Dating violence powerpoint

The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-800-33-Haven. How you can Help…. Healthy relationships consist of trust, honesty, respect, equality, and compromise. 1 Unfortunately, teen dating violence—the type of intimate partner violence that occurs between two young people who are, or who were once in, an intimate relationship—is a serious problem in the United States. A national survey found that ten percent of teens, female and male, had been the victims of ... Dating-Domestic Violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, class, gender, education, religion, sexual orientation, etc… ♦ 1 in 3 teen relationships is violent ♦ 36% of teens reported violence in their relationship ♦ 1 in 3 adult relationships is violent ♦ 85% of reported cases of dating-domestic violence are Teen Dating Violence 101 1. TEEN DATING ABUSE 101 love is respect org The best way to Avoid is to Know 2. What is Dating Abuse? Dating abuse (or Relationship Abuse): A pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or a boyfriend. The core of dating abuse is Power and Control 2 3. Game of Stats1. Teen Dating Violence Safe Dates ( Foshee) 9-session curriculum ,poster contest, theater production, community-based activities, and training for teachers At 4 year follow -up: • Less psychological, moderate physical , and sexual dating violence perpetration • Less moderate physical dating violence victimization Dating Violence is not anger out of control. Domestic Violence/ Dating Violence is using anger to gain power and control over someone. Most of the time abusers will never get better because it is a learned behavior and cannot be unlearned. Sort of like learning to ride a bike You can never forget how to do that. What is Teen Dating Violence? A pattern of physically, sexually, verbally, and/or emotionally abusive behavior in a dating relationship. Dating violence takes many forms. It ranges from: punching, slapping, pushing, grabbing rape and murder threats of violence, verbal attacks, and other forms of intimidation Dating violence is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can happen in straight or gay (or other) relationships. ... and the handout materials.The written information presented on the PowerPoint was taken from the following resources and others located on the website for the Child Abuse Council of Santa ... Dating Violence<br />Words used to intentionally hurt, frighten, minimize feelings, put down, or threaten another person.<br />Physical force or violent behavior used to maintain control over a person, injure or frighten a person, or to get what one wants.<br />Any unwanted behaviors or actions that are sexual in nature. Love is Not Abuse TEEN DATING VIOLENCE * Prevalence of Teen Dating Violence 1 in 5 high school girls is physically or sexually hurt by a dating partner. – A free PowerPoint PPT presentation (displayed as a Flash slide show) on PowerShow.com - id: 51fdb9-NThmN

MMO Play: 'fun' vs 'Functional'

2020.09.09 00:57 biofellis MMO Play: 'fun' vs 'Functional'

In my earlier posts I discussed some of the 'game-focused' (but nonsense in world) functions which plague MMOs. Well, I'll probably do that now too- but this post is to say not just 'that's not always bad', but more 'sometimes that's actually good!'
Although people individually play MMOs for different reasons- the 'bottom' line for most is because they in some way think it'll provide enjoyment (except for gold farmers, item sellers, level grinders, and botters)- but even those guys all exist due to 'shortcomings' in the game which others are willing to 'compensate for' in order to 'properly' (in their opinion), have fun. As much as people insult those services or the people who use them- it's a very real point of 'your game is weak enough in some manner, people will PAY to circumvent some 'play' '.More about this later- for now lets focus on:

The Avatar:

Each player will get to choose in some matter- how their in-game persona 'looks' to other people. Some games offer very little variety in this, others offer an amount approaching that of a simulation. These choices vary by genre, but in general you pick your
This can affect play minimally, or put sever opportunities/restrictions on growth due to choice (pretty much the first 'race' type group)- but this first step usually is the 'personal investment' a player puts in, allowing them to be (at least slightly) unique- and allows for a player to 'identify' with the Avatar, and thus (in theory) care about it's progress/survival.
Also, designing your avatar itself can be fun- too bad the one time event of 'exploring possibilities' is never used again...

Your Job:

Depending on the game, it's goal and genre, you then get to choose how (in some manner) you will be 'having fun' in the game. From then on you'll be repetitively doing 'Job-related' things, so it's best to pick those that have personal appeal if possible. This covers
A lot of how much this is 'as fun as it sounds like' is up to the game play elements, and the world design- but in most cases it'll be at least 'acceptable' unless it's made tedious/grindy.

Clothes:

It's rather unfortunate- but everything else about your character's personality, growth, and options lies in what crap you acquire. From cool epic items that show of you accomplished something great (to those that can recognize them) to vanity items which show your own style (and sometimes how your buying choices could use some restraint)- clothing is the next level of 'personalization' and 'trophy display'- and can give an enhanced sense of pride and both reward and encourage investment. They can also indicate your class, and in many cases give a strong hint to your level.
So that's 'me'- is that 'fun'?
Normally- it helps- especially when 'I'm accomplishing things'. Rewards like this aren't exactly 'fun' by themselves- but as a catalyst to immersion, empathy, and significance of events/changes- it can improve the effectiveness of the ongoing action. Decreasing the 'distance' between player and avatar is always good.
Let's not leave out that for a lot of people- shopping is fun- this is another chance at 'exploring possibilities.
Ok, then- What do I do? What's 'fun'?
Well, unfortunately we need to step back a bit to 'before we got here'. All the way back to:

Targeting

The game you're playing you picked because 'they made it for you' (or not)- and if they didn't 'make it for you'- your chances of having 'fun' may be lower.
These are not 'rules', and are slowly changing over time. It's especially notable that Games based on franchises often have similar targeting as the source, or can become more balanced in gender (compared to 'more restrictive').
The targeting itself is somewhat problematic (as it leads to 'delivering on expectations' and recycling ideas)- but most importantly it determines design, content and gameplay.
I should add that MMOs should be big enough to offer an array of possibilities so that targeting isn't exactly necessary. Maybe in advertising you're not going to try to tempt every market- but in the game, it's a whole world, and the ability to chose 'how will I have fun' can (and should) have multitudes of options for all genders and ages.

Design:

Your design is important. for an MMO the exact same gameplay, can be represented first person (looking through the character's eyes), or third person (hovering somewhere above & behind usually). You'd think that would be a simple 'depending on play' choice- but as it turns out, there is a significant gender breakdown on preference. If you want females to be more comfortable playing, then a third person view is strongly recommended- as more females are 'new' to gaming and prefer the 'easier to parse' layout. In fact, a lot of gaming has taken 'a step back' in regards to design, as various aspects of play have been 'made easier' in the interest of facilitating a larger audience. This is great for people who don't like overly complex play- but not so great, as there is no 'learning curve' for increasing challenge or expertise- so 'challenge' has to be elsewhere...
There are actually a huge number of design options (to date) and way more possibilities- so we'll simply say that the design 'not get in the way of' the potential for 'fun'.

Content:

This can be related to franchise or genre- but certain elements (like provocative clothes, and violence/gore) are less appreciated by some demographics, and may reduce interest.
On the other hand, having a large amount of content (new things to see, places to go, etc) can maintain interest and loyalty- as long as getting to it isn't too tedious (and is preferably 'fun').
The only thing I can really stress here (without going into limitations or possibilities of any particular genre)- is that more functional content (integrated into world events or functional in it's own right) is preferable to 'simply lore' or 'flavor text' content.

Gameplay:

This is another area where certain aspects of design have dropped in complexity intentionally. For the most part, this is good, as a lot of games have designs that approach 'complexity' awkwardly- and make do with 'obscurity', 'obtuseness', and other ways to make 'challenging' solutions that are really just different flavors of 'not well- presented/thought out'.
There is a simpler aspect of this where the world has it's own 'rules' which are focused on the specific type of play allowed, and 'normal world' logic and solutions are... let's say 'unrelated'. There's always a game somewhere that you look at an obstacle and wonder why your 'awesome' character cant jump over some waist high thing (or maybe a little stream). Or get water from a stream, or ride a horse (before some ridiculous level).
These two regions of gameplay are where a lot of 'fun fails' can occur- but most people learn to 'go with the flow' and 'work around it'- though it also creates 'distance' from the character.
The 'impossible' goal is 'simple to learn- hard to master. The 'easiest' shorcut to that is the 'graduated upgrade'(my term)- where more functionality is added as you progress (like in a game where you learn to jump, running jump, double jump- and so on as the play progresses). This sort of thing can be implemented in many places.
There are many things you do 'too much' can stop being fun.
Other areas of classic 'no longer fun'?
That'll do for now. Different games can of course have done some of these well- and not all are obligated to be 'un-fun'- but All of this points to one simple fact- most MMOS youll have seen most of the dynamics of play by level 20 (if not right off)- and though there may be more sills, and more challengiing mobs/raids- that has little to do with the 'design limits' which are foundation to all play- even the 'you haven't played until you've reached level (whatever)' nonsense which happens 'post-growth'.
Honestly, why design a 'great game', then leave all the 'good stuff' at the end? It's nonsense.
Ah- on that note:

Sandboxing

When you design game elements which involve other players as a challenge/goal. If the 'best play' comes out of human interaction (due to forced conflict/cooperation)- that's hardly 'the game', is it? It's a benefit of 'emergent play/strategy' which (to be fair) needs some design for 'balance', but (in reality) is getting all it's 'life' from other players...
So the 'exciting engame' becomes 'a bunch of people' dynamically changing play- creating surprises, making unexpected turn-arounds- or whatever can't be programmed in for current AI.
Sandboxes can be 'fun'- but to a degree- it's a cheat.
Now to wrap up, I'll just touch on what I set out to do in the first place- which is talk about gameplay that is 'in it's own world'.
Both of these have 'this doesn't work like you expected'- but one is 'you shouldn't have necessarily expected it anyway', while the other is just an unpleasant annoyance.
For me I played a 2d non-combat, social MMO named 'Glitch' for a while, and it had lots of fun, nonsense-world elements in it, with a solid skill tree which hand silliness-name (but functional) skills. It was free-to play, and didn't survive- but it was quite clever and a different kind of 'fun' while it lasted.
It was unfortunately a very niche genre game, but was clearly made with passion and love. To see more 'learn this world' games with new interactions and answers would be great- but of course they are a huge financial risk. I guess if you count MYST and it's successors (though clearly more puzzle games), you can see it can be lucrative- but most want to follow more 'traditional' fun routes- with combat and math progression.
That's enough for now. I think I covered most broad strokes.
Do critique.
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2020.08.14 21:30 Expert-Spend May I have a love reading?

I’m a pansexual male, who’s also polyamorous, and aged in my mid 20s. I’m very open to dating all 5 of the men who are attracted to me; I just need a final confirmation to see if all five are genuine about their attraction for me.
Guy 1: Virgo. An unemployed model. Drug addicted; friends of his enable him. Has told me he only has sex for profit, and through this venture, was exploited and robbed. He records himself using and posts it on the internet. Married with an infant child. Made constant sexual and flirtatious advances toward my ex fiancé, an Aquarius (which my ex rejected and told me ‘He’s not my type’). I am two years older than he. He’s aged early 20s. He lived in my state when we met, and currently lives in the Deep South. Let us refer to him as The Bobby Soxer.
Guy 2: Virgo as well. Employed. Sexually fluid. Single and bicurious. I’m the first man he’s ever had sexual attraction to. We had sex last week; before and after our rendezvous, he contemplated whether it was right to be with me by saying “I don’t want to lead you on” and “This is not REALLY me......” (long afterward) and “You were really good! I see you’ve been practicing!” (directly after). He has two gay uncles (which he has personally told me). We met as classmates in high school. I’m also four weeks older than he. He actually rejected me in high school, and set me up with a gay guy at our school. I wanted to get to know said guy, and the new guy rejected any offer to get to know me. We haven’t spoken since; it’s been 8 years since Guy 2 & myself have met, and he’s seemingly attracted to me. Is also aged in his mid 20s. We both live in the same town. Let us refer to him as Gilda.
Guy 3. Also drug addicted. Possibly has sex for money. Aged 19. Very honest and forthcoming. Lives with his grandmother and has a negative relationship with his mother (which I can relate to firsthand). We live six hours from each other; he lives in the South and I live in the Northeast of the USA. Let us refer to him as PowerPoint Presentation.
Guy 4: Somnophiliac. Aged in his early 20s. Former college baseball player. Was questioned by police over DUI charge and released the same day (he doesn’t know, I know this, about him). Is actively inactive in my life, through texting and social media. We met through a friend of mine and I initiated flirting, which escalated our relationship into him attempting to initiate sex from me—I did not give in. He says his phone is broken, every time I try to speak with him through text, and blocks me ten minutes after we begin every conversation, on all his social media handles and devices. We’ve hung out only once, in person. We live one county apart from each other. Is not consenting to sex with me, unless I am asleep and if we are video chatting, I need to be FaceTiming him before and while I am asleep. Let us refer to him as Microsoft Excel.
Guy 5: Is a close friend of mine. Aged in his late 20s. Gang affiliated (which is not an issue for me; I have dated a closeted gang member in the past). We have differing political views. Has had sex with one man prior to being vulnerable about sex with me. Has had sex with transgender women and is attracted to older women. He’s tried to set me up with his gay cousin—I have declined the proposition several times. He’s suggested I move to his state (a state where I only have one family member who I know nothing about, and hardly remember this person’s name). He has sent me one explicit photo of himself, and then refused to discuss it by asking why I don’t think women find him attractive (which I never said at all). He only chooses to speak about sex with men, when he facilitates such conversation. He also has said “You remind me of a young Malcolm X. Very strong.” After that quote, he was very disrespectful toward me. He is schizophrenic (which he has directly stated) and smokes Valerian Root (which he says gives him the same feeling Xanax gave him). Friends have personally told me “He likes you!” and that his illness has him question his romantic attraction to me. He lives on the West Coast of the USA. Let us refer to him as Time Immemorial.
My current love life is very difficult for me to navigate, because I have always said I don’t judge people, and am wondering when to draw the line and decide judging people is an understatement, by simply ending my future relationships. I am a 5 time dating abuse survivor, and 3 time domestic violence survivor (of which, one of the men—an Aquarius Sun—who had indirect attraction to me, later became destructive and threw my personal property; at the time, I was not informed of this being domestic violence, and did not file a complaint).
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2020.06.15 23:05 fractalfay At one point, I had 15 cats: Recap of Happily Ever After S05E01

Welcome to Happily Ever After, where no one is happy and we have to watch them forever. This season promises an all-star cast of couples that either aren’t married yet or probably shouldn’t be, to help all of us at home make peace with our life choices.
Colt and his eyebrow-tell are back, because we had no choice in this matter. 90DF DeLorean’s us back to that time Colt thoughtlessly cheated on his mother with Larissa. Colt declares that he bought her everything she ever wanted, except flowers, a car with air conditioning, furniture, and an apartment away from his mother. Then Colt recalls the dark day he threw his baby bottle across the reunion because Larissa wasn’t holding a candle for his mother’s cuisine and slot machine, and was riding another D instead.
It was definitely 90DF’s idea to film him working out in the garage and not sweating, but they forgot to let “Eye of the Tiger” play in the background alongside a montage of slow fitness gains over time. Debbie arrives and reads her lines about not being able to lift even one of those weights, because mah stars isn’t Colt strong? She manages to pull it from the ground with both hands, and Colt Popeye’s it a few more times and stop it 90DF. Stop right now.
Debbie is happy about the divorce, and her ongoing role as the kickstand in Colt’s adult development. Colt brings up the possibility of an open marriage to Debbie, and she immediately disapproves. Colt says that he’s lonely and wants to be with someone, and Debbie is confused about when she stopped being a someone, exactly.
“Colt doesn’t need to date. He needs to crawl back inside me, where its warm,” Debbie declares.
With Colt done with forehead day at the gym, he climbs into the shower to oil up his body for the ladies at home. It’s in this vulnerable state that we learn he has a new girlfriend named Jess who is also from Brazil and currently living in Chicago, working as an au pair, which is fancy-talk for nanny. Debbie doesn’t know, so under the cover of night, Colt unstraps himself from his bed and picks the lock on his bedroom door, to scuttle away and meet his mistress in Chicago. They select a packed sports bar for intimacy, and discuss the finer points of cat ownership. They celebrate their shared feline affection with an awkward hang-ten high-five, and Jess’s cat tattoo tries to run down her arm to escape.
“At one point I had 15 cats, one for each of my tongues,” Colt purrs, before showing her his teeth as a sign of dominance.
“GOOD boy!” She mews in response.
“Do you know what a furry is?” Colt is getting excited now. “Good girl!”
“Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow,” Jess rolls on her back for the exposed-belly trap.
Colts says that usually he takes things slow, like the five days it took him to propose to Larissa, but Jess is different. During this date, Jess decides to educate Colt about the finer points of dating a Brazilian, and how they sometimes have sex on the first date, and also sex, that is sexy. Good thing Colt worked out that forehead earlier, because now it’s flexing like a straight fucking unit. Jess did not know that uttering the s-word would end their date immediately. Next thing you know Colt is tonguing Jess while he waits for a Lyft back to the hotel, before practically finger banging her until she protects her genitals with her purse and locks his fingers in a vice-like grip. Several gross kisses later, I’m bathed in flashbacks to the tongue coming through the phone in Nightmare on Elm Street, and where is Freddy Krueger to assure us this will end if we can just wake up?
Speaking of gross, Larissa is cleaning toilets to finish off community service, which is the free square on her domestic violence Bingo! Card. The hot lawyer makes a cameo as the best part of their story. Larissa says that she bought herself a new ass and an instagram face, and plans to spend the rest of the season either planning a surgery or recovering from one, because her children are her world.
She catches up with some friends at the pool, and admits she dropped Erik because he was cheap and didn’t want to have sex, and she got bored.
“He like lost that loving feeling,” Larissa explains. “Whoa that loving feeling.”
She says that Colt always gave her compliments “after I complained” and that he wanted sex all the time, and that he wasn’t biggie and wasn’t small. Larissa, we have seen the evidence. Don’t fake news us. Colt cancelled his support of her green card, so now she’s got to find another way to stay in the US permanently. From there we somehow end up with Larissa and her roommate Carmen in the kitchen, where she is fisting a turkey with stuffing. Apparently, her quest for citizenship involves Thanksgiving.
Later, Larissa drinks hot chocolate through a straw and calls her dad to ask for money. She tells us it’s awkward but looks totally natural as she asks her dad for 5K. Dude has to check his accounts, and hopes his daughter stops injecting her 90df checks into her face.
Okay everybody make room, make room, we’ve got a professional coming through, make room goddammit! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Angela, gyrating and fondling her own body with booty popping memaw magic, in an erotic dance class with her daughter. Whoever cast her gets a standing ovation every time she walks into the room. At the end of a mother-daughter strip-off Angela replenishes her shed calories with a little help from Coke, and mentions nothing about who decided fuzzy vests were required for this occasion.
Angela is stoked to try out her new moves on Michael, an announcement she makes straddling a chair like the promo of Striptease, and asks Skyla to attend their Nigerian wedding as a witness so Michael can come over on a spousal visa. Skyla refuses, pulling a golden ticket from Willy Wonka’s Logic Bar, with, “You don’t even know how he is around your family.” Angela blinks rapidly to erase this fairy tale intrusion. Still, she agrees to take Skyla’s advice and seek counsel to understand her legal rights in Nigeria pertaining to marriage.
Fresh from dance class, Angela announces that the entire family has moved into a new house with plenty of bedrooms (and a lot of spectacular windows that demand house plants), which is important when you have six grandkids, your daughter, and your mother living with you, and she’s eager for Michael to join them. Michael calls, and she gives him a tour of the house, highlighting the tiny bed he has no choice about, then wandering from room to room while holding her phone like brass knuckles. She reports that she’s sick, and has her period after years of uterine dormancy. Michael thinks this is good news, since Angela’s had PMS for at least two years, and maybe now she’ll just watch Bridezilla and cuddle a water bottle and eat chocolate like women in romantic comedies. Then his phone makes a noise Angela hasn’t heard before, and she immediately assumes this is the cheating siren going off. Michael seems tired, and tells her that he just got tired of his old ringtone, but don’t get all fancy rational when Angela is trying to scream incoherently. After she hangs up on her he calls her back, and tells her that she needs to calm down, but Angela is ready to marry him in Nigeria, not trust him.
Andrei is unemployed in a very masculine way, which means he hangs a television while baby Eleanor looks at him and laughs. He’s been married to Libby for three years, and she works full-time for her dad while Andrei is a stay-at-home dad doing ¼ of the work of the standard stay-at-home parent. This is underscored by Libby’s loving greeting, “What did you do all day, nothing?” He’s planning a second wedding in Moldova, which means saying that he’s planning a second wedding in Moldova, while waiting for Libby’s dad to do something so he can insult him.
Very important: look at Eleanor’s face at the start of each of their segments. The goblin king is going to demand audience with this child.
It’s Libby’s dads birthday, and she found just the right see-through shirt fo the occasion, and is taking her time to get ready. Andrei is not looking forward to it, because he thinks Libby’s family is two-faced, since they openly hate him to his face, and openly hate him behind his back. “That’s my biggest issue. Being a double-faced,” Andrei declares, totally derailing that definition.
The family is all gathered at dad’s house for red Solo cups and tiny hats, complaining about Libby being late in advance, to underscore that the insult Andrei was hunting for is “passive-aggressive”. They anticipate Andrei and Libby blaming it on the baby, despite the fact that all their competition babies were suckling that titty right on time, dammit. Finally they arrive, insisting it was because “the baby was sleeping,” and the sisters race to play the first sad trombone of disappointment. Andrei decides to spice things up by griping about his wife being the only one who offered him a plate of food, because apparently the entire family is supposed to swarm him the moment the troubadour announces his presence. Somehow this becomes “the women ganging up on the men” and I wonder if Libby has ever considered going to these events with just Eleanor.
Andrei then decides to toast Libby’s dad, which means randomly throwing their second wedding in Moldova in the air, along with the expectation that everyone spring for airfare for a foreign country do-over. You can actually see dad’s tiny birthday hat wilting. Libby stares at Andrei with her Solo cup hole hanging open. He says this is happening in a month and would like everyone to be there, which doesn’t really work in terms of planning for international travel with small children, or at all. Libby’s dad is worried he’s going to be left holding the bill for this event, which is the right worry to have, because that’s exactly what Andrei is thinking, too.
On the way home Libby brings up Andrei hijacking her dad’s birthday party with expensive news and a timeline they didn’t agree on, but Andrei is indifferent. Libby insists that the whole point of wedding #2 is to take their time and plan it properly. She seems at a loss about how to confront him, and is apparently just willing to take it indefinitely, because admitting her family was right would be worse. I’m just going to ship her and Kalani moving into a home for women together, for mutual child-rearing support.
Aseulu is back to remind us of the seven year age difference between himself and Kalani. He’s working part-time handing out samples at the grocery store, which means peer pressuring a senior citizen into taking a dessert with a name he can’t remember. Kalani squeezed out her second son, and reports that two kids in two years in difficult, and makes a really good case for using condoms like a slut person. She picks up Aseulu from his work shift, while the kids chatter in the background, and when they arrive at the house he simply gets out and walks in, like a sullen teenager who can’t wait to imitate his mother on TikTok. This leaves Kalani to wrestle two crying children out of the car on her own, and open the door herself. Somehow, the next scene isn’t her leading a fun game of let’s help daddy pack.
Kalani’s mother Lisa and father Low have both moved in, and happily greet these ridiculous cute wee people. Aseulu describes this as “too much people” and Kalani describes this as “help.” Aseulu doesn’t understand why Kalani needs help, because his mother did everything herself and it was easy. All across the country, parents are sharpening their knives.
Apparently after they come home, Aseulu either retreats to video games or goes to play volleyball with his friends. Kalani sits down with Aseulu and the kids, and tries to explain to him that she doesn’t have something like volleyball, she just has the kids 24-7. He adds that he “helps sometimes” and Kalani fires up the PowerPoint outlining how fathers aren’t babysitters, they’re parents. She points out that they haven’t gone on any dates for a long time, and Aseulu says they went to the movies the other night, and Kalani retorts that that was four months ago. To Aseulu they basically date every day, because they’re around each other every day, but Kalani says that she hasn’t been drunk or wearing fancy clothing for any of those occasions. Aseulu glumly resigns himself to a romantic future closely supervised by his in-laws.
Later on, Lisa demonstrates savage chopping skills, while Low is outside raking up apples, and shoveling them into a bin. Is anyone else hypnotized by how effortless these motions are? This is a moment of Zen. Aseulu decides to come out and lend a hand, and tells the producers that he doesn’t like living with her parents because he’s not the man of the house anymore. Low isn’t convinced he’s even a man, let alone of any house, and tells Aseulu that he expected him to step it up, and that hasn’t happened yet. Aseulu thanks him for his “advice and concern” with all the passion of someone promising their grandmother a paper letter at the nursing home. Low corrects him that if he expresses his concerns then he and Aseulu are going to have a problem, and the next question will be what did the five fingers say to the face? This should clarify what Aseulu means by “too many people,” but his magic pregnancy stick could add to their brood any episode now.
Next week, I don’t know, because they played us with a season preview instead of a nudge at next week. So instead I can promise that this season Paul and Karine will recreate the famous Kalani/Aseulu car scene (without the Cheetos), Angela will yell about things, Libby’s dad will pay for something, and Aseulu will walk around with a suitcase.
Thank you, Patreon supporters!
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2020.06.15 23:04 fractalfay At one points, I had 15 cats: Recap of Happily Ever After, S05E01

