper.
Zan’ir further increased the magnification to reveal more details. The ship itself looked like a long needle, except for what seemed to be numerous glowing patches and a pair of huge glowing wings sticking out of its smooth surface. “Radiators”, Zan’ir said out loud. “Looks like they can’t wish away the laws of thermodynamics after all, even though they could somehow manage to sneak past the sensors from whatever place they come from, hmm?” Officer Fejka Azmah commented.
“What in the flaming hell is this crap? Are these jokers lost on their way to a fucking picnic‽ Nobody’s due to drop by for years!”, Zan'ir asked, spit flying everywhere, bewildered at the sight.
“Dunno, cap’n, all we were just here doin’ our thing then suddenly all of these ships appeared in the infrared. What’s funnier is that the LIDAR can’t even detect them on all of the frequencies, even though their RCS should’ve been visible to us at that range and beyond. Though if we used the main laser, we’d see them better,” Xyvan replied.
“Well, since they’ve revealed themselves, they can’t do the same trick they used to hide again,” Fejka mused.
Xyvan nodded in agreement. “Yup, it's the old ‘There ain’t no stealth in space’ problem. Even if they shut off their heat-producin' activities, we already know their velocity, so it's easy enough to extrapolate their current location. Changing direction would require another burn, and that's gonna produce heat, so they're screwed,”
“Well, the fact that they showed up suddenly without a trajectory plan being sent means this is already solid ground for us to blow them up—”
“Captain! We’ve got a message from DC-23-G!”, shouted Communications Officer Kallax Eket.
“DC? Oh, right, Dense Cloud Inc.—the uploaded minds,” Zan’ir sneered, rolling his eyes. “Oh joy. Our robotic overlords have graced us with their presence. What do they want?”
“Seems like they just sent the bogeys a message—it’s gonna take a while to arrive and any replies would similarly take a while to come back due to light lag, anyway, they asked the ‘stealth’ ships what they are doing, and what their purpose is—so, we don’t really need to do anything, for now. Also, they told us to extrapolate the direction they came from?”
Zan’ir groaned. “What a bunch of smug pricks. They don't trust us baselines to make the right decisions, so they send us a message to tell us to find out what the hell these jackasses are doing,” Zan'ir scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Yeah…the recipients’ list shows that the message is addressed to nearby baseline-human controlled ships and stations,” Kallax said.
"Typical. Bet they're just tickled pink that they get to sit back and watch us scramble to solve this mess," Zan’ir sighed. “Anyway, let’s backtrack their origins,”
“Already did it. Captain, but you probably need to wait a while, the computer’s crunching trying to account for thousands of years of stellar drift, because as of now, it basically traces to the void,” Fejka replied.
“Ah, the joys of interstellar travel. It's like waiting for a snail to crawl across the desert, only slower,” Zan'ir grumbled.
After several dozen seconds of loading, it was ready. Zan’ir took a look at the display and traced the stealth fleet’s velocity line from their current location to their origin. “Wait, that can’t be right…” Zan’ir took a look at the display again. It didn’t change. The label on top of the star system showed “V Puppis”.
“V Puppis? That’s hundreds of light-years away! A round trip to and from there at their velocity would literally take a longer time than we had spaceflight—” Zan’ir eyes widened as he began to put the pieces together.
“Aww…they noticed this first though we’re the nearest and the first to see this?” Xyvan said, finally breaking the silence. “Y’know, due to light lag, those DC guys are what, a light minute further away from the stealth bogeys?”
“Well, that’s the silicon shitheads for you. Fuckers could just hog like a few hundred times more of the electricity and suddenly time slows down a shit ton for them,” Zan’ir said.
“I guess it turns out aliens actually exist, eh?” Fejka commented.
“Yeah, aliens exist, and they're about as subtle as a ferret down your pants. Looks like it's gonna be a fun ride from here on out, folks. Space is too fucking big,"
“What’s a ferret?” Fejka asked, confused.
“Have you been to a zoo bef—actually never mind, you are from Mars,” Sensing that Fejka was about to tell him about her past visits to O’neill cylinder habitat preserves around Mars, Zan’ir quickly changed the topic.
“Egghead!” Zan’ir called out to The Golden Sunbeam’s resident Science Officer, Saikor Qorvan, who somehow managed to sleep through the commotion earlier on. Though Slumber Officer is probably a more accurate description. Nowadays, with nothing to do, and no exploration and research being done, he simply sleeps in the office. Zan’ir, seeing that Saikor has not awoken from his deep sleep, sauntered over to Saikor’s station opposite Xyvan’s and Fejka’s, smirking as he took in the sight of the science officer snoring away.
“Wakey wakey, Egghead,” he drawled, shaking Saikor’s shoulder until the man groggily opened his eyes.
“Wha—what happened,” Saikor asked groggily, barely awake, the last remnants of sleep still holding his eyes shut.
“Wow, you sure are working hard. Someday you might actually get a promotion!” Zan’ir said sarcastically, clapping his hand on Saikor’s shoulder.
“Yeah, someday, millions of years later,” Zan'ir replied, with a wry smile on his face.
Zan’ir didn’t have time for pity parties. He had more pressing concerns. “Anyway, any guesses on what the cloudbrains mean by ‘sending the bogies a message’? I assume they mean first contact protocols or some other shit. How are they gonna expect little green men from outer space to even understand our message protocols and reply back?”
“Uhh…” Saikor paused, thinking for a while to fully infer the situation. “Oh, first contact protocols! I studied that at university! Hmm, I think first you start with integers like 1, 2, 3, and so on, then universal constants, like Pi or prime numbers, or whatever. Something they can easily distinguish from natural nois—”
“Ah, yes, because that's exactly what aliens are looking for when they encounter an unknown civilization. A lesson in mathematics. Brilliant,” Zan'ir interrupted, shaking his head.
Saikor frowned. “You just told me to explain—”
“Yeah, I told you to explain, not to put me back to sleep! Try concision, Mr. Qorvan!”
“Umm…Start with a radio message by defining natural numbers and then universal constants. And throw in some radio trickery to display an image, if they analyzed the message correctly, so on and so forth until you can finally set up a basic language both parties can understand,”
Saikor, still confused about the whole ordeal, scratched his bald head. “So uh…what’s all this about with aliens and first contact?”
Zan’ir turned to Xyvan, who had been listening in on their conversation. “Tell him, Xyvan. Our poor Saikor here seemed to be sleeping in class and can’t seem to remember the lecture now,”
After a few minutes of Xyvan retelling the events in his slow drawl typical of those who grew up in the then-developing West Asian arcology on Earth back in the 22nd century, Saikor finally got the gist of it. “V Puppis? That system contains a binary pair orbiting a black hole, if I so remember correctly. Well, my guess is they’re dumping their waste heat into the black hole, so that explains the lack of infrared waste heat coming from there. Though that doesn’t really explain the lack of radio waves and other…”
As Saikor continued droning on, Xyvan, who was not listening and instead was going through the infrared images of the stealth ships, noticed something strange. “Hey cap’n, this seems weird,” Xyvan squinted at the display and replayed the stored footage of the stealthcraft for each of them.
Saikor stopped his droning and went over to Xyvan’s station, and so did Zan’ir, thankful that Saikor finally stopped talking.
“Huh. Right before the ships started their deceleration burn, there seemed to be a short heat spike happenin’...”
Saikor suggested, “Maybe they’re restarting the reactors?”
Xyvan shook his head. “Nay, the heat blobs appeared kilometers out from the ships, so it ain’t the ships themselves,”
“Captain!” Kallax called out suddenly. “This just in from DC-23-G again! This time it’s a general alert to watch for relativistic kinetic kill vehicles,”
Zan’ir snorted. “What? RKKVs? Wow, the first thing alien bastards do when they meet us is to shoot. How diplomatic of them,”
Kallax pressed a few buttons and then on the screen in front of Zan’ir a few hundred new velocity lines appeared. “I’ve just sent over the attached trajectories they’ve given out,” Kallax explained.
Suddenly, an alarm rang out. On the screen, hundreds of the kill vehicles changed their directions, as well as new velocity lines appeared.
“They’re course correcting! From the looks of it, sixteen of them will probably hit us!” Saikor exclaimed, a hint of panic evident in his voice.
“No shit, Einstein,” Zan’ir said. “Anything useful for the kill vehicles though?”
“They’re all stealth-coated cap’n. Can’t check the hull materials, though we can assume stuff based on their drive plumes…uhh—” Xyvan said, his characteristic slow drawl being replaced by a more urgent tone.
“From their exhaust velocity and acceleration, the computer thinks they all mass ‘round 350 kilos each…so if any of those hit somebody, at 18.75% c, half-em-vee squared, no relativistic calcs—” Xyvan paused to think. “—it‘d be an excruciatin’ 130 megaton-TNT’s worth of energy. Let’s just say it’d be a very bad day for those unfortunate enough to be in front of these things,” he said grimly.
Zan’ir could feel a headache forming in the deep recesses of his head.
I hate people who throw rocks, he thought.
Hello there, I hope you all enjoyed reading all that.
Feedback would be much appreciated ;)
BTW, do note that this is actually a chapter for a story idea I had originally, but along the way, I thought of another plan, which is something like this story, but modified such that the antagonists are your Soft-Scifi folks you normally see in space opera (so essentially, a Hard Sci-Fi vs Soft-Scifi story instead of purely HSF vs HSF as in the above chapter)
I honestly don't really plan to continue this story and instead go on to the newer idea, but if more people wanted, I might consider going on this route instead.
So yeah, I posted this because I wanted feedback on how I could improve the writing style, things to avoid, what I did great, etc, so that I could implement it in the other route. Also, damn, writing characters are a bit difficult, so I'd like some advice there too.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed writing this. Thank you, and have a great day! ```
submitted by wow_i_exist
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.03.29 23:55 JangB 益 What I HATE about Diablo IV Beta
Diablo 4 is Great!
I am about to tear into it, so if you are on the hype train, and don't want to fall off, I suggest you stop reading now. The game is good and if you are enjoying the hype, I suggest not reading this thread. Just turn back now.
If you are a Dev... just wear a helmet and you are good to go.
TLDR if you don't want to read the whole thing, here is the issue I have with the game - Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate are all delicious flavours of ice-cream. Some are missing here.
Table of Contents
- Nailed Horror
- Impaled for 7 Years
- Meaningless Death
- Skills like Pile On
- Legendary Buttcrack
- Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate
Alright now let's get into it.
1. Nailed Horror
As always we gotta start off with the positives, to let the Devs know all the things and all the work we appreciate.
Visuals 9/10 Story-Telling 10/10 Atmosphere 10/10 Sounds 10/10 Seriously impressed with the visuals here. The story-telling is... 10/10 Horror. The atmosphere is there. The ambient sounds are as great as I remember them in D3. The sound effects are punchy and BANG on! D3 nailed the sounds and so does D4.
Everyone and their mom has made a video about these. I have prasied them in my previous threads e.g. https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/d3/t/%E7%9B%8A-what-i-hate-about-diablo-iv-gameplay/27541
. So I am not going to go in much detail.
I think the game is worth buying just for these four.
I think the campaign is going to be awesome and I am looking foward to it. I am looking forward to clicking on all the characters and hearing their dialogue and learning about their story and lore of this universe. I spent hours in the beta, literally doing that.
And these are things I have never even cared about in D2 and D3. But in Diablo 4, they are on another level! Diablo 4 is making me care about it.
Anyway let's get into the juicy stuff now.
2. Impaled for 7 Years Difficulty
Hot take - I liked how difficult the game was as a Melee class. I played with a pure Werebear build and enjoyed the difficulty a lot. This might be an unpopular opinion but... this is how the Veteran difficulty should be for ALL classes.
At one point I encountered a boss that was too difficult. I died to it three times. I decided to get Wolves to take the pressure off me a little bit...
I ruined it.
I straight up ruined it.
All the boss did was attack my unkillable wolf pair. By the time he killed one the other would respawn. The fight went from - 10/10 Dark Souls would play again - to - Checkers with my nephew.
I felt so bad afterwards, that I had completely ruined this otherwise challenging boss fight for myself.
There are these guys that just impale you and just stun for 7 years. They stun you and as you are standing there impaled on their sword, you get hit by all other monsters. During this time, you are unable to do anything. Then there are guys who knock you down and you just lie on the floor thinking "This is my life now".
Devs, early on you said you did not like when small monsters did micro-stuns on the player. I argued back that micro-stuns along with chip damage is better for player experience and that long stuns and burst damage are frustrating - https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/d3/t/%E7%9B%8A-what-i-hate-about-diablo-iv-gameplay/27541
(see: Letter to Joe Shely)
In Diablo 4 we have this exact problem of long stuns and burst damage.
If you want to do stuns correctly, study Fighting Games. The Fighting game genre is the master of how to do stuns correctly (and how to mess up really badly also). The whole genre is based on stun mechanic and seeing how long you can chain your stun... otherwise known as a Combo.
Monsters need to be behave like a fighting game character. Where they combo you. But the combo should not be long. It should be a short combo, then release. Then short combo, then release.
I would say if the player gets stunned and thereafter is able to get hit by more than 3 attacks by surrounding monsters, your stun is probably too long.
The monsters always scale up with you, so they feel difficult but... at no point do you feel you have overcome them. This is an issue in the game. I much prefer the Inferno difficulty in Original D3... yea remember those impossible to kill elites? It felt just right.
D3's Hell difficulty did not drop the gear required to help you in Inferno so Inferno felt terrible when you first enetered. But as a fixed difficulty, where you try to gear up to overcome impossible odds and eventually overcame them, Inferno was perfect! I enjoyed it for that reason.
3. Meaningless Death
The biggest issue with Diablo 4's difficulty is this -
It never never scares you.
Diablo 4 has went back to the its Horror roots with the visuals and story-telling... but... in the game, dying has no consequence. It does not feel scary at all.
In fact, I was try-harding so much that the first time I was about to die to a boss, I actually was scared to die. But then I died... and nothing happened. I spawned right next to the boss room. I lost nothing. I felt nothing. I eventually learned that dying is meaningless.
The game drilled it into me that dying doesn't matter.
This is not good for a Horror game. A Horror game should not be teaching the player that death is meaningless.
Dying should have some serious consequences. Somewhere between what we have now, where there are no conseuquences, and hardcore mode, where you lose your character. Somewhere between that, where death actually means something and is more than an mere inconvenience.
I think D2 was in that middle-ground where you dropped all the items, and you had to run back through dangerous territory wearing nothing but your underpants. There, death felt like it had consequences. But that's not going to work for Diablo 4 as areas are always renewing and repopulating. Or maybe it might work. I don't know. Devs need to test it or they need to come up with something else.
I also liked Runescape's Wilderness, which not only gave your death dire consequences, i.e. losing all your equipped and carried items, but the consequences were so dire, that the wilderness legimately felt scary to be in. The wilderness had the most precious mines, dungeons and other loot, but it was an area with the most powerful monsters, and where other players could fight and kill you, at any moment without warning! It was truly a terrifying place.
I think Diablo 4 needs to have more consequences attached to player death. And Diablo 4 needs to have areas like the Wilderness in Runescape, where valuable items drop but where death means you lose all your gear. You risk everything for the best drops. That is what Horror is about.
The OG D3 Inferno area would be perfect as well!
So that was the Good (Visuals, Atmosphere, Story-Telling, Sounds), and the Bad (long stuns, lack of Difficult areas, lack of meaningful consequences when you die)...
Now let's talk about the Ugly!
4. Skills like Pile On Where is the skill tree? Why are there so few skills?
- many people are asking this question.
You know what? There are 30 levels and you unlock about the same amount of skills as you did in D2 and D3. It's fine.
But man D3 had sooo many runes! Now many runes felt similar but you also had crazy runes like the Giant Toad, which transformed your smaller explosive toads into a big one that swallowed enemies. Smaller spiders into a Giant walking spider that did damage over time.
D3's Zombie wall rune that had these Zombies run up and stack up on one another only to collapse down on enemies. This skill was awesome because it had a long wind-up (the Zombie's stacking up) and big damage (when they crashed down). It was called Pile On and it was all about timing their crash.
D3 also had a rune that made your Zombie Charger summon Zombie Bears! Zombie Bears is 10/10 skill design, one of the best skills I have seen in an arpg. Its visuals were good but the way it played and the ways you could move and stack the Bear rows... the skill changed with how you positioned yourself... brilliant!
Pile On and Zombie Bears is how you design your big damage skills, and D3 Skills Runes is how to you diversify your skills. I don't know why D4 didn't do this.
Let's look at an example of where this would be useful -
Diablo 4 Druid - Enhanced Pulverize
Your next Pulverize will Overpower every 10 seconds while you remain Healthy.
I enjoyed using the Druid's Pulverize, I really did.
But I couldn't help myself constantly counting the seconds on the UI, looking away from monsters and waiting for it to say 10, instead of looking at monsters and timing the skill like Pile On.
The type of design that makes you stare at UI, while being in active combat, totally ruins the skill... it's just gross. You never want the player to stare at UI elements instead of active combat.
(And there was a passive where every 25 seconds you remained in Werebear form your next attack dealt Overpower... same issue. You are making us stare at UI elements instead of focusing on moment to moment Combat.)
And that Healthy requirement was sooo bad to play with. You'd get hit by a monster and instantly lose your build-up 10s.
Devs! There is already 1 condition of having the resource required. Then there is another of building up to 10 seconds. Then you add another condition of being Healthy!
This is mental!
Devs I like the idea behind it but please look at how Pile On plays in D3.
Druid's Pulverize changed to have Wind-up -
Hold the button () to do a Pulverize that will Overpower.
If the player taps the button, it just does a regular Pulverize. If the Player presses and holds the button then they trigger Enhanced Pulverize. The Bear lifts his claws, there is a build up, then he smashes after 0.4 seconds dealing Pulverize with Overpower.
So it's turns Pulverize into something like Pile On, into an attack with a wind-up (with a lot of start-up frames as we would say in fighting games).
And if you want you can keep both -
Active - Hold the button () to do a Pulverize that will Overpower.
Passive - Your next Pulverize will Overpower every 10 seconds while you remain Healthy.
In D2 the Hurricane had an interesting Donut-shaped hitbox where monsters that were too close or too far didn't take damage. In Diablo 4, it's just a small area around you like the D3 Monk's Sweeping Wind. That's not Hurricane!
I don't care about having more skills, it's things like this that need to be improved with Diablo 4's skill system. The skills need to be interesting and well designed.
5. Legendary Buttcrack
I could also go on about the Necromancer's Neon Numbskulls, and the Same 5 Laptop Dungeon Mechanics, and the Generic UI, etc etc. Yea they are all ugly as pretty much everyone has stated. But in an arpg it all comes down to... Itemization
and bloody Petals, Devs really dropped the ball here on this one.
