Does buc ee's have lottery tickets

Things I Never Thought I Would Say

2014.02.05 18:12 Cananbaum Things I Never Thought I Would Say

At, work, home, in a video game, or whenever... what is something you never thought you would say?
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2023.03.30 00:33 -Cry_Bxby- Portals tour questions?

So this is the first time I'm going to go to a concert and I wanna know what to expect so I'd really appreciate any response 💗
  1. How much do VIP tickets usually cost and is it worth it?
  2. What's the best time to get there to be close to the barricade?
  3. Does anyone have any idea what they'll be giving for VIP tickets?
  4. Did the Boston and NY concerts have seats or did people have to stand?
  5. Will Melanie be performing After School, K-12, or Crybaby songs after the concert?
Hope you have a great day/night!
submitted by -Cry_Bxby- to MelanieMartinez [link] [comments]


2023.03.30 00:28 TheHomeBizSeeker rpm

rpm
It’sWhat?It's Been a TRAP
ThisToday's trap is the biggest and most common pitfall of would be entrepreneurs today. It'sMost sometimes called "Analysis Paralysis", but I like to call it what it is. FEAR Fear of failing Fear of being judged Fear of not being able to handle success Fear of offending people Fear of wasting time and effort Fear of (INSERT YOUR EXCUSE HERE) We all have fear, but it’s the successful people who feel the fear and do it anyway. They don't let fear stop them, and they use the fear to push them to do greater and greater things. My mentor is a living example of what you can achieve when you take action in spite of fear.
ItSureThat wasn’t luck that catapulted him from suicide to success. It was a lot of hard work, struggle, embarrassment… And a whole lot of sucking at things at first. But because he didn’t quit, it allowed him to become a 7 figure earner in under 5 years from trying to take his own life… He did have one thing going for me though. He had time. He worked online day and night for up to 16 hours a day. He struggled for months trying to make my first commission. There were many days that he wanted to quit, wanted to give it all up. But hedidn’t… He pushed through and today he is in the 1% of earners online. It would have been so much EASIER if he had a proven path to follow and he doesn't want you to have to struggle like he did. That’s why James created the RPM training and group. This is the system, training and support James wishes someone had given him back in 2017. I’ve combined EVERYTHING I spent years learning into this system and created something never done before thanks to a new technology you will discover in the fr-ee group. It really does make it so simple a 3 year old could do it… Prove us wrong. Get started today.
Jump in today, you’ll be glad you did. Kind regards, Patrick
submitted by TheHomeBizSeeker to u/TheHomeBizSeeker [link] [comments]


2023.03.30 00:23 Zydrate_Anatomy91 Disney On Ice opening times.

Decided to surprise my son this year with tickets to see the Disney On Ice when it comes in a few months. We got tickets to the 10am Saturday session, but does anyone know when the Entertainment Centre will open the doors to allow people in? I am someone who benefits from pre-planning and I also know it's going to be hectic. My son has ADHD and can have trouble waiting in lines, especially when he is excited. We also want to allow time to have a look at the merchandise being sold. So is it better to get there early or will there be time after the show to have a look?
submitted by Zydrate_Anatomy91 to Adelaide [link] [comments]


2023.03.30 00:19 Curvy-Insect Improved travel itinerary

I posted earlier a travel itinerary and got some useful suggestions so decided to draft a new, hopefully better one. In my previous one I was doing Athens, Naxos, Santorini and Crete (staying in Heraklion).
In this one, I decided to change a few things:
Wanted to add I don't drive and I am going alone, so renting a car is not an option. I do like to book the tours in advance but I only do it in a website that allows me to cancel with a full refund to up to 24h before, so I have some flexibility. However, I can't vary too much the dates I stay in each place otherwise accomodation prices might go up, given the time of the year, so I wanted to settle at least that.
The itinerary would be:
There's another two activities, from Heraklion:
Maybe one of those is better and I can replace some of the mentioned ones?
I could replace one of those two tours with a visit to one or two of the nearby islands as well.
So my questions are:
submitted by Curvy-Insect to GreeceTravel [link] [comments]


2023.03.30 00:11 Liftblr LiveNation concert VIP resale benefits success on VividSeats (+ questions regarding VIP benefits from resales)

I’ve been eyeing at a specific VIP seat on VividSeats for the TWICE concert and was wondering if anybody whose ever purchased VIP resale tickets on that website had any success in getting into contact with their VividSeats seller for transferring VIP benefits (if it was necessary). Preferably, if you’ve been to TWICE and succeeded in getting VIP benefits from VividSeats, I’d like to know about your experience to prepare myself if I have to purchase from there.
Also, how does it work when you buy “Mobile Transfer” tickets from VividSeats? Does the seller directly transfer the ticket to Ticketmaster or something else? What exactly happens?
Finally, anybody had any success in getting into Soundcheck with a VIP ticket that said “Free Transfer” on Ticketmaster? Because apparently, I think people has had success in past USA K-pop concerts even with that ticket status.
Let me know your answers to these questions.
submitted by Liftblr to kpophelp [link] [comments]


2023.03.30 00:04 JuanLilG How do you feel about black ice not being as rare?

Now that bravo tickets have become a thing, black ices are not as rare as they used to be. I see at least one every game and am not in awe at the cool looking rare skin. Does this matter? No, not really. It hasn’t affected my enjoyment of the game in the slightest and I still think it’s a good looking skin. What do y’all think?
submitted by JuanLilG to Rainbow6 [link] [comments]


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:
Quests:
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:
  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. There are several subdivisions near Washington Rd and William Few Pkwy in Evans, GA, that are commonly underserved.
  4. Whole blocks within River Island Pkwy are rented out by Mercedes Benz and other corporations and is a good source of rides.
  5. 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.
  6. Otherwise, workers and patrons will be staying in housing all over the city.
Roads to Avoid:
Law Enforcement:
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:
Competition:
Traveling from Other Markets:
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):
submitted by Keraiza to uberdrivers [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:46 Dylan74177 Hello does anybody else have this problem with the Apple Store App.

Hello does anybody else have this problem with the Apple Store App. I’m trying to buy a iPhone 13 mini just using Apple gift cards that I redeemed to my Apple ID balance. I have bought a iPhone before doing this with no problem. But When I place Order it comes with a error Message saying my Credit card was declined even though I was just using Apple gift cards to purchase. I called Apple and they Set up a Ticket? And told me to way 1-3 business days and if the problem wasn’t settled by then, they would put the Apple ID balance back onto a gift card.
submitted by Dylan74177 to applehelp [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:46 kiwi_kerosene Agora Parking

Hii!
I recently won tickets to a concert at the agora next month, but am very broke atm due to a series of unfortunate events. I've been to enough shows there to know that they usually charge 20 bucks for parking. I can't really afford that. Does anyone have any parking tips/suggestions for parking nearby but not in their actual lot? I've only ever used their parking lot so idk if there's other places that I just don't know about.
Thank you in advance 🥺❤️
submitted by kiwi_kerosene to Cleveland [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:42 NoPo552 Life Isn't Fair - Where you're born matters.

Too many people are informed today that anything is possible, everyone is equal, just work harder and u will achieve whatever you want etc. This might feel good in the short term but in the long term this has horrible consequences for the mind of people. Comparing yourself to others who won out it in the genetic lottery/ brought up in a better environment than you is like taking a first class ticket to depression. I understand why people have to delude themselves, life can be brutal. Giving yourself false hope is one of the easiest and potent ways to stimulate short term happiness.
I made a video discussing this, give your honest thoughts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvfo23Q3gU0
submitted by NoPo552 to unpopularopinion [link] [comments]


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.
submitted by Deep_Check_4622 to saudiarabia [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:33 Gamesfreak13563 Your impressions on MOM so far?

I usually like waiting for context to build before reviewing stuff, but screw it! Like Freud at a burlesque show, I'm excited about MOM. What are your impressions so far on battles, the new commanders, the mechanics, etc.? Here's mine:
Battles: These are bizzarro-Star Realms bases, because you build them and tear them down. Reminds me of those Zendikar quests, where you have to accomplish some sort of goal to get a reward, but here, the goal is always "punch people." Of course, if you know me, you know I'm interested in doing anything but playing these things by the rules. I wonder if I can get away with animating all these, turning them into a copy of something like [[Bereaved Survivor]] via [[Echoing Equation]], and then transforming them for one creature.
Backup: Oh, this is where the fun begins. Anything that grants abilities to anything else is golden. Plus, it's an ETB and it's a counter strategy. White's salivating. Depending on how the rules for this work, I desperately hope that blue gets a clone that enters as a copy of something except it has Backup 1.
Incubate: The endless cavalcade of tokens! Those commanders that thrive on making any kind of tokens (like [[Thalisse, Reverent Medium]]) prove themselves to be great investments. I'm less up on actually making creatures out of these guys; might as well just make way more real creature tokens to start. Hilarious with [[Cult of the Waxing Moon]] though. I think these are interesting in decks that can move counters around, but until they print a good commander that does that instead of just removing them, that's just a theory. A GAME THEO-
Brimaz, Blight of Oreskos: Oh boy, it's an artifact aristocats deck! You better buy [[Marionette Master]]s before they're like, twenty dollars.
Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy: I don't know if the payoff is worth the haphazard deckbuilding you're going to have to accomplish. Then again, Clues, Treasures, Foods, Powerstones, Incubators, Karnstructs, Thopters, and Servos are pretty easy to come by, and if you get those that's already an 8/8 a turn. Is an 8/8 a turn even good? Like yeah, big beaters, but also, they don't have haste?
Bright-Palm, Soul Awakener: I like the idea of blinking Bright-Palm and building up creatures that really, really want to have high power. I mean if it enters and is blinked in a single turn, something's getting quadruple its counters, which turns out to be at least eight because Bright-Palm gave them two for free. Get really worried when the target is something like a [[Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin]]. For those of you who had something else awakened by Bright-Palm, congratulations, here's your free cat-ears, Bad Dragon sticker, subscription to Viziepop, and "I play exclusively Yoshi in Mario spinoffs" certificate.
Kasla, the Broken Halo: Yawn. Deck builds itself.
Sidar Jabroni of Zhalfir: Incredible, they built an Eminence deck where you actually wanna cast the guy. This guy is brewer's first [[Haakon, Stromgald Scourge]], but don't let him stop you from reanimating stuff that's definitely not Knights thanks to [[Artifical Evolution]], which he definitely has access to.
Othorion, Hero of Lavabrink: Oh lord, a Kiki-Jiki that can let you copy legendary permanents. It's a good thing that his ability costs mana, or I'd be up in arms.
Rankle and Torbran: Move over, [[Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph]], this boy's the new leader of [[Forked Bolt]]-your-opponents-faces theme decks. Someone will complain this has no card draw and I have to ask if they're the type of person that got upset when their mom took them out for ice cream and they "only" got a banana split.
Quintorius, Loremaster: I don't think he'll quite reach the all-encompassing appeal of [[Shorikai, Genesis Engine]], but this guy puts up a good fight as head of the "weird nonblack reanimator" decks. It's a good thing blue isn't in here, or this is an endless Turns nightmare. Curious how they're put on the bottom of the deck instead of exile; wonder why they weren't just left there.
Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree: Can we talk about how for only 3 mana you purchase a ticket to cast [[Rampant Growth]] every turn? And you can twiddle it? Like seriously this is ridiculous. The only reason that exile clause exists is so you can't overuse someone's Terramorphic Expanse. What? It tutors out every Praetor in your deck? I mean why not?
What'd I miss? Let me hear your thoughts!
submitted by Gamesfreak13563 to EDH [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:30 C21H27Cl3N2O3 Does anyone have experience buying Japan your tickets from outside the country?