Welcome to Happily Ever After, where no one is happy and we have to watch them forever. This season promises an all-star cast of couples that either aren’t married yet or probably shouldn’t be, to help all of us at home make peace with our life choices.
Colt and his eyebrow-tell are back, because we had no choice in this matter. 90DF DeLorean’s us back to that time Colt thoughtlessly cheated on his mother with Larissa. Colt declares that he bought her everything she ever wanted, except flowers, a car with air conditioning, furniture, and an apartment away from his mother. Then Colt recalls the dark day he threw his baby bottle across the reunion because Larissa wasn’t holding a candle for his mother’s cuisine and slot machine, and was riding another D instead.
It was definitely 90DF’s idea to film him working out in the garage and not sweating, but they forgot to let “Eye of the Tiger” play in the background alongside a montage of slow fitness gains over time. Debbie arrives and reads her lines about not being able to lift even one of those weights, because mah stars isn’t Colt strong? She manages to pull it from the ground with both hands, and Colt Popeye’s it a few more times and stop it 90DF. Stop right now.
Debbie is happy about the divorce, and her ongoing role as the kickstand in Colt’s adult development. Colt brings up the possibility of an open marriage to Debbie, and she immediately disapproves. Colt says that he’s lonely and wants to be with someone, and Debbie is confused about when she stopped being a someone, exactly.
“Colt doesn’t need to date. He needs to crawl back inside me, where its warm,” Debbie declares.
With Colt done with forehead day at the gym, he climbs into the shower to oil up his body for the ladies at home. It’s in this vulnerable state that we learn he has a new girlfriend named Jess who is also from Brazil and currently living in Chicago, working as an au pair, which is fancy-talk for nanny. Debbie doesn’t know, so under the cover of night, Colt unstraps himself from his bed and picks the lock on his bedroom door, to scuttle away and meet his mistress in Chicago. They select a packed sports bar for intimacy, and discuss the finer points of cat ownership. They celebrate their shared feline affection with an awkward hang-ten high-five, and Jess’s cat tattoo tries to run down her arm to escape.
“At one point I had 15 cats, one for each of my tongues,” Colt purrs, before showing her his teeth as a sign of dominance.
“GOOD boy!” She mews in response.
“Do you know what a furry is?” Colt is getting excited now. “Good girl!”
“Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow,” Jess rolls on her back for the exposed-belly trap.
Colts says that usually he takes things slow, like the five days it took him to propose to Larissa, but Jess is different. During this date, Jess decides to educate Colt about the finer points of dating a Brazilian, and how they sometimes have sex on the first date, and also sex, that is sexy. Good thing Colt worked out that forehead earlier, because now it’s flexing like a straight fucking unit. Jess did not know that uttering the s-word would end their date immediately. Next thing you know Colt is tonguing Jess while he waits for a Lyft back to the hotel, before practically finger banging her until she protects her genitals with her purse and locks his fingers in a vice-like grip. Several gross kisses later, I’m bathed in flashbacks to the tongue coming through the phone in Nightmare on Elm Street, and where is Freddy Krueger to assure us this will end if we can just wake up?
Speaking of gross, Larissa is cleaning toilets to finish off community service, which is the free square on her domestic violence Bingo! Card. The hot lawyer makes a cameo as the best part of their story. Larissa says that she bought herself a new ass and an instagram face, and plans to spend the rest of the season either planning a surgery or recovering from one, because her children are her world.
She catches up with some friends at the pool, and admits she dropped Erik because he was cheap and didn’t want to have sex, and she got bored.
“He like lost that loving feeling,” Larissa explains. “Whoa that loving feeling.”
She says that Colt always gave her compliments “after I complained” and that he wanted sex all the time, and that he wasn’t biggie and wasn’t small. Larissa, we have seen the evidence. Don’t fake news us. Colt cancelled his support of her green card, so now she’s got to find another way to stay in the US permanently. From there we somehow end up with Larissa and her roommate Carmen in the kitchen, where she is fisting a turkey with stuffing. Apparently, her quest for citizenship involves Thanksgiving.
Later, Larissa drinks hot chocolate through a straw and calls her dad to ask for money. She tells us it’s awkward but looks totally natural as she asks her dad for 5K. Dude has to check his accounts, and hopes his daughter stops injecting her 90df checks into her face.
Okay everybody make room, make room, we’ve got a professional coming through, make room goddammit! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Angela, gyrating and fondling her own body with booty popping memaw magic, in an erotic dance class with her daughter. Whoever cast her gets a standing ovation every time she walks into the room. At the end of a mother-daughter strip-off Angela replenishes her shed calories with a little help from Coke, and mentions nothing about who decided fuzzy vests were required for this occasion.
Angela is stoked to try out her new moves on Michael, an announcement she makes straddling a chair like the promo of Striptease, and asks Skyla to attend their Nigerian wedding as a witness so Michael can come over on a spousal visa. Skyla refuses, pulling a golden ticket from Willy Wonka’s Logic Bar, with, “You don’t even know how he is around your family.” Angela blinks rapidly to erase this fairy tale intrusion. Still, she agrees to take Skyla’s advice and seek counsel to understand her legal rights in Nigeria pertaining to marriage.
Fresh from dance class, Angela announces that the entire family has moved into a new house with plenty of bedrooms (and a lot of spectacular windows that demand house plants), which is important when you have six grandkids, your daughter, and your mother living with you, and she’s eager for Michael to join them. Michael calls, and she gives him a tour of the house, highlighting the tiny bed he has no choice about, then wandering from room to room while holding her phone like brass knuckles. She reports that she’s sick, and has her period after years of uterine dormancy. Michael thinks this is good news, since Angela’s had PMS for at least two years, and maybe now she’ll just watch Bridezilla and cuddle a water bottle and eat chocolate like women in romantic comedies. Then his phone makes a noise Angela hasn’t heard before, and she immediately assumes this is the cheating siren going off. Michael seems tired, and tells her that he just got tired of his old ringtone, but don’t get all fancy rational when Angela is trying to scream incoherently. After she hangs up on her he calls her back, and tells her that she needs to calm down, but Angela is ready to marry him in Nigeria, not trust him.
Andrei is unemployed in a very masculine way, which means he hangs a television while baby Eleanor looks at him and laughs. He’s been married to Libby for three years, and she works full-time for her dad while Andrei is a stay-at-home dad doing ¼ of the work of the standard stay-at-home parent. This is underscored by Libby’s loving greeting, “What did you do all day, nothing?” He’s planning a second wedding in Moldova, which means saying that he’s planning a second wedding in Moldova, while waiting for Libby’s dad to do something so he can insult him.
Very important: look at Eleanor’s face at the start of each of their segments. The goblin king is going to demand audience with this child.
It’s Libby’s dads birthday, and she found just the right see-through shirt fo the occasion, and is taking her time to get ready. Andrei is not looking forward to it, because he thinks Libby’s family is two-faced, since they openly hate him to his face, and openly hate him behind his back. “That’s my biggest issue. Being a double-faced,” Andrei declares, totally derailing that definition.
The family is all gathered at dad’s house for red Solo cups and tiny hats, complaining about Libby being late in advance, to underscore that the insult Andrei was hunting for is “passive-aggressive”. They anticipate Andrei and Libby blaming it on the baby, despite the fact that all their competition babies were suckling that titty right on time, dammit. Finally they arrive, insisting it was because “the baby was sleeping,” and the sisters race to play the first sad trombone of disappointment. Andrei decides to spice things up by griping about his wife being the only one who offered him a plate of food, because apparently the entire family is supposed to swarm him the moment the troubadour announces his presence. Somehow this becomes “the women ganging up on the men” and I wonder if Libby has ever considered going to these events with just Eleanor.
Andrei then decides to toast Libby’s dad, which means randomly throwing their second wedding in Moldova in the air, along with the expectation that everyone spring for airfare for a foreign country do-over. You can actually see dad’s tiny birthday hat wilting. Libby stares at Andrei with her Solo cup hole hanging open. He says this is happening in a month and would like everyone to be there, which doesn’t really work in terms of planning for international travel with small children, or at all. Libby’s dad is worried he’s going to be left holding the bill for this event, which is the right worry to have, because that’s exactly what Andrei is thinking, too.
On the way home Libby brings up Andrei hijacking her dad’s birthday party with expensive news and a timeline they didn’t agree on, but Andrei is indifferent. Libby insists that the whole point of wedding #2 is to take their time and plan it properly. She seems at a loss about how to confront him, and is apparently just willing to take it indefinitely, because admitting her family was right would be worse. I’m just going to ship her and Kalani moving into a home for women together, for mutual child-rearing support.
Aseulu is back to remind us of the seven year age difference between himself and Kalani. He’s working part-time handing out samples at the grocery store, which means peer pressuring a senior citizen into taking a dessert with a name he can’t remember. Kalani squeezed out her second son, and reports that two kids in two years in difficult, and makes a really good case for using condoms like a slut person. She picks up Aseulu from his work shift, while the kids chatter in the background, and when they arrive at the house he simply gets out and walks in, like a sullen teenager who can’t wait to imitate his mother on TikTok. This leaves Kalani to wrestle two crying children out of the car on her own, and open the door herself. Somehow, the next scene isn’t her leading a fun game of let’s help daddy pack.
Kalani’s mother Lisa and father Low have both moved in, and happily greet these ridiculous cute wee people. Aseulu describes this as “too much people” and Kalani describes this as “help.” Aseulu doesn’t understand why Kalani needs help, because his mother did everything herself and it was easy. All across the country, parents are sharpening their knives.
Apparently after they come home, Aseulu either retreats to video games or goes to play volleyball with his friends. Kalani sits down with Aseulu and the kids, and tries to explain to him that she doesn’t have something like volleyball, she just has the kids 24-7. He adds that he “helps sometimes” and Kalani fires up the PowerPoint outlining how fathers aren’t babysitters, they’re parents. She points out that they haven’t gone on any dates for a long time, and Aseulu says they went to the movies the other night, and Kalani retorts that that was four months ago. To Aseulu they basically date every day, because they’re around each other every day, but Kalani says that she hasn’t been drunk or wearing fancy clothing for any of those occasions. Aseulu glumly resigns himself to a romantic future closely supervised by his in-laws.
Later on, Lisa demonstrates savage chopping skills, while Low is outside raking up apples, and shoveling them into a bin. Is anyone else hypnotized by how effortless these motions are? This is a moment of Zen. Aseulu decides to come out and lend a hand, and tells the producers that he doesn’t like living with her parents because he’s not the man of the house anymore. Low isn’t convinced he’s even a man, let alone of any house, and tells Aseulu that he expected him to step it up, and that hasn’t happened yet. Aseulu thanks him for his “advice and concern” with all the passion of someone promising their grandmother a paper letter at the nursing home. Low corrects him that if he expresses his concerns then he and Aseulu are going to have a problem, and the next question will be what did the five fingers say to the face? This should clarify what Aseulu means by “too many people,” but his magic pregnancy stick could add to their brood any episode now.
Next week, I don’t know, because they played us with a season preview instead of a nudge at next week. So instead I can promise that this season Paul and Karine will recreate the famous Kalani/Aseulu car scene (without the Cheetos), Angela will yell about things, Libby’s dad will pay for something, and Aseulu will walk around with a suitcase.
Thank you, Patreon supporters!
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2020.06.15 23:03 fractalfay At one point, I had 15 cats: Recap of Happily Ever After, S05E01

Welcome to Happily Ever After, where no one is happy and we have to watch them forever. This season promises an all-star cast of couples that either aren’t married yet or probably shouldn’t be, to help all of us at home make peace with our life choices.
Colt and his eyebrow-tell are back, because we had no choice in this matter. 90DF DeLorean’s us back to that time Colt thoughtlessly cheated on his mother with Larissa. Colt declares that he bought her everything she ever wanted, except flowers, a car with air conditioning, furniture, and an apartment away from his mother. Then Colt recalls the dark day he threw his baby bottle across the reunion because Larissa wasn’t holding a candle for his mother’s cuisine and slot machine, and was riding another D instead.
It was definitely 90DF’s idea to film him working out in the garage and not sweating, but they forgot to let “Eye of the Tiger” play in the background alongside a montage of slow fitness gains over time. Debbie arrives and reads her lines about not being able to lift even one of those weights, because mah stars isn’t Colt strong? She manages to pull it from the ground with both hands, and Colt Popeye’s it a few more times and stop it 90DF. Stop right now.
Debbie is happy about the divorce, and her ongoing role as the kickstand in Colt’s adult development. Colt brings up the possibility of an open marriage to Debbie, and she immediately disapproves. Colt says that he’s lonely and wants to be with someone, and Debbie is confused about when she stopped being a someone, exactly.
“Colt doesn’t need to date. He needs to crawl back inside me, where its warm,” Debbie declares.
With Colt done with forehead day at the gym, he climbs into the shower to oil up his body for the ladies at home. It’s in this vulnerable state that we learn he has a new girlfriend named Jess who is also from Brazil and currently living in Chicago, working as an au pair, which is fancy-talk for nanny. Debbie doesn’t know, so under the cover of night, Colt unstraps himself from his bed and picks the lock on his bedroom door, to scuttle away and meet his mistress in Chicago. They select a packed sports bar for intimacy, and discuss the finer points of cat ownership. They celebrate their shared feline affection with an awkward hang-ten high-five, and Jess’s cat tattoo tries to run down her arm to escape.
“At one point I had 15 cats, one for each of my tongues,” Colt purrs, before showing her his teeth as a sign of dominance.
“GOOD boy!” She mews in response.
“Do you know what a furry is?” Colt is getting excited now. “Good girl!”
“Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow,” Jess rolls on her back for the exposed-belly trap.
Colts says that usually he takes things slow, like the five days it took him to propose to Larissa, but Jess is different. During this date, Jess decides to educate Colt about the finer points of dating a Brazilian, and how they sometimes have sex on the first date, and also sex, that is sexy. Good thing Colt worked out that forehead earlier, because now it’s flexing like a straight fucking unit. Jess did not know that uttering the s-word would end their date immediately. Next thing you know Colt is tonguing Jess while he waits for a Lyft back to the hotel, before practically finger banging her until she protects her genitals with her purse and locks his fingers in a vice-like grip. Several gross kisses later, I’m bathed in flashbacks to the tongue coming through the phone in Nightmare on Elm Street, and where is Freddy Krueger to assure us this will end if we can just wake up?
Speaking of gross, Larissa is cleaning toilets to finish off community service, which is the free square on her domestic violence Bingo! Card. The hot lawyer makes a cameo as the best part of their story. Larissa says that she bought herself a new ass and an instagram face, and plans to spend the rest of the season either planning a surgery or recovering from one, because her children are her world.
She catches up with some friends at the pool, and admits she dropped Erik because he was cheap and didn’t want to have sex, and she got bored.
“He like lost that loving feeling,” Larissa explains. “Whoa that loving feeling.”
She says that Colt always gave her compliments “after I complained” and that he wanted sex all the time, and that he wasn’t biggie and wasn’t small. Larissa, we have seen the evidence. Don’t fake news us. Colt cancelled his support of her green card, so now she’s got to find another way to stay in the US permanently. From there we somehow end up with Larissa and her roommate Carmen in the kitchen, where she is fisting a turkey with stuffing. Apparently, her quest for citizenship involves Thanksgiving.
Later, Larissa drinks hot chocolate through a straw and calls her dad to ask for money. She tells us it’s awkward but looks totally natural as she asks her dad for 5K. Dude has to check his accounts, and hopes his daughter stops injecting her 90df checks into her face.
Okay everybody make room, make room, we’ve got a professional coming through, make room goddammit! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Angela, gyrating and fondling her own body with booty popping memaw magic, in an erotic dance class with her daughter. Whoever cast her gets a standing ovation every time she walks into the room. At the end of a mother-daughter strip-off Angela replenishes her shed calories with a little help from Coke, and mentions nothing about who decided fuzzy vests were required for this occasion.
Angela is stoked to try out her new moves on Michael, an announcement she makes straddling a chair like the promo of Striptease, and asks Skyla to attend their Nigerian wedding as a witness so Michael can come over on a spousal visa. Skyla refuses, pulling a golden ticket from Willy Wonka’s Logic Bar, with, “You don’t even know how he is around your family.” Angela blinks rapidly to erase this fairy tale intrusion. Still, she agrees to take Skyla’s advice and seek counsel to understand her legal rights in Nigeria pertaining to marriage.
Fresh from dance class, Angela announces that the entire family has moved into a new house with plenty of bedrooms (and a lot of spectacular windows that demand house plants), which is important when you have six grandkids, your daughter, and your mother living with you, and she’s eager for Michael to join them. Michael calls, and she gives him a tour of the house, highlighting the tiny bed he has no choice about, then wandering from room to room while holding her phone like brass knuckles. She reports that she’s sick, and has her period after years of uterine dormancy. Michael thinks this is good news, since Angela’s had PMS for at least two years, and maybe now she’ll just watch Bridezilla and cuddle a water bottle and eat chocolate like women in romantic comedies. Then his phone makes a noise Angela hasn’t heard before, and she immediately assumes this is the cheating siren going off. Michael seems tired, and tells her that he just got tired of his old ringtone, but don’t get all fancy rational when Angela is trying to scream incoherently. After she hangs up on her he calls her back, and tells her that she needs to calm down, but Angela is ready to marry him in Nigeria, not trust him.
Andrei is unemployed in a very masculine way, which means he hangs a television while baby Eleanor looks at him and laughs. He’s been married to Libby for three years, and she works full-time for her dad while Andrei is a stay-at-home dad doing ¼ of the work of the standard stay-at-home parent. This is underscored by Libby’s loving greeting, “What did you do all day, nothing?” He’s planning a second wedding in Moldova, which means saying that he’s planning a second wedding in Moldova, while waiting for Libby’s dad to do something so he can insult him.
Very important: look at Eleanor’s face at the start of each of their segments. The goblin king is going to demand audience with this child.
It’s Libby’s dads birthday, and she found just the right see-through shirt fo the occasion, and is taking her time to get ready. Andrei is not looking forward to it, because he thinks Libby’s family is two-faced, since they openly hate him to his face, and openly hate him behind his back. “That’s my biggest issue. Being a double-faced,” Andrei declares, totally derailing that definition.
The family is all gathered at dad’s house for red Solo cups and tiny hats, complaining about Libby being late in advance, to underscore that the insult Andrei was hunting for is “passive-aggressive”. They anticipate Andrei and Libby blaming it on the baby, despite the fact that all their competition babies were suckling that titty right on time, dammit. Finally they arrive, insisting it was because “the baby was sleeping,” and the sisters race to play the first sad trombone of disappointment. Andrei decides to spice things up by griping about his wife being the only one who offered him a plate of food, because apparently the entire family is supposed to swarm him the moment the troubadour announces his presence. Somehow this becomes “the women ganging up on the men” and I wonder if Libby has ever considered going to these events with just Eleanor.
Andrei then decides to toast Libby’s dad, which means randomly throwing their second wedding in Moldova in the air, along with the expectation that everyone spring for airfare for a foreign country do-over. You can actually see dad’s tiny birthday hat wilting. Libby stares at Andrei with her Solo cup hole hanging open. He says this is happening in a month and would like everyone to be there, which doesn’t really work in terms of planning for international travel with small children, or at all. Libby’s dad is worried he’s going to be left holding the bill for this event, which is the right worry to have, because that’s exactly what Andrei is thinking, too.
On the way home Libby brings up Andrei hijacking her dad’s birthday party with expensive news and a timeline they didn’t agree on, but Andrei is indifferent. Libby insists that the whole point of wedding #2 is to take their time and plan it properly. She seems at a loss about how to confront him, and is apparently just willing to take it indefinitely, because admitting her family was right would be worse. I’m just going to ship her and Kalani moving into a home for women together, for mutual child-rearing support.
Aseulu is back to remind us of the seven year age difference between himself and Kalani. He’s working part-time handing out samples at the grocery store, which means peer pressuring a senior citizen into taking a dessert with a name he can’t remember. Kalani squeezed out her second son, and reports that two kids in two years in difficult, and makes a really good case for using condoms like a slut person. She picks up Aseulu from his work shift, while the kids chatter in the background, and when they arrive at the house he simply gets out and walks in, like a sullen teenager who can’t wait to imitate his mother on TikTok. This leaves Kalani to wrestle two crying children out of the car on her own, and open the door herself. Somehow, the next scene isn’t her leading a fun game of let’s help daddy pack.
Kalani’s mother Lisa and father Low have both moved in, and happily greet these ridiculous cute wee people. Aseulu describes this as “too much people” and Kalani describes this as “help.” Aseulu doesn’t understand why Kalani needs help, because his mother did everything herself and it was easy. All across the country, parents are sharpening their knives.
Apparently after they come home, Aseulu either retreats to video games or goes to play volleyball with his friends. Kalani sits down with Aseulu and the kids, and tries to explain to him that she doesn’t have something like volleyball, she just has the kids 24-7. He adds that he “helps sometimes” and Kalani fires up the PowerPoint outlining how fathers aren’t babysitters, they’re parents. She points out that they haven’t gone on any dates for a long time, and Aseulu says they went to the movies the other night, and Kalani retorts that that was four months ago. To Aseulu they basically date every day, because they’re around each other every day, but Kalani says that she hasn’t been drunk or wearing fancy clothing for any of those occasions. Aseulu glumly resigns himself to a romantic future closely supervised by his in-laws.
Later on, Lisa demonstrates savage chopping skills, while Low is outside raking up apples, and shoveling them into a bin. Is anyone else hypnotized by how effortless these motions are? This is a moment of Zen. Aseulu decides to come out and lend a hand, and tells the producers that he doesn’t like living with her parents because he’s not the man of the house anymore. Low isn’t convinced he’s even a man, let alone of any house, and tells Aseulu that he expected him to step it up, and that hasn’t happened yet. Aseulu thanks him for his “advice and concern” with all the passion of someone promising their grandmother a paper letter at the nursing home. Low corrects him that if he expresses his concerns then he and Aseulu are going to have a problem, and the next question will be what did the five fingers say to the face? This should clarify what Aseulu means by “too many people,” but his magic pregnancy stick could add to their brood any episode now.
Next week, I don’t know, because they played us with a season preview instead of a nudge at next week. So instead I can promise that this season Paul and Karine will recreate the famous Kalani/Aseulu car scene (without the Cheetos), Angela will yell about things, Libby’s dad will pay for something, and Aseulu will walk around with a suitcase.
Thank you, Patreon supporters! Patreon.com/fractalfay
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2020.05.27 16:32 TheFett I Want You to Play More Adventure Games (Part II: 1994-2000)

PREVIOUS POST -- PART ONE
I wanted to continue my discussion of adventure games considered the greatest of all time. As before, this is not an exhaustive list but I have carefully aggregated reviews from a variety of sources to make my decision.
Many wondered why certain titles weren't included on the previous list. This is because the list only went up to 1993! Let us go beyond and discover the later years of the Golden Age of Adventure Games and find out where it all went wrong.
First, I want to give props to sites like Adventure Gamers and YouTubers like PushingUpRoses who produce excellent reviews of these games, far better than anything I'm likely to write here. Second, if you don't like adventure games, and don't think you ever will, this list may not be for you. The title of this post is not an imperative, just a hope that you'll find entertainment as I have, and that I can share some of that with you.
1994-1997: The Rise of Pre-Rendered 3D, FMV, and 16 bit graphics
By the mid-90’s, we were saying fond farewell to DOS, as Windows and other 16- and 32-bit operating systems took its place. It was a transitional period, some games released had installation options for both DOS and Windows on the same disk. With the rise of improved graphics and commonality of CD-ROM drives, we see larger games with more intensive assets. Pixel graphics gave way to a more cartoony style which would last until the rise of 3D rendered models a few years later.
Honorable Mentions
Soft recommends: (ie, if I don't include these, people will talk)
1998-2000: Hardware-rendered 3D and the death of the classic adventure game
Some blame Myst. Some blame Quake, Doom, and Unreal. Whoever is to blame, but the late 80's, everyone knew 3D gaming was the future. They knew it! I mean, why have lush 2D backgrounds and characters when you could have clunky, boxy models in a pre-rendered space? This spelled the end of the classic adventure, as sales during this time period were lackluster and the cost of making these games increased due to the new 3D mandate.
Isn't it weird how obsessed with 3D models we became? Pixar comes out with a few movies, a few years later, Disney decides all animated movies have to be computer generated from then on. Maybe it was cheaper, I'm just impressed by how quickly they went from The Lion King to "Home on the Range sucked, only CGI from now on." And don't try to tell me that the models looked good; "Chicken Little" looks dreadful compared to "Lilo & Stitch."
Anyway, around this time, we also started getting more story-heavy games in previously shallow genres: RPGs, long noted for their storyline, were gaining mainstream appeal thanks to Final Fantasy VII and its ilk. Action/shooter games like Half-Life and Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex showed that games can have good storytelling and narrative. Even when adventure games stopped being produced by major studios, it's not like I suddenly stopped playing games. Post-2000, I could still get my story fix in games like Silent Hill 1 & 2, Halo, Kingdom Hearts, Baldur's Gate, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, not to mention all the Zeldas, Fallouts, and Resident Evils of that time. Let's look at some of the games that helped usher out the era:
Honorable mention:
TO BE CONTINUED
So that's it, the end of the Golden Age. What came next? I will be back, talking about Syberia, some releases for Nintendo DS, and maybe pointing out a few visual novels that cross the line into adventure game territory (yes, that means Phoenix Wright), before getting into the modern era of the last 8 years.
Edit: Altered the list to move Quest for Glory V out of top spot. How'd it get there?
Edit 2: Added links to all titles I could find for sale online.
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2020.04.10 12:57 SpeakSoftCarryAStick There’s Someone In That Hole In The Ground

