Captains table freeport tx
Won my first tournament yesterday at the lodge.
2023.06.05 09:32 Curiousaim Won my first tournament yesterday at the lodge.
Well idk if you can call it a win, we had 8 at the final table, I was 4th in chips and we chopped.
It was 120$ entry freeze out ( no rebuys). Only been playing a few months and it was a great feeling, I think it had 300ish entries. Ended up cashing 1400$.
Was also my 30th birthday (once it hit midnight). Got very lucky many times.
Had a guy get angry and start trash talking me, just continued to be nice to him and he loosened up and started to chill, he said I wouldn’t make it past 22nd place lol. He ended up busting 1 place before min cash.
In his defense he was right, I made some bad plays but didn’t justify the Douchery.
Anyways should be posted next week at the lodge (round rock TX) website in a few days.
Going to be playing at the WSOP 300$ entry next week in Vegas. Just going for fun, no expectations. Just wanted to share.
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2023.06.05 07:05 TeddyBearToons The Stowaway, Part 6
Part 6 Previous
"And that should be last of it."
Captain Rybalov signed off the last order on his manifest as he watched the cargo loaders take away his freight. A notification popped up: the money settling into his account. He pored over the receipt the way copyright lawyers scrutinize the music tracks of small homegrown video channels. Finding no discrepancies, Captain Rybalov relaxed; the money was all good.
Doctor Patel was taking stock of the supplies. He kept careful watch of the legal news, especially those articles regarding the public domain. He had heard that a new type of culture for synthetic lamb had just been made public, and naturally he was buying as many cultures as he could.
Amanda was busy with several phone calls. She was currently describing Stabby in as much detail as she could to the researcher on the other side, who was in turn in the middle of a hyperactive gaggle of their colleagues, hanging onto Amanda's every word.
Conrad was sitting down in front of Stabby, with a children's alphabet book between them. Stabby didn't have any eyes, or at least not any visible ones, but Conrad tried regardless. The alien could talk, so Conrad was going to teach it English, no matter the obstacles.
It was with an air of disbelief that gripped the crew as they looked down into the workshop, to their alien stowaway babbling random phrases in unsettling mimicries of their voices. This new development was very unsettling, and so the crew came together to vote on what to do with Stabby.
Conrad, predictably, wanted to keep the alien. Conrad whined on and on about the benefits of Stabby, his effect on morale, the cute look of the little man, if anyone considered a white-green icosahedron the size of a basketball cute. Captain Rybalov and Li found that the alien was too much of an unknown quantity, and wanted to give Stabby to SETI for further study.
Doctor Patel wanted Stabby in a lab where it could be better studied; the food lab was not an ideal place for xenobiology. Amanda and Barry preferred it if Stabby stayed; it cleaned up trash by eating it when it found anything out of order in the ship, and spared them from recycler duty.
They were growing fond of their space roomba, even if it did have a slight tendency to nick people with the kitchen knife stuck to its side. So it was expected that the debate was fierce.
In the end, a compromise was proposed. The crew would have two month's extended shore leave, during which SETI would try to learn as much as they could about Stabby. Captain Rybalov found this amenable; the ship had been doing run after cargo run for the Local Authority for the last few months to capitalize on the humanitarian crisis after that whole CCA matter, and the crew hadn't had a break in a long time. An extended leave was only expected.
The crew parted ways for the moment, scattering to their homes. Even Captain Rybalov, who at times seemed surgically attached to his freighter, had a place to stay. Doctor Patel stayed aboard the ship. He had nowhere else to go. At least, nowhere that remembered him fondly.
"I kind of wish you were dumber."
Doctor Kevin Ramirez rubbed his face as he shuffled his ream of paperwork. He had an inordinate love of spaghetti and was distantly descended from the ancient conqueror that had brought fear, love and smallpox to numerous indigenous populations. Unaware of the irony of his lineage, he had dreamed for years of leading diplomatic talks with advanced alien races. He didn't think that this would be it.
Across the table from him was Stabby, sitting innocently on a nest of bubble wrap. The kitchen knife was fully wrapped with a buffer zone of gauze, which was turning maroon as blood began to soak through. The blood was not Stabby's.