I’m planning on going to one of the tour shows in Japan, but I live in the US. It seems like digital ticketing isn’t really a thing over there yet and the ticketing companies don’t seem to ship physical tickets overseas. I’d rather not risk buying at the door, has anyone done anything similar and figured out a good system?
submitted by C21H27Cl3N2O3 to BandMaid [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:22 slayaboy87 No status member using miles for status member

Hello,
If a Delta member who NO status uses miles to buy themselves and another person a ticket, a person who DOES have status, will benefits apply to either or both people in this situation? Such as seat upgrades etc
submitted by slayaboy87 to delta [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:21 Local_Post_1203 Hey [18M] I don't know if a girl[18F] I think I like, likes me back

Hey everyone this is my first reddit and I'm not a native english so please correct me if I'm making any mistakes in this. So In september 2022 I texted a girl, a classmate of a friend of mine, I thought she looked really pretty(she is not skinny with a phat ass, having a jawline or whatever the standards are now, she has a symetrical face, I guess she's maybe a bit chubby because she always wears large clothes and she said she is "puffy", but I really like how she looks) anyways, I texted her in september on her instagram and we started talking, (at the moment I had some pics with me on my instagram, I deleted them later), she never saw me in real life until 3 weeks ago. From september until 3 weeks ago I tried to ask her out when we got more comfortable chatting and she always had an excuse for every try I had, until recent so on Valentine's Day, she sent me a photo with a chocolate and told me that she got it from her girl friend classmate and sent me this emojis "😒😒" I figured out she expected me to give her a chocolate but I didn't think about it because of the times she denied to go out with me, so I told her I can get a chocolate and come and give her but she denied again. But 3 weeks ago I asked her one last time( I said in my mind) if she wants to come and see a movie at cinema (Scream 6 if it's relevant) and she agreed, we got to the movie, on the walk to the cinema we talked and I was very comfy, she told me in the past that when she get very comfy with someone she talks with a regional accent we have in a part of the country(from where she is actually) and usually she tries to hide it, so when we got on the walk to cinema she talked with this beautiful accent, made some jokes and some sort of game when everytime she sees a red car she punches me. I found it very cute, so we got at the cinema, I payed the tickets and some popcorn ( she not let me first but I told her I want to) and we got in the cinema room, it was empty, all seats were empty and all 2 hours of the movie we were the single people in the room( this was nice I guess just 2 people in an entire cinema room watching a movie), after the movie ended we walked again to her home ( I wanted to make sure she gets safe because it was in the evening) and we talked again, she did the same punching thing and asked me if I am a jenna ortega fan and I told her I'm not, I found her a normal actress and then she just said "good". After she got home I called an uber and I got to my house, I texted her later that night and we chat about 3 messages I think. After the conversations were pretty poor and nothing like before, until on weekend (the cinema thing was on a wednesday) when we chat more. We got used to chat everyday so when I'm not answering she texts me again asking me why I'm not answering, but I never did the same, I was always patient for her to answer. After exactly a week after going to cinema we met random on the street, me going home from college(she studies at another college, but her sisters is at mine and she was with her) so I didn't regonized her at first and I passed by her but she yelled after me asking "you wanted to run from me?" and we got talking again walking home , she wanted to come with me(me staying a bit far away from her house) and we talked, hugged as usual when she had to leave and got home. We chatted again all week and was pretty fine. Today is wednesday again, and we met completely random again like the last time, but this time she didn't wanted to talk that much so I told her I have to go to the gym and leave her without a hug this time she didn't reach for it as usually and again today we didn't chat as usual, very poor. So I know it's a lot to read and all but I really don't know what to do. I have to mention that before going to the movie we had a very good and open friendship, now it's nothing like before and I don't understand why, I hope I didn't changed something with that going to the movie. I think I like her pretty much and I don't want to missunderstand that she does the same when the truth is she doesn't so please help me with some advices or explaing me at least what is happening. If you need more informationn about this I'll tell you all you need.
submitted by Local_Post_1203 to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2023.03.29 23:06 model-willem SB218 Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill Stage 2 Vote

Order, Order.
We turn now to a Stage 2 Vote on SB218, in the name of the Scottish National Party. The question is that this Parliament approves the amendments to the Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill.
Members are reminded to vote FoAgainst/Abstain. Attempts to stylise a vote may result in it not being counted. Where there is mix-up with an alternative voting style, this shall also be accepted.

Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill

An Act of the Scottish Parliament to provide for an Air Departure Tax, and for connected purposes.
Section 1: Consequential Repeals
  1. The following acts are repealed:
a. the Air Passenger Duty (Scotland) Act 2020
b. the Air Passenger (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2021
Section 2: Interpretations
  1. For the purposes of this Act, “kerosene” has the same meaning as defined in section 1(8) of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979.
  2. For the purposes of this Act, “certificate of airworthiness” means a certificate issued under the relevant sections of The Air Navigation Order 2009.
Section 3: Air Departure Tax
  1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, an Air Departure Tax shall be charged on the carriage of passengers by air.
  2. An aircraft becomes liable for Air Departure Tax when it departs from an airport carrying passengers.
  3. Air Departure Tax shall be levied on the operators of aircraft liable as a result of this Act.
  4. Subject to the provisions of this act, all passengers on an aircraft departing an airport in Scotland are chargeable for the purposes of the Air Departure Tax.
  5. In all cases, the journey of all passengers chargeable subject to the provisions of this act ends at their final ticketed destination, issued by the operator of the aircraft that initially departed from an airport in Scotland.
Section 4: Chargeable Aircraft
  1. An aircraft shall be liable for Air Passenger Duty if—
a. It is a fixed wing aircraft designed or adapted to carry persons in addition to the flight crew.
b. It is authorised take-off weight is 5.7 tonnes or more, and
c. It is fueled by kerosene. 2. An aircraft shall be determined to have an authorised take-off weight of less than 5.7 tonnes if—
a. There is a certificate of airworthiness in force for that aircraft which shows the maximum authorised take-off weight is less than 5.7 tonnes, or
b. The body tasked with implementing the administration of Air Departure Tax is satisfied that the aircraft is not designed or adapted to take-off with a take-off weight of 5.7 tonnes or more.
Section 5: Rates
  1. The rates of Air Departure Tax are outlined in Schedule 1 to this Act
  2. The Scottish Ministers may vary these rates by regulations, subject to the affirmative procedure.
Section 6: Implementation
  1. The body responsible for administering Air Passenger Duty shall have the responsibility for administering Air Departure Tax.
  2. The Scottish Ministers may by regulation, subject to the negative procedure, assign or create an alternative body responsible for the administration of the Air Departure Tax.
Section 7: Offences
  1. A person who is knowingly—
a. involved in the fraudulent evasion by that person or another person of duty, or
b. in taking steps with a view to commit such fraudulent evasion, is guilty of an offence.
  1. A person who knowingly—
a. makes a statement they know to be false in a material particular, or,
b. in an attempt to deceive, produce or makes use of a book, account, return or other document that is false in a material particular is guilty of an offence.
  1. A person guilty of an offence under Section 8 is liable—
a. on summary conviction—
i. to a penalty of £20,000 or treble the amount of duty evaded or sought to be evaded, whatever is greater, or ii. to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or iii. to both, or, 
b. on conviction on indictment—
i. to a penalty of any amount, or ii. to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or iii. to both. 
Section 8: Commencement
  1. This Act comes into force 180 days following Royal Assent.
Section 9: Short Title
  1. This Act may be cited as the Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Act.
Schedule 1: Air Departure Tax Rates
Band Geographical Extent Rate
Domestic Scotland £0
A The Common Travel Area (not included in the Domestic Band) 200% the cost of the ticket, or £500, whichever is the greater
B The European Economic Area, Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Kosovo Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the Vatican City (not included in the Domestic or A Band) £150
C The Arab League (excepting Comoros), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cabo Verde, Eritrea, Georgia, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Western Sahara (not included in the Domestic, A or B Bands) £100
D Territory not included in another Band £50
This Bill was written by u/mg9500 on behalf of the Scottish National Party.
Opening Speech
Presiding Officer, this bill aims to radically reform Scotland’s aviation taxation in order to stress several environmentally friendly principles.
This bill aims to destroy the viability of domestic flights within the CTA with the exception of the PSO routes within Scotland. This is an entirely true statement. These flights should not exist from an environmental standpoint and there is no justification for them but this Parliament does not yet have the competency to ban such flights. This de facto ban is therefore the most appropriate solution.
Elsewhere, this bill rectifies an issue with the current APD regime - as flight distance extends from Scotland, travelling by plane becomes more essential, therefore an environmental levy will not necessarily succeed in reducing passenger numbers as the alternatives (if they even exist) will be increasingly less desirable. Therefore flight distance and taxation due should become inversely correlated as this bill proposes.
Separately, this tidies up some current issues with the operation of APD as things stand, such as clarifying that ADT will only be due on departure from Scotland, not arrival. This bill also removes age related exemptions and modifications depending on the class of travel, as what we are trying to cut, emissions, are unaffected by either of these two matters.
Link to Stage 1 Debate

Amendments

A01 - in the name of u/Faelif:

Replace section 5(2) with the following:
(2) The Cabinet Secretary may by regulations amend the table in Schedule 1 to this Act. (a) No regulations may be made under this subsection unless a draft of those regulations has been laid before and approved by the Scottish Parliament. (b) Subsection (a) applies only when regulations include provision to move a region or country from one band to another band. 
EN: Allows for the addition of new countries and the removal of countries that no longer exist without a vote.