Where are the wide variety of Item Flavours the Devs showed us? https://news.blizzard.com/en-us/diablo4/23583664/diablo-iv-quarterly-update-december-2020#ItemQualities https://imgur.com/6nmq1qD
The whole item game seems to be to funnel every player into using Legendary items. I asked around what Sacred and Ancestral items were, they are the same Legendaries, just higher stats. The Devs showed us some Uniques... what's the difference? They are just more Legendary items. "Hello? Rare items are actually worth picking up you know? Just tack on a Legendary affix. Boom it's a Legendary."
Yea that's the problem, it's all Legendary. Everything is a Legendary just tack on Legendary affixes to it and you have T H E ... L E G E N D A R Y ... I T E M ... O F ... T H E.. G O D S.
You know what? Your buttcrack is Legendary but your wife probably doesn't want to see it all the time. But maybe she is in to that or maybe it's...
The whole loot hunt seems to be find Legendary items. Then find better Legendary items. Then find better Legendary items. Then find better Legendary items... Someone called it D3's Set Items with extra steps.
It's as if it's Christmas and Santa is hell bent on feeding you Chocolate cake and more chocolate cake and more chocolate cake and blood petals... wait where was I?
Iosef - We need to find the key to open this gate...
Oh yeah, Itemization.
Where are the specialist, buff your strengths or weakness, but not both, but to an insane degree, Blue items?
Where are the standard, buff both your strengths and weaknesses (without a Legendary affix), Rare items?
Where are the creative, craft your own spicy, delicious and hallucinatory hot stew... I mean... White items?
They are there in the game. They just do not compete with Legendary items. They cannot compete with Legendary items because the Devs have gone out of there way to make Legendary items the only items worth wearing. Hell, they have gone out of their way to help you make other items into Legendary items.
If other Item Flavours cannot compete with Legendary items without being Legendary items then they cannot offer their unique Item Flavour in the end game.
See Legendary items are great because they change how your skills function. They do wacky sh*t. But I don't always want to change how my skills function. Sometimes I just want to buff a skill, sometimes I like the original skill. What do I wear then?
Where are the item flavours that just buff my skills without changing how they function?
Where are the Item Flavours that allow me to choose the Way in which I buff my skills?
The Devs have completely forgotten the other Item Flavours, and the purposes they serve.
And in the case of Rare items, they have betrayed their original purpose.
No Magics, no Rares, no normal Affixes can compete with 50%, 100%, 300%, 500%, etc bonuses of Legendary affixes. You think "no way those numbers are real."
Let me tell you, there are items with affixes like "additional 250% damage to Pulverize", for example. https://imgur.com/AbVuKtM
Let's go with 50% damage... seems reasonable right?
How much damage did your +1 to skill add to your skill?
It was minuscule.
Now consider that one Legendary makes it do 50% more!
Tell me how is + to skills supposed to compete with this? How is a normal affix supposed to compete with these legendary modifiers?
So everyone is forced onto Legendaries. Want to use a skill in the endgame? There is a Legendary for that, and if you don't use that Legendary you have garbage damage, and progression is non-existent for you.
- If you are min-maxer and you are hyper-focused on meticulously crafting your build and tweaking and tuning it with all these knobs and levers. Hey hey hey, stop. You can't do that in our game. Just use this Legendary and this and this... to deal 1000% more damage. Just take your Legendaries and be happy.
- If you are casual player and you don't want to mix-max anything. You are the type of play a fantasy role you have in mind. You want to use Wolves as a Druid, because ever since you were a kid you liked Wolves. You were fascinated by how they looked and how they ran and attacked. And you wana see your Wolves shred enemies. Well you can't because outside of these Legendaries that make your wolves into Werewolves, there is nothing for you. You want to see Wolves shred enemies? Go watch the Discovery channel.
- If you are just someone playing the game, and you don't care about fantasy or min-maxing, and you just want to make a build or use a skill. Nope can't unless you have this particular Legendary item. "Hey we have all these Blue and Yellow items in the game. Let me make a cool build with that. Let me use my skills. Let me progress my character by collecting these items." No. Stop it. How dare you do that in our game?
Not only are other item flavours terrible when compared to Legendary items, your class's Normal skills also feel garbage in comparison to Legendary boosted skills. Because Legendary affix buffs it so much that it feels useless without the Legendary affix.
The item that adds 250% damage to Pulverize... ask yourself this - What are the underlying issues in the game that caused a Dev to buff this %damage so much?
There's an item that makes Druid's Minions do 300% Damage... ask - Why are the minions so bad in the first place that they need this big buff from an item?
We went from having forced into Sets to point where people started hating on Sets.. to the point where Devs said "Hey we are not going to have Set items in Diablo 4"
... to having Legendaries shoved down our throat.
It shuts down creativity.
No matter the type of item, if you force it, it will shut down player expression.
Look, Sets have their place and belong in Diablo and Legendaries have a place in Diablo. But Rares, Magics, White, Crafted, etc, any new Item Flavours you can think of, also have a place in Diablo. They have a role they can fill, which Legendaries cannot.
So... How about having good functional skills that don't require 300% damage buff from a Legendary affix?
How about dropping fewer but quality items, making each item flavour (White, Magic, Rare, Legendary, Unique) more meaningful to the player, with each offering something different from the other, in the endgame gearing?
How about naming your items in a way that is more descriptive than "sword" so that the player can decide whether they need that particular type of sword or not, just by glancing at an unidentified item on the ground?
6. Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate
Let's clear up somethings first.
Character Building is how you advance your stats and skills. In other games, there are certain Specializations. In D4 for example, the Barb has skills, weapon masteries and paragon board.
These things are Character Building.
Finding Legendaries (and Uniques) that change your skills and have so much damage and mitigation attached that they become mandatory, is the exact opposite of character building. It undermines Character Building, and makes it pointless, since you are forced into wearing the Legendary item for a skill if you want to get any use out of that skill. Or you end up feeling forced into the taking the skills for which you found this OP Legendary items. https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/d3/t/what-i-hate-about-diablo-iv-skill-system-a-case-for-character-building/5584
Collecting items and crafting them, this is gearing. This is Itemization.
Having different types of Items that you are hunting for in the end game. This is Item Flavour.
Not to transform them into all Legendary with aspects but to use their particular flavour to your advantage.
When your Legendary affixes are so strong that every other other item becomes useless, until you make it into a Legendary, then this undermines Item Flavours.
What is the difference between Legendaries and Uniques? How are these two different Item Flavours? https://news.blizzard.com/en-us/diablo4/23583664/diablo-iv-quarterly-update-december-2020#Uniques https://imgur.com/EImdFgo
Is it just me or these Unique affixes look identical to any Legendary affix in the game?
----------------------------------- The Role of Different Item Flavours Magic Item
- rolls fewer affixes
- can roll higher affix rolls than other items
This allows the player to buff specific things to the max at the cost of losing other crucial affixes. It allows you to buff your strengths even more as your weaknesses become even weaker. Or the opposite. Whatever you choose to do with it, is up to you. Rare Item
- rolls extra number of affixes
This is your standard item, that gives you a lot of stats, and you can use these to even out your character. To buff many areas and cover your weaknesses. Whatever affixes you decide to get on it is up to you.
If you have played the old Runescape, there used to be two styles of character. The Pures and the Standard. The Pure style was all about levelling 1 skill to the max, and not touching the other skill at all. Whereas the Standard would be levelling all their skills. The Pures had the benefit of having that really high skill at a lower level, at the detriment of, usually, defensive capibility.
This is kind of what Magic (Strawberry) and Rare (Vanilla) items can do in Diablo 4. These are the roles that they can fulfill in the endgame.
Now, both of these Item Flavours buff your skills. They do not undermine your skills or your character building. They just make them stronger.
Then there is a third Item Flavour which throws a wrench in the gears and shifts them in wacky ways. It throws your skills in completely different directions. Epic Item
- rolls fewer affixes
- rolls a unique affix that transforms a skill
Epic Item (Chocolate) is like Legendary but not mandatory. It does not roll an affix that buffs a skill beyond what a Magic and Rare can, ie no 50%+ damage modifiers like what Diablo 4 is currently doing.
Epic Item transforms skills. This is something that D3's skill rune system did well. In D3 the WD could summon little toads that moved forward and exploded on enemies. But the WD had a rune that instead of summoning 3 little toads, he summoned a big one that swallowed enemies for a duration. This big toad was not a better choice than little toads. It was a not a worse choice than little toads. It was a different choice. One that you could opt for. It was not mandatory.
That Giant Toad item doesn't make your little toad build obsolete because it's not more or less powerful, so it gives you an option to play a different playstyle, if you wish.
This type of Item Flavour only works if it can pull that off. If it is too strong, it will undermine your character building. It will undermine your other skills and item flavours. If it is too weak, then no one will use it, which is not good either.
These type of Item Flavours are avenues for player expression and creativity. They do not invalidate your pre-existing Character Build.
Now that such a system is in place. The player is chasing items from a bigger pool of different Item Flavours. You have different types and different variety of items that you chase in the endgame, depending on what you are going for. Instead of being handed a Dev-approved Legendary, you have choice in how you build your character. This makes the endgame more interesting.
The Devs already showed us something like this and promised to give us a variety of Item Flavours back in 2020 - https://news.blizzard.com/en-us/diablo4/23583664/diablo-iv-quarterly-update-december-2020#ItemQualities https://imgur.com/ueIiwt7
But even in their image, you can see that there is no way a normal affix is going to compete with that 46% additional damage. The first two item flavour are not competing at all with the third.
This is just terrible design in my view and it needs to change.
But what I am seeing is the Devs have invested all their cards into Legendary items. I like there is an item in the game that as has cool game-changing effects. I just wish that it wasn't the only way to gear my character.
I don't know if this can be changed at this point. But here are somethings they can do to bring back the Item Flavours.
Here's a list of my proposed solutions for the Devs - 1. Legendary Affixes
Nerf the modifiers on Legendary Affixes. Smash 'em with the Hammer of the Ancients with 100% crit chance.
- Bring the Legendary Affixes back down to earth and make them similar in power level to Normal Affixes like + to Skill.
- Make it so that Legendary affixes ONLY change functionality. Remember the example of little frogs that deal damage vs giant toad that swallows.
- Make them Optional, that's the key.
----------------------------------- 2. Rare Items
So there is a huge system in the game for collecting Legendary powers and converting your Rares into Legendaries.
I say leave it in. There is value in having such a system.
Introduce a new item type. Let's call it Mystic Item.
- Mystic Item fulfills the original role of Rare items.
- Mystic Items roll many affixes, more than Rares and Legendary items.
- Make it so Mystic Items can never be implanted with a Legendary affix.
- Make it so Mystics items can compete with the best Rare-Legendary items.
----------------------------------- 3. Magic Items
Buff the affix roles on Magic Items. Allow them to roll higher base stats like Weapon Damage and Armour, higher item-specific affixes like Overpower Damage, and higher rolls on other regular affixes e.g. 20% damage to Crowd Controlled enemies. Again -
- Allow them to compete with your best Legendary items.
- Make it so Magic Items can never be implanted with a Legendary affix.
Remember the downside with Magic items is that they roll fewer affixes than Rare, Legendary and Mystic. They are Specialist Items for people looking to strongly buff specific things.
----------------------------------- 4. Unique items
Currently Unique items are not really offering anything different from Legendary affixes, which is tragic. But if Unique items offered new skills to the Classes, that would be perfect. Like in D2 Assassin getting Whirlwind skill from Chaos Runeword or the Barbarian getting Werewolf skill from Wolfhowl.
You don't have to give classes any skills from other classes if you are not comfortable with that. But what you can do is design new skills, and put these on your Unique items. Maybe take some D2 and D3 favourites and bring them back like Summon Bear or Armageddon or Zombie Bears!
Rework your Unique Items. Take the bland ones, and make those into Legendary affixes. Design new skills for them.
I mean Legendary items when they are good, already offer, what are essentially, new skills. So your Unique Items have to be really out of the world. You really have to knock them out of park for them to be something different from Legendary items.
- Either capitalize on the nostalgia of previous games or
- Give them skills from other clases or
- Do something with them that the players just never expect you to do on an item
Otherwise, there is no point in having Uniques, there's plenty of Legendary items filling that role.
----------------------------------- 5. Normal Items/ White Items
With these items, you'd have to create interesting Doodads, like Gems (fixed affixes, which you currently have in-game), Jewels (randomized affixes), Runes (that link into Runewords)... as these items are meant to be the base items for crafting.
- Increase the number of Sockets they can roll like 1-8 sockets.
- Allow players to stack a whole bunch of doodads in these items to create any kind of item they want
In Diablo 4 early development, Runes worked like player-created If-Then statements. E.g. Rune 1 - After using Potion, you get... Rune 2 - ... 10% more Crit Chance. You'd fit the Runes together in that order to get the effect.
Pretty neat mechanic.
In these hyper-socketed White Items, allow players to fit a bunch of Gems, Jewels, and Runes to create their desired item.
Socket 1 is Gem (Amethyst) -
- 10% damage over time
Socket 2 is Jewel of the Serpent -
- +1 to Poison skills
- 30% more poison damage to slowed enemies
Socket 3 is Jewel of Infection -
- +1 to Rabies
- +2 seconds to Damage over Time duration
Socket 4 - Potion Rune
Socket 5 - Burst Rune
- After drinking a potion, your damage over time effects deal their full damage instantly
Bam! You've allowed the player to create a crafted item from a bunch of Doodads in your game that are easy to understand in themselves.
By the way... if you balance your Legendary affixes correctly to where other Item Flavours are still viable, then you can even make these Legendary Aspects into socketable Doodads to be fitted in Normal Items, allowing players to stack multiple Legendary affixes in the same item!... at the cost of regular affixes of course. But note - your regular affixes have to be good and able to compete with Legendary affixes for this to work!
You might be thinking this is too complex. This is too overwhelimg.
Here's the thing... Gems like Ruby, Sapphire, etc teach the players about Sockets, Socketed items and that whole process of socketing and unsocketing them. Have the players mess around with Gems during levelling. Save the rest of these Doodads for the endgame so that your new players won't be overwhelmed by this system.
Rather than shying away from complexity and depth in favour of dumbing everything down for new players, just create a game where you ease people into these systems slowly over time. So that they can learn about them at a comfortable pace. You are already doing that with Paragon boards unlocking at certain levels, and that's perfect!
Look, I like what Diablo 4 is doing with its MMO design. I like where Diablo 4 is going with the story and visuals. I like the vibes.
I am seeing a Druid... after 20 years! :.)
I am seeing dead people... in the quests I mean, with super sad stories, and it's perfect. It makes me want to explore the world.
I am seeing well-hung tortured souls and the attention to detail... https://i.redd.it/7w644ppm45qa1.jpg
It's not actually what it looks like but it made me do a double take when I saw it in-game.
I like all of that. I just don't like some of the systems. And I think they should be changed, especially the Itemization.
I mean we all have a severe case of blue balls for Diablo 4 at this point but I would still be willing to wait and have the Devs improve and perfect their systems before releasing. I'd rather Diablo 4 be delayed than Diablo 4 be bad.
Thanks for reading!
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2023.03.29 23:54 Excellent_Nature_366 6 Minor things I found after watching the movie 100+ times
Let me preface by saying that this in no way changes how I feel about the movie nor should it change how you feel about the movie. I'm just sharing what I have noticed after watching the movie a hundred plus times. Also, these have been forwarded to production for review since I have become friends on Instagram with someone that worked extensively on the movie 💙✨
- When Q is handed the tranquilizer gun you'll notice the strap was over his arm (between his arm and corporal Wainfleet) and in the next shot the strap is between Q's arm and his chest.
- In that same scene, moments later as he's walking towards the ikran you'll notice he puts his ponytail over his left shoulder on the front of his body and a few moments later you'll notice his ponytail is behind him(Right before he says "it's just you and me cupcake")
3. In the scene when they first jump into the water, take notice of Tsireya's right shoulder and the garment strap. It looks like it's in her skin.
4. Neteyam's death scene. Right before Q starts talking to Jake on the COM, Jake's hands are on Neytiri's head and in the next shot his hands are on Neteyam's left arm. Seems a little too quick and hands too calm for the amount of time between one shot to the next, in my opinion.
5. Also in this same scene, right after Jake says to Lo'ak "put pressure on it" notice Neteyam's choker is soaked in blood.. Moments later after Neytiri arrives, right after he says "I want to go home" 😭 no blood on his choker
6. One of the last fight scenes you'll see Jake throwing a human into recom Mansk and he falls over a big pipe but in the next shot Recom Mansk or that human or nowhere to be found
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2023.03.29 23:52 ArrEehEmm She's dead and I'm angry
When I got the news that my sister's(M) friend (T) was dead I was really sad but now I'm mostly angry.
They went to college together and became friends. My fam got to know T as she would spend time with us since her fam was in the military and away. Anyways, M&T had a falling out and went no contact a few years ago maybe around 2018/2019
In 2022, T reaches out to M because she is struggling and homeless. She had lost her job and attempted to move in with her parents, but they wanted full control over her banking accounts and time. They wanted her to join the military after college and since she didn't they held that over her head. When she lost her job and needed support they really started riding her hard.
Since she wasn't doing as they said they cut her off. Kicked her off their medical insurance, wouldn't help pay her cell phone bill, car insurance, get gas etc. They left her high and dry. My mom took her in last year.
She was still struggling but made do. My mom would try to talk to T and get her to socialize or express herself. Somedays were ok. I remember my mom said that T would lock herself in the room and just cry all day for days. If she tried to talk to her and find out more info or what she needs she'd eventually start crying.
My sister had lost her job as well and was also back home. My mom (retired) was caring for 2 kids now again. Either way the house was full again and my mom enjoyed having them around.
However T would not really talk to M either. Like I said some days were better than others. T would apply to jobs and interviews. She door-dashed to get money. My mom would give her money for gas, phone, or just because. Food was no issue as my mom always had good and liked cooking for ppl.
During the holidays, we tried to get T to come with us to our family gatherings, but she'd claim she'd have plans. We still don't know if T actually had plans.
Lots of other things happened between T and her fam. She tries to reconnect with others outside of her parents and her parents, but nothing happens. Finally, in January she says she's moving back with her parents. That's surprising. We've also heard this before and yet she came back after a few days and was upset.
This time she didn't come back. My mom and sis tried reaching out to T. No social media updates. Not answering calls/texts.
Today we find out she's dead at 24 years old. Autopsy pending. No more info. Idk what to do. My mom called me screaming. I feel like shit and my sis does too. She thinks it's her fault because what if...Yada Yada Yada. Sighs. I've cried ALOT but now I'm angry. WHAT DID THEY DO TO HER?!