It had been two weeks since Stabby had been turned over to SETI. Most of those two weeks had been taken up by paperwork. Stabby had displayed extraordinary intelligence with its quick grasp of English and a willingness to convey its desires, which were mostly for food.
This was an amazing scientific discovery, but Stabby's intelligence had some drawbacks. Namely, as a sapient being, it was an ethical necessity for Stabby to consent to the tests SETI wanted to conduct. This was a great difficulty, as Stabby had only recently learned the concept of language.
Doctor Ramirez had to tutor Stabby in English, and in a way so that Stabby could make educated and informed choices on its consent. Doctor Ramirez could not teach Stabby in a way that could coerce it into unknowingly consenting to something it didn't want to happen.
"So basically we're going to shoot x-rays at you to see what's inside your body. It won't hurt, the radiation test proved that, so it should be safe. Okay?" The radiation test was a great battleground of bureaucracy. Every millisievert Stabby had absorbed was paid for with tears, sweat and blood. An acceptable loss in the war for knowledge.
Stabby shifted, turning on one of its vertices in what Doctor Ramirez recognized as its equivalent of a cocked head. It was confused. "Ex-rae?"
Doctor Ramirez groaned and slammed his head into his paperwork.
Imagine writing a letter to nobody in particular.
You're lonely. So very lonely and you don't feel like leaving your house. Or maybe you can't leave your house. So you scribble out a message, addressed to whom it may concern
and send it out, a paper airplane in the wind.
The letter degrades. It grows ragged and soggy from travel. The ink smears and spreads and bleeds and grows illegible. Finally, if someone were to find the letter, or if by some miracle you were to go out for a stroll and find your own letter, it would be near illegible. It might as well be indistinguishable from a random scrap of trash.
So you make your letter a bit more resilient.
Humans did this. When they sent the Voyager probes out into the black, each craft had with it a record. A letter, written on gold-plated copper. Designed to be as impervious as possible to natural wear and tear. A time capsule of sorts.
This little probe, little more than a bundle of metal sticks with a radio attached, represents the hope of a species, as near to a sum of their knowledge as they could make it. Humans tried so hard to put their love, their culture, their optimism into their little gold plate. They said to whom it may concern, we greet you as friends and hope you reply soon.
It's quite poignant, really. It is not entirely unique.
Floating out there in the void are a great multitude of similar probes. Every last one is made by a different race, displaying an incredible variety of engineering principles, language structures, information priorities, and attempts at communication. A million paper airplanes spiraling through an infinite cosmos in a desperate dance of hope and curiosity and love.
The real tragedy is that very few reach their intended recipients. The vast majority will spend eternity in a lightless, lifeless void, searching fruitlessly for a correspondent it can never reach. Some become the last vestiges of their creators as they succumb to war, avarice, greed, decadence or more likely the endless, relentless march of time. Somewhere out there are a thousand unknowing last wills and testaments of civilizations that are long since dust.
Captain Archibald was at the conn today. It was his turn to take the night watch, and he was tired. He was old, but also happy, because his surveyor job allowed him to see the wonders of the universe.
He was jovial normally, and nobody knew his surname because he insisted that he be on friendly terms with everyone he met. Most of the time he simply went by "Grandpa". He used to run a farm on a faraway planet, until he decided to join the Local Surveyor Corps. As soon as he could he gave the farm up to a beloved grandchild who was saddled with an oppressive office job, and screwed off to the stars.
Archibald faintly wondered what his grandchild had done with the old farm. He ought to check up on them later on when his ship next made port.
He was startled from his musings by the blaring of the proximity alarm, followed by the collision alarm. Something about the size of a small shuttle had hit the freighter. Archibald tumbled out of the captain's chair and rushed to the airlock. Ten minutes later he was outside in a space suit that barely fit his portly form, wondering at what had hit him.
Archibald had expected an asteroid of some kind; they were the most likely option. This was definitely not an asteroid. It was a spindly, almost biological form, branching out in a way that reminded Archibald of one of those little caltrop things children played with. He thought they were called "jacks". It was made out of a brownish rock-like material that reminded Archibald of dinosaur fossils. What was most interesting was the fact that the object was absolutely covered in beautiful images and grooves - unmistakably artificial etchings. Archibald had found an alien probe.