You know how sometimes you meet someone and you just click?
Not romantically, though I guess you can click like that too. I wouldn’t know either way. I’m nineteen now and I’ve never even been on a date with a guy. Or a girl. Or anyone. But I have had lots of friends, and that’s the kind of ‘clicking’ I’m talking about. The kind where you meet for the first time and it seems like the next thing you know you’re hanging out at three AM laughing at nothing and eating ice cream with the same spoon.
The other Emma was one of those kinds of clicks. I should explain– I don’t call her the other Emma as some kind of Coraline reference, or because she looks creepy or anything. I call her the other Emma because my name is Emma too. That’s how we first got to know each other, actually– our teacher was calling roll and we both spoke up at the same time when he said our name. It was a good jumping-off point for us to get to know each other.
To be clear, this wasn’t the first time I’ve ever met another Emma. It’s a really common name, after all, and I knew at least five Emmas just from middle school to now. No, what really made this a good starting point for our friendship was everything else we had in common. When I realized there were two Emmas in the class I suggested we go by nicknames, which was honestly a little selfish of me. It was my first semester of college and I knew that if I chose a cool nickname now it would probably “stick” for the rest of my time here. So I suggested I go by my initials, ELM. Not the coolest name I could’ve gone for, sure, but I’ve always liked how it makes me sound like I could fit into a fantasy novel, or at the very least a young-adult book where I star as the manic pixie dream girl. They seem to know how to have fun, even if their boyfriends mostly suck.
The other Emma, who at that point had been a seat or two away from me, turned to me with wide eyes.
“No way,” she said, “Those are my initials too!”
We had a short conversation about the coincidence before we had to quiet down and let our teacher finish calling roll, but after class she waited for me to pack up so we could walk out together. It turned out that we had very similar last names, though our middle names only shared their first letters. She‘s named after the library where her parents met for the first time, and my middle name is ‘Luanne.’ She definitely got the better deal there.
That was a year and a half ago. Since then we’ve become fast friends, even deciding to room together in our second year. Our similarities have become a running joke for us, because there’s a genuinely surprising amount of them– we’re both into the same obscure webcomic that no one else has ever heard of, we both have a parent who teaches preschool, we both have the same astrological sign. It turns out we were born only four days apart.
If I’d shared so many traits with someone I didn’t like I probably would’ve hated it, felt threatened in some way, but because I liked the other Emma I actually found it fun. It was interesting to see what we had in common, and friendships are built on mutual ground. Somehow it always surprises me when some particularly strange trait of mine is mirrored in her, even if by now I should expect it. I even joked once that maybe we’re secretly the same person.
Jokes aside, though, no one ever mixed us up. Despite how similar we are in character and name we look nothing alike, so it was easy for everyone else to tell us apart. The only times we were ever confused for each other was during roll call with teachers who’d never met us before, or who had big classes to manage. I won’t lie, we used that to our advantage a couple times, pretending we’d both been in class and the teacher had simply forgotten to mark down ‘Emma’ twice.
All of this is to say it took me by complete surprise the first time someone actually mistook me for the other Emma.
We were working on a partner project in class, which could sometimes cause confusion depending on how the teacher liked to assign pairs. If you’re only told your partner is ‘Emma’ (I hadn’t gotten ‘Elm’ to stick) you’re within your rights to be confused about which Emma you’re looking for. The thing was, though, that this wasn’t day one of the project, this was day three. Our partners should have known which Emma they had by now, by face if not by anything else.
My partner was absent that day and hadn’t sent me a message to explain why. I didn’t mind– she was a friend, and I trusted she had her reasons. I’d just gotten all my things set up to work on my own when the other Emma’s partner sat down next to me and began passionately launching into the details of his half of the project. I actually knew this guy pretty well– he’d sat behind me in my English course last year and we studied together– so at first I thought he was joking. Pretending he didn’t know which one of us was which. As he kept going, though, I slowly realized he was serious.
“Uh, Dylan,” I said, “I’m not your partner.”
He pulled up short halfway through a sentence about his PowerPoint ideas.
“You’re not?”
He seemed genuinely bewildered, looking between me and the other Emma like he’d never seen us before. The other Emma was looking just as confused, and I’m guessing I did too– again, we look nothing alike. It should have been easy to tell us apart.
“No,” I confirmed, “The other Emma’s your partner. Are you feeling okay?”
He laughed it off, but said it was an easy mistake to make– “After all, the two of you are so much alike!” That was such a common joke at this point that it wasn’t at all weird that he’d make it, but it was the first time that joke had made me uncomfortable. Like there was a rock sliding through my guts.
I think at this point I should tell you about Lucy and Brian.
Lucy was another one of our friends, one we’d also met during our first semester. She met the other Emma first and then the other Emma introduced me, and we all got along great. She was quieter than us, more shy, but when it was the three of us all on our own she’d come out of her shell. If the other Emma was my best friend, Lucy was a close second, at least that first year. She’d been spending less and less time with us since she’d gotten a boyfriend.
You can click with people in bad ways too. Brian was one of those. My mom’s always said that women should trust our gut feelings about men, that sometimes your subconscious knows things you don’t. I don’t know how true that is, but whenever I get weird vibes off a guy I make sure to be extra cautious around him anyway. Stick close to my friends, don’t go anywhere with him alone, that kind of thing. It’s a good practice in general but I’m extra stringent about it when it comes to people who creep me out.
When I met Brian for the first time I wanted to grab every friend I could carry and march us all straight into the bathroom until he left. He made my skin crawl. I don’t know what it was about him that set me off– I never know– but every ounce of intuition in my body was telling me to be scared of him.
Unfortunately, the first time I met Brian was when Lucy introduced him as her new boyfriend.
Mom-advice is one thing, and as long as I was only taking cautionary measures based on unjustifiable feelings I figured I was okay. It was something completely different to be rude to someone because they “felt wrong,” and ridiculous to tell a friend to break up with someone because he gave me the heebie-jeebies. So I swallowed my nerves and played nice, introducing myself and Emma and pretending it was funny when he referred to us as a “set.” I wish I hadn’t.
I want to be very clear– no matter what happened afterward, I don’t think Brian is a monster. Well, no, I think he’s a monster, but he’s the kind of monster who’s made out of flesh and blood and does the kind of evil that only humans are capable of. That’s just my opinion, but at this point I feel safer trusting my gut.
So Lucy was absent from class. No big deal. Like I said, I didn’t mind working alone, and I was sure she had her reasons. I shot her a text letting her know what I’d gotten done and I forgot about the whole thing for the next couple of hours, through my next lecture and right up until I got her reply. The reception’s shitty in my “Cinematic Legends” classroom, presumably because it’s underground, so I’m used to getting a few pings as soon as I exit.
Lucy’s reply was strange. She didn’t thank me for what I’d gotten done or offer an explanation for her absence. Instead she sent me three simple words– Who is this?
I remember thinking that everyone was telling terrible jokes today, remembering Dylan and his Emma mixup earlier. I’m pretty sure my response to Lucy was lol, new phone who dis or something like that. Not exactly Shakespeare. Lucy didn’t reply for another three hours, and when she did all she said was Emma?
Yeah? Who else would it be lol.
There was another fifteen minute pause. Then, Right, sorry. My phone’s being glitchy. I can’t see anyone’s contact info.
Our talk turned pretty normal after that, just project talk, but I remember thinking she seemed even more subdued than normal. I asked her if she was okay and she said she was just tired, and not feeling very good on the whole. I offered to drop by with some soup– I really like to cook– but she said no. That she didn’t want me to catch anything.
I didn’t see her for a month after that.
She would still talk to me over text, same for the other Emma, but she’d stopped coming to class. At first we thought she must have caught the stomach bug that had been going around, but as the days stretched on we started to think something might seriously be wrong. Lucy insisted she was just sick, that it wasn’t anything to worry about, and that she was above all else fine, but I wasn’t so sure. I remembered the bad feelings I’d gotten around Brian, and I started to worry that maybe he was the cause of this. That he was controlling her, telling her she couldn’t go out. I had thoughts like that all the time– I tend to catastrophize– but this one was more tenacious than the rest. It didn’t help that Lucy was still refusing visits.
During that month people started mixing up me and the other Emma more and more. It had gotten to the point that even people we considered fairly close friends could no longer tell the difference between us at first glance. It was bizarre. Neither of us had done anything drastic to our appearances, no dyed hair or sudden facial reconstruction surgery. I can’t stress enough how different we look, because that is truly the only area where we share no overlap at all. She has brown eyes; I have green. She has blonde hair; I have brown. I wear glasses, have my hair short, dress in hoodies and pajama bottoms. She has three piercings in her ears, long braided hair, and a collection of dresses that span every color on the visible spectrum (and some that stray off of it). There was no way this many people could be confusing us, especially not after knowing us for so long.
The other Emma thought it was some kind of really terrible joke, playing off of our similarities. I got a sinking feeling every time someone made a comment about us being identical.
Eventually the Lucy situation got to be too much for me, and I told the other Emma that I thought Brian might have done something. I thought she’d tell me I was overreacting, reassure me, but instead she agreed. She said she’d gotten weird vibes off of him too.
We decided to visit Lucy. We didn’t ask if we could come over, because we knew what the answer would be by now. I don’t know what we were expecting. Part of me was outright hoping we were wrong, that Lucy would get mad at us in her adorable way and tell us off for risking catching what she had. Then I’d give her the soup I’d made and maybe we’d even come inside, watch some dumb movie and fetch her ice and stuff as she needed it.
I knew as soon as Lucy opened the door that wouldn’t be happening.
She was pale. Lucy had always been pale– she was one of those girls who burned during the spring and fried during the summer– but she looked especially so now. That might’ve indicated she was telling the truth about being sick if she hadn’t visibly flinched upon seeing us in her doorway, taking a half-step back like she was afraid we would hurt her. I think I’ll probably have her expression burned into my brain forever, her eyes wide and lower lip trembling. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. Or hysterics.
“No,” she whispered. Her voice was hoarse. “No, go away. I’m sorry. Go away. Please.
I was frozen, staring at Lucy’s petrified face, but Emma sprung into action. She’s always been a little more confident than me, a little better at taking control of situations.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, “Are you hurt? Is Brian hurting you? Do you need us to get you out of here?”
At Brian’s name Lucy broke, her whole body shuddering as tears streamed down her face and she collapsed to the floor. I set down my tupperware full of soup, ready to help her back up, but when I reached for her she scrambled back across the floor.
“I’m sorry,” she kept sobbing, “I’m so sorry. Please, just leave me alone!”
“I’m calling the cops,” the other Emma said, already pulling out her phone. “Whatever Brian did to you–“
She didn’t get a chance to finish. Lucy lost it all over again, a fresh wave of terror, begging Emma not to make the call. At this point I was starting to get that sinking feeling again, the same one I’d had every day for the past month, every time someone confused me for Emma and made a joke about it that didn’t quite sound like a joke. Lucy didn’t look hurt. She was wearing pajamas, a t-shirt and sleep shorts, and her long pale limbs were bare of bruises. Besides that, she’d been wailing like a siren, and I had a hard time believing that Brian could have missed hearing it if he’d been there.
Something wasn’t adding up.
“Lucy,” I said quietly, “Why have you been avoiding us?”
Lucy sobbed, stammering more apologies. Emma kept soothing her, telling her it was okay, but that only seemed to make Lucy cry harder. Eventually she managed to pull herself together enough to stand, to invite us into her living room. I forgot my soup on her front step.
She sat as far away from the two of us as possible, curled up in a pale, miserable ball. Her fingers caught at the hem of her shorts, picking at the stitching as she talked.
“This month’s been a living hell,” she managed, “You can stop now. I know it was wrong. I should have told. I was just so scared.”
The other Emma, still in Domestic Violence mode, started trying to tell Lucy that it wasn’t her fault, that anyone could be trapped in an abusive relationship. Lucy got incredibly quiet then.
“You don’t remember,” she whispered.
The other Emma and I shared a look. One of us had to ask. I bit the bullet, swallowed, and let the weight join the rest of the rocks in my gut.
“Remember what?” I asked.
The story was piecemeal. Lucy was in no condition to string a coherent sentence together and she kept telling us things out of order, apologizing for events she hadn’t yet explained. All the while she refused to look at us, just stared down at her knees.
She told us that a month ago, we’d had a movie night. We’d come over to her house to watch the Trolls movie, of all things, because I thought it would be funny. We wound up staying over afterwards, deciding to have a sleepover despite having class the next day and having brought none of our things.
I’ve been meaning to watch the Trolls movie for a while now. Here’s the thing– I still haven’t. And I’ve never slept over at Lucy’s place. I don’t remember ever having a night like she described.
Lucy said it had been great right up until Brian arrived. She hadn’t invited him– in fact, she’d been trying to work up the courage to break up with the guy. Seeing him on her doorstep that night had been an unpleasant surprise.
Well, Lucy’s four foot nine and Brian’s built like a brick. He shouldered past her into the house. Saw the two of us inside. He was drunk, Lucy said. Said she could smell it on him like cologne. Somehow he’d gotten his hands on a gun.
But that wasn’t what he’d used for the killing.
Lucy showed us the bag. She’d put the broken bits of the table inside, and they smelled like rot and iron. I could see hairs stuck to the corner of the sharp wood, matted down by dried blood. It was the only reason I could believe what she was saying.
They’d buried the body out back, at gunpoint. Lucy said she’d been so scared he’d just shoot them both when the hole was deep enough, bury victim and witnesses alike. But he hadn’t. He’d let them live.
I didn’t want to ask. I didn’t want to know. The other Emma asked instead.
“Who did he kill?”
“Emma.” Lucy said.
The other Emma let out a breath. “I know, but– which Emma? Me or her?”
“I don’t know,” Lucy said.
“You don’t know?“ I asked. I think I was shouting at that point. Lucy was shaking again, and normally I would’ve felt bad about that but I’d just found out there was a night missing from my memory that might have taken my life.
Lucy looked at us then, for the first time since we’d come inside.
“I can’t–“ she began. Choked down a sob. “I can’t tell the difference between you two anymore.”
I felt cold. Numb.
Lucy kept talking. She’d balled up her fists in her hair, twisting at the strands like she’d picked at the hem of her shorts.
“I know you look different. Looked different. But you look the same now. I- I can’t even remember which last name goes to who. Can’t picture what you used to look like. I don’t know who’s buried in my backyard. I don’t know which one of you is real and which one is. . . is. . .”
I made hot chocolate when Emma and I got back to our dorm. It’s a habit at this point, a drink we both find comforting. I watched the other Emma drink from her mug in silence.
We’ve both been eating for the past month. Sleeping. We’ve showered, brushed our teeth, done our homework. We can both see how different we look, and neither of us remember having ever slept over at Lucy’s house.
I don’t know what to do.
I’m typing this as I lie in my bed, across the room from the other Emma. Should I be scared? Should she? I’m terrified, but not of her. I’m terrified of what might be in that grave.
Emma and I are the only ones who would know who’s down there anymore. We’re the only ones who can tell ourselves apart. If I snuck out tonight and went over to Lucy’s, I could dig up that hole. I could see who’s buried there.
But I’m scared it’ll be me.
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2020.03.04 03:18 lawthrowaway0387 Orientation Poll - Sexual Assault Training

Hey everyone,
Pretty off-topic but I was hoping I could get an extremely rough take on how many law school orientations (and which schools) contain even a couple powerpoint slides about sexual assault awareness or any kind of training. The school I attend does NOT do any discussion or training, so I brought it up this week to admin during an orientation-related interview (respectfully, I might add). Now I'm being hauled into the dean's office to discuss how I had a "hard time" at orientation.
Completely understand if mods want this taken down or if anyone wants to DM me instead of commenting. Basically I'm riled up and want some rough stats. I know at least Duke has done a sexual assault awareness and misconduct training, and has put a hold on registration until students complete an online course on bystander and intervention training for sexual assault and dating violence. I'm really interested in where other schools stand on this as well.
Any feedback is appreciated. God speed on briefs!
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2020.01.24 23:01 snwidget Dumbasses paying the dumbass tax.

Today, we were doing a required discussion dating violence (thank you, Texas) in the most calm and comforting environment, a band class of 70.
Most of my musicians are great - some are sarcastic assholes as you might be as a 14 year old boy.
I was going through some of the questions, and asked (generally, to the class), if it was ok for a significant other to cut off your access to friends or isolate you. Most say no, sarcastic boy says yes.
I go, “Minus the dumbasses, you’re right, this is not ok.”
Man, you’d have thought I’d murdered someone. The boys looked aghast that I would say that to them!
Then, the PowerPoint had the word “intimate relationships,” so one dumbass sarcastic boy, fully knowing the answer, asks out loud what intimate is.
Without flinching, I say, “Ok, I’ll use the more common term, emotionally and physically sexual relationships.” I said the word sexual as many times as humanly possible in the slide.
This is not the place to have these conversations. My school was simply checking an item off a list, and they didn’t care how the information was distributed. I let my kids know that they could always come to me or my coteacher with concerns.
I used my position of authority against a 14 year old boy and belittled him in public. Maybe I did my best to make another one as uncomfortable as I could because he tried to do that for everyone else. Maybe I’m just a bully, too.
But you don’t get to be a dumbass in my class without paying a tax. Especially on matters that are so close to home for other people there.
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2020.01.02 19:06 IndolentMess My Psycho Girlfriend Decapitated Me, The Afterlife Ain’t What I Expected…


As in it ain't the fuckin' place I ended up going! What a fuckin' EVENT I have been having the displeasure of going through. And it is still ongoing. Lemme just rant it out for ya sick horror-seeking cunts.
Now, this all started three weeks ago. Here I am expecting the bowels of hell where my sin-loving ass rightfully gonna end up, instead I get some teen kid eyeing me up like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Boy'd probably try to take a handful of my naughty bits too, had I not kicked the pervy fuck in the 'nads. Kid crumpled to the ground, yowling something fierce.
My head just got done rolling across the floor of some restaurant, and I wake up to this shit? The place I was in was seedier than a back alley massage parlor too. I think it was supposed to be some abandoned warehouse. Shelves coated in rust, vermin scurry and shittin' all-round, and a ceiling covered with holes.
I shot up off the ground to my feet in a second, towering over that kid.
"Gettin' ready to cop a feel, eh, freak!" The boy stumbled back, cradling his babymaker like a newborn. I had right mind to give 'em another blow before some unkempt trench coat wearin' motherfucker came over.
"What the hell's going on?" Trenchcoat asks.
"Little creep was perving on me. You with 'em?" I shot that homeless-looking mug the stink-eye.
"I wasn't gonna do anything!" The kid cried out.
"Yeah yeah, you ain't the first lecherous fuck to say that to me." What an eye roll of an excuse, just upset he got caught.
"No, I just met him here. None of us know each other here. If you come with me, I can introduce you to everyone."
"How about instead I fuck off outta this drug den?" I wasn't gonna be caught staying in this place. Last thing I need’s some junkie to jump me from the shadows, tryin' to stab me for meth money.
"That won't work…" I heard Trenchcoat say, not giving a shit I just flipped him off and continued on to the front doors of the warehouse. Coming up to this set of big ol' double doors, I tried to slide one of 'em open. No lock in sight, could even see some light poking in from the crack between the doors. Fucker. Didn't. Even. Budge. Felt like I may as well been tryin' to pull the sword from the stone. And ya girl was found wanting...
"I could have saved you the effort. You should come meet everyone else, we're trying to figure out what's going on." Trenchcoat was right behind me.
"I'll just call someone then." I reached into my pocket and sighed. Of course, my phone was gone, just vanished without a trace.
"You coming now or not?"
Looks like it was time to go introduce myself to the class, god I fuckin' hate meeting new people. As we were going back through the warehouse, I took another look at where I woke up. There was this blood red pentagram scrawled on the concrete. Even had some Latin writing circling 'round it. Not that I could read that dead language…still some real freaky occult shit nonetheless.
We came to the rest of the miserable shits stuck here, all hanging by this statue of this shirtless goat-headed furry sittin' on a black altar. Gotta say the statue was not to my taste, but shit was crafted by a master cause the detail on it was ridiculous. Looked pretty much like a real dude. Just with a goat head…and furry goat legs…A couple of big, sleek black raven wings…and I ain't confident of this, so don't hold me to it, but I think it had a dick in that fur. Fucker had a bitchin' beach bod though, who knew goatmen could be so jacked?
"Welcome, we just did introductions, but hopefully everyone doesn't mind reintroducing themselves. We can just go around in a circle." Trenchcoat said, grabbing the attention of the group of people loitering around the statue.
The first to answer was this middle-aged guy whose fashion sense screamed mid-life crisis. His name was Paul, he brought up his job, but I didn't care enough to listen to what it was.
Next was Roger, the teenage pervert, who was giving me quite the dirty look…that little shit. Could still see the tear stains on his cheeks.
Then there was Samuel, and he was a beefcake of a man, I'm talking an easy eight or nine outta ten with some sexy flowing blonde locks. Now I usually don't get with men too often, but I certainly wouldn't kick him out of bed.
After him, we got to the only other girl here, besides me. Penelope, she was a little cutie too, with these big glasses. I always had a soft spot for nerdy girls, and she looked to have a bit of shyness in her as well. That really gets my taps goin'. Not like I couldn't take on another conquest, seein' as my current girlfriend, psycho bitch she is, is firmly into ex territory now. And hopefully, prison.
Finally, we get back to Trenchcoat, guy went by Marshall…he did look the part, so it made sense to me.
"Your turn now." He said to me.
"It's Naomi."
"With that out of the way, does everyone remember how they got here?" Marshall asked. Everyone just went all nervous when he said that. The geezer especially looked pale.
"I can see some of you are apprehensive… I'll talk first then. I was shot, three rounds in my chest. My partner and I were trying to take a suspect in for questioning, and they unexpectedly pulled a gun and opened fire. I'm certain that I should have died, but instead, I woke up here." Marshall said.
"I was driving my truck down the highway, heading for the next town over. Out of nowhere, this guy came swerving into the lane, slamming into me. The last thing I remember is hitting the divider and looking up to see a car coming head-on at me. I guess I should be dead too." Samuel said.
"Interesting…what about everyone else." Marshall asked.
"I…I don't remember. I was just studying in the library at my university, and suddenly now I'm here." Penelope said.
"I also should have died. I hope you don't mind me keeping the reason to myself." Paul said, guy put on a subtle smile, but damn if he wasn't shaky as all hell. Pretty sketchy motherfucker if you ask me.
"That's alright, I just want to get a general idea of how we might have ended up here." Marshall said, turning his gaze over to me. I scoffed.
"My girlfriend walked into a restaurant with a meat cleaver, found me, and murdered both me and my date. She was thorough too, cut my head clean off…two swings, bitch always did work out a bunch." I noticed everyone looking at me with these dumbfounded fuckin’ faces and sighed.
"She decapitated you in public? What the fuck?" Samuel said.
"Well, I was cheatin' on her, so I guess she decided to get some revenge. A little overboard if you ask me though. I always knew she was a fucking psycho and wanted to break it off, but uh…she gave me a lot of benefits."
You'd think I’d be a lot more upset about the whole ordeal, but hey, I'm not actually dead, so what's there to be upset about. That guy I was out with was pretty nice though, that shit's a real shame cause he's very dead.
"Right…Kid, you mind telling us what you remember?" Marshall asked Roger.
"Nn-nothing! I mean…I…I don't remember either." That boy was a terrible liar…
"Listen, you can keep the details to yourself, I don't care about those. Did you die?" Marshall asked.
"I…yea…I died." Roger hesitantly answered. I planted him immediately on the sketchy list too.
"So that's the common trait then…we all died. Even though Penelope cannot remember it, I’m sure it is the same with her." Marshall said. Penelope shifted uncomfortably at the words.
"That's a little crazy though, don't you think? Wouldn't it make more sense to think someone kidnapped us?" Samuel said.
"Bud, maybe you need to clean your ears out, I lost my fuckin' head. I'm no doctor, but I don't think you can just go about reattaching that." I responded.
"Not to mention people just appearing on that painted symbol over there. All of us were seemingly just teleported here. I looked at it closer a bit after arriving, Seems, whoever made it was into Satanism. The fact all of us appeared on it, however..."
"You think we were summoned here?" Paul asked.
"That's my only guess, as to why they choose us…I have no idea." Marshall's voice trailed off.
"Um…do you hear something?" Penelope said. Everyone went quiet and just faintly a sound could be heard. It was impossible to make out what it was because of how damn quiet it was, but it was there. Coming from the shirtless goat furry sitting on the altar.
"It's coming from that strangely ripped statue." I mentioned.
"She's right." Samuel said as he got close to the statue. "What the hell is that." He pointed to a thin cable that was running from the inside of the statue's leg fur towards its head, more specifically into its ear.
"Is it like a robot or something?" Roger asked.
Samuel followed the wire and climbed up onto the altar to look into the statue's ear. As he did that, I could have sworn I saw its fucking mouth open and close, ever so slightly like it was talking.
"Wait! Did it just say something?" Penelope asked.
"I saw it's mouth move. Fucker is creeping me out." I said.
Samuel reached into the statue's ear and retrieved what the cable was connected to. It was an earbud. The sound we were hearing emanating from it. Samuel lifted it to his ear, his face contorted with abject confusion.
"Boston?...I actually really like this song."
"I UNDERSTAND ABOUT INDECISION! I DON'T CARE IF I GET BEHIND!" The goatman sang out, scaring the absolute shit out of each and every one of us. Samuel went flying off the altar, scrambling to get away from it as fast as he could.
"PEOPLE LIVING IN COMPETITION!" The goatman jumped off the alter and each of us backed away from him a good ten feet. "ALL I WANT IS TO HAVE MY PEACE OF MIND!"
This guy…this FUCKING goat-headed piece of degenerate garbage made me damn near piss myself…singing the chorus to Peace of Mind.
The goatman began laughing his ass off, doubling over with tears in his stupid goat eyes. He took the other earplug out of his ear and shoved both of them somewhere in his leg fur.
"What the fuck?! Why the fuck is it talking?!" Samuel yelled.
"Cause I can? God damn, I got you guys good…whew…it has been too long. I missed fucking with humans. To think it's only been a year." The goatman said, wiping the tears from his eyes.
"Are you the one who brought us here?" Marshall asked. The goatman nodded.
"Got that right…well, not you all specifically. I don't get to choose who shows up see. There's just a random pool that gets drawn of potential candidates, and they just get distributed to me and others."
"Who the hell are you?! And can you take that stupid goat head off!" I yelled.
"Me? You…you don't recognize me? None of you?" The goatman sounded offended and a little hurt. All of us shook our heads in unison.
"I'm Baphomet…you know I do the pose." Baphomet held his left hand up and the right to his side. "C'mon~ everybody knows the pose I get asked to do it at parties all the time!" Still seeing no reaction from us, Baphomet stopped posing and looked quite defeated, like someone took a shit on his pancakes.
"Wow…usually there’s one …that's really upsetting actually." Baphomet's head drooped low. I walked over to him and grasped onto his horns and began trying to yank that ludicrously well-detailed goat head off.
"What the hell are you doing! Stop!" Baphomet yelled, trying to push me away.
"I want to see your face, jackass! Why the hell is it not coming off!" Suddenly I felt this unbearable pain in my stomach and collapsed to the ground, coughing and choking. It felt like something was trying to dig its way out of my body. I couldn't move my body even if I tried, it was as if every muscle I had was constricting.
"What did you do to her?!" Marshall yelled. Penelope knelt down beside me and held my head in her lap. Nice girl…don't agree with whatever perfume she was wearing though. Paul came and bent over next to her.
"Let me take a look." He said. That’s right…he said he was a doctor.
"Yeah, worry about the woman who assaulted me…she'll be fine. I just gave her a little shock to calm her down. Same goes for any of you if you get uppity with me. And for your information, missy, this head doesn't come off. It's real." Baphomet said.
God, his voice makes him sound like such a cunt. Like someone who graduated from hell's equivalent to Harvard off of the back of daddy's bank account. If I wasn't risking seizing on the ground again, I'd have kicked him in his goat dick as soon as I got up.
"That's insane! What the fuck are you then?!" Samuel yelled.
"I'm a fucking demon, you idiots!…Wait…correction. I'm a fucking deity, you idiots! I get it mixed up sometimes." Baphomet said.
The pain finally subsided a little, and I sat up, still feeling like my stomach was about to make a second attempt to liberate itself from my body. Penelope and Paul asked if I was feeling alright. I answered them with a "Fuck no!" but it really wasn't all too bad after a few moments.
"I assume you can let us out of here." Marshall said.
"You assume correctly."
"Lemme guess, you ain't gonna do that though, are ya?" I said.
"Another great guess. You lot are stuck here with me until you take care of a little business for me." Baphomet said.
"Business?" Paul asked.
"Yeah, you know all about that, don't ya old boy. This isn't your under the table bribery type affair however. This business is of a more…how should I put it…violent affair. Allow me to explain."
Baphomet walked over to the altar and slammed his fist on top of it. The middle of the altar opened up, and a television screen rose out from inside of it. Baphomet cleared his throat as a PowerPoint presentation played on the screen with slides detailing the subject matter he was talking about. Man…Microsoft is really doing well for themselves; even supernatural beings are using their stuff.
"Ahem. Welcome new recruits, you have been accepted to become hunters of God's undesirables." Baphomet's tone shifted to overtly serious.
"God's undesirables? What the hell are those?" Samuel asked.
"If you shut your mouth and didn't interrupt, I could tell you. God's undesirables are any spirits, demons, deities, angels, monster, fiends, etc. that are hanging here on Earth that the boy's up top or down below decide need to be wiped from existence. They are some pretty bad dudes, so they need to be dealt with. Hey! I see you! You want to ask why the fuck this is a thing, keep that mouth fucking closed. You don't need to know the why, you aren't here to ask questions."
"You just want us to blindly accept what you're saying?" I asked.
"That would be preferable yes."
I hate this fuckin’ guy…I wonder if all pagan deities are as much of assholes as goat boy here.
"Now, your job is simple. I will teleport you to a location, you find the target there, and you kill them."
"How?" Marshall asked. Baphomet took a deep breath in through his nose.
"I'm glad you asked. See lucky for you lot, you got put in my care." Baphomet kicked the altar and the front, back, and side panels of it lifted up and flipped over. "See, I've been a warden for a while now, so I've got a lot of equipment…ready…" Baphomet's stopped talking when he looked at the altar. The sides flipped out, forming what I would have assumed to be a wall you would store things like guns and the like on.
Only there were just six handguns on the corner of on the entire thing. Judging from the expression of sheer bewilderment on Baphomet's face, like he just witnessed the love of his life being railed by his best friend. I think it was safe to assume this was an unexpected turn of events.
"Give me a moment." Baphomet reached into his leg fur and pulled out a cellphone and angrily dialed in a number. "Hey Bartholomew, buddy, uh…where's my shit at?...the equipment you know…performance review? I missed it? No one fucking informed me of that now, did they?! Right, guess we just start over, right!? Oh fuck off… I'm glad you're wife left you." Baphomet hung up the phone and turned back to us.
"Alright, so you're gonna use those pistols to do it. Best I can do right now for ya." Baphomet said.
Roger was quick to run over and pick up one of the handguns, fiddling around with it like it was a toy. Samuel and Marshall were soon over there as well, and gradually the rest of us walked over.
"Oh man, look at it! Like a Glock 19. A bit bigger and heavier, looks like the barrel is wider too. Hey, goatman! What caliber this baby fire?" Roger asked. Why did I find it worrying that he was getting real talkative now that firearms were involved? I'm sure it's just a healthy outlet for him.
"Caliber? Kid, I don't fucking know. They shoot a special kind of bullet. It's made of pure energy. Energy that is capable of killing supernatural entities. I call it "God Killer Energy." Cool name, right?" Baphomet said.
"Sounds stupid…you get that shit from an anime you weeb?" Roger asked.
"That's not very nice to say…" Baphomet frowned. Then there was the sound of a click and then another click. I looked over to see Roger pointing his gun at Baphomet and pulling the trigger repeatedly. As the gun failed to fire, he looked down at it, disappointed.
"Hmm…I don't see a safety on it…why won't it fire."
"What the fuck is your problem?! Did you just try to shoot me?!" Baphomet yelled.
"Yeah…but it didn't work. This gun must be broken."
"They aren't broken, they are disabled while you’re in the warehouse! Why the fuck would I let you shoot me?!"
Seems about right he wouldn't let us have any chance to kill him. As much of a pretentious moron as he seemed to be, we were still his captives. I picked up one of the handguns and examined it. It looked relatively normal, though there were a couple LCD displays located on the grip and back of the slide. The one on the end of the slide showed a simple white square, while the one on the grip displayed "100%." It seems I wasn't the only one to take notice of them.
"These displays on the gun, the one is obviously battery life, but what about the other one on the slide." Marshall asked, pointing to the back of the slide.
"That indicates the charge level of your shot. The way these guns work is that they fire after you release the trigger, so the longer you hold the trigger down, the more powerful the shot will be. However, this is at the cost of extra battery life. I'd be stingy with it if I were you, there are no backup batteries to take with you."
"I also have to ask…why are we being tasked to do this? We're just ordinary people." Marshall said.
"Yeah, you're expecting us to hunt some paranormal shit. How the hell did we qualify for this?" Samuel asked.
"You qualified when all of you committed your crimes. Transgressions against your fellow man. Had you not been brought here…well, you'd all be burning in hell right now." Baphomet answered.
"The hell are you talking about? I never committed any crime!" Samuel shouted. Baphomet laughed…this one wasn't like his earlier fit. It was far more sinister, his voice deepening.
"Why don't you ask your wife about that? Can't remember? Did all the alcohol make you forget."
Samuel went silent, his teeth gritted, and the gun shook in his hand. "You don't know what the fuck you're talking about! I never touched her!"
"Just like you never touched your daughter…right, Sammy boy?"
Samuel stepped towards Baphomet, but as soon as he got in front of him, Samuel collapsed to the ground, his body seizing up. Baphomet knelt down and bent over close to Samuel's face.
"Without you around, I bet your family is happier now than they ever were for the past ten years. Daddy can't hit mommy when he's dead now, can he?" Baphomet stood up and looked around at each of us, his gaze made my skin crawl. It was as if his eyes were looking straight into my fucking soul. Like he could see things about me that I couldn't see about myself.
"Each of you deserves to be here, some more than others. You're each scum in your own special little ways. The excrement of humanity funneled to me so you can serve a purpose and atone for your crimes. You should each be groveling before me, thanking me from the bottom of your shit-stained hearts that I allow you another shot at life." Baphomet walked over to Marshall and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"You know all about monsters, don't you, detective? You know that the best way to fight them is with another monster."
Marshall looked up at Baphomet with a look of hate like I had never seen on a man. Baphomet let go of Marshall and walked away from us. He took a look over at Paul and Penelope.
"Plan on playing the pacifist, pathetic people like you will be nothing but a burden. You going to just rely on the others to do the job for you? You're used to that though…might be a hard habit to break."
Penelope clenched her fist, tears welling up in her eyes. She quickly walked over and grabbed one of the handguns. Holding the gun, she looked so…uncomfortable, I just hoped she didn't end up hurting herself with it. Paul stood his ground, refusing to pick up a gun. This somber expression on his face.
"I can't do that…" Paul muttered. Baphomet shrugged his shoulders.
That was the other thing we had in common…we were all bound for a one-way ticket to the inferno. I couldn't help but be curious about what my fellow sinners had done to get here. I could make guesses. With some of them, it would be easy to guess. I didn't really care all that much though, the only thing I really cared about was going home. Even if it meant participating in this goat's hunt.
Baphomet snapped his fingers, and the panels all retreated back to their original positions on the altar. The screen once again rose out, this time displaying the image of a young woman's face. Her skin was extremely pale, like she'd never been in the sun a day in her life. It was also translucent, revealing loads of blood vessels that ran across her cheeks and forehead. Even stranger, her hair looked to be made of flesh.
"Take a good look at her, that's your target. You are going to find them and kill them. After you do that, I will bring you back here. You will have an hour to do so, I suggest you work fast. If you fail to complete the task, all of you will be eliminated. You will be graded once the mission is done based on how well you completed the mission. Now, good luck to all of you. I won't miss you if you don't come back." Baphomet snapped his fingers once again.
Suddenly we were standing in a park. I recognized it, it was Reticer Park, the largest park in the city. Usually, it was packed with shitloads of people, but it was currently the middle of the night, and the place was dead.
All six of us were standing together at the northern entrance to the park. Looking out the gates I could see cars driving by, if we wanted to, I guess we could‘ve just walked out then and headed home. Problem was that none of us thought that Baphomet was lyin' about that sixty-minute time limit.
Samuel got to his feet, this expression of rage on his face. "Out of my fucking way!" Samuel shoved Marshall aside and continued deeper into the park.
"Where the hell are you going? We should stay in a group!" Marshall called after him. Samuel gave the cold shoulder and just kept walking. Guy had a big fuckin' chip on his shoulder that's for sure.
Roger also started walking away, this unsettling grin on his face, the kid looked like a little psycho.
"You too?" Marshall asked.
"It's just a woman. It shouldn't be too hard to deal with her at all. I'll take care of this so you all can just relax." Watching that kid walk away, I can't say I was too upset. The further I was away from him, the better. Looking over at Marshall, I could tell he was gettin' quite annoyed.
"Damn fools. That goat doesn't expect any of us to live through this." Marshall said. "Splitting up is just going to lead to our chances dwindling even further. Not to mention that Paul here refused to pick up a gun."
"Sorry, I just cannot endorse any sort of violence…" Paul said.
"You deciding to hold to that ethic of yours could get us killed, I hope you understand that." Marshall replied, Paul frowned and shook his head.
"What's the plan then? You seem like the take-charge kind of guy, dick." I said, Marshall not taking too kindly to my innocent little stab.
"First, we should get our bearings. Is there a map or anything around here, I've never frequented the park much." Marshall said.
"If we head down a little further in, there should be an information board to our right." Penelope said.
"We can head there first, it might give us an idea of where to look. Next, we should set up a formation. Naomi, you've used a gun before, right?" Marshall asked.
"How'd ya guess?" I replied.
"It's just an observation. You're showing off proper trigger discipline, your grip is stable, I also saw how you analyzed the gun back in the warehouse. It seems clear you've handled firearms before."
"Right, I've gone shooting once or twice." I said.
"You can handle the rear then, I'll take point, and Penelope and Paul will stay between us. Paul, you might not have a gun, but you can still be useful as an extra set of eyes." Marshall looked over at Penelope.
"You shouldn't hold your finger over the trigger like that until you want to shoot. It would be bad if the gun accidentally discharged." He told her.
"S-sorry…" Penelope said, moving her trembling finger away from the trigger. That girl still looked cute, even when she was scared shitless. I got into my spot at the back of the group, and we started walking into the park.
"So…Penelope…You come here often?" I asked.
I used to come here with my family a lot…not so much anymore since I started college." She said.
"College girl, huh? Where ya attending?"
"Wyladder University."
"Oh, my daughter is going to be attending there next year. It is a very prestigious place. I graduated from there actually. Paul said.
"Cut the idle chatter." Marshall chimed in.
"What crawled up your ass?" I asked, giving Marshall a sideways glance.
"I'd like to focus on the matter at hand is all." Marshall didn't turn to look back at me when he spoke. Just kept walking forward.
Something about the guy's nature made me think he was a military guy. I’ve heard it’s common for veterans to enter law enforcement after serving. Part of me wanted to ask him about it, but I had a feelin' he wouldn't give me much of an answer.
We got to the information board and takin' a look at it; the park was pretty big. If we were to try and search the whole damn thing, it would take well over an hour.
"Where the hell do we start?" I asked.
"Without any information to go off of, the best place would probably be the pond. We would have a good amount of visibility around that area, fewer trees in the way. It shouldn't take long to look around."
"What do we do if we don't find anything there? We only have an hour…even less since we've been here." Penelope said.
"Then we will need to split up and actively search that way. Obviously, we want to avoid that, but the time limit might force us to." Marshall replied.
With that, we started walking towards the man-made pond at the center of the park. Speaking of visibility, it was dark as shit out. The only light we had to make anything out with were the intermittently placed light posts. And whoever was the guy that laid out their positions fucked them all up cause they were not evenly spaced whatsoever. Most of the time, we'd be walkin' around just in darkness. I was worried that if we even did come across something, we wouldn't be able to see it.
Arriving at the pond, we started walkin’ around the path by the water. Wasn't much to see around there, a few benches lined pond edge and there was a tiny veranda on one end. No sign of anyone else there besides the ducks sleeping on the water and us.
Suddenly there was this loud screaming. It was like someone was gettin' stuck in the guts with a knife over and over. Just screaming bloody murder, it didn't take long for the voice to be recognized.
"That… That's Samuel, isn't it?" Paul mumbled, just loud enough to be heard.
"Christ…it sounds like he's fuckin' dying." I said.
"Let's go…" Marshall said, starting in the direction of the screams. The rest of us followed behind him. As we got closer and closer to the cries, we ended up going off of the paved paths. As we were moving through the trees, Samuel came into sight.
He stuck to the side of a tree, this blood-covered web-like substance wrapped around his torso. His face was twisted with pain as he continued crying out. His eyes had been removed through some means and judging from the blood I could just barely see seeping from his ears, I'd say he lost that sense too. Paul suddenly went past Marshall and started to approach the tree.
"What are you doing?" Marshall said, grabbing Paul by the shoulder.
"I can't just let him suffer up there."
"Look at him, someone or something put him up there. They’re trying to draw us out! Don't be reckless."
"What are we supposed to do then!?" Paul shouted. Marshall moved Paul to the side and held up the handgun taking aim at Samuel, pulling back the trigger. The gun clicked, and the square displayed on the back of the slide began to rotate.
"You can't be serious!" Paul yelled.
"This is all we can do for him. We still have to find what did this , trying to care for someone that injured is a waste of time."
Marshall let go of the trigger, the barrel of the gun crackled, and arcs of electricity sparked out from the barrel of the gun. I have no clue what the hell shot out of the gun, but whatever it was blew off the top half of Samuel's head. A result that shocked all of us.
"That was horrible…how could you just kill somebody like that?" Paul asked.
Before Marshall could answer, something hung down from the tree behind Paul. I didn't see it long enough to make out any features, except for its spindly, absurdly long limbs. The fucking thing had six arms, each of which it wrapped around Paul, before retreating back up into the tree. Whatever that fuckin’ thing was, it was not fuckin’ normal.
Paul cried out for help as he disappeared into the leaves. Blood and bits of flesh rained down on us from above as whatever had him began doing god knows what. Marshall aimed up into the branches and started shooting. He fired off a couple of rounds and whatever had grabbed Paul let out a hideous shriek. We all covered our ears. The sound was like someone digging a screwdriver down my ear canal and tryin' to fuck my brain with it.
It darted through the trees away from us, dropping Paul onto the ground. His arms were torn to shreds by whatever had grabbed him. His flesh peeling away in ribbons and the white of bone peeking out. While he was a sobbing mess, Paul was still alive.
"We've got to move out from under these fucking trees!" Marshall yelled. Penelope ran over and helped Paul to his feet, supporting him as we retreated back to the pond.
I followed behind Penelope and Paul, trying to act as a guard. I mean… I'm no hero but if I play my cards right, who knows what could happen, right? What can I say, I have a weakness for tryin' to woo adorable girls. Even in life or death situations…especially in those situations. Don't judge me. Besides I was supposed to be the rearguard anyway.
As we got to the pond, I heard this loud skittering coming from behind me. Turning around, I saw this creepy six-armed bitch crawling at me like Sadako. It was that woman that we were shown to be the target. She's butt-fuckin' naked, her body having that same translucent skin to where you can see all her inner workings. I don't remember much from anatomy class, but I’m certain this bitch had some extra organs in there I don’t remember being in the human body. She was a fast motherfucker too, she was almost right on top of me as soon as I turned around. I shot twice, one blast missed, and the other blew away a chunk of flesh from her arm.
This spiderlady leaped up and tackled my ass to the ground, causing me to drop my gun. She dug her dirt-coated nails into my sides and arms. I tried to push her off, but she was way too fuckin' heavy. To make matters worse, her breath smelled like rancid ass and she was drooling just…just all over my fucking face. Shit was disgusting, hell some of it got on my shirt…still can't get the smell out three washes later.
As I'm lying there struggling, things turn even more fucked. This woman's bottom jaw literally rips in two revealing these huge mandibles with fangs that I don't think are there to give me a tender acupuncture treatment. I'm fucking screaming at the top of my lungs for these cunts to do something to help, when finally the woman's head just bursts. It was…mildly upsetting to be drenched in the white blood and viscera of whatever the fuck that chick was. A lot less upsetting than being dead though. Thank god my mouth was closed when it happened…
I pushed the woman's now limp body off of me and jumped up from the ground as fast as I could. I wiped away as much of the bodily fluids as I could from my face and picked back up my handgun. I took a closer look at my would-be assassin, her arms and legs were twitching and beginning to curl together. Kid of an unsettling sight.
"Took you fucking long enough!" I shouted.
"Had to let the gun charge…looks like that’s a lot more effective." Marshall stated nonchalantly as if I wasn't moments from death.
"That was her, wasn't it? The target." Penelope asked.
"Yeah…I got a real good fuckin' look. Without a doubt, that's our girl. Well, that was our girl at least." I replied.
"Ah damn! You guys got it…I was hoping I'd get to test out this gun." Roger came walking along the pond towards us, this look of disappointment on his face.
"Look who it is, surprised you're not dead." I said.
"Why…wait what happened to him." Roger said, pointing to Paul, who looked to be about to pass out from blood loss.
"She happened to him." Penelope said, pointing to the spiderlady.
"And that one blonde guy? Where's he?"
"He didn't make it. The woman got to him first." Marshall mentioned as he walked over and examined the corpse.
"Oh, he died…real bummer." The kid didn't sound too sorry about that.
"You know the same thing could have happened to you." Penelope said.
"No way, a real man wouldn't get killed off by some woman. Even if she was a monster." Roger smirked.
I know what you're thinking, and the temptation was there. But I do have my own moral ethics I sometimes begrudgingly have to follow.
"Hey…didn't that goat guy say we would be taken back after the target was killed?"
"That's right he did say that." I replied. That knowledge had slipped my mind what with all the almost dying all. But she was correct, we should have gone back, but we were still here. That was when it hit me. Baphomet had never said that there was only one target.
I was brought back to reality by Penelope's screams, as the severed head of Roger came rolling to my feet. I felt a strange sense of relatability with him for the first time since meeting the guy. Followed immediately by utter terror as I looked over to see his body being suspended in the air by another spiderwoman, her mandibles digging deep into the flesh where Roger's head used to be.
submitted by IndolentMess to nosleep [link] [comments]