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2023.03.29 23:51 Puzzleheaded_Read962 Still anxious to be open with my parents at 32
does anyone else feel almost like they did whenever they were a kid and had to tell their parents something even as an adult? My parents were semi-strict. They're extremely judgmental and closed minded, anything that's different to them or out of the norm is "weird" or they just don't get it.. I still as a 32-year-old cannot be open and honest with my parents about everything and I feel like we would be a lot closer if I could be. I KNOW we would be a lot closer.. I feel like their narrow point of view on life and also their political and religious views make them extremely intimidating to talk to as a millennial and as their daughter because I don't want to get judged and don't want to get into an argument that is literally never ending.. they could be presented straight facts and they would still go babbling on about some nonsense that they believe and and how what they believe is right. They can't help but force their ideals about politics and religion and how people should be living their lives down my throat every chance they get. I'll try to have a normal conversation with them.. If they make some out-of-pocket comment about Democrats or make racist comments, I'll ask them why they believe what they believe or why they think what they think and they just can never provide me actual logical answers that are rooted in reality, especially my mom. She makes the most racist comments all the time, for literally no apparent reason, unprovoked, she'll just start talking about somebody she sees on the street and she also makes fat comments so she fat shames people, makes comments about gay people, but mainly her target is people who aren't white and Republican always says "well that's the Democrats for you.." or "thank the Democrats" I'll be asking her what she means by that and how the Democrats are solely responsible of whatever she's accusing them of, she never has any answers. It's like she's just spewing stuff she has no idea about. She hates the way I dress. She hates my job. She hates pretty much everything I do and everything is weird except for the stuff she finds acceptable which in a lot of ways I find the way she does things.. outdated, nonsenical, and lacking compassion for others in HUGE way. My dad is generally a great man but I have some of the same issues with him.. He's a little less judgmental than my mother so I can talk to him a little bit more but I can never fully be open and honest with my family and I so very much wish I could.
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2023.03.29 23:49 AntsOnBread This girl in my school is dangerously harming herself and I’m scared of reporting her
Forgive any improper formatting I’m on my phone. I (18f) am a senior in high school and I love weed. I don’t see it as something bad as long as it’s not done constantly. I’ve gotten high at school occasionally through wax pens or edibles but I smoke bud too. Something me and my friends say a lot is “It’s not normal, but it is common”. Especially in my friend group. If you do wax or nicotine especially during school you will know almost everyone else who does it. We joke it’s an easy way to get to know each other since it’s common to be asked for a hit or asked if you have something on you, and usually out of friendliness someone would let you hit and start conversation (at least in the girls room). The problem really started a month ago when my friend “A” told me of a girl I’ll call Jane. She’s a freshman who has a habit of asking people to hit their stuff and then never returning the favor, known for being a cart killer and burning coils. Recently there’s been more people spreading rumors of her doing harder drugs which was confirmed true when she offered my friend molly. This morning though was the saddest regarding her because she is a freshman and she was passing out on the floor of a bathroom that is always locked first period until fourth, no exceptions. She had a pack of molly gummies with her, and someone happened to video it which started being shared. Our school therapist (who really isn’t good at her job) allegedly said that she knew she was “tweaking out on something harder than weed”. (Allegedly because I don’t entirely trust the source it came from but I would not put it past the therapist to be aware of and ignore it) I’m conflicted on what to do, I heard that Jane is genuinely a really sweet person and she is so young. She comes from a well off family though obviously we can never tell what really happens behind closed doors which makes me upset that the school does not help her. Everyone can see from a glance she never walks straight and is constantly tweaking out or smelling like cigarettes or bud. I’ve never shown up to school with a smell because the assistant principals pull students like that aside immediately, though they let her be the exception for some reason. The bathroom monitors specifically on the second floor talk about how students think they don’t know what goes on inside but we do, we just know they don’t care enough to actively check unless someone has been inside a particularly long time. She got into a locked bathroom and then was seen returning the keys to the janitors in their office and talking to them. Me and some of my senior friends are actively worrying for her because we know she is good just literally trapped in her addiction. We want to know what her home life is for her to have fallen that deep. I know what I have the power to do, report it to the authorities or something because the school isn’t doing anything. It’s not morally right to let her keep doing xanax, cocaine and molly at all let alone in school, but we also have never spoken a word to each other. Not my monkeys not my circus. I don’t want to accidentally make a problem for my family but this isn’t right.
Edit: I forgot to mention she has a constant habit of crying on the floor after doing drugs, which is how most people started talking about her if not for chiefing without permission
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2023.03.29 23:48 Aspasia21 [QCrit] literary fiction, MARRIED MEN, 82k words
My name is *** and I am seeking representation for my literary fiction novel, Married Men. A tragic exploration of masculinity and gender politics within marriage, it is complete at 82,000 words.
If you ask Helena, she is a normal woman in a very average marriage. Her husband, Roger, works long hours, and she stays at home with their baby and keeps the household running. If left to her own devices, Helena would constantly have her nose in a book. The joys of motherhood consistently elude her, and she relishes her literary escapes. Roger is not particularly present or supportive, but he takes care of their needs and wants. When Helena meets Ethan at a parenting group, she finds him bewildering. He stays at home with his toddler, while his wife works to support the family. Everything about Ethan is foreign. He and his wife seem to share so much, both emotionally and in terms of responsibilities. Their relationship is almost collaborative.
As Helena and Ethan become friends, Helena begins to understand there are many ways to be married and even many ways to be a father and husband. She starts to see her marriage in a new light, and it is not always complimentary. Her friends disapprove of Ethan, and her friendship with him, because it is unseemly that a married woman be that close to a man. Not to mention, Ethan is a man who chooses to be around kids all the time. This strikes her circle as particularly suspect.
When a shooting in the community hits close to home, Roger and Ethan respond very differently, and it throws her relationships into stark relief. She finally admits to herself that she is in love with Ethan and is repulsed by her husband. She can share her feelings, and risk radical change to her life, or she can stay with Roger, who is safe and provides her with all the comforts imaginable. But she cannot maintain the status quo. Average just isn’t good enough, anymore.
I have a B.A. and an M.A. in English and a PhD in communication, and I am a professor of rhetoric in ****. I am a devoted teacher, scholar, mom, and cat-owner. I have a small weekly podcast and have published numerous academic articles and a textbook, but this would be my first work of fiction. You can contact me at:
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2023.03.29 23:48 Keraiza Guide to driving the Master’s Tournament event in Augusta, GA (April 6-9, 2023)
Pretty soon drivers throughout Georgia and South Carolina should be getting quests for the Master’s Tournament. Some of y’all will be asking about whether it is worth it, and some of y’all will be asking about strategies for working the tournament, so I’ll try to cover both in this post. For reference, I have been an Uber driver in Augusta since 2017. I did two Master’s Tournaments as an X driver pre-pandemic and one Master’s Tournament as an XL driver last year (the two tournaments during the pandemic were closed to the public and were for members only). Sorry to the Uber Black drivers who are looking at this post, I don’t really have much experience to share with you about your platform, but hopefully some of this guide will still be helpful. I don’t do Eats, but they should do well here, too. Market basics:
Augusta is a rate-card market. It pays UberX $0.60/min and $0.09/mile and pays UberXL $1.45/min and $0.22/mile. Those who are coming from an upfront market (and new drivers who decide to start during The Master’s) will be accepting trips blind (unless Uber goes upfront within the next week). You have to have a SC vehicle inspection to pick up rides in North Augusta, SC, so unless you are a SC driver, or you come from a border town and did the SC vehicle inspection, you might want to avoid that side of town (near downtown, Augusta). Alternatively, if you do have a SC vehicle inspection done, this is a great location to get trips that other drivers (including most taxi drivers) cannot get. Outside of the tournament, the Augusta market only has UberX and UberXL. The platforms that I remember from last year during tournament week included UberX, UberX Diamond, Uber Comfort, UberXL, Uber Black, and Uber SUV. I know Lyft (which normally only does Lyft and LyftXL) also has Lyft Lux, but I’m not sure of their other platforms. Tournament basics:
The rideshare waiting lot for the Augusta Nationals (the name of the golf course which hosts the Master’s Tournament) is on Washington Rd about a mile East from Exit 199 of I-20. Most tickets can only be used twice for entry into the tournament. The entrance to the rideshare lot is just after the taxi lot entrance which is just after the Olive Garden restaurant if you are coming from I-20. The tournament starts at 8 am and ends when all the players are done on the course, typically around 5pm-ish. Those who attend to watch the tournament but are not members are called patrons. A lot of patrons will only come to see a particular golfer (Tiger Woods draws a lot of attention) and will leave when their golfer leaves (especially during practice rounds). Some patrons will sit at a single hole and will leave when all the players that they want to see for the day have come across that hole.
The women’s amateur tournament already began on Wed March 29, 2023, at Champion’s Retreat. The women’s tournament players get a practice day on Fri March 31 and will compete on Sat April 1 at the Augusta Nationals. Mon, Tues, and Wed April 3-5 will be the practice rounds. A lot of your middle-class fans will be here on one of these days as they will have a hard time getting tickets to the actual tournament; most of these patrons will only be here for a single day. Thu-Sun April 6-9 is the actual tournament. Most of your better-off patrons (and very lucky patrons) will be here during the actual tournament. They will often be here all four days. April 6-9 will be, by far, the busiest times of the tournament.
A lot of businesses arrange for tickets. Outside of C-suite employees, most of these tickets will be given out to customers and awarded to employees for a half-day visit (as they can be used twice) to get the most bang for the buck. This is good for UberX & UberXL drivers as a lot of these patrons who are there for half-day help fill up some of the time between the start time rush and the end of the day rush and are more likely to use Uber (or taxis) to get around.
Try to get along with the law enforcement and the workers at and around the Augusta Nationals. The Augusta Nationals has a reputation for banning and trespassing those who don’t follow their fairly stringent rules, although most of the workers there just work for the week. The Augusta Nationals have stripped members of their membership for things we might feel are small infractions; they certainly don’t care about trespassing a random Uber driver. Airports:
Augusta has two airports:
- The regional airport (AGS) will be mad crazy during tournament week, but many, many, many drivers will be hanging around the airport, including taxis, Uber Black, limos, hired drivers, shuttles for the master’s, hotel shuttles, etc. Unless you are Uber Black, I honestly don’t recommend hanging out at AGS (but do what you feel is best), although I personally would accept any requests that I got from the airport if I were outside the queue as there could be a hidden surge attached to it. AGS also closes their cellphone waiting lot to rideshare during tournament week. Be wary of picking up at AGS. There are six whole legal spots to pick up at AGS (six more spots at departures), and the Marshalls (GA’s police department responsible for airport operations at AGS) will probably take up two of them for some stupid reason. One of those six spots is also technically a shuttle pickup spot that the Marshalls may or may not be enforcing. Speaking of enforcement, the Marshalls will come out with a new policy several times a day during the tournament, so be polite, follow their immediate instructions, but don’t count on it being the same the next day. Also, the pickup spot in the app is the pedestrian crosswalk that goes between arrivals and departures (smack dab in the middle of the front of the airport). Make sure you pause for several seconds at that spot to start the cancelation timer before driving down towards the exits for arrivals. If you don’t, you have to go all the way around the airport to start the timer. Many knuckleheads will be ordering Ubers while sitting on the tarmac, so you might be collecting a few cancelation fees. A side note: you can always turn left into the rental parking lot and park along the sidewalk if necessary…this includes if you need to run into the airport to use the restroom or when there are not enough places to wait for your rider. This is about the only other place that the Marshalls will not harass you for stopping besides the designated pickup area and the cellphone waiting lot (when not closed). You technically need Uber stickers displayed to pick up at the airport, but I’ve never seen this enforced. If you want to see arrivals and departures, go to flyags.com and certainly don’t rely on the Uber app.
- At AGS, there is also an FBO (some riders will call it “Aviation Services” or “The private terminal” or “The executive terminal” or “The civil part of the airport” or something similar). Unfortunately, passenger auto-pins from here gets lumped into the general commercial pickup location. You will get mostly pilots coming from here as anyone who can charter a private plane will likely have a private ride already scheduled. You can legally pick up from the FBO (and also drop off). When you enter AGS, you’ll see a blue sign pointing to the cell phone waiting lot. Turn right into that lot and then turn left at the next street. Try to pick up under the awning, although you might have a line of grey Mercedes Sprinter vans in the way as those drivers feel they get special privilege (which they kinda’ do because the Augusta Nationals has a TON of political clout in Augusta).
- The other airport is the civil airport in the middle of the city named Daniel Field. Unlike AGS, this airport is typically underserved by Uber but is also extremely busy during the tournament. Despite there likely being a huge line of taxis there, you’ll likely get rides from here if the riders order the Uber before they see the taxis. These riders will likely leave their phone in their plane, so you might not see their blue location dot update. If you see them not have their phone with them (phones are not allowed in the tournament), let them know that there is an Uber representative that can order them a ride back on their account in the parking lot that you drop them off. (You probably won’t get their return trip, but they’ll help contribute to any surges later that you’ll benefit from.)
Last year, the quests were for $15/trip originating from the rideshare parking lot at the Augusta Nationals between 3pm and 7pm. This sounds great, but I only got a total of 7 trips during that quest time for the entire four days of the quest (and one of those trips was a “high priority” return after a very short trip). The big issues are that the tournament might end before 3pm for bad weather or might go beyond 7pm (usually because of weather delays). Also, every driver is trying to cram into the rideshare lot to get in the queue for that quest. Even if the tournament gets out during the quest hours, you will be fighting traffic out of and back into the rideshare lot. The lot seems to be designed for about 20 vehicles, but there were at least 60 vehicles crammed in most of the time last year. Drivers can also park at the Publix parking lot near the Augusta Nationals to get in the queue, but then you must crawl through traffic to get to the pickup. As a strategy, it might be worth it to jump into the Publix lot, though, to get your position in the queue to get one more quest for the night. The quest is what brings drivers to Augusta, but it isn’t really where drivers make their money…. Tips:
Stories abound in and around Augusta about $100 tips that patrons give out during their visit to the Master’s Tournament. In the three years that I drove for the tournament, I only got some of these tips one year (last year) and none the other two years, but I received four of them last year for the following reasons: (1) being a military veteran, (2) returning binoculars that were left in my vehicle, (3) going through a Chick-Fil-A drive thru, and (4) making a half-dozen stops for one rider for cigars and alcohol and ice and other items. The first two tips were easy money; the second two tips cost a lot of time during high surges (although I would have still had a hard time doing better than the $100 during that time). If you are a young lady that is easy on the eyes (not sure of a better way to put it), you will have a much easier time getting the $100 tips, but you’ll likely also face some very stereotypical frat-guy behavior from the mostly older male crowd. Most people giving out these types of tips are not taking UberX or UberXL, though. Surges:
As an upfront market, real surges are hidden, but you’ll still be able to see sticky surges. The best time for surges (aka, the times when riders exceed drivers) are in the early hours of the morning, the closing hours of the tournament, and during late night. The event starts at 8am (watch out for weather delays), but the rides easily start before 5am. There are a lot of moving parts to get the tournament started, and a lot of the rides that you’ll give as an UberX or UberXL are to those who support the tournament rather than the patrons. Parking lot attendants, traffic control, hospitality, camera crews, etc., are all heading to work. Uber shines at this time as the other modes of transportation have a hard time capturing this traffic unless prescheduled. A lot of patrons will start coming in soon after the workers to try to get the “ultimate” spot, and patrons will keep coming in for several hours. At the end of the tournament, there is no magical place to be except as close to the Augusta Nationals as possible. Patrons, workers, etc. are all streaming out of the same location. Hot Spots:
- The rideshare lot for the Augusta Nationals: obviously
- Hooter’s: I swear a third of my mid-day trips went between Hooters and the Augusta Nationals. A very short trip.
- Other common restaurants that I would sit at (most of these have other restaurants close by that will be busy, too, but not necessarily as busy): Twin Peaks, T Bonz Steakhouse (in Augusta, not so much the one in Evans), Abel Brown, Beck’s, Cork and Flame (in Evans) and Frog Hollow (and other downtown Augusta restaurants).
- Hotel Clusters: For patrons, these hotels include those on Steven’s Creek Rd (aka Claussen Rd), Gordon Highway off of Exit 3 of I-520, downtown Augusta (one of which is in North Augusta, SC), Wheeler Rd off of Exit 2 of I-520, Jimmie Dyess Pkwy off of Exit 194 of I-20, and Lewiston Rd off of Exit 190 of I-20. Workers will primarily stay at the “cheaper” hotels (which will still be relatively mad expensive) throughout the city, especially around Washington Rd, Wrightsboro Rd near the Augusta Mall, and all the old hotels that litter the rest of Gordon Highway (good locations to pick up 5-7am).
- Underserved house rental clusters:
Roads to Avoid:
- Don’t bother around Washington Rd as patrons will be primarily walking (not worth fighting the traffic for such low fares to the tournament either, imho, unless you are very, very close already).
- West Lake is a huge location for pickups. It is a gated community, but if you tell the guards you are picking up at 3556 W Lake Dr (the Club House), they should let you right through the gate. You can even type this address in your app to get directions to it (without using your precious destination filters) and have your app look like you are actually going to there for a pickup.
- There are several subdivisions near Washington Rd and William Few Pkwy in Evans, GA, that are commonly underserved.
- Whole blocks within River Island Pkwy are rented out by Mercedes Benz and other corporations and is a good source of rides.
- River North Dr in North Augusta, SC, is a great source of rides for patrons for those drivers who have submitted a completed a SC vehicle inspection to Uber.
- Otherwise, workers and patrons will be staying in housing all over the city.
- Traveling down John C. Calhoun Expy/Washington Rd between downtown Augusta and the Augusta Nationals when patrons are going to/from the tournament. If coming from downtown or traveling to downtown, take Riverwatch Pkwy (erroneously labeled River Watch Pkwy on some GPS apps). Both Greene St and Reynolds St become Riverwatch Pkwy if you travel West on them long enough. At Alexander Dr, you will turn left, and then turn left again on Washington Rd (about ½ block from the rideshare entrance). To go downtown, turn left from the rideshare parking lot (not technically allowed, but most people still do so), turn right on Alexander Dr (the next light), and then turn right on Riverwatch Pkwy.
- Berkmans Rd (which becomes Alexander Dr at Washington Rd and becomes Highland Ave at Walton Way) will be closed by the Sherriff when the tournament ends. Until then, feel free to use it although it will be congested at the start of the tournament. The best way to avoid it is a long way around which is to take Walton Way to Walton Way Ext (a right turn), turn left onto Wheeler Rd, and then turn left on Marks Church Rd, to go West onto I-520, then to go East onto I-20, then get off at Exit 200 to Riverwatch, then turn right onto Riverwatch, and then turn left onto Alexander. If you do this with a rider in the car though, they might get really upset for all the extra miles they are paying for although it is much, much faster.