Archibald gasped, then jetted it to the back of the ship, where the tow cables were.
He needed to report this to SETI. Immediately.
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2023.06.05 06:52 oobanooba- Venlil Metal Ch.3 - Backbone
Hehey Im back again! Putting these out a lot faster than I expected, Don't expect me to keep posting so fast, I'll end up slowing down sooner or later and these take a long time for me to write thanks to the fact that I am pretty new to this whole thing.
ANYWAY more Colton/Anaw Interaction! They should kiss!
for the universe And u/VeryUnluckyDice
for implanting a tumor into my brain.also thanks to u/Thirsha_42
for proofreading, seriously. [First]-[Prev]-[Next]
—-- Memory transcription subject: Colton Anderson, human refugee Date [standardized human time]: October 23, 2136
“C-can you show me?.. Your Human music?” asked Anaw. What? This little Venlil wants to listen to my music. I listen to metal. Like Meshuggah or Gojira and shit. If I showed them that he might actually die. He seems nice enough but I don’t think this is a good idea. But it doesn't matter anyway. There is no way Captain non-regulation fluff would let me even get close to my guitar and I can't prove a guitar is an instrument without well… a guitar?
I simply responded “No”
Anaw was obviously scared of me, so a simple no should be enough to keep them away. Anaw didn't seem surprised at that answer, and against my expectations took another, shaky, step forward.
That question, One word, is the most important question In history. It's the question every kid grows up asking. ‘Clean your room’ ‘Why?’ ‘Look both ways before crossing’ ‘Why?’ ‘ One plus one is two.’ ‘why?’ it’s the question that you ask incessantly, everywhere, everything. ‘Why?’ because for everything there is always an explanation, a reason, and when there isn’t you just haven't found the right tools. It's a fact of the universe that to develop the science needed to explore it, a species must have the desire to ask ‘Why?’ It's a question you learn to stop asking. People hate explaining why they do anything, lest they realise their reason is stupid.
“It's late for me this paw. I'm supposed to be asleep about half a claw ago and I have work after,” I replied.
Anaw looked up at me with both eyes and tried making them really big and cute. Puppy dog eyes work a lot better when you have front-facing eyes. It's kind of scary actually.
I sigh and continue. “But, come visit me after work and I'll see if I can show you something. Have you got your pad?”
That seemed to satisfy the venlil, their ears perked up a little. They quickly pulled their pad out of the carry pouch that they were wearing. I took the time to do the same. I pulled up my information and allowed Anaw to fill it into their pad. After the exchange was completed I said goodbye, put my headphones back on, and began making my way to the nearest tube station.
My resolve renewed, I had found my ‘why?’ even if it is small. Sharing music with venlil was a reason to keep trying and that is enough. Nothing that exterminator dirtbag can do will beat me down. I will get my guitar back. It's only a matter of time before I have a how. I press play on my pad
There was plenty of room for me on the tube. There always is. These venlil are so nice. Always giving up their seats for the predators.
I got a notification on my pad, It was from Bleat, Which is basically the venlil version of Twitter, I really only installed it because I was curious about what venlil even thought of humans. It was unsurprisingly just as hostile as Twitter. Seems the concept of predator disease no longer applies when you’re online.
I opened up the app and saw it was a herd request from Anaw. I accepted it and their name moved to my herd list. My herd is now one person. Incredible! I must be the talk of the town.
I took some time to look at Anaws profile. Might be helpful to get an idea of the kind of person they are. Anaw: venlil male aged 18. “my black wool is natural, ladies”
His profile also included a picture of him and what seemed to be his friend group pulling some crazy poses and then some other information like that he worked as a waiter at a small restaurant. His profile was jarringly normal, he hangs out with friends, studies electronic engineering, and takes care of his grandparents. If it wasn't for the fact that Anaw was an alien, the profile wouldn't have looked out of place on Twitter before first contact. But now no human really has a life like that anymore.
I swiped back to my profile, still entirely blank.
I tapped the edit profile button and stared at the blank fields. After everything. I don't know anymore.
I switched off my pad.