2019.10.24 18:15 sassyschoolpsych I am 22, make 16,667, live in Philadelphia and work as a graduate assistant

Title: I am 22 years old, make $16,677.00 over 9 months (the academic calendar), live in Philadelphia and work as a Graduate Assistant/Student
Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.
Retirement Balance (and how you got there): About 10,000 dollars in a Roth IRA that my dad set up for me.
Equity if you're a homeowner (and how much you put down and how you accumulated that payment): None
Savings account balance: 6,671
Checking account balance: 89 (This varies greatly and is usually about 300. Typically, I pull money from my savings when I need to because I only get paid once per month at the end of the month so it is quite low right now. I generally have a good amount of cash I get from babysitting each week which is not included in this total but is what I spend on my day to day purchases).
Credit card debt (and how you accumulated it): None, I don’t have a credit card.
Student loan debt (for what degree): Approximately 20,000 for a bachelor’s degree in psychology and much more on the way from a graduate degree in school psychology.
Anything else that's applicable to you

Section Two: Income
Main Job Monthly Take Home: $1585.00 (about $1800 before taxes)
Side Gig Monthly Take Home
I also earn at least 90 dollars per week for babysitting in the mornings so a minimum of $360 dollars per month, additionally I usually make more by picking up a few extra morning shifts when needed or date night sitting. The parents I babysit for usually pay me in cash and this money is used to fund my everyday purchases. The only charges to my debit card are usually recurring charges. My parents also reimburse me for uber costs from my night class when I don’t have anyone to commute home with, this usually comes to about 10 dollars a week.
Section Three: Expenses
Please include ALL expenses relevant to you. Here's a good place to get started:
Rent / Mortgage / HOA fees (please specify how you split it if living with a partner): $520. I have the smallest room in the house so I pay less while my three roommates pay $560. I think this is a great deal.
Renters / home insurance: $14.16
Retirement contribution: None currently.
Savings contribution: I am aiming for 500 dollars per paycheck into my savings. However, my parents fronted me some money for graduate school so I am paying them back on top of paying rent and other expenses.
Investment contribution: None
Debt payments: None
Donations: None sadly
Electric: Usually $20-30 per month (as the electric prices go down with temperature, the gas prices go up with heat usage)
Gas: Usually $15-30 per month
Wifi/Cable/Landline: $16 dollars a month for wifi.
Health Insurance: I still have a few years with my parents' coverage
Cellphone: Currently paid for by my parents.
Subscriptions: Ipsy $10
Spotify/Hulu Student Membership: $5
Apple Storage: $.99
Gym membership: Currently have a deal for $38, but will go up to $52 in the coming months.
Pet expenses: None
Car payment / insurance: No car or insurance
Regular therapy: My first couple sessions with my new therapist were $89 dollars, but I just hit my deductible and now the office owes be money (I have no idea how this works but I am not complaining). Usually, it would $17 dollars per session (Thanks insurance!), but with the money, they owe (around $200) it will be “free” sessions for a while. I go twice per month.
Paid hobbies: None
Any other expense that's relevant to you
6:23: I wake up to the sound of my roommates chatting in the kitchen. I will never understand how people have civilized conversations at 6 in the morning. I decide that I’m up for good and vow to get some additional tasks done before I need to head out.
7:15: My alarm awakens me from a nice nap. So much for getting a head start this morning. I quickly get dressed and eat an easy breakfast of microwave oatmeal before heading to the subway at 8:00. The ride costs me two dollars, but my Septa card was preloaded.
8:50: I arrive at the school I’m assigned to for my first day of practicum. My group and I begin by observing the students in their classroom.
10:15: My classmate and I head to McDonald's for a second breakfast before beginning to learn our new intelligence test, the famed Stanford Binet. I get a breakfast sandwich, hash brown and iced coffee. (6.03).
3:00: After 4ish hours of practice administering the Stanford Binet my partner and I are finished. We leave the test kit at her apartment before heading to Starbucks for a pick me up before night class. She treats me to an iced tea and a cookie as a payback for the treats I got her last week.
3:30: We hang out in the grad student lounge with other members of our cohort. I heat up my dinner of buffalo Mac and cheese that I made last night before heading to class at 5:30.
7:09: Class lets out an hour early and I quickly call an Uber home. Usually, I would take the subway, but I’m exhausted today and my parents are worried about my safety during the long walk home. (9.51)
7:33: I arrive home at 7:33, way earlier than my usual 8:45/9 arrival. I shower prep lunch for tomorrow and chat with my roommate for a bit then head up to bed watch Friends before sleeping.
Daily total: 15.54
TUESDAY
6:20: My alarm goes off and I mentally will it to stop. It doesn’t. I get up and quickly get dressed before heading to babysitting. I have a morning position from 7-8:30 where I get the kids ready for school, fed, and do drop off. Initially, this position was strictly for the extra money (90 dollars for 3 days of drop off), but I have really grown to like these little guys.
8:10: Drop off goes quickly and seamlessly today. I make it back to my apartment, which is around the corner from the school, and make breakfast which is fried eggs on a piece of toast with American cheese and lots of red pepper flakes. At 8:30, I head out to work to get there for my 9 o’clock start time. I walk through the picturesque Old City and feel so blessed to live in a beautiful area.
11:00: After a few other tasks at work, I get started on my computer pulling up a spreadsheet I was working on last Friday (I work 20 hours a week at this job because it is my graduate assistantship). When I go to the folder where I saved the spreadsheet, it isn’t there. Cue panic. After searching for what feels like forever, I’m about to give up when I remember that AutoSave on excel saves to one drive. I’m still pretty new at this position so I didn’t have one drive completely set up, but once I log in I find my spreadsheet! Crisis averted.
12:00: I head to the lunchroom and plan on heating up some chicken fried rice from Trader Joe’s I brought, but then I stumble upon leftover pizza from an event yesterday! I grab two pieces excitedly and bask in the lovely feeling of getting free food as a grad student. I decide to save my lunch for dinner so I don’t have to buy any food on campus.
2:45: Begin the trek to campus for classes from 3:30-8. Pay the 2 dollar fare using my preloaded septa card.
5:00: My friend, L, and I stop at the vending machine before night class in an attempt to make it more bearable. I ate my leftover stir fry for dinner, but get a bag of smart food for a snack (1.25)
8:00: After a long night class, my roommate A and I met up for our trek home. I pay two dollars for a ride on septa with my preloaded card. My roommate asks to stop at Wawa to pick up a salad for her lunch tomorrow, while I wait I can’t resist the siren call of buffalo chicken bites (3.13)
8:45: My boyfriend is at my apartment when I get back. He stays with me a few nights a week because he works in the city and it’s a good way to see each other with our busy schedules. When I get inside, he’s sitting at the table with my roommate, M, with a container and cardboard contraption next to them. I immediately know what this means; mouse sighting. They fill me in on the details and I’m pleased to hear that my Boyfriend, M, was a good sport and tried to catch it when my roommate, M got scared. Unfortunately, the field mouse is faster than him.
10:00: M, M, and I watch an hour of the debate before deciding we all need to go to sleep. When I can’t fall asleep right away I get anxious and start calculating how much sleep I would get if I fell asleep at X time. M can tell I’m getting anxious and rubs my back. At some point, I doze off.
Daily total: 4.38
Wednesday:
6:20: My alarm goes off and I have an especially hard time getting out of bed today. I snuggle M for a bit before forcing myself out of bed in an effort to not be late to babysitting. I quickly get dressed in leggings and a sweatshirt and head out the door. As I'm checking my messages, I noticed that M sent me a photo of mouse droppings last night after I fell asleep. My roommate, M, and I look for them but it seems he cleaned them up as well. This is not a good sign.
8:15: Drop off was fairly simple today, but I did notice that the kiddos have had some cold symptoms over the past few days. I usually regard myself as having an iron immune system, but I am anxious nonetheless. I have a break today from the end of babysitting until 12 when I have to go to work. This happens maybe once and week and is such a treat when it does. I plan on making a yummy breakfast and settling in to get ahead on work. What really happens is that I lay back done with M briefly before he heads out to his internship, then end up falling asleep to youtube videos. I wake up at 10:30 slightly annoyed at myself, but also with the understanding that I must have needed sleep. I make brunch, get dressed, and leave for work at 11:30. I reload my SEPTA card with ($25) and complete my roommate's Venmo request for Xfinity ($16, but part of monthly expenses). Reloading my card with 25 dollars should be enough to pay for my rides for about a week or so. I am not feeling my best, but I really need to clock some extra hours to make up for days I need off for appointments later in the month.
1:00: After being at work for about an hour I am feeling like absolute trash. I immediately emailed my supervisor that I won’t be able to make it to campus for our 4 o’clock meeting, but decide to stick out my shift until 3. I chug EmergenC and take Tylenol extra strength to no avail. I am so frustrated by this oncoming sickness, but know that I should take the afternoon and evening to rest today because Thursdays and Fridays are my busy days. There is always some guilt associated with not going to meetings or classes, but I remind myself that I come first.
3:30: I begin my trek home in the rain at 3:00. It feels like I’ve been walking for miles by the time I actually get to my neighborhood. On the way, I stop at the Rite Aid by my house to stock up on some sick girl foods including a can of tomato soup, goldfish, a box of mac and cheese, and a sleeve of bagels. The total comes to 9 something, but after I enter my phone number for savings it comes down to (7.56).
6:30: I fall asleep almost immediately after getting home. I sleep for about 3 hours and wake up very groggy. After waking up, I head to the kitchen to make a grilled cheese and tomato soup and settle in to watch the Masked Singer with my roommates, it’s our weekly tradition. After the show ends, I head upstairs and watch a few youtube videos before attempting to sleep. It takes me a while to fall asleep which I chalk up to the many naps I took.
Daily total: 32.56
Thursday:
6:30: I wake up feeling drastically better than yesterday and feel like celebrating! Instead I get dressed and head to babysitting. The family pays me 60 dollars in cash, and will venmo me the rest. After drop off, I head home quickly, make oatmeal for breakfast, and then run out the door to get to work.
8:50: On the way to work I order an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts on the go (2.16). I continue on my way to work and then settle in for my tasks.
12:15: I leave work and begin to head to campus. I take the subway and the el, but the transfer is free so the trip cost me two dollars on my preloaded septa card. I make it to class in the knick of time.
4:00: Between my 1-3:30 class and my 4:30-8:00 class I order tacos from my favorite food truck on campus. The total comes to (7) dollars for three chicken tacos and a can of soda. The tacos are loaded with veggies and chicken so I consider this a pretty good deal! Class starts back up again at 4:30 and we have a guest lecture who comes in to talk to us. He has a really interesting voice and entertaining powerpoints so my cohort and I welcome this change.
8: After class my roommate and I meet up to commute home together. We usually take the subway and then walk the rest of the way, but it's very cold and windy and neither of us are prepared. She checks her uber and sees that an UberX for the two of us home would be 6.50. I venmo her (3.50) to cover my share and we get home quickly.
10: I watch friends for a few hours before getting ready for bed. My boyfriend texts me asking if he can stay over after a movie and dinner with friends I agree, but later he becomes wishy washy and the time he is coming keeps getting pushed back. We argue (read: I complain and he apologizes) and I go to sleep. Eventually he arrives and kissed my forehead and it’s hard to be mad anymore.
Daily totalL 12.66
Friday:
7:30: I wake up so excited that it’s Friday! I remember that my boss has a meeting today and left me a list of tasks and am excited about the independence I’ll have today. I leave the house around 8 and stop at Wawa to pick up a breakfast sandwich and coffee (4.64). Wawa’s coffee is unmatched and their sizzilis are really the highlight of my week. I try to only treat myself to this little breakfast on Fridays after I get paid from babysitting.
5:00: After a long day of work, I leave the office and quickly head home to have dinner and get ready for a movie showing tonight! It is the Philadelphia Film Festival this week and my boyfriend is a movie fanatic. We bought these tickets for 10 dollars each last week to make sure the movies did not sell out. I make frozen Gnocchi from Trader Joes for dinner and save half for a later meal. I straighten my hair and put on a little mascara before heading out to trek into Center City. I get to the theater right on time.
9: Before the movie started my boyfriend told me that according to google it was a musical. It was not a musical. It was sad, involved domestic violence and death, and went on for far too long. Both my boyfriend and I agree we didn’t love the movie, but the rest of his movie fanatic friends seemed to like it a lot. After the movie, the group heads to a bar to hangout. M treats us to a round of PBRs. It is a tall can so I only sip on one throughout the night, but M’s friend treats him to a few more. Around 12:30, both M and I are getting sleepy and hungry after working all day. We so desperately wanted Steve’s Prince of Steaks (best cheesesteaks in Philly IMO), but his friends aren’t ready to leave the bar yet. Instead, we settle for Jim’s on South because it is close to my house. He calls us an uber there. I pay for a cheesesteak for us to split (9.54). My side with fried onions because duh and M’s with out. I rag on M for not liking onions, but when we get home and eat it the onions are not very tasty and I end up taking them off. I can barely taste the cheese and end up adding another slice of my own at home. I am reminded again why I don’t love Jim’s steaks and it is mainly a tourist spot. We head up to bed around 1.
Daily Total: 14.18
Saturday:
9: I wake up around 9 and head downstairs because I hear my roommate moving around down there and want to hangout a bit. We eat our breakfast and have coffee together and talk about our plans to visit Cherry Street Pier later in the day. Eventually, I go back upstairs and get in bed to snuggle with M. One thing leads to another and we enjoy each other's company before he leaves for work. We both shower and get ready to do our own things for the day.
12: My roommate, M and I meet my roommate A at Cherry Street Pier. We are very big on walking and decide to make the trek since it’s a nice day. When we arrive, we all pick out some treats to enjoy while we catch up. I grab a slice of gourmet pizza ($3). A catches us up on her recent breakup and tells us about her chat with her Ex the night before. M shares her excitement about a date with a guy she’s been talking for a year who finally asked her out. I’m very excited for her! Before we leave, M and I get ice cream from Little Baby’s ice cream cart. I get a single scoop of non-dairy and it costs (5) dollars. Oof.
3: I rest (read: fall asleep) when we get home. Normally I would be annoyed at myself for napping when I could be productive, but I know I have to babysit tonight and will need all the energy. I make a quesadilla for dinner and bid my roommate goodbye around 6:45 to get to babysitting by 7.
7: The parents left Apple Cider donuts for the kids and me to have for dessert! Score! I get the kids ready for bed around 8 since they are still young and after a little trial and error, they are asleep by 9. I manage to get an assignment done after they fall asleep and am proud of my productivity this late at night. The parents arrive home around 10:15 and pay me 70 dollars. The dad walks me back to my apartment, a gesture which I really appreciate. When I get home I heat up my leftover gnocchi from yesterday and watch some Halloween baking shows on Food Network. M is staying with me tonight so I wait up for him to get in around 11:30. He brings me a soft pretzel from Wawa and I am overjoyed. I go to bed entirely satisfied.
Daily total: 8
Sunday:
7:30: Alarm goes off and I am not happy. I knew I needed to be up early today, but still, feel exhausted and not willing to get out of bed. I compromise with myself by cuddling M for a bit before packing my bags and test kit and heading to the El. I pay 2 dollars for the ride on my preloaded Septa card. My parents pick me up at the transportation center and surprise me with a breakfast sandwich from my favorite spot. I am very grateful.
10: I quickly eat breakfast with my parents then gather my testing materials and head out to the house of the child I am testing. In order to receive mastery in each cognitive assessment, we need to give them to real children and have our protocols graded. Testing goes smoothly and I reward the girl with some of her favorite candy as a thank you.
12:45: My aunt picks me up when I get home and we head out to lunch. She has a Ph.D. in school psychology (among other things, yes I know it’s a lot) and has been my mentor from the minute I feel in love with psychology. She helped me choose the right undergrad university, pushed me to join the honors program, and helped me find the best graduate program in the area. Without her, I doubt I would have been so successful. At lunch, we each get a coffee, a cup of soup, and split a pizza. She pays. She wants to hear all about my program so I give her all the nitty-gritty details, then she tells me about the program at another university where she teaches and is the director of another grad program. It’s awesome having a close family member in the same field I am and with a great understanding of the craziness that is academia.
3:00: She drops me off at home after lunch and I fill out paperwork to become support staff for my sister (who has a disability) with my parents. After months the paperwork is finally complete! My parents head out to a family party, which I can’t attend due to getting movie tickets before finding out. Bummer.
4:00: My aunt picks me up and drops me back off at the transportation center for me to head into the city. I pay using my septa card. When I get into the city, I stop to get candy for the movie and ponchos for M and me for an upcoming trip (7). Then I meet M and his friend at the bar next door and decided to treat myself to a High Life (4 with tip). We head over to the movie and get seated right before it begins.
7:00: The movie, The Two Popes, was absolutely delightful. I am usually not a fan of indie movies, but wow that was perfect in every way (p.s. It’ll be coming to Netflix soon, so check it out!). M and I go our separate ways in different Ubers (6.49). He arrives just before mine and I catch him staring out the back window to make sure I get in mine okay. What a good one.
8:30: My roommate M and I watch the beginning of the Eagles-Cowboys game, but man it’s a mess. We head to bed after the first quarter. I watch Friends for a bit before falling asleep around 10:15, ready to begin another week.
Daily total: 17.49
Total: 104.81
Food + Drink : 56.31
Home + Health: 0
Clothes + Beauty: 4 (rain ponchos lol)
Transport: 44.5
Other: 0
Reflection: Overall I think this was a pretty average week in my life. I do wish I could cut down the spending on Ubers and prepared food, which is a goal I hope to work on. For the most part, I feel like I am spending within my means.
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2019.01.09 01:43 BirdieATX The Bill Browder BIG RUSSIAN LIE as detailed in "The Magnitsky Act Behind The Scenes" film by Andrei Nekrasov