A02 - in the name of u/LightningMinion:

Amend Schedule 1 to read:
Table 1: Rates of Air Departure Tax
Band Geographical extent Rate
Domestic Scotland £0
Band A Common Travel Area (not including Scotland) 200% the cost of the ticket, or £500, whichever is the greatest, plus the Frequent Flyer Levy
Band B Territory not included in another band The Frequent Flyer Levy
Table 2: Rates of the Frequent Flyer Levy
n 0, 1 2, 3 4, 5 6, 7 8, 9 10, 11 12, 13 14, 15 16, 17 18 or more
Rate £0 9% the cost of the ticket 24% the cost of the ticket 46% the cost of the ticket 74% the cost of the ticket 109% the cost of the ticket 149% the cost of the ticket 193% the cost of the ticket 240% the cost of the ticket 240% + 31(n - 18)% the cost of the ticket
In Table 2, "n" is the number of flights taken during the current year by the passenger for which the Frequent Flyer Levy may be charged.

In section 6, after subsection 2 append:
(3) The Scottish Ministers may make any regulations deemed necessary to bring the provisions of this Act into force.
(4) Subject to subsection (4), regulations under subsection (3) are subject to the negative procedure
(5) Regulations made under subsection (3) which modify any enactment (including this Act) are subject to the affirmative procedure.
Amend section 8 to read:
(1) This section, section 9, and sections 6(2) to 6(5) come into force the day after Royal Assent.
(2) The other provisions of this Act come into force 180 days after Royal Assent.

Explanatory note: implements a frequent flyer levy
Voting on this item of Business ends with the close of Business on April 1st, at 10 pm BST.
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2023.03.29 22:55 DropShotEpee The Elusive Human, So Often Forgotten, Chapter 61 - Brother of Mine