- Boy Scout Rd, which is technically the alternate route for Berkmans Rd when Berkmans Rd is closed. Just about all northbound traffic heading toward the tournament (or to Hooter’s or other nearby restaurants/hotels) that do not use the expressway will be stuck on this road when Berkmans Rd is closed. If Berkmans Rd is closed, you’ll likely regret taking Boy Scout Rd. Otherwise, Berkmans Rd is almost always better.
The LE that you come across in Augusta are overworked outside of the tournament and will have had some really long
hours by the time the tournament even starts. If you do something stupid enough to warrant the LE to actually bother going after you, expect at least a ticket. Be polite to LE because their fuses are already short. If you screw up, the best thing to do is to just apologize and accept the chew out if they are yelling at you from the road. Arguing will likely get you swarmed by police in Augusta.
Some notable things to point out:
- The North Augusta Police (in SC) have a reputation for giving out tickets for minor speeding infractions (and North Augusta has some of the lowest speed limits in the market). If you cross the bridges, stay at the speed limit until you get back to GA.
- Georgia State Police (GSP) have a reputation for giving you a ticket if they pull you over, even during non-tournament weeks. Most of their cars are the telltale grey on blue, but they do have a few stealth cars in the Augusta Market (black writing on black paint).
- Speaking of stealth cars, the Richmond County sheriff also have stealth SUVs and a TON of unmarked police cars.
- Georgia Public Safety (GPS) officers come out in numbers and single out a lot of commercial vehicles during tournament week (along with GSP). Note that Ubers are technically commercial vehicles. This is especially true on Doug Bernard Pkwy (the road going to/from the regional airport) and on I-520 and I-20. Doug Bernard Pkwy is easy hunting for GSP & GPS as the road is built like a 65-mph highway but only has a 45-mph speed limit. Everyone I’ve seen pulled over were exceeding 60 (I believe), but that is all the choice of the officers.
Traveling from Other Markets:
- Other rideshare drivers: Not as bad as you would think. During the big money-making times, it won’t really matter. The market is flooded with rideshare drivers, though, which means that the surges are less common. Uber Black and UberX/XL surge separately, so there were times that Black was cheaper than X/XL according to several locals. Any stories about the Master’s Tournament driving the surges up to massive amounts all day long comes from 2016, which was the first time that Uber came to Augusta. The subsequent years have been much milder.
- Taxis: Taxi drivers come from all over GA and SC to drive during the tournament. I saw more taxis sitting at Daniel Airfield (our small civil airport in the middle of the city) during a slow time during tournament week last year than I’ve seen in all of Augusta during the rest of the year! At the Augusta Nationals, the taxi lot is next to the rideshare lot (but with a separate entrance), and patrons will have to walk past the Ubers to get to the taxis. At AGS, the taxi lot has its own beautiful exit coming out of the terminal, so the taxis often get riders before riders resort to Uber.
- Limos: Limos come from even further out. I saw limos from Myrtle Beach, Tampa, Kentucky…. LOTS of them all over the place. They are moving around the Daddy Warbucks type patrons and are getting most of those $100 bill tips. =P Limos and shuttles share a lot on Berckmans Rd.
- Hotel vans: Every decent hotel has at least a shuttle or two that they run during the tournament. Many of these hotels park their shuttles for the other 51 weeks out of the year. >.> These shuttles are not supposed to be in the rideshare lot, but some of them were last year.
- Private shuttles: A ton of companies, home-rental companies, and even the Augusta Nationals hire private drivers and use the grey Mercedes Benz Sprinter shuttles to get around. These shuttles are moving around the players, the CEOs, the big sponsor employees, etc. They are getting the rest of those $100 bill tips (many of them get a much higher single tip at the end of the tournament as a percentage of the shuttle cost).
- Public transportation: public transportation (the buses) suck in Augusta and are not really very relevant during the tournament.
One of the mistakes many drivers make is not recouping the costs of traveling from/to their market and missing the surges that result from other drivers leaving their market. I assume that a driver is not going to stay overnight in Augusta as the hotel costs are prohibitive. I also don’t recommend sleeping in your car because the local LE already have short fuses with the extra hours and the extra work brought on from patrons during the tournament (patrons routinely include heads of states and billionaires). If you are over 2 ½ hours away and don’t have a place to crash in Augusta, I wouldn’t bother.
Here is what I would do if I were in these other markets (but your reasoning or circumstances might be different):
- Aiken, SC: Technically the same metro although Augusta & Aiken drivers rarely overlap trips. I’d definitely be outside the Wilcox early to get one of the many patrons needing a ride.
- Athens: I might as well come to Augusta if I didn’t have a game going on. Still a four-hour round trip that I’d have to overcome. Brownie points if I could finagle a ride from the Thompson civil airport on the way to or from Augusta. Sadly, I know more about Atlanta than I know about Athens, but I would guess there are some (relatively) cheapskate patrons staying at hotels in Athens that would need a trip to Augusta early in morning. If so, I’d jump on that if I came across one (probably give them my number to get their return trip, too).
- Atlanta: A five-hour roundtrip is nothing to take lightly. I would only come to Augusta if I had a long-distance trip here (which many patrons will go straight from ATL or even a hotel). Atlanta does well during the tournament as a lot of drivers go to Augusta deadheading both ways, some drivers get pulled to Augusta thanks to long-distance trips, and Augusta ends up sucking up all the rental cars in the SE. A combination that is really, really good for drivers in ATL during tournament week and especially for airport drivers. If I got a long-distance trip back to ATL at any point (likely mid-day or at/near the end of the tournament), I’d take it in a heartbeat and call it a great day while finishing up in Atlanta if I had any more hours to burn.
- Columbia, SC: As I’d only be about an hour away, I’d definitely head over to Augusta. I’d also sit downtown Augusta during the few times that I would sit. I’d try to begin the day with a trip from the hotels in downtown Columbia as lots of international travelers will stay in Columbia (last year a lot of patrons from Ireland stayed in Columbia as the Augusta hotels were full, international travel to Columbia was easier, and the patrons came for a specific Irish player that qualified for the tournament fairly close to the tournament date).
- Macon: I don’t think that I would bother. Very unlikely to find trips along the way either way. To head directly to Augusta takes lots of state highways through small towns, too.
- Savannah: Even worse than coming from Atlanta. No interstates to travel up/down. I’d only do it if I got a patron staying at a hotel in Savannah (and give them my number to get their return trip, too).
- Statesboro: Quite a bit closer to Augusta than Savannah, but still traveling down state highways with little chances of getting a ride between the two metros. I would be surprised if any patrons stayed in Statesboro and ubered back and forth, but I’d accept a ride to Augusta if it came up (again giving my number to get their return trip).
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2023.03.29 23:46 Cribo-83 SIRED OF FIRE- CHAPTER 27: A DETOUR BEFORE THE MAIN MISSION
So much drama, eh. The text is practically dripping with it. Well let’s depart this soap opera and propel ourselves forward in time. How far forward do you say? Oh, all of the two years that we cut back, while propelling ourselves across the land, to a fork in the road, where we find a familiar, military parade.
“Stop the wagon!” Maggie shouts from the window of the battle wagon.
The command passes throughout the body of the force until it reaches Erica who is in charge and rides at the front. She issues the declaration which is followed without a moment's hesitation before turning her mount and cantering to the back of the column where she finds Amelia already stopped in front of the fortified, mobile structure.
Maggie opens the door and hops down as she approaches Amelia. “It’s time, my dear,” she addresses the red knight while drawing to a halt. “My home is nearby.”
The red knight nods and starts her horse toward the other path which branches off of the main road. She rides with Erica who holds her place, as leader of this expedition she must stay with the main body. The green knight watches the formation of a new column headed by her sister with the witch shambling behind, she said she needs the exercise, followed by Mary Anne and a pair of soldiers carrying the litter with the Silent Man’s body.
The road is not a long one and they soon come upon the witch's cottage, standing by as though it waits for them. The red knight dismounts her horse while Maggie leads the way into the hovel followed closely by Mary Anne with the two, litter-bearing soldiers setting their charge inside before taking up guard outside.
“Now then, on to work” Maggie says as she rubs her hands vigorously. “Amelia my dear, stand there and get ready to catch whatever I throw at you.”
The witch enters a closet that’s a complete shambles. She rummages around seemingly willy-nilly and tosses random articles towards the warrior. First, is a crumpled, dusty pile of something. The next, a strange glowing orb. After which, is a small vial fixed to a chain. Next a strange, stubby, wooden stick with holes. Followed closely by a solid gold ingot. Last, is a large vial, with a strange liquid inside.
Amelia is barely able to catch all of the strange objects as they are thrown her way, but she's just able to juggle the contents while keeping them from crashing to the floor. Luckily, she doesn't drop a single item and she's able to lay them out on the table one by one, creating a proper display for the witch to peruse.
“Now then, let's get to work,” Maggie begins as she emerges from the closet and surveys the objects on the table. “First off, here.” She hands the red knight a knife and the small vial attached to the chain. “Cut the man’s arm and collect a few drops of his blood.”
Amelia does as instructed before returning.
“Alright, listen very carefully,” Maggie speaks so as to claim the young woman’s attention. “To get to Tartarus you have to go due south from here. There, you will find a giant mountain. At which point, you will have to go alone as I have only enough to protect you, no one else. Also, you’ll have to shed your armor and weapons. They will avail you naught in the trials you‘ll have to face. You’ll have to climb the mountain, which will be difficult, but not impossible. When you make it to the top, there will be a door. You have to use all of your strength to push it open. Next, you’ll find a long, spiraling stair. This will take you to a gateway, guarded by two beasts, who only let the dead through. Wear the cloak.” She hands the young woman the folded, dusty garment.” She pours the strange liquid over it. “This formula will allow you to smell like the dead. Pass through the gateway and you will then be in The Land Of Death. Specifically, you’ll be on The Shore Of Lost Souls. Find the boatman on The River Of The Forgotten. Give him this gold ingot.” She hands the aforementioned object to Amelia. “Now, your next obstacle will be Cerberus, the giant guard dog that blocks the way to the castle, where the lord of death resides. Cerberus eats souls so throw the orb into his mouth and he’ll consume it. She hands over the object in question. “It contains a soul substitute, same great taste half the calories. I’ve added a little something, which will cause the overgrown puppy to sleep. Then you have to approach the lord of death and strike a bargain. This part is entirely on you as I don’t know what he will demand. So, be ready for anything. If you get permission, he will give you a key to set the soul free and send you to Tartarus.”
“What if he doesn't accept?” Amelia probes as she stuffs the gifts into a sack.
“Then I'm afraid your problems will only have just begun, but it's more likely than not that he'll just ask for a favor in return for your passage,” Maggie waves off the notion as she returns to the table. “Keep the cloak about you and make sure not a single inch of you is exposed, else the whipping wind will tear you to shreds. You won’t be able to see where you are going. So, keep the vial about your neck. The blood will pull the chain toward its master’s soul. Follow the direction it points. He’ll either be one of the unfortunates who linger about the desert, or on one of the many mountains that dot the landscape. Once you have his soul…” The witch holds for a moment. “Do you have a personal object that belonged to him, the more personal the better?”
Amelia thinks for a moment, she looks to Mary Anne who’s still holding the wooden trinket, which she stares at, from her place in the corner.
Maggie waddles over and gives the object a look. “Timothy,” she reads as she shifts her eyes from the object to the dead woman’s face. “Who is Timothy?”
“My son,” Mary Anne speaks as dead pan as her flesh.
“And you believe that your son, is the frozen man?” Maggie asks as she turns her attentions fully toward the corpse in the corner.
“I honestly don’t know,” Mary Anne admits as she stands from her seat. “But he could be.”
“Well,” Maggie starts as she holds out her hand. “I guess it will have to do.”
Mary Anne stares at the hand thrust in her direction. She runs her fingers over the inscription one last time, before surrendering her keepsake.
“Now my dear,” Maggie carries on as she makes her way back to Amelia's side. “You will use this object, which may, or may not be of personal value, to the soul. It should absorb it, making it easier to transport. Then blow this flute.” She hands her the small, wooden rod with holes in it.
“But I don’t know how to play,” Amelia admits as she gazes at the strange instrument in her hand.
“It doesn’t matter,” Maggie informs the non-virtuoso and waves it off with her hand. “It’s the sound the flute makes, not the notes that are necessary. When you play it, it will summon The Abominus One, a flying creature that carries a cage. Hitch a ride and it will take you back to The Shore Of Lost Souls. Here you just simply backtrack and you’ll be out of there and back home in no time. Now, did you get all that?”
Amelia thinks for several moments. “I think so,” she returns while looking into her sack.
“Well you’d better,” Maggie warns and points directly at her with perhaps the boniest finger to ever exist. “You won’t get a second chance at this.”
Amelia nods in understanding. The severity of the situation is not lost to her. “I suppose it's time we depart,” she imparts as she slings her sack onto her back.
Mary Anne rises from her place.
“Now, now deary,” Maggie breaks in and waves the corpse to sit back down. “I'm afraid you won't be any help with your sun condition. Best you stay here and help watch over the man in stasis.”
“But how did you know?” Mary Anne queries as she reluctantly sits back down.
“I'm a witch, I know these things,” Maggie remarks and as she waves the query away.
Amelia nods her head and gives one last, lingering look to the body in stasis before heading out the door. She meets up with the soldiers on guard who also have hold of her horse. She mounts up and rides back to the main force, where she takes to the front and the battle train continues on with the journey.
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2023.03.29 23:44 Cjspn I’m thinking about leaving my boyfriend because of his crazy family
I, 22f have been with my partner 23m for three years. I love him more than anything. But I’m thinking about ending it with him.
He’s a good partner and a good man. He works hard for us and is always very understanding when I have a problem. The issue is with his family.
His Dad is in prison for reasons I’m not going to mention but they aren’t good and his mother is… well she’s a horrible person. She hates me. She thinks I’m ruining and corrupting her “perfect little boy”.
She excludes me from family activities, doesn’t allow me to speak to his half siblings (4m and 6f) and makes rude snarky comments whenever she has to be around me. She even tried setting my boyfriend up with a 18 year old girls whose the daughter of a man she works with. It drives me absolutely crazy, but I keep my mouth shut.
She despises me. And I despise her.m. I avoid her as much as possible when I have to be around her. But he loves his family and I won’t be the reason why he doesn’t have a relationship with them, especially his siblings.
Speaking of his siblings, they’re addicts and plainly horrible people. His brother (20m) threatened to kill my cat because I refused to give him money for drugs. I have a good paying job and apparently that means I should throw money at people I don’t even like just because their my boyfriends family. He calls me names whenever he sees me, broke into our house while we were visiting my family for Christmas and stole my bike and sold it for drug money.
When I had a miscarriage, my boyfriends brother and his mum found in absolutely hilarious. They posted a video of Facebook of their family celebrating that my pregnancy failed and how it was “Gods way” of making sure I was never part of the family.
Oh and the cherry on the cake? His sister (17f) stole my ultrasound photo off of his phone and posted it saying she was pregnant. But the silly little girl didn’t remove my name or date of birth from the photo so I confronted her. She then posted online that I had “attacked her” and stressed her out so much that she’d miscarried. That unleashed a whole new set of attacks from his family on both of us whilst we were still grieving and I was still recovering. They told him he needed to “sort me out before they came and did it themselves.”
My boyfriend sticks up for me but they guilt trip and manipulate him 24/7. He’s a fragile person. So he just shuts down emotionally or will end up crying for hours on end because of the stress. He stopped eating and has been contemplating quitting his job because he is so stressed he doesn’t want to get up in the morning.
I love him. More than anything. But I think I need to end it. I can’t stand being hated by these people for absolutely no reason and don’t see a future where I can be happy with him anymore. I’m not the kind of person who’d tell him to pick between me and his family. So I do I need to leave him? I don’t know anymore. I can’t imagine my life without him but I also can’t imagine living like this forever.
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2023.03.29 23:43 bluewaveblanket Tasker brought Mother
This is my first time using task rabbit and i did not have a good experience.. I hired someone to help me pickup some couches that I purchased through offer up. As soon as he arrives his mother gets off the car to let me in and I am now sitting in the middle between him and his mom. When i mentioned the city, she starts complaining that it’s too far and they are going to miss their lunch plans. She then asks if im going to give him gas money and says he does a lot of nice things for people and never gets compensated. This is a job it’s not necessarily nice. The whole way she’s asking about my religion and other questions that were just uncomfortable and even belittled me when she saw i lived in an apartment and said yeah i never had to live in an apartment.Even on the way back she told her son to stop at Target and that I wouldn’t mind, I said no I do mind and need to get back home. The whole experience gave me so much anxiety and i can’t believe how unprofessional this all was.
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2023.03.29 23:41 throwaway79799 Major red flags when applying for a studio flat found on Rightmove
After a long search (a few times being ghosted or beaten to the punch) I found a studio flat on Rightmove that was within my budget.
The viewing went great, I said that I am ready to proceed with the application and pay the holding deposit and was given a business card and so was told to send an email to receive an application form and further instructions.
The first red flag was that the address on the card wasn't a true address - just the city (no building or street name or postcode). The phone number is also a mobile number and not landline and the email address is a gmail address and not a company address…
I sent that email and received a boilerplate HomeLet referencing application form alongside with a second major red flag - the holding deposit equal to a month's rent, more than the legal maximum of one week’s rent.
Now, due to my a bit desperate circumstances (more below) I did proceed with the application.
More red flags came up after checking though:
-Googling the company name only returned a bunch of Rightmove-type websites and a single gov.uk website for a company registered in a different city -Googling his name and surname returned nothing relevant -The address given on the referencing form is a PO box
On the other hand, he hasn’t ghosted me and he has left lots of footprints if that is a deposit related scam - the flat was most certainly real and the bank account is with NatWest so it’s unlikely that he could just disappear.
But it all looks very sketchy and anonymous and the holding deposit amount was illegal.
I would’ve been more careful, but I have to move out from uni halls into somewhere with a more secure parking, as my motorbike which is the only way for me to commute to work got stolen from a council car park next to the halls which is the only place where I can park while living here. I am on a leave of absence from the university, so I can move out of the halls early, but only on specific dates and I basically ran out of time to search for other options. If I can’t move I basically can’t get a new bike and that means losing my job.
How bad does it look (maybe I am just overreacting and it’s just a private landlord who values his privacy and just doesn’t know about the holding deposit limit) and what should I look out for now?
Thanks a lot!