I made it to my apartment. It was surprisingly cheap for its size, the real estate agent cited some sort of previous ‘predator infestation’ as the reason. Honestly, I didn't really care, it just means I got a nice place for much cheaper than it had any right to be. I undressed and prepared to sleep. As l lay in bed I stared at the empty stand where my guitar used to be. The empty space taunted me, preventing me from getting to sleep.
I opened up my pad again, still on the edit profile page. I tapped the description.
‘The wiggles are metal AF’ Why be edgy and sad when you can have a bit of humor? I refuse to wallow in sorrows if I have any other choice.
I continued to fill out my profile with a photo of me, masked obviously, and some other basic details. And then I was finally exhausted enough to get to sleep.
—- Memory transcription subject: Colton Anderson, Human refugee Date [standardized human time]: October 24, 2136
My morning routine was spent wondering how I could convince the exterminators that my guitar was, in fact, an instrument. The obvious answer is just to show a video but I can't really show any videos, I'm pretty sure most human media is censored fairly heavily. I doubt the exterminators trust the human media either. They won’t let me actually use my guitar to show them it's an instrument, so that's off the table. Maybe Anaw is the key here? He is a venlil so maybe he could help. Even if he can’t, it wouldn’t hurt to at least have one of the fluffy guys on my side. I really need a friend right about now anyway. All my human friends are at the shelter and that's all the way in the city. What sort of music do I show Anaw anyway, something soft right? Metal would be too ‘predatory’ or maybe I’m making assumptions.
By the time I had come out of my thoughts, I was already at work. My job was in a fruit warehouse on the outskirts of Deep Lake at the edge of the agricultural zone. It was a very simple job, simply to separate the deformed fruits from the normal-looking ones. I have no idea why the job posting specifically requested a human but my guess was that because I was a ‘predator’ my boss assumed that I wouldn't be snacking on any fruits. I guess she didn't realize that humans are perfectly capable and willing to eat fruits and nuts. It paid well enough and it was easy enough that it gave me time to think; so really I didn't mind.
Once the work claw was over, I got a notification from my pad. I opened up the message to find that Anaw had sent a message asking me to meet up at the place he worked. ‘Cafe 5 claws’. Interesting. I'm actually pretty excited. I've finally have the opportunity to make friends with a venlil, it's kind of sad that I haven't even really tried, but neither have the venlil. [First]-[Prev]-[Next]
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2023.06.05 04:42 BlackTemplars Hawaii - two week honeymoon trip review Dec 2022
Have some time to finally write a trip review for Maui
and the Big Island of Hawaii
for my honeymoon in December 2022 for two weeks. Mid December and left for home on Christmas Day. This was our first time redeeming cc points for anything, so lots of trial and error and lessons learned.
My wife and I had gotten married in October and were actually not planning going on honeymoon until Spring 2023 until we researched further and managed to make December 2022 work in our favor. We started planning and booking reservations TWO months before our trip. We are very fortunate to have done it in that time span and managed to make almost everything work out.
IAD - DTW - SEA - OGG on Delta, First Class
- First time using a lounge ever was at DTW. We had access to the Sky Club there. Pretty good food here, very roomy. No time to lounge in Seattle
- only I used points for this one way flight. Transferred 95,000 Amex points to Delta. Wife paid $958 before tax for hers through the Amex travel portal. I think she got a steal as I had written on a note somewhere that the cash cost was $1533 through Delta directly but cannot remember if that was the increased price after purchasing the tickets or at time of purchase, otherwise it would have been 1.61 CPP.
- Very nice service in first class. Abundant alcohol and food was very nice as well.
Got to Maui late in the night and picked up our rental car, a Chevy Equinox, with Enterprise. Used my Hilton Aspire
to get 7x points.
One night at Courtyard Marriott
by the airport and paid $500.
It was the best we could do with our timing.
Day 2 - 6
Breakfast and lunch was by the food trucks near Costco. Shopping nearby for supplies for our vacation.