The Bill Browder BIG RUSSIAN LIE as detailed in
Here are my fully detailed notes from the film "The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes" by Andrei Nekrasov Note the film was banned on Amazon twice and is not in the iTunes store, on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Bill Browder, his lawyers, and his backers do NOT want you to see it or even know about it. But you need to know about it, see it, understand it, and share it. God Bless America • Under my notes about the film are additional notes I've compiled in my research about Bill Browder.
http://www.magnitskyact.com
See this movie and share it with others in America
Notes about the film: “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes” • See film at http://www.magnitskyact.com
By Andrei Nekrasov, a respected critic of Putin
– he also made film about KGB defector Litvinenko poisoned in London
– All quotes attributed to Bill Browder unless otherwise noted
• Main Theme: $230 Million Theft of Russian Taxes
THE MAGNITSKY STORY as told by Bill Browder aka William Felix Browder
Managed Largest Western Hedge Fund in Russia • Hermitage Capital Management
“I moved to Moscow in 1996 with great hopes and great dreams” • “I started the Hermitage Fund in 1996”
“I become the largest foreign investor in the country. I had four and a half billion dollars invested in Russia.”
– Gov’t raid June 4, 2007 led by Investigators Pavel Karpov (32) and Kuznetsov
Seized corporate documents and stamps • Browder stated “No company assets remained”
“We didn’t have any assets left in Russia. We sold more than four billion dollars of the stock in 2006. So we immediately went through our list of lawyers in Moscow and called up the smartest lawyer we knew, a young man named Sergei Magnitsky.”
“If there was one person who knew the law backwards and forwards up and down, it was Sergei Magnitsky.”
“This enormous spike in deposits ($230 million) was exactly equal to the amount of taxes that we paid.”
“The police together with organized criminals stole $230 million dollars from their own government.”
Moscow October 7, 2008 Sergei Testified / Reported the Crime
Moscow November 24, 2008 Sergei’s house searched and put in pre-trial detention / Tortured him / He filed over 400 complaints
Moscow December 2008 transferred Sergei to a cell with no window panes
“He went into critical condition on the night of November 16th” (2009) • “He was yelling that someone was trying to kill him.”
“They put him in an isolation cell for one hour and eighteen minutes, with a doctor outside the door until he died. He was 37 years old.” • “He went into prison as a normal middle class tax lawyer.”
• Sergei Magnitsky on November 16, 2009 Found dead in a cell in Butyrskaya Prison in Moscow at 37 years old (or 36?) • He was a pre-trial detention inmate
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Mr. Browder US Government Testimony:
“They put him in an isolation cell, chained him to a bed, and allowed eight riot guards with rubber batons to beat him for one hour and eighteen minutes until he died.”
– Why the different story? Which is true? Is either?
Nekrasov notes trying to understand what really happened
– Eight guards would not actually fit in cell
– Only body marks were in wrists and hands and knuckles
– Magnitsky’s lawyer Alitonov said he was beating the door with force
– Russian media reported about a 100 human rights report citing that Magnitsky may have been beaten (in video only the one page of his wrists are repeatedly shown). “It looked like a PowerPoint presentation from Mr. Browder’s website” – Nekrasov
In USA meanwhile Browder successfully lobbied for two new laws to be passed known as The Magnitsky Act
Magnitsky Sanction Listings 04/12/2013 Office of Foreign Assets Control
– Senator Benjamin Cardin, D. Maryland • Senator John McCain, R. Arizona • Congressman McGovern
President Obama signed first Magnitsky Act in December 2012 – In it’s justification, the law cites a July 6, 2011 Human Rights Council report from Russian President Dimitry Medvedev (was actually from Browder’s presentation as shared by human rights activists from Interfax.ru)
Magnitsky’s mother Nataliya Magnitskaya says in an interview with Nekrasov at Browder’s London office that
“Specifically, Ms. Gaus bears responsibility. Yes. Sergei was alone. They just locked him up. Contrary to the instructions saying there must be a guard, if not a paramedic, next to an inmate in a state of psychosis; because he might harm himself, or pass out. The doctor did nothing to help him.”
“Well, at first there was a document saying that handcuffs and batons had been used, then they said it was a mistake, some wrong report form was filled in, and there were no batons.”
“Nor was a beating a cause of death. The cause is the heart attack, it says.” • Cited possible complications from diabetes
“Did they try to kill him? I can’t say that.” • She blamed doctor’s negligence and illness, not beating.
“He wasn’t a lawyer. He was an accountant.” – Magnitsky close associate (female friend) at Browder book signing in London
July 14, 2010 in London Russian Police Investigator Pavel Karpov (32) sued Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capital for libel
Mr. Magnitsky’s former boss Jamison Firestone (Firestone / Dupont?)
– Case was dismissed as Karpov had no reputation to be tarnished in London
Interview in Moscow with Pavel Karpov
– Claimed Magnitsky never accused him of anything, no signed documents
– Showed he bought Moscow flat in 2004/2005, not 2008 as Browder claimed
– Car bought in 2006 on a credit loan 2 small plots of land in 2007
– Browder also claimed Karpov’s salary was way off $6K a month, not year as per Browder
– Originally investigated Browder’s company Kamea for tax evasion in 2004
Magnitsky’s Testimony was falsified in English “Translation” on the Browder provided website:
– Russian original shows completely otherwise / Don’t even mention Karpov, certainly does not implicate him or any police
Magnitsky Testimony Documents as shared by Browder’s company:
http://russian-untouchables.com/eng/testimonies/ (screen captures saved and all documents downloaded)
Council of Europe / Parliamentary Assembly
Marie Louisa Beck / Marie Beck (Germany) • Her advisor was Maria Sannikova-Frank
Refers to Parliamentary Assembly Report by Andreas Gross and Mr. Schirmer
“with the help of Browder” – Gross
“We always had to use the translations of the Browder office, as I don’t speak Russian.” – Gross
“The documents we got, these kinds of documents all come from Browder’s sources.” – Gross
“They didn’t have the intention to kill him… they didn’t take care enough.” – Gross
Actual Newspaper Reports Published Prior to Magnitsky’s documents clearly discuss the $232 million dollar theft
– Witness cited in April 2008 Rimma Mikhailovna Starova
Look at HermitageFund.com on WayBackMachine for October 16, 2008
Press Release from September 16, 2008 – Injunction against Boily Systems Limited in British Virgin Islands to protect HSBC and Hermitage Fund from Russian Fraud Court Filings July 11, 2008
“April 2008: Ms. Starova files a criminal complaint with the Russian Interior Ministry in Kazan falsely accusing representatives of HSBC’s companies of the theft of state funds.” + HSBC is Europe’s Biggest Bank
Rimma Starova became a figurehead of Browder’s companies after the were used to return $232 million in the tax rebate fraud
Title: Chief Executive of Makhaon, Parfenion & Rilend
– She reported the scam, breaking the rules
+ This report disappeared from the Hermitage website in March 2009 – When the Magnitsky whistleblower story began to appear
Browder gets questions by film maker and in frustration shows his hand with a warning and intimidation tactic:
“I’d be really careful about going out and trying to do a whole sort of thing about Sergei not being the whistleblower because it’s not gonna do well for your credibility on this show.”
NEKRASOV INVESTIGATION LATE IN FILM
• Police search was part of an investigation dated May 28, 2007 into tax evasion of Kamea – sold $498 Billion in shares and took profit out of country – but they underpaid taxes by $49.8 million, illegally abusing a tax reduction scheme
• October 2, 2004, Browder’s two other companies in Russia were under investigation for “forgery of a document issues by the minister of investment policies”
• Caught Browder in lies about the police raid on Heritage officers, there were actually not machine guns or violence involved and no injuries as claimed
• No original documents were actually required to re-register of a company – only an owner or their representative could actually do it. Magnitsky mentioned “Power of Attorney” and it was actually signed by Gasanov (mafia’s middle man) representing Glendora Holdings Ltd. (owned by Browder and HSBC). When questioned by police, Magnitsky said Gasanov’s power of attorney were not valid. In 2009, the court ruled that the powers of attorney were legitimate – thus leading to a conclusion that Browder must have been involved.
• Browder’s companies were shell companies
• Gasanov mysteriously died shortly after the transfer of companies was complete, as did a figure head owner of one of the companies, and an honor of one of the banks involved.
• Viktor Markelov was a figurehead owner of one of these shell companies who survived because he was arrested, served his term, and then went into hiding. In his testimony, he names Browder’s business partners Khairetdinov and Kleiner as involved in the re-registration. He also stated he had seen Gasanov with Sergei Magnitsky (Leonidovich). [While being questioned by police, when Magnitsky was questioned about knowing Gasanov, he refused to answer citing his right to silence)
• This is evidence Browder’s associates were directly involved in the re-registration (what Browder referred to as “stealing”) of his companies in Russia
• Magnitsky was an accountant working for Browder’s company since ‘90s – he stated this when questioned by police in Russia
• Browder’s lawyer Khairetdinov wrote and submitted complaints to Russia’s General Prosecutor’s office three weeks before the theft (December 2007). “This was our alibi.” he said at Browder’s London book signing. The report included a complaint about a $400 million attempted theft, but Browder stated these company’s had NO ASSETS in Russia at the time.
• Browder was forced to testify deposition under oath about the Magnitsky in a US court in New York on April 15, 2015. Someone apparently stole $400 million, but Browder is unsure if they actually had any assets. WHAT!? – When pressed for an explanation of the money trail, he ultimately said “I have no explanation.”
– Deposition implies that Browder had Magnitsky as the scape goat to take the heat for the business tax returns
• Nekrasov’s analysis: The company did not report that their companies were stolen to Russian police prior to the tax theft. Browder was unable to prove he was not in control of the companies that got the tax money in Russia.
• US Investigation (and Europes) relied almost exclusively on testimony only from Browder and his direct associates – i.e. not independent authentic investigation. See deposition of Homeland Security Agent in change of investigating the case on March 3, 2014. He admitted to NOT interviewing “any competent witnesses.” Only reviewed evidence provided by Browder and/or Hermitage – no secondary verification with banks, etc.
• Browder’s translation of the autopsy was clearly edited to protect his false narrative in all materials:
“1.2. Evidence that Magnitsky Was Beaten in Custody – Official Death Certificate stated that Sergei Magnitsky had suffered a “cerebral cranial injury” – “Closed cerebral cranial injury”
– It actually stated: “No damage to the scalp found.”
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Other Related Notes & Topics to Research on Browder:
• Hermitage Capital Management was founded in part with $25 million in Seed Money from National Republic Bank (often affiliated with Russian Mobs, money laundering, and the drug trade)
• Edmond Safra was a notorious banker at the center of The Money Plane 1996
Read: https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/corruption/browder-russia-trump-safra/
• HSBC ties (Europe’s biggest bank) no wonder this guy is protected (James Comey worked for them)
• John Ashcroft, Johnathan Winer, and Juliana ______ were lobbyists for Browder
• Jonathan Winer is a big connection to the Steele Dossier
• George Soros is a backer of Browder
• Browder was convicted of tax fraud in Russia and never paid his taxes owed
• The Money Plane: https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/uncategorized/the-money-plane-republic-national-bank-russia/
• In the film The Forecaster, Martin Armstrong speculates that Safra may have been killed for not being able to recruit Martin Armstrong and get the source code to his economic cycles predictor tool (see The Forecaster / Princeton)
• Browder’s Grandfather Earl Browder was the General Secretary (leader) of the American Communist Party. He twice ran for the office President of the United States. He was a Soviet Spy (No I’m not kidding, reference famous Mike Wallace interview). He was convicted of two counts of passport fraud and served 14 months in prison. Read more about him:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Browder
• William Felix “Bill” Browder renounced his US citizenship in 1998 most likely to evade paying substantial taxes
• Research Browder + Avisma • Research Ken Dart
• Bill Browder has a big beef with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS and seems to throw shade and is trying to pin blame on him
• Lucy Komisar is a journalist long on Bill Browder’s tail – read her stuff
“Browder admits in U.S. Federal Court deposition that Sergei Magnitsky didn’t go to law school or have law degree, which means he lied to President Trump.”
https://www.thekomisarscoop.com/2018/07/ive-been-browders-number-one-journalist-critic-for-two-decades-heres-what-president-trump-should-know-about-handling-him/
https://www.thekomisarscoop.com
• Check Browder’s political campaign contributions in the US – they are significant
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2018.08.16 17:32 nagalin4 The Men Behind Manchester City: The Dark Side (http://www.josimar.no/artikler/the-men-behind-manchester-city-the-dark-side/5040/)

Article from website link:
On the pitch, Manchester City impressed everybody last season. Now let’s take a look behind the scenes – on the men who own the club.
By Nicholas McGeehan
The trailer for the forthcoming Amazon Prime documentary ‘All or Nothing: Manchester City’ is out and it’s hard to escape the feeling that they came mighty close to calling it ‘Death or Glory: Manchester City’s Band of Brothers.’ Overlaid by a drum-heavy score, it features General Pep Guardiola drawing up his battle plans, exhorting his weary and injured troops in the dressing room – “we are close, we are so close” – before proudly surveying his platoon’s triumphant victory away to Stoke City.
Regrettably, Netflix have yet to approach me with an offer to fund my own counterproject, ‘The Men Behind Manchester City’, leaving me with no option but to reveal details of the second episode, provisionally titled ‘The Kids Are Not Alright.’ Whereas Amazon’s documentary draws on the tone and genre conventions of the modern war movie, viewers of my project are more likely to see parallels with themes from 1980s American soap-operas, although ironically it is my documentary that contains all the death and the stomach-churning violence. Episode 1 was based around the bombshell revelation that Manchester City is not actually run by Sheikh Mansour Al Nahyan but by his more powerful and more dangerous older brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and it argued that the club’s rise to the top of the European game reflects the efforts of a gang of cash-hungry, blood-thirsty statesmen to extend their network of power and influence, aided and abetted by shape-shifting public relations advisors. Episode 2 brings our other key actors into play: Abu Dhabi’s junior partner in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai; Abu Dhabi’s regional ally Saudi Arabia; and their hated Gulf neighbour, Qatar. It’s a tale of jealousy, quarrels, cruelty, and high-stakes competitive camel-racing, and if episode 1 left you feeling a bit uneasy about the men trying to take control of professional football, buckle up.
The leaks
A little bit of background is necessary to explain why Saudi Arabia and the UAE hate Qatar so much. The antipathy largely hinges on how the unelected rulers of these fabulously wealthy petrostates regard the threat of political Islam: Qatar is generally quite tolerant of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, and their news network Al Jazeera was generally favourable to those groups during the Arab Spring uprising that began in 2010 and the counter-revolutions have thrown the Middle East into bloody turmoil; Abu Dhabi regards the Muslim Brotherhood as a fifth column, and anyone who sympathises with them can expect to be arrested, tortured and thrown in jail; Dubai goes along with whatever Abu Dhabi does; and in Saudi Arabia it’s just too complicated to even get into. What’s important for a football audience to be aware of is the jealousy, the pettiness and the vindictiveness that characterises their feuding.
We are already seeing the effect of this at the highest level of the game. In November 2017, a group of hackers called Global Leaks – widely assumed to be working in the service of Qatar – provided evidence to The Intercept of what they called the UAE’s plans to “wage financial war” against Qatar and force it to share hosting of the 2022 World Cup. The basic idea was to devalue Qatar’s currency, thereby starving it of the funds it needs to complete an estimated $200 billion of World Cup construction projects. The plot was outlined in a PowerPoint presentation found in emails of the UAE Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al-Otaiba. “FIRE UP THE PR MACHINE TO REMIND PEOPLE THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH QATAR”, begins one capitalised slide. What The Intercept did not report was that the presentation also revealed plans to “petition FIFA to grant the tournament to the [Gulf] region as a whole.” A few months later, in April 2018, FIFA President Gianni Infantino duly floated a proposal to extend the 2022 tournament to 48 teams, something that would necessarily require games to be played elsewhere in the region. “Coincidentally, Infantino has been highly active in the region of late,” reported the BBC’s Richard Conway at the time, referring specifically to “meetings held with the leaders in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.”
The gruesome twosome
The ruler of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed (MBZ), and the ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman (MBS), are the Gulf’s gruesome twosome, and the architects of various harebrained schemes designed to get the upper hand on Qatar. Take, for example, what the auctioneers Christie’s described as “a historic night in New York” in November 2017, when representatives of the Saudi crown prince paid a world-record $450 million for a Leonardo da Vinci painting, ‘Salvatore Mundi’. Christie’s proclaimed that the “stunning price reflects the extreme rarity of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci,” but a more amusing theory later emerged. According to “a source close to the Emirati leader [MBZ]”, MBS only paid so much for the painting – valued at $80 million – because he thought he was bidding against Qatar. It turns out he was bidding against MBZ, who also thought he was bidding against Qatar. When the Sheikhs realised their error, they swapped the painting for one of MBZ’s yachts, and that is why an overpriced picture of Jesus is now one of the main attractions for visitors to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia is unquestionably behind what Tariq Panja described recently in the New York Times as “the brazen bootlegging of a multibillion dollar sports network” whereby sources in Saudi have deployed “industrial scale knowledge and ability” backed by “multimillion dollar-funding” to tap into Qatar’s beIN Sports network and make its content free to view to anyone willing to pay the $100 for the beOutQ decoder that is now widely available in Saudi Arabia.
Unfortunately, bungles and bootlegging merely provide the context for Episode 2’s darker content. “The Kids Are Not Alright” is mostly about child slavery.
The invincible child jockeys
On May 11, 2005, then US Ambassador to Qatar, Chase Untermeyer, sent a classified cable to the State Department in Washington DC detailing his experiences at a large thoroughbred camel race meeting in Doha. Untermeyer noted the highly visible presence of the most senior members of the Qatari royal family, including the current Emir Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani. “During the fifth round, two camels were observed coming through the finish line without jockeys. When asked about the missing jockeys it was commented that the jockeys must have fallen off the camels onto the racetrack,” runs the cable, which describes seeing a total of three jockeys being taken away in ambulances that day and notes that six jockeys die every year and “many more are severely injured.” Untermeyer also noted that US Embassy staff’s attempts to interview the jockeys of these thoroughbred camels “met with resistance.” This isn’t surprising – the 800 jockeys present that day were mostly between 4 and 6 years old and they weren’t Qatari.
Anyone who has spent time in Doha or Dubai or Abu Dhabi will testify that the Gulf is no longer a place one associates with a traditional, pastoral way of life. The discovery of oil in the 1950s and 60s consigned that lifestyle to history, and the camel, which had been so central to the lives of the peninsula’s bedu tribes, found itself in need of a career reboot. Enter the hejin, or racing camel, an impressive 400 kg beast capable of sustaining an average speed of 35 kilometres per hour over long distances. Previously a largely ceremonial event at bedu weddings, camel racing became an outlet for the Gulf Sheikhs’ competitive urges, and a means to display their credentials as the protectors of local culture and traditions at a time when oil money was transforming their economies and their societies irrevocably.
The use of children in races can be traced back to the men behind Manchester City – the Al-Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi – and the palace they built themselves in the Rahimyar Khan region of Pakistan in the 1970s. Camel racing was one of the outdoor pursuits favoured by visitors to the palace and it did not escape their attention that the young jockeys from the area who took part in the races enjoyed a significant competitive advantage over adult jockeys – camels, unlike horses, cannot be fitted with weight-distributing stirrups, making the jockey’s weight even more critical in races.
According to Save The Children, it was around this time that parents from Rahimyar Khan began to allow their children to be taken to the Gulf, often in private planes, and as the popularity of the burgeoning sport grew, fuelled by petrodollars, so did the demand for jockeys. Children from Bangladesh, India, Sudan, Mauritania were also trafficked to the Gulf, but Pakistan appears to have been the main source of child jockeys and the UAE their main destination. Save The Children estimate that 15,000 children from the Rahimyar Khan region of Pakistan alone were trafficked to the UAE between the mid-1970s and 2005. Investigations in Pakistan in 2004 revealed the existence of several highly-organized trafficking networks, comprising criminal gangs, recruiters, travel agents, law enforcement officials in Pakistan, and wealthy and powerful individuals in the UAE. Traffickers promised poor and desperate families that their children would be going to well-paid jobs and there were reports of coercive methods being used, which is to say kidnapping, when deception failed.
The sport became highly competitive and highly professional to the point where the Al-Nahyan family set up a racing camel research centre equipped with operating tables that could accommodate humps, but there was a central tension at its core: the Sheikhs had to use the lightest jockeys possible to remain competitive, which meant they needed to use other people’s young children in their races, but to accrue the prestige and honour that accompanies victory, the sport had to be visible to its intended domestic audiences, which meant their exploitation of these young children needed to be very public. As a result, race meetings were meticulously stage managed and involved local music, dance, and poetry lauding the ruling sheikhs, who entered and were seated in the grandstand in accordance with their importance. If you weren’t able to attend camel races yourself, that wasn’t a problem – they were screened on local television. Footage from a 2002 race meeting in Dubai shows the most senior members of the country’s ruling elite in attendance, including Manchester City’s nominal owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Inevitably the scale of the trafficking operation and the visibility of the problem began to attract the attention of groups like Save The Children, UNICEF, and Anti-Slavery International, and when reports of the mistreatment of the children began to emerge in the late 1990s, they made uncomfortable reading.
The smashing of genitals
Children who spoke to Anti-Slavery International said that they were underfed to keep their weight down, forced to work long hours with either minimal or no pay, and beaten. UNICEF reported that some children were also sexually abused. Save the Children described harrowing stories of children stung by scorpions while they tried to sleep, children bitten in the face by camels as they posed for photos with victorious sheikhs, children given electric shocks for stealing dates intended for the camels, and child jockeys trampled and left untreated in the backs of vans. Information submitted to the UN Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery in 2001 included details of the death of a seven-year-old Bangladeshi as the result of kidney damage sustained during a camel race in Dubai, and described how the ‘smashing of genitals is common and indescribably painful.’ In Qatar, the injuries suffered during races were so severe that a group of doctors published an article in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. The article revealed that out of the 275 children aged between five and fifteen, who were admitted to hospital for injuries sustained in camel racing or training between 1992 and 2003, nearly a quarter had head injuries with a high number of skull fractures and brain injuries. Of 18 children with neck injuries, five ended up with permanent spinal cord disabilities. In a BBC article from 2005, a child tells of the punishment meted out to a disobedient jockey: “There was a child in the camp, and because he wanted to leave the camp and go to Dubai, one of the racetrack owners ran over the child in a truck and killed him.”
The description of the jockeys as children doesn’t do justice to the horror of this situation. An award-winning documentary, “Sport of Sheikhs”, first aired on HBO in 2004 (and now available on YouTube) contains footage of children as young as 3 years old being strapped onto camels for training runs. The jockeys were infants. Once a child reached 20 kg he was deemed too heavy and surplus to requirements. One of many former camel jockeys I spoke to in Bangladesh in 2011 said that he was injected with anti-growth hormones to keep his weight down.
The lawsuit
The screening of the HBO documentary in the United States was a public relations disaster for the UAE and things got worse for them in September 2006 when a US law firm, Motley Rice, filed a lawsuit against the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, accusing him of child slavery. Motley Rice argued that Al-Maktoum’s thoroughbred horse-racing interests in the US provided courts with jurisdiction to hear a civil action on behalf of hundreds of former child jockeys and their families. According to the attorney who handled the case, Al-Maktoum was “gracious to the process server” who served him with the lawsuit on September 11, 2006 at the Keeneland horse sale in Kentucky, but there must have been consternation behind the scenes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Motley Rice had earned a reputation as, in the words of Forbes Magazine, “the most feared asbestos/tobacco/mass-torts plaintiffs law firm in the country,” and they had a wealth of evidence to support the slavery charges. The UAE’s response was predictable: they fired up the PR machine.
To put it mildly, the case presented a challenge. A handful of the richest men in the world had systematically preyed on thousands of the poorest families in the world for three decades, and robbed them of their infant sons to furnish the demands of the sport they created and developed for self-promotional purposes. As if that wasn’t enough, their own TV footage provided compelling evidence of their guilt. Fortunately for them, if you’re rich enough and powerful enough, even child slavery can be spun to your advantage.
The spin master
The UAE turned to Mark Saylor, a former Los Angeles Times editor and chess-master turned PR supremo. Saylor died in 2013, but here’s how his website described his work for the UAE government: “when a lawsuit alleged human rights violations by a foreign government’s leaders, Saylor Company turned a potential catastrophe into a public relations benefit. Our work resulted in international media coverage of the country that focused on its positive achievements and highlighted the government’s leadership in tackling a difficult human rights issue.”
To explain in full how the UAE pulled this off would require a detailed examination of some centuries-old principles of international law, so a summary will suffice here. The strategy was two-pronged. Firstly, the UAE hired UNICEF to repatriate the children and to lend their seal of approval to a rudimentary compensation scheme – $1000 for anyone you could prove he had been a camel jockey and a maximum payment of $5000 for families of children who had died or been permanently disabled. To get the cash, the children and their families had to sign away their right to seek compensation elsewhere. According to the documents that the UAE submitted as part of its defence to the lawsuit, UNICEF was also contractually obliged to “maximize opportunities for building the identity of the project as UAE funded.” An alternative way of putting this is that UNICEF were paid to publicise and promote a narrative that depicted the men responsible for the enslavement of the children as their saviours. To its shame, UNICEF abided enthusiastically by the terms of the contract. In 2007, for example, UNICEF’s then regional director for the Middle East and North Africa expressed his “earnest appreciation to the visionary leaders of UAE who made this project a long-term promise of protection and development for all affected children.” The second stage of the process was to turn up the political pressure on the US government. In a letter to then US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, in which he asked that she “exert efforts” to put a halt to the “negative effects” of the lawsuit, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan described his country as “a main partner in the international fight against terrorism.” Sheikh Al-Maktoum sent a similar message to then President George W. Bush in November 2007. The US government duly offered its support for a dismissal of the lawsuit in the terms prescribed by the UAE government. Ultimately, courts in Miami and Kentucky denied jurisdiction, nobody was ever held accountable, nobody was ever properly compensated and few media outlets, with the notable exception of HBO, ever thought it worth exploring in much detail.
Where is the media?
The lack of media coverage of the case was particularly surprising in the UK given that the filing of the lawsuit coincided with the Gulf states’ first major foray into club football – the inauguration of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Emirates Airlines is owned by the government of Dubai and while its ‘Fly Emirates’ sponsorship of numerous European clubs serves a more obviously commercial purpose than Abu Dhabi’s ownership of Manchester City, or Qatar’s ownership of Paris Saint-Germain, the Emirates brand forms a central pillar of Dubai’s branding strategy. Dubai bought the naming rights to Arsenal’s stadium in 2004, making its relationship with the club deeper than its sponsorship of Real Madrid, Benfica, AC Milan, Olympiakos, Hamburg, or the New York Cosmos, but in all the hullabaloo that accompanied the official opening of the stadium in October 2006, nobody seemed to think it worthy of comment that Arsenal’s new patron was facing child slavery charges. History repeated itself two years later when the UK media failed to notice that several members of the Abu Dhabi royal family, which had just purchased Manchester City, were facing slavery charges in Belgium. A court in Brussels convicted nine Abu Dhabi princesses in absentia in that case, based on the testimony of a group of domestic servants who escaped from the Hilton Hotel and went to Belgian police. Sheikh Al-Maktoum’s involvement in child slavery, by contrast, led to him and other rulers in the UAE being lauded as visionary humanitarians.
If the camel jockey story tells us anything it’s that there’s no depth to which the Gulf’s rulers won’t stoop to nor any actions they’ll consider beyond the pale as they vie for supremacy, and there is little doubt that football is now one of the key battlegrounds where their rivalries will play out. In May 2018, Tariq Panja revealed that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were behind efforts to set up a $25 billion world club championship, a move aimed at wresting control of elite club competition away from UEFA. Gianni Infantino’s efforts to push that through failed, as did his efforts to secure a piece of Qatar’s 2022 tournament for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but the Gulf monarchs can spot an easy mark, they know that no horse’s head need be harmed in negotiations with Gianni Infantino, and you can rest assured they will be back. Qatar, for its part, will do whatever is required to host the 2022 World Cup, everything, that is, except treat more than one million migrant workers better than serfs and protect them from its life-threatening climate. So expect the Gulf states to buy and sponsor more clubs, expect them to buy more television rights, and don’t expect their quarrelling to abate any time soon.
The next episode
The broadening of the focus of Episode 2 might appease the anger of the Manchester City fans who feel their club has been unfairly singled out for scrutiny, but the football fans who can step back from their narrow tribal loyalties will realise that the story of the Gulf’s child slaves should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who cares about the long-term health of the game and not just the short-term success of one club. It would be an act of folly to allow any group of petty kleptocratic patriarchs to take a controlling stake in the game, let alone a group with a very recent history of child slavery to add to their long and blood-spattered rap sheets. Unfortunately, the men whose money now props up much of elite football will feel very confident of strengthening their grip on the game. And let’s face it, if you can get away with child slavery, you can probably get away with anything, right?
That concludes this sneak-preview of episode 2 of the series! Episode 3 will take a closer look at the UAE’s geopolitical clout, and will dive into the allegations that the men behind Manchester City hired a convicted child molester to illicitly funnel money to a fundraiser for US President Donald Trump, before addressing how the UAE government called in Indian special forces to kidnap a princess from Dubai who had fled the country on a yacht with a former French spy.
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2017.04.01 03:47 GoneDark1191 The land that doesn't exist - Black Helicopters [part 6]