(Using throwaway due to possible identifying information)
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2023.03.29 23:39 Legitimate-Scar-989 One of the many artists we need to give more attention he sound so much like mac in salad days and hctc
2023.03.29 23:39 flawless_ms Most interesting reads on erowid
I was scrolling on erowid the other day and laid my eyes on a drug by the name of 25I-NBOMe, the effects weren't added up and it had almost no human use of it so I scrolled in the experiences because I was curious, the most interesting read was this one and I thought I'd share to hear your opinions and thoughts on it
I Realized That I Was Going to Die 25I-NBOMe by Banjo
A few years back I had a bit of a opiate habit that had been eating away at my wallet. My drug of choice was hydromorphone and my preferred ROA was IV. Hydromorphone is hard to come by in my area and prices are quite high for it, so I started experimenting with other opiates whenever they were cheaper. I had experimented with Hydrocodone, Diamorphine, Tramadol, Fentanyl, and Codeine briefly, and my dealer told me one day that he had some Oxycontin. Having never tried this, I purchased just under 30mg from him. He told me the pills had gotten crushed and had lost a little weight, which was no problem to me since he offered it to me at a very cheap price. The powder, which was very fine, was 28mg. It seemed odd that the pill had been uniformly crushed into a fine powder, but I didn't think too much of it.
At the time, I had just run out of needles and I wasn't going to get any more until my next package came in the mail, so I asked about snorting it. The dealer said that it would work fine, so I went home and prepared two small lines, one for each nostril. Snorting the first line felt like I had been kicked by a mule in the brain, but being convinced that I'd be in an opiate-induced state of euphoria and warmth in just a few moments, I snorted the other line, experiencing the same level of agony as the first. Within two minutes I started to notice euphoria, a rush of energy, and mild hallucinations, similar to taking a few tabs of LSD. My vision began to pulse in a strobe-like fashion, shifting and floating around. I could feel the energy of every object around me and I knew the location of everything in the room without even looking around. The doorknob particularly fascinated me. It had turned into a spring like shape and expanded and contracted across the room, creating a heavenly ringing sound as it did so. My hookah, which was not packed or lit at the time, appeared to have smoke pouring out of the hose. The smoke approached my face slowly, and once it hit me, it exploded into light. I believe this was due to the hookah sitting under the light in my apartment. The smoke may have been a warped hallucination of the light, but I am not sure. These hallucinations all greatly excited me; as a fairly inexperienced drug user, I had no idea that an opiate could make you trip.
After another two minutes, I realized that what I had taken was not an opiate. My heart was pounding, and I was starting to sweat. My body started to jerk slightly at various points every few seconds. Worried that I was having a bad trip, my first priority was to take a Xanax or two and then make it to my bed to lay down. Neither of these goals were accomplished. Upon standing up from the couch where I had snorted the 'Oxycontin,' I became dizzy and closed my eyes for a second. This is where the trip got really crazy. I have never in my entire life experienced close-eye visuals as intense as that moment. Fractal patterns easily surpassing the ones from DMT flew past the inside of my eyelids. As the visuals moved towards and over me, I could feel wind blowing over my entire body. The wind turned into vibrations, which turned into music. I'd experienced auditory hallucinations on 25 hits of LSD IV'd before (I do not recommend this unless you are positive that you are physically and mentally ready for it), but only I had only noticed fleeting, ambient sounds. These, however, were full blown songs. Multiple instruments playing, lyrics being sung by sirens in languages from other dimensions, polyrythms, choruses, verses, everything. It was incredible. I saw colors that do not exist outline my own mind and thoughts in the form of molecular structures and hieroglyphics. I lost all sense of smell and emotion, and I remained still for what felt literally like years. I stood there and existed. I was no longer human, I was time and energy
The next thing I knew, I was on the floor, rolling around and moving uncontrollably. At first I thought I was laughing, but I quickly realized that I was in a seizure. Brief terror set in as I realized that I was going to die. I tried to close my eyes, deciding to try to enjoy my final moments as best as possible. I couldn't feel my body and I couldn't tell if I was breathing or not. I began to think of all the mistakes I had made in my life, but I somehow was able to remind myself that thinking about negative things is an easy way to trigger a bad trip (aside from the seizure and potential death, the trip was quite enjoyable, even mid-seizure), and I guess somehow subconsciously my brain decided that if I was going to die, I'd at least die having somewhat of a good time. I think about this part of the trip the most, as it sticks out to me more than anything else. I had accepted that I was about to die (or at least I thought, as I wasn't entirely sure what drug I had taken) and I still was able to stay calm and focus on positive things. I always assumed that overdosing on a psychedelic would be a sure-fire way to experience a bad trip, but the euphoria I was experiencing even in that moment overwhelmed any brief spurts of fear or anxiety. I thought about my childhood friend, who will be referred to with a fake name as Mila to maintain anonymity, who I had always been close to, and hoped that she would handle the news of my death well.
Two weeks later, although it felt like no time had passed at all, I awoke in the hospital in the ICU. I remember seeing Mila, and I remember asking her how she had died as well. I did not realize I was in the hospital and thought we had both ended up in some sort of spiritual limbo. I do not remember what she said to me. I, according to Mila, fell asleep mid-sentence.
Mila and my nurses stated that I awoke three more times, none of which I remember, and said that I had woken up for a few seconds before the first time I remember waking up as well.
The next memory I have was of my catheter being taken out. I did not feel it at all, which seemed strange, until the nurse explained that I was heavily sedated. She explained that I had been placed in a medically-induced coma. This sounded good to me, and I went back to sleep without asking any questions
My memory is fairly foggy after that, which seems odd since my next memories came a fair bit after coming out of a coma, but my first few memories were closer to the coma and seemed clearer. Over the course of a few days, it was explained to me that Mila had come over to my house to see if I was home and heard signs of a struggle inside. Mila has a key to my house, and when she came in, she immediately called an ambulance and provided CPR and rescue breathing while stabilizing my head until the paramedics arrived. I was almost immediately placed into a coma so my body could stabilize, and at one point I was not expected to come out of it. Thankfully I recovered almost fully. I have a small twitch in my neck, I heavily damaged my sense of smell, which is not expected to ever recover, and I suffered a concussion when I fell over. I went into cardiac arrest, suffered minor brain damage, and suffered from short term memory loss for several months while I recovered both in and eventually outside of the hospital. I experience very minor but consistent symptoms of HPPD to this day, well over a year later. My doctors are unsure if it will go away within the foreseeable future, but I do not mind it.
After hearing that I had been hospitalized, the dealer contacted Mila and told her what substance I had taken. This information helped the doctors and could have saved my life. Some time after hearing that I had been placed in a coma, the dealer who sold me the 25i-NBOMe as Oxycontin turned himself in to the police. He is on parole now and has stopped both dealing and using drugs. He offered to pay all of my medical bills, won't let me pay for dinner, and despite who he used to be, he is now the most selfless, kind, thoughtful human being that I have ever known. I have accepted his apologies, I hold no grudges against him, and we are close friends. He has asked me to be the best man at his wedding this winter. He has never forgiven himself for his actions, and he admitted that he did it just to offload the 25i-NBOMe since he had nobody interested in buying it. I hope that one day he will be ready to forgive himself and I will be there for him when he does. For anybody out there thinking of selling research chemicals or any substance as another drug, think twice. It may haunt you for the rest of your life even after others have forgiven you.
I have done 25i-NBOMe in normal to high-ish doses since then, from 500ug to 6mg after waiting a year to try it again. I have had nothing but wonderful experiences and it is in my top three favorite drugs. I now prefer it even over LSD due to the energy boost it gives me.
On an interesting side note, I had no interest in opiates after this trip. I had tried to stop using them before the trip with brief success, but relapse always occurred. I've tried them a few times, but they just aren't enjoyable to me. I definitely feel the effects, but the effects from opiates are no longer what I prefer. I enjoy psychedelics on a causal basis, but not much else. Not even cannabis, really. I do not recommend taking this substance in any level purely to quit another substance. Therapy, rehabilitation, and medical assistance from licensed physicians is the only method I recommend for quitting any drug."
Is it even possible to see colors that do not exist? I can't stop thinking about this experience. What are your thoughts / opinions on it?
submitted by flawless_ms
to Psychonaut [link] [comments]
2023.03.29 23:39 newwestfarmersmarket Yes, the New West Farmers Market IS BACK!
Thanks to Connect-Abalone3863
for doing my job for me, but here's the full info for folks that want it... When:
3pm-7pm every Thursday from March 30th (THIS THURSDAY) to November 2nd Where:
Tipperary Park - next to City Hall How:
the 106 bus stops nearby, we're quite central if you fancy a walk (weather should be really... oh... no... mustn't jinx it), cycle (we have bike racks!) or, if you must, drive (there's parking on Queens, Royal and 3rd) What:
well, that changes every week. You'll see some of your favourite vendors with us every week of the season and some others will come and go according to the season. But I CAN tell you that this Thursday will be our big Season Opener Block Party!
"Season Opener Block Party?" you ask.
Yes! Season Opener Block Party!
- We have FREE COOKIES for the first 100 customers!
- We have LIVE MUSIC from Sue Breton!
- We have Food Trucks!
- We have face painting and balloons from 4-6pm!
- We have a living statue performer!
- We have Member Appreciation Day discounts!
- Free music classes for under 5s by Music Box at 4 & 5pm!
- Lawn games!
- Oh... so much! So much!
Seriously, there's too much happening for my little fingers but, if you wanted to know about everything every week then the best thing you could do would be... you know don't you because you've already done it... ok... sing along with me... sign up for our newsletter by clicking the banner on our website at https://newwestfarmers.ca/
- that will get you an email a week with our vendor list for that week - a full day before we announce it to other less-lucky folks. And go find us on Facebook and Instagram for more prettily formatted news postings.
On the subject of Instagram, we're also holding an Instagram contest
. Tag @newwestfarmers in your market haul pics on Instagram for your chance to win $20 in Market Money! Make sure to post your pic and tag us within 24 hours of the market and we'll draw a name to pick up at our following market on April 6th!
But wait... what was that about Member Appreciation Day discounts
? Well, if you're a member of the Farmers Market you get MONEY SAVING DEALS!
- Gary’s Kettle Corn- $1 off large bags
- PuppyPower SuperTreats - 10% off
- Homemade by Harris - 10% off
- Mandair Farms - 1 free jar of plain jam or pickled brussel sprouts with each purchase of $20 or more
- Occasionally Honey - $1 off frozen desserts
- Outwest Ranches - $2.00 off beef roast 3.5 lb+
- Sweet U Macarons - 1 free macaron per purchase for the first 100 customers
- Hett Creek Sourdough - Buy 2 loaves and get 10% off
- Rockweld Farm - Bone in, skin on chicken quarters are 25% off
- Spark Foods - 10% off
Become a member! It's easy... hand over $10 at the pretty green info tent and you'll get a card and you'll get discounts at our monthly Member Appreciation Days for a whole year (usually first market of the month but not 6th April because we're bringing it forward a week). You also get other things like the ability to vote at our AGM but I know you're really here for the discounts.
OK, one last thing... this week's vendor list
(and remember: mailing list... early access etc etc) Artisans and Pet Products:
Artsy Candle Bonorlea Hearth and Home MeNom PuppyPower SuperTreats Bakeries:
BAK'd Cookies Gabi and Jules Hett Creek Sourdough Homemade By Harris Occasionally Honey Sweet U Macaroons Twins Donuts Waffled Beverages:
Festina Lente Gingeraki Mainland Whisky Studio Brewing Top Hat Kombucha Produce/Flower Farmers:
Mandair Farms Whistler Harvest Dairy:
Golden Ears Cheesecrafters Prepared Foods:
Angkor Harvest Anne's Kitchen Churchkela Empanada Gal Gary's Kettle Corn Mamma Musey Pierogi Mandi's Mickles Origo Pastaggio Pretty Bird Kitchen Spark Foods Tamaly Shop With/On Kimchi Meat & Fish:
Island Jerky Outwest Ranches Rockweld Farms The Butchers Guild Vancouver Smoked Foods Wild West Coast Seafoods Food Court: (Moved to Queens Ave for this season)
Bread and Cheese Crema Ice Cream and Desserts
PS. Yes I know there's not many farms. We get asked that every year in March :) They'll be along in good time. The strawberries are always
worth the wait.
PPS. Yes, I know we're a little smaller than last year but never fear... come the summer we'll expand again and take over
the park as we did last year.
PPPS. And yes we have a portaloo. Huh? You think it would be nice if there was a permanent set of washrooms in Tipperary Park? Hmmm - us too!
PPPPS. If you got all the way through you deserve a prize. You don't get one but you MIGHT if you enter our Instagram contest.
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2023.03.29 23:38 Deep_Check_4622 Saudia Airlines Question
I don’t know where to start but I will do my best to picture the situation. We visited Saudi this week as tourists since we loved our trip last year. I have been to so many countries and this is one of my favorite. However, in our flight coming home which was Riyadh - New York(Saudia Airline). Flight was very full and my kid was sitting in a different row with one lady but middle seat was empty. The same for me and my mom. We all three were sitting in different rows and we all had middle seats empty. There was a man(let’s name him Arab guy. He was Arab, I just don’t know his name) with his wife and 1 kid. His wife was sitting in the back of my seat with his kid and one young guy(not related to them) anyways their seat was packed. BTW it was 3 seats in each row. That Arab man was sitting by my mom and asked me if my mom could move so his wife can sit with him. My mom said no problem and moved to his wife’s seat. He moved his wife by him so they had that extra sit. However his wife wanted a whole row for herself so she can sleep during the flight. Then he said to me can you move also so I can put my son there. I said no problem too and I moved and his son took 2 seats(mine and empty seat that was by him). This is where it gets interesting, the other guy who was sitting in their row saw my infant child(lap baby) and moved to the empty seat that was in my row. Well, Arab guy was back to the square one. Then he realized my daughter had her seat with one empty seat and he said I will sit here by your daughter. He said, maybe take your daughter by you. He knew I will not want my child to be sitting by grown man so I will move her by me. That way his wife gets full row empty and he will sit in my daughters seat and he will get 1 empty seat in my daughters row and his son was sitting in my previous seat. More comfortable that way for him. I said, no I paid for my child’s seat so she is not moving anywhere and you are not sitting there either. This is where all the fight started. He goes and brings the flight attendant who was Arab too. Flight attendant started fighting with me without asking me anything about the situation and asking me to move my child because it’s his seat. I said, its my daughter’s seat and I paid for that seat and there is no way this is his seat. My ticket shows that seat is my child’s seat and the most interesting part he didn’t want to show me his boarding pass. I said, I will show you my payment that I paid for it so as flight attendant even if you wanted you can’t because seat was guaranteed after my extra payment. Flight attendant keeps arguing with me because the other passenger is Arab and I am foreigner so he was not thinking as flight attendant but more like oh he is Arab and I have to be on his side. I told the flight attendant, I am going back to my seat and this guys can come back to their seats and I won’t allow anyone by our middle seats. Just because he is ungrateful…You have to be biased as flight attendant and not be on his side because he is your people. This is considered harassment and racism because you are being biased here. Why don’t you do your job and just tell him to go back to his seat and stop moving us around, just because we are being ok with it. He would not stop arguing with me then I said to the flight attendant, Allah is watching you right now and you tell me now what you will do? Flight attendant told the other guy to go sit to his original seat. He did and guess what his seat was all the way in the back. Not in my child’s row or anywhere close. Now, I want to ask you guys. Does Saudia Airlines do anything about this? If it was one of the US airlines they would’ve removed him from the flight 100% guaranteed and banned him from flying that airline. Does Saudia care about its customers or is it the same situation the moment they know it is their own Arab? Please don’t come back to me with fight because I have met many amazing Arab people and they were so kind to me. This is more like policy and rules question when it comes to foreigners rights. I don’t have anything against Arabs or the country just want to know what to do? I am devastated that I had to fight and stand by my decision just because I needed to protect my rights at that moment.
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2023.03.29 23:37 oXoSladeoXo Hero x Villain Romance RP
Looking for a partner has to be 18+ I’m 25 I’m able to respond pretty quickly just know my grammar is not the best I just do this for fun no seriousness in it
The plot of story is my character is walking home late at night from her regular job outside of being a hero she works at a bar as a bartender and she stumbles onto the villain being attacked and almost killed she jumps in to save him sending the attackers running off and brings him back to her home to tend to his injuries regardless of him being villain she won’t let him die she convinces him to stay with her for a bit while he’s recovering some pretty serious injuries and they bond quit a bit over the short time and realize they have a lot in common but problems arise now that she’s intervened those other criminals that attacked and tried to kill him will now be after her out of revenge and it causes them to have to work together to take them down feelings start to develop pretty quickly between them but they feel it’s wrong to feel this way for one another but don’t want to deny it
I hope my description was helpful I’m not the best when it comes to explaining my ideas 😅
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2023.03.29 23:36 fierceindependence23 Real Marble or Granite countertops instead of Mad Made? I'm not seeing the benefits. What am I missing?
That should be "Man Made" Ugh.
Interesting discussion in the comments on the pros and cons of granite and marble countertops, in this post
especially with regard to cleaning and maintenance.
I'm about 4 months away from deciding on new countertops, so this thread caught my eye.
Someone feel free to correct me on this, but what im getting is that man-made composite is A) cheaper than real granite or marble, B)easier to maintain, C) requires way less maintenance, D) far less expensive
So besides bragging rights--"I have real
Granite/Marble countertops--I'm not seeing what the benefit is.
What am I missing?
submitted by fierceindependence23
to HomeImprovement [link] [comments]
2023.03.29 23:36 disco-dingus My fiancé disappeared in 2018. I recently found out what happened to him.
Fans of classic soul will know the song. Oh, Jimmy Mack, when are you coming back?
In another world it would be funny, but for years I asked that very question.
You see, my fiancé’s name is Jimmy Mack. He disappeared without a trace in 2018.
How do you disappear without a trace these days? It just doesn’t seem possible in a modern world, where almost everyone is somehow connected. Yet he did; he vanished. The police were baffled, private investigators were a waste of money, and my own attempts at sleuthing were futile.
If it wasn’t for the fact that we were ridiculously in love and things were so perfect, I wouldn’t have tried so hard. But everything was a vomit inducing fairytale for us. Even our names were cute af; Jimmy & Jessie sittin’ in a tree…
I know he loved me as much as I loved him, and he would have done anything for me.
I heard all the theories. ‘Jess… Maybe he has a secret family… He might have been involved with criminals… Perhaps he took his own life…’
They didn’t know Jimmy like I did. I know you can never really
know someone fully, but I knew those things could never be true of him. So I became estranged from family and friends, my life consumed with finding Jimmy. Every penny was spent on expensive investigation and cheap booze.
But then came the intervention. My mom, brother, and best friend Lori came to my apartment one evening. Mom took my hands.
“I want my daughter back,” she cried. And as I met the eyes of those closest to me it was like a weight had lifted. I dropped to the floor and cried for hours, releasing years of internal pain. It was exactly what I needed.
It wasn’t that I never thought of Jimmy again, but I began to move on. I even went on a couple of dates, and attended therapy sessions. There’s a whole psychology behind mourning an unexplained loss. I found it all very helpful.