Meals (Costco food trucks):
- Mo 'Ono Hawaii acai bowls
- Da Nani Pirates fish tacos
- fresh coconut water
5 nights at the Grand Wailea
- 440,000 HH points
Left to check into our resort the Grand Wailea
in Wailea. Both the wife and I are Hilton Diamond
members. Mine through the Hilton Aspire and she has status through actual stays. We booked these nights through her account and using all Hilton points. Each reward night was 110,000 points and we got the 5th night free. So 440,000 points total.
This resort was huge and immaculate. Words can describe how nice this place is and the customer service is SUPERB. Literally, the best we have ever experienced. You only have to see and experience it for yourself. My wife and I still talk weekly about the Grand Wailea.
We booked the Terrace View - 1 King Bed
as the Standard Night Reward and upon arrival we were upgraded to the Deluxe Ocean View - 1 King Bed
in the Molokini wing. Breathtaking views! Avg cash price so this room type is around ~$988 before taxes, fees so it comes to 0.89 CPP (if not including taxes, fees in the total). All meals, incidentals, shopping, and experiences were put onto my Hilton Aspire. Daily food and beverage credit was $25 each for the two of us and used usually at their divine but pricey breakfast buffet. No resort fees charged for booking with points which saved us hundreds of dollars. We immensely enjoyed ourselves at this resort and the lush, manicured surrounding area.
- Lineage Maui. A favorite in the Wailea area
- Morimoto - Maui. Getting the sticky ribs is a must. As well as the ishi yaki buri bop. The guy won Iron Chef because of that, apparently
- Wolfgang Puck's Spago at the Four Seasons. Got the best seat in the house here. Get the "Poke" cones and Hawaiian snapper
- Mama's Fish House. Literally the hardest restaurant to get on Maui. Must reserve 4-6 months in advance. I called two months before our trip and managed to get a table for the two of us for late lunch. We arrived and we got the best seat in the house overlooking the water! Shout out to Mike for his superb service.
- Lahaina Grill. Another favorite for tourists and locals
Experiences: renting a cabana at the Grand Wailea pool, spa day at the Four Seasons with outdoor hale beachside, Wailea Beach, hiking Twin Falls, Baby Beach, Haleakala National Park
Day 7 - 8
Two nights at the Hotel Wailea, Relais & Chateaux
using Amex FHR
Paid total ~$3400 for the One bedroom, Luxury Suite, Ocean View
. Unfortunately, no upgrade upon checking in. Hotel was sold out. Daily breakfast in the form of $30 credit per person and $100 food/bev credit given through the FHR. This stay triggered the $200 FHR credit for my wife's Amex Plat
Quiet, small resort, adults only. We enjoyed our stay here and loved our room. Bed was harder than what we were use to and it was far from the beach. Otherwise we loved the restaurant and the ability to "get away". One of the top hotels in Maui and all of Hawaii. Price tag to boot.
- The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea. Another great dinner watching the sunset
- Leoda's Pie Shop. Any pie is great, get the banana cream though. Lines out the door
- Merriman's Maui. Another top-notch restaurant with hard to get reservations. One of my personal favorites the whole trip. Another sunset dinner favorite
Experiences: cabana and pool day at Hotel Wailea, spa day at Montage Kapalua Bay. Outdoor hale with hot tub. Big Island of Hawaii
Day 9 OGG - KOA (Big Island) round trip booked with Hawaiian Airlines
. $106 for each of us before baggage fees. Booked direct using wife's Amex Plat.
Arrived to the Big Island and rented a Toyota Prius though Budget. Paid using Hilton Aspire
Day 9 - 15
We booked the Hilton Waikoloa Village using all Hilton points, 6 nights in total with one night free. 350,000 pts in total used, 70,000 each night. Initially the standard room redemption was for the Palace Tower Resort View - 1 King Bed
and was going for ~$540 a night before taxes/fees so CPP was 0.77. We realized even before our trip that the Palace Tower and old, needed a refresh, and was terribly far from the beach and the parking lot. We asked for an upgrade when we checked in and was given the option to move to the Makai Tower - Ocean View 1 King Bed
for an additional $75 per night. We promptly took this offer. This room runs ~$694 per night before taxes/fees and if I subtract the $75 per night, I calculate this to be 0.88 CPP. The Makai tower was much better, our room overlooked the ocean and part of the resort. Frankly, Palace looked like dogshit. Daily F&B credit was $18 for each person. Incidentals again went onto my Hilton Aspire
Towards the end of our stay, we stayed at the DoubleTree Hilo
using 50,000 pts. Room rate was $308 before taxes/fess. CPP was 0.61. This was on the other side of the island and very far from Hilton Waikoloa so we decided to stay overnight there after hiking Volcanoes NP instead of driving to the west side in the middle of the night.