Part 1: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/4jnl85/black_helicopters_are_very_real_part_1/
Part 2: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/4t61s8/black_helicopters_are_very_real_part_2/
Part 3: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/54vpt8/black_helicopters_are_very_real_the_secret_wa
Part 4: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/5bqhkf/black_helicopters_are_very_real_the_phantom_army/
Part 5: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/5lix3b/black_helicopters_are_very_real_the_threat_within/
Max: When civilians think of soldiers at war, they might imagine scenes from their favorite first-person shooter or war movie. Maybe they imagine helmet-cam footage of men in desert camouflage shooting at a target off-camera – obviously not as sexy as the action-movie derring-do in a Hollywood film. Or perhaps they’ve heard stories from their friends in the military who realize that there’s a lot of boredom involved in a deployment to some shithole forward operating base in Afghanistan.
But in the world of black operations, the battlefield could be anywhere. The most skilled operators in America’s war machine could be doing anything from storming an enemy compound in Afghanistan to kidnapping a suspected terrorist in Paris to using cyber-attacks to cripple an enemy power grid. On this particular mission I’ll tell you about over the next few episodes, I wasn’t in a known war-zone, nor was I on a deniable mission in a nation with which we’re not in open conflict.
I was fighting in a conflict area on a landmass most of the world doesn’t know exists.
Make no mistake, the elites would like to keep it that way.
My vision was tunneled, and my hearing grew distant and muffled; everything seemed to move in slow-motion as I let go of my now-empty HK416 and drew my suppressed M-9 to fire. There she was – a tiny girl standing by her dead parents’ bullet-riddled corpses. She couldn’t have been older than my niece, yet all the same, she was old enough to understand what an assault rifle could do, which was why she was picking up the still-loaded M-4 and aiming it directly at Speedy as he tried dragging a fallen Atlas behind cover. I couldn’t even hear myself yelling ‘No!’ as my team leader’s head ruptured into a pink mist.
“Simulation terminated,” said a feminine-sounding virtual voice. Red letters flashed in front of my vision, and the scenario turned completely dark.
“Nice going, Quetzal. You hesitated, and now your teammate is dead,” said the voice of Major Harold “Kodiak” Yates’, coming from nowhere and everywhere at once.
My senses became aware of the outside world again; I removed the virtual reality headset and sat up from the machine, located in the belly of a heavily-modified cargo plane. Nearby, my teammates sat up from their simulators and gave me annoyed looks, as if to say, ‘Smooth move, dumbass.’
“It was a little girl, Kodiak,” I protested over the loud whine of the C-5’s engines, a bit irritated. “I didn’t want to shoot her.”
“Well, you don’t get the luxury of hesitating when it’s your life or a teammate’s on the line,” Kodiak lectured me. “There may come a time where there just isn’t a good choice available; only the necessary one.”
I hung my head a bit. Kodiak was right, but I didn’t want him to be. I just hoped to God I’d never have to make that sort of judgment-call.
I really wasn’t looking forward to the rest of the eight-hour flight; the idea of sitting in a C-5 for all that time really didn’t appeal to me, and it was someone else’s turn to go through the VR simulation. No matter; at least we weren’t taking a slow-ass C-130.
Unlike a traditional C-5 Galaxy cargo plane, this one – an officially-nonexistent variant called the EC-5 “Quasar Flux” – was specifically built to be a mobile command and control center as well as operations headquarters for Joint Special Operations Command missions, but the UIDF had purchased a small fleet shortly after being stood up as a separate armed service. The Quasar Flux is a massive, heavy aircraft, but can hypothetically stay in the air for days at a time as long as it is regularly refueled by a KC-10 Extender or KC-135 Stratotanker.
There were many computers set up inside the EC-5, manned by intelligence analysts, electronic warfare specialists, and other technical experts who weren’t shooters but were still civilian or uniformed members of the Unified Internal Defense Force. It was, quite literally, a real-life version of the Paladin from Splinter Cell: Blacklist, or the Nomad from Metal Gear Solid 4.
As per our briefing, we would be landing at an airport in Iceland before catching another flight to a UIDF spy ship (also a mobile base of operations) already en route to Area 0. If all went well, a carrier strike group would be arriving a week later with more troops, supplies, and air support. Yes, the UIDF has its own carrier strike group; no, Marvel fans, the aircraft carrier doesn’t fly.
In the meantime, I looked through the rest of the electronic media available to us.
Logging into a computer, I decided to pass the time browsing the UIDF’s proprietary ‘top-secret Internet,’ which is similar to Intellipedia. Though most of the files were quite mundane, some stood out more to my mostly-uninitiated mind. It was rather fascinating (and a bit chilling) to read about the secret side of well-known events, both recent and historical, as well as occurrences which the general public doesn’t know about but which had tremendous impacts. Armed confrontations with Fallen Angels operatives in the Cascade Mountains, secret Hammer bases being raided by UIDF strike teams, government-sanctioned targeted-killings disguised as gang shootings or excessive police-force, undercover operators monitoring and disrupting the Occupy protests, kidnapping traitorous public officials and high-ranking military officers and replacing them with body-doubles… little things like that.
I looked in the recent uploads to see if there were any details about our mission. After some searching, I found a PowerPoint presentation (classification: top secret) about something called “CTF Emerald.”
Contingency Task Force Emerald was the UIDF’s batch of soldiers and materiel sent to reinforce their deployed troops in Area 0. We were to receive further instructions upon landing.
… and that was it. The brief didn’t say anything about the climate or topography of the island, what kinds of animals or plants lived there, or if there were human inhabitants. Nor did it give details about the “armory” Speedy had told me about the previous day. Also, he called Area 0 a ‘lost island-colony.’ Lost by whom? The Vikings? Ancient Chinese sailors? Lemurians? I chuckled at that last thought.
And how did “they” possess such technology that the Hammer could use it to gain an upper-hand against us? Just what the hell was going on here? I asked Speedy about it, and to my disappointment, he couldn’t say more – in fact, he’d told me too much when he’d clued me in the previous day. Not only that, the details of the mission were so sensitive, they simply couldn’t be accessed through our classified network. A proper briefing would have to wait until we landed at Area 0 itself.
I spent about two hours reading – skimming, I should say – through some of the UIDF’s many intelligence files (most of them rather boring). I was disappointed by a lack of information about the JFK or MLK assassinations, or any references to Roswell or Mount Shasta. Suddenly, I was startled by a tap on my shoulder; I quickly turned around.
“Was that necessary, Nadia?” I groaned as I saw my teammate trying to hide a guilty smile.
“The simulators are free, now. Want to go back in?” she asked.
“Sure, it’s probably more interesting than staring at a computer screen the whole flight. Let’s do a different scenario, though. Please?”
I awoke from a nap about a half-hour before landfall, relieved that I would soon get some fresh air outside the artificially-illuminated quarters of the EC-5. When we finally did touch down, we quickly unloaded and were moved into a sectioned-off area of the airport until our next ride was ready to go. Luckily, the wait wasn’t too long; we were loaded onto a black, unmarked CH-46 Sea Knight and sent on our way. This leg of the journey didn’t take too long; about an hour-and-a-half later, we landed on the helipad of a large, wedge-shaped vessel – codenamed the Sea-going All-purpose Mobile Operations Center (SEAMOC) – and were quickly whisked below-deck.
I was delighted to find out more about the SEAMOC from one of the sailors on-board – it is equipped to intercept enemy signals, destroy hostile aircraft and watercraft, launch small drones, carry and deploy UIDF troops, as well as hangar at least four Ghosthawks. What’s more, it doesn’t look like a military ship to the casual observer, save for the golfball-shaped radar domes (radomes) above deck. It’s definitely what I’d call a spy aficionado’s wet dream.
The next morning, when I woke up, I realized the SEAMOC had stopped moving. I went above-deck and I saw we were halted in the middle of the sea, out of sight of land. The sky was overcast, ice floes and small glaciers dotted the surface of the water, and the wind gave me the chills. Also, the CH-46 from the day prior had left.
“We’re here,” Speedy spoke behind me. I spun around to see my boss holding a mug of steaming coffee; he was wearing his boots, Multicam trousers, and sand-colored T-shirt. Did the cold not even faze him? Nadia and Atlas came above-deck as well to look around.
“Right, if you say so,” I replied. Where was the island? I was a bit confused now.
“Get some chow, then get ready to go. We’re dusting off in an hour,” my team-leader said plainly before heading back inside.
“What’s this? No intel brief?” I asked.
“They’ll brief us upon arrival at the FOB (forward operating base),” Atlas interjected.
After eating breakfast (which was better than I expected for a ship), I took a quick shower and gave my gear a spot-check. Speedy came to collect me, and we went to the hangar below-deck. The other operators who had flown in with us were there as well, along with some dozen-or-so bearded men who had been on the ship the whole time – probably borrowed from the Army Special Forces. It isn’t uncommon for the UIDF to snatch up Guardsmen or Reservists from special ops or military intelligence units around the US and temporarily bring them into the UIDF as well-paid “civilian contractors,” only to send them back to their units without their family and coworkers knowing the true nature of their work.
The lot of us stood by, milling around for a few minutes, making small-talk. Nadia rested her forehead on my shoulder while I looked around for someone – maybe the ship commander, or anyone – to come out and disrupt the awkward chatter. Speedy raised a drinking tube to his mouth, only to exhale some scented vapor, which quickly dissipated in the breeze. Sneaky bastard.
“Area, standby!” yelled a loud male voice near the entrance to the hangar. All of us went quiet.
“Area, tench-hut!” he shouted again. This guy had to be prior Air Force.
All of us snapped to attention. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tall man in a digital-green Navy Working Uniform Type III walk in followed by his assistant.
“Carry on,” the tall man called out. I turned to look at him and noticed that he didn’t have a branch-of-service, name-tape, or rank insignia his uniform. Probably standard for UIDF seamen.
“For those of you who are new here, you may call me ‘Stingray.’ I command [the SEAMOC] – the first of its line of models. I want to thank you for coming here on such short notice. Though I can’t get into too much detail, I can say that your efforts will prove critical to our operations in Area 0,” he spoke authoritatively.
“When our enemies wiped out two of our encampments and killed our comrades therein, they punched a hole in the island’s defenses, leaving the interior of the landmass unprotected. In order to repel the invaders and protect this place from further pillage, we must strike back and uproot them with relentless violence.
“But we cannot be so callous as to destroy the island itself. It remained relatively untouched for untold millennia before its re-discovery several years ago. As such, we are endeavoring to keep our footprint to a minimum. You will have to rely on what gear and weapons you have available on the ground, away from naval artillery and air support until our carrier strike group arrives with our new energy weapons. Further details will be briefed upon your arrival at Forward Operating Base Maroon. Godspeed, Peacekeepers.”
My teammates and I boarded one of the HH-60 Ghosthawks in the hangar along with another fireteam and sat, waiting. Our work was done for the moment; the aircrew and maintenance crews would take it from there. I looked around me, observing all the UIDF personnel working feverishly to get this mission off the ground (so to speak). My heartrate increased with excitement in anticipation of this venture into the unknown. I’d been on a deployment and on several TDYs to foreign locales before, but this was different. It was like I’d gone back in time to the Age of Exploration.
The aircraft elevator took the birds up to the flight deck one at a time; a rather tedious wait, since we were fourth in line – I wanted to get in the air already. When it finally came our turn to take off, I eagerly looked out the windows of the Ghosthawk, trying to see where we were going. Was it some landmass on the horizon I couldn’t see?
We lifted into the air without incident, and began flying westward. I could see the other Ghosthawks ahead of us, off in the distance, flying toward an empty horizon beneath a gloomy sky. I kept watching out the window, expecting to see a snow-covered landmass appear on the horizon. And yet, all I saw beneath us were sheets of ice protruding from the cold, dark sea.
I figured it was going to be a while before anything important popped up, so I sat back and stared at the ceiling of the helicopter. This was nothing new; I was used to long helicopter rides.
But I was wrong; just ten minutes later, as I struggled to keep my eyelids open, I heard the pilots over the radio. “Geiger, this is Dolphin-4 – approaching Debarkation. Going dark in 5… 4… 3….”
I sat up and looked out the window again. The other helicopters were gone. My heart started racing again.
“… 2…. 1….”
The entire world outside the helicopter seemed to turn to blackness, broken up by short-lived bolts of colorful bolts of electricity and prismatic light, and suddenly everything came into view again – but gone were the overcast skies, the ice-littered sea, and the empty horizon.
Instead, in front of the aircraft, lay a massive island, filled with lush plant-life, rocky coastlines, and distant, imposing mountains. I couldn’t see any snow on the island, save for the mountain-tops. The skies were mostly clear, apart from some cotton-puff cumulus clouds. This was impossible. We were in the Greenland Sea just a minute ago, yet we were flying into a verdant paradise? My heartrate skyrocketed and I took slow, controlled breaths to try to calm myself down. Had I just gone through a time-warp?
“Welcome to Area 0, guys,” Atlas said, patting me on the back after clearly noticing my disbelief. Nadia was as awestruck as I was, but she did a better job of keeping cool. Once the initial shock had worn off, I looked out the windows like an eager child on a tour-bus, taking in all within view.
We touched down in a flat, grassy area on a peninsula on the eastern side of the island. As I climbed out of our Ghosthawk, a rush of warm, humid air overwhelmed me. I noticed that the helicopter’s active camouflage was switched on, making us almost impossible to spot as we were coming in from the sea. Looking around, I noticed some visual distortion and some dark, angular outlines “floating” in the air – more active camouflage, probably the walls of a concealed forward operating base like we’d seen at Site 01 several days prior. Once we’d unloaded our gear and some supplies from the Ghosthawks, the choppers took off and flew back toward the horizon. A normal-sized door (also camouflaged) opened in the wall and a woman in Multicams motioned for us to come in.
Upon stepping into the FOB and setting our gear down, we quickly signed in to the deployed zone and ushered into a tent set up as a briefing room – more PowerPoint, yay!
As we all sat down and stared at the projection on the screen, an intelligence officer welcomed us and briefed us on the island and our mission there. That was when things got interesting. To summarize what he said:
• Area 0 is an island intentionally concealed from the outside world using cutting-edge technology that even the US government has only been able to imitate and implement on a small scale, so far. Not only is it invisible to those outside its protective shielding, it cannot be entered under normal circumstances – if the shielding is on a certain setting, any matter attempting to go through will simply re-materialize on the other side. As such, animals, humans, boats, etc. have been going “through” the island for untold centuries without even realizing it. Some unknown mechanism within the island controls the weather patterns within the bubble, giving the islands a mild and temperate climate year-round (even the water is warm enough to swim in).
• The remaining technology on the island includes various non-projectile energy weapons – including psionic weapons – large machines (dormant), and structures above- and below-ground made of nearly-indestructible materials of unknown composition. For the most part, the majority of discovered items and buildings are in functional order (if a bit dirty). Dating methods have not been able to determine the age of these constructs, but they are unlike anything known elsewhere in the ancient world. The Angels’ Hammer was able to reverse-engineer similar technology discovered at other ancient sites around the world, giving them a technological advantage for many years.
• The natives of the island – codenamed “Edenites” – speak a language seemingly unrelated to any documented language groups. However, genetic studies indicate they share DNA with indigenous ethnic groups from Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, central Asia, North America, and aboriginal Australia (among others), save for a small part of their genome which does not resemble that of Homo sapiens sapiens, the Neanderthals, or the Denisovans. Furthermore, none of the Edenites encountered know how to fully harness the technology left all over the island.
• In addition to the mysterious human inhabitants, the island is also home to animal species from all over the world previously thought to be extinct, as well as some which don’t exist in the fossil record. Some of those spotted so far were various insects, reptiles, and marine mammals, but there could be many more our teams hadn’t encountered, as there were parts of the island that hadn’t been thoroughly explored.
• At the time of the mission, it was speculated that whoever built the island’s magnificent structures also brought in people from all over the world for their own purposes – people who interbred with each other and became the Edenites. They probably also brought in animals from all over the world, maybe to build a zoo or “ark.” Whoever the builders were, they were thought to be extinct.
• In total, the UIDF had lost six – not just two – FOBs since the attacks started a few days ago – two on the northern coast and four in the island’s center, near what they called the “Sanctum.”
Toward the end of the presentation, the intelligence officer showed us a photo of the so-called “Sanctum,” and my heart skipped a beat. There – in the middle of a green valley surrounded by mountains on all sides – was a tall, rounded structure whose shape looked like a mix between the Space Needle and White Gold Tower from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; it had a narrow, grooved column, but was thicker at the top and bottom and had a sharp antenna-like spire on top. The material had a metallic yet somewhat liquid-like appearance and was covered in glyphs unlike anything found elsewhere in the ancient world. Surrounding the tower were other structures made of the same material, also of bizarre architecture, though not of skyscraper-like stature.
After the intelligence briefing, while many of the others were milling around and chatting outside the tent, I was still trying to process what I’d seen and heard. My sense of reality was shaken by the revelations from the past few days, and the information presented just earlier made my head spin even more. I felt like I was in a dream.
“Hey, are you okay?” Speedy interrupted my thoughts.
“I think so, boss. It’s just that I’m trying to wrap my mind around everything as it comes. The things I’ve seen since graduating the Operator Training Course have been a bit much,” I replied.
“In what sense?” he questioned further.
“Fighting a secret society that is trying to topple our government is weird enough – this is totally different from fighting ragtag insurgents in Central Asia,” I elaborated. “But then I find out these fuckers have got technology straight out of a sci-fi movie, and later it turns out that they got said tech from an extinct civilization? And now I’m fighting that same invisible enemy on an island that officially doesn’t exist?”
“I get it, Quetzal. I’ve been there and felt that. When I was first encountering some of the more mind-blowing aspects of this job, I found myself questioning whether or not it could all be real,” my boss responded.
“How’d you deal with it?”
“I soldiered through it; and over time, it got easier to accept that it’s our job to know things the rest of the world doesn’t.”
“I guess you’re right. I bet most of our new operators probably go through this too, huh?”
“Pretty much. Anyway, pack some MREs (meal ready to eat) and meet me in the Tactical Operations Center. We step out at nightfall, and we’ve got lots of planning to do.”
For all intents and purposes, our teams would be conducting intelligence preparation of the battlespace the old-fashioned way – using our own eyes. Since the destruction of our FOBs on the island, follow-on attempts to recon the area via unmanned aerial systems had failed – something was jamming our drones and had forced at least two of them down. Furthermore, none of our personnel from those FOBs had responded to our attempted contacts, meaning they might be dead, captured, or their signals might not be getting through. The local intelligence team used the points where our drones had begun encountering signal interference to draw an area they predicted to be a “dead zone” on the map.
We couldn’t fly our drones above the interference, or they might fly outside the “bubble” surrounding the island and be lost to our control; after all, signals couldn’t enter or leave the invisible barrier (this made it cumbersome for our deployed forces to communicate with our chain of command outside; somebody had to physically fly or boat into and out of the bubble to transmit/receive information twice a day). At best, we could still use drones to watch over our fireteams until we came within a few miles of the objective, where the interference was too great.
For Fireteam Bravo 2, our primary objective was to link up with a team from FOB Blazer and help them scout out the interior of the island near where FOBs Indigo and Goldman had been wiped out and look for survivors of the attacks; our secondary objective was to find the sources of the signal interference and, if possible, disable them; our tertiary objective was to assess the status of the natives in that area, and – if they were still present – keep them safe until a follow-on force could escort them to safety. That last one was largely dependent on being able to disable the signal jammers and make contact with FOB Maroon.
If we got the drop on any Hammer soldiers, we should only engage if we could avoid sustaining casualties.
Two of our sister teams would be setting up observation points in the mountains above Covenant Valley, and two more would be investigating the ruins of FOBs Meyer and Hastings, at the northwest end of the valley and near the Sanctum. A sniper team from FOB Truman would also be observing from the northeast, but they couldn’t spare too many bodies, lest they leave their base vulnerable to attack. Most of the dirty work would be handled by the reinforcements – us.
Due to the rough, haphazard terrain, we couldn’t take vehicles very far – we’d be taking a Zodiac inflatable boat to a rocky coastline south of FOB Maroon and hiking the rest of the way. Also, we couldn’t just take a Zodiac through the fjords and land near the overrun bases, as there were too many possible chokepoints for the enemy to ambush us.
I’ve included a map of the island here. It’s not authentic, of course; I helped Ian draw an approximation of the landmass based on what I remember; he used his imagination to fill out the gaps in my memory with aesthetic details. You can see the different FOBs indicated by tents (including those overrun by the enemy), Edenite villages (look like huts), the purported dead zone mentioned earlier, and the route we were to take to our objective.
At nightfall, under the faint glow of a waning crescent moon, our fireteams set off in our Zodiacs, the watercraft being steered by UIDF operators who had been at FOB Maroon longer than we. Quietly we sat, ever scanning the horizon, our eyes trying to make sense of the dark silhouette of the landmass that lay ahead.
The watercraft landed smoothly enough; the tide was high and there weren’t any sharp rocks on the beach. Once we’d made off into the woodline, I brought up a map of the island in the heads-up display of one of my contact lenses. We’d landed right on target; now we had to hike about 35 miles to meet up with the soldiers from FOB Blazer – that was when the other fireteams would split off from us. Speedy led the way as we all traveled west-northwestward by moonlight and night-vision through forest, hills, and over streams. The terrain became progressively rockier and more uneven the further we went.
Many hours and about 10 grueling miles later, dawn was breaking; the faint, purplish-pink glow of the sunrise began casting shadows through the woods and across the green, grassy hills around us. My muscle and joints ached; my eyelids were tired. My teammates were feeling it, too; we’d been awake for nearly 24 hours (not that this is unusual for special ops personnel in the field). Speedy decided we should find a concealed spot to catch some sleep before continuing on our way, and the other team leaders agreed.
Once we’d found a safe location that provided cover and concealment (thanks to some rocks and bushes), we ate some MREs and assigned guard/sleep shifts. A slight breeze began to blow, and our nostrils were suddenly filled with the sickening smell of burned flesh and melted hair. All of us grabbed our weapons and laid low, looking around cautiously. The wind was coming from uphill.
Remaining quiet and using only hand-motions, Speedy signaled for Bravo 2 to form up and follow him while the others kept watch. We quietly moved upslope through the forest, keeping our eyes peeled for sudden movements. We saw none, other than branches and blades of grass waving in the weak downdrafts. As we moved further along, we spotted something massive on the forest floor ahead – that had to be the source of the malodor.
We came up close and examined it. Clearly, these were the remains of a massive quadrupedal mammal laying on its right side. Its fur was melted, its flesh was scorched, and its midsection had ruptured violently, strewing its innards on the pine needle-covered ground. Steam still rose from the charred remains and blew downwind – this was a recent death.
The sight was horrifying and the stench was overwhelming, but those weren’t the most disturbing parts of it. What bothered me most was that this dead creature shouldn’t have been there. Everything I thought I knew told me that these beasts were extinct, and yet there it was, laying in front of me looking like it had been killed by an energy weapon.
This was a woolly mammoth.
submitted by GoneDark1191 to nosleep [link] [comments]