Then I received a handwritten letter: Dear Jessie, You don’t know me but I have information about the disappearance of your fiancé James Mack in March 2018. If you are interested in finding out more, meet me at Marcy’s Diner off [redacted]. I will be there between the hours of 20:00 and 22:00 every evening from Monday 13th - Friday 17th. Come alone and sit in a window booth. I will make myself known as soon as I feel it’s safe to do so. I repeat; come alone. If there’s any indication you have alerted the authorities, or discussed this with friends/family, the offer is void. This offer is time sensitive. If you don’t visit the diner between those dates and times I will assume you are not interested. This will never be offered to you again in future. Regards, Anon
My hands trembled as months of progress began to unravel. I poured a shot of vodka and downed it, followed by one more to take the edge off. I was so
close to calling Lori, her number ready to speed dial. I needed someone to talk sense into me, to tell me it was a hoax. ‘Don’t go through with it Jessie, it’s just some sicko taking advantage of your grief. Let’s go for cocktails!’
But I put my phone down and read the letter again. And again. I read it over and over, looking for something I might have missed despite the contents being clear.
Monday came around. I pulled into the Marcy’s Diner car park just after 20:00, observing the patrons from the safety of my car. It looked pretty empty. Some tourists, a few trucker types. It was a convenient rest spot due to its location off the highway. No one screamed I have information about your beloved Jimmy Mack
, like there was a physical description for that type of person.
I hung around for an hour or so before I chickened out and drove home. Rinse and repeat Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. On Thursday I didn’t even think about it. I parked up just before 20:00 and stepped out of my car, hesitating for the slightest moment before entering the chrome and candy stripe diner.
A few people observed me briefly before going back to their hot mugs and oversized burgers. As instructed I found a vacant window booth. They were all vacant. I chose the one furthest from the entrance. As I sat down I thought why the fuck did you think that was a good idea?
My anxiety stopped me from switching seats regardless.
“Evening darlin’,” said a blond 40-something waitress wearing a blue gingham dress. She held a pot of coffee as she smiled down at me. “What can I get for you?”
“Oh, erm,” I was going to say nothing but realized that would be weird. “Coffee is good, thank you.”
She turned over a white mug that was on the table amongst novelty condiment bottles and laminated menus.
“Can I get you a slice of pie darlin’?” she said as she poured the coffee. “Cherry or chocolate-pecan.”
My stomach was in knots but I didn’t want to appear rude, so I opted for a slice of cherry pie. It arrived barely a minute later and I thanked her, then proceeded to tap my fingers on the table as I discreetly looked around the diner.
After an hour had passed I was three mugs of coffee down and had finished the pie, which was delicious. For a moment I’d forgotten my purpose for being there, beginning to relax a little. Then the door opened and a man walked in, giving me a quick glance as he headed to the counter. He wore a camo parka and what I’d call worker jeans, with a black baseball cap. He turned around after being handed a mug and I averted my eyes, looking out of the window. I could see his reflection getting closer to my table. When he stopped in my peripheral vision I turned, and he slipped into the seat opposite me.
“Jessie,” he said with a nod. “Pleased to see you inside the diner this evening.”
He had chiselled features and a little stubble. I put him in his early 40s. I cleared my throat.
“And what do I call you?”
He smiled. “You can call me Mike if it makes this easier for you.”
I shifted in my seat, trying to get comfortable. I folded my arms, then unfolded them, then put them on the table.
“Relax,” he said.
I let out a quick laugh. “That’s easy for you to say. I have no idea who you are. I don’t even know why I’m here, you gave no proof that you actually know anything about Jimmy.”
“I know everything,” he said deadpan. “And I’ll tell you if you want to hear it.”
I stared into his eyes until I felt mine glaze over, then cleared my throat again. “Let me guess; for a price?”
He shook his head. “I don’t want your money, Jessie.”
“Why now?” I snapped. “Do you know what these past 5 years have been like for me?” I felt tears coming on and he went to reach for my hand, but I recoiled. He pulled his hands away and looked apologetic.
“Unbearable, devastating, frustrating…”
“All the above!” I said as tears started to fall. “I couldn’t function at times. I stopped looking after myself. I abandoned my friends and family. It’s crazy how someone can do that to you.”
“Because you were in love,” he said.
were in love. We were the fucking Shutterstock image of love. And when that ends abruptly without explanation…”
“Everything alright darlin’?” the waitress interrupted, holding out a tissue. She glared at Mike. I took the tissue and nodded.
“Yes, thank you. I’m fine. Sorry, I’ll keep it down.”
“Don’t be sorry darlin’, you just let me know if you need anything, okay?”
“I will, thank you.”
She walked away and I wiped my eyes, feeling a little embarrassed.
“I can only apologize for how you’ve been feeling,” he said. “But I’m here to make it right. You could say I developed a conscience, or moral compass. I don’t know. I’m a changed man.”
I looked at him with confusion. “I don’t understand?”
“It’s easier if I show you,” he said. “But not here. You have to ask yourself if you trust me enough to go for a drive.”
“In your car?” I said. “Absolutely not!”
“Okay, how about if you drive?”
“To the middle of nowhere I bet?”
“Look Jessie,” he said, his eyes burning into me. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m really trying here, but if you’d rather leave it I get it.”
Call me stupid or naive, but something in his eyes made him appear somewhat genuine. I took a crazy chance.
“No… I need to know what happened to him.”
Mike nodded then raised a hand. “Say, could I get a slice of pie to go?”
As predicted we were driving further into the wilderness than I would have preferred. The passing cars were few and far between.
“How much further?” I asked. “I might need to stop for gas.”
“Not too far now,” said Mike. “If you don’t mind sharing, do you remember the last moments you spent with James?”
I sighed. “I do, but I can’t remember the last time anyone called him James outside of the media. He hated it. He’d been Jimmy since elementary school.”
“Sorry,” he said. “Tell me about that last day you spent with Jimmy.”
“It was an ordinary day. A Wednesday. We woke up, had breakfast. I went to work, Jimmy worked from home. He called me on my lunch break like usual, just to hear your voice
he always said. God, we were insufferable.” I let out a laugh.
“Take the next left,” said Mike. “I’m listening.”
“So yeah. We had a little chat, then I went back to work. I got home and Jimmy had already started dinner. He was a much better cook than me. We drank wine, watched a movie.”
“What movie did you watch?”
“The Notebook,” I laughed. “For the umpteenth time. I know, I hate us too.”
“Keep driving straight,” said Mike. “It’s a few minutes away.”
“What is?” I asked.
“What happened after the movie?” he said.
“Nothing, we went to bed.”
“Did you make love?”
I briefly turned to him in disapproval. “Excuse me?”
“Did you fuck?” he said, unflinching.
I shook my head. “No, sorry to disappoint you. Now where the hell are you taking me?”
“It’s just up here,” he said. “So you went to bed and then you never saw him again?”
I took a deep breath and shook my head. “Jimmy had already gone when I woke up. No note, no text. It was strange but I didn’t think too much of it at the time. I sent him a text asking where he was. When half the day went by with no response I started to worry.”
“And the rest is history, as they say.”
I nodded as I fought back tears.
“We’re here,” said Mike.
I looked around. It was dark, but from what the headlights illuminated I couldn't see anything but trees.
“Just stop the car. It’s a short walk.”
I felt my heart race as my vulnerable situation became apparent. I really was in the middle of nowhere with a strange man, one who had withheld information about my missing fiancé for 5 years. I stared at him wide eyed.
He shrugged. “I’m not really sure what I can say to make you more comfortable?”
I slowly reached for my bag and pulled out a pocket pistol. Mike let out a surprised laugh.
“Maybe I don’t need to say anything?” he said.
“This makes me more comfortable,” I said.
He nodded. “Fair enough. Let’s go.”
After walking for several minutes, feeling grateful that I’d opted for comfortable footwear that evening, we came to a cabin within the trees. The porch was lit. ‘Jessie; you know better than this girl’
I thought to myself, my hand clutching the pistol inside my bag.
“Why did it have to be a cabin in the woods?” I said, Mike a few feet in front of me.
“I like solitude,” he said. “I can’t think of anything worse than living in the city.”
We walked up the steps to the porch area. At one end there was a single chair with a blanket on it, and a small table with some beer bottles. At the other end I spotted some deep red patches on the floorboards. Mike noticed me looking.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “It’s deer blood. I’m pretty self sufficient out here.”
We entered the cabin and Mike turned on the lights. It was quite basic, not overly decorated. There were some framed pictures on the walls, a dinner table, and a living area with some chairs, a small television and a log burner.
“I’m kind of disappointed there’s no stag’s head mounted on the wall,” I said as I took in my surroundings.
Mike shrugged. “I don’t see the animals as a prize. It’s food, survival. There are a few skulls out back if you want to check them out?”
I shook my head. “I’m good.”
Mike put the slice of pie he’d got from Marcy’s on the kitchen counter.
“Water, beer?” He opened the fridge and pulled out a beer bottle.
“This isn’t a social visit,” I said. “And call me paranoid but that would make me very stupid."
He nodded. “You’re right, I hope you don’t mind if I have one though.” He screwed off the cap and took a swig. “Let’s sit.” He motioned to the living area and I followed him.
“You know it’s dangerous to leave your fire burning when you’re not home,” I said, feeling the warmth from the log burner as I took a seat on an armchair. I kept my bag by my side and my hand on the pistol.
“It gets cold in here,” he said, sitting on another chair. “I’ll take my chances.”
He spoke about his cabin for a while, the whole time I became increasingly more uncomfortable due to the fact that I’d needed the bathroom since leaving the diner.
“I’d like to get straight to the point,” I said. “But I really need to use the bathroom.”
“Sure,” he said, pointing to a door down a hallway. “Over there.”
The bathroom was clean enough, though I did my business without touching the toilet seat. Something that had become a habit when using strange or public bathrooms. As I washed up I heard a groaning noise that sounded like it came from another room in the cabin. My heart jolted.
“Mike?” I said, creeping out of the bathroom. I had my bag over my shoulder and my shaking hand gripped the pistol. “What was that sound?”
I peeked over to the living area and couldn’t see him. I started to panic.
“Mike?” I said loudly. “This isn’t cool. Where are you?”
I heard that muffled groaning noise again and jumped, turning on the spot. There was another door further down the hall. Against my better judgement I crept closer to it, flinching each time the groan was emitted. It got louder the closer I got to the door.
“Mike?” I said, my whole body trembling.
“Sorry Jessie,” I heard Mike say from behind, and suddenly a cloth covered my mouth. My bag slipped from my shoulder but I still had the gun in my hand which I lifted as I struggled. Mike brought his other arm around me and squeezed tight, pinning my arms to my body. I became lightheaded as I breathed in chemicals.
“Shush,” he said quietly in my ear. “Just let it be.”
As I blacked out I was screaming inside my head. ‘You stupid girl!’
When I came to my vision was momentarily blurred, but as I focused I saw Mike opposite me. We were sitting at the dinner table.
“Welcome back,” he said. I attempted to stand but my right hand was cuffed to the table leg. I pulled on it several times until pain shot through my arm. “That’s solid oak. I mean, you might get free but probably at the expense of your wrist.”
“You bastard!” I screamed. “Let me go. Help! Help me please!”
“Calm down Jessie,” he said. “I’m sure I don’t need to tell you there’s no one out here to help you.”
I started to cry as I shook. “Oh God… What are you going to do to me? Are you going to…”
“I told you already, I’m not going to hurt you! Though that wasn’t completely true because I’m sure you have a splitting headache right now?”
He got up and retrieved a small bottle from a cupboard, then filled a glass from the faucet. He placed the glass in front of me as well as two pills from the bottle.
“Paracetamol. You’ll thank me later.”
“I’ll never thank you!” I screamed, then moaned as my head pounded. I reluctantly picked up the pills and swallowed them with water. “Why am I cuffed?”
As he spoke he walked across the cabin. “Because I believe what you’re about to hear would cause you to run. When I’m done you’re more than welcome to leave, you have my word.”
He returned with a MacBook and placed it on the table. It looked alien amongst the cabin interior. My surprised expression must have been clear.
“I’m not a Luddite,” he said. “I have WiFi and Netflix just like you city folks.”
“Great,” I said sarcastically. “But you really need to start talking.”
“I don’t think you’re in any position to give demands,” he said. “But very well. Here’s the first thing you’re not going to like hearing: I’ve been inside your apartment.”
My jaw dropped. “Wha… What?”
He opened the MacBook and tapped on the keyboard, then showed me the screen. There were several images of my apartment interior. I picked up the glass and took a swig of water, wishing it was something stronger. “Why were you in my apartment Mike?”
“Well, here’s the next thing: I’m a serial killer.”
I shifted back on the chair and pulled on the cuffs, starting to hyperventilate. “Oh God oh God oh God…”
“Calm down Jessie,” he said.
“Give me a fucking break,” I shouted. “Jesus Christ!” I clung onto the cuffs with my free hand and pulled hard, groaning. The table only moved ever so slightly but I felt like I’d run a marathon. I sat up and stared at Mike as I breathed heavily. “You killed Jimmy?”
“I target lovers,” he said. “I observe them for months before I take things further. When the time is right I abduct one. Which one I choose is more down to opportunity than anything else. Then I pose a question: Are you prepared to sacrifice yourself for the one you love? Make a choice; you or them.
I covered my mouth with a trembling hand. “Oh Jimmy… You sacrificed yourself for me.”
Mike tapped on the keys some more. “I install secret cameras in the lovers’ homes when they’re out. Like I said, I observe them for months, and not just outside. I need to get a feel for their relationship before I intervene. It has to be true
love or it just doesn’t feel right. And you only get to see the real deal when no one else is looking. Excessive PDAs are often a sign of insecurity, they mean nothing really.”
He turned the screen back to me and a video was playing. “I edited this just for you.”
It showed Jimmy and I sitting at our breakfast bar. In the corner of the screen was Mar 7th 2018, 07:54
“Wait!” I said, pausing the video. “I don’t think I want to see this.”
“You have to, Jessie. I’m sorry. You’re free to leave once it's over.”
I felt my heart through my chest. “Can I at least take you up on that drink?”
He got up and walked to the fridge, taking out a beer.
“Do you have anything stronger?” I asked.
He nodded and reached under the kitchen counter, then returned with a whisky bottle and two tumblers. He poured two measures and pushed one towards me, then sat back down.
“We’re all out of ice unfortunately.”
“Fuck the ice,” I said, downing it in one gulp. I closed my eyes as I felt my chest burn inside, then signalled for Mike to top me up. After a moment I hit play on the screen.
◈ Mar 7th 2018, 07:54
Jimmy and I eat breakfast. He picks up a strawberry and rubs it against my lips.
“Stop it,” I say, giggling as I slap his arm. “I have to leave shortly.”
“Come on Jess,” he says. “Open wide.” He puts the strawberry in my mouth then gently kisses my lips.
“To be continued,” I say, getting off the stool and grabbing my things.
“No fair!” he sulks.
“Have a good day babe,” I say, kissing his cheek.
“I love you, Jess,” he says, momentarily holding me against him.
“I love you more,” I say, pulling away to run to the door. “See you this evening.” 09:11
Jimmy comes out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around him, then goes to the bedroom. 10:36
Jimmy sits at the table on his laptop and takes a few work related calls. 12:05
Jimmy takes another call. “Hey you. Yeah. No, she won’t be back until like 7 at the earliest.” I took another sip of whisky and briefly met Mike’s eyes as he watched me. I held the glass close to my chest, my knuckles white.
Jimmy continued. “Absolutely, I’d love to see you… Great, see ya soon.” 12:48
The buzzer rings and Jimmy uses the intercom. “It’s open.” I downed the whisky and pushed the glass towards Mike. He leaned over and poured another measure.
Jimmy opens the door and in comes my best friend Lori. She embraces him. 13:09
They sit on the couch together.
“Shit, I’ve got to call Jess,” says Jimmy. “It’s our thing.”
“Seriously?” says Lori.
“Yep, every lunch break without fail. She’ll get paranoid if I don’t.” Fucking asshole. It was never something I asked for or insisted on. Whatever makes him feel better.
He makes the call and puts a finger against his lips. In the meantime Lori unzips his fly and feels inside.
“Hey baby, how’s your day going? Ah, that’s awesome! Yeah, it’s been a productive morning. I’m gonna heat up some soup, what are you having?”
He puts his other hand behind Lori’s head and pushes it into his lap. His head slowly tilts back.
“That sounds amazing. Okay, well I just wanted to hear your voice baby. And you, can’t wait to see you later. Love you too. Bye.” 16:32
They come out of the bedroom and Lori puts on her shoes. Jimmy puts his arms around her from behind and nuzzles her neck.
“Do you have to leave already?” he says.
“What if she comes home?” says Lori.
“I promise you she won’t be home for a while. Come on.”
She turns and slaps his chest. “You’re a bad boy, Jimmy Mack.” They kiss. 17:43
They chop vegetables in the kitchen.
“I wish we were cooking for us,” says Jimmy.
“Me too,” says Lori. “We really should tell her soon. It’s gone on long enough.” Tears stream as I finish my third whisky.
He nods. “I know. I keep trying. I already know how tonight will go. We’ll eat dinner and then she’ll want to watch some shit like The Notebook.”
Lori laughs. “I feel so bad for you.”
“She’s such a hopeless romantic,” he says.
“Hopeless being the operative word,” laughs Lori.
“Me-ow!” he laughs. Mar 8th 2018, 01:22
The door to our apartment opens and in comes a tall figure dressed in black. They slowly open our bedroom door and creep inside. After a few minutes Jimmy leaves the room in a t-shirt and boxers, his hands up as he’s followed by the figure at gunpoint. They leave the apartment.
I sat in silence staring at the screen.
“I’m sorry for what you’ve been through Jessie,” said Mike. “But as you can see he didn’t deserve your pain and suffering.”
I put the glass on the table and wiped the tears from my face. “Maybe not. But he didn’t deserve to die.”
“Would you say the same if you knew he chose you?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, like I said. I take one of the lovers and give them a choice. I’d never experienced something like this, having only observed genuine love. It threw me. He was a lying piece of shit but I still posed the question.”
Mike found another video and played it. Jimmy is sitting on a chair in a dark room under a hanging light, his arms tied behind his back. He struggles to free himself. “James Mack,” says Mike offscreen. “Who are you?” screams Jimmy. “I’ll fucking kill you when I get free!” “How much do you love Jessie?” “What?” “Would you die for her?” “What the fuck are you talking about?” Jimmy shouts. “Would you die for her?” Mike roars, coming into shot and putting his forehead against Jimmy’s. He holds a gun at his side. Jimmy recoils. “I… I…” “It’s you or her James!” Mike cocks the gun and holds it against Jimmy’s head. “Make your decision.” “Her!” Jimmy cries. “Take Jessie! You’ll be doing me a fucking favor you psycho!”