Previous Chapter First Chapter Next Chapter
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Von
“I will be waiting for you in the finals,” Lobo had said back then.
He limped and stumbled down the tunnel toward the final match. Every breath was ragged, every step a challenge. Von had bought himself a ticket to the finals, but Radal had made it costly. Less than an hour had passed since their bout and his exhaustion had not yet settled. At times he thought himself recovered, only to a moment later find out he was more exhausted than he ever felt before. Sometimes he wondered if he would ever feel recovered again.
More than once, Von needed to lean against the wall to avoid falling.
Not once did he ever consider stopping.
“I will be waiting for you in the finals,” Lobo had said back then.
Childish promises like that should not have meant much between two Princes. Words they exchanged should have weighted their shoulders with the burden of their realm, blades should only be drawn to defend honor and life both. Men, he had always been taught, were expected to rise for three reasons.
Honor, power, and women.
Von was almost ashamed to admit none of them drove him as they should have.
His duty as Second Prince guided him, yet his honor held little over him. Often he forced himself to feel as he ought to have—no longer. Here he could admit he ruled because there was no alternative. When he cut off the guard’s finger, when he confronted the elven Elders about Jonathan’s death—it had been done because someone had to, and that fell on him.
Von cared not about the Redgrave honor.
The House of Redgrave’s honor and power held little appeal to him. Had it ever, then he would not have stayed hidden in his room afraid of the world. Though he claimed to wield his sword in the name of House Redgrave, truly this lie was only spoken because it was expected of him. A strong man ought to honor his house.
He only feared losing his family if he did not.
Even Vance, even Mother, loving him as they did, respected him more once he gave them reason to feel proud of him. Love is unconditional, but respect is not. They would always care for him but lack of capability breeds distance.
Talla made it more true than most. She approached Von seeking the man who could slay Vandyr for the elves, if he proved not to be that man…then she would leave. At no point had she been unclear about that. Their relationship was a professional one.
Ah, as if I could believe that.
Von’s heart longed for the woman and he felt in her smile that hers did too. It was not proper for a lord to marry a common elven woman and he knew as much. For a fleeting moment, he enamored himself with the idea he might marry Alayne for duty, and make Talla his lover.
Foolishness.
Talla might have been fond of him, but she was more fond of her own duty still. Von knew not whether their relationship would last if he were to fall against Vandyr, let alone in this tournament. When he had pressed her about it, she had avoided the matter with a certain sincerity in her voice, the kind that only comes with someone who misses the point entirely.
To her, the question was pointless, for she was certain that Von would continue to win regardless.
Knighthood stories said that this was where a man should prove his worth and mettle in battle. If Von needed to become a great swordsman to win the heart of the woman he loved, then by all means he needed to dedicate his soul to his blade.
He could not do it.
If she is in love with my blade, then I cannot bring myself to strengthen it for her sake.
Von did not want to become strong in order to earn Talla—nor anyone’s—love.
Mayhap this was a weak stance, one both honor and his past self would have disagreed with. Yet he did not feel as though love ought to be conditional on his competence. Von would not expect Talla to maintain the fire within her heart if his ambition failed to light the sparks in her, but neither did he want to forcibly produce the flame.
He had his ambitions and meant to chase after them. If this made him a person she was interested in, then all the better. But he could not—would not—dedicate his life to chasing after a love that could falter so easily.
“I will be waiting for you in the finals,” Lobo had said back then. But he would have given him friendship even if he lost in the first round.
That his expectations were not a price to be paid for their friendship made Von want to answer them above everything else.
More than that, this match was not about proving his might to anyone—not even to Lobo. It was about proving it to himself. This was a goal he had set for himself, for his own sake. For the first time Von found himself wanting to achieve something for his own honor rather than his house’s.
Master Cycle’s whispers became louder in his head. “Be selfish.”
Only now did Von really understand his meaning.
“Von,” said a familiar voice, “I have been waiting for you.”
Right before the end of the hallway stood a man with slicked back white hair and a familiar face. His hand rested on his sword hilt and he had planted a foot on the opposite wall so as to prevent any from passing him. The man’s eyes were red and most would have assumed him to be a natural born demon.
And he should have been dead.
“It has been a long time, brother,” said the man who called himself Gilver Bluegrave.
Von nodded. “It has, Veren.”
“You must have many questions.”
“I do. They can wait.” Von gestured at the end of the stone tunnel. “Right now, I care about seeing through a promise I made. Nothing else.”
“I will be waiting for you in the finals,” Lobo had said back then.
The man laughed. “Ah…of course. Still, you have a couple minutes, yes? Entertain me. Our past is worth that much, surely. Do you remember what we spoke of last we met?”
There was a few minutes before the duel started. It would do little harm to indulge in nostalgic discussion for a moment, even if the time was better practicing his swordplay. Von agreed to the request, albeit reluctantly. “I fear I do not remember our last meeting. I take it your Heartbeat is to blame?”
“Afraid so, brother.” The man pulled his leg from the wall and walked up to him slowly, hand moving away from his hilt as his arms crossed. “On that matter—you need not worry of Qyrio, my Heartbeat ensured that the duel ended honorably for him. He took issue that you won by freezing him whole rather than through scoring, so now his life contains a duel where you bested him in three sets. Naturally, this changes not what everyone else remembers.”
He had not been aware Qyrio had been furious with him. It had been a fair match, as he saw it. “You changed his memories, then?”
“Wrong. I changed his past, brother.” With a smirk, Veren extended his sheathed sword at him, tilted it to the side, and pushed the hilt with his thumb just enough to flash the hidden steel. “My Heart does not merely Beat. It Rules. My power does more than change memories, it changes the very past a person experienced. Do you understand?”
Von did not, but he nodded along regardless. He spied past Veren’s shoulder and at the arena. The duel would start soon—were they waiting for him? “Ah, yes, certainly.”
“Brother—the past he experienced happened. It is real. Yet it is not what everyone else experienced. My blade saw to it that Qyrio has experienced a different reality than the rest of us. Do you not see what that means? You saw me die. You saw father execute me. Your memories do not mislead you. That reality truly befell upon you.”
At this, Von nodded quietly. His past self had some conjectures about it and written as much in the black letter. Much made sense that way, though not everything. “That is how you stand before me as a demon, yes?”
Much of it was conjecture, but it followed reasonably enough.
Veren had been desperate for power, loudly exclaiming every sin Stargazers forbade so much as a whisper of. At some point he obtained a Royal Heartbeat, using its powers to change Von and his family’s past to see himself executed, while changing himself into a demon. The specifics of changing himself into a demon were unclear and hardly worth speculating until the precise limitations of his power were made clear.
The man who called himself Gilver Bluegrave laughed in disbelief. “Brother, there is no mystique in your eyes. Does it not shock you? Or are you too dense to feel the gravity of my words?”
Von’s only response was silence.
“Have you not realized it yet, brother?” the man said. “What happened before you lost your memories?”
“Truthfully, I can hazard a guess—but only that.”
“A gaze was enough to reveal my true identity to you back then. Lordly duty took over and you would not allow me to live as a dark vagabond seeking out a stronger blade than my own. You swore to bring me back to Stormkeep, to restore my humanity, and worst of all, to protect me.” The demonic human paused. “To this day I do not know whether you truly knew why I desired power above all else. Mayhap you guessed it. Nonetheless, you looked at me with a furrowed brow and heaved heavy sighs. You have no recollection of it, of course, but care to have a guess as to your motives?”
Von shook his head. “I am not so egotistical as to be so invested in myself, Veren.” Not anymore.
“Even lacking in context, you know pieces of the puzzle and their rough positioning on the board. The King of Princes, the Deathless Curse, the Royal Heartbeats, the Architect—you are aware of most of it.” Here the demon dropped his smirk and bit his lip. “And you know why I needed power, as well as why I took your memories.”
“You flatter me too much, brother.”
“Because I love you,” Gilver—Veren—replied, not meeting his eyes. “You have always been too kind. Someone like you should stay in your tower, reading books by a warm fire, being brought the finest food by servants who bow deeply at the mere mention of your name. I never thought to worry that you would come after me!” Here he let out a low, almost nervous laughter, as if the memory amused and annoyed him at once. “Not once did I ever consider you would stand on the same stage as me, brother.”
The two graves, red and blue, parried away other concerns and allowed themselves to take in the sight of the other standing before them. Silence reigned supreme, the dissident, muffled echoes of the cheering crowd at the end of the stone tunnel serving only as a failed challenger to remind all of who ruled the night. Von had felt grief, guilt, and much more. Many of his feelings he had started to deal with since reading the black letter from his past self, none of which mattered right then.
Veren Redgrave, Gilver Bluegrave, shook his head and started in a low voice, “I robbed you of everything. Every drop of blood, sweat, and tears you lost over perfecting a craft you were never meant to master. A frail, peace-loving man who should not have left his tower, let alone touched upon the bloody stones of dueling, yet you sharpened your weakness into steel that could cut even me. This could not be allowed. Any more and your life would be forsaken.”
“It brings me happiness that your theft was done out of love,” Von said sincerely. “Enough so that I do not resent you for it.”
“Will you stand aside, then?”
“Pardon?”
“Brother, you will forever have my admiration for going against your nature and becoming as you are.”
Going against my nature, Von repeated in his head. Was that how everyone saw it? Mayhap it was. Mattered little, anyhow.
Veren went on. “Despite your exhausted state, the Wolf tires too. I dare not assume your loss to be certain. If you win this duel, you would qualify for Blade Valley once more…and once more I would need to destroy your memories.” He tossed his weapon upward, unsheathing the sword as it flew, and sending the scabbard against the wall. “Should you persist, there will be no other choice. I will steal your memories as I have before.”
Von said nothing. This appeared to anger his brother, who went on, “Think not that I like it! This is for your own good, brother! Do you not think I wish I could go back to those days, when we read books and played in Stormkeep? Mayhap you think it brings me joy to rob you of the beautiful effort you put in toward chasing me? Believe this if nothing else—it pains me to do so. But it would pain me worse to see you dead. Do you understand?”
Von still said nothing. More angrily, Veren shouted, “Brother! You know nothing! Do not dare judge me—think of what I have done for you!”
This outburst echoed twice in the stone hallway before fading. “Have you any idea of what goes on in Stormkeep, this very moment? Do you know of the King of Princes’ plan to fight the architect? Do you know of how the Storm might fall? This is not a matter for—”
Von, refusing to say a single word, walked past his brother’s outstretched blade and started walking to the end of the tunnel. After a couple steps, he found his breath growing heavier, but the wall provided enough support for his stumbling. He was exhausted, but there was enough sensation in his limbs to be optimistic. Lobo is a phenomenal duelist, but his swings are wide and his speed lacking. If I am willing to embrace pain to fight—
“Brother! VON!” Veren’s shout made his name nearly a curse. “Are you so exhausted as to be unable to comprehend? I speak of duty, of legend, of ancient magic older than humanity itself. You must listen—”
“I believe I told you before,” Von said, his back still to the demon. “Right now, I care for nothing but seeing through a promise. Words will not change me. Attack me if you must, but beware—my blade will strike to kill if you do.”
“Von!” Veren’s voice grew outraged. “You cannot—at least listen to me!”
“My back is turned to you. If you have no honor left in your demonic body, brother, strike me and prevent me from dueling.”
“You bastard, you’ve always—!”
The curses grew louder and there was a sound of moving steel in the air, followed by a louder curse and the sound of a boot meeting the stone wall. “Bastard!” Veren shouted again. “Why can’t you ever just—do what I—are you serious? Does this mean that much for you?”
“Yes,” Von said simply, and exited the stone tunnel.
Some thoughts intruded upon his concentration then. I’m sorry, Veren. I want to sit down and talk to you properly later. But not now.
His brother loved him, but he understood him not. Veren had claimed to respect him for going against his nature, and meant no disrespect by it. Von’s own mother had expressed a similar feeling, thanking him for honoring House Redgrave despite his inclinations for loneliness. Even Talla had been no different. She often praised him and believed in his talent, but just as often praised his gentle nature and how he achieved so much in spite of not being born to hold a sword.
Deafening cheers from the crowd pulled him out from those somber thoughts. It was an odd feeling, to be the cause of that much noise. To be present in an arena is one thing, to be the cause of their cheers is another. Von raised his fist and the people raised their volume; his declaration was a spell and their voices were the magic. Much of the arena was adorned in blue banners that supported Lobo, yet a sizable amount hailed the dark red and grey of his own house. Ironlanders who witnessed his duel with Radal, demons who knew he would wed one, and even wolves who merely admired his swordsmanship.
They cheered, thundered, clamored for him. Complete strangers who knew nothing of him except the man he was on the dueling piste.
And they knew him better than some of his closest companions.
They knew who he was a few layers deep. They knew that just because he was quiet, that it meant not he yearned for silence. They knew that just because he was lonely, that it meant not that he enjoyed solitude.
Most of all, they did not think he belonged in a tower, in a more peaceful time.
The cheering crowd thought he belonged right there and now. To them, the idea of Von not entertaining them with his skills was abhorrent and worthy of ridicule. Ah, the praise was intoxicating, addicting, poisoning…and he knew this was a fine line to thread. But he could not push himself off the feeling, nor did he try.
There were many lessons he learned from his duel against Radal.
Humility, respect, and the sheer might of human willpower, yes.
Most of all, he learned that he truly loved fencing from the bottom of his heart.
And neither Veren nor Talla nor his own mother could understand that. No one seemed to understand that deep inside, more than duty, more than a desire to set things right, Von truly loved the feeling of dueling against a stronger opponent.
“I am glad to see you here,” Lobo said. The tall man was breathing heavy as well, his clothes dirty and blood flowing from numerous open wounds. His smile was wide and kind. “I never doubted you would be here.”
No one, except for this man. “But you would still be my friend,” Von said slowly, “even if I failed to get here.”
“Of course I would.”
That meant more than Von could say. This duel meant more than a path toward Blade Valley, more than saving elves from the Deathless Curse, more than honoring his noble house. Even more than honoring that promise. Von felt like standing there was the first thing he had truly done for his own sake.
And the reason he could do that was because of that man. The only one who saw no difference between him before and after he lost his memories. Even after facing a disgraced, weakened version of him, the man had treated him like an equal.
Lobo had known who Von was before even he did.
“Fencers ready?” asked the referee.
Both men nodded.
“Begin!”
---
Author's Note:
Rare occasion when I can say I took a while but everything worked out alright. My dog was sick and needed major surgery, but the tumor turned out benign and they managed to remove everything :)
As for this chapter, it's shorter than usual by this story's standards(about 3000 words) but I didn't want to make it longer. To me it was always really important that Von absolutely stonewalled Gilver and there wasn't a way to make the chapter longer without feeling too forced, so I went with this.
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2023.03.29 22:50 Particular-Budget-32 K-ticket

Does anyone have an extra k ticket they would sell me? thank you in advance!!
submitted by Particular-Budget-32 to Ikonpass [link] [comments]


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2023.03.29 22:46 RingoCross99 The Adventure Games (Section 1 of 4)