2016.08.02 18:13 ryancalibur The Truth about the Untruth about Donald Trump

This is a response to Stefan Molyneaux’s video “The Untruth about Donald Trump”, in which he attempts to defend Trump from criticisms against the mainstream media. You might have encountered it during a “debate” with a Trumplecunt.
Unfortunately, Stefan is an idiot, so his arguments are filled with mistakes, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and often even outright lies. Whilst I don’t doubt that anyone on this sub could rebut the utter nonsense that Stefan puts forward, it is a very long and very boring video, so I have decided to make a “quick” response to it.
Unfortunately, the character limit exists, so I have been as sparse as possible with my word use. As such, some portions might be somewhat unclear unless you know the story/have seen the original powerpoint presentation by Stefan, but overall I have tried to make it clear.
So, here is the TRUTH about the untruth about Donald Trump.
Donald Trump’s Strategy
Mainstream Media on Donald Trump
He won’t file his election papers, ignore him
Illegal Immigration
Trump’s Wall
Univision, NASCAR, ESPN, PG of America and Macy’s DUMP TRUMP
John McCain
Draft Dodger
War on Women
Trump and Rosie O’Donnell
Blood Coming out of her Wherever
Four Bankruptcies
The Bible Gotcha
Muslims in New Jersey and 9/11
Trump Mocks a Disabled Reporter
Muslim Immigration Ban
Trump’s Ban is unconstitutional
Muslims will no longer help out the FBI
Muslim Databases
Trump employing illegal immigrants
Trump and Putin
Trump and anti-Semitism
Trump and Hitler
Event Protestors
Trump and Ivanka
Saturday Night Live
Trump could have made more money by investing his money
Donald isn’t rich enough
Jeb Bush upset about Trump’s comments about his wife
Gun Control in Paris
Don’t trust Trump with the nuclear codes
Hillary Clinton claimed Trump comments were in ISIS recruitment videos
Trump and the internet
Trump and Fiorina
Hillary got Schlonged
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/22/donald-trumps-schlonged-a-linguistic-investigation/
Go After Their Families
Jeb Bush said George Bush kept us safe
Trump is a rapist
Trump’s Deportation Force
Trump is a Hillary Plant
Campaign Finance Hypocrisy
Trump with Oprah Winfrey as VP
The Batman Thing
So there we go...
submitted by ryancalibur to EnoughTrumpSpam [link] [comments]


2016.05.10 22:16 ydtm Greg Maxwell /u/nullc (CTO of Blockstream) has sent me two private messages in response to my other post today (where I said "Chinese miners can only win big by following the market - not by following Core/Blockstream."). In response to his private messages, I am publicly posting my reply, here:

Note:
Greg Maxell nullc sent me 2 short private messages criticizing me today. For whatever reason, he seems to prefer messaging me privately these days, rather than responding publicly on these forums.
Without asking him for permission to publish his private messages, I do think it should be fine for me to respond to them publicly here - only quoting 3 phrases from them, namely: "340GB", "paid off", and "integrity" LOL.
There was nothing particularly new or revealing in his messages - just more of the same stuff we've all heard before. I have no idea why he prefers responding to me privately these days.
Everything below is written by me - I haven't tried to upload his 2 PMs to me, since he didn't give permission (and I didn't ask). The only stuff below from his 2 PMs is the 3 phrases already mentioned: "340GB", "paid off", and "integrity". The rest of this long wall of text is just my "open letter to Greg."
TL;DR: The code that maximally uses the available hardware and infrastructure will win - and there is nothing Core/Blockstream can do to stop that. Also, things like the Berlin Wall or the Soviet Union lasted for a lot longer than people expected - but, conversely, the also got swept away a lot faster than anyone expected. The "vote" for bigger blocks is an ongoing referendum - and Classic is running on 20-25% of the network (and can and will jump up to the needed 75% very fast, when investors demand it due to the inevitable "congestion crisis") - which must be a massive worry for Greg/Adam/Austin and their backers from the Bilderberg Group. The debate will inevitably be decided in favor of bigger blocks - simply because the market demands it, and the hardware / infrastructure supports it.
Hello Greg Maxwell nullc (CTO of Blockstream) -
Thank you for your private messages in response to my post.
I respect (most of) your work on Bitcoin, but I think you were wrong on several major points in your messages, and in your overall economic approach to Bitcoin - as I explain in greater detail below:
Correcting some inappropriate terminology you used
As everybody knows, Classic or Unlimited or Adaptive (all of which I did mention specifically in my post) do not support "340GB" blocks (which I did not mention in my post).
It is therefore a straw-man for you to claim that big-block supporters want "340GB" blocks. Craig Wright may want that - but nobody else supports his crazy posturing and ridiculous ideas.
You should know that what actual users / investors (and Satoshi) actually do want, is to let the market and the infrastructure decide on the size of actual blocks - which could be around 2 MB, or 4 MB, etc. - gradually growing in accordance with market needs and infrastructure capabilities (free from any arbitrary, artificial central planning and obstructionism on the part of Core/Blockstream, and its investors - many of whom have a vested interest in maintaining the current debt-backed fiat system).
You yourself (nullc) once said somewhere that bigger blocks would probably be fine - ie, they would not pose a decentralization risk. (I can't find the link now - maybe I'll have time to look for it later.) I found the link:
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/43mond/even_a_year_ago_i_said_i_though_we_could_probably/
I am also surprised that you now seem to be among those making unfounded insinuations that posters such as myself must somehow be "paid off" - as if intelligent observers and participants could not decide on their own, based on the empirical evidence, that bigger blocks are needed, when the network is obviously becoming congested and additional infrastructure is obviously available.
Random posters on Reddit might say and believe such conspiratorial nonsense - but I had always thought that you, given your intellectual abilities, would have been able to determine that people like me are able to arrive at supporting bigger blocks quite entirely on our own, based on two simple empirical facts, ie:
  • the infrastructure supports bigger blocks now;
  • the market needs bigger blocks now.
In the present case, I will simply assume that you might be having a bad day, for you to erroneously and groundlessly insinuate that I must be "paid off" in order to support bigger blocks.
Using Occam's Razor
The much simpler explanation is that bigger-block supporters believe will get "paid off" from bigger gains for their investment in Bitcoin.
Rational investors and users understand that bigger blocks are necessary, based on the apparent correlation (not necessarily causation!) between volume and price (as mentioned in my other post, and backed up with graphs).
And rational network capacity planners (a group which you should be in - but for some mysterious reason, you're not) also understand that bigger blocks are necessary, and quite feasible (and do not pose any undue "centralization risk".)
As I have been on the record for months publicly stating, I understand that bigger blocks are necessary based on the following two objective, rational reasons:
  • because I've seen the graphs; and
  • because I've seen the empirical research in the field (from guys like Gavin and Toomim) showing that the network infrastructure (primarily bandwidth and latency - but also RAM and CPU) would also support bigger blocks now (I believe they showed that 3-4MB blocks would definitely work fine on the network now - possibly even 8 MB - without causing undue centralization).
Bigger-block supporters are being objective; smaller-block supporters are not
I am surprised that you no longer talk about this debate in those kind of objective terms:
  • bandwidth, latency (including Great Firewall of China), RAM, CPU;
  • centralization risk
Those are really the only considerations which we should be discussing in this debate - because those are the only rational considerations which might justify the argument for keeping 1 MB.
And yet you, and Adam Back adam3us, and your company Blockstream (financed by the Bilderberg Group, which has significant overlap with central banks and the legacy, debt-based, violence-backed fiat money system that has been running and slowing destroying our world) never make such objective, technical arguments anymore.
And when you make unfounded conspiratorial, insulting insinuations saying people who disagree with you on the facts must somehow be "paid off", then you are now talking like some "nobody" on Reddit - making wild baseless accusations that people must be "paid off" to support bigger blocks, something I had always thought was "beneath" you.
Instead, Occams's Razor suggests that people who support bigger blocks are merely doing so out of:
  • simple, rational investment policy; and
  • simple, rational capacity planning.
At this point, the burden is on guys like you (nullc) to explain why you support a so-called scaling "roadmap" which is not aligned with:
  • simple, rational investment policy; and
  • simple, rational capacity planning
The burden is also on guys like you to show that you do not have a conflict of interest, due to Blockstream's highly-publicized connections (via insurance giant AXA - whose CED is also the Chairman of the Bilderberg Group; and companies such as the "Big 4" accounting firm PwC) to the global cartel of debt-based central banks with their infinite money-printing.
In a nutshell, the argument of big-block supporters is simple:
If the hardware / network infrastructure supports bigger blocks (and it does), and if the market demands it (and it does), then we certainly should use bigger blocks - now.
You have never provided a counter-argument to this simple, rational proposition - for the past few years.
If you have actual numbers or evidence or facts or even legitimate concerns (regarding "centralization risk" - presumably your only argument) then you should show such evidence.
But you never have. So we can only assume either incompetence or malfeasance on your part.
As I have also publicly and privately stated to you many times, with the utmost of sincerity: We do of course appreciate the wealth of stellar coding skills which you bring to Bitcoin's cryptographic and networking aspects.
But we do not appreciate the obstructionism and centralization which you also bring to Bitcoin's economic and scaling aspects.
Bitcoin is bigger than you.
The simple reality is this: If you can't / won't let Bitcoin grow naturally, then the market is going to eventually route around you, and billions (eventually trillions) of investor capital and user payments will naturally flow elsewhere.
So: You can either be the guy who wrote the software to provide simple and safe Bitcoin scaling (while maintaining "reasonable" decentralization) - or the guy who didn't.
The choice is yours.
The market, and history, don't really care about:
  • which "side" you (nullc) might be on, or
  • whether you yourself might have been "paid off" (or under a non-disclosure agreement written perhaps by some investors associated the Bilderberg Group and the legacy debt-based fiat money system which they support), or
  • whether or not you might be clueless about economics.
Crypto and/or Bitcoin will move on - with or without you and your obstructionism.
Bigger-block supporters, including myself, are impartial
By the way, my two recent posts this past week on the Craig Wright extravaganza...
...should have given you some indication that I am being impartial and objective, and I do have "integrity" (and I am not "paid off" by anybody, as you so insultingly insinuated).
In other words, much like the market and investors, I don't care who provides bigger blocks - whether it would be Core/Blockstream, or Bitcoin Classic, or (the perhaps confusingly-named) "Bitcoin Unlimited" (which isn't necessarily about some kind of "unlimited" blocksize, but rather simply about liberating users and miners from being "limited" by controls imposed by any centralized group of developers, such as Core/Blockstream and the Bilderbergers who fund you).
So, it should be clear by now I don't care one way or the other about Gavin personally - or about you, or about any other coders.
I care about code, and arguments - regardless of who is providing such things - eg:
  • When Gavin didn't demand crypto proof from Craig, and you said you would have: I publicly criticized Gavin - and I supported you.
  • When you continue to impose needless obstactles to bigger blocks, then I continue to criticize you.
In other words, as we all know, it's not about the people.
It's about the code - and what the market wants, and what the infrastructure will bear.
You of all people should know that that's how these things should be decided.
Fortunately, we can take what we need, and throw away the rest.
Your crypto/networking expertise is appreciated; your dictating of economic parameters is not.
As I have also repeatedly stated in the past, I pretty much support everything coming from you, nullc:
  • your crypto and networking and game-theoretical expertise,
  • your extremely important work on Confidential Transactions / homomorphic encryption.
  • your desire to keep Bitcoin decentralized.
And I (and the network, and the market/investors) will always thank you profusely and quite sincerely for these massive contributions which you make.
But open-source code is (fortunately) à la carte. It's mix-and-match. We can use your crypto and networking code (which is great) - and we can reject your cripple-code (artificially small 1 MB blocks), throwing it where it belongs: in the garbage heap of history.
So I hope you see that I am being rational and objective about what I support (the code) - and that I am also always neutral and impartial regarding who may (or may not) provide it.
And by the way: Bitcoin is actually not as complicated as certain people make it out to be.
This is another point which might be lost on certain people, including:
And that point is this:
The crypto code behind Bitcoin actually is very simple.
And the networking code behind Bitcoin is actually also fairly simple as well.
Right now you may be feeling rather important and special, because you're part of the first wave of development of cryptocurrencies.
But if the cryptocurrency which you're coding (Core/Blockstream's version of Bitcoin, as funded by the Bilderberg Group) fails to deliver what investors want, then investors will dump you so fast your head will spin.
Investors care about money, not code.
So bigger blocks will eventually, inevitably come - simply because the market demand is there, and the infrastructure capacity is there.
It might be nice if bigger blocks would come from Core/Blockstream.
But who knows - it might actually be nicer (in terms of anti-fragility and decentralization of development) if bigger blocks were to come from someone other than Core/Blockstream.
So I'm really not begging you - I'm warning you, for your own benefit (your reputation and place in history), that:
Either way, we are going to get bigger blocks.
Simply because the market wants them, and the hardware / infrastructre can provide them.
And there is nothing you can do to stop us.
So the market will inevitably adopt bigger blocks either with or without you guys - given that the crypto and networking tech behind Bitcoin is not all that complex, and it's open-source, and there is massive pent-up investor demand for cryptocurrency - to the tune of multiple billions (or eventually trillions) of dollars.
It ain't over till the fat lady sings.
Regarding the "success" which certain small-block supports are (prematurely) gloating about, during this time when a hard-fork has not happened yet: they should bear in mind that the market has only begun to speak.
And the first thing it did when it spoke was to dump about 20-25% of Core/Blockstream nodes in a matter of weeks. (And the next thing it did was Gemini added Ethereum trading.)
So a sizable percentage of nodes are already using Classic. Despite desperate, irrelevant attempts of certain posters on these forums to "spin" the current situation as a "win" for Core - it is actually a major "fail" for Core.
Because if Core/Blocksteam were not "blocking" Bitcoin's natural, organic growth with that crappy little line of temporary anti-spam kludge-code which you and your minions have refused to delete despite Satoshi explicitly telling you to back in 2010 ("MAX_BLOCKSIZE = 1000000"), then there would be something close to 0% nodes running Classic - not 25% (and many more addable at the drop of a hat).
This vote is ongoing.
This "voting" is not like a normal vote in a national election, which is over in one day.
Unfortunately for Core/Blockstream, the "voting" for Classic and against Core is actually two-year-long referendum.
It is still ongoing, and it can rapidly swing in favor of Classic at any time between now and Classic's install-by date (around January 1, 2018 I believe) - at any point when the market decides that it needs and wants bigger blocks (ie, due to a congestion crisis).
You know this, Adam Back knows this, Austin Hill knows this, and some of your brainwashed supporters on censored forums probably know this too.
This is probably the main reason why you're all so freaked out and feel the need to even respond to us unwashed bigger-block supporters, instead of simply ignoring us.
This is probably the main reason why Adam Back feels the need to keep flying around the world, holding meetings with miners, making PowerPoint presentations in English and Chinese, and possibly also making secret deals behind the scenes.
This is also why Theymos feels the need to censor.
And this is perhaps also why your brainwashed supporters from censored forums feel the need to constantly make their juvenile, content-free, drive-by comments (and perhaps also why you evidently feel the need to privately message me your own comments now).
Because, once again, for the umpteenth time in years, you've seen that we are not going away.
Every day you get another worrisome, painful reminder from us that Classic is still running on 25% of "your" network.
And everyday get another worrisome, painful reminder that Classic could easily jump to 75% in a matter of days - as soon as investors see their $7 billion wealth starting to evaporate when the network goes into a congestion crisis due to your obstructionism and insistence on artificially small 1 MB blocks.
If your code were good enough to stand on its own, then all of Core's globetrotting and campaigning and censorship would be necessary.
But you know, and everyone else knows, that your cripple-code does not include simple and safe scaling - and the competing code (Classic, Unlimited) does.
So your code cannot stand on its own - and that's why you and your supporters feel that it's necessary to keep up the censorship and and the lies and the snark. It's shameful that a smart coder like you would be involved with such tactics.
Oppressive regimes always last longer than everyone expects - but they also also collapse faster than anyone expects.
We already have interesting historical precedents showing how grassroots resistance to centralized oppression and obstructionism tends to work out in the end. The phenomenon is two-fold:
  • The oppression usually drags on much longer than anyone expects; and
  • The liberation usually happens quite abruptly - much faster than anyone expects.
The Berlin Wall stayed up much longer than everyone expected - but it also came tumbling down much faster than everyone expected.
Examples of opporessive regimes that held on surprisingly long, and collapsed surpisingly fast, are rather common - eg, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, or the collapse of the Soviet Union.
(Both examples are actually quite germane to the case of Blockstream/Core/Theymos - as those despotic regimes were also held together by the fragile chewing gum and paper clips of denialism and censorship, and the brainwashed but ultimately complacent and fragile yes-men that inevitably arise in such an environment.)
The Berlin Wall did indeed seem like it would never come down. But the grassroots resistance against it was always there, in the wings, chipping away at the oppression, trying to break free.
And then when it did come down, it happened in a matter of days - much faster than anyone had expected.
That's generally how these things tend to go:
  • oppression and obstructionism drag on forever, and the people oppressing freedom and progress erroneously believe that Core/Blockstream is "winning" (in this case: Blockstream/Core and you and Adam and Austin - and the clueless yes-men on censored forums like r\bitcoin who mindlessly support you, and the obedient Chinese miners who, thus far, have apparently been to polite to oppose you) ;
  • then one fine day, the market (or society) mysteriously and abruptly decides one day that "enough is enough" - and the tsunami comes in and washes the oppressors away in the blink of an eye.
So all these non-entities with their drive-by comments on these threads and their premature gloating and triumphalism are irrelevant in the long term.
The only thing that really matters is investors and users - who are continually applying grassroots pressure on the network, demanding increased capacity to keep the transactions flowing (and the price rising).
And then one day: the Berlin Wall comes tumbling down - or in the case of Bitcoin: a bunch of mining pools have to switch to Classic, and they will do switch so fast it will make your head spin.
Because there will be an emergency congestion crisis where the network is causing the price to crash and threatening to destroy $7 billion in investor wealth.
So it is understandable that your supports might sometimes prematurely gloat, or you might feel the need to try to comment publicly or privately, or Adam might feel the need to jet around the world.
Because a large chunk of people have rejected your code.
And because many more can and will - and they'll do in the blink of an eye.
Classic is still out there, "waiting in the wings", ready to be installed, whenever the investors tell the miners that it is needed.
Fortunately for big-block supporters, in this "election", the polls don't stay open for just one day, like in national elections.
The voting for Classic is on-going - it runs for two years. It is happening now, and it will continue to happen until around January 1, 2018 (which is when Classic-as-an-option has been set to officially "expire").
To make a weird comparison with American presidential politics: It's kinda like if either Hillary or Trump were already in office - but meanwhile there was also an ongoing election (where people could change their votes as often as they want), and the day when people got fed up with the incompetent incumbent, they can throw them out (and install someone like Bernie instead) in the blink of an eye.
So while the inertia does favor the incumbent (because people are lazy: it takes them a while to become informed, or fed up, or panicked), this kind of long-running, basically never-ending election favors the insurgent (because once the incumbent visibly screws up, the insurgent gets adopted - permanently).
Everyone knows that Satoshi explicitly defined Bitcoin to be a voting system, in and of itself. Not only does the network vote on which valid block to append next to the chain - the network also votes on the very definition of what a "valid block" is.
Go ahead and re-read the anonymous PDF that was recently posted on the subject of how you are dangerously centralizing Bitcoin by trying to prevent any votes from taking place:
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4hxlquhoh_a_warning_regarding_the_onset_of_centralised/
The insurgent (Classic, Unlimited) is right (they maximally use available bandwidth) - while the incumbent (Core) is wrong (it needlessly throws bandwidth out the window, choking the network, suppressing volume, and hurting the price).
And you, and Adam, and Austin Hill - and your funders from the Bilderberg Group - must be freaking out that there is no way you can get rid of Classic (due to the open-source nature of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin).
Cripple-code will always be rejected by the network.
Classic is already running on about 20%-25% of nodes, and there is nothing you can do to stop it - except commenting on these threads, or having guys like Adam flying around the world doing PowerPoints, etc.
Everything you do is irrelevant when compared against billions of dollars in current wealth (and possibly trillions more down the road) which needs and wants and will get bigger blocks.
You guys no longer even make technical arguments against bigger blocks - because there are none: Classic's codebase is 99% the same as Core, except with bigger blocks.
So when we do finally get bigger blocks, we will get them very, very fast: because it only takes a few hours to upgrade the software to keep all the good crypto and networking code that Core/Blockstream wrote - while tossing that single line of 1 MB "max blocksize" cripple-code from Core/Blockstream into the dustbin of history - just like people did with the Berlin Wall.
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]


2015.07.23 15:22 altsforrp HYDRA History and International Politics - 07/23

Professor Aleksander Skyggesen had the habit of arriving at least an hour earlier in order to have his material lined up, everything had to be milimetrically perfect. He unlocked the classroom's door at exactly 7 A.M. letting the students flood in, for one who had an eternity before him, he was very precious with punctuality. Clad in his usual custom made tweed suit, this time a deep blue matched with a purple tie, he sat cross legged memorizing the students' faces and where they sat.
"Good morning. I'm Professor Aleksander Skygessen; this will be your first History class.
"Before anything, I'd like to let some things clear: Firstly, I'm not here to chaperone you around, I don't care what you do with your life out of here, but I won't have anyone disturbing my classes. Secondly, I value punctuality, you'll be here 7 A.M. as I will, otherwise you'd better not even come. And finally, I'm not your friend; you'll refer to me as Herr Skyggesen."
He started bluntly in his heavy Danish accent.
"Now that we are done with the introductions... We'll be skipping the whole "who did what and when" thing, at your age you're expected to already know that. Instead our course shall be Theory oriented. First chapter: War and Peace; or as I like to see it, History's impellent, the center of everything that happens or has happened once."
Aleksander rose to his feet and wrote on the chalkboard -yes he still used that, PowerPoints were insufferable in his eyes- "Vom Kriege" By Carl Von Clausewitz.
"As you might have noticed, I've provided each one of you with a copy of this work. You will see that the three first chapters are not by the author but by three differente commenters on this book: Peter Parrett, Bernard Brodie & Michael Howard; these men are unique experts on the author... But they did not meet the man himself. Rip those pages off."
Some, very attent, students might have noticed the slight smug grin across his usual plain emotionless face. He was not kidding though, only resuming his speech when all students were done following his command.
"Unfortunately, my friend Carl Von Clausewitz passed away from Cholera in... November 16th, 1831, if I recall correctly." He definetly did, dates were clear as water in his mind, as was everything else. "Leaving his unfinished book to be published years later by his wife. This is why you might find the later chapters to be a bit confusing, and even, in many cases, senseless."
"But what did Clausewitz want with 'Vom Kriege'? What did his heart desire to achieve? To produce a Theory of War. It will not teach you how to take a bridge, how to bring down a wall... But it will give you the means to understand what lies beneath the rug. He wanted to differentiate the universal from the particular, to isolate what can be seen in every war across history."
"Politics" He wrote on the chalkboard.
"War is nothing but an extention of politics, a tool for the men of power to guarantee that which words could not. It's not an art, or a science, you can't quantify war... War is a social phenomenom, not some 2 + 2 equation."
"Chance"
"War is Chance's territory. Chance will always be there lurking at you, no matter how trained your men are; no matter how much technologically superior you are... One tiny little cork off, or a drop of rain in the wrong place, and everything is lost. Think about Henry V and the Battle of Agincourt, how would that have turned out had it not rained in the night before?"
"Genius"
"How do you minimize the effects of Chance? You put someone in charge who knows what he's doing. The Genius must be something innate in a General, it's required that the man in charge knows by heart what he is doing, to inspire men with his wit; he must be an expert on calculation of probability and dealing with adversity; in a single glance at the battlefield, he must know what to do, Coup D'eule. Napoleon in a nutshell."
"Violence"
"No War has ever been fought without a single blood drop spilt. In war one side's main objetive is victory, and how do you achieve that? Bringing down your foe, putting him in a place he won't dare, he won't be able, to try and hit you again. According to Clausewitz, strength and violence are the only means to War."
"Having this in mind, the Prussian Major General will divide war in two kinds: Absolute and Real War. One is completly different from the other, the first is the War on paper, the marvelous pre-planning according to an utopic prediction... Unfortunately, history has proven that things rarely go according to play." "And the second is, as you might have guessed, is the actual war, fought with blood and steel. This one is haunted by two elements that can't be predicted on paper:"
"Fog of War" & "Attrition"
"As soon as war is declared, a dense fog falls on the gameboard; you can never know for sure what your enemy plans, what will be his next move. But this does not mean you can't be prepared..." He pointed to the word Genius.
"An army is a machine made out of flesh and as we all know, flesh rottens..." He stared for a couple of seconds at his own hand, in his case, that was a fallacy. "Rain, disease, bad roads, psychological warfare, they all take toil on men. Attrition can be minized -but never eliminated... And of course..." He again pointed at the word Genius with his chalk.
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2015.05.20 14:15 Hambone3110 [OC][JVerse]21: Dragon Dreams (Part 3 of 4)