Mike stopped the video as I covered my mouth. “How does that make you feel Jessie?”
I shook my head. “I’d like to see what your response would be if someone held a gun to your head.”
He nodded. “Fair point. But just so you know, I’ve targeted 5 couples so far and they all chose to sacrifice themselves.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “I hate
him for this but he still didn’t deserve to die.”
Mike came over and took a key out of his pocket, then released the cuff around my wrist. I gripped it with my other hand and held it against my chest.
“Oh, he’s not dead Jessie,” said Mike, walking to the kitchen counter. He picked up the box containing the pie.
He walked across the room down the hall, then stopped at the door at the end.
“You’re free to go Jessie,” he said. “Or you can come say hi.”
He pushed open the door then disappeared. I got up and frantically looked around the cabin. I saw my bag sitting on a coffee table and rummaged inside. My gun, my keys, my phone were all there. I ran to the main door and breathed in the cool night air, then hesitated. I looked over my shoulder. You stupid girl
I repeated in my head over and over as I approached the door down the hall. There was a staircase leading down into a dimly lit basement. I could hear Mike’s voice and some groans as I slowly began to descend, my body trembling. There was a vile smell that got worse with every step. It made me retch.
When I got to the bottom I saw Mike standing over the figure of a pale man that sat with his back to me. He was wearing rags, and the skin I could see was dirty and covered in sores. His skin was impossibly stretched over visible bones. He was eating noisily as he groaned.
“Is that good James?” asked Mike, and I saw the figure nod enthusiastically. The back of his head revealed long thinning hair with bald patches.
Mike looked over his shoulder and smiled when he met my eye. “Oh my, James. You’ll never guess who’s come to visit?”
The figure looked up inquisitively, then turned his head in my direction.
I could see it in his eyes. His handsome features had been buried under a pale, gaunt complexion. But I could tell it was Jimmy by his eyes. It took him a few seconds to acknowledge who he was looking at but suddenly his eyes widened, the thin skin of his forehead flaking as it wrinkled. He had pie smeared across his mouth. He had some teeth missing and the ones I could see looked jagged and broken.
“Jessie?” he said, in a voice that wasn’t quite the same. It was weathered, like that of a senior citizen with a bad smoking habit.
My lips trembled as I nodded. “It’s me Jimmy.”
He suddenly stood and lunged towards me, his hands outstretched. I flinched but he was held back by shackles around his ankles.
“Jessie!” he groaned. My heart couldn’t take it, feeling like it was going to explode. I fell to my knees as the 5 year mystery was solved in the most horrifying way.
“Isn’t it nice of Jessie to stop by?” said Mike. “Even after the way you treated her.”
Jimmy became restless, pulling on the shackles. He kept groaning like he was in pain.
“How could you do this to him?” I cried. “Even a rabid beast doesn’t deserve this!”
Mike shrugged. “I guess I felt bad for you. I’d never really considered the feelings of anyone else until I saw just how much you loved this man. And when I witnessed his betrayal day after day I just grew to hate him more. I knew a bullet to the brain wasn’t enough for this piece of shit.”
Mike turned to Jimmy and started rubbing his back. “But you know, over the years this piece of shit has grown on me. We’re like family now, aren’t we James?”
“No!” Jimmy screamed, making me fall back. “No no no!”
He buried his face in Mike’s neck, making him scream in pain. Dark blood cascaded down Mike’s shirt. Considering Jimmy was wasted away to nothing, Mike's attempts at freeing himself were useless. He fell to the floor and pushed himself against the wall, holding the gaping wound on his neck.
“James… Don’t…” he managed before Jimmy pounced. It sounded like a wild animal devouring its prey. I covered my ears as I watched in horror, my body refusing to let me look away.
Before long Mike was silent and still, his eyes remained open as he slouched against the wall. Jimmy turned to look at me, at first appearing shy or embarrassed. His face and chest was covered in Mike’s blood. He licked his lips and attempted to wipe it away with the back of his skeletal arm.
Eventually he started to crawl towards me, only stopping when the shackles wouldn’t allow him to get any closer. He groaned, but it wasn’t in anger. His eyes became glassy and he started to cry.
“Jessie,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
My hands trembled as I reached out to him, scared beyond belief but my heart was breaking all over again. I was in two minds, but eventually my hand met his and I felt his bony fingers between mine.
“Oh Jimmy,” I said breathlessly. “I forgive you.”
We held hands for a moment before I stood up. “I’m calling for help.” I made my way to the stairs.
“No!” Jimmy shouted. His eyes pleaded with me. “No Jessie. Please.
It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I think most people would have done the same from a place of love.
Jimmy Mack is never coming back. dd
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2023.03.29 23:35 MembraneAnomaly Disinformation: A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century
This is a very long, thorough piece by Jacob Siegel. But worth reading through every word, for its thoroughness and the light it sheds on the COVID information wars.
Siegel's thesis seems to me to be horrifyingly accurate - and accurate for the UK as well, though of course we have different characters driving it here. It's hard to try to summarise such a long piece, but I'll try.
The whole "anti-disinformation" malarkey, which predates COVID (in the US, I think it was less prevalent here back then), is now an enormous, settled, hard to dislodge, self-perpetuating industry: Siegel references Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex" speech. It has its roots in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, as practised for decades abroad (for an early example, see we Brits in Malaya) - but now, turned away from that theatre (turning away from its utter failure there
, Siegel emphasises), onto the domestic sphere: the American population. And the British population as well, no doubt others as well.
A few quotes:
...That’s why the authorities can never be labeled as guilty of disinformation. Not when they lied about Hunter Biden’s laptops, not when they claimed that the lab leak was a racist conspiracy, not when they said that vaccines stopped transmission of the novel coronavirus. Disinformation, now and for all time, is whatever they say it is.
If the underlying philosophy of the war against disinformation can be expressed in a single claim, it is this: You cannot be trusted with your own mind.
“If you work in counterterrorism,” said [a former WH national security official], “there’s no incentive to ever say that you’re winning, kicking their ass, and they’re a bunch of losers. It’s all about hyping a threat.” He described “huge incentives to inflate the threat” that have been internalized in the culture of the U.S. defense establishment and are “of a nature that they don’t require one to be particularly craven or intellectually dishonest.”
The standard Watts and others introduced, which quickly became the elite consensus, treats tweets and memes—the primary weapons of disinformation—as acts of war.
That reminds me of a theory I find convincing (can't remember who put it forward): the US response to COVID - sadly there's no-one thinking this through in this direction over here - with all its insanities, its incomprehensible self-contradictions and inconsistencies - can be at least partially explained if you assume that the response was not a public health response at all: it was a DHS/DoD operation, with the mentality that implies. Whatever the official names and functions of the US government departments acting as the "face of the COVID response", this mentality pervaded what they did. We have a glaring clue in the UK with the renaming of the Dept of Health to the "Health Security Agency".
the hazy category of disinformation allowed security experts to conflate racist memes with mass shootings in Pittsburgh and Buffalo and with violent protests like the one that took place at the Capitol. It was a rubric for catastrophizing speech and maintaining a permanent state of fear and emergency.
That phrase "catastrophising speech" really hit home. It's a conflation of words with acts of violence, which must therefore perhaps be prevented before they even occur
. That is such a useful, wideranging way of describing the worldview of the "counter-disinformation complex". As a basis, it can produce all kinds of things: for instance, the all too familiar shutdown: "your statement - even your question - kills grannies
It can also produce insanity on campus, with speakers being "shut down" before they even start to speak, because their words, supposedly, cause irretrievable harm
, as if they were nail-bombs. The recent events at Stanford Law School come to mind. There have been plenty of similar, though generally less spectacular events at UK universities.
This concern with erasing words before they're uttered
is completely crazy. Are words really that powerful - outside some of the deeply weird Qabalistic texts I've sometimes tried to read? Siegel gets into this point, remarking that this level of paranoia (assisted by those lovely $$$$$) must constitute its own enemy (words, speech) as powerful beyond belief.
Beyond this concern, is there a connection between the two spheres - the dirty world of (UK) 77th Brigade, dodgy "AI" companies, spooks, or (US) DHS paranoia, counterterrorism, various "Trust" and "Election" "initiatives", all hungry for Washington/Whitehall $$$$$/££££££ on the one hand, and students going mental about "canceling" people they don't like?
I don't think there needs to be a smoking-gun kind of connection. We're not going to get footage of Washington/Whitehall counter-insurgency bigwigs plotting with student mobs in a darkened room, because that's not necessary. It's - depressingly - quite enough that, when the "adults" are engaging in this kind of scorched-earth expropriation of the fields of speech, trying to plant them over with an approved monoculture, younger people are going to think that's a fine idea and do it too.
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2023.03.29 23:34 MagicYanma Torchlight 3
--- USS Cambridge
A young human stares up at the sight before him. It is not grand in any sense of the word but it still is impressive, a ship built to fly among the stars before him as they both stand on an alien world. The ship itself is full of scars, pock marks, and massive dents in its steel armor plating. Standing out from all the damage were two plates missing entirely, revealing the hull proper beneath.
“Ever weld before Kevin?”
He looks back to see his superior, a well-built woman of tan skin and in a jumpsuit like his but dirty at the sleeves. She pulls along a toolbox and a cart with a drape over it.
“Yes but nothing to this scale and definitely on ship’s my whole life like you… Tara, was it?”
“Yes and it’s time to get used to it, White Hat.” she takes out a portable welder and places it on a toolbox. “New to the ship means you get the big plate to do.”
“Hell of a ritual you all have here.”
“Hey, the Cambridge
is a good girl but she needs her maintenance like any other. Especially since we’re supposed to be away from friendly space for long spans of time." She pulls out her own welder and uses her foot to pull over the cart with two large panels of pre-made steel plates. “Especially after losing two plates to a meteoroid. Lucky us nothing else hit or we'd be freezing up till rescue.”
“God’s sake, is this really necessary every time we lose an armor panel?” Kevin asks.
“Doesn’t matter what god you pray to, if something smashes through the side of the ship, we die.” she slaps the unlit welder into Kevin’s gut, “So try not to damage the plating. It’s all we have- got none of those fancy shields or massive 3D printers. Now, stop slacking, start welding.”
“Just great… Is it always like this?” Kevin groans before sliding down the face-plate and lighting the torch.
“Welcome to the reality of interstellar travel.”
--- Personal Virtual Recorder File #23-2-AT, 204 D.G, 5th of Gransus
- Executive Officer Atai, Kata-Haslin
The lights of the tracka
car flicker as I make my return to the bridge, timing it before the start of Speaker Luril’s sermon. I assume the lights mean that Aran’s work on connecting the derelict is done along with restoring power to the Kata-Haslin
. Sometimes, he works miracles… or they found it easier than thought. I presume the latter since he also has a flair for dramatics at times.
Up an elevator and walking about a few halls, I eventually greet a puzzling sight. My deck officers all standing by the doors of the bridge. With them are two other officers aboard: Chief Crewvi Kure and Senior Medic Ijik. I assume they're here to report things to the Captain but, I find they are all arguing to my detriment. Can nothing be right today?
“What is going on? Why is everyone outside the bridge? Why are Chief Crewvi Kure and Senior Medical Officer Ijik here?” I announce as I walk up to the gathering at the door. All eyes and ears turn to me. Most are with relief, though among many, one pair of eyes is far angrier than the rest.
“Well, look who finally decided to appear. Finally here to do work you’re meant to do Atai?” Kure states to me directly, even stepping forward. He is one of few Aavi on this ship able to stand and look me in the eyes physically without straightening our normally bent legs.
“I have been down in the holds, observing what happened with my own eyes. I need to know what we were dealing with personally.” I explain to Kure who in return flicks his tail sharply in his anger.
“Well, while you’ve been off doing that, I’ve been addressing the crew as best I can because a whole group of people refuses to tell me what’s going on! I call the Captain and get drunken rambling. I come up here and I find out she’s locked herself in the bridge and all the deck officers are out here!”
everyone out here and not at their post exactly?” I ask the other officers of the bridge. Reni and Ikai both look away to a nearby sign with fake interest. Jukli looks up at the ceiling with his interest focusing on the ventilation. Only Zawi stood her ground to answer me.
“The Captain is inside. Threw us all out on her order then locked the door behind us. Turns out, Kure informed her of her mistake.” Zawi snorts in Kure’s direction, to which the Chief Crewvi growls, baring his teeth at her.
“Heel Kure.” is all I give him as a warning. He may snarl and whip his tail at me all he wants but the rest of my officers and crew are off-limits to such behavior.
“Like the Great Darkness I will.” he cuts back at me, getting ever closer to my snout. “You have a lot to speak for.”
“What exactly do you want me to say? We shunt into real-space and debris smashes into us. If it happened in proper Domain space, would you have the same complaint?”
“I wouldn’t because there wouldn’t be random derelicts floating around! We’d also definitely not be taking random shortcuts!”
“So you wish to tell the Captain herself that?” I say, blowing out some of Kure’s steam. The Chief Crewvi just looks me over for a moment.
“No, but I do wish to see the Captain before she passes out.” Ijik finally comments, reminding me of his existence. “Zawi called me up here for a reason.”
“Well, that was when we were still on the bridge but right now…” Zawi comments. I sigh and walk up to the door.
“Well, I can head inside. In an emergency, Executive Officers have the same power as a Captain - including overrides.” I reveal to the relief of everyone here, aside from Kure who continues to look sour.
“And then what? She’s drunk and in the way.” Reni queries me in earnest.
I take a moment to mull over what choice I can have. Shoving her into her quarters and locking her in is impossible. She can let herself out at any time. In no way will she willingly go away. Nothing in the lower decks will distract her, even a sermon.
“Simple. I will speak with the Captain and… we will have her jailed to get her out of the way; especially for her crime of stranding us here.” I look at everyone else with a fierce eye. They all seem wary of the idea. Even Kure has a face of disbelief and timidity. I can't blame them of course. While I relish the idea, I know it may come back to harm us in the future, but it must be done if the Captain will resort to actions like this.
After a period of silence producing an answer for me from all, I continue.
“Zawi, contact Command Officer Myki and Second Command Officer Rune. Have them bring a small security team to the bridge. Do not tell either why
they’re needed. If either does ask, tell them I finally snapped and I’m choking Kure out with my tail.” I instruct succinctly to Zawi who slowly nods. A few chuckle at the notion of me choking out Kure - who I know has the same feeling for me.
“Heh, you dream it.” the one I deftly dislike responds aloud. I just shake my head as I pull up an access card on my armband. A usual model alike everyone else that stores cards, identification, and currency.
It takes little effort on my part to take out the override keeping the doors shut with that card. Being XO, even a Captain’s lockdown can be overridden by myself using a simple handprint on an inset panel beside the screen. It recognizes who I am and unlocks without delay. Handy that in emergencies the Executive Officer is given override access as well. Once done, I turn and look at everyone else.
“I remind you all to stay out here. I will speak with her alone and distract her. Once Myki and Rune arrive, you may all come inside with haste. No matter what you hear from within, do not rush in without them aside you.” I order them all deftly.
“...Do you seriously intend to detain her?” Reni finally remarks to me in shock, speaking up for everyone after all the complacency. The other officers look about before voicing quiet agreements, aside from Kure who seems to be indifferent to the idea. If there is one thing I agree with the thick fool, it's that the Captain is an absolute travesty.
I take a deep breath, my tail drags across the ground and I look away. It is tough to relay exactly what the Captain is culpable of to them, even if most before me bore witness to it.
“She is the one who locked the ship’s navigation computer into going this route. Thus, she is the one ultimately at fault. Also, action must be taken to prevent further damage by her hand, especially in the state she is in, considering she is in there doing who knows what.”
“What damage could she possibly do?” Kure asks, curious for once instead of being indignant.
“Chief Engineer Aran told me that if we activate the K-L System, the ship will rip apart. Right now, she is on the bridge. With all the controls. Drunk.”
Finally, Kure and Ijik began to look on in horror at the door separating us all from the bridge. They look to the rest of the officers who look a tad despondent and back away. I finally take my entrance onto the bridge to see what the Captain is up to. The door quietly shuts behind me, sealing me in with the Captain.
I look over the bridge in silence by myself. Well, not myself - myself and the drunk Captain who is currently sprawling herself over what should be her seat but with her current act, a seat she doesn’t deserve.
“Captain Orun. You know well you cannot drink on the bridge, especially on duty.” I tell her, fruitlessly. The woman refuses to ever listen to what regulations require - running to her tempo instead.
“Don… don’t tell me what I can an’ can’t do Atai… I know… I know… I’m the Captain and I say… i’s fine. I’s fine…” Captain Orun replies to my irritation. I hold back the urge to raise my voice or do something rash.
fine, Captain. You know what happened, what you caused.”
“I… I caused nothin’ you… you… you liar…” the Captain does her best to stand from her chair but leans on it heavily to keep steady. She then points a shaky, pathetic finger at me. “Liar… Always been a liar an… an… trying… tryin’ to upstage me. ”
“Sir, you’ve been Captain for two Asavai years. I have been Executive Officer for the better part of fifteen. The Kate-Haslin
is not just a ship to me but a home and the crew is my family. You only see us all as peons and idiots to use.”
“Tha’s cause rh, you’re all… all from…”
“The Kinsiv Domain while you are from the Capital Domain? Yes, that is correct. What does that change exactly? Does that make us lesser than you? Under the Equalist society regimen, we are all equal aside rank.”
“Well… Rrr, well… equal is for… fools… You’re all not equal jus’ idiots from shit colonies.”
I bristle hearing such a farce. It takes a considerable effort not to clock her for the indignance. Instead, I just clench my fist while my tail whips behind me, the best way to let out my anger for now. The last thing I need is the Security team walking in and seeing me knock out the Captain after all.
“Last I checked, the current Council leader is from a colony in the Neris Domain. Are they an idiot too?”
“Hah… got in on a fluke… she’... she’ll be out by the end of the year. Just a… a… rrhh… An idiot who doesn’ know what is what.”
“Yet we are now stranded by someone who is supposed to know better. An alien ship stuck in the bow. Do not try and pass off what happened as my fault either. You chose the route and you locked us out of the navigation computer.”
“...this route is supposed to be… clear.”
“Well, it wasn’t this time. Prior shortcuts worked but not this one. It was only a matter of time before we end up either harassed by pirates or a statistic our families will all grieve.” I continue to rant. The woman who dares be Captain angering me as she continues to excuse herself.
Captain Orun growls as she throws the bottle in her hand past me. It clatters pathetically on the ground behind me, her angry throw completely sloppy due to her state. One look at it then back to Orun to see her gripping the back of her seat with her claws - a sign of anger and hostility.