The Adventure Games (Section 1 of 4)
Have a blast!
The Adventure Games
By Ringo Cross
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Chapter 1: Insight
I stepped into my apartment, placed my back to the door and sighed in relief. Thank God I was home. I hadn’t been for the past few days. I was at the hospital watching over my sister with our parents. Just when we were starting to get our hopes up. Just when we thought she was going to make a full recovery, she took a turn for the worse.
It all felt more like a curse than an affliction. My sister went from a healthy, happy-go-lucky teenager, to a fever-stricken soul, stranded somewhere between the land of the living and nonliving. She had a sudden case of sleeping beauty syndrome. The doctors didn’t know for sure, but they suspected the strange bite on her neck was the culprit. Two neat puncture wounds rationalized away as an animal bite. We all knew what it really was, it’s just that no one wanted to be the one who was crazy enough to say it.
It was like her body was slowly wasting away. Was she becoming undone, or perhaps something else altogether? Eh... Who knows. I did know one thing for sure, it was all too grim and preposterous a reality for my parents to accept. No matter what the doctors tried or how hard mom and dad prayed for her deliverance, she just kept getting worse while acting stranger.
It was like she had been pulled from the world, and we had all been pulled right along with her, into a strange new world that made no sense. Her doctors told us that at the rate she was deteriorating, she didn’t have much time left. God. I wish this was the part where I told you, “I became a superhero and saved her life.” Maybe in my own roundabout way, I did become something of her savior.
The truth is, what happened to her, I... I never saw it coming. Did vampires really exist? I couldn’t tell you how much or how long this question had tortured my mind. I was going to do some serious digging and get to the bottom of this. Because if there was any way to save her; to stop her from fading, I swore to find it.
My phone began to ring. It was my parents. They were at the hospital, keeping vigil at her bedside. I shook my head while thinking about how much of a toll her sudden illness had taken upon them. They were both so virtues and upright. Their faith in God had really been shaken. I turned my phone on silent mode. I-I didn’t want to talk to them. I needed time to grieve on my own.
I wanted a beer. No, I needed a beer. Something cold and inebriating to free my mind from the pain of watching my little sister slip away. I’m surprised I made it this long without dipping into my reserves, I thought to myself as I reached into the fridge and grabbed a cold one.
I just sat there at my kitchen table. Reliving as many memories of us together as I could. There were so many. I... I adored her more than life itself. She could do no wrong. Her smile... it... it haunts me. My God, I never knew pain like this. I had never followed my parents down the “righteous path.” I always considered myself a person of logic and reason. Simply believing in a higher power wasn’t enough for me, neither had it ever been enough to ease the void of loneliness within me.
But after this, how could I not believe in God? How could I explain away my grief? All I wanted was for this to all make sense. Maybe it was her time? Even if it was, why like this? Why so tragic and bitter? There were just too many reasons why I stopped believing. Crazy thing was, right now, I desperately wanted to believe. I wanted to close my eyes, clasp my hands together, and pray for a miracle. I tried but couldn’t bring myself to do so, no matter how strong the desire. There was no God, and a crisis wasn’t my chance to retreat.
I had seen the dark side of faith. The way my parents justified what happen to my baby sister by saying, “God has a plan” made me sick to my core. Just thinking about it made me nauseous. My faith had been stretched to the breaking point a long time ago. This was just the sad culmination of a collision between faith and obstinacy. The explosion went off like a bomb in my head. The pain was truly limitless... I just hoped her death didn’t turn me into a serial killer. I smirked at my own inane, insane thought before downing my beer.
I grabbed another beer to drown my sorrows in. Just then, there was a sudden knock at the door. The slight but unmistakable tapping surprised the crap out of me. So much so, I almost spilled my beer. I figured it was my ex. She had planned on stopping by a bit later to return my key and to pick up the last of her things.
When I looked through the peephole, I saw two people standing there in black suits. The sight threw me off and made me briefly sick to my stomach. Little did I know, I should have followed my gut instinct, but instead, I foolishly opened the door.
“Hello, Mr. Graham. My name’s Agent Adams. This is my partner, Agent Harris.”
Before I could process what was happening, Agent Harris extended her hand and said, “Pleasure.”
“Um... You too, I think? I guess? Hope I’m not in any trouble?” I told her.
“You’re not,” she smirked.
“Who are you guys again?”
“We work for the government,” she said.
“The FBI?” I asked.
“Ugh. Everyone says that. I guess it is the suits,” Agent Adams grumbled. He shook his head in annoyance before adding, “We work for the Department of Homeland Security. DPI for short. It’s the paranormal division.”
“Who again?” I asked him.
“Eh. The Department of Paranormal Investigations,” he clarified with something of an attitude.
“Huh. Never heard of it,” I spoke.
“Can we come in, Mr. Graham?” he asked.
I thought about it for a moment. I didn’t like this Agent Adams guy. He gave off a bad vibe. My first mind was to tell them to kick rocks, but I decided against being so brash and rash just in case they had a warrant. I wasn’t thinking straight. My sister’s woes weighed too mightily on my spirit. Before letting them pass, I did ask to see some identification. I’m not that stupid. Had to be sure they weren’t pulling my leg.
Agent Adams flashed his badge with a slight grumble. Agent Harris had no problem letting me see hers. She was at least pleasant, I thought while examining her government ID. I also wondered why someone so young and attractive had been stuck with someone so old and unattractive. I bet she hated her partner, I thought to myself with a smirk, as I let them pass through the door.
Agent Adams took a seat at my kitchen table without me offering. His partner looked at him a bit perplexed before waiting until I said, “It’s ok. You can have a seat.”
“Thank you,” she replied.
“So, what brings two DPI agents to my home? You sure I haven’t done anything illegal?”
“Hmm... Maybe there is something you’d like to confess, Mr. Graham,” Agent Adams spoke.
“I don’t know. Maybe I have an old parking ticket or something minor like that.”
“We don’t handle citations,” he replied.
“Sorry. Dumb question.”
“Apology rejected,” he uttered.
“Uh-hm. Forgive my partner he can be a bit—"
Agent Adams brought his hand to his chin. His abrupt gesture caused his partner to pause mid-sentence and look over at him. The two exchanged glances. He paused for a moment more before saying, “That’s a nice brand of beer. I haven’t had a cold one in a while.”
“Would you like one? I have plenty.”
“Sure.”
“Really?” I asked.
“You offered. I accepted.”
“Uh, what about you, Miss Harris?”
“It’s Agent Harris. And no.” She looked over at her partner with a raised eyebrow, “Can you not drink on the job? It’s unprofessional.”
“Fine,” he grumbled before reaching into the inner pocket of his suit coat to retrieve his vape pen.
“Are you sure? Like I said I have plenty.”
“I’m sure. I am the senior agent after all. Probably should set a better example and all,” with a wink he added, “If you survive, I’ll come back and take you up on that offer, Mr. Graham.”
“How do you know he’ll even want to participate?” his partner asked. I could hear the annoyance in her tone. She groaned before telling me, “Sorry about that.”
Agent Adams let out a heavy cloud of steam. He studied me a fair bit longer than I was comfort with. Especially someone like him, whose eyes were grey enough to sting. He took another hit from his vape pen. This time blowing the steam in my direction. His wrinkled face blocked out by the heavy cloud as he said, “Oh, he’ll join, alright. He’s not in any position to refuse.”
“That’s pretentious,” she grumbled.
“Hah. It’s the truth.”
“What the hell is this about?”
“Your sister, Mr. Graham,” he said.
“What about her?” I asked.
“We know what happened.”
“Um. Okay? Creepy.”
“Uh, what my partner is trying to say is that we might be able to help. I reviewed her chart. I think I know what the problem is,” Agent Harris explained.
“What can a couple of government agents do that a team of doctors haven’t already tried?” I asked.
“Your sister. She was bitten by a vampire, Mr. Graham,” Agent Adams stated. He paused for a moment to study my reaction before adding, “You seem like a clever guy. I’m sure you already suspected as much.”
“So, they do exist,” I mumbled to myself.
“Yes. The vampire who attacked your sister was probably desperate. He broke what are a set of well-established rules called Blood Codes.”
“Really? Vampires have rules?”
“There’s always rules, Mr. Graham.”
“Whatever. And where is this freak? I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on him.”
“He’s already been dealt with.”
“By you guys?”
“By his overseer.”
“Good. I hope his death was slow and painful.”
“It was. Their methods are very draconian.”
“Then what do you need from me?” I asked.
“What about you? Would you kill to save your sister?”
“I would if I had to,” I affirmed without hesitation or reservation. I suppose I only spoke so confidently and assuredly because I thought it was a hypothetical. I mean this was the government after all. They would never ask me to do anything crazy, right? But then again, I would’ve told you you were crazy if you would have told me vampires were a real thing before my sister was attacked by one. Still, his question was odd. And the more I thought about it, the more it disturbed me.
Agent Harris chimed in, “Um, Mr. Graham, I’m sorry. I don’t know why my partner said that. You shouldn’t have to kill anyone. For you, it’s probably more a matter of participation than annihilation. If we did require you to do such a thing, rest assure, we’d provide you with all the materials necessary to succeed. Before you ask, we’re on your side, Mr. Graham. We want you to see your sister once the games have concluded.”
“The games?” I asked.
“Yes. If you enter our game, we’ll save your sister’s life. No questions asked,” she replied.
“What kind of game?”
“The Adventure Games.”
“The what games?”
“Adventure Games,” she smirked.
“What’s the catch?”
“Well, the games could be dang—”
Agent Adams quickly butted in before Agent Harris could reveal the truth. “There’s no catch, Mr. Graham. None whatsoever. Don’t listen to my partner. She can be a bit too detail orientated.”
“The devil is always in the details,” I muttered.
“But not a cure for your sister,” he coldly replied.
“Hey. What is that supposed to mean?”
“What do you think? Do you want to waste time going over the fine print, or do you want to step up to the plate and save your sister?”
I thought about it for a moment. “Eh. How do I know I can trust you to keep your word? I mean the government isn’t exactly super trustworthy.”
“Know what, I like you, Mr. Graham. Tell you what I’ll do. Humph. If you agree, we’ll transfer your sister to our facility, right away. That way she can get a jumpstart on her treatment program before you even set foot in the games,” he checked his wristwatch and added, “We can get her there by midnight. Let’s see... hmm... typical turnaround for blood sickness is what? Maybe a few hours if we play our cards right?”
“Six to eighteen hours is more accurate,” Agent Harris clarified to her partner’s chagrin.
“Close enough,” he grumbled.
Agent Harris ignored him. Turning her attention back to me, she said, “I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first?”
“Give me the good news.”
“Ok. Based on her chart, it looks like her affliction has progressed beyond normal blood sickness. Once we administer the antidote, she should be fine, but there’s always a chance she won’t make it. I’m sure our techs back at the lab will make the process as painless as possible for your sister. This is what I can do for you if you decide to join the project. I promise we’ll have her call you before you leave for the games.”
“Great. Where do I sign?” I asked.