A JVerse story.
Chapter 21, Part 3/4 of the Kevin Jenkins series, AKA "The Deathworlders".
Chapter 21, part 1 HERE
Chapter 21, part 2 HERE
Curiosity and mild alarm were dancing on Vedreg’s body as he considered what they had just heard. "That kind of argument seems out of character." He commented
"For both of them." Kirk agreed.
"Just a little." Amir added, drily. “Julian’s scary when he gets angry, too, and Lewis just kept antagonising him. It was like watching a chicken try and pick a fight with a bear.”
"And all this over Miss Chang? Hmmm…" Vedreg lapsed into contemplation, slow bands of blue light rippling all over his body.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Kirk asked him, after a moment.
"Increased aggression, competition over females... If they were Vgork, I would think they were entering Musth."
"Lewis has started taking his exercise seriously this last week, too." Kirk mused. “Interesting theory.”
"Uh… For the Earthling’s benefit, please?"
Both aliens made apologetic gestures to Amir. "Vgork males of high rank periodically enter a state called musth where their testosterone levels soar, and they become violent, aggressive and, um... Amorous." Vedreg explained.
"Testosterone has a similar effect on humans, even though you don’t have Musth." Kirk added.
"Okay, well... what about me and the girls? We don’t feel any different." Amir paused. “At least, I don’t, and I think we’d notice if Xiù and Allison were both acting like Julian and Lewis.”
"So that rules out any environmental factors." Kirk said. “Meaning this must have been triggered by a specific event.”
"Well, Lewis has always been… he’s always rolled his eyes a bit over my faith, but it started to get worse just after we left Umu-whatever. Where we picked up Xiù."
"So, it’s an event within the past week. The Huh perhaps? None of the other humans studied it."
"Yeah, but you studied it too, didn’t you?"
"I’m not human. I’m not sure my body even produces testosterone. But even a week on, I still feel cravings to study that thing again."
"You are not going to suggest we should get it out and examine it further, are you?" Vedreg asked.
"Don’t tempt me." Kirk replied. “No, I think a simple trip to the infirmary for them both may be in order. If they are both experiencing a hormone spike, as seems likely, then that’s easily corrected.”
"I’ll call them."
Xiù’s cabin was actually the most lavishly-decorated on the ship, despite her initial reluctance to put her stamp on it. Allison had pointed out that Xiù was "Going to spend at least, like, a month on this ship anyway, so why not get comfortable?"
The result was that she’d used up her entire month’s allowance of nanofactory time on fabrics, rugs, fairy lights, throw pillows and, with Kirk’s permission, candles. The result was that the cool default lighting of the cabins was warmer in her room, and there was a gust of scented candle on the wind when she answered Lewis’ knock.
"Hey." She smiled, but he could tell that she was pretty frazzled. “What’s up?”
"Uh, I can come back if this isn’t a good time…"
"No, I’m fine, I just…" She yawned “...I didn’t sleep so well last night and I guess it’s catching up on me now.”
"Well, if you need a nap-"
She smiled. "I’m fine, really. What’s up?"
"Well…" he took the plunge. “Look, there’s not a whole lot to do on this ship, I know, but I’ve got some movies picked out I think you’d like, and I’m not a half-bad cook myself when I put my mind to it so, I thought… Y’know, we’ve been getting on pretty good, and…”
Her lips parted in surprise. "Are… are you asking me on a date?" she asked.
"Yeah! Or, like, on the closest thing we can manage to a date on this ship. If you want."
"Wow, um…"
Lewis knew a rejection when he saw one coming and steeled himself for it, determined not to be disappointed.
"I mean… I’m flattered, but Lewis, I’m not ready to mate with anyone yet."
All the steeling in the world couldn’t have protected his ego from that unexpected turn of phrase.
"...MATE?!"
She hadn’t seemed to notice what she’d said until his outraged echo, but when she did her face went crimson. "Oh god, I’m sorry, that was in Gaoian, I…"
"No, no. Clearly I had the wrong idea here."
"Don’t be angry, I-!"
"Ah, go mate with yourself, Xiù!"
"But-!"
He was already halfway down the corridor, and pretended not to notice the sound of her door closing, nor the miserable shout of "God fucking DAMMIT, Xiù!" that drifted through it.
He barged past Vedreg on his way to his own quarters, ignoring the big alien’s concerned query, and threw himself into his bunk, fuming quietly.
The worst part was that he didn’t really know why he was so angry.
He was still seething when the room chimed politely at him. "You have a message." it informed him.
"Ignore."
"The message is flagged as urgent."
"I said fucking IGNORE!"
"Ignoring message."
"And hold all my messages until I say otherwise."
The room chimed again, acknowledging the command, and fell silent.
He didn’t notice when he fell asleep, but he woke with a start some time later when somebody started banging on his door.
"Ah, yes. Testosterone levels at two thousand percent normal. Just like Julian."
Lewis frowned at the readout. "The fuck?"
"Must have been the Huh. No wonder we’ve been acting like a pair of hyperthyroid quarterbacks." Julian told him.
"Fortunately…" Kirk said, touching something cold to his arm. “...It’s an easy fix. There. You should be back to normal in a couple of hours.”
"What about you?" Lewis asked of Kirk. “You played with that thing too.”
"And indeed, my own hormonal balance is off." Kirk agreed.
Allison was leaning against the wall with her arms folded. "Really? I’ve not noticed you acting differently…?" she said.
"Human and Rrrtktktkp’ch brains are very different. Still, I suspect I too would have begun to show behavioural changes before long."
Lewis sighed. "I guess I owe Xiù an apology, don’t I?"
"I’m sure she’ll understand." Kirk said.
"I’d better talk to her first, though." Allison said. “What happened?”
"Oh, I… asked her out."
"Yeah, I knew that. And?"
"Well, uh." Lewis scratched at the back of his head. “She had one of those Gaoian moments. You know, she’s tired, she’s not been sleeping well? So she said she wasn’t ‘looking to mate with anyone right now’.”
"Ouch." Julian grimaced. “I can see why you got mad.”
"Yeah, but it’s not her fault, is it? You said it yourself dude, she’s been without human contact for years. That’s got to fuck with your head."
Kirk patted his shoulder. "It isn’t your fault either." he assured him.
"Still." Allison said. “I’ll go talk to her.”
"Sure." Lewis muttered, as she kissed Julian’s cheek and left the Infirmary.
Xiù doesn’t remember having set up a hundred tea-light candles in her quarters, but she doesn’t question it: She’s making love to Julian, what better way to do that than by candlelight?
She runs her finger over his chest and watches his skin glow forge-red where she presses. The sight is entrancing, so much so that she forgets all about the sex and just watches the glow. When she taps his chest, coloured sparks fly everywhere.
She does it again, laughing, and again and again. She has always loved New Year, and the fireworks. In fact... why is she wasting her time here when she could be there, enjoying the celebrations?
She climbs off the stone man and steps out into the street, hailing a cab to take her to her parents’ place. There will be Nin Gou! And Luo buo gao! How could she have forgotten?
She’s still kicking herself for forgetting when she turned over and nearly fell out of bed, jolting awake in time to catch herself from falling.
She rolled back onto her pillow and stared at the ceiling, recalling the dream as the details evaporated, never to be recalled. What she could remember of it left her feeling hungry, horny and nostalgic all at once.
Cursing in a melange of English, Chinese and Gaoian, she dragged herself out of bed and into the shower, and cranked the temperature right down, and was still sluicing herself under the cold water when the door chimed.
"Just a minute!"
She scrubbed her limbs until they were merely damp and threw on her bathrobe, wrapping her hair up into a towel-turban. "Come in!"
Allison poked her head round it. "Hey, you okay?" she asked.
Xiù paused. "You heard?"
"Lewis is in the infirmary right now." Allison said. “It turns out that fucking huh thing’s had the boys on a hormone rush all week.”
"...Are they okay?"
"They’ll be fine." Allison reassured her. “Lewis is probably going to come up here and say sorry later.”
Xiù sat down on her bed. "I don’t… really blame him." she said. “I mean… okay, I do, but… I guess I mean…” she gave up and shrugged helplessly.
Allison just smiled. "I get you." she said.
Xiù relaxed. "Thanks."
"So… honey." Allison sat down next to her. “Asking as a friend, and with no hard feelings at all…”
Not unnaturally, Xiù was immediately nervous. "Um… Yes?"
"What’s going on between you and my boyfriend?"
"Wh-? Nothing!" Xiù’s face was redder than her rug, and she stood up sharply. “Nothing! Really!”
"I know nothing’s happened." Allison reassured her. “I’m just asking… what’s going on?”
Xiù’s blush faded a little, and she dragged the towel off her head, bunching it up nervously. "I’m sorry, he’s just… hot."
"Oh yeah." Allison agreed, nodding, which drew a giggle out of Xiù. “And you’re lonely, aren’t you?” she added.
"...Yeah."
Allison nodded. "And a bit confused, going by what you said to Lewis."
Xiù sighed, and threw the towel into her laundry hamper. "I guess so." she admitted. “It’s so much more… straightforward with Gaoians.” She punctuated the pause and the word that ended it with her hands, then gestured towards the door and to Allison. “The whole ‘he’s off limits because he’s with you’ thing is… I mean, I know how it works, I haven’t forgotten, but it’s…” She tailed off and shrugged again, flapping her arms helplessly.
"Not what you’re used to?"
Xiù hissed an indrawn breath and flapped her arms again, shaking her head. "I guess it’s not." she agreed.
"That’s gotta be scary."
Xiù just nodded, staring at the floor, balling her fists. It was such a childlike pose that it yanked right at every motherly instinct Allison had, and she launched herself up off the bed to grab her friend in a tight hug.
She earned a soaking wet shoulder for her efforts as Xiù let go and shook, hugging back so hard that her fingernails broke skin even through Allison’s tshirt. "What if I can’t be human again?" she squeaked. “What if… what if I’m stuck? What do I do? Every time I think I’m doing well I relax and then I screw up again! What if I’m…. broken? Where do I go then?”
Allison said nothing, just held on and let her get it out.
"All I want to do is go home, but then I act like a Gaoian and I’m scared I’ll go home and people will think I’m a freak, and my family won’t recognise me and I won’t know them and I won’t fit... and… and it all feels like it happened to someone else, Earth, it feels like it wasn’t me who lived there, like I’m a Gaoian who had a dream about being human one time and… How do I cope? What do I do? I don’t think I know how to do anything human any more, but I’m not Gaoian… so… so… So where do I belong?!"
She petered out and just sobbed for a bit, while Allison rubbed her back and waited until she judged the time was right.
"You said all of that in English." she said.
There was a slow moment, but the sobbing stopped, and another slow moment after that, Xiù pulled her head out of Allison’s shirt and blinked at her with watery red eyes. "I did?"
"Every word." Allison promised.
Xiù relaxed a little, and stood up straight, issuing a bitter little laugh as she dried her eyes. "I’m so messed up…" she observed.
"Nobody wouldn’t be." Allison said, brushing some of Xiù’s hair out of the way. “But we’re here for you. We get you, Julian maybe even more than I do. And if you’re broken, you’ll mend, or you’ll find somebody to mend you.”
Xiù was nodding, downcast, but Allison wasn’t quite finished. "And as for where you belong…"
"Don’t say here." Xiù interrupted. “Please, don’t ask me again.”
Allison hugged her again. "I was going to say ‘nobody belongs anywhere’." she said. “Except for where they choose to be. Wherever that is.”
Xiù finally smiled again as that sank in. It was a reluctant, unhappy little smile, but it was still like the sun rising. "I like that." she said.
"Kind of my mantra, babe... You okay?"
Xiù scrubbed at her eye again, sniffing. "I don’t know." she said. “I hope so.”
Allison nodded. "Good start." she said. “And… about Julian?”
"Yeah?"
"I’m fine with you looking at him, I swear. It’s okay. Just… don’t kiss him."
That finally provoked a giggle. "I’ll try." Xiù promised.
"Cool... Girl’s night? I’ve got Disney movies, red wine, and a shirtless waiter. My treat."
"Shirtl-? Wait, really?!"
"Well, he doesn’t know it yet…" Allison smiled mischievously “But… call it a hunch, I think he’ll agree to it. You in?”
"I thought you weren’t into sharing?"
"This isn’t sharing, this is just… hmm…" Allison paused and thought about it. “It’s just a bit of fun.” She declared.
"...Can I make crepes? I’m kinda hungry."
"Sounds good."
"Then I’m in."
"This, uh... could be degrading..."
Allison paused as they were about to open the door to the common room. "Are you okay?"
Julian fidgeted. "I know I agreed to this, just…"
She smiled, and gave him a kiss. "It’s not like I’ve got a cattle prod, baby." she said. “If you’re not totally comfortable, don’t even worry about it. I just thought it’d be a bit of harmless, sexy fun. But if you don’t want to...”
Julian considered it, then shook his head and smiled. "No, I’m in." he said. “Comfort zones are meant to be pushed out of.”
"You’re sure?"
He grabbed her hand and put it on his chest, letting her feel his pulse.
"Wow… you’re getting off on this, huh?" she noted.
He nodded and looked down, fighting the half-smile that was crawling up one side of his face. "A bit, yeah."
"Good boy." Allison teased him, then opened the door.
Xiù was just setting down the crepes she’d made - true Canadian ones, laden with ham, cheese, sunny-side-up eggs and maple syrup - on the coffee table alongside popcorn and nachos. From the looks of things, she’d already helped herself to a glass of wine.
"Ooh!" she exclaimed. “You gave him a bow tie!”
Julian fingered the adornment in question. "These things aren’t made to be worn on bare skin." he complained.
"It’s that or the cat ears." Allison reminded him.
"Bow tie it is!" Julian rushed to reply, preempting the delight that had risen on Xiù’s face. She made a disappointed sound, but also took a second to unabashedly appreciate the view. Both women were clearly enjoying themselves.
"Well I’ll be kind." Allison said. “You can pick three films out, we’ll eliminate two of them and watch the survivor.”
"Very kind." Julian drawled, sarcastically. Allison held up a finger.
"Ah?" she cautioned him.
He sighed, but smiled a little and straightened, trying to will himself into the role. "Yes ma’am."
Xiù giggled. "Good boy." She’d clearly already relaxed considerably after just one glass, and looked on course to be a happy, bubbly drunk.
"So, what are your picks?" Allison urged him, pouring a glass each for herself and Xiù.
He examined the stack of Disney movies. "Uh… Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo, and Mulan." He said, picking three they hadn’t watched yet.
"Ugh, not Dumbo. I hate those pink elephants." Xiù objected. Julian threw the disc back onto the stack.
"Hmmm.. Mulan’s got better songs." Allison said.
"Let’s watch it!" Xiù enthused.
Allison winked at their waiter. "You heard her, lover! Jump to!"
He tried to be serious, but couldn’t quite contain a smile. "Yes ma’am."
The girls chimed their glasses together. "Good boy." they chorused.
"♪♫Tranquil as a forest, but on fire within! Once you find your center, you are sure to win!♫♫"
"Sounds like quite the party back there."
"Yep." Amir nodded. What the girls lacked in hitting the right notes, they were clearly making up for in tipsy enthusiasm.
"How come we’re not invited?"
"Allison called it a ‘girl’s night’."
"So, what’s Julian doing back there?"
"Serving drinks, with his shirt off."
Lewis paused. After being discharged from the infirmary, and using the fading dregs of hormonal aggression in his system to his advantage, he’d enlisted Amir’s help in solving the mystery of the FTL drive power draw. Now, he stopped and listened to two voices atonally chorusing "♫swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon...♪". The volume was impressive even through a closed pressure door and down the deck.
"Wow… Poor bastard." he said.
Amir nodded. "Yep."
"♫...As the dark side of, the mooOoOoOon!!!♫♪"
"...What do you think would happen if we asked them to do something like that for us?"
"Broken ribs."
"Fuck, man." Lewis griped. “That’s just not fair.”
"Nope."
"....Change of topic, where’s Kirk at, anyway?"
"Think he’s up in the observation blister looking for signs of OmoAru life out there."
"After that sandstorm?" Lewis looked skeptical.
"It’s their planet. They’re probably used to it. He said something about wanting to see what they do after a week of being forced indoors"
"Why’s that?"
"♫You're unsuited for the rage of war, so pack up, go home: you're through.♪"
Amir raised his voice over the song. "He said that anything they do straight away is probably something they’re still at least a little passionate about."
"♫How could I make a man out of you?♪"
Lewis wobbled his head in concession. "Makes sense I guess."
"Pardon?" The girls had launched into the chorus again, with even more cacophonous vigor than before.
"I said makes sense!"
"Yep."
The volume increased dramatically as the door opened and Julian slipped out into the deck, holding an empty wine bottle, and vanished into the galley, from whence he re-emerged a minute later with a full bottle. To both Amir and Lewis’ astonishment, he seemed to be enjoying himself.
"...Are you sure we couldn’t get them to…?"
"Nope."
"The Fifth Element and lingerie?"
"Go ahead and suggest it. It’s your funeral."
"...Shit."
Amir smiled grimly. "Yep."
By the time the movie had finished, Amir had already declared that the limits of his technical expertise were reached, and that from here on out it was all up to Lewis, before retiring to bed.
For his part, Lewis was determined to pull an all-nighter, and the only thing that distracted him from his work was when he saw Allison and Julian on the security cams, en route to Julian’s cabin and all bar stripping each other on the way there.
He genuinely didn’t notice Xiù, or know how long she’d been waiting in the doorframe, until she spoke, but her greeting "Hey." was so gentle that it didn’t even make him jump.
He turned. "Hey." he echoed.
A good five seconds of mutual awkwardness ensued before he finally decided to break it. "I’m sorry." he said. “I shoulda been more understanding.”
"I’m sorry too." she replied. “I just… I guess I’ve got a long way to go.”
He nodded. "It’s okay. Still, even if it’s just a friend-date, offer stands."
She smiled. He wasn’t sure if it was the wine that was making her so relaxed, or if she was just in a good headspace right now. "Xié xié."
"No Disney though, please."
"That’s okay… Goodnight, Lewis."
"G’night."
Allison came down from her orgasm with laughter, the low and satisfied chuckle of the totally relaxed, and floated on bliss as Julian gently retrieved his hand and snuggled up beside her, interrupting her heavy breathing with a kiss and a gentle stroke on the cheek to get her hair out of the way.
"I think she liked it." he observed in a sing-song whisper, his eyes twinkling in the dark. He was plainly very pleased with himself.
As he should be.
"Mmmm, yeah." she agreed. “Oh, I definitely like it.”
"You like to be in charge, huh?"
She giggled. "Shut up and go get your mistress a glass of water."
He laughed, but extracted his arm from under her head. "Yes ma’am."
"Mmm…" She bit her lip and chuckled again. “Good boy.”
Xiù is sitting by a lake. Or by a river, maybe: the details are irrelevant. The sun is rising blue and cold over a landscape of white-foliaged trees and swirling distant shapes that might be birds, or maybe eels. She is wearing long skirts of white cloth. The mist should be chilly but she feels quite warm, watching a green fish swirl and mouth lazily in circles by the shore.
She catches it, reaching into the stream and pulling it out. It flips and flails in her hands and, to calm it, she opens it to page fifty-six and tries to read what is printed there, but she can’t make out the words.
As she bends to return the poor creature to the water, she catches sight of her own reflection and examines it, surprised to see a human face studying her. Where is her fur? What happened to her ears and muzzle?
But of course, she’s human.
...Isn’t she?
She turns to face the stone man behind her, seeking his opinion. This time he is taller than mountains, and he bends to offer her his hand.
She steps forward onto his fingertips, and he picks her up, and up, and up, past his knees, past a penis the size of a skyscraper, past square miles of muscular sculpture, to his face.
She speaks to him, but can’t remember the words, or even what she intends to say. She turns around, thinking about what to tell him, how to communicate her feelings, and looks over the side of the boat she’s on, double-checking that her reflection is still human.
The stone man comes up beside her and takes her hand.
He sings to her, but the song is piercing, terrifying. It sounds like… like…
She woke up and his "song" was still reverberating around her room. It was Sanctuary’s red alert alarm.
Kirk had beaten all the humans to the flight deck. "What the hell’s going on?" he was demanding.
Lewis was working furiously, selecting, drag-dropping and running programs as fast as his hands could move, "We’re compromised, don’t ask me how!" He said. “one minute I’m poking around the FTL systems, next-”
"FTL?"
"Yeah, there’s been some weird power draw on it this week, I was trying to lock it down. Next I knew we’ve got these motherfuckers crawling all over our systems." He waved a hand at the screen.
Kirk rocked back onto his hindlimbs as Amir squeezed past him and threw himself into the pilot’s seat, lending his own limited expertise to Lewis’ aid. "And what are ‘these motherfuckers’?" he asked, quietly.
"Fuck if I know. They’re using system runtime like programs, but they’re acting like other users."
"What exactly were you doing?"
"Now is not the time for a fucking powerpoint presentation." Lewis snarled, dragging a program into the run list. It apparently didn’t function as he’d hoped, drawing an angry noise out of him. “They just got into navigation, they know where we are.”
"Did you run a communications protocol through the FTL?" Kirk spat.
Lewis paused, but rallied and threw another script into the line of fire. "Yeah, how did you know?"
Kirk ignored him and spun around. "Julian, yank the blackbox, replace it with the backup ALV." he ordered. “Xiù, Allison, get outside and cut the anchor cables. Amir, prep for launch.”
"What the shit is going on?" Lewis demanded. Kirk turned back to him.
"I fucked up." he said. “And now the Hierarchy have found us.”
Fusion knives made short work of the anchor cables, and the longest part of Julian’s task was the sprint down the ship’s central corridor, up the stairs and through the engineering access hatch.
"We’re a week from anywhere, we’re probably safe… aren’t we?" Amir was asking as the girls returned to the flight deck to report their job done.
"They have point-to-point FTL communications, something the Dominion has been trying to perfect for… millennia." Kirk replied. “For all we know they’ve perfected single-end wormholes or gigalight FTL for good measure. Or maybe Aru is one of their projects and they have a ship or a staging post nearby. Our only defense at this point is to get the hell out of here and hope they’re too far away to catch up. Lewis, you’re sure you managed to clear them out?”
"Second the blackbox was yanked, I was able to nuke the whole system and restore from backup. Nothing’s come back to haunt us, so… yeah, we’re clean."
"Amir."
Amir nodded and stabbed the button for a shipwide announcement. "All hands, report in for launch."
There was a chorus of "here"s from around the bridge and, after a few seconds, a rumble from Vedreg over the open line that he, too, was present.
"Right."
Sanctuary went from resting on the sands, to hovering above them, then rotated around its stern until its nose was aimed skywards. Angry clouds formed in the displaced air around a cylindrical forcefield tunnel of vacuum that Amir created for them and then he punched to full thrust.
Allison turned faintly green as the ground just vanished, lurching away behind them with a violence that offended the senses, while nobody on the ship felt the slightest jolt. The sky faded to black in seconds.
"Jesus, this thing really moves." Xiù whispered, awe-struck.
"Out of the well in three… two… one… Warp."
The planet Aru jolted away with just as much ferocity as its surface had done, as did all three of its moons. A second later, so did the Aru star.
"Redline it?" Amir asked. He sounded quite cool, considering.
"Redline it." Kirk agreed. Amir just nodded and patted his console fondly, reassuring the ship.
"Seventy kilos." he reported, watching a display that was blurring in his upper-right field of view. “A hundred. two hundred. Four hundred… we’re at blackbox cruise. Seven hundred kilolights… Bus maxed at seven hundred ninety thousand C and holding.”
"Let us hope." Kirk said. “That is enough.”
"We should be careful anyway." Julian pointed out.
"Agreed. Grab your personal items and put any you can’t carry, along with a data backup and…. yes, the Huh into a cargo pod and program it for Cimbrean. I’ll go help Vedreg into a life raft. You all should get in one too."
"What about Amir?" Xiù asked.
"Don’t worry about me." Amir said. “The flight seat doubles as a life raft. So do the beds in all the cabins.”
"Go." Kirk urged. “I don’t want to trust to luck here.”
Julian turned to the girls. "You two get the Huh. I’ll prep the pod." he said.
They let Kirk go first: he trotted down the axial corridor and toward the lower cargo deck where Vedreg had made his home. Every emergency feature on the ship was outlined in blue lighting, from the hallway oxygen masks, first aid kits and fire extinguishers, to the life raft alcoves and decontamination showers. Kirk had spared no expense on ensuring that the ship’s occupants had every emergency tool they could want, cleverly hidden so that it only showed up when needed. Now they were all deploying, panels sliding back to reveal the functional features beneath.
"You got anything special you want to save?" Allison asked. Xiù checked her pocket, gripping the handful of personal items she'd brought with her. It wasn't much - just the data chip Ayma had brought for her, and one of the smooth little stones that Myun had taken to sewing into her clothes.
"No, I’ve already got everything." she said.
"Great." Kirk turned off the corridor and Allison took off at a run, leaving Xiù to scramble after her. Down the ramp, through the common room, up the ramp, turn left past the engineering access, and Allison’s room was the second on their left. She punched in the door code, darted inside, and returned an instant later carrying a knotted bundle of T-shirt and strapping on her holster and gun.
She’d just done up the leg strap when Amir’s voice boomed over the intercom.
"BRACE, BRACE, BRACE!!"
They didn’t have time. He’d barely finished the third word when the ship lurched, flinging both of them down the corridor.
Xiù tucked in her head and limbs and rolled, not unfolding until she’d come to a halt, finding herself fetched up against the reinforced backplate of the engine that terminated the deck corridor. Allison had come to a halt a little earlier, and was hauling herself to her feet, swearing and cursing at the carpet burn all down her flank.
Somebody had clearly left the microphone on because the next thing they heard was Julian’s voice, sounding strained, saying. "Shit, that’s a lot of blood…"
Both women went still, looked at each other, and as one bolted back up towards the flight deck, Allison at a dead run. Xiù had the presence of mind to grab a medical kit from its previously-hidden recess on the wall.
Down the ramp, through the common room, up the ramp, along the corridor and… Xiù felt her stomach lurch. That was a lot of blood.
And beyond that… space.
"What the hell happened?" Allison was yelling. The bubble of glass that was Sanctuary’s nose was half shattered, the air held in only by forcefields. Amir was writhing in his seat, teeth gritted as he tried to press his hand to a horrible wound in his side.
"Gravity spike and mines!" Lewis replied. He’d hauled himself out of his seat and grabbed a medical kit of his own.
"Clear out!" Allison commanded, grabbing the kit. “Julian! give him a shot of this, right here.” she handed an injector to him and tapped a spot on Amir’s spine, then extracted something that looked for all the world like a sealant gun from the kit. “Xiù, get me a light!”
Xiù’s paralysed limbs moved without her conscious control, and she snatched an emergency lantern from the wall, holding it up and trying to ignore the… colours, and wet shapes she could see. Especially the white. Especially the way they moved as Allison pumped some kind of foam into the gruesome injury.
The injector beeped, and a second later Amir sighed, shook his head and collected himself. With a gasp, he lashed out and swiped his hands through the helm’s control field and the stars outside blurred sideways. Xiù screwed her eyes shut.
"That’s a lot of mines!" he grunted.
"You’re stable." Allison declared. “Come on, let’s get you in a stasis pod.”
He shook his head, his face already pebbled with sweat. "Can’t."
"Wh-?"
Everyone on the bridge flinched and averted their eyes as a line of pure heat slashed a blue-pink afterimage across the sky. Xiù felt the incredible temperature of it on her skin.
"What was that?!" Julian asked.
Lewis looked grim "Plasma cannon."
"It’s a fuckhuge ship, is what it is." Amir told them. “I stop flying and you’re all dead.”
"But-" Lewis began.
"Nah mate. Abandon ship. That’s a bloody order from your pilot."
Another shot tore the sky open, much closer this time if the searing heat that bathed them like sunburn was anything to go by.
Julian, Allison and Xiù were all survivors. Julian just stood and put a hand on Amir’s shoulder, eyes damp. Allison kissed the side of his head, and the three of them cleared the bridge, with Xiù not even knowing what to say.
It was Lewis that was the holdup. "Dude…" he began, weeping openly.
"You don’t want to be here when I ram that thing, bruv." Amir told him.
"You’re gonna-?"
Amir grinned at him "Fuck off you idiot!"
Lewis nodded, grabbed the back of Amir’s head, touched forehead to forehead and nose to nose.
"Goodbye, dude." He whispered.
Amir made a sound that might have been amusement and might have been frustration. Either way, he was smiling. "GO." he repeated.
Lewis finally obeyed him.
Down the corridor, down the ramp, through the common room, up the ramp. Xiù turned at the junction by engineering hatch. "Lewis come on!" she called.
He was halfway across the common area when something hit them, hard, and ripped a chunk out of Sanctuary’s living quarters the length of a shipping container. The destroyed section vanished in a whirl of air and pulverized metal, and only the millisecond timing of containment forcefields prevented the adjacent areas from decompressing… but they left Lewis trapped on the far side. He sprang to his feet, slapped the forcefield in frustration, then gesticulated back towards the lower decks, flipped them a salute and ran.
A second hit rocked them even harder than the first.
Xiù stared after him, praying silently that he’d make it, before remembering to pray that they would, too.
"Xiù! MOVE!" Allison’s desperate yell got through to her, and she scrambled upright. Julian was punching the door code with shaking fingers, missing the right keys, and Allison was fidgeting next to him. The gravity seemed to have gone wrong, and she felt like she was standing on a steep hill, which was probably why Julian and Allison were both holding on to the handrails.
Something smashed a hole straight through the ceiling and out the deck. Not a big hole. But one that killed their section’s power supply.
Without it the lighting, the gravity, and the atmospheric containment fields all failed, and that little hole got abruptly wider as all of their precious atmosphere tried to bully its way out.
It wasn’t a wind. Wind wasn’t an adequate word. Instead, the last sound those air molecules would ever carry was the rising howl of their own escape, and Xiù’s mortal shriek as the maelstrom decompression tore her loose and threw her toward infinity.
Concluded in Chapter 21, part 4 HERE
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