Ashley imperial wood stove
[WTS] MFK , Creed, Byredo ,Tom Ford , Memo, Le Labo , Amouge, Fragrance One , Frederic Malle , Killian , and Designers (Bottle)
2023.05.28 20:11 ComprehensiveTower71 [WTS] MFK , Creed, Byredo ,Tom Ford , Memo, Le Labo , Amouge, Fragrance One , Frederic Malle , Killian , and Designers (Bottle)
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(Please Sort By "Last Modified" For Most Updated First) Most Updated Bottle List
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Valentino Uomo Born In Roma Intense 100 ML - $110
Gucci The Alchemist's Garden A Chant for the Nymph 90/100 ML - $280
La Vie Est Belle Intensement 100 ML - $85
Brand New Aerin Mediterranean Honeysuckle 50 ML - $100
Brand New Estee Lauder Tender Light 30 ML - $60
Brand New Estee Lauder Knowing 75 ML - $65
Brand New Alien Mugler Goddess EDP 60 ML - $80
Brand New Cartier Baiser Vole 100 ML - $85
Brand New Cartier La Panthere 75 ML - $60
Brand New Spicebomb EDT 90 ML - $85
Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere 100 ML - $100
Brand New Chanel COCO Mademoiselle EDP 100 ML - $110
Brand New Chanel COCO Mademoiselle L'eau Privee 100 ML - $95
Brand New Chanel Allure 100 ML - $95
Brand New Cartier Pasha Parfum 100 ML - $95
Brand New Cartier Noir Absolu 100 ML - $95
Brand New JPG Le Male Pride EDT 125 ML - $80
Brand New Atelier Colonge Rose Anonyme 200 ML - $135
Brand New Atelier Colonge Vetiver Fatal 100 ML - $80
Brand New Atelier Colonge Silver Iris 100 ML - $80
Hermes Terre D'Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver 200 ML - $130
YSL Y Le Parfum 60 ML - $95
YSL l'homme EDP 60 ML - $85
Armani Code EDP 110 ML - $100
YSL L Homme 200 ML - $125
Valentino Donna Born in Roma Yellow Dream EDP 50 ML - $95
CDG Man 2 40/100 ML - $70
Brand New OUAI 50 ML Rue St Honore & North Bondi - $60 For Both !
Aerin Rose de Grasse Gift Set 30 ML and 10 ML Official Traveler - $135
Add On :
Brand New Estee Lauder Pleasures 100 ML - $30
OUAI North Bondi 10 ML - $10
Estee Lauder Knowing 75 ML $65
Tory Burch Bel Azur 50 ML $55
Dolce Gabbana The One EDP 50 ML - $45
JPG Le Male EDT Vintage 17" Batch (70611) 10 ML Decant $25
Bois 1920 Dolce di Giorno 45/50 $60 Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Purchase Comes with carded MFK Sample !
Aqua Vitae Cologne Forte EDP - $130
Aqua Universalis Cologne Forte EDP - $130 BDK Parfums
Gris Charnel Extrait 100 ML - $195 Byredo
Purchase Comes with Byredo Sample !
Brand New in Box Young Rose 50 ML - $120
In Box Encens Chembur 50 ML $105
In Box No Sleeve Mister Marvelous 50 ML - $95 Add On
Rose Of No Man's Land 10ML Decant - $35 Creed
Brand New Aventus 50 ML Batch # L4222C01A - $185
Brand New Aventus 100 ML Batch : F000411 - F000412 - L4222B01B - $260 (F Batches Have Plastic Caps)
Brand New Original Santal 100 ML Tester - $190
Royal Princess Oud 30 ML - $165
Acqua Fiorentina 75 ML - $175
Brand New Aventus For Her 30 ML - $175
Brand New Love In White 30 ML - $160
Brand New Millesime Imperial 100 ML - F Batch (No Cap) - $190
Brand New Full Press Bois du Portugal 100 ML - $235
Brand New Aventus for Her Oil 75 ML - $140 No Cap Add On
10 ML Millésime Impérial Decant - 2015 Batch - $40
10 ML Aventus Decant A4221W01A - $40 Memo https://postimg.cc/xXR1kjCQ
Brand New Marfa Art Land 75 ML - $140
Brand New Marfa Fleurs Bohemes 75 ML - $140 Le Labo https://postimg.cc/5Q8y9V51
Brand New in Box Oud 27 50 ML - $159
Brand New Citron 28 Seoul City Exclusive 50 ML - $209
Vetiver 46 50 ML - $150
Lys 41 50 ML - $150
Add Ons :
Figue 15 100 ML Room Spray - $70
Brand New Official Traveler Santal 33 15 ML - $65
Official Traveler Fleur d'Oranger 27 14/15 - $60 Fragrance One
Unisex Brand New in Box 50 ML - $85
Add On :
Office for Men 10 ML Official Traveler - $25 Frederic Malle https://postimg.cc/7CmS5k8q
Brand New Outrageous 100 ML - $240
Brand New En Passant 100 ML - $220
Brand New Lipstick Rose 100 ML - $220
Brand New Lys Mediterranee 100 ML - $220
Brand New Dans Tes Bras 50 ML - $165 Amouge https://postimg.cc/gallery/PHmBVsV
Brand New Love Mimosa 100 ML - $160 By Killian https://postimg.cc/3yMxrqf9
Brand New Roses on Ice 50 ML - $155
Brand New Black Phantom 50 ML - $170
Partial Black Phantom 50 ML - $140 (Cracked Glass No Function Damage)
Brand New Liaisons Dangereuses 50 ML - $160
Brand New Good Girl Gone Bad 50 ML - $160
Brand New Good Girl Gone Bad Extreme 50 ML - $180
Brand New Love 50 ML - $160
Brand New Angel Share 50 ML - $160
Roses on Ice 25/50 ML - $100
Brand New in Box Rose Oud 50 ML - $185
Brand New Moonlight in Heaven 50 ML - $180
Brand New in Box Sealed Vodka on the Rocks 50 ML - $185
Love Plateless 48/50 ML Bottle $145
Brand New Rolling in Love 50 ML - $165 Brand New in Coffret Voulez-vous Coucher Avec Moi 50 ML
Good Girl Gone Bad 45/50 ML - $160
Brand New in Box Kissing 100 ML - $185
Brand New Princess 50 ML $145
Brand New Bad Boy 100 ML - $175
Add Ons :
Brand New Official Traveler Angles Share 7.5 ML - $42
Brand New Official Traveler Apple Brandy 7.5 ML - $40
Official Traveler Love 7/7.5 ML - $38 Tom Ford https://postimg.cc/gallery/PxzZT2g
Following are Brand New in Box 50 ML :
Ombre Leather - $110
Noir Extreme 100 ML - $160 (Sealed)
Costa Azzurra Parfum - $120 (Sealed)
Tom Ford For Men EDT - $95 (Sealed 100 ML)
Ombre Leather Parfum - $120 (Sealed)
Noir Anthracite - $200 (100 ML)
Fucking Fabulous - $225
Tobacco Vanille - $140 (30ML)
Velvet Orchid - $110
White Suede - $170
Oud Fleur - $170
Cafe Rose - $170
Rose De Chine - $175
Metallique - $125 (100ML)
Neroli Portofino - $125 (30ML)
Neroli Portofino Aqua - $75 (30ML)
Eau De Soliel Blance - $140 (100 ML)
Eau De Soliel Blance - $75 (30 ML)
Eau De Vert Boheme - $75 (30 ML)
No Box Brand New :
White Suede 30 ML - $115
Bitter Peach 50 ML - $165
Fougère d’Argent 50 ML - $165
Noir Extreme 100 ML - $150
Noir Anthracite 100 ML - $200
Champaca Absolute 50 ML - $210
Tuscan Leather 30 ML - $135
Jasmin Rouge 50 ML - $170
Fleur de Portofino 50 ML - $170
Fucking Fabulous 30 ML - $150
White Suede 50 ML - $170 (Dark Bottle)
Neroli Portofino 50 ML - $165 (No Cap)
Jasmin Rouge 100 ML (No Cap) $210
Santal Blush 50 ML (Clear Bottle - No Cap) - $160
Brand New in Box Black Orchid 100 ML - $170
Black Orchid 100 ML - $170
Velvet Orchid 100 ML - $170
Rose De Chine 50 ML - $170
Rose D'Amalfi 50 ML - $170
Velvet Orchid 40/50 ML - $90
Fucking Fabulous 40/50 ML (No Label) - $145
Tobacco Vanille 45/50 ML - $150
Soliel Blanc 35/50 ML - $100
Velvet Orchid 48/50 ML - $100
Fleur de Portofino 49/50 ML - $160
Soleil Neige 25/30 ML - $135 w/ Box
Bitter Peach 45/50 ML - $160 (No Cap)
Soiliel Blanc 45/50 - $160 w Box
Add Ons :
Brand New Sealed All Over Body Spray Tuscan Leather 150 ML - $60
Brand New Sealed All Over Body Spray Oud Wood 150 ML - $60
Brand New Sealed All Over Body Spray Fucking Fabulous 150 ML - $70
Noir Extreme 10 ML Official Traveler - $45
Venetian Bergamot 10 ML Decant - $45 (Discontinued)
Neroli Portofino 10 ML Decant - $35
Bitter Peach 10 ML Decant - $45 PENHALIGON PORTRAITS https://postimg.cc/6y03gH4P
75 ML Brand New With Full Presentation
Heartless Helen - $150
PLEASE CHECK PICTURES FOR LEVELS / SOLD AS IS IN PICTURES / ASK ME FOR EXTRA PICTURES IF NEEDED
submitted by ComprehensiveTower71
to fragranceswap [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 19:08 Binasgarden advice on selling house
I am looking for some advice on selling my house. It was built in the late seventies has the extra large lot. The garage is separate and 220 wired, has a bench with pegboard it just got a new roof and garage door. the house is the classic bungalow with a new roof, a wood burning fireplace, as well as wood stove in basement family room, Three bedrooms up with bath and a half, downstairs a bathroom, bedroom and the family room is wired and plumbed for either a kitchen or wet bar. The well, water heater and furnace are all checked yearly. Outside we have three apple trees, one pear, four cherry trees a plum tree, four saskatoon, two currants, two hazelnuts, two honeyberries, strawberry and herbal bed. As well as rhubarb, flowers and a goji tree. There are also four raised beds, and a small greenhouse.
The house walking distance to the schools, lake, shopping and services. Where do you start before you call the realtor? Calling all kids to come and take their stuff and then garage sale and then get rid of more so that I can stage properly. About how much time should I take on the prep so that I can still sell before the whole thing goes tank
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to RedDeer [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 18:10 dtdv Interactive map of Roman amphitheaters on RAMADDA. Link in comments.
2023.05.28 16:58 9B134K3 [WTS] Niche Decants (Decant)
Free shipping over $45, or $5 via USPS first class
|House ||Fragrance ||6ml Price |
|By Kilian ||Sacred Wood ||$25 |
|Creed ||Aventus '21 ||$15 |
|Creed ||Millesime Imperial '17 ||$18 |
|Creed ||Bois Du Portugal '13 ||$22 |
|Creed ||Green Irish Tweed '16 ||$18 |
|Creed ||Tabarome Millesime '14 ||$16 |
|Creed ||Virgin Island Water '15 ||$22 |
|Creed ||Royal Water '12 ||$19 |
|Creed ||Erolfa '14 || $20 |
|Kerosene ||R'Oud Elements ||$15 |
|Keroseme ||Winter of 99 ||$15 |
|Louis Vuitton ||Imagination ||$20 |
|Memo ||Russian Leather ||$13 |
|Tom Ford ||Lost Cherry ||$24 |
|Tom Ford ||Tobacco Vanille ||$19 |
|Thomas Kosmala ||No. 4 ||$13 |
|Vilheim Parfumerie ||Morning Chess ||$16 |
|Xerjoff ||Richwood ||$24 |
|Xerjoff ||Alexandria Orientale (UAE Exclusive) ||$26 |
All decants come in high quality, thick glass 3ml, 6ml, or 10ml atomizers with nice labels. All prices aren't listed to keep the post less cluttered. Message for specific 4 or 10ml prices. I guarantee all of these are 100% authentic. US only. Zelle/Paypal payment. Will ship within 48 hours!
submitted by 9B134K3
to u/9B134K3 [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 16:36 -jAsas- [Store] Butterfly Tiger 0.006,M9 Doppler P2,Bayonet Marble Fade,Bayonet Doppler P2 ST,Shadow Daggers Sapphire,Survival Fade,Gloves Big Game 0.25fv,Gloves Overprint FT,Flip Doppler P1,Gloves Imperial Plaid 0,28,Skeleton Blue Steel,M4 print FTSTDesert Printstream ST 0.16fv,USP Kill Confirmed
submitted by -jAsas-
to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 16:29 Odd_Blacksmith_5454 My Vasectomy Experience and Guide
Throwaway account due to containing some personal info
Thought I would share my experience, since you’re likely scrolling through this subreddit and reading a bunch of horror stories mixed with people saying the procedure wasn’t bad at all. I’m in the latter group, but I thought I would go into some extra detail on why the procedure wasn’t so bad as well as putting together a rough guide on optimizing your experience. One disclaimer is that I just had this procedure performed a week ago so I can’t speak to PVPS but I’m currently experiencing no pain. Also, I’m not a doctor so if your doctor recommends anything that contradicts with what I said, go with their recommendation. Feel free to comment with additional advice.
Step 1: Finding a Doctor
You’ll want to find a board-certified urologic surgeon (urologist) in your area that is willing to do a vasectomy on someone your age and performs at least 50 vasectomies per year(1). Your primary care physician can help give you a recommendation. You should ask at least these three questions before/during consultation with the urologist:
- How many vasectomies do you perform a year?
- How long have you been performing vasectomies at this rate/year?
- What type of vasectomy do you perform?
It’s also worth checking if the doctor has any discipline actions against them. Below is a link to the NYS website that can help with this (2), you may need to do some digging to find the equivalent for your state.
If possible, bring a friend/SO to the consolation to take notes. The doctor will likely thoroughly explain the procedure which, while helpful, made me so nervous that I stopped fully listening and then had to make some calls afterword to have them go over what they said again (don’t be like me, bring a buddy).
When it comes to vasectomy types, you’ll hear about a lot of options on the internet (traditional vs. no scalpel, cauterization vs. clips vs. open ended, no needle vs. needle). The reddit consensus seems to be that no-scalpel open ended is the preference, but it’s important to hear the trained urologists arguments for their method. FWIW I received a traditional with cauterization and haven’t had any issues so far (knock on wood).
If the doctor’s answers to your questions are satisfactory, ask them how much they charge for the procedure (assuming insurance doesn’t cover it) and when they can perform the vasectomy. You should ideally pick a date that doesn’t have anything too mentally taxing the week before, and too physically taxing the next two weeks after. Fridays are great as you can schedule PTO on Friday and Monday to have four days dedicated to recovery.
A note on budgeting, my procedure was $945 in total but the cost can vary. My recommended budget is $2,000 - $3,000. In addition to the procedure itself, there are a few items I recommend purchasing (listed below) to make recovery easier, and the amount left over can help cover any additional work that hopefully won’t be necessary.
- Jockstraps or athletic underwear (something that provides a lot of support to the nuts) x 4 packs (12 pair)
- Big box of gauze pads (ideally 25-50 pads)
- Hand sanitizer
- Neosporin (or similar antibiotic ointment)
- Tylenol (just in case)
- Something fun for after surgery (ex. subscribe to a new streaming service, buy a new video game, get a book from the library)
- Frozen peas (2 packs) or ice packs specifically designed for vasectomy recovery
- Ziplock bags (large enough to place frozen peas within)
- Fiber bars / bananas, eggs, spinach, minced garlic, tortilla wraps, cheese, bell peppers
- Laptop Bed Desk Table Tray Stand
- Wireless head phones
Step 2: The Week Before
This was the hardest part of the procedure in my experience. The thought of sharp objects near your sack isn’t a savory one, and it’s natural to be nervous. The toughest part I found was that I was having trouble sleeping. If you’re in a similar situation, my recommendation is to use this time to do some prep work. Since you can’t lift anything heavy after surgery, get your chores out of the way ahead of time so you can recover as long as possible. This is also a good opportunity to move some things around to minimize the amount of movement you need to do after surgery (ex. cleaning your nightstand and moving your Tylenol / gauze pads to an easy to reach location). Finally, feel free to do some meal prep so you spend minimal time standing by a stove after surgery.
Your doctor will likely tell you this, but I’ll reiterate, don’t take any blood thinners the week before. If you do, reschedule the appointment. Also, it may be worth asking your doctor if they can give you a valium (ask this ahead of the appointment date as they will likely need some time to get approval). I couldn’t get any valium during my surgery, but that also could be because I didn’t ask in advance.
Something I do recommend taking a few days before are those bananas / fiber bars. The thought of pooping right after surgery isn’t a great one, so a high fiber diet can help clean you out beforehand.
One final tip I have is to masturbate a few times the day before. You shouldn’t masturbate for 1-2 weeks after surgery so it's good to get it out of your system now.
Step 3: The Day Of
I would recommend taking a half-day today if your surgery is in the afternoon. While taking a full day can be tempting, you may want some work to keep your mind preoccupied.
When leaving the house to go to surgery, bring the following with you:
- Paperwork + insurance card
- Check (or credit card if they accept it)
- Wireless headphones
- Your phone
- Frozen peas (optional)
- Someone to drive home you after surgery
Now it’s time for the gory details and, honestly, it’s not all that gory. My urologist did inject lidocaine into my ballsack and he mentioned that there would be a burning sensation, but I felt very little. I’ve had lidocaine in my foot before and it was way worse that time. The actual insertion of the needle also didn’t hurt as much as I was expecting (less painful than getting blood drawn). My theory is that the ballsack doesn’t have much nerves tied to it (instead it’s the balls within the sack that feel pain and an experienced doctor won’t be bumping into those).
Once the lidocaine is in, you don’t really feel much after. It sorta feels like your doctor is thumbing at your scrotum but that’s about it. The worst part are the thoughts going through your head and I have a tip for that. Remember those wireless headphones I mentioned? Ask your doctor if you can wear them during surgery and play a meditation video during the procedure. Here’s a link to the one I used (3). Focusing on the meditation should help get you through. Overall, I would rate the physical pain of the procedure to be less than a dental cleaning / blood donation.
Step 4: What to Expect After
You’ll start to feel an aching feeling about 1-2 hours after the procedure as the lidocaine wears off. The good news is that, as far as I can tell, this is the worst the pain will be, assuming you don’t lift anything heavier than a phonebook during recovery. Now’s the time to elevate your feet and begin icing your balls. Put the frozen peas into the ziplock bag and then apply to the top surface of your underwear (which should still have a gauze pad under it as well). Set a timer for 20 minutes and begin the icing. Once the timer goes off, set another one for 15 minutes, put the frozen peas in the freezer and wait. You should also use a paper towel to wipe off any moisture from the ziplock bag. Ideally, you have someone else making runs to/from the freezer but an alternative could be to get a small icebox to store the peas near your couch/bed. Once this timer goes off, begin applying the peas again. Keep doing this for ~4 hours, then you can do it for less the next day if you don’t feel the ache. After the next day is over, the peas can be applied if you notice bruising. Bruising isn’t uncommon and can last 2-3 weeks after application. My bruising went away after 2-3 days and the aching mostly went away after the second day.
Speaking of the ache, let’s talk about it. Much like the surgery, it’s not as bad as I was expecting. I would describe it as that feeling you get when you sit in a weird position too long in tight pants, a mild pressing sensation over the scrotum and iliac furrows area. The peas and lack of movement will help reduce the pain/swelling (though it likely won’t go away as the peas are on you). Something that also surprised me is how small the cuts on the scrotum actually are (look less like major surgery and more like I nicked myself shaving).
Our new goal will be to minimize risk of infection. After about 4 hours after the surgery, feel free to swap out your gauze pad with a new one, with a very light amount of Neosporin on it. Be sure to clean your hand prior to these swaps (wash thoroughly and apply sanitizer). Right before bed, switch out both underwear and gauze. Keep legs in elevated position while you sleep (put a pillow under your legs). The next day, my recommended gauze swap out is as follows:
- Morning: Replace current gauze with a new one that has a light layer of neosporin on it
- 1-2 hours later: Swap out gauze with a fresh one that has no neosporine on it
- Before bed: Swap out gauze again for a new one with very light neosporine
Prior to applying that gauze pad before bed, it would be a good time to take a light shower. When applying soap to your scrotum, my recommendation is to lather the soap on your hands and then lightly flick the suds to your sack. This way, you have soap on your sack without actually touching it (minimizing risk of your hands infecting it or prematurely opening the stitches). If you are struggling with a cold sore, I would recommend washing your haiface separately from the body washing (ideally after washing your body and while bent over the bath spicket).
Some other tips I’m following is to treat it like any other wound recovery:
- Eating foods rich in vitamin c and protein.
- Avoiding sugar
- Keeping feet elevated with a pillow
- Keeping hands washed and sanitized
- Using the bed desk to discourage a cat/dog/child from hopping into your lap.
Follow doctors instructions regarding showering and abstinence. The current guideline is to avoid working out 1 week after surgery, but I’m going to wait 2 weeks as an added precaution.
One final suggestion for you. Throughout this process you may have been concerned about PVPS (post-vasectomy pain syndrome). The most concerning aspect of this illness is that it may arrive 5-7 years after surgery and can be tricky for urologists to identify as it seems to be the result of multiple different causes, including the following:
- Nerve compression
- Damage to the vas deferens tube
- Back pressure
- Scar tissue
While there’s no guarantee that this won’t occur, the steps above should at least help minimize risk of infection/scarring. Some further precautions you may want to consider are as follows:
- Avoid working out until at least 1 month after surgery and then begin by focusing on light cardio (avoid heavy weights for now)
- Consider investing in a hot tub in the distant future (this is pure speculation on my part but, if a potential cause is back pressure of sperm, then regular soaks in a heated environment may kill off said sperm and relieve pressure)
Hope all of instruction above provide you with some guidance and peace of mind regarding this process and, if you have any other tips for vasectomies, I would love to hear about them.
submitted by Odd_Blacksmith_5454
to Vasectomy [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 16:05 Dicerson1 Predators and Prey
(Inspired by this
writing prompt, but put into its own post because replies have annoying character limits)
Kin'kar Q'qlan (Translation: He who Slays Death) considered the small prey creature before him. Though doing so was quite difficult, considering this was anything but the usual circumstances under which he does so.
Normally, when he is considering a prey creature he is thinking about its anatomical structure, its behavior. He analyzes its movements, its shape, its hide, its weapons. He formulates a plan for how he shall slay it and claim its skull. Utilizing whatever assistance was afforded him for that particualr hunt, he would identify its tendons, joints, cracks in its chitin if it were exoskeletal, and the like.
But now he is to consider this creature's words
. Even now, several months after learning of this recently uplifted species, the very idea astonishes him. A prey species that speaks
. He was sent here to as the most prodigious hunter amongst the Karkians (Translation: Hunters), and thus their best consultant in such matters.
He must clear his thoughts, he shall begin again at the beginning- when Humanity's existence was first announced by the Imperial Throne to the rest of the galaxy. Apparently the Imperial Throne had discovered the existence of a sapient species months prior- of course conducting its own investigations before making the discovery public. Normally such an event is already cause for a stir, as such species are rarely discovered as a Pre-FTL civilization. The period of development between pre-sapient and starfaring is, compared to the scale of the universe, quite short. It is commonly held that the odds of a sapient species existing in a stage of computerized technological development simultaneously with several other FTL capable species is astronomically unlikely once more than a handful of species have achieved FTL and began expanding to other systems.
But this particular discovery has shaken the foundations of everything known about sapient evolution. For many centuries it has been held by the wisest and eldest of all civilizations that the energy requirements of sapience cannot be sustained by anything less than an apex super-predator- an animal species which preys upon all other species in their planetary environment. To sustain an conscious mind requires frequent consumption of highly energy dense food, of which only a handful of species on any given world are comprised of. While omnivorous sapients are not unheard of, it is rare for circumstances to allow the justification of time spent for a pre-industrial sapient on anything other than mating, development, or hunting. For most, one of these things becomes a cultural centerpoint. For Karkians such as Kin'kar, Hunting is the pride of their people- so much so that they still frequently participate in technologically restricted ritual hunting both for entertainment, and as a method for the resolution of otherwise unresolvable disputes.
Yet, if the Imperial Throne's report is to be believed, this species descends from a sub-predator species. That is, a species of "predators" who are themselves frequently preyed upon by typically more powerful apex predators. Though Kin'kar is loathe to call such a thing a predator. To Karkians, you are either the hunter or the hunted, and never both. Yet, somehow, these prey
animals evolved sapience and eventually overcame their evolutionary predators, no longer vulnerable to being hunted- but neither assuming the role of Apex hunter and super-predating. Not for food, anyways. Also perplexingly, their overcoming of this previously thought unbreakable food chain was prompted by technological development.
In other words- they became sapient before
becoming their planet's apex species. Kin'kar unconsciously loosed several clicks, to the confusion of his guest. No matter how many times he says it to himself or confirms the accuracy of the reports, he can hardly believe it. According to Throne scientists, Humanity invented naturally developed Agriculture- a concept which was previously only theorized as a possible route to the energy requirements of a populous sapient species. Previously, the primary restriction factor for sapient species was sustaining large numbers- the energy requirements of conscious thought meant that species numbers were limited by the availability of food. Only slow development of technology allowing hunting of more and more prey species across more environments more easily could allow a species to grow and begin affording members time to focus on technological development rather than survival. Many scientists believed that, theoretically, the artificial cultivation of plant species could provide this energy- but such ideas were unilaterally passed off as impossible, as an herbivorous species would never be able to evolve the intelligence necessary to begin with, and most omnivorous species developed as a result of an environment were time efficiency was so extremely crucial to survival and food so scarce that it was unfeasible to waste any on such slow methods that could get them killed for no reason other than bad luck.
Yet here Humanity was- having just proven centuries of crackpot theorists correct. An omnivorous species of sub-predators which developed Agriculture as their primary means of sustaining large populations.
"Is something wrong?" the human spoke, their name was 'Isaac'- though this species was one which did not maintain meaning translations for most names and so Kin'kar knew not the significance of the title. Such an odd thing, to claim a name which has no meaning...
"No, apologies. I was lost in thought. Your existence... your people, that is, are perplexing to me." He responded in Honor-Authoritative, though he has been told that human translators are only capable of two tonal discrepencies. Communication must have been difficult for this species, yet another confusing fact.
"Yeah, we get that alot. The boys back home are still mulling over the Imperial Throne's scientific data. It's shattered everything we thought we knew about evolution." He spoke in what Kin'kar's translator indicated as Honor-Mutual. Normally, a Q'qlan would challenge such speech with a ritual hunt to enforce an appropriate speech tone. However, he must be lenient with this species who is unaware of his people's ways. They will learn- this is his mission, afterall. He has been sent by the High Order of the Huntresses to both share Karkian culture and learn human culture- so that the Matrons may establish proper political channels. Though not quite the hunt he is accustomed to, it is an honor to have been selected for such a task.
"The feeling is mutual. Humanity has shattered everything the galaxy knew about sapient evolution. Tell me, is it really true that your kind are not hunters?" He asked, expecting a particular answer.
The human, Isaac, spoke, "Well, sort of. We're not currently
hunters, not really. We've long since surpassed the need to truly hunt for survival. There was a time in our history where hunting was critical for our survival- but once Agriculture developed, it slowly became a secondary, then tertiary concern. Until, eventually, it was simply superfluous and unneeded compared to Herding and Farming. Though the practice remained popular for non-food related materials, and even sport, until a a few centuries ago. Nowadays, hunting at all is frowned upon unless you're living alone in the woods somewhere and need to to survive."
Kin'kar was not expecting this answer. He knew, of course, that they were sub-predators. In the back of his mind, there was small relief that this species was not entirely
herbivorous. They did have to hunt at some point for the energy cost of sapience. But to think that agriculture was so effective that hunting as a strategy became... obsolete? He knew it was not Isaac's fault, but the very thought made his blood boil. Literally. Karkian blood is, uniquely to their species, capable of boiling without causing damage- their veins are semi-permeable to gases, and on especially hot days the blood in veins on the surface of their skin would boil to release heat in the form of vapor. This also doubled as a way to apply scent markings to territory, and to attract mates.
"I'm sorry, you're, uhm. Uh... you're steaming? Literally? Wow. Uh, I didn't mean to anger you, deepest apologies." Isaac spoke, now in... Dishonor-subordinate? Kin'kar shook his head again, he must dissuade his instincts- lest this individuals fluctuating tone's confuse him further.
"Do not apologize for that which is not your fault. I was.. the thought of hunting becoming obsolete. For Karkians, the Hunt is a millenia honored tradition- to call it... 'unneeded' is... agitating. I cannot blame you, you did not know. You said your species used Herding as well? I was only aware of your heavy use of Agriculture." Kin'kar inquired as a way to distract from the agitation.
Herding was known to the Galaxy, even super-predating species cannot sustain hunting alone forever. As populations grow, industrial scale animal processing becomes an inevitability. Not the least because without it, a sufficiently populous species would wipe out all life on their planet! It seems even Humanity could not avoid this, which was oddly comforting. A small bit of reason underneath the foundation of this incredulous species. Kin'kar was still remiss about humanity's apparent disfavor for hunting- at one point they even engaged in it for sport! If that
had been the humanity the Imperial Throne discovered, then perhaps this conversation would be easier held during a Communion hunt... but alas, the offer was rejected prior even to his arrival.
"Yes, as humanity spread out across the planet in our primitive days-"
"What?" Kin'kar interrupted, perhaps slightly dishonorably though he doubted the human even noticed.
"Humanity spread out across the planet in our primitive days?" Isaac repeated.
"You.. humanity encompassed their entire world before
industrializing?" Kin'kar clarified, flabbergasted.
"Actually, before even agriculture truly developed, there were tribes of humans both nomadic and static all over the planet with exception to only a few particularly hostile locations that hardly supported large ecosystems to begin with. Even some of the most remote regions had human tribes, due to ancient geological landbridges that formed during the Ice Ages." Isaac stated with such confidence and stability that even the translator identified absolutely no deception.
This was entire unforeseen. Not even Throne data sharing revealed this. Most species did not expand beyond their evolutionary roots until they began to develop tools for surviving off-environments. Some rare species had durability enough to survive the entire breadth of a continent's temperature and seasonal terrains, but it was literally unheard of for one to be capable of surviving every single planetary ecosystem without the aid of technology to enable the hunting of physically more powerful predators and thus expansion of food sources for, of course, larger populations. Yet, somehow, humanity had done precisely that.
"How? How could a pre-sapient prey species spread across the entire planet and survive without technology to adapt to differing seasonal variations and weapons to hunt and survive its predators- especially foreign predators?" Kin'kar almost exclaimed, not even realizing what he had called humanity...
"I am sorry, but I must correct you. Humanity, even then, was not a 'pre-sapient prey species', as you put it." Isaac spoke again, again with absolute sureity.
"W-what!? But.. the records. The throne's data, the report I received. Your species is descended from prey animals, is it not? Hunteed frequently by... apologies for the enunciation of this word... 'Lee-oh-pahrds', 'Leeohns', and 'Huheenahs' even during your development? You've even stated that you hold life, even that of lesser species, as sacred and have extensive laws for animal rights
?" Kin'kar retored, trying desperately to confirm his information.
"I see you have been.. at least slightly misinformed. Or perhaps have misinterpreted. Your report clearly is not firsthand, in any case." Isaac stated, quite calmly. He stood, activating the holo projector to show Earth side by side with what appeared to be a less evolved human.
"As you say, we are descended from 'prey' animals. A species of hominids, er, well I suppose that just means human ancestor huh, well. A species that came before us, were in fact prey to many varieties of animal in our evolutionary basin, the African Savanahh here-" the holo shifted to show the world's second largest continent, specifically the upper middle portion of it, "-Hyenas, Lions, Leopords mostly. But even so, they still occasionally hunted- only our eldest ancestors so removed so as to hardly be considered hominids were not omnivorous. However, hunting was difficult and infrequent- so ancient diets consisted of a mix of a variety of things including berries, nuts, insects, and whatever meat we could get our hands on. We formed large packs, herds, whatever you want to call the group structure to provide mutual support and keep eyes out for predators. The key to our success was that, even in those times, our intelligence vastly outclassed other animals and enabled us out to outposition, outmaneuver, and generally avoid predators whilst tricking other animals into traps they couldn't escape from. We leveraged our endurance to run down prey until it literally died of exhaustion, then stripped the corpse for as long as it took scavengers to push us away. The moment we began to make use of tools, however, it was over. Not even scavengers could push us away from kills, and even predators risked their own lives with every hunt against us. With tools, hunting in combination with foraging became the staple strategy for just under 2 million years. It wasn't until about a hundred-ish millenia ago when we finally left our evolutionary basin to other continents, due mostly to the Ice Ages forcing us to adapt or die. Thus began the great human migration to basically the entire planet, thanks mostly to lowered sea levels creating land bridges to other continents and prevalent island chains allowing short-term sea travel to the more remote locations. Agriculture didn't really come about until around 12,000ish years ago at which point civilization really kickstarted as tribes of maybe a hundred or so could finally start growing bigger." Isaac concluded, or perhaps simply paused, to allow Kin'kar a chance to process and respond.
"This... I..." His mind raced, shifting with great speed between awe, wonder, confusion, and... fear? Legitimate fear? His hearts raced, thumping their tandem beat as if he were on the trail of dangerous game. He could not shake it. The Throne's were wrong- as they often were the fools, Kin'kar should have known better. This was no mere 'prey' species- they were a trap! Their looks, their attitudes, their culture.. everything is just a trick! A facade meant to lull
the other species into a false sense of security. But now.. now he could truly see into Isaac's gaze- see his intent. Where before Kin'kar was confused as to this creature's confidence, curious as to how a prey animal could maintain such a solid gaze. Now he knew for certain.
It was he who was being hunted. All this time, it was Kin'kar who was being analyzed. Studied. Picked apart. Were this truly a Communion hunt, Kin'kar would already have dishonored his people a hundred times over. He would have no choice but to return home in shame and allow another to take the mantle. He thanked the ancestors this did not come to pass.
This species, first a prey animal, in the span of merely 2 million years evolved into a what Kin'kar can only describe as an optional
super-predator. A species that could easily overwhelm and dominate any ecosystem it was in- predate upon all of its top predators, and come out with more bounty for it. But they didn't. They opted for mutuality. They survived the predators, but focused on the core prey animals. They continued to supplement their hunt of less efficient game with foraging- using both tactics at once as most omnivorous species do. But not out of necessity. Not out of need.
But because that's just what they wanted to do. Because they did not need
to hunt more efficiently. They had evolved an intelligent brain 'even back then' Isaac had said.. even before becoming the planetary apex. Just how efficient were they? Running prey to death by exhaustion? Not even with tools or weapons? Just.. chasing it until it died? How in all the galaxy could they support an intelligent mind on, ostensibly, such low energy costs? It was preposterous! Even the most generous theories tossed out such ridiculous notions as a herbivorous-favoring omnivore with intelligence...
There was only one question Kin'kar knew to ask. He was no scientist, but even he understood some biological basics.
"The translator should translate this correctly. How many Calories does a human require for daily functions?" Kin'kar asked, dreading the answer.
"Most estimates place it at around 2,000 for a healthy diet, though that can vary by as much as a thousand or more." He stated, his expression plain and unassuming as if he did not just invoke a ritual to make Jorq'inian roll in his grave. As if he did not just overturn over ten millenia of scientific research. As if his statement did not change the face of the galaxy. Kin'kar did not steam. He froze
. The death sentence. The primordial locking of joints that was often seen as a sign of weakness, a base fear response instinct that Karkians possessed as a holdover from their ancestor species- from even before they had become super-predators. To show it in the presence of other Karkians was the surest way to lose all honor. To become outcast, destitute, and stripped of titles. Even though he was the only Karkian here, and thus his position maintained- this moment would haunt Kin'kar for the rest of his days. The day he knew true, primordial fear. When he finally grasped the sheer level of danger
A species that defied Jorq'inians law of evolution. It all suddenly made sense. No wonder they did not need to super-predate to survive. They simply broke the laws
and developed caloric efficiency beyond all theories. They could support a brain, advanced muscle structures, strength, endurance... everything on far less than any other species needed.
Kin'kars mind reached even further into the depths of terror.
They developed agriculture. The Theory of Agriculture was straightforward. On Paper
it could provide far higher net energy than predation, if done properly. The main issue was that by the time any species had the means to utilize it, industrial scale animal processing had already developed and the relative cost of low-technological agriculture was just too high to warrant spending countless centuries developing it when one could simply just expand their current methods.
But Humanity, who was already so incredibly energy efficient. Already capable of hunting all they needed and then some, already in position to truly become super-predators; Humanity developed Agriculture. Twelve thousand years ago? Kin'kar hadn't even registered that number just yet, but now that he thinks about it, the average time between developing of mass animal processing and FTL was typically in the thirty to forty thousand range.
And Humanity did it in twelve. By the time most species were computerized and beginning to look beyond their planets, Humanity was tribal and farming plants.
And here they are, now entering the Galactic stage barely ten or so millenia after the rise of the first FTL civilization- the Imperial Throne. The speed
of their development is terrifying. Kin'kar knew this could mean only one thing. This was them. This was the Junt'Bah. The unhuntable. The most dangerous game. The one species that no Karkian ever survived pursuit of. Rumors of their existence began only barely a century ago- when rumors of a world containing supposedly plentiful game was discovered and the parties sent to it never returned. Rumor has it that the first to go there returned after a successful first hunt. But the second was not so. The next party to follow never returned. Or the next. Or the next... information was scarce, as those who knew of the planet's location were either dead or so fearful of it that they refused to reveal its whereabouts. The rumors spread like wildfire, though the vast majority of Karkian society disregarded them as a pipe-dream thought up by dis-satisfied hunters wishing to make up pretense for fallacious boasts.
But now, Kin'kar knew it was the truth. The timing is too perfect. Barely a century ago, if the report is true, Humanity had began to develop basic tech-weapons and enter early militarization (at least what passed for such things in galactic society). If the first hunt was successful, that would imply some element of surprise was at play.. but if the subsequent ones were not. Kin'kar was in grave danger, did he know? Was humanity already aware of Karkians even before the uplift began? Was this some kind of trap? Would he ever see his mate again?
"Kin'kar? Are you alright? You look pale." Isaac noted in- damn the translator. He could be speaking primitive-infant right now and Kin'kar would still be afraid. He had to respond, to maintain some semblance of authority before the predator got any ideas...
"I am fine, I was just. Surprised, at the information. I will... have to update our records. Could you provide a more... direct document? I am not exactly a scientist, I am merely my people's best hunter..." Kin'kar spoke, unconsciously using Dishonor-Submissive...
"Ah, yes, your people. I was hoping we could discuss them some? I've just shared most of my people's history, afterall.." Isaac expectantly lead.
"O-oh, yes, of course..." Kin'kar submitted.
In the coming days, the Karkian empire would enter into a Defensive pact with Humanity in a political move that stunned the entire galaxy. Karkians were notoriously fierce and highly independent, militarily capable of resisting Imperial annexation whilst holding strategically important worlds that precluded annihilation class weapons. A fact that their High Order of Huntresses frequently leveraged during political talks and attempts to trade. Yet, for seemingly no discernible reason, they entered and equal-footing defensive agreement with Humanity- enabling the newly uplifted species to resist Imperial annexation and remain independant. Rumor has it this was preluded by a dramatic shift in Karkian authority, with nearly half their high order stepping down and being replaced by subordinates after some kind of cultural scandal- though no other species truly knew what happened when Kin'kar's report reached the council's eyes. They did not know how much blood was shed that day.
Humanity, for their part, was very glad to have the Predators on their side. Much better than the movies.
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2023.05.28 14:58 Character_Title3875 Is it feasible or legal to import a wood stove? We want an fire/oven combo like the the Austroflamm Heidi Back, but as far as we can tell it isn’t sold here…
2023.05.28 13:16 Academic-Insect3719 Is it feasible or legal to import a wood stove? We want an fire/oven combo like the the Austroflamm Heidi Back, but as far as we can tell it isn’t sold here…
2023.05.28 10:52 -jAsas- [Store] Butterfly Tiger 0.006,M9 Doppler P2,Bayonet Marble Fade,Bayonet Doppler P2 ST,Shadow Daggers Sapphire,Survival Fade,Gloves Big Game 0.25fv,Gloves Overprint FT,Flip Doppler P1,Gloves Imperial Plaid 0,28,Skeleton Blue Steel,M4 print FTSTDesert Printstream ST 0.16fv,USP Kill Confirmed
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2023.05.28 10:30 deathB4dessert Forged in Valhallah Chapter 1 (SkyKnight series, book 5)
Behind the larger moon of Nebo, the large hulking mass of ship named Glazier, was holding its geostationary orbit as the battle commenced below on the planet of Valhallah. Injured and inactive Marines, Sol Stellar Infantry, and Vaalorian Navy personnel walked the halls of the great ship, or were held in the Medical bay. Medical suites were filled to capacity and overflowing with casualties. Injured Vaalor and Humans were everywhere. Several Cariolinous could be found to be bandaged or missing bits or limbs. Blaine woke to the sound of a medical examination table beeping away in the background, and instantly regretted moving his head, which pounded like a bass drum. “OOooh, fuck! My head! What the fuck happ- UNJHH! Mmmff, fuck! That’s not good!” He said, looking down at his ribs which were bandaged and bloody. Looking around, he noticed he was alone, and so tried to heal himself. The flames ignited around his palms; and as he focused, a rib snapped back into place, almost rendering him unconscious. He cursed under his breath, and was about to try again, when Constance walked in. “Ahh! Captain! You’re awake! Good! Good… So, you’re not going to jump up and break my wrist so you can get back into the fight, are you? I must say, I’m no longer interested in trying to stop you. But, my sister is.” She said, looking him over. “What? Why would Glam want to stop me? She was all for getting away from the Aquila, when we were on our way here…” Blaine asked, puzzled. “She’s a mommy, now.” Constance said. “Oh.” Blaine croaked. “Are you sure you should be sitting up? You don’t sound too good. You do understand, you got lucky. You caught a round just as you came onto the shuttle, and therefore the others were able to slow the bleed long enough for you to make it aboard the Glazier. We were able to stabilize you with some donor blood, luckily enough. There’s two universal human donors on this craft right now, but there was three. Contingency Captain Richter was killed in action yesterday.” Constance said. Blaine groaned again. “Fuck. I’m gonna miss that asshole.” He said, a heavy weight seeming to slam into his heart. “You knew the Contingency Captain well, I assume?” Constance said, trying to gauge his mental state. “We were in a lot of situations together. We used to refer to him as ‘the human earthquake’. He was a demolitions specialist, Ms. Helsbane.” Blaine said. “How many made it out of Zubrim?” “Well, thanks to your quick efforts, Zubrim was lost without many casualties. We expected more. Twelve Sihn Rifles and all of Zubrim Air Defense made it out. General Sihn is alive and well, and you even saved two Seals. Marconia Traviar, and Ah’lahn Capia, both Seals of their own respective SkyKnight contingents. Here… you read the report. I expect you’re not going anywhere for a few days…” Constance said, and handed him a qwikslate. “Your translator is working flawlessly, Constance. Thought I’d say…” Blaine said, as he accepted the qwikslate. “The translator is off. I spent the last three months learning English. How am I doing?” Constance said, smiling expectantly. “Really freaking good! That’s really impressive! Three months?!” Blaine said, astonished. “I’ve always been a fast learner.” Constance mused, happily. “That’s good…” Blaine said, distracted by the qwikslate. “I’ll… um… Leave you to it, then?” Constance said, and walked out, not waiting for an answer. “Yeah…” Blaine said, not paying attention. He tapped the qwikslate screen, and looked at the HUDvid recordings for Zubrim, and Operation Black Watch. He played through several recordings, taking in separate angles of the battle, trying to recreate a 3-d picture in his mind of the chaos. He rewatched his HUDvid, and realized what had really happened. As he’d run from the crash site to the Fort, he’d unknowingly passed within a hundred yards of the Mahl front lines. They had seen him, but he’d been too busy with trying to reach the Fort to notice. His HUDvid had recorded their positions, however. Five rows of at least a hundred Mahl warriors, had watched him limp passed, within a mere twenty yards of them. They hadn’t reacted, or broken cover at all. But, they had obviously taken notice of him if his HUDvid was to be believed. Blaine realized then, that these were no ordinary Mahl. These were well trained and disciplined warfighters, and they were leagues apart from the Mahl that had attacked Sol, in both space and capability. They were well armed, with plasma rifles and several recognizable firearms in their midst. Some of them, American made. Blaine saw the rifles from his homeland, and felt a pang of guilt and hatred in the same moment. He found new drive in that moment, and reignited the blue flames, trying again to fix his shredded insides. He felt things twist and knit, and a feeling of intense nausea welled up within him. Finally, he could handle the nausea no more, and he extinguished the flames and promptly vomited bile. Laying back against the bed, he felt his mind wander, and fell unconscious again. Sometime during his slumber, Constance came back in to check his bandages, and almost lost her mind when she saw the healed wounds. She remained silent, but quickly left and returned with Captain Krinski, and Glam. They waited in the medical suite until he woke up. “Mmmuh, Mornin’ Cap’n. What’s up?” Blaine said, coming around groggily. “I muzt know… how? Jhoo are healedt! Just jyesterday, jhoo ver on Deat’s doorshtep! How are jhoo alife?” Anastasia said. “Uhh…” Blaine said, hesitantly. “Look, I don’t care if whatever you did was illegal. We have a lot of injured who could benefit from the technology.” Constance said, eagerly. “Uhh… It’s… not technology?” Blaine said, hesitant still. “Then what is it?” Constance begged. “I need to know! There are people who need this, desperately!” “Spirit Fire.” Blaine said, looking at Glam. “Like, what happened to Fern when he died?” Glam said, curious. “Kinda. Spirit Fire cannot be wielded by the dead. But, the dead are the source. It is the power to heal, or destroy by fire. And it’s extremely rare. My great grandad could barely do what I can, and it’s got serious side effects…” Blaine said. “How does it work?” Constance said, desperately still trying to bottle it for later use. “The Ancestors choose an individual to heal others, by the energies of the Ancestral Eather, through the conduit of the chosen individual. Depending on the physical strength of the individual( I presume), the power can be super-strong, or mild. The energies are specific to the one being healed and the virtuosity of the act. What’s more, the energies can cause women to become fatally attracted to the individual if it’s a man, and vice versa. Also, healing oneself can be a horrible experience, let me tell you!” Blaine said at length. “Now, promise me on pain of death, that you’re never going to tell anyone. I’m serious!” He added, with a glare. “Y-yes! Of course!” Constance said, taken aback. “I don’t belief jhoo, Captink. Show meh. Or, I vill hafv jhoo trown in shainz, for lyink tooh jyur feddow vorfighterz!” Anastasia said, snarling slightly. “Captain, I believe him-” Glam said, trying to intervene before things went awry. “VELL, I DON’T! Andt ziss is shtill mine craft! VHAT DO I HAFV TOOH SAY OR DO, TOOH MAKE ZHAT CLEAR, CAPTINK?!” Anastasia roared. Three Brasscar stepped into the doorway, all sporting tasers, at that moment. “Uhm… This is going to get a hell of a lot more complicated the more people you involve, Captain. By the very nature of what they might see or experience! You do understand that if I am telling you the truth(which I really am), that you cannot keep it a secret with so many involved, right?” Blaine replied. “Corrinda, Please brink zeh Corporal in? I’m churr Captink Preiss vill not argue againsht healink hiz own crroo…” Anastasia said to one of the Brasscar. “Yes, Ma’am. “ Collinda said, and went to retrieve the aformentioned individual. “It doesn’t matter, then, if you end up getting me killed. Fine… So beit.” Blaine sighed, and sat up. At the same moment, Collinda walked back in carrying a very gravely injured Japfey on a stretcher, aided by yet another Brasscar. Blaine stood up and walked unsteadily to where the two Brasscar held the stretcher between them. “Corporal… You can’t tell anyone, clear?” Blaine said, as Corporal Japfey looked up at him with a wan smile and a distant stare. “Sure, Cap! I’ma butterfly!” Japfey said, his eyes crossing slightly. “And I’m a lepidopterist.” Blaine chuckled. He focused on the blue fire, and heard seven separate gasps as everyone collectively drew a deep breath of astonishment. Japfey shook his head, and looked around him. “Cap? The fuck, Sir? What’s going on?” “I’ll let you read the report and watch your HUDvid, Corporal. After which, you will speak of it to nobody. Is that clear?” Blaine repeated. “Y-yessir! I’m just slightly confused- how did I get here, and how did you get better? I watched your drop, remember?” Japfey said, stunned. “Watch the HUDvids, Japfey.” Blaine said, wearily. “Satisfied, Captain Krinski?” “I’m… Yah, Captink. I ahm satisfiedt. Jhoo may leave unhinderdt, andt ooll here are svorn tooh secretsee, jah.” Anastasia said, still in shock. “But-” Constance began. “No… C’mon, Sis. There’s other ways.” Glam said, realizing that what Blaine had been saying about his life being in jeopardy wasn’t just idle chat. Glam guided Constance out, who was still struggling to keep Blaine in her sight. “But, Glamrica! He could… Stop, dammit! I can walk on my own, girl!” Constance protested. “Then DO SO! The Captain needs to leave, and get some rest on his own ship, for HIS safety!” Glam snapped at her, shoving her out of the room. “Jess… for jyur safety, Captink… Please return tooh zeh Aquila.” Anastasia said, suddenly realizing the implications as well. “Yess’m. Are any others of my crew on board, Captain Krinski?” Blaine asked, as an afterthought. “Jess. Narah Sihn arrived ziss mornink. She’s vell, just berry scaredt. Her Fadder didn’t make it tooh zeh Imperial Palace, and zerr is no vord on his veraboutz…” Anastasia said. “Vy? Vhat is zoh important about zhat?” She added as Blaine made a beeline for the door. “James.” Blaine said, walking out. He searched the Medical suites first, finding them full of injured personnel. His heart ached to help them, but he knew the cost was too high to do so. Moving quickly, he found Narah staring blankly at a wall in the second to last Medical suite on that wing of the bay. He touched her gently on the shoulder, and smiled when she turned to look at him. Narah jumped up and wrapped him in a hug, so quickly it startled him. She held him like a vise, and started to cry silently. Then, stepping back from him and letting go reluctantly, she voiced her desperate fears. “He’s missing, and nobody knows what happened! One minute they were flying along, and the next they just disappeared off of the comlsink and tracking scopes! Nobody has heard a single thing from them since, and no demands from any would-be kidnappers! It’s like they just…” Narah stumbled through, and sniffled. “Disappeared. I understand. Get me a suit, and a dropzone.” Blaine said, his eyes flashing reddish behind the normal soft brown. Narah didn’t argue, nor did she wait for confirmation of what she thought she’d just heard. Without a second’s breath, she was running full-out for the shuttle bay, and skidded to a halt at the S.U, Aquila, before smashing the code into the doorway keypad. She grabbed his rifle, a fresh Seraphim suit, and his sabre, before stopping momentarily to stare at the particle beam cannon on the floor. She shook her head, looked at it again, and then shook her head again, before rushing back out the door and barely stopping to close it again. Again, she tore off towards the Medical suite she had just left, and found Blaine staring at the same wall she had just been. “Uhh, Baby? I.. I’m not sure this is smart. I just… Maybe we should bring Rosey.” She said, looking at his feet, shamefully. “Maybe. Let’s not until we know. Where is Lisa, or Jupiter?” Blaine said. “Lisa is on board, with Hector. They should be in the Galley, right now.” She said. “Nav Officer Renhardt… She’s MIA, too!” “What? Wasn’t she flying the shuttle that brought me?” Blaine said, suddenly questioning just how long he’d been asleep. “Yeah, silly.. She… She went out after James and Daddy went missing, to try and find them. She’s a great pilot, but I don’t think she’s really qualified as a Spacejumper.” Narah said, hesitantly. “Can you take these? They’re getting heavy.” “Sorry.” Blaine said, taking the suit. “Then I'm going to need the Ortiz clan. Monster is always good to have in a fight. And Lisa can fly the shuttle and shoot, so we’re good for now.” “I’ll send her a.. Text?” Narah said, looking at him with a puzzled expression. “Yeah, a text would be a great idea.” Blaine confirmed, missing her query but answering it all the same. Narah stood in a corner with a qwikslate, typing like mad, while Blaine suited up minus the jetpack. This he carried with his rifle in one hand, and the sword in the other. Narah looked up from her qwikslate as he finished, and nodded. “Good. Let’s go shoot this goose, babe! I has a lot o’ questions what need answers.” Blaine said. Narah let out a short cackle, and smiled. “Yeah. Let’s shoot the goose! What’s a goose?” “Not important. C’mon…” Blaine said, putting an arm around her and guiding her towards the door. “Just what do you think you are doing, Captain?” Brashi’i said, standing in the doorway. “Where the absolute fuck did you appear from, and how do you guys keep doing that?! You and Jupiter both! And you, Narah! Just all of a sudden, Pop-goes-the-weasel, and you’re in my face!” Blaine said, finally letting vent to something that had been frustrating him for several weeks. “You really don’t know how well that neuro-link device works, do you? It literally retrained our bodies to walk much more quietly, after we took turns running through one of your sims. What do you think I was doing, when I was in the sim?” Brashi’i waved him off. “Well.. then you’re going to love learning this next trick… Love you!” Blaine kissed her on the cheek and Brashi’i promptly fell unconscious. “What was that? What did you just do to her?!” Narah squeaked, looking at the crumpled heap of woman on the floor. “Quickly, quickly… she’s not gonna be out for long…!” Blaine bustled her out the door. “But-” Narah said. “Goooo!” Blaine chided her. “It’s ‘the kiss of bliss’... a Martial arts technique I learned when I was a kid. She’s going to wake up in a few seconds!” “Fine! But don’t you ever-” Narah said, as he hustled her towards the Galley. “Shh! Hi! Yep! Just a human… Nothing to see here…” Blaine said, pushing her on, as people turned and stared at them. “Blaine… I’m not joking.” Narah said, stopping right in front of the Galley. “Neither am- OOF!” Blaine started to say, only to be lifted bodily from the floor by a hefty punch to his ribs. “What the fuck, you asshole! You just fucking punched a commanding officer in the chin, you human pile of gutless crap!” Brashi’i screamed from behind him as he collapsed. “dammit… Hi, Baby!” Blaine said, smiling through the pain. “Don’t you ‘Hi Baby’ me, you slippery fuck! Or I’ll punch something you can’t heal!” Brashi’i spat, turning blue as her rage welled within her. “Huuhhh…. GASP- I didn’t punch you… mmmnnngh… I pushed a vertebrae out of place, rendering you instantly unconscioussss… fuck! Why the ribs? Why always the ribs?!” Blaine said through tears and intense burning in his lungs, rolling slightly back and forth on the floor. “Whatever you did, IT FUCKING HURTS! You really thought I’d just let you walk out, no whatever and not a by-your-leave? You must be fucking crazy!” Brashi’i screamed, her fists still curled into tight balls and her face the image of twisted fury. “Yes. Precisely. Because, in fact, sweety… grunt… Enough time has already been wasted with being down. Which is why I’m not stopping, for fuck-all.” Blaine said, standing back up, still clenching his ribs. “And I’ll do it again, if you’re gonna try an’ stop me, Brash…” “Stop you? I just wanted to know what you were doing! Narah is on suicide watch until her father is located and retrieved. Or did you not know?” Brashi’i said, still snarling at him with intense venom. “Why would she want to kill herself? We’re literally going to get him?!” Blaine blurted out through the throbbing of his bruised ribs. “Why not say that, you stubborn fool! Why just knock me out, and run?” Brashi’i said, still breathing heavily. “Because..” Blaine wheezed, “I don’t have time for all of this crap!” “What the fuck is five more minutes gonna cost you?” Brashi’i spat. “Maybe my sister’s life, Brash. So, one more time… Get the ever loving fuck, out of my way!” Blaine said, finally catching his breath. Brashi’i said nothing, but stepped aside symbolically, using one hand to gesture forwards passed her. “Thank you! For Chrissake…” Blaine said loudly, and turned around to find Lisa and Hector staring at him, in utter amazement. “When and where, Caballero?” Lisa asked, seeing he was in no mood for small-talk. “Now. Shuttle.” Blaine said, nodding at Hector. Hector smiled and winked back. “On it, Cap!” Hector said, and dragged Lisa towards the shuttle bay. “Anything else, or can we go?” Blaine said, looking around at the crowd that was gathering to watch. With a lot of muttering and sheepish looks, people stepped back and made a thoroughfare for them, towards the shuttle bay. Blaine sighed, grabbed up his equipment, and walked the shame mile. Narah quickly caught up to him, and took his jetpack to carry for him. Blaine was grateful for the relief of pressure on his aching ribs. A shout sounded behind them, as Brashi’i vented her anger and strode into the Galley. “You ok? I heard the thump off that hit!” Narah said, trying to comfort him. “I’ll be fine! She used the wrong hand- probably the reason for the scream. Remind me to fix that for her if we make it back?” Blaine said, jokingly. “Yeah, right after I break my fist on her mouth.” Narah said, giggling. Blaine chuckled. “Damn, bloodthirsty, aren’t we?!” “Well, she did just try to stop us from getting my Dad. Thanks for not taking no for an answer, by the way…” Narah said, smiling at him. “I wouldn’t have, anyways. You know how I feel about our family… Now, imagine that I’ve felt that strongly about my sisters since we were little. You had nothing to fear… I was going with or without her permission.” Blaine said, and increased his pace. “So, this isn’t about my Dad?” Narah said, crestfallen. “I didn’t say that. I said that I have more than just him as personal investment, in this situation.” Blaine said. “Good save.” Narah said, smiling again. They walked onto the shuttle, and sat down, as Lisa negotiated their departure. This was made more complicated by the fact that they didn’t have any official orders or flightplan. Lisa finally got them clearance, by threatening diplomatic tensions between Humans and Vaalor. She turned off the comslink, and spoke solely to the four present. “We are flying into a shitstorm, with no backup, I’m pretty sure. Since that’s the case, I need to know, Cap- how much is this worth to you?” Lisa asked. Hector rolled his eyes, but stayed silent. “I’d shoot the President, to make it happen.” Blaine deadpanned. “My resolve knows no end.” “Ok… That’s good enough for me! Hang on… We’re in for a ride!” Lisa said, and dove for atmosphere. The walls of the shuttle began to heat up and glow, as they dropped through the atmosphere. Blaine felt as the shuttle began to shake from the buffeting, and Lisa pulled up on the yoke. “RRRrrr-you-son-of-a-bitch! Rah! Come about!” she grunted, as she pulled. The shuttle slowed, and started to become more aerodynamic. Lisa cruised to the coordinates that Narah gave her, and they came to a hover at 1500 feet. “We’re here…” Lisa said, and set the hover function to auto and stood up, stretching. Blaine stood up, and readied his rifle. Opening the door, he was met with a faceful of wind, and nearly sucked from the craft. He looked around at Lisa, with a smirk, and engaged his suit’s magnetic system. Looking back out the door, he asked, “You sure this is it? We’re a thousand feet up, at least!”
Lisa looked at him, and shook her head. “I can’t hear you!” “Helmets!” Blaine shouted, donning his. The rest of them pulled on their helmets, and the silence was shocking to behold. Everyone started talking at once. “We’re in the right area, right?” Blaine said. “Whoa, so quiet!” Narah said. “Middle of the fucking air! Narah!” Lisa shouted, crossing her arms. “God, thank you! I fucking hate HALO jumps!” Hector sighed. Unfortunately, all that was heard, was a cacophony of insane noise. “What?” everyone said at exactly the same time, which had the strange effect of sounding like a Beachfront quartet. This had the women giggling, and the men chuckling too! “Ok.. so… Are you sure this is the spot, Narah?” Blaine asked, as he got his mirth under control. “Yep. This is the marker from the computer. I didn’t change anything. We’re exactly where their beacon was last, before it disappeared. Lisa, spin us around slowly. Let’s get a good view of how this place looks.” Narah said, nodding. Lisa did as she was told, and sat back down in the pilot's seat. She disengaged the hover function, and started to rotate the craft. This caused the shuttle to slide forwards slightly, and suddenly the scenery changed. Instead of a windswept 1500 foot altitude without a bottom, they were a mere 50 feet up and maneuvering between trees in a tropical forest. “OH SHIT!” Lisa cursed, and quickly brought the yoke up as high as she could pull it without dislodging it. The shuttle shot straight up, and soon they were hovering over the top of the Amazon Rainforest on Earth, according to their instruments. More specifically, somewhere outside of Anza De Esparanza, Brazil. “What the… fack?” Blaine said, as a brightly colored Scarlet Macaw landed on the shuttle deck, and squawked at him. “Huh? Am I missing something?” Narah said. “Lisa, take us back! I need to check something!” Blaine said, a sudden realization dawning upon him. “Ohh, kay?” Lisa said, and hesitantly set the shuttle back towards its previously known position. They slowly maneuvered back through the trees, and then suddenly they were on Valhallah, again. Blaine smiled and shouted for joy, realizing the implications. “You wanna fill us in on what just happened, there? Or, should we just guess?” Lisa asked Blaine as Narah’s eyes got wide as saucers. “A laminar wormhole! A literal fucking laminar wormhole! BETWEEN EARTH AND VALHALLAH!” Blaine said, his face wreathed in smiles behind his visor. “Are you saying-” Lisa said, slowly catching on. “THAT THE LEGENDS ARE ALL REAL! THEY’RE HISTORY!” Blaine said, closing the door and smiling like a madman. “So, Thor, Meremere, and all that?” Lisa said, suddenly looking stunned. “Yeah, Thor, Moljnir, and all that!" Blaine confirmed. “So, if it’s a laminar wormhole, where is James, and where’s my Dad? Narah said, bringing everyone back to the reality before them. “They should be on one side, or the other. Your guess is as good as mine as to where. However, what’s bothering me, is why didn’t they just fly back through? James would have turned back!” Blaine said, at a loss for answers. “Just like you did. So.. Lisa? Take us back through, but keep the shuttle at 3000 feet, so that we can have time to deploy our wings.” Narah said, before sitting back down. “What’s on your mind, hun?” Blaine said, sitting down next to her. “Recon.” Narah said, stone faced. “Right. Well, where we came through at, I’m sure we hit a tree the first time. Perhaps we should start at the base?” Blaine suggested. “Good idea. Lisa, change of plans… I want you to get us as close to that tree we hit coming in, without landing right at its base, I want to make landfall.” Narah said. Lisa looked at Blaine. “What, you want permission?” Blaine said, smiling garishly at her. “Right. Back through. Don’t mind me if I change my pants afterwards! You SA’s are crasee!” Lisa said, and flew the shuttle back through the wormhole. “There’s a clearing over there… I’m gonna put down there.” “Ok, gear up, expect predators!” Blaine said, belting on his sword and grabbing his rifle. “What kinds?” Narah said. “Snakes, spiders, Caiman, Crocodiles, Jaguar, Ocelot, and Puma, to name a few. Big cats, and venomous snakes. Spiders as big as a dinner plate.” Blaine said. “I hate spiders, homie!” Hector said, staring at Blaine and turning pale as a sheet. “I fuckin’ hate ‘em!” “Then, keep your eyes peeled, don’t walk through any webs, and don’t panic if you see one. They’ll only chase you if you run.” Blaine assured him. “Ok… I’m good… Ok…” Hector said, nodding and psyching himself up. “Good. Don’t touch flowers. No matter how pretty.” He said, looking from Narah to Lisa. “Why?” Narah asked. “We’re in the rainforest. Everything here is trying to kill and eat something else. Nothing is safe. Even things that might seem so.” Blaine said, seriously. “Ok… So, what should we eat if we’re here for a while?” Narah said, being sensible about her questions. “Only what I hand you. Don’t eat or touch anything else, especially if it’s brightly colored.” Blaine warned her. “Why?” Narah asked. Blaine looked skywards for patience. Lisa came to his rescue. “Everyone knows bright colors mean venom or poison. Especially in the rainforest. With rare exception.” “Oh. You know, that’s not the case on Valhallah. Or my planet.” Narah said. “That’s why I asked.” “What’s your planet like, Narah?” Blaine said, trying to distract from the hike they were now embarking on. “Crazy enough, it’s a lot like yours. Just, venomous plants and animals are usually also trying to hide, whether predator or prey. Reds are normal. Yellows and greens, too. Most of the brightly colored plants only become so when fruiting. And most are not toxic. It takes an expert eye to be able to discern… What are you doing! You said not to eat anything brightly colored!” Narah suddenly shrieked, as Blaine peeled a banana. “Yes. I did. I also said don’t eat anything that I don’t give you. This, is a fruit known as a banana. It’s actually edible. Just, be careful when you pick them. See?” Blaine pointed to a large spider crawling across a banana leaf. “I’ll have to keep that in mind…” Narah said, as she stared at the slowly moving spider. “What’s that?” “One of the most deadly spiders known to mankind. Its bite would probably be harmless to you, but to us, it’s a very excruciating way to die, and very embarrassing as well. Basically….” Blaine said, before whispering in her ear. “Oh! That’s… both horrible and strangely … it kinda turns me on!” Narah said, smiling. “It’s not as nice as you think. It’d be like popping a bean, and never being able to rub it relaxed again, until you finally die from a heart attack. Us humans are naturally afraid of spiders, because of spiders like that.” Blaine said at length. “Yeah, sounds a lot worse when you say it like that.” Narah said, frowning. “Hey! That’s Archangel armor!” Blaine was suddenly right next to her, peering through the woods towards where she was pointing. A single scale stuck from a tree branch. Blaine looked down, and around the area across the ground. A large four-clawed bipedal print, told Blaine the worst was to fear. “Mahl.” Blaine said, as Lisa followed his gaze. “Oh, Christ!” Lisa said, terrified. “I thought they didn’t land on Earth?” “They didn’t, or these woods would be crawling with Brazilian and UN forces. No, this is a loner.” Blaine said, looking at the trail they left behind. “I’ll tell you this… James is being smart. She’s obviously being dragged. Your father is walking… With a limp, but walking.” He said, pointing to the trail leading from the tree through the underbrush. “How’s she being smart? She’s letting herself be dragged off by that brute! Why not just rip his arms off and beat him with them? She obviously can…” Narah pouted. “Precisely! She’s not! Which means there’s a good reason. Either she feels bested, or there’s a larger game afoot!” Blaine said, gritting his teeth and causing a vein to pop in his temple. “So, what do we do?” Narah asked. “Follow. In dead silence.” Blaine said, looking at her severely. Narah nodded, and followed him. They walked for the rest of the day, silent and slow. Blaine stayed in the lead, following the trail ahead. The Mahl stopped a couple of times, each time for water. They came finally to a tree, where the trail dead ended at it’s base. Blaine waited for the rest to catch up, and then smiled at Narah. Narah scowled at him puzzled at why he’d seem so happy at losing the trail. “Look up.” Blaine said quietly, grinning at Narah and the other two. A deep guttural growling roar, issued from a ball of fur halfway up the tree, sporting two others who were wearing Seraphim suits. “Hi, bonehead! I’m Blaine. You’ve got something that belongs to me. How’s about you give them back, and I don’t … make a mess…” Blaine said cheerily, smiling and waving to the Mahl. “GRRrrr, WHY SHOULD I?!” The Mahl said in a deep voice, which almost matched his growl. “Because! I’m allowing you to keep your arms. That’s more than she will do.” Blaine said, pointing to James. James smiled, and twisted around, grabbing the Mahl by his arm. “Ready, Freddy?” She snarled. “James! Wait-” Mordecai said, terrified. The Mahl made as if to bite her head off, and James changed. Her hair stood on end, and her face twisted grotesque. The Mahl stopped momentarily, looking at the savagely frothing woman in his claws, and suddenly had second thoughts about thinking her a mere weakling. That, didn’t matter, however. James ripped the Mahl’s head off of his shoulders, and spat down the creature’s esophagus. Then, they all came crashing out of the tree. Landing hard, Mordecai groaned as he lay still. James landed catlike, and ripped the offending Mahl’s bodily remains to dreg shreds, with her bare hands. Then, she roared, and passed out face first into the loamy soil of the rainforest floor. Blaine ran to Mordecai’s side, and looked him over. The elderly man had a broken wrist, and a large gash across his brow. Furthermore, he was completely unconscious. Blaine wasted no time, the blue flames glowing brightly in the failing light. Narah was at his side before he had finished, and watched, with tears in her eyes. “What about James?” Narah said, looking at Blaine as he finished and extinguished the blue fire. “Well…” Blaine said, and squatted next to her. He opened her eye, and checked the reactivity. He then became visibly worried. James wasn’t reactive at all. It was like her mind was empty. Like her soul had left her body. Blaine whimpered, as he held her hand to his lips. He looked around, like a scared child, and then closed his eyes. Blue light lit up the undergrowth, and blinded Lisa and Hector as they slowly walked closer. “SOB… GASP! Not yet, kiddo! Not yet!” Blaine’s voice could be heard from within the giant blue-white halo. “Please!” “Uhhn… Bean? Wha? OH! Fuck…” James’ voice could be heard saying. The light subsided and left Narah, Lisa, and Hector blinking furiously and rubbing their eyes. Blaine could be heard crying, as he hunched over, but nobody could see well enough to understand why for several minutes more. Then James slowly rolled over and stood up, weakly. “Bean… It’s ok… C’mon! We gotta go! It’s getting dark again!” She said, panic rising in her voice. “I…I-I thought… Yeah. Let’s go….” Blaine said, tears rolling down his cheeks. They ran flat out, for several minutes, before Blaine shouted at them. “STOP! We need to set camp! Don’t run in the woods at night!” “Scrape a clearing! I’ll get some firewood, and you, go get a bunch of banana leaves. You do know what those are, right Narah?” James said, helping as much as she could. “Yeah, I know what they are. I’ll be right back.” Narah said, and disappeared into the undergrowth. “Uhm.. Cap?... Do monkey’s eyes glow?” Hector said, as he stared into the gathering night. “No. Why, Monster? Find a monster?” Blaine said, and chuckled at his joke. “Nah, for reals, Cap! Look!” Hector said, pointing at two reddish orange orbs in the undergrowth. “Whoa! Hector! You found our monster, alright! It’s the apparatus that is creating the wormhole!” Blaine said, noticing where they were. “See? There’s the broken tree we hit earlier, Narah… Narah? Sweety?” Blaine looked around, worried. Then, he heard a muffled squeak which sounded oddly familiar. “I’m comin’ hun!” Blaine bellowed, and tore off through the cycads and the bromeliads. He found her being wrapped up by a massive anaconda, and drew his sword. Swinging deftly, he struck the creature clear to its spine with a fatal blow, directly behind the snake’s skull. He then roared mightily, as he peeled the massive jaws from Narah’s shoulder. Sobbing in terror and desperation of breath, Narah wriggled free of the snake’s coils, and slithered her way back several feet from it, wiping her skin like she was covered in some slimy sludge. Her heart raced, and she sobbed harder as she stared in terror at the thing that had just held her in its coils and tried to crush the life out of her. James ran up, and realized what had happened. She walked over to Narah and sweetly said to her as she helped her stand, “I’m so sorry! Come on! Let’s get you away from here!” The two quickly walked back to camp, James taking the chance to see to Narah’s wounds. Blaine sliced a huge chunk off of the snake, and carried it back to the fire he’d been starting just previously. Building up a pile of wood, he concentrated on the crimson and gold flames, and then the pile leaped to life with flames flickering merrily. The smell of cooking flesh, mixed with the day’s happenings, drew the six individuals to partake without argument or aplomb. Smiles were in short supply, but were certainly easier to manage with meat to fill their bellies. Narah was still clammy, and therefore wouldn’t let anyone touch her. Blaine made a joke about who would have died first, the snake or Narah, and Narah smiled at his attempt to cheer her up. “Maybe we should just sleep in the shuttle.” Blaine suggested. Nobody argued the logic, and so around an hour later, they were all back inside of the shuttle. They fell asleep, unaware of the several sets of beady little black eyes that watched them from the topiary level of the forest. Mahl clung to trees all around the clearing, hanging upside down from the vines and Burna trees. They didn’t make a sound, and simply watched until morning light, before disappearing into the jungle treetops, silent as a wraith. —----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brashi’i sat with her thoughts, mulling over her feelings on the previous day's activity, and wondering about the man she’d let go. Had he left and simply decided to not come back? Or, was there another, more sinister reason for his absence? She sipped her strong drink, and sighed to herself. If he was gone, then he would move heaven and earth, to come back to them. That much, she was certain of. A voice like a thunderstorm, pulled her from her revelry. “Vhat troubles jhoo, Madam Zeal? “ Anastasia said, as she sat down next to Brashi’i. “Nothing, Anastasia. I’m fine.” Brashi’i replied, haggardly. “I’m just worried about my crew.” “Vee hafv naht oolvays seen eye tooh eye, Brashi’i. Zhat does naht mean zhat I do naht vorry, tooh. I hafv mine own reasons, tooh vhant Captink Preiss tooh return unharmedt, jah?” Anastasia said, winking at the bartender. “I understand. Still, I’d rather not talk about it, kay?” Brashi’i said, delicately. “Zhat is fine. I vos only tryink tooh be friendly, Madam Zeal.” Anastasia said, accepting her drink from the slightly surly bartender. “Tank jhoo, Frankie.” “I have no idea what happened to them, where they went, or how to get them back. They vanished in the same place exactly, as Ensign Price and the General.” Brashi’i muttered, as a patron walked passed them. “Jyur man…. Zeh Captink… He is naht a childt. He vill be fine. Jhoo vill see!” Anastasia reassured her. “I know… It still doesn’t make it easier. Enjoy your drink, Captain. Good night.” Brashi’i said, downing the rest of her drink and leaving.
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2023.05.28 08:18 cookalot [THANK YOU] 💌LOVING ALL THE INTERESTING POSTCARDS💌
What a huge postcard and the most unusual food setting I've seen lately. It took me a few minutes to get the postcard turned the right way and then focus on the woman. That could be considered as Halloween creepy to some people. Not me, I love playing with food and seeing what all can be made with it to entertain your eyes. I'm glad I could be one of your first to send a card to. You did not disappoint me at all. I love it! I appreciate it so much and sending you a hug in appreciation. 🤗 Take care and hope we can stay in touch. ☔📨👩🏻🍳 u/inconsolableonion
Nice vintage postcard. The one gal doing the limbo is really close to showing us too much!! I appreciate the recipe as well. Sounds like something I will try next time I cook turkey. A lot of people only eat turkey at Thanksgiving but, we eat it several times a year. The leftovers are the best. Thanks, you so much and hope we can stay in touch. Many hugs for the card and recipe🤗 Be well until next time...📨☔ 👩🏻🍳 u/Simple-Referance-357
It was so kind and generous of you to share your vintage postcards. I found both of them very interesting. I can only imagine what it would have been like living back in the 1838 and I found the Oneida Plan No.8 an interesting choice to make a postcard out of an 1877 house plan. Thanks for the tip on the cake recipe. I will look it up because we like that type of cake. I appreciate all you sent and hope we can stay in touch. Hugs a plenty for the cards and recipe tip...🤗👩🏻🍳📨 u/DianaPenPal
Gee, thanks for the postcard and the delish sounding recipe. I have several lined up to try and I will put this in that stack as to make. I'm thinking this might need some parm cheese on top to finish it off. I am going to send you a PM to ask a question. Hope we can stay in touch, be well and enjoy your weekend. Hugs to you...🤗👩🏻🍳☔ u/feellikebeingajerk
I love the card and snow. Getting stuck in the house and can't get out is great. I like to go thru the house gathering things to cook just to see what I can come up with. Now if we have no power, I cook on a gas grill and take all the perishable food, put it in a garbage bag and tie it up so no animals can smell it and bury it in the snow. Some of my best meals have been with no power. One year I had access to a wood stove, so I baked cornbread and cooked a large pot of pinto beans. Beans taste better cooked on a wood stove with snow on the ground. 😁 Thank you so much, stay well and hope we can stay in touch...Hugs🤗📪👩🏻🍳
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to RandomActsofCards [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 06:28 ArtfulThinker [M31] Fragrance collection before and after
I thought it would be fun to share what my collection was when I first started out
compared to now
I'm slowly morphing into a niche lover lol Here is my current collection (Initio Oud for Greatness and Side Effect not pictured since they are on their way in the mail):
Initio Oud For Greatness
Initio Side Effect
Creed Millesime Imperial
Creed Virgin Island Water
Dior Homme Intense
Dior Homme Cologne
Tom Ford Ombre Leather
Tom Ford Noir Extreme Parfum
Tom Ford Oud Wood
Terre D'Hermes EDT
Chanel Platinum Egoiste
Chanel Bleu de Chanel EDP
D&G Light Blue Forever
Armani Code Absolu
Prada Luna Rossa Black
Azzaro the Most Wanted
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to fragrance [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 05:00 Kazevenikov Cryptid Chronicle - Chapter 30
A special thanks to u/bluefishcake
for the wonderful original story and sandbox to play in.
A special thanks to my editors LordHenry7898, RandomTinkerer, Swimming_Good_8507, CatsInTrenchcoats, and KLiCKonthat.
And a big thanks to the authors and their stories that inspired me to tell my own in this universe. RandomTinkerer (City Slickers and Hayseeds), Punnynfunny (Denied Operations), CompassWithHat (Top Lasgun), CarCU131 (The Cook), and Rhion-618 (Just One Drop)
Hy’shq’e Ay Si’am (Thank you noble friends)
Chapter 30: A Promise Kept
Kalai stepped off the shuttle to the Vaida’s headquarters and into a running tackle-hug from Sitry. “Oh Kalai, I could kill you right now
! You got to see the Great Barrier Reef in person, you bitch!” Sitry’s cheerful voice was muffled from where she was still buried in her chest. Kalai staggered backwards a pace or two, happy to be back from her whirlwind adventure around Earth with her father.
Naranjo and Papa Rhaxiid were there on the platform to welcome her back too, but their welcomes were more sedate.
“Not to mention you got out of work for half our damn trip. Ugh, it’s so
not fair!” Naranjo huffed as Kalai gave him a sisterly hug.
Papa Rhaxiid reached up and chucked her chin before turning to lead the way back inside from the forested platform. “Welcome back, sweet-sprout, we’ve missed you. Come on, we’ll get you settled again and off to work. There’s quite a bit you need to catch up on if you want your credits.”
The chuckles from the twins behind her were full of sibling malice, but she knew how to shut the pair of them up. “Papa Rhaxiid? I’ve got the paper on Biodiversity in the Reef you asked for, along with the dissection report and stomach content analysis of the tuna we caught. I want to put the finishing touches on it and do a final proofread first before I send them to you.” The man turned and gave her a warm smile as they entered the building.
“Good, why don’t you go take your things back up and say hello to Andy? I’ll give you an hour and a half to get freshened up, then I want you to report to Aquarium 12 with Dr. Sor’ansa. You can put your snorkeling practice to work there.” Papa Rhaxiid walked the three of them to the residential elevator. “I’m heading back to my office. Andy’s been requested by Maetro Pae’ella to work the kitchens for something called ‘Bison burgers'. Apparently it’s a type of indigenous bovine that the eastern Bands raise. That and something from Europe called ‘French Fries’.”
Kalai couldn’t help but get excited as she and her siblings piled into the elevator back to their little shared apartment. Sure the food she’d had all over the place was good, but so far nothing had been able to compare to Andy and his Salishian cooking.
“Nerd, I can’t believe you cheated and did work on your vacation." Naranjo broke the silence of the elevator after a little bit and stuck his tongue out at her.
“Spit to windward
, you vain little weed. Don’t hate me because I’m awesome.” Kalai’s riposte caused Naranjo to fold his arms and huff. Sitry simply ambushed her with an ear flick.
The elevator door opened to their floor before Kalai couldn’t bear the silence from Sitry any longer. “So, did you bag him yet, you lucky bitch?”
“No she hasn’t!” Naranjo’s singsong mockery of his sister interrupted Sitry’s response. “Papa hasn’t let Sitry even NEAR Andy without one of them around!”
“Rub it in, you snitch, besides, he did
kiss me first,” Sitry preened happily as she playfully shoved Kalai’s shoulder.
Kalai pretended to stumble and almost caught Sitry’s foot, but she was just a hair too slow. “Yeah, and then you gave him a black eye, you clod.”
“Will you let it go? It was an accident
“It’s not even the only one he got either." Naranjo’s interjection stopped her right in front of their door.
“Wait, what? Who hurt him this time?
” Kalai let her bag thunk to the floor as she turned to look accusingly between Sitry and Narny.
Sitry folded her arms and her ears twitched back as she shot a dark look at their door. “He ‘fell down’ yesterday while out at one of the Hatcheries we gave to the Hwatcoms. Mrs. Toloui nearly had a fit! She said she could smell another human on him and that he was covered in blood!”
Narny nodded primly as Kalai tried to process what they were telling her. “WHAT? Did she call out the militia? Track down whoever hurt him?”
“No, and he refused treatment and insisted that no one did it to him! When papa tried to talk to him, Andy said some stupid human macho shit about pain healing and birds liking scars. I don’t know, sometimes humans… they’re frickin’ insane!”
The door shot open and there stood Andy. His left eye was an angry puffy yellow and blue mess, and there were three points on his lips where a dark cinnabar line marked a crack. Kalai and her siblings stood in wide eyed shock at his sudden appearance and the only sound was the music emanating from the common room behind him.
Andy looked up and down at the three without saying a word. He cocked an eyebrow and snagged Kalai’s bag before any of them could react and cleared the doorway for them.
Kalai sputtered at the impropriety but Naranjo and Sitry just shrugged and walked in after Andy. “Femboys, am I right?” Narny whispered to Kalai as he passed. Kalai followed behind and was greeted by the white fluff-ball, Puck, who hopped up and down, whining for attention. She bent down and started scratching his ears and back. While Puck rubbed up against her hands, Andy settled back down at the table where his omnipad was hooked up to a keypad. Her heart started to sink a bit and Kalai shot Sitry a jealous look before the music came to a sudden halt and Andy interrupted the beginnings of her pity party.
“Ok, Kem’ira, I got the pics now and I’m telling you to declare yourself
to the farmers first
! I guarantee if you tell them you’re with the new DNR and you’re there to kill all the Scotch Broom in their pasture lands, they’ll stop trying to shoot you for trespassing!”
Kalai’s mood jumped up a bit. It’s not that he doesn’t care to see me, he’s in a meeting!
“No, no I’m not coming out to talk this over with them, I’ve got my own work to do! Either you start talking to folks like I showed you how, or ask the militia to give you one of their armored catsuits to wear under your uniform… Uh-huh, good luck." Andy hung up on the call and leaned back as Puck scampered over and hopped up in his lap.
Andy rubbed his temples before shaking his head. He seemed to relax a bit and Puck slid off to follow Sitry to the kitchen. Andy looked over and gave Kalai a happy smile that made her flush. “Welcome back! So how was the land down under? That tuna was fan-frickin’-tastic, if you aren’t sick of seafood I’ll do something fancy with it tomorrow to celebrate your coming back. Can’t tonight though, I got volun-told to be head chef tonight and I… Oh damnit! I’m late! Come to dinner, burgers and fries Indian style tonight. Gotta run!” With that, Andy went dashing out the door with Puck barking and scrambling along after him.
Kalai felt her heart sink back down again, as he left. “Andy I-” She started but he was gone.
“Yeah, it’s been like that for the whole week. The only time we get to hang out is dinner.” Sitry commiserated as she took Kalai’s bag into their room. “On the other hand, we might get to catch up during the family meal tonight.” The dinner was delicious, though a bit weird. It tasted alright, but there was a certain aftertaste on the sandwich that just didn’t sit right with Kalai. She just couldn’t put her finger on it. The french fries more than made up for it though, and Mama Sakalbi had to hold a science trivia contest to see who got the last little handful.
Kalai and Narny were already silently plotting with each other for their revenge against their sister who had won and refused to share the last few matchsticks when Andy finally joined their table. He was sweaty and he smelled of woodsmoke and french fries. Kalai jumped up and offered him a seat next to her with a nervous smile. He took it gratefully and seemed to sag a bit as he gulped down a glass of water.
“Andy, I think you may be finding your calling as a culinary ambassador,” Mama Aftasia beamed. “A toast to the chef!”
Andy gave a shy smile and looked down as Kalai and the rest of the family gave a hearty ‘Here, here!”
“It’s a simple enough recipe; it’s just using bison instead of cow, that’s all, and I don’t know anyone who’d turn down hand cut fresh fries. It’s kind of hard to screw up.”
“Young man, you are speaking to a woman who found a way to take cold water and dried wumpa flakes and wind up with a Class-4 fire. Cooking has always seemed like ‘blight mysticism’ to me, and these foods? These flavors? Nothing short of a Greenwood miracle in my opinion." Mama Aftasia continued her praise of Andy, which only caused him to shrink even lower in his seat.
“To be honest, I like your salmon better,” Kalai said, and the whole table went silent. Kalai held her ground though, and was rewarded with a tired but genuine laugh from Andy that brought him back out of his shell.
“You know, I do too. My Clan were fisherpeople, not buffalo chasers.” Andy gave Kalai a cheeky grin, which she returned happily, her heart glowing. Mama Aftasia and Mama Sakalbi both blinked in bemusement at Andy’s statement while Sitry just giggled.
“Speaking of which, Andy, I received a call from Elder Alex Hwatcom.” Papa Rhaxiid’s change of subject instantly perked Andy up, and he stared silently, waiting. “He extended an invitation to our family to attend his family gathering this Friday-”
“Alex said that? He used those words?” Andy shook his head in shock as he interrupted Papa Rhaxiid. The table went quiet and everyone held their breath as they looked between the two men.
Papa Rhaxiid adopted as good an impression of the human Elder as he could. “I’d like to extend an invitation for you and your family to be guests at our family gathering this saturday up at the White… something… lodge-”
“The White Ram Lodge?” Andy sat forward, interjecting again as the color drained from his face.
“Yes, that’s the one! I asked if we could bring anything since the last time they hosted us they put on that wonderful spread. He said if we could bring a few salmon for the family, that would be wonderful.”
Andy leaned back and took another sip of ice water before holding the glass to his blackened eye. “Alex Hwatcom… just invited you… to a gathering… and he told you to ‘bring a few salmon’? Do you realize what a huge honor this is?”
Rhaxiid looked from his wives to his children with mild concern. “Um, I thought it was only dinner, but your reaction tells me there’s more significance to this than I originally thought. I was thinking about our stocks of adult Sockeye, but then I remembered in his story how important King Salmon are. Of course, I’d like to defer to you for the choice since you know these animals and the cultural expectations with this invitation better than we do.”
Andy was silent for a moment before he put the glass down. “I’d recommend a ‘hard no’ to all your clone stock!” Now it was the Vaidas’ turn to be shocked, as each of Kalai’s Erbian family’s jaws dropped in synch. Before anyone could say anything, Andy continued, “You need to bring wild-caught. Farm-raised salmon wouldn’t… well we can tell, and you can taste the difference between them. We need to go fishing!” Kalai leaned towards Andy slightly as he lowered his head and started mumbling to himself. She was just able to make out what he was saying to himself as Mama Sakalbi and Mama Aftasia began whispering to each other. “...need to get the Gillnetter out of storage, check what’s running and select the mesh. I’m gonna need a deckhand too.”
Kalai reached a hand out but stopped short of touching him. “Andy?”
He popped up and spoke for the whole table to hear. “I need a shuttle to the mainland and a waiver against the fishing ban. I’ve got to get my boat and the drum ready for sea ” Rhaxiid and Aftasia sputtered in confusion, but Mama Sakalbi had a shadow fall over her, and her ears pulled back.
“Do you mean to say you want to go out on the water? Risk the ecological balance for… dinner?”
Andy looked Sakalbi dead in the eye and gave her a firm nod. “Why don’t you come out and see how we did this before you got here. Think of it as a chance to see the way we’ve fished for the last hundred or so years, and then I can explain the way we used to fish before that.”
The offer snapped Rhaxiid out of his confusion and he brightened. “A learning experience? Wonderful, we’ll make a day of it!” His hands shot out to grab both his wives’ and Kalai could feel the vibrations in the floor from where he was excitedly tapping his feet.
“If you don’t mind hard, smelly work. Uncle Willy always called it ‘the worst desk in the prettiest office.' It’ll be a bit cramped, but I’ve got room on the boat for a few guests and observers; four I think would be ok. She’s a working boat, not a pleasure cruiser,” Andy explained. That sent the whole lot of them excitedly talking among themselves.
Kalai was about to lean in to talk to Mama Aftasia, but Andy caught her attention first. “I don’t suppose you’d want to go back out on the water, given you just got back from pleasure-boating-”
Kalai’s heart nearly jumped out of her chest. “I wouldn’t miss it for my own colony planet!”
Kalai stood on the pier, bundled in her thermal sailor’s coat. It was still dark and the wind blew from the north in a cold little morning breeze. Kalai took a deep breath and reveled in the smell of the fresh sea air. The soft chattering of Mama Sakalbi’s teeth broke the silence. “It’s a bit chillier than it said it was going to be.”
“The water always does that. It’s never as warm as the lubbers say it’ll be,” Papa spoke as he handed her back her thermos of hot chocolate.
Papa stood next to Kalai and nudged her with his elbow. Even in the dark, Kalai could see him smile up at her and jerk his head at the shivering Erbian. He was also wearing a thermal sailor’s coat, and his hands were stuffed in his pockets to keep them warm, just like Kalai’s. “Landswoman,” he whispered to her and the two of them shared a knowing smile. It was strange, but welcome when she'd told Papa about her upcoming day fishing with Andy, and he’d politely requested to join them. Papa Rhaxiid had graciously given his spot up to accommodate her birth father. Narny was all for it until Andy had explained what they were going to do, but then surrendered his challenge to the fourth guest space, not wanting to go anywhere NEAR anything that could see him come face to face with a Lion’s Mane Jelly. Sitry had done a happy little dance when she found out, but only yesterday had come down with Thistle Fever, and was bundled off to bed by her parents. It left Kalai, Mama Sakalbi, and Papa to accompany Andy on his fishing trip.
The water brushed against the shore behind them quietly. In the gloom, Kalai could just barely make out the outline of the nearest island mountain, but only because the stars had disappeared behind it. It was almost four in the morning, but Kalai had managed a catnap on the shuttle to the empty little lot that had been the boat launch. Aside from the water, the world was silent. Even the breeze made almost no noise and a sense of peace surrounded them. Everything was so calm, Kalai felt like she didn’t have a care in the world.
In the distance, a low rumbling sound of a motor rose from being almost imperceptible to a rolling drum of thunder. From around the point, two green floating lights sped through the darkness, and a spotlight turned on. The beam of light moved jerkily until it came to rest on the pier where they were standing and Kalai started waving her arms. Sakalbi’s omnipad rang, and Andy’s voice shouted over the speaker and the background noise for them to shine a light on the edge of the pier to help him park the boat.
Kalai and Papa moved closer and turned their omnipad flashlights on and waved them as the boat swung gracefully around and glided in alongside them. Kalai caught the rope that flew over the railing of the boat and she heard more than saw Andy moving around on the deck as she tied off on one of the mooring cleats. Several lights clicked on and the deck was bathed in light enough for Kalai to get a clear view of the boat they’d be spending the day on.
Andy hadn’t lied. Kalai saw that this little vessel was a working boat with no frills at all. When he’d told her they’d be going fishing, she’d envisioned something like the charter boat papa had taken her on out of Nantucket. Sporty, fast with a nod to comfort and function. This was not that at all. A giant wheel as wide as Kalai’s outstretched arms that looked like a sideways spool of thread was secured to the deck amidships and dominated the deckspace. Wrapped around it was a fluorescent green tangle with a line of oblong white and yellow corks and rope. There was a covered hatchway sitting behind the drum in front of the raised step to the enclosed cabin. Two large windows let the light out to two children’s bunks, a little table with a booth seat and a raised captain’s chair in front of the helm and engine controls. Andy shut down the engine and that peaceful stillness returned.
“Oway there!” Kalai called, “ship oway! Request permission to come aboard.” Kalai gave the traditional greeting of a Shil’vati sailor.
“Permission granted! Anyone need a stepstool?” Andy finally stepped into the light and Kalai got a look at him. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and the same bright orange coveralls she’d seen the fishmongers wearing on their date.
“I wouldn’t mind a hand, Mr. Shelokset.” Papa He’osforos braced a foot on the railing of the boat and Andy pulled him up.
“Just call me Andy, Doc, and welcome aboard. Jackie should be along any minute now with the day’s groceries, and the cabin’s out of the cold. You can get yourself set wherever you find comfortable.” Papa nodded and disappeared around the other side of the wheel moving towards the bow.
Kalai helped Mama Sakalbi into the boat next, and she quickly ducked into the cabin that took up the entire stern section save for a little ledge that ran along the outside. Andy gripped Kalai’s hand and she smiled as he pulled her deftly aboard. The boat rocked a little on its mooring, and Kalai almost fell into Andy, who wordlessly put his arms around her waist to catch her as she lost her balance. She flailed for a moment before she steadied herself against him.
“Gotcha,” Andy smiled, and Kalai could see him flush almost as much as she could feel herself doing as their noses almost touched. Those big dark brown eyes surrounded by white orbs drew her in and she felt she could lose herself in them. Kalai started as Andy danced her around him and moved her towards the cabin door.
“It might be a little cramped for you in there, but the Mary Jean wasn’t built for pleasure boating, she’s a working girl. Sit tight, I gotta check a few things in the back.” Andy patted the railing affectionately before he hopped up and scooted along the outside of the cabin towards the stern. Kalai couldn’t help the little longing groan that came out as he left her there on the little tiny quarterdeck. Her heart was hammering in her chest as half formed fantasies danced at the edges of her mind.
“I saw that, little minnow.” Papa’s voice was soft, but his tone and the sudden broken silence nearly gave her a heart attack.
Kalai could only stammer as her father stared at her with a cocked eyebrow. A thump from the cabin window behind saw an amused Mama Sakalbi daintily sipping at her thermos with her ears twitched forward in interest, staring out at her. “Papa I… he-”
Papa moved carefully around the covered hatchway to stand next to her, leaning back against the cabin window and heaved a sigh. “I must say I’m surprised. This lovely man’s got good clean lines and is very well cared for. It speaks well of his Skipper.”
It took a full minute for Kalai’s brain to process that he was talking about the boat and not Andy. “And the way Andy brought him in smooth in near complete darkness? It gives me confidence in his abilities.”
Kalai breathed a silent sigh of relief and exasperation. Although she was happy to be spending more time with her father, bringing him on what she’d hoped would be a sailing date wasn’t exactly what she’d had in mind for ‘family time’. He wants me to find a nice young man and spend time with him on a boat, but the first chance I get Papa decides to clam-jam me.
From up on shore, the sound and lights of a large human vehicle screeching to a halt heralded the last of their party to arrive. Kalai heard the clomping footsteps coming down the pier and moved to the railing to lend a hand.
“Ahoy Mary Jean! Raggedy Andy, you there?” Kalai stared with wide eyed surprise to see a human female, loaded down with plastic bags and sporting two human weapons on her shoulder. The two of them locked eyes, and while Kalai didn’t understand everything the girl shouted in surprise, she had caught and understood the phrase, “What the fuck?”
“Easy now, they’re my guests, and the one inside is the boss!” Andy appeared on the pier instantly before either Kalai or the woman could react further.
“Ya didn’t tell me we were having pur-” The woman glared at Kalai and her father. She had switched to Vatikre thankfully, but her tone was hostile as she dropped everything but her weapons. “I mean, hwun’eetums, aboard. A gal could get the wrong idea pretty quick in the dark when there’s no warning.”
“Knock it off Jackie. Let’s get the grub aboard and shove off.” Andy picked up some of the bags and took the guns as Kalai offered a helping hand over the railing. “Oh, Kalai, this is Jackie. Jackie? Kalai. That’s her dad over there, Doc He’osforos. He saw and treated Kay Tee a few years back.” Andy jerked his head towards the direction of Kalai’s father as she held out a hand to the human girl. On a quick inspection, she appeared to be about the same age as her and Andy. She had a round face and was about as dark complected as Andy was. She was shorter, only a few inches taller than Papa, but when Jackie grabbed Kalai’s hand to hop up onto the rail, she could feel the strength and the compact muscle hidden by the baggy sweatshirt and pants.
“Wait a minute, did you say Mini-Me over there saw Kay Tee? You’re fuckin’ with me!” Jackie stumbled a bit as she hopped down onto the deck with a loud thunk and advanced on Papa who shrank away at her advance. “You saw li’l Kay Tee? Where the fuck is he? Is he alright? Is he still fighting the good fight?”
“Last I saw, yes, he was ‘fighting the good fight.’” Papa looked over at Andy with a slightly worried expression. Andy smacked the girl in the back of the head, causing her to flinch and she opened the door to the cabin for Andy to go inside.
Jackie rubbed the back of her head and laughed. “Well that’s a little bit of alright, innit? Maybe today’s gonna be a good day after all!”
“Jackie, get suited up and get on the bow. I need a good pair of eyes on the roller horns,” Kalai heard Andy shout from the cabin, followed by a whole lot of thumping and banging from cabinets being opened and closed.
“You got it, ol’ man. We going to your place or mine?” Jackie sidestepped in and opened a tiny little closet and pulled out a set of rain gear that was identical to what Andy was wearing. Kalai collected herself and stood in the doorway next to her father as they both leaned in.
“Mine; Chuck said the Yaw’much are running from the South. We’ll do a set nor’west of Lummi in the Rosario and see if we can get some Fraser Kings,” Andy replied as he turned the engine back on and the vessel roared to life.
“Chuck? Isn’t that one of your cousins? I didn’t know he could keep track of the movements of Salmon, may I ask how he does it?” Mama Sakalbi perked up as she pulled a set of earplugs out of a pocket and inserted them.
Andy prevaricated a bit, looking from Jackie back to Sakalbi then to Kalai and Papa. “I’d rather not answer that-”
“Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law! Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law!”
Jackie began singing a human song, and Andy threw her the dirtiest of looks as she finished getting into the orange coveralls. Mama Sakalbi sputtered as Andy shrugged apologetically.
“Make a hole!” Jackie called, and she and Andy came back out as Kalai and Papa made room for them. Andy hopped back onto the dock to cast off while Papa ducked into the cabin.
“Can I help?” Kalai offered as Andy shoved the vessel off and leapt the gap over the black water below.
“You want to be useful? Come forward! I could use an extra set of eyes!” Jackie called back, and Kalai felt a slap on her shoulder from the boisterous human woman.
Andy stood at the helm, watching Jackie and Kalai as he leaned to get a better view of them past the Net drum. The bow was lifting up again, and the gentle little swells became like speed bumps, jostling them up and down in a predictable bouncing rhythm.
“Are you sure you couldn’t slow down, Andy? It’s a bit rough, don’t you think?” Sakalbi was hanging on to the table and her thermos with a worried expression on her face.
“I could, but we’ll miss the morning set. We want to bomb out the buoy right when the tide changes. If we’re lucky, then we’ll get around seventy or eighty by slack tide this afternoon and call it a day.”
“How do you know where to fish?” Dr. He’osforos was making a good show of standing and maintaining his balance with his hand on the booth.
“Well, there’s two ways you know. The first is you fish the spots your family’s fished since time began. Every family has about two or three different secret spots that we know there’s fish in, and we’re pretty defensive about their locations. The second is by smell. Right now it’s the tail end of the King season, and you can smell them in the water.” Andy turned and saw the incredulity etched on the faces of the two aliens.
“No, I’m serious! King Salmon slime is really pungent, and you can smell them when they’re close to the surface. We get to the fishing spot and take a deep whiff. If we smell them, we’ll set the nets.” Andy laughed at the disbelief on their faces as the GPS on his omnipad beeped and he turned to sail around the last buoy and head for the fishing ground.
“I’ve never noticed that in any of the Kings we’ve raised-”
Andy suppressed a laugh as they caught a larger swell as they left the lee of Lummi Island. Andy reveled in the feeling of weightlessness as the deck rose up and fell out from underneath their feet, leaving everyone suspended for a moment in midair before falling back down. A massive spray of water rose and washed over the deck, drenching Kalai and Jackie, who were still forward. “Cloned and farmed Kings don’t have that same smell. Wild ones smell and taste different, I’m telling you!” Andy pulled back slightly on the throttle as they climbed the next swell. “Brace!” he called as they climbed and fell once again.
There was a look of fear on Sakalbi’s face as she gripped the table for dear life, but to Andy’s surprise, the Doctor looked completely unfazed, and was handling the rise and fall of the deck like an old salt. “You look like you’ve done this before, Doc.”
“I’ve done a stint or two at sea before,” he spoke, in the same tone Andy would have used when trying not to sound too confident, and Andy smiled.
“Kalai keeps talking about loving the sea and sailing. Did you teach her to sail?”
“Yes, me and her mothers. When they were home, we would take the family yacht out in the Vaascon Straits and sail around the Occidiens. Kalai practically spent all her early childhood on a sailboat.”
“And almost every waking moment on one in Junior Academy. I swear you couldn’t dig her out with a trowel when she wanted to go sailing,” Sakalbi managed to add in a word as the boat slowed, and the dramatic rise and fall of the deck slowed with it.
“What about you, Mr. Shelokset, did your father teach you to sail too?”
“I was too young before he passed. My Great Uncle Willy taught me after I came home, and Grandma took me out to the family fishing sites when she wasn’t busy with the Council. For the first two or three years after they let us come home, fishing was the only way to feed our families, but the Militia and the Cambrians would try and sink our boats or arrest us whenever we tried to go out.”
“And that’s why you’re so good at maneuvering your vessel in the dark with no instruments?” Mrs. Vaida had folded her arms, and her voice twinged with that imperious tone she’d had when they’d first met.
Andy huffed a dry laugh. “I did what I had to for me and my people and to survive, Ma’am. I don’t like breaking the law or dodging lasers and gunfire, but there’s a lot of poor families that need to eat.”
The GPS beeped, and Andy gave Mrs. Vaida a slightly defiant look to counter her furrowed brow. “We’re here,” he said as he threw the engine in neutral and opened the cabin door.
Andy walked out and took a deep breath, but all he could smell was the net and the exhaust from the engine. “HEY JACKIE! WE SMELL MONEY?” Andy yelled out as he took stock of the sky. The first signs of sunrise were chasing all but the morning stars away and a light fog was rolling in from the north.
“FUCK YEAH I CAN SMELL ‘EM, ANDY! LET’S BOMB OUT AND GET BREAKFAST GOING!” Jackie looked slightly manic as she smiled brightly. Kalai, on the other hand, looked wet and miserable as she shivered, arms wrapped around herself. Andy gave his cousin a disgusted look as he pieced together what had happened. Every deckhand learned when to duck behind the raised bow and the roller horns that guided the nets so as not to get a faceful of spray when cutting through a swell. It was also a classic hazing trick for Senior Deckhands to let Junior Deckhands learn this the hard way.
Andy moved forward to stand in front of the two of them. Kalai was trying to squeeze her coat dry, but Andy knew it wouldn’t do much good until the sun came out. Jackie at least had the sense to look a little remorseful. “Kalai, why don’t you go sit in the cabin and get out of that wet coat. It’s cold enough out here even for us-”
“No way, Andy. Junior deckhand Kally here wants to impress you and get her dainty soft hands dirty! She’s been bragging about being a sailorwoman and wants to learn to fish ‘your way!” Jackie gave Kalai’s shoulder a wet slap as the poor alien woman went blue. Out of cold or embarrassment, Andy couldn’t tell.
All Andy could do was shake his head and huff. “Ok then! Secure the buoy and sling on my mark. I’ll get us in position!” Andy couldn’t help but chuckle as he heard Jackie start ordering Kalai about. Andy went back into the cabin and looked in the closet/bathroom to see if there was anything hanging up that he could give Kalai. There was only the one rain slicker and a few of Andy’s old sweaters from when he was a lot smaller. Well, looks like I’ll just be cold today. He quickly stripped out of his sweatshirt and grabbed the slicker before throwing a switch on the main control. Dr. He’osforos and Mrs. Vaida threw him quizzical looks as he went back outside wearing less than when he came in. He was down to a sleeveless shirt and his coveralls, and the morning breeze cut right through him and he braced his jaw to keep it from chattering.
“We’re ready to go- Andy, why are you practically naked from the waist up?” Kalai was staring wide eyed at him as he approached her and Jackie was on the bow. Jackie had everything ready; the buoy line was strung through the horns and ready to toss out. A giant orange and blue beach ball sized float hung at the end of the line to mark the end and make it easier to pick up later.
“Trade me your coat for these. If Jackie’s putting you to work, you’ll need these to keep warm.”
“I’m alright, I can-”
“I’m the Skipper of this boat, and I’m ordering you to take off that wet coat and put these on; and Jackie?” Andy gave his cousin a long and piercing look. “Give her the elbow gloves, not the halfsies.”
The scoff and the muttered Salishian profanities meant he’d read the next prank she’d had in mind right. She was planning on giving her the cloth gloves with only the palms and fingers coated in rubber. While perfectly fine for fishing, Andy knew they tended to get soaked through very quickly and did nothing to keep jellyfish stingers and fish slime off your hands. Kalai sputtered for a moment before she complied gratefully and she accepted the dry clothes and rain slicker.
Andy saw Jackie give him a strange look before looking back at Kalai, but he paid it no mind. He walked back to the controls on the drum and switched off the hydraulics, placing the mechanism in neutral. “SLING IT!” Andy called as he took the small jerry rigged steering wheel and threw the boat in reverse. Kalai jumped as the line started unspooling the net into the water at a rapid pace.
Andy set an ‘S’ bend in the quarter mile long net, zigzagging backwards until they came to the end of the line. Andy stopped the boat as Jackie tied off the other large buoy and tossed it over the side, unstringing the cork-line from the roller horns in the process. He pulled hard over and put a bit of distance from the net before shutting the engine down. The line of white and yellow corks marking the net bobbed lazily with the swells as silence settled over the water again. The waves rocked the boat gently as Andy found his sea legs again.
“Alright, I’ll get breakfast going. Jackie, Kalai? Post the watch for seals,” Andy called as he walked back into the cabin to fire up the tiny little gas stove.
Sakalbi, having found the confidence to stand at last, poked her head out of the cabin and stood on by the hatch to the fish hold. “Seals? Why would you need to watch for seals?”
Andy grit his teeth and looked over from where he was cracking open and scrambling eggs. “They’re the spawn of Satan and we hate their guts!” Andy bit out. Jackie came back and pulled the two shotguns and a pair of binoculars from the closet. Andy reached over to a side cabinet and pulled out a box of shells for them. Both his boss and the Doctor’s eyes got wide.
“Seals are the enemy of our blood. Were it not for the invasion, our unending war against these vermin would continue to this day!” Jackie growled as she loaded one for herself and rested the other on Andy’s seat at the helm.
The look of growing horror on Sakalbi’s face towards their facetious declarations caused Andy to chuckle a bit, before launching into an explanation. “We’re not fans of the species because they’ll wait until a fish gets caught in the net and then they’ll steal it, costing us a fish AND ripping a big hole in our nets that we then have to take time to repair. We use the shotguns and buckshot to give them a nice welt and convince them not to hang around, because they’ll wait up on the surface and watch the buoys, just like us. A single seal can and will take between five and ten fish. The worst is when they start getting full, they’ll just bite out the bellies of a salmon in the net. We can’t really do anything with that fish once it’s ‘seal-bit’. So yes, as fishermen, we hate them.”
“Learned opportunism in apex predators as a response to human activity… I think I’ll go see this behavior for myself!” Sakalbi practically rushed out the door towards the bow where Jackie was sitting on the roller horns explaining to Kalai how to spot the bastards, leaving Andy alone in the cabin with the Doctor while he cooked breakfast for them all.
Dr. He’osforos sat down heavily in the booth and pulled out his omnipad. “I’ve had a word with my friend in the Interior. She’s pulled the warrant for your brother, and I’ve withdrawn the charges I filed.”
Andy froze and turned around slowly. The only sound was the sizzle and pop of the eggs and chorizo that he’d added to them in the skillet. “You mean… it’s done? He can come home?” A wave of light headed euphoria swept over Andy and he swayed with the gentle rocking of the boat. “I will pay you back, Doc-”
The doctor held up his hand and stopped Andy. “We’ll call it even, but there’s something… I was able to get my hands on this,” Andy watched as the doctor swiped something towards his omnipad and it dinged. “What is it if I may-”
“Are you really asking an Indian to tell you a story? Because it’s going to be a long one if you are.” “I’m Sevastutavan, young man; we invented long stories.”
Andy froze and stared at the screen of his omnipad. The Vatikre was heavily accented, and Andy had a bit of trouble with the unfamiliar accent, but centered in the frame in a hospital room, sitting in a wheelchair, was a Salishian boy. Andy blinked in surprise as he stared at the screen. “Is that-”
“I am Ikw’is’hi’ehlah, and this bearer is… of the Orca Clan Sheloksets. I drove our Haida enemies onto the rocks and took many heads when they attacked our winter village on Orcas Island. I signed the Treaty with the Great White Father and I fought against the slavers of the south-”
Andy wanted to grab the omnipad but the smell of overcooking eggs brought his attention back to breakfast and Andy stirred and scrapped the food quickly, trying to save it.
“I asked her for any materials she could give me on your brother. Pictures, recordings, anything. This is what she gave me. It's the last known recording of your brother during an interrogation conducted by a Navy Commissar prior to his escape. It seems he made friends with a Pod of Deaths Head Commandos. Quite a bit of the recording has been redacted, but… there are portions of it where he talks about his family and his history. I thought you might like to have it.”
Andy hurriedly pulled out paper plates and a slice of bread for everyone and scooped a heaping portion of the chorizo eggs onto them. He handed the doctor his before leaning out the cabin door. “Slop’s on, come and get it!”
Andy sat down after moving the shotgun out of the way and started the video over again as the three women came back to grab their plates and lost himself watching his brother start telling his story.
“What’s that?” Andy heard Kalai ask over his shoulder, and he paused the video.
“That’s my brother! That’s Kay Tee!”
“Holy shit, what?” Jackie nearly shoved Kalai into Andy as she jammed her bread slice down her gullet and crowded in to see the screen.
Andy started the video over a second time and they watched in silence. “God, that brings back memories. Back when mom was still alive and before we broke up the warband. I can’t believe that slippery little punk ghosted a pod of Commandos for two fucking years! Holy shit, that’s badass!”
Before Andy could say anything, Sakalbi started coughing and brought the binoculars up. “Uh, Andy? Jackie? What do we do about sharks?”
Jackie looked at Andy in confusion. “Sharks? There’s nothing but Dogs around here.”
“Well those are shark fins and they’re charging the net!” Sakalbi pointed and Andy looked up to see dorsal fins charging the center of the net.
Andy looked at Jackie and spoke the same words in tandem, “Oh shit!”
To be posted 6/4/23
submitted by Kazevenikov
to Sexyspacebabes [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:55 Carmen-Huang How much does a biomass pelletizer expense?
| || | submitted by Carmen-Huang to pelletmachinery [link] [comments]
If you wish to buy a biomass fuel pellet machine, just how much does a biomass pelletizer price?
Numerous consumers will certainly ask "how much is a biomass fuel maker" when they develop tools, which is actually difficult to answer at the same time. Due to the fact that it is not so easy to make biomass pellets, it is not that a person biomass pellet device tools can be generated, and also there are many aspects that figure out which biomass pellet millr to use and also ability demands to identify the cost.
If you wish to know how much the biomass pelletizer prices, you should initially determine the raw products, and also establish whether other related equipment, such as crushers, pulverizers, clothes dryers, etc, are required according to the sort of raw materials as well as moisture.
Second of all, the outcome demands are generally identified by considering the supply of raw materials and the actual circumstance of the biomass pelletizer business, as well as the day-to-day outcome or the per hour outcome. Obviously, the bigger the outcome, the greater the devices rate.
Ultimately, numerous various other elements have to be taken into consideration, such as the power circumstance, the amount of kilowatts the neighborhood transformer can drive; whether the website area is sufficient; the degree of automation and more.
Costs range from tens of thousands to thousands of thousands as well as millions. We will certainly discuss the specific price as well as welcome online consultation.
Related post: biomass pellet mill machine
1. The biomass pelletizer operator is very crucial
The biomass pellet machine driver is really important to the high quality of pellets processed by biomass gas pellets. For biomass fuel pellet mill, no matter whether the procedure is normal or not, it will straight impact the high quality of the product.
The tensile stamina of the powder to be granulated by the symmetrical biomass granulator need to have a proportion of " typically less than 2/3 of the diameter of the ring die hole; wetness. After satiating as well as solidifying, the dampness should be controlled at 10% ~ 18%. The molding price Greater, greater density, filtration. Magnetic splitting up tool is called for prior to granulation, to make sure that the mould will not be harmed as well as unnecessary losses will certainly be prevented.
The real facility of the biomass pellet maker device is the wedge factor of the rolling or the feed between the copper and the die. Nearly all various other devices in the granulation process is an auxiliary part of its crucial parts. There are three stress points:
Rollers that act upon the product extrude the material into the die. The die itself has resistance, preventing fluid from passing through the holes in the die. The pressure exerted by the rollers is incorporated with the frictional stress developed by the formula itself. This pressure causes the material to be pressed and protects against the product from coming out along the impact surface in front of the stick.
When we increase the change of the variable speed drive or control and also enhance the feed rate of the biomass pelletizer, the quantity of material rises in the form of an apparent front. Simply put, a high force is needed to push the material into the crushing intrusion factor rather than falling under the pressure.
In other words, the quality as well as production degree of pellets is very closely pertaining to the high quality of the drivers of biomass pelletizers. The biomass pellet mill driver must change the moisture material of the powder according to modifications in ambient temperature and also moisture. Variants in pellet dimension, adjustment of formulations and wear of tools, along with unique demands of customers, generate certified granules.
To generate top notch products, staff members have to have extra detailed knowledge, abundant experience, strong sense of obligation, and also overcome different difficulties in order to produce better-quality products.
Related post: biomass pellet production line cost
2. Biomass pelletizer after-sales is really crucial
When buying a biomass gas pellet machine, the top quality is extremely essential, and also the after-sales service is likewise extremely vital.
The biomass pelletizer uses various biomass wastes as basic materials for production, which deserves popularizing for my nation, which has a huge storage space capacity of straw as well as timber chips. In regards to environmental management, funding regrowth, and advancement of brand-new energy resources, there are numerous benefits! The widespread use pellet fuel can minimize the advancement as well as use of non-renewable sources and also decrease the reliance on power imports. Biomass fuel pellet also substantially aids the financial independence of countries.
The market demand for new energy as well as environmental protection equipment such as biomass pelletizer has actually maintained a quick as well as basic rise for a long time. To comprehend the acquisition procedure of the maker, the quality is extremely important, as well as the after-sales service is additionally very crucial.
Richi Machinery is a manufacturer of various biomass pelletequipment. We give complimentary devices setup, appointing and also technical workers training as well as various other relevant services. Users rate ahead to speak with as well as negotiate.
Reasons for biomass fuel pellet equipment pellet fuel home heating ：.
s is processed by biomass fuel pellets, and the raw products are corn stalk, wheat straw, straw, peanut covering, corn cob, cotton stalk, soybean stalk, chaff, weeds, branches, leaves, sawdust, bark, etc. Solid Waste.
（ 1 ） Biomass pellets are renewable resource, sustainable means that they do not deplete natural deposits. The power of biomass pellets originates from sunlight, when trees expand, sunlight shops energy, and when biomass pellets are melted, you are releasing this power. On winter evenings, shedding biomass pellets is like casting a ray of sunshine on a fire place!
（ 2 ） Reduce the global pollution When nonrenewable fuel sources are melted, they launch huge quantities of co2, the major greenhouse gas for worldwide warming. Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil or natural gas, releases carbon dioxide right into the ambience deep in the Earth in a one-way circulation process.
Trees soak up co2 as they expand, and also when biomass pellets shed, carbon dioxide is launched and afterwards waiting to be taken in by thick forests, trees are regularly cycling co2, so melting biomass pellets just maintain you warm, not the international warming impact!
The pellet gas of the biomass pelletizer can change firewood, raw coal, gas oil, dissolved gas, etc, and is commonly used in home heating, living stoves, hot water central heating boilers, industrial central heating boilers, biomass power plants, etc.
RICHI MACHINERY has actually been established for greater than 25 years, concentrating on biomass pellet mill available for sale, the development and manufacturing of single/complete biomass pellet assembly line such as pet feed, biomass gas, wood waste, lawn, straw, natural plant food, etc, as well as give layout and solutions for EPC/Turnkey biomass pellet mill projects!
2023.05.28 01:30 TargetBrief6235 Wall insert wood burning stove
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Hey y’all so I just found this group and I am super excited to be here! I am looking to re-do my basement and I currently have a gas fireplace. I am looking to have that taken out and have a wall insert wood burning stove put in! I was curious if you guys had any input on some nice ones! I am in the US and I love companies that make things here in America so that would be preferred but it is definitely not a deal breaker! I added a picture just for reference of what I am looking for! I appreciate all the help! submitted by TargetBrief6235 to woodstoving [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 01:08 spideroncoffein The concept of "graceful degradation"
I'm a software developer, with a focus on web development. We often develop both logic and design to work as long as possible, avoiding single points of failure. This is something I also integrate into my life.
I am not a doomsday prepper, but I do think that things can get worse quickly, be it a simple car accident in the middle of nowhere or a blackout lasting days or weeks, in winter.
And therefore, I try to use stuff in my daily life that works even if certain infrastructures fail. I live in a rent apartment, and unfortunately my gas heater is electronically controlled. But I can rewire it to a power station. And if that fails, I have a hut with a wood stove somewhere else.
I drive a lot on my motorcycle. My powerbank is also able to jumpstart my motorcycle (or a car). I always carry my EDC, which is also a light GHB. I have a good toolset on my bike, I have crashbars, a fire extinguisher, and I always carry a first-aid pack on my body including a tourniquet. Best case: I don't need it. Worst case: I crash, get injured and knocked out. If someone finds me, they find a rider that has a kit to safe him on his body.
None of this prepares me for a specific scenario, but a lot of average shit-goes-sideways scenarios that also, in sum, cover "minor" bigger scenarios. I am not prepared for TEOTWAWKI. But I won't crash hard if the lights go out.
Do you have similar practices in place? If yes, would you share your concepts?
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2023.05.28 00:53 ralo_ramone An Otherworldly Scholar [LitRPG, Isekai] - Chapter 6
We settled our deal with a handshake and Elincia guided me across the valley just as the sun hid beneath the western mountains. Despite her early warnings, we cut through the forest instead of sticking to the mountain. Elincia shushed me and mentioned that the ravines were faster and safe enough given that she knew perfectly well where we were going. I didn’t push back because I thought she was in a hurry for her kid. We quickened our pace and reached deep into the path as the day died.
“There shouldn’t be any monsters beyond this valley but better safe than sorry.” Elincia said before climbing a rock with nimble jumps. The evening sun casted red shadows on her pale skin as she inspected the path ahead.
My suspicion about Elincia having a skill to survey the surroundings increased when I noted the mana swirling around her eyes. She wasn’t just beautiful, there was a certain elegance in her feline movements that I haven’t seen in any woman before. After a minute during which I couldn’t take my eyes off Elincia, she descended from the boulder and left her satchel on the ground.
“We should be safe here.” Elincia gave me the thumbs up.
A weird gesture considering she lived in a completely different world.
“Were you using a skill up there?” I asked curiously as I left my backpack on the ground and sat down on the carpet of dried leaves with my back against an old tree. My feet thanked me.
“Maybe.” Elincia mysteriously replied, sitting in front of me. “That’s not a thing you ask a lady.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to...” Was the only thing I managed to say but I felt my face blushing.
Different worlds, different customs. I was wondering if character sheets were considered something private when Elincia started giggling under her breath.
“You are a bit gullible. Even for a Scholar.” Elincia gave me one of her signature smartass glances.
I rolled my eyes, not that sure if I liked her ‘blunt’ style anymore. She might have been an Alchemist but she surely loved to banter like my father’s hunter friends. Elincia opened her mouth to continue with the Scholar banter when a sudden distant howl echoed through the hills.
“On second thought, we should keep going a bit more. There is something disturbing the pack.” Elincia bit her tongue.
“The thing that killed those wolves at the ravine?” I asked, putting my blanket inside my backpack and standing up. My feet complained.
“Maybe. Monsters from the Inner Farlands sometimes stumble into the outer valleys.” Elincia retrieved her satchel and resumed our march.
The path meandered around the boulders that had found their resting spots on the bottom of the valley. Elincia said there were Stone Giants living in these mountains and they liked to roll boulders down the slope, but once again, I couldn’t tell if she was making a joke or not.
The evergreen canopy darkened the last sun rays, making it hard to walk without tripping on loose rocks and protruding roots. In less than a hundred meters, I almost ended up on the ground two times. Elincia helped me to get up every time, mumbling about how clumsy Scholars were but a quick glance at her eyes told me she had a skill to see in darkness.
By the third time I fell, Elincia stopped the march for good. When she turned around to help me stand, I saw her eyes shining like a cat in the night.
“You can see in the darkness?” I asked, rubbing my knee.
I had landed on a particularly pointy pebble.
“Perks of having mixed blood.” Elincia said, pulling back her cloak for the first time since I met her.
Amidst the bright silvery cascade that was her hair, two delicate and pointy ears jutted out. I must’ve been staring because Elincia blushed and covered them.
“You are an elf!” I exclaimed.
“Half elf, you deaf piece of Scholar. I just said my blood is mixed!” Elincia replied, still flustered. She put her satchel down and sat against a rock.
“That also explains why you can jump like a cat. I thought I was the sluggish one.” I pointed out, scratching my chin. In hindsight it made sense, normal people weren't that good at moving around.
“You are a bit sluggish though.” Elincia said with a shit-eating grin as she drank her waterskin dry. As much as she wanted to annoy me, she had a point. It had been a long while since I was in shape.
“Yeah, I’ve been sitting on my ass for a few years now.” I conceded, putting my backpack down and pulling my shoes off. My feet were killing me.
“Just bear with me a month or two and I’ll make a ranger out of you.” Elincia grinned.
Our dinner time was silent. And dark. Elincia urged me to not light a campfire so we ate a few Hermit Gold’s fruit each. Corrupted Black Wolves had keen eyes that could spot a point of light from miles away. And there was the other thing, whatever was disturbing the wolf pack was in the same valley as us.
“You don’t loot monsters around here?” I asked, remembering that Elincia had just ignored the corpses.
“The meat is bad and the skin is tainted with corrupted mana but if you want a souvenir from this adventure we can always make you a wolf tooth necklace.” Elincia shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m good, thanks.” I replied trying to not sound like the absolute noob I was. A wolf tooth necklace didn’t sound that bad. Laura, my ex-girlfriend, would’ve hated it, but I have always been a bit of a geek. My old katana replica could bear witness to that.
“I guess a Glutton class could make a meal out of a corrupted Black Wolf, or a Chef class could cook it into something edible.” Elincia pointed out after a moment of silence. “I guess a Hexmage or a System Zealot could technically ‘uncorrupt’ it, but having such powerful classes is a hassle sometimes.”
Elincia cleaned up the juice of a Hermit’s Gold fruit from the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand and asked for another one. I obliged.
“Entering cities without a guild invitation is a pain for combat classes. You know, a high level Fire Mage or Assassin could cause quite a havoc unlike an Alchemist or a Scholar.” Elincia sighed.
As a teacher I had missed a lot of work opportunities because I was a dude. Lots of job offers asked for female teachers and a large number of principals still found a man who worked with children suspicious. In the end I had pursued a different career entirely, but I doubted a combat class could do the same in this world.
“You will not have trouble entering Firecrest as a Scholar but you will have to appear before the Marquis as you are not a subject of the king.” Elincia said as she kept a watchful eye on the animal trail.
“I’ll be in trouble?” I asked. In this world I was a low level peasant. If the social hierarchy in this world was any similar to medieval europe, then I could count my civil rights with a single hand. And most of them would be tied to a noble’s whims.
“Don’t you have nobility in the City of Light? I mean, you are a Scholar. Weren’t you employed by some local lord?” Elincia’s confused facial expression was cute.
“We had nobility long ago, but then we put them through the guillotine or turned them into powerless tourist attractions with excellent salaries.” I explained, trying to be vague enough to not arouse suspicion. “When I was a teacher, I wasn’t employed by a lord but by the Depart… the Ministry of Education.”
Elincia’s shocked expression was even cuter than her confused expression.
“The City of Light sounds like an interesting place.” Elincia managed to say.
“Do you think I could find work in Farcrest? I’m not a fan of starving to death.” I asked.
Now that I had Elincia escorting me to Farcrest, I was starting to plan my next steps to settle in this world. Unfortunately, adventuring didn’t seem to be a Scholar’s ‘thing’, so I couldn’t rely on my monster slaying skills to pay the bills. Elincia thoughtfully tapped on her lips as she usually did when she was deep in thought.
“I don’t know if there is a lot of demand for Scholars in Farcrest, we are lacking Farmers, Anglers, Lumberjacks and Blacksmiths. Even a couple of extra Stonemasons and Herbalists would be nice.” Elincia finally said. “The Marquis already has a dozen Scholars and Scribes leaching from Farcrest’s treasury but I know for a fact Scholars are always welcome at the Imperial Library of Ebros. You might want to go there, maybe you will find a way to return to your homeland or someone who knows how.”
I could tell Elincia didn’t have Scholars in a particularly high regard but I decided to overlook it for the time being. The fact there was an Imperial Library was an exciting piece of news. Even if I couldn’t fight my way through the continent like an adventurer, I might be able to study its secrets from the safety of the Imperial Library.
Returning to Earth was not in my plans.
I rubbed my hands like a plotting fly while my mind ran wild through the world of possibilities the Imperial Library might offer. The amount of knowledge I could offer wasn’t as exciting as the things I could learn there. Learning how to cast spells without an elemental affinity would be a nice middle finger to the System. If there was even the slimmest chance of turning [Mana Manipulation] into a fake spellcasting skill I was going to find out how.
“You are not thinking about finding a way back home, are you?” Elincia interrupted my train of thought. “You are thinking about going to the Imperial Library to study this continent!”
I raised my hands in defeat. Did Elincia have an [Awareness] skill like me or was I being transparent as day? The woman sighed and shook her head, muttering something about reckless Scholars and people forgetting their roots.
The last trace of sun faded away and night closed around the ravine. The wind swayed the tree branches producing a soothing melody that numbed my consciousness. I have rarely been so physically tired during the last few years. My legs hurt and the sole of my shoes felt like red iron against my feet. As much as I wanted to keep talking to Elincia but my eyelids were getting heavy.
“Is being so comfortable in the Farlands an Alchemist thing or an Elincia thing?” I made conversation, trying to remain awake.
“I chose to become an Alchemist but in reality I wanted to be a Hunter.” Elincia admitted, letting her guard down for an instant. “I always liked to spend time here in the woods when I was a kid, alone, far from the city. Just me, my skills, and my bow…” Her emerald eyes got lost into the horizon as if she was reminiscing scenes from the past.
“What happened then?” I asked and for a moment I thought she wasn’t going to answer.
“Life happened I guess.” The woman shrugged her shoulders, avoiding the topic. “I'm sorry. I didn’t want to sound like an ungrateful bitch. Being an Alchemist is also great. Having an Advanced class from the beginning is really helpful plus I can brew useful potions and I get to spend a lot of time in the woods gathering materials.”
As much as she sounded confident, I noticed there was a lot more Elincia wasn’t telling me. I wondered if it had something to do with her child or with her own story.
“What about you? Did you choose to be a Scholar or did the System bestow it on you?” The woman asked.
“It was given to me, and I’m not going to complain, it has some nifty skills.” I said, drinking from my own water bottle. “But fireballs would probably be more fun though.”
Hearing my words, Elincia genuinely smiled for the first time since we met. Her smile was charming, a bit shy considering her outgoing personality, and she was absolutely out of my league.
“So, you are one of those adventure-junkies?” Elincia’s mischievous grin returned to her face. Support classes yearning for adventure had to be a common occurrence in this world.
“I guess adventure-junkies can detect each other.” I returned the jab.
Elincia laughed again, this time harder and more genuinely than before. I praised myself for defusing the situation, going from threats with bow and arrow to charming laughter was quite a step in the right direction. I had to remind myself that she had a kid and maybe a husband.
“You are not too bad for a Scholar, Robert Clarke. I’ll take the first watch, you go to sleep.” Elincia said.
Her words were like a lullaby, or maybe it was the fact that I had company for the first time since I arrived in this world. I instantly fell asleep with the certainty Elincia would wake me up if any monster roamed nearby.
My rest didn’t last long because I suddenly woke up to the sound of a howling wolf. It was still night time and the forest was shrouded in complete darkness except for a pair of glowing yellow eyes down the trail. I felt Elincia’s soft hand pressed against my mouth and I saw her eyes shining by my side. I wished I had a night vision skill because the wolf’s yellow eyes disappeared and I completely lost sight of the beast.
By my side, Elincia nocked an arrow and waited in silence for the creature to make a move. The Black Wolf was really close but our best bet was the creature not seeing us. Which was unlikely considering the glowing yellow eyes veered off the trail and stalked us in silence. I shouldered my shotgun, hoping that it was the only Black Wolf nearby.
I wanted to hide the true nature of the shotgun from Elincia, or from every inhabitant of this world for that matter, but if it came down to surviving until reaching Firecrest then I didn’t have a choice but to use it.
Elincia shot and the arrow dug deep into the creature’s flesh just over the neck. The Black Wolf faltered but didn’t fall. Elincia cursed under her breath as she masterfully nocked a second arrow but the creature leaped, crossing half the distance that separated it from us.
Elincia shot again but this time the arrow was lost in the darkness.
I saw a glimpse of the creature’s eyes just a few meters from us but it wasn’t near enough to aim my shotgun. Elincia nocked a third arrow and I saw the tip emitting a white gleam. Then, a sudden idea popped into my brain. Before Elincia could shoot, I grabbed her shoulder and pulled her back, then, deaf because of the blood rushing through my ears, I activated [Mana Manipulation].
A blue flare lit up the forest for an instant, just enough for me to aim at the wolf. As the afterglow of my skill vanished, I pulled the trigger. The sound was deafening and the darkness of the night impeded me from seeing if my aim was true. However, a System prompt popped up in front of my eyes. Black Wolf (corrupted) slain. Level up! Level up! You have obtained a new skill. [Stun Gaze] acquired.
The system message floated brightly before my eyes, only visible for me. My brain was again suddenly turned into dough as the information about [Stun Gaze] was imprinted directly into my mind. Just like during the previous level ups, I felt a wave of relief washing through me, however, the sensation fell short when the screeching roar of a second broke the silence of the night. This time it wasn’t a wolf but an unnatural shiver-inducing sound. And it was close.
“We have to get out of here.” Elincia said with a panicked voice.
The woman grabbed me by the arm and dragged me through the wilderness. I stumbled behind her, unable to see where my feet were going as branches wiped my face and brambles trapped my feet like skeletal hands of the undead. Even if I couldn’t see, I heard the sound of trees being torn apart behind us. The creature was near.
Suddenly, a deafening howling chorus of Black Wolves filled the night and a dozen bright yellow eyes shone in the darkness. We were surrounded. Elincia pushed me behind a rock and covered my mouth with her hand.
“What’s that?” I muttered as I loaded another shell into the shotgun.
Elincia listened to the night. Silence only broke by the sudden growl in the distance. Whatever the new creature was, it didn’t have trouble keeping the Black Wolves at bay. Elincia drew her bow and put an arrow on the string without tensing it. A gust of wind swayed the canopy and for a moment I was sure the trees were extending their branches toward us.
I peeked over the boulder we were using as cover and saw a figure moving behind the trees lit by a stray moonbeam. Wendigo Lv.39. Magical Abomination. Man eater. Monster eater. [Identify] Wendigos live deep in the Farlands. Once a powerful shaman, high concentrations of magic corrupted its body and mind turning it into a monster. Weakness: Magic. Holy Magic.
Elincia grabbed my jacket and dragged me back. The sheer level of the creature startled me. I wasn’t used to the measurements of the System but the Wendigo’s level was more than five times mine. That was obviously not good news. Even if levels weren’t absolute, a level 39 had a clear advantage against a level 24 and a level 7.
“I think we can slay it. Your call.” I said looking at Elincia dead in the eye. I was not going to die in the Farlands when there was an entire library of magical knowledge waiting for me in the heart of the kingdom.
“Are you crazy? Wendigos are high level monsters, we can’t fight nor flight.” Elincia hushed. “We stay down and hope the Black Wolves attract it down the ravine. If the Wendigo sees us it's over.”
We squeezed behind the rock while we heard the Wendigo fighting against a group of Black Wolves. The sound of flesh tearing and bone splintering sent a shiver through my spine as [Awareness] informed me it wasn’t the Wendigo that was getting hurt.
Elincia trembled like a leaf but I couldn’t help but wonder about how many levels I’d get if I managed to gun the Wendigo down.
________________ First Prev
________________ Discord Royal Road
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to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 00:25 PhesteringSoars [SF] Paige & Caroline (3,622 Words; 20,273 Characters)
“Now Paige, you’re sure there isn’t anything for me to sign?”, my mother asked.
“No mom. It’s ‘Bring your sibling to work day’. Caroline is 10 and old enough for the summer training, even though she can’t officially serve as an Imperial Page for two more years.”, I reply.
At 14 myself, I’ve been an Imperial Page for 2 years now. “I did the summer training.”, a month each, for two summers starting at 10, “I wanted to see if she might be interested serving as well.”
“I just don’t want her getting in someone important’s way.”, mother continues.
“She’ll be fine. The shuttle flights in/out off-world will be the most exciting part. ‘Court’ is currently in session on Tau Ceti 9a, with the Emperor himself at one of the orbital Space Stations. He’s overseeing rescue, recovery, and restoration operations dealing with the aftermath of the two recent super-typhoons on the planet. We’ll mostly be delivering snacks & meals and hand delivering documents and supplies all day. Routine stuff.”
“I just don’t want her to do something to upset the Emperor.”, mother said.
I reply, “He’s trying to help people in distress mom. People left with next to nothing. He’s just a man.”
Mother shakes her head and mumbles, “I worry about that too.”
I snort, “He wouldn’t do anything to us and the Sezrakeen (the Imperial Guard) wouldn’t allow it anyway.”
I remember something they told us in training . . . “Even if you see the Emperor in a room, seemingly by himself, two of the Sezrakeen are always there. Though they can be invisible, and you may not see them. One to protect him from evil in the world and one to protect the world from any evil in him.” No one in the Imperial Court has treated me badly.
Mother finally relents, cleans up after breakfast, and sees us off. We catch the community transit to the city-center, then on to Lacross Spaceport. One shuttle to the regional military base, then a shuttle combining many groups to go to / from wherever Court is in session at the current time.
With 7,645 inhabited worlds in the known multiverse, “Imperial Court” moves around every few months trying to spread the attention around. Currently there are 74 regional centers large enough to house the staff of the traveling court. 17 of which could be classified as “Palaces”. (Including “The Winter Palace” the Emperor build by himself, by hand on Beatrice Nine. It’s beautiful and one of my favorites to visit and serve in, though knowing he was abandoned alone on the planet for almost 40,000 years, time enough to build the central structures by himself . . . sort of brings a melancholy air to the place.)
Caroline and I arrive at R44 (the closest Regional Center), and I take her to Security while we wait for the morning shuttle. I scan my left forearm under the ID scanner. You can wear a ring, bracelet, pendent, or carry a card or pen-sized wand for ID . . . But I opted for the radial (bone) implant. It’s much harder to forget and leave your left arm at home. And since it registers body heat and blood flow, it can’t practically be taken from you and used by someone else. (I did “neglect” to tell my parents I opted for the implant 18 months ago.)
Caroline gets her biometrics recorded. (Photographs, walking gait, finger-hand prints. Reads a sample text for voice capture and a pinprick for DNA.) She opts for a subtle ring ID and asks me, “Why does it look like I’m the only sister or brother here?”
I respond, “It’s only you today. I just wanted you to see what a day was like in the Imperial Court.”
“What do you mean ‘only you’? Is it really ‘Bring your sibling to work day?’”
“As far as I know there is no such thing. I just wanted you to come and see the Emperor and the Court.”
“You’re just bringing someone to see the Emperor of the Known Multiverse and the Imperial Court? Who approved it?”
“You can do that?”
“An Imperial Page can do what they need to.”, I say as we finish her setup. Most of the biographical info (date of birth, relatives, placed lived) I entered to her personnel record weeks ago. I scan my ID and vouch for her to match the biometrics to the central data personnel record.
“Let’s go, the Shuttle will be ready for boarding about the time we get there.”, I put my left arm around Caroline’s shoulders and nudge her in the right direction.
Feeling the tenseness in her shoulders I ask, “Are you worried?”
“A little bit.”, she says with a bit shaky voice.
“Don’t. Just keep your ears open. Follow me and help me whatever I’m doing. Unless someone there directly addresses you, try not to interfere. You’ll hear things meant to be kept private. Try and let it flow in one ear and out the other without thinking about it or remembering it. Normally its boring procedural matters running the Empire. But for the past few weeks at this odd location there has been a lot of ‘sad news’ from the deaths, injuries, from the storms. It’s been turning around a bit. Back to more rebuilding hospitals, schools, city halls, and some factories. You can whisper me questions but try not to bother the others there. You’ll do fine.”
The morning shuttle we are on (of 6 per day cycling in/out wherever court is) arrives and docks with the station. The contents depart and scan past security checkpoints. Caroline her ring and me my forearm. Which leaves Caroline with a perplexed look. (I didn’t explain yet that the implant was an option, and she sees no ring on my hand.)
I lead Caroline past stationed guards, secretaries and administrators, dignitaries, and court personnel to one of the inner facility rooms. One of the court cooks sees me, points to a cart loaded with coffee and tea Thermos’s, water pitchers, cups, and an assortment of donuts, sweets, ‘breakfast things’, and says “Conference L2 Room 6a.”
I begin pushing the cart to the Lift for Level 2, room 6a. Caroline stays almost glued to my left hip. She’s being inordinately quiet. But then I remember what it was like for myself, only a few years ago.
More guards at the conference room recognize me and one holds the door as I push the cart in. One points at Caroline. I simply say, “Sister.” The guard nods.
Caroline and I spend the next 10 minutes distributing drinks and retrieving used cups/plates, and occasionally pulling my sister gently along by her arm. With over 7,000 inhabited planets and an average population of 2 billion, a good 80% of the 14 trillion in the known multiverse have seen images/video of the Emperor. But it’s quite another thing to pass by him close enough to touch for the first time. Not to mention Admirals, Generals, and dignitaries of all sorts around the conference table and outer ring chairs many with a dizzying array of medals, epaulets, and such.
She hands me things as I place them on the table. (So, if she spills anything, it’ll only get me, not a General) and I place them on the table.
I half listen as Admiral Burns shows video on the large screen at the end of the room and describes the current situation on the planet below.
“. . . Rescue operations have officially completed everywhere. Recovery (of human/animal remains) and final demolition of dangerous structures continue in the Rangor and Balok districts.
Next, I’ll go over how we plan to deploy Military-Imperial construction teams to begin assisting with infrastructure repair and restoration . . .”, as the Admiral’s aide works on a laptop on the conference table to bring up the next presentation.
An imperial aide I recognized pops their head in the end door and says, “Sire, message on F23.” The emperor says, “One second Admiral.”, and taps some keys on a tablet at his right hand.
The presentation clears on the end video screen and a woman dressed in what I’ll say is a doctor's white cloak appears on screen. Momentarily fazed upon seeing the Emperor himself, she stutters, “I uhh,”
The Emperor said, “Its fine Doctor. How can we help you?”
The woman tries to continue, “I, uhh. I’m sorry, I . . .”, closing her eyes for a second and opening, “I’m Doctor Akins on Brandenburg 2, Jellico City Memorial Hospital. I have a patient, Angela Graham. I’m afraid she’s had a heart attack and at her age of 97, I fear she won’t last more than a day or two, despite our best efforts. Her son a . . .”, looking down at a tablet she was holding, “. . . Captain Angus Graham was listed as family-emergency contact with instructions to call the Regional Base and explain any issues. I vid-called and two people later and I’ve somehow ended up with you.”, she adds hesitantly, “Sire”, not quite sure the proper form of address for the Emperor.
The Emperor responded, “He’s on station here with his Star Carrier the Perecles so they bounced you through to us. I’ll find him and let him know to go home. Thank you, Doctor Akins.”
The Doctor nods and the screen returns to the aide’s presentation slide.
Caroline and I had been clearing coffee cups and snack dishes from afternoon tea away from the conference table and were pushing the tray to the door to leave when the Emperor held up a hand towards us.
The Emperor asked aloud “Donna? (The computers name) Locate Captain Angus Graham”.
Donna: “Captain Angus Graham has just entered the Officers Lounge on Deck 23, at Bulkhead 41.”
The Emperor hand wrote a note on a sheet of paper, folded it in half, looked my way and said “Paige”.
Paige was an inconvenient name to have in my position, I was never quite sure if he knew my name and was saying Paige or just Page.
“You heard the location?”, the Emperor asked
Paige, “Yes sire.”
“Directly to Gus.”, the Emperor said, handing me the folded note.
Pushing the tray on through the door, I saw another page standing nearby and said, “Please.”, pointing to the tray and nodding to the closest kitchen. Thomas nodded and began pushing the tray in that direction.
We, Caroline and I, headed for the nearest Lift. (The multi-axis elevators that span the height and breadth of the station.) And I spoke tilting my head up a bit, “Deck 23, closest Bulkhead 41.”
“Deck 23, Bulkhead 42.”, the Lift responded.
The station bulkheads are about 50ft apart, so not that far to walk.
I opened the folded note and read it silently.
Caroline, still at my side and mostly silent since a flurry of questions when we stopped to have lunch, finally spoke inside the Lift, “Can you read the note?”
I responded, “An Imperial Page can do what they need to.”
We reached the Lift destination. I spoke to a nearby common terminal and said “Officers Lounge Deck 23, Bulkhead 41.”.
The terminal responded back, “The Mango Room. Light Blue”, simultaneously a Light Blue courtesy light appeared on the wall-track and began moving at a walking pace to the right.
Caroline and I followed the dot as it matched pace to lead us.
We reached The Mango Room double doors.
I tried the door handle but while it turned, the door didn’t unlatch. I tapped the “knock” button on the rightmost door.
A few seconds later a man about 40, with slicked back black hair and a pencil thin mustache appeared on the screen above the knock button. Seeing me, he only said, “Beat it kid. This is the Officers Lounge.”, and the screen went blank again.
I pressed the button again.
This time when he appeared, I spoke before the man could, “I am an Imperial Page with a message to be hand delivered to Captain Graham. I believe him to be inside.”
“I don’t give a fuck who you are ‘Little Girl’. Children aren’t allowed in here to bother the patrons. Get lost.”, the man sneers and clicks off again.
I turn and retrace steps to the Lift, Caroline following.
I tell the Lift, “Armory”.
Scanning arm ID at the doorway, we enter and I approach the wire cage behind which stands a man I have never seen before. I fill out a “request form” on the tablet nearby, tap it to and scan my ID to the nearby sensor.
The man looks at the list popping up on the screen on his side of the cage, “A bit young, aren’t you? Why don’t you try back in a couple years.”, snickering and turning back to his desk behind him.
Back out the Armory door, to the Lift and back to the conference room with the Emperor.
I enter, holding one palm back, indicating for Caroline to stay in the doorway of the room.
Saying nothing to anyone, I walked around to the left of the Emperor and pulled the Imperial Signet off the little finger of the Emperor’s left hand and placing it onto my right index finger, while he continued to ask questions about Engineering Group deployments on the planet below.
Outside the conference room, I pointed my index/middle finger in the direction of two Imperial Marine Guards on the distant side of the room, in self-contained fully body armor then motioned with a cupping hand a ‘follow me’ hand signal.
Four of us in the Lift this time.
Back at the armory. I held my right hand up in a fist, index finger with signet facing the clerk, then swept the signet over the ID reader and entered the Emperor’s personal 18 character passcode.
The display lit up on the clerk’s side of the cage . . .
Things moved much faster this time.
The Armory attendants fitted us both with PDS’s (Personal Defense Shields), I pointed at Caroline and said “Openers”.
One Armory tech clipped two breaching charges on Caroline's belt, as I reached for the thermal viewers and mid-sized carbine the other tech held.
Facing the two Marines that had accompanied us, I waved my left hand in their direction and said, “Released.” They turned and left.
The tech previously holding the carbine asked, “You know . . .”
I turned the side of the weapon towards him and said, “Kill/Stun”, clicking that lever to Stun pointed at a 2nd switch “Rate of Fire, Single, 3 shot burst, Full Auto”, and pointing to the last, “Power Setting”.
I turned to leave with Caroline in perpetual tow.
Caroline asked, “A gun?”
I responded, “The Power settings for Stun go from level 1 to 5. One would sting. Two feels like a dozen angry bees stung you with the pain fading over the next hour. Three might knock out a child. Four would definitely knock out ANY ordinary man/woman, unconscious for an hour or so. Five would stop a charging elephant and bring it to the ground for three or four hours.”
I click the carbine settings to Level Two . . . Full Auto.
Back at “The Mango Room” doors, I swatted Caroline with the back of my hand to see our PDS fields light up and confirm it on like mine, flipped down the thermal viewer over my eyes and look to see if anyone is standing directly behind the doors.
“Take one of the breaching pucks off your belt.”, holding my hand up as if I was carrying one on my fingertips, “Set the dial on the side to 2.”
I look down the hallways to the left and right. No one on the left. I hold up one flat palm and stop a group to the right in their tracks about 20 yards away.
Speaking to Caroline again, mimicking the motion I say, “Fling it towards the center-line between the two doors.”
She flings the puck, it self-orients to flat-on face the two doors.
A half inch from the doors it discharges. The central 90% of the doors vaporize and blow back past Caroline and me in a plume of smoke and wood-metal shards. Harmlessly skittering off and around our PDS’s.
Mustache man steps out from beside the doors and seeing me begins to approach. I aim the carbine at him and hold the trigger down moving the impact point around his body.
They shoot you once during page training at settings two and three. A single shot at level two hurt worse than anything I’d felt to that point in my life for the next hour. A week later when they did Three . . . I was out for an hour.
I can’t imagine 2 seconds of Full Auto felt pleasant as mustache man crumpled to the floor.
Officers and Civilian Dignitaries around the room stood up from their tables upon seeing/hearing the door breach.
I took the opportunity to step up from one of their chairs to a nearby table, trying to dodge drink glasses.
Addressing the room with a firm voice, “I am an Imperial Page. With a message from the Emperor for Captain Angus Graham. Captain Graham present yourself.”
The crowd somewhat parted as a man in his late 60’s answered, “Here Miss.”
Stepping down from the table/chair, slinging the rifle, and approaching Captain Graham, I didn’t remove the note, but chose simply to speak directly to the Captain.
“Gus”, (the Captain understood it was the Emperor speaking), “Word just came through and it seemed better to deliver it in person. Your mother has suffered a heart attack and we fear her time is near. If your responsibilities allow it, take my shuttle and go home while you still can. Spend what time you need with her. I’m very sorry old friend.”
The Captain responded softly to me, “Thank you John.”
I stepped back and to the side, using my right hand to wave Caroline back out of the way.
Captain Graham passed through the crowd, presumably to gather personal items and head home.
I, with Caroline following, turned to follow Captain Graham out.
The “very angry” bouncer was just getting up on one hip, trying to push himself up on one hand and yelled through clenched teeth, “Why you little Bit. . . ”
He didn’t finish the sentence. I clicked the gun up to level 4, single shot, pushing him back 3 feet, and pinning him to the wall. Unconscious for at least a couple hours this time.
Caroline and I returned to the armory, dropping off the Carbine, Thermals, PDSs, and one un-expended breaching puck. Signing them back in. Logging one puck as “expended”, and 0.2% down on the carbine charge.
Back in the Lift to return to the conference room, I notice out the corner of my eye, a still silent Caroline, looks over and up at me with a thousand questions on her face.
I continued looking forward at the Lift doors and said, “An Imperial Page can do what they need to.”
I reentered the conference room, Caroline still in tow. Walked around the Emperor to his left, lifting his left hand and placing the signet back on his little finger and whispered, “Thank you John.”
As a video of reconstruction projections continued on the vid-screen at the end of the room, the Emperor nodded to me, understanding the message was from Gus and after I had crossed around behind him, looked to his right and said, “Thank you Paige.”, nodding to my sister, “Caroline.”
Caroline, her eyes as big as dinner plates, half bowed, half curtsied, and we left the conference room.
I looked over at Caroline, “It’s been a long day for you. We can just catch the next shuttle back to R44 and home if we leave now.”
Off the local transport, our parents were just stepping out of their personal car. Dad had two grocery bags in each hand, mother had two in one hand and was reaching for the last one in the open trunk-hatch.
“You survived!”, she said teasingly, looking our direction.
“Yes mother.”, I said.
“Did anything interesting happen?”, she asked.
“No mother. It was just another ordinary day. Passing out coffee, meals, and delivering notes.”, I replied
Caroline picked up the last of the grocery bags from the car while mother closed the hatch.
“How about you nibblet?”, Father asked, stopping to look at Caroline, “Were you bored to tears? Do you think you might like to be a Page in two more years when you’re old enough? You’d have to go through the training classes for the next two summers like your sister did.”
“Yes father. I think I’d like that.”, and lead the way into the house.
Caroline sets the grocery bag on the kitchen table and moves into the living room to sit down on the sofa. She faced the vid-screen and clicks it on. One of the weekly shows is on about one or another of the nation’s larger zoo’s. But she’s got that “glazed over” thousand yard stare . . . That I probably had after my first day after seeing the Imperial Court.
I wonder to myself if she’ll follow in my footsteps. Someone, from somewhere will need to replace me in about two years. In theory you can stay an entire career as a page. Some do.
But in two years I’ll be sixteen. And with four years’ experience as an Imperial Page, I can begin training for a range of other jobs in the Imperial administration.
“Combat Courier” sounds interesting.
submitted by PhesteringSoars
to shortstories [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 23:35 Vortiene Looking for a great 30cm/12inch ruler
- 30cm / 12 inch type flat ruler
- Something that won't break (Previous plastic ruler snapped in two after around 15 years from minor warping) Metal would be great...but may be difficult to find combined with requirement #5 or #6. Wood could work too if it's durable and not cheap particle board or something. Even plastic is fine if it's strong and a bit thicker than the average plastic ruler.
- Not clear plastic (clear plastic with black markings = bad on black surfaces)
- Has both inches and centimeters
- No cork board backing (in my experience this just peels off eventually)
- Doesn't have really sharp edges that scratch finish or hands (tends to be the case with metal rulers so far)
- Preferably no hole in the ruler, but this isn't all that important, just a preference
EDIT: So far the best options seem to be "Get a combination square with a solid ruler and just use the ruler" and the one I usually come up with when nothing else works "buy one made in japan by one of the 1029809-year-old japanese companies who exclusively specialize in making them", I'll update if I receive one that works out and seems high quality.
Current options (but i have not verified their quality yet): Johnson Level 400EM-S combination square:
etched ruler with imperial and metric. 30cm / 12 inch length. Stainless steel ruler portion. Shinwa H-3412C:
stainless steel ruler from the most popular japanese ruler-maker brand. Metric and imperial with chrome anti-glare finish. Not sure about the chrome finish since chrome can cause cancer depending on how the finish was done, but this seems like it could be a really high quality ruler. Mitutoyo 182-125:
similar to the one above this but from a different japanese brand Alumicolor Desk Rulers / Office Rulers (product codes 1112 or 1101):
Simple aluminum rulers with anodized measures. Various colors available.
submitted by Vortiene
to BuyItForLife [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 21:44 Solid_Mauro I got my TPAB vinyl recently and noticed that there is something in braille on it. Anyone knows what it says? (My phone is getting old so the camera quality is not the best)
2023.05.27 19:39 iAmaHoboSend1Bitcoin Need to put some kind of house structure on some land. What would you put on it? Eastern EU
Need to not spend all the little cash i have to survive winter somewhere a bit more south away from cold and the Ukraine drama. But very happy to spend summer up over there where it shouldnt be too hot.
Have two big tarps. Have a bad but free new tent and maybe another one stashed somewhere if its still there
Basically i need a lot of wood, nails and rope. Hopefully can borrow a few things like saw,shovel hammer. Not too many neighbours or any shops around.. lots of stones from a ruin.
probably will be leaving the place for winter. Woodstove would be ideal to extend the stay longer. I guess a rocket stove wouldn't be too bad for summer.
submitted by iAmaHoboSend1Bitcoin
to vagabond [link] [comments]