Agent Adams put away his vape pen. “You don’t sign. You signing something doesn’t matter. We’re dealing with information above top secret, Mr. Graham.”
“Whatever,” I shrugged.
“There is one other thing,” Agent Harris said.
“The bad news, right?”
“Right,” she nodded.
Agent Harris looked over at her partner. She was careful not to reveal anything more until he nodded his head in approval. Some of the info they had already revealed was pushing the line above top secret into ‘black protocol’ territory, or what agents at DPI called “above top secret classification.”
Agent Adams nodded before quickly returning his attention back to vaping, retrieving the addictive device almost faster than he had put it away.
Agent Harris cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, Mr. Graham. Your sister’s illness has progressed too far. We can save her, but she won’t be human anymore. She’ll be a vampire. The transformation is irreversible I’m afraid.”
“Really? A vampire?”
“That is correct.”
“Jesus. I need a smoke,” I said as I jumped from my chair and grabbed the pack of smokes sitting on my kitchen counter. I lit one up and began pacing back and forth like a madman. With a bit of reluctance, I turned to Agent Harris and grumbled, “How fast can we get this done?”
“Now, if you agree.”
“That fast, huh?”
“Yes. We already have a team standing by. One phone call from us and they’ll began the extraction.”
“I already told you, I’m in.”
When I reaffirmed my commitment, Agent Adams looked over at his partner with a smug “I told you so” expression. He stood and extended his hand for me to shake. “Good choice, Mr. Graham. You’re a real champ.”
I shook his hand while glaring into his eyes. “You guys better not be trying to pull a fast one.”
“We wouldn’t. You’re not that important,” he smirked before blowing a cloud of steam into my face. “Goodbye, Mr. Graham. I’m sure I won’t be seeing you around,” he sarcastically added before heading for the door.
I shook Agent Harris’ hand. She removed her shades and told me, “Good luck, Mr. Graham.”
“What do I do next?”
“Pack light and wait.”
“Really? That’s it?”
“Yeah. We’ll be back in a couple of hours to take you to prescreening.”
“Sounds fair.”
“Good to hear.”
“So, what are these ‘Adventure Games’ anyway?”
She placed her shades back on. Her expression distant and cold. “Sit tight. We have to make a few arrangements and finish up some paperwork on our end before I can reveal any information. I’m sure the paperwork will get approved by the time we come back for you. Once this happens, I’ll explain everything you need to know.”
I just stood there dumbfounded by the moment. I could hear Agent Harris discussing Agent Adams’ conduct as they let themselves out and began making their way down the hall. Apparently, Agent Harris was disappointed that he had asked me for a beer. She pointed out that this was an obvious workplace violation, and how he could be terminated for his conduct. He found her chiding amusing and told her he had no intentions on drinking on the job. When he made this claim, she was incredulous and asked what possessed him to even ask in the first place.
I could barely hear them at this point since they were standing by the elevator. But I believe his response was something on the lines of, “I wanted to read his reaction. If he handled himself wisely, I knew we wouldn’t have a problem recruiting him for the games.”
“And if he reacted poorly?” she asked.
“Well then, your little behavioral profile would have been wrong, and we would’ve had a head start on finding his replacement,” he told her.
I closed the door in disgust. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or if they could even be trusted. I knew it too. That cliché feeling had reached all the way down to my gut. My conscience... the good angel on my shoulder was telling me to run.
With a heavy heart, I chose to ignore the voice. My sister’s life hung in the balance. Sometimes in life you had to take risks. My choice to go along with these agents and their dubious claims wasn’t a tough or noble act. It was one wrought from desperation. What were my options? Not joining meant my sister would waste away until it was too late. Phew. This was a lot of pressure. My back was against the wall literally and figuratively.
I let out a long sigh and mustered the courage to begin packing. I hadn’t gotten much sleep either. Hopefully the car ride to wherever we were going would be a long one, and I could get some much-needed rest, I thought to myself as I shoved way too many things into my bag.
Tears escaped from my eyes. I had to stay the course. I had to hear her voice. I finally broke down and prayed to God, asking him to look over me. I still didn’t believe. I don’t know why I did it. I guess out of hope or necessity. My sister meant the world to me, and my parents, I don’t know what they would do if she perished.
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Chapter 2: Foresight
The following day was a blur. I was taken to a massive facility that stood in the middle of nowhere. It was on the outskirts of the outskirts. The place was so far removed, they didn’t even bother with a blindfold. There was no elaborate story of denial, or even the whole “we cannot confirm or deny” troupe.
Nope. This was a secret facility where the government housed and did God knows who or what to who or what. From what I gathered, they performed strange experiments on poor sods, such as myself, who had foolishly signed their lives away. I gulped and told myself to shut up. If you think negative things, then you get negative results.
A group of oddly dressed soldiers called “acolytes” escorted me from the transport van to the staging area. I was able to check in with my sister, just like the agents promised. She was doing much better. The thought put a smile on my face and was all the motivation I needed. Now all I needed to do was win, so I could see her again.
Knock on wood, but if something were to happen to me, I didn’t really care. All that mattered was that little sis had finally turned the corner. I swear on my soul. This was more than I could have ever hoped for.
After answering an uncomfortable amount of questions and going through a battery of physical and mental tests, I was given the greenlight by the staff to join the event. This all happened at approximately 1400 hours the next day. I was taken away from the annoying, prodding techs in lab coats. I wouldn’t have mind leaving them behind, along with their invasive procedures if it wasn’t for the soldiers who escorted me to the staging area. They were cold and mechanical. They roughly shooed me to a section of the facility called Bunker 17, as if they were putting a dog back inside its kennel. We arrived at this damnable place, via elevator, twenty floors down.
To my surprise, there were already several people waiting when I arrived. They were all kind of just lingering about not doing much of anything. In front of us stood a pair of massive concrete doors that looked like the entrance to a mini fortress. We were all wearing these odd name tags. The moment made me sick to my stomach. The gazes of suspicion, intrigue, and indifference made me briefly curl up like a shrinking violet.
Hmm... No one told me I would be joined by others. I shrugged and figured as much. I was about to introduce myself when one of the soldiers radioed Command and informed them that we were ready to enter. Command radioed back and told them to give the signal. One of the acolyte soldiers gave a thumbs up, which I imagine they saw on the camera, right above the door.
When he did this an alarm sounded, red strobes flashed all arounds us, and the doors began to slowly creep open. The noise only added to the confusion and bewilderment. I took a step back, sure that the roof was going to collapse with every inch the doors gained. The whole thing was about as unnerving and uninviting as it could get. It looked more like a giant mouth slowly feasting upon the light, warning us to turn back, than an entrance.
We stepped inside only to be greeted by another set of massive doors. These were steel instead of concrete and looked like they could have been placed on the entrance to an impenetrable castle way up in the mountains. I looked back when the concrete doors begin to close. Only when they had fully shut, and we were devoured by the darkness, did the steel doors begin to open their mouth. The inner doors creaked and cranked, making the loudest, most-angriest sound imaginable. The process was excruciating and played on my mind almost as much as it played on my ears.
There was a great deal of radio chatter. The soldiers thrust us through the entrance. When we had all crossed the red line, one of them radioed Command, and the doors began to slowly close behind us. Fight or flight kicked in. I thought about making a run for it, but I could tell that that was bad idea by the way the soldiers were positioned behind the door with their weapons drawn.
I swear I could feel their laser sights more than I could see them in the piercing darkness. There was nothing like a big gun to chop through any language or mental barrier. It was louder and harder than any bull in any China shop would ever be.
I sighed when the doors finally closed behind us. My first thought was, what the hell had I gotten myself into? Followed quickly by, I can’t believe I let myself be talked into this. Before any of us could gather our bearings, the lights began to turn on. Once my eyes had adjusted to the blinding whiteness, I stood around like everyone else, amazed and surprised by the sight in front of me. It was funny in a sense. I was relieved by familiarity as it was the last thing on my mind.
It looked like a well-kept emergency shelter. The floors sparkled as if they had been waxed in preparation for our arrival. The kitchen and dayroom took up the bulk of the space. Before I could really sink my teeth into some good ole fashioned exploration, a voice could be heard over the loudspeaker. The prerecording was that of a woman, who sounded a bit robotic and automated, as if it had been altered to sound as friendly as possible. Which made it even more odd and creepy:
“Greetings, contestants! Welcome to the Adventure Games! These are the inaugural games, making this the very first event of its kind! So, consider yourselves lucky! The games have been lowered in difficulty by our wonderful technicians by approximately fifteen percent in honor of you being the very first souls to be taken.
I’m sure you’re all confused and have a lot of questions. Should I explain? Of course, I should explain! Well, here goes nothing! There are seven of you in total. You have all been locked inside of one of our many, many, many underground shelters! Bunker 17 to be precise. Which is part of the Northeastern Hemisphere Underground Network Systems, or N-HUN for short. That’s right! Your bunker is part of a much wider, global network that is maintained and operated by the New World Government Order or NWGO and members of the New Faith Alliance or NFA.
There are six levels of access in total. To gain access to the lower levels you need a “Marc” card. Which is short for Mark of Identifying numbers. Sorry average humans, only vampires and human personnel critical to the mission are given one. Don’t feel too bad, only high-ranking members of the NFA have access to the lower levels. And only super important people have access to the final level. Take my word for it, I’ve been down to level six and it’s definitely not a place you ever want to be.
I would tell you all about the many wonders, crazy contraptions, odd attractions, and foul creatures we keep below, but then I’d have to release the laughing gas... Just kidding... It’s actually sarin gas!
You have all been locked inside of Bunker 17. We stocked the place with plenty of provisions, so you won’t have to worry about starving to death for a very long time if anything terrible was to happen while you were away like, I don’t know, nuclear holocaust.
The recreational room is also state of the art. All the amenities you need are here. We made sure to provide our contestants with everything imaginable so all you’ll have to worry about is staying alive!
If you were to survive the games, which I highly doubt, then we will do as promised and grant you your wish, via taxpayer expense. There’s nothing the Illuminati loves more than wasting hard stolen taxpayer money on frivolous expenditures like elaborate “stress tests” on bunker sociology to see who’ll break.