“...a sham. Yer’ a damn sham. Always tryin’ to… one up me.”
“You’re already Captain. What could I possibly
“You want my seat! My hat… I… I know you do!”
“And? I can wait. I have the next two hundred years to try.” I comment, trying to keep a calm act as my anger bubbles and froths. In truth, I know I qualify for Captain. Years of experience on the Kata-Haslin
and various other ships.
“Wait… wait… to what? Stab me in the back… an’ throw me away!?”
“No, just waiting for you to eventually move on as other Captains have. Running this ship is not glorious nor rewarding. I know and you know it. You don’t want to be here, you’re just here because it’s all you can manage to get assigned to.”
“An’ you can only… can only get assigned to a crap old freighter like this.” she charges back. A hand begins to search through her jacket, if poorly.
“No, I can move on and up but I choose to stay.”
“Move… move… no… I should just get rid of you before you try an’ move me!” Orun suddenly shouts. I spy her sloppily pulling out her light knife from her jacket and I start taking steps back. As much as I want to pull out my sidearm or sword, I would prefer not to get into immense trouble.
“Captain, you have the wrong idea of what I-”
“SHUT UP! YOU LIAR!”
I barely have time to stop Orun nor reply as she rushes forward, knife in hand. The door then opens right as Orun’s light knife slashes me on the cheek. It stings and burns for a moment and I stumble back into my console. The Captain has lost her mind entirely to her ales.
“Captain Orun, Officer Atai, is everything- what the!?” I hear Command Officer Myki call out only to end in shock. The others rush in only to see me block the Captain from another slash at me. Her drunken movements are easy to counter but hard to predict. This one, I deflect up and the knife slashes into my hat.
“Stop right there Captain! Drop that knife now
My savior, Rune, runs up and grabs the Captain. The female Aavi struggles, yelling and screaming as the security officer wrangles with her. Myki walks up and disarms her, simply snatching the knife out of her hand before allowing Rune to start dragging her back.
“We got the word you and the Captain were having a heated exchange. I can see it got more than that.”
“One can say that…” is all I can muster as Captain Orun continues to scream and flail.
“You’re all… you’re all dead! I’ll… I’ll have you all thrown out by the Terna
for this! Lemme’ go!”
“Not happening sir but you’ve broken one of the top codes - you’ve attacked your crew. That requires, at minimum, time in the brig until the next stopover so judgment can be called.” Myki relays to the furious Orun as she struggles with Rune.
The Second Command Officer eventually manages to shackle the Captain who falls to the floor pathetically. I watch with everyone else as she screams, wails, and writhes. She makes all sorts of promises and threats to try and get us to let her out but no one moves. No one dares even try. We all want this, dreaming of this day to come. No one here is about to thwart that.
Eventually, Myki summons a DG drone to carry the Captain away. He places her on its platform and it whirrs off to the lower decks. He then turns to me.
“Well, I’d like an explanation before anything else.” the black fur Aavi before me says as he sits behind him.
“She found out she got the ship stranded. Came here drunk, and locked everyone out. I got in, confronted her before she could get us all killed and then you all came as she tried to kill me for ‘insubordination’ and else.” I relay in a factly manner.
“Remarkable,” Myki says in a rather deadpan tone. “We will have to review the Bridge Recorder to see if that holds up but considering you’re bleeding…”
I just nod and gently wipe away some of the yellow blood trickling down my cheek.
“How about you skip the sermon Atai? Clean up, gel over the wound.” Ijik recommends. “Seems I will be skipping it myself to sedate our former Captain - you’re the Captain now, by default. Welcome to your new job.”
“Thank you Ijik and I will call up the morning shift officers here to watch over after I’m done. Everyone, dismissed.” I calmly order despite the injury, my first one as the new Captain by technicality.
My crew slowly filters out until only Myki is left, still sitting there next to me. He lets out a soft snort as he stands.
“You know once we head back, we will all have a lot to answer for correct?”
“I will take responsibility, good or bad. If the Terna
wishes to punish me… so be it. Anything to keep the ship and crew safe. Because… if she activated the K-L system.”
“The ship would be ripped apart. Yes, Zawi told me how bad it was before we entered. Stressed Orun needs to be detained before she does that.”
“If one thinks she’s mad now, she’ll be even madder when sober.” I say as something I can’t help but comment. Myki lets out a nervous laugh - the call of our people.
“Well, that’s for me and Security to deal with. You just worry about keeping us all alive, alright?”
Myki stands and towers over me. His exo-suit gives him not only incredible strength and agility but also height as his feet are atop metal facsimiles. My own gives me the same capabilities but weaker though it comes with far more computing features instead. Differing needs, as it stands.
“I’ll have to head down and see to her now. We will talk further later.”
Myki leaves me alone on the bridge. For the first time in a while, I have only silence aside from the noise of computer fans. It's comforting but foreboding as well. I settle for going to my quarters to clean up but as I walk out of the bridge, a sensor trip alarm goes off. With everyone away, either to the shrine or tending to Orun, I consider this a chance by the Spirits. Or possibly a coincidence? Either way, I move over to the console delivering the loud news to see it is a life support alarm.
“Odd… how is that possible?”
I check over thoroughly what the alarm is sounding off for exactly. I narrow it down to a fan obstruction - it’s simply not spinning anymore. Debris? Well, the ducts the derelict poke through are already in-active thus their alarms should not be going off. Further investigation reveals it is a duct fan on the side of Hold Twenty without a breach.
“What?” I growl before shaking my head. Whatever it is, it’s spreading. The number of fans jamming up is growing, slowly, one by one. These are not small fans either, the duct is quite large to move hefty amounts of air between the massive Holds. Slowly, I reach up. Do I contact someone for help? And who? Well, there is one Aavi that I call in. This is his field of work.
“Aran. I need you in Hold Twenty and now
. Forget the sermon. There’s a problem.”
“...what now Atai? You know Luril is going to give us both a lecture if we-”
“Duct number two. Its fans are stopping one by one. Something is going on. Check your scanner if you don’t believe me.”
Silence comes to me from the comm. A minute passes then two. Five minutes pass before thankfully, Aran responds to me.
“...I’ll meet you there.”
I sigh in relief. It’s to my great thanks that Aran is the most reliable Aavi I know on this ship. I will need him to figure out what is going on and why our life support system is slowly shutting down. I hope no Aavi has decided to hide in the ducts out of sheer mind break.
The trip back to Hold Twenty is not quick, as I head against the flow of the crew to the shrine which lay in the aft. Because of all the delays, I arrive a half hour after I spoke with Aran. Said Aavi himself arrives ten minutes after that riding one of his TYA drones.
is too busy for this,” he comments as he hops down before me. His exo-suit’s leg springs let out soft puffs of air as they compress to soften the landing for him. “And we are missing a sermon that Speaker Luril wanted
us to be there.”
“He can want what he wants, the Spirits can wait. The Kata-Haslin
having issues takes priority, always.”
“Always being whenever convenient right? Most of the time, I’m
the one who has to set aside personal time for problems.”
“Just check the system again before we look at it ourselves.” I tell him, with a flick of an ear. Aran snorts seeing that and my tone.
“Rrr… Okay so some stopped fans.” he brings up his wrist and begins to flick and flit with the screen. “A problem sure but the system can function without them through induction and…” Aran looks at his wrist to check on the current state of things. He taps away longer than I would like, his face growing slowly in worry as well.
“Is something wrong?”
“How…” he looks up at me with disbelief, “The fans have stopped all the way to Hold Seventeen now but… the last trigger was ten minutes ago. That’s a gap in time, I wonder why…”
“That’s… when I got here?”
I look about, wondering if someone is watching us. Aran does the same yet with our eyes and sensitive ears, we both come up short. Yet… I do feel that something is here, keeping an eye on us. From where though, I can’t fathom.
“Wait, look there. None of my team put that cover there… where did it come from?”
To my surprise, Aran’s observation is correct. Along the cargo floor, a blue plastic sheet drapes over a section of the wall paneling. It is hard to spot behind all the containers but it certainly is not normally there. We look at each other then hop down, letting our exo-suits take the fall for us and walk to it.
“Maybe… someone left this behind?” Aran says, looking it over closely. He moves it aside lightly to reveal a gaping hole leading into inky darkness. “...rah?”
“...rrr, that’s not good.” I finally mumble, seeing the hole.
A wall panel is ajar, leaving a good amount of space for any Aavi to slip through. Aran slumps slightly and I stand there in surprise. To open up the panel would take great strength without the necessary tools but it is clear whoever did this, somehow did. Inspecting closer, we both can see that they left marks behind from the sheer force, even bending the panel slightly.
“They used something blunt and strong. With the marks, a lever action like a bar.” Aran deduces calmly as traces a hand over the panel, “And… rrr… with great strength too. Whoever did this, either has an exo-suit like mine or Security’s.”
“So Engineering and Security. Who within either would wrench open a panel and start shutting off fans?”
“Not a clue, no one in Engineering has any suicidal ideas nor a reason to hide in the ducts. Security… they’re a good sort. If any are missing, the Command Officers would let you know.” Aran tells me. I nod at the thought. No call is coming and I know it - Myki is too insightful to let slip a single missing set of ears.
“I doubt it. There must be several members of the crew involved then. Kure is a fire-minded one, sometimes he can miss obvious holes while looking at dust.”
“Is someone messing with us? Why hide this?” Aran comments as he moves the tarp aside, revealing the full extent of the open panel. The cold air from within hits us both and I can see Aran shiver. It takes a moment for either of us to say anything else but eventually I find my voice.
“Well, it’s pretty clear whoever did this is trying to be as quiet as a jerta
Aran clicks his tongue. “They’re good at it too. Brave as well to walk in such a dark, enclosed space.”
I don’t respond. There is a lot to consider. Whoever is in there are disabling fans, which means they don’t have the Kata
’s best intentions in mind - thus the crew as well. We simply cannot let them run amuck, as much as I would rather Security deal with the issue. Time is at hand and there simply isn’t much of it. Aside from that, it would take a considerable amount of time with how many are likely at the sermon which leaves only one immediate option.
I slump, my tail plopping on the floor with a quiet thud. Aran looks at me as I eye the darkness intently. “...we might need to follow them in and confront them.”
“You… rrh, you sure? They might-”
break something more permanently. You know how bad that can be.” I quickly retort, to Aran’s detriment.
Aran slowly clenches a fist, his other clenching the hilt of his sword. “I know, I would just rather not confront anyone
. I am no warrior. No soldier. No glada
.” he lists, stressing the last one in particular. “If they are just… in a bad state, we are not the right ones to speak with them.”
“Better us than no one at all.” I move up to the open gap and look inside. Looking back to Aran, I spy his worry and give him a gesture of confidence: crossing a tight fist over my chest. He lets out a soft breath at it and steps up to me.
“Alright. You owe me plenty now. First repairing the Kata
, then hooking up a derelict to the power system now this. Five rounds of kert
, at minimum.”
“A deal on my honor then.”
I take a deep breath and step into the duct, turning on a light as I do. The darkness cannot hide them now.
- A lot of focus on the crew of the Kata-Haslin
but that's because I want to slow-burn first before everything else.
- Orun has been thrown in the brig. As deserved of course.
- The ducts are quite large as they must push vast quantities of air across ~8 kilometers.
- As per suggestion, I will add dates to the Cambridge
- Switching from 3rd to 1st Person for the story. Makes it easier to keep track of thoughts and actions.
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2023.03.29 23:33 TheTribeofYHWH Why did God have to take on flesh?
God is a morally perfect Father and
Judge. His love/mercy and his justice cannot be compromised. If people weren’t held responsible for wrongdoings, he wouldn’t be morally perfect. It's like saying a judge has the power to not convict a guilty criminal, but then they would no longer be a just judge. Even God wouldn’t be able to do something unjust while still being just. As such, God must respond to sin. And this dovetails with my further point, which is that all people are imperfect, or miss the mark sort of speak. A person may question and ask: why can't God create heaven to begin with? But it’s possible that no matter what world God creates with free creatures, we would go wrong anyway. Keep in mind that it's logically impossible for God to make someone freely do good, and omnipotence is traditionally defined as being able to do anything logically possible. Spiritual forces (e.g., the fall of Satan) only propounds the issue. This all means that heaven could only be at the final stage of history.
Support for this argument comes from the logical impossibility for God to create an impeccable free will (a libertarian free will with the impossibility of sinning). Since God contains such a will, God would be creating another God in that case. And due to the logical impossibility of creating the uncreated, He could have not created such a will. This could support the idea that God couldn't have created anybody whom He foreknew would always freely do the good. It's possible that any person with libertarian free will would eventually go wrong.
One may come back and say: what about free will in heaven? Medieval theologians liked to talk of the “Beatific Vision” which the blessed in heaven will receive. There the veil will be removed, and we shall see Christ face to face in all of His loveliness and goodness. The vision of Christ, the source of infinite goodness and love, will be so overwhelming as to remove all freedom to sin. One may ask, but why not just create us in this way to begin with? I would respond with saying that, while having free will on earth, God simply permanently cemented that freely chosen decision to accept God or not upon mortal death. Love still exists in heaven because God affirms the free-willed decision to follow God while on earth. Plus, it's only the ability to sin that will be removed. For example, the redeemed will have at least some measure of free will. They won’t retain a choice about whether to worship, but they might well have a choice about how
to worship. Thus, in at some many respects of heavenly life even on this view, one will be the source of one's own actions. And even so, there still would be morally significant actions done in heaven, such as supererogatory actions.
One could come back and say that someone who being always placed in circumstances that God foreknew would lead to good (free) choices is possible. But there would be absolutely no soul-building on this view. Timothy Pawl points out an illustration in his 2009 paper "Incompatibilism, Sin, and Free Will in Heaven," "suppose that Smith is prone to adultery. But Smith’s wife knows this about him. Suppose she knows the precise circumstances he would have to be in to commit adultery, or even freely will to commit adultery. Now suppose she is very good at keeping him out of these circumstances such that he is never again in adultery-prone circumstances. Extend the example a bit more and suppose that she knows what circumstances he would have to be in to perform any other sins as well. ... No matter where he finds himself, provided that his wife is watching over him, he won’t sin." This seems absurd in the extreme. Further, is one really free on this view? One certainly wouldn't have any morally significant free will. As Alvin Plantinga defines it; a person has significant free will only if that individual is “free with respect to an action that is morally significant for him,” where an action is morally significant for a person at a given time “if it would be wrong for him to perform the action then but right to refrain, or vice versa" - Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity
, p. 166. Significant free will is thus a robust, non-trivial freedom of the will. If God were to create beings who could choose freely only once, and then only between two morally neutral options, it would be true to say that such creatures have free will, but it would be false to say that they have significant free will. But we would lack this if God always simply placed people in certain situations that he foreknows would lead to good decisions.
Since all morally responsible humans miss the mark and have done wrong things, none of us deserve heaven. In fact, many people curiously ask the question: “how could an all loving all powerful God send anyone to eternal hell”? But a better question could be: “how could an all just God send anyone to heaven”? This is especially since Gods justice cannot be compromised by his other characteristics. God as Judge does not merely pardon us but, being essentially just, exacts the punishment demanded by retributive justice. He does not exact it from us but from Himself in Christ. We who accept Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice are thereby freed from our liability to punishment and our guilt expunged. Seeing that Christ has vicariously satisfied the demands of divine retributive justice on our behalf, God can, in turn, pardon us of our sins. It is in that sense that God can be said to have forgiven our sins. This is the whole reason why Christians say that Jesus is the only way. If one doesn’t accept the offer of mercy only made possible by God taking on human flesh to take on the punishment that His own nature demands one's freely chosen sins punished with, one falls back on Gods justice. As such, God's doesn't send anyone to hell, people send themselves.
And this is what all makes Isaiah 52:13-53:12 so beautiful. It's not a righteous third party that dies for our sins. It's God Himself who took on human flesh and died for our sins. And this text was written over 500 years before Jesus!
\God Speaks:]) "See, my servant1 shall succeed; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at you—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals—so he shall sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate. \Israel Speaks:]) Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of pains and acquainted with sorrows; and like the hiding of the face for him, he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own ways, but the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Yet who of his generation even considered that he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people to whom the blow belonged? They made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with weakness. When you make his life a guilt offering, he shall see offspring, and shall prolong days; and through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. \God Speaks:]) The righteous one, my servant, shall make many to be considered righteous, and he shall bear their sins. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the multitudes; because he poured out his life to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of the many, and will intervene for the transgressors."
1 There is huge debate and controversy over the identity of the Servant in Isaiah. On the one hand, Isaiah says Israel is the Servant outside of the Servant songs. On the other hand, the Servant reads like an individual in the Servant songs. There is a quite simple resolution to this. While the Servant is identified as Jacob-Israel outside of the songs, the nation of Israel is revealed within the dynamic movement of the four Servant songs as being embodied in a suffering individual figure. So, the Servant never stops being "Israel," but "Jacob-Israel" undergoes a reduction down to one within these songs. This is not my invention but is rather a prominent scholarly opinion. For example, Ricki Watts writes in his 1990 article: "In cognizance of the individual traits . . . it would appear that true Israel has been reduced to one, cf. 53:6 and ch. 48" - Rikki Watts, 1990: p. 55. The Servant within the Servant Songs can't be Jacob-Israel as a collective, because there are numerous points of contrast between the Servant and Israel as a nation. For example, in Isa. 49:5-6 the Servant has a mission to the nation as a group. This means that the nation as Servant is understood to shrink in size. But is this shrinking in size down to one person, or a righteous remnant? Isaiah 49:6 qualifies Israel as the remnant, so the reduction of the Servant seems to be down to one person. One also can't so easily compare the individual language applied to Israel outside of the songs with the Servant in the songs, since Israel as Servant is intentionally shrunk down in size so as to be distinct from Israel as a nation, as indicated by Isa. 49:5-6, along with the heightening of the individualistic language in each successive song. This combination of shrinking and heightening seems to signify an intentional reduction of what the prophet considered true Israel down to one. Further, the switch from the "Servant" in Isaiah 40-53 to the collective "servants" of the Servant motif in Isaiah 54-66 through the Servant's offspring implies that the Servant Songs have, in the context of the book as a whole, both a primary individual sense, referring to the Servant, and a secondary collective sense, referring to the faithful remnant, cf. Isaiah 50:10-11, the servants of the Servant. Lastly, the people of Israel and its remnant in the context of Isaiah are transgressors, e.g., Isa. 46:1-12; 48:1-11, while the Servant is faithful and righteous, Isa. 53:9, 11. Many other points could be raised. Isaiah 49:3 does not preclude this, unless one begs the question against the "Israel-reduced-to-one" view. Plus, in Isa. 49:3, the name of Israel is probably a predicate: "you are Israel" - Jaap Dekker 2012: 38-39. So, is the Servant an individual or Israel? Both!
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