- Brown's Beach House - at the Fairmont Orchid
- Kilauea Lodge
- Merriman's - Big Island
Experiences: Kauna'oa Beach, Mauna Kea sunset and stargazing (this is a must!!), Captain Cook monument snorkeling, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National historical park, Punalu-u Black Sand Beach, Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls.
Trip home: OGG - LAX - IAD. United, First Class
- Used 220,000 Chase UR rewards to redeem this flight for the both of us. Cash price of each ticket was ~$1485 before taxes/fess. CPP was 1.35
- Service was fine, food in 1st class was not very memorable.
- Did not have time to get into the Centurion lounge at LAX
Overall, an EXCELLENT trip. We were amazed and thrilled to do so much in two weeks and in such short notice. Again, only two months to plan once our dates were finalized. Between my wife and I, we have the Amex Plat and Gold, Hilton Honors and Aspire, and CFU, CSP
. Each card strategically used during our trip. The FHR credit triggered for my wife, and my Aspire triggered the $250 resort credit. If I had to guess, we saved ~$15,000
or more by redeeming CC points. Hope this data point helps some of you trip planning, happy to answer any questions.
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2023.06.05 02:01 AutoModerator WEEKLY "What To Buy" Megathread
This Megathread is for all of your:
- Which GXP Ship to get/ is the best ?
- Which Tx Ship is the best?
- Which Ship to Buy?
- Is Ship XY worth it?
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This Megathread will last until the "Ask The Turttle Wednesday" will replace it and the next one will be opened next Monday at the same time.
If you're engaging in this Thread, please do so in a helpful matter. Comments/ Answers not on topic or deemed not helpful will be removed on Mod Discretion.
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2023.06.05 01:55 ochocinco124 Packing a 15 foot U-Haul… tips?
Making a move from FL -> TX next week. Moving about a one bedroom apt’s worth (queen bed, sectional couch, 5 drawer dresser, desk chair, 2 small nightstands, small 5 bin storage dresser, 3 plastic drawer towers, maybe 8-10ish medium sized boxes/plastic storage containers, unbuilt bed-frame, unbuilt coffee table, and clothes)
Was offered the 15 footer over the 10 footer for a 10% discount which made it cheaper than the 10 footer. Figured why not given the addition of the ramp and mom’s attic. However, I feel like I definitely will not have enough stuff to fill the truck.
Should i aim to have 1 layer of boxes/furniture throughout the truck to prevent movement, still tying off sections. Or would it be better to concentrate things in the front and stack boxes, potentially leaving empty space in the back? Or downgrade to the 10 footer?
Also, how much harder is it to drive a 15 footer vs a 10 footer (i drive a sedan).
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2023.06.05 01:12 Front-Strike-8690 Human Nature 3[OC]
Sorry for the break in posting I had to take a break due to writers block and school
Captain Alderson, Selkath Empire Docean City
——————————————————————————— I groaned and raised my head slightly. Just raising my head sent shockwaves of pain coursing through my body. I heard a door open and a female voice called out.
“Oh good, you’re awake.”
I closed my eyes and said, “Where am I?”
There was a pause then she answered, “Docean city, sir. You're in Ivyheath. You had to be treated for burns but luckily for you we have one of the best doctors in Docean”
I swore softly. Docean was at least a three-day’s ride from Tartalus Fields. But, THE PIGEON!
“Wait, this is very important. Did a messenger pigeon come to this city recently?”
“Well gee’ sir I don’t know, but if it had bad news that would explain all the messengers riding in and out. Plus there are a lot more guard patrols out as of late.”
I closed my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. So my message had made it.
“Oh on that topic, Lord Genwald wishes to speak to you at the Castle.”
“Sure. Just give me a bit longer to rest up.”
“Of course, we can’t have you leaving before paying your inn fee as well.”
“Well, sir. You didn’t expect the accommodation to just be free, did you?”, she said as she frowned putting her hands on her hips.
“Well…no,” I mumbled.
“Good, now should I charge you now or later?” She inquired back to her happy self.
Well, I mean now was a better time than any to lean on my noble blood. I winced at the thought of the shouting and stomping from the grown up man child who was my father. However my family had grown quite wealthy over the years due to his mercantile prowess. But my father was a weak man who loved nothing more than his coffers being full. He loved that even over his own sons, or more specifically, me.
*”HOW DARE YOU, HOW DARE YOU TAKE FROM YOUR OWN FATHER!”
I sat quivering on the floor starring up at the large man who was my father. The golden crown on his ring lifted and fell with a terrible certainty. I smashed into the ground.
I screamed, “NO I DIDN’T DO IT I SWEAR, PLEASE BELIEVE ME.”
He roared back, “SHUT UP, YOU STUPID CHILD, HOW DARE YOU TAKE ME FOR A FOOL!”
He raised his hand again.
“Papa?” Called a small voice from the door. My little brother stood there hugging the stuffed wildebeast he had gotten as a present from my uncle. My father halted his beating midway and turned, a wide smile on his face.
Jonathan stood there holding the ring. The exact ring I was being beaten for. My father froze when he saw the ring.
Jonathan said, “Sorry Papa is this why your shouting?”
Father looked at him in disbelief and I braced to take a beating to protect Jonathan but then Father simply smiled.
“Hello there son, don’t about it if you want to play with it or keep it you can, don’t worry about it I can always get another one.” he said and without another look at my bruised body he picked up Jonathan and sweped out the room with Jonathan in his arms.*
I shivered in the memory, then responded, “You can bill it to House Arcasus.”
She stared at me for a second.
“You think I’m joking?”
She started at the sudden statement and squeaked, “No sir.”
I sighed, I should have known that my family name would have a provocative reaction. My father had been growing his power and businesses out here, by the border. Nobody was looking out here which allowed his many businesses to thrive without dealing with the empire’s tax obligators. He was quite smart that way.
I jerked up reaching for my hidden knife as a door down the hallway slammed open and I heard men shouting. Then my door slammed backward and open as my sergeant burst in.
“Sir! Your okay,” he exclaimed in relief.
I nodded, “Yes, yes I am soldier.”
“Good, I’ll have you know those useless attendants tried to stop me from seeing you, can you believe that!” He snorted in indignation.
“Well I certainly heard you making your case,” I replied dryly.
He nodded his head vigorously at me, “Yes sir, I did.”
I chuckled then asked, “Tell me your name soldier.”
He nodded and said ruefully, “Well sir, you see, I’m a ward, don't have a last name, but I go by, Karean ward.”
“Very well, Karean, any news from the front?”
He hesitated before saying, “The fort was overrun sir, no survivors, I’m sorry.”
I closed my eyes as a wave of grief hit me for a second time. I shuddered before pushing my brother’s face from my mind and I looked at Karean as I stood up.
He eyed me as I wobbled unsteadily, “Ummmm, sir are you ok?”
“Yes, now out while I put on clothes.”
He saluted and strode out of the room leaving me alone in the silence. I shuddered, drawing in a breath. I thought about my brother. He had been kind and caring. He never understood why I hated father so much, because he could never understand.I thought about my brother. He had never understood why I had wanted to leave home so bad. Father was kind to him, his little intellectual prowess. Unlike me whose grades had fallen flat in every single class I took. Jonathan had the best marks in every class, Father’s pride and joy.
I clothed myself slowly, pants then shirt, knife in belt, second knife in conceal shoe spot.
I stepped out of the room and was greeted by the back of a soldier. He spun around raising his sword, he paused when he saw me.
“Sir your awake!”
I nodded, glancing at the armor which was embroidered with the royal coat of arms. I headed downstairs with the man at arms and met my sergeant who was sitting at a table. He shifted over to make room for me, and the soldier stood in front of the table to stop any bystanders from getting too close.
“Well, Sir how your nap?” He said through a mouthful of bread and stew.
I waved a hand as he pushed the bowl of stew towards me, “Thank you but no, and my ‘nap’ was very sleep heavy.”
He snorted in amusement, before stopping and drawing his sword. The reason for his discomfort was the small gaggle of rough looking men approaching.
They stopped a short way away from the two blades eying them warily. They leader stepped forward, braver or dumber than the rest as two gleaming swords turned directly towards him.
“I just want to talk to the cap’in,” he said.
“The cap’in doesn’t want to speak to you, you back alley scum,” the soldier snarled.
The gang leader looked between us a dark look on his face before saying, “So thats how it is?”
An angry murmur came from the crowd and they started to move forward. I shoved back my chair and stood up. The innkeeper watched in terror, at the violence which might occur. Then I thought again. He was watching in terror imagining the damage that could be done to his inn.
As I watched the innkeeper dragged his wife over, he began whispering in her ear then she nodded and ran back into the kitchen. I assumed she was going through a backdoor to get the watch.
I turned back to see one of the gang members swing a fist at the sergeant who dodged and contemptuously smashed the flat of his sword into the offender who promptly crumpled to the ground in a heap. The rest of the gang roared and surged forward.
Fortunately for us, the layout of the inn only allowed the gang to come at us one at a time. I moved up to my first opponent, a huge man. As he stepped into the light, I saw that his skin was a greenish tone. I let out a string of vulgar curses which would have made any wellbred nobleman faint. My opponent was a brute.
Brutes were Orc-Human half breeds. Brutes were often conscripted into the army due to their great skillsets. Brutes inherited Human intelligence and Orcish strength allowing them to have great combat abilities. Brutes were also often orphans from a young age - due to the fact that Orc mothers don’t accept weaklings and Humans aren’t exactly designed to give birth to a 30 pound, 4 foot baby - allowing them to be molded by whatever army took them in.
As my opponent took the first swing at me I dodged and swiftly moved to counter attack. At least, thats what I had planned to do, my body, still recovering from my wounds did not help. My knee gave out and as I went down my opponent swung his fist, and have sent me sailing. When I hit the ground stars burst in my eyes. As I struggle to recover, my opponent, walked up and grinned. He lifted me up, cocking his fist. Then a look at surprise over took his face. He got yanked backwards, and I heard the sounds of shouting.
I stood up and looked around and grabbed a chair to steady myself. I gazed around the inn, overturned chairs, smashed tables and cutlery, watchmen everywhere wandering through the inn swinging wooden clubs with menacing iron heads. There was a small chandelier was swinging.
The innkeeper walked up to me red faced and opened his mouth but quickly backed away as someone approached me from behind. I turned and was face to face with a towns watchman, he had a red band tied around his forearm, which indicated him to be the head of the watch.
He stared hard at me for a second and I thought he would comment on the state of the inn. But then he simply said, “Lord Genwald wishes to speak with you.”
I nodded and gestured at the sergeant and soldier, “May these two accompany me?”
The watchman nodded and said, “That is acceptable,” before moving towards the door gesturing me to follow him. First Prev
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2023.06.05 00:49 PurchaseSuccessful23 [Offline] [DFW/Carrolton] [5e One Shot] [Monthly- time TBD]
Looking to get together a small group of people who would be open to meeting at RPG Dungeons in Carrolton TX on a monthly basis for 5e One shots with the goal of eventually starting a homebrew campaign. The store itself does charge a 30/fee per person for use of the table but considering the screens are embedded in the table and minis are included is pretty dope. Looking for people around my age 20s to young 40s.
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2023.06.04 21:22 schurgy16 Thunderblog 48: Slidin on Sleet Street
How’s it hanging my dudes? My remaining supply of “It is what it is” is running low. Can Thunder produce some sign of life this week? Let’s hope.
Thunderblog 48: Sleet Street Success!
Thunder makes our first Q2 appearance of the year! The Captain shows some solid race pace to put himself on the 3rd row tomorrow.
THIRD FOR THUNDER! BRONZE FOR THE CAPTAIN! I FEEL ALIVE WHAT A RACE! In 3rd place from about lap 2-3 and held on despite a tough challenge