All of you came here for a reason. One of you however asked to be here so you could murder everyone else who came here for a reason! Hooray for having zero conscience, our super mysterious serial killer contestant! How do you stop this maniac from murdering you? Why the answer is simple. Figure out which one of you is the murdering maniac and you win! That’s right, the game is officially over, and you can go home and enjoy whatever foolish thing you wished for. Hope it was worth it!
How might you rid yourselves of this psychopath, you ask? Please direct your attention to our voting room. Inside is a small stall, no bigger than an outhouse. At the end of each day, you will go inside, one by one, and vote on who you think the killer is. If the majority votes correctly then the game is over. If there is a tie or lower, then the games continue. Oh, and just to make things fair, the killer will always vote for themselves. This will continue until enough of you vote correctly or everyone besides the killer is D.E.A.D.
♫ Do-do-do dodo! ♫
Congratz subject number 4, Roger J. Pierson III. You have been assigned the master bedroom! Which means you are responsible for reading the daily tasks! What daily tasks you might wonder? Why they’re clues to help you solve the killer-mystery, so pay close attention!
How does it work? Each day Roger will receive a card from HQ, using our spiffy pneumatic system, with direct access to the master bedroom. Our technicians, who helped created this wonderful kill box, call these messages ‘Vital Tasks’. Gather in one place and read them carefully, but only if you’re interested in surviving.
Good luck everyone! Oh, and be sure to have fun while playing. There is a small suggestion box located in the recreational room, next to the TV. All suggestions are anonymous and will help us to not only create a better experience, but even more enjoyable deaths! Salutations! Enjoy your stay at our super-secret underground facility! Thank you for your participation in the Adventure Games! And remember, no matter what happens, you are a valued guest at Bunker 17!”
When the strange announcement ended, everyone just kind of looked around in confusion. It was one of those moments when you question reality. There were seven of us in total. Everyone was wearing a name tag. Each name was more of a twisted moniker than our actual name. I looked down at my own and saw the word “Hero.” I found this odd for a few reasons. The first being I wasn’t a hero. I was your average guy at best. The second, more chilling reason was I did not remember putting this stupid thing on. How it got there was a mystery. I suppose in the thick of the chaos, one of the lab technicians must’ve slapped it on before they rushed me out.
The guy next to me, whose name tag read “Follower,” began to spaz. I tried to calm him, but it didn’t work. He made a break for it, running all the way back to the entrance. “Let me out! I didn’t sign up for this!” he cried and screamed while pounding on the steel slab.
There was a tall, bulky guy, wearing a tank top that barely fit. His name tag read “Bully” and was glued to his chest. He flexed his peck muscles and laughed very loudly and rudely at the young guy. He looked over at me and then everyone else while wildly yelling, “Come on guys! They’re obviously trying to scare us. The lady over the intercom wasn’t even trying to hide how obvious it was with all those corny jokes. What is this supposed to be? Fallout: New Vegas?!” He hooted and chuckled.
“This is stupid,” the woman next to me said. I looked over and saw that her name tag read: “Narcissist.”
“Screw it,” the Follower said after seeing that he was making a fool out of himself by crying and wailing not only in vain but to the amusement of others.
“I want to go home,” a girl sniveled. I glanced over and saw that her name tag read, “Teenager.”
Bully’s laughter pulled me away from the shock of seeing a teenager in a place like this. I cringed when he hollered out “Guys! It’s not real!” as if he wasn’t making yet another useless PSA.
There was this guy leaning against the wall. He watched with folded arms as the Follower finally gave up the goose. I could have sworn he was just standing right next to me, but I could be wrong. His name tag read “the Rationalizer.” He looked over at us and asked, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “So. What do we do now?”
“Let’s go get the message like the lady said over the intercom,” I told everyone with a shrug.
“Good idea,” the Rationalizer said. I think he was being sarcastic when he said it, but who knows. A guy like that was difficult to read.
The seven of us traveled through the kitchen and recreational area. Then we made our way down the narrow hall, towards our rooms. There were two names assigned to each one, except for the master bedroom. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw that the Rationalizer was assigned to the same room as me. Seeing my discomfort, he gave me a pat on the back before opening the door to our room.
I peeked inside and saw a very clean but very bare bones living space. There were a few accommodations, just nothing like home. Let’s see, there was a bunkbed on one side, two lockers, and a large dresser on the other. The floor was just as cold, polished, and uninviting as the kitchen and hall. Turns out, the only thing they bothered to make warm and cozy was the recreational room. Oh, and the master bedroom, hate to forget that.
I poked my head in Roger’s room. If I hadn’t mentioned it by now, his name tag read: “the Lover.” He damn near kissed the floor when he saw how magnificent his stay would be. His reaction rubbed pretty much all of us the wrong way. The Narcissist’s in particular. When she saw her room, and realized she had to share with the Teenager, she hyperventilated. Unlike the Lover’s eccentrics, her selfishly induced panic attack put a smile on my face.
“Huh. Looks like they got at least one of our name tags spot-on,” the Rationalizer said while observing her antics and thinking the same thing I was thinking.
Bully nearly buckled over he laughed so hard. Seeing this and that he shared a room with this meathead, the Follower began laughing right along with him. I don’t even think he knew why he was laughing. He saw Bully doing it and just followed along. I shook my head. I did chuckle a bit under my breath. The whole thing was ridiculous, I thought to myself as I turned my attention back to the Lover. There was something about him that was different. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
Was there a faster way to draw suspicion than being called out by name and given something. Not only was it something, but it happened to be the one spacious, well decorated, most comfortable room out of the whole lot. Silk pillows, satin sheets, and a handwoven quilt that was draped over the bottom of a lavish, four-post bed. The posts were shaped into gargoyles. Even his dresser was handcrafted, the wallpaper elegant, and the red carpet fit for royalty. I could go on and on, but I didn’t want my intrigue to turn into outrage. Not yet at least. This all could be a prank like Bully suggested.
Eh. I know I keep harping on the subject, but it was hella unfair. What could I do? Even if I wanted to take it there, what were my options? Try to take the room from him by force? Yeah. That’s smart. That way everyone would think I was the killer for sure.
I had never even thought about killing someone in my whole life. Ok... you got me. The vampire who nearly killed my sister was the only creature. Hearing Agent Adams tell me he had been cruelly dispatched by his masters was sweet music to my ears. My only regret was that I wasn’t there to witness him suffer. If I was, I would have begged the monster behind the mask to prolong his pain for as long as vampirically possible.
“Hey, pal! Hurry up! I’m starving,” Bully shouted, snapping my mind out of its downward spiral of dark, borderline psychotic thought.
“I’m grabbing the card now!” the Lover shouted back before seizing the plastic capsule that was ejected from a long, pneumatic tube system. He removed the card from the red envelope and read what it said:
Task 1. Introduce yourself to the others. State all critical information such as name, age, and reason you’re here. This is very important: reveal if you are human or not. Do not lie unless you are the killer. You may remove your name tag afterwards.”
After he read the card, we all glanced around at one another, wondering if this was indeed someone’s idea of a sick joke. Or perhaps this was a dream we would all wake up from very soon? I prayed for the ladder but feared and respected the former. My thoughts loud and sweeping amidst the awkward silence that had overtaken us.
Bully rubbed his stomach. “I’m hungry. You guys can keep standing around looking stupid if you want. I’m off to see what’s in the fridge.”
“Um. Gross,” the Narcissist stated before she checked the pockets of her stylish plaid topcoat. She gasped in exasperation before yelping in dismay, “OMG. But how? How did they even know?”
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“They must’ve taken it!” she cried.
“Taken what?” I asked.
She looked over at me with an expression that told me everything I needed to know. Then she groaned out the most unimaginative words imaginable, “God. I thought I smuggled my backup phone. I put it in my pocket, it should be here. Screw it. Guess I’ll just die of boredom.”
“Or you could reconnect with your other senses,” the Rationalizer said. He folded his arms and stared at the Narcissist hungrily. If she wasn’t so preoccupied with being preoccupied by nothing, she would have noticed his lecherous gawk.
“Whatever. I hate my life,” she sighed.
“What’s a ‘backup’ phone?” I asked.
“Old people, dude,” the Follower blurted before chuckling to himself at my expense.
“I’m not old. I just never heard of a backup phone,” I explained, my tone a bit defensive.
“My bad, bro. Don’t get mad.”
“I’m not getting mad.”
“Hey. Whatever you say, bro.”
“It’s your other phone just in case your non other phone dies. Tch. Duh. I have followers, you know,” she replied all hot and haughtily.
“Come on guys,” I said before making my way towards the kitchen. Bully was already there, rummaging through the cupboards like a man on a mission.
When he saw us, he looked back and said, “I’m starving, haven’t eaten since breakfast!”
“How are we looking? Plenty of good stuff?” I asked as I made my approach.
“Bingo!” he hooted and rooted, ignoring me like a butthole over a loaf of bread. He made some weird comment about how he couldn’t believe they had sprouted grain bread. And how sprouted grain bread was savage. And how sprouted grain bread aided in muscle recovery. And how sprouted grain bread blah blah blah; all bodybuilding nonsense no one else understood. I understood how rude he was, however. He practically commandeered the counter and began making himself half a dozen sandwiches with the ham that he had snagged from the fridge.
“How are we looking?” I asked again.
“Dude, we’re freaking loaded!”
I opened the large pantry and saw four shelves filled with cans. “Wow. Yeah, you’re right.”
The one guy, who had the master bedroom, the Lover, I believe his name tag was; he cleared his throat and said, “Ok. So, who’s going to go first?”
“First in what?” the Follower asked.
“Introducing themselves,” he hissed.
“Tch. I’m not wasting my time,” the Follower laughed. To be honest, he seemed like a nice kid, but his laugh was maddening. This high pitch chortle followed by a guttural snort or two. Ugh. Just thinking about it made my skin crawl.
“I think you should go first,” I told Bully.
“Oh, yeah? Why’s that?” he asked.
“Because you’re a big oaf.”
Everyone at the table laughed, including the Follower. He stood from his seat, still snorting, and said, “Dude! You have a mountain of sandwiches! You could have at least asked if anyone else wanted one.”
Bully laughed before and after taking a chunk out of his first sandwich. “Whatever. I worked hard to get these muscles. Judging by your appearance, I don’t think you’ve ever seen an honest day’s work at the gym.”
“Ouch,” the Follower nervously chuckled. He slinked back down in his seat and tried to hide as we all laughed at the poor guy’s expense.
Bully looked over at me as if he saw something he didn’t like. Before I could ask if he had a staring problem, he said, “What about you? You seem pretty straightlaced. Maybe you should go first.”
I looked around and saw everyone’s eyes fall on me after he had pretty much thrown me under the bus. I threw my hands up in defeat and told them, “Fine. It’s not like I have anything to hide; I’ll go first.”
The Lover gestured for me to take the metaphorical stage and said, “The floor is yours.”
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2023.03.29 22:42 dasgsserw [.WATCH.]The Pale Blue Eye Streaming Online HD Free HQ

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A brilliant toy company roboticist uses artificial intelligence to develop The Pale Blue Eye, a life-like doll programmed to emotionally bond with her newly orphaned niece. But when the doll's programming works too well, she becomes overprotective of her new friend with terrifying results.

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Released : 2022-01-06
Runtime : 102 minutes
Director : Terri Taylor, James Wan, James Wan, Kim Sinclair, Jason Blum
Stars : Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Jenna Davis, Amie Donald, Jen Van Epps

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2023.03.29 22:41 56_5462602 Is there a way to prevent a possible romance scammer from entering our country?

My mother has been talking to this guy from Argentina for the last 5 or 6 years. I think they met on Twitter or something. I've discovered over the years that she's given him money (almost monthly) and a couple iPhones.
Mom got diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Last year the doctor discovered another large mass and stated she was now stage 4 and they were unsure of the time she had left.
She started very aggressive chemo and it seemingly "worked" in that it decreased the size of the tumor. She's supposed to still be in treatment till July or so and then we're supposed to reevaluate her situation. This was after her treatment already got extended a couple months ago, so this has been ongoing.
I moved her 550+ miles away almost exactly a year ago to be near my sister. We were both taking care of her and this is where she began her "working" treatment. Before this she was in chemo in our home state and the doctors missed the large mass that was growing (that's a whole other thing). Point is that the care she's receiving by my sister is better. She's improved tremendously in several months than she did in a year back home.
Over the course of all this she's been talking to this guy. I found out in the beginning of her treatment that she was still giving him money. It got to where half the time my SO and I would have to pay for her medications because she couldn't afford it. I repeatedly told her that if he truly loved her then he wouldn't be taking money from her while she's sick with cancer (or at all, really). She'd dismiss me and say it was for both of them, meaning for him and herself. He apparently bought a car "for them", rented out a new apartment "for them", and a couple other things in 2020 when my mom was supposed to move down to Argentina (which I was desperately trying to stop). COVID happened and then she was diagnosed with the cancer, leaving her bed bound, which solved that problem.
Initially we lived with my grandmother (her mother) and my aunt (her sister). Like I said previously, I moved her several states away to be with my sister. Logistically speaking it was the best move. Back home she had to climb 18 or so steps every time she needed to leave the house (which was often for appointments) and it'd be like a full work shift equivalent to help her with this all day. It was exhausting for everyone. It'd lead to several instances where she'd cancel appointments because she'd be too tired to leave. But by my sister she's on the first floor of an apartment building (she stays with her ex husband) and the most difficult part for us is getting her into the car. It's way, way easier for everyone and she's never missed an appointment. She also seemed a lot happier. So I always saw this situation as ideal. I quit my job last year to stay with them, it been a whole endeavor that everyone contributed to.
Well a week ago she called me (I'm back home right now visiting my SO) saying she's coming back home. She convinced her ex husband to drive her the 10 or so hours. I was livid and we got into a huge fight. I told her she's playing fast and loose with her treatment and this is a critical point as it seems to be working, it can't be interrupted, and that I don't trust her doctors up here and their treatment was insufficient. This was the experience we had with a few doctors up here, not just one, so I don't feel comfortable just "switching" around since it was the entire hospital system. Also, I'm goddamn tired. There's no one here anymore. My SO and aunt returned to work while we were gone. Literally no one is home to care for her and I can't do it alone. I don't even have a car to take her to her appointments. She's also physically worse than before due to the aggressive chemo. She's in diapers and has new restrictions. My grandmother is home but she's very elderly and can't go downstairs.
It was all manageable at my sister's. We had a whole system worked out. Everything was perfectly fine and whenever there was an issue we'd resolve it. But there's no one to help me here.
After a bit of thinking I realized she's coming back because her "boyfriend" from Argentina is supposedly coming and she wants to move him into the house. She started repeatedly telling me that we don't have to worry about her anymore because he said he'll take care of her when he arrives. Obviously I'm offended whenever she says this since my sister, SO, and myself have happily sacrificed so much for her sake over the years and she's essentially dismissing us and making decisions on our behalf (her stating that she's a burden to us). She'd say he's a "caregiver" and that's who he is as a person. By the way, my sister has worked 20+ years in healthcare, and her daughter became a nurse tech several months ago. I also worked in a hospital in my early 20s, so none of this is new to anyone.
She tried saying her ex-husband is returning to work, so he won't be home to care for her, and dismissed me when I said Medicare will likely have programs for visitation nurses.
I don't want this guy coming, to say the least. I don't like him, I don't trust him. From what I can find online the name he gave her is of a real person (who's actually pretty established and easy to find online). He also doesn't seem to be "struggling" where he needs funds as he sells prints and other original works for hundreds of dollars. Dude has had art shows in Italy back in 2018 or so. I graduated from an art school, I know how this all works, and he seems pretty damn successful to me. Like accolades basically on par with my professors.
His profiles say he's from Argentina. His only social media is also high in followers, promoting his art, and are the same accounts my mother follows and frequently interacts with. So I think this dude is who he says he is. But imo that doesn't mean he's trustworthy.
My mom has told others that she wants to marry him so she can share her SSI with him and that she wants him to be able to collect her earnings after she dies (like how she's currently collecting from my dead father). My SO and I are worried this guy, if he moves in, could claim squatter's rights and essentially take the house. Mom has said she asked her mother if he can continue to live here after her death. I don't know what came of that conversation as it was he hearsay.
I don't know what to do. I highly doubt this guy truly loves her. She can't even get out of bed. She can't be intimate. She's also like a decade older than him. He's still very active (as he sends her shirtless photos sometimes and she forcibly shows me) and clearly someone who socializes and goes out often, which my mother is completely incapable of. He's supposed to come here with no friends, no family, no work connections, and be okay with that?
He has a son in Argentina and is apparently a professor at a college. Why tf would he give that up to come here? I sincerely think he just wants her money and citizenship (which she received this past August, finally).
We'd always push back whenever she'd discuss these things but now it's apparently coming to fruition as she's told her sister that he bought a plane ticket for May. I told my SO who then flipped and said we're moving out ASAP. We can't trust a stranger living in our house. We don't know what he's capable of, he could steal our things or hurt our dogs (which I had happen with her ex's before)
I initially took her debit card in 2020 and that stopped the money for a while. But she figured out a way around it and started using Venmo or something similar instead of her card. So that was a bust. At this rate I'm contemplating just taking her smart devices and blocking those apps and websites.
We all sort of ignored it over the last year. She'd get upset if we opposed anything, so to placate her we'd be all, "yeah that's nice" and only push back when she'd ask if he could come to America (we'd always say no). We didn't think she was capable of doing any of these things. But apparently she's tenacious.
She's also missing treatment now. She was supposed to go a week ago and hasn't. So she's at least a week late now and knowing her it'll be a while before she can get going again. But even so, she has no way of getting there.
I told her before she left that no one is here anymore. I can't afford a car. I repeatedly warned her that if she came back I wouldn't do anything to help her (like feed her or mundane things like fix her phone charger). We got into an argument and she said I'm being mean because she's not doing what I want. I had to explain to her that she's essentially killing herself by doing this and there was zero issues with that we had going on (I felt like Mike in Breaking Bad berating Walter after that big incident. "We had a good thing going!"). Her words also upset me, as this is the first instance I can think of where I tried forcing her hand. I typically always do what she wants.
She repeatedly told me that was fine, she was better, and can care for herself. Over and over, saying she's better, but then she gets here and, surprise, she can't do anything. My aunt has had to feed her and everything and told me she's agitated because this isn't playing out how my mom said it would. I told everyone, especially my aunt, that she's actually NOT better and last time I saw her a month ago she was still in a wheelchair. My sister confirmed it saying they were using the chair a few days before she left.
I'm 99% certain she came back here because this Argentina guy is coming. My sister, very sternly, told her she would not let him into her home and I repeatedly told her I wouldn't let him near her. So I guess the next best thing is here at home. I'm assuming she thinks she can get him to just show up and my grandma will let him in?
I'm livid. I don't know what to do. Can I contact immigration or something and tell them what's going on? Do I contact the Argentinian embassy? He's apparently using his real name and all, so it's not like a catfish thing. Does anyone have experience with this?
I'm also worried he may be feeding her ill ideas. When we were fighting about her coming home I told her that she needs to understand that her actions/decisions are affecting other people. That she can't just be fickle and make drastic decisions like this and dismiss everyone's feelings and situations (like imposing herself on my aunt and SO back here). She said, "No it doesn't. My decisions don't matter to anyone. It's not like anyone thinks of me anyway".
This was the first time I ever heard her say something like that. She usually has a list of phrases and such that she recycles in these instances. This one was new. I obviously refuted that and reminded her that everyone's been essentially revolving around her since 2020. I quit both my jobs to care for her and postponed starting a life with my SO. I moved myself 500+ miles away from my SO and our dogs to care for her. Not to mention what my sister has also done, especially after I moved us down there.
Everything was completely fine before this. I hate this man. It's adding so much unnecessary stress for everyone. Before this started a week ago my sister and I were discussing trying to get power of attorney so we could stop her from giving him money. But we have no idea how to go about that.
Apologies for the length. I'm very aggravated. I'm literally sick from the stress and have to go see my doctor tomorrow morning.
tl;dr: Guy from Argentina has been taking money from my mom for years. She's now dying of cancer and said he's supposedly moving here in May. Is there a way I can stop this by contacting immigration or something? He apparently used his real name and such from what I saw online. He does the stereotypical crap of "I need an apartment", "my son needs surgery", or "my dying mother needs medicine", which my mother would then give up funds for. My sister and I believe he's using her for money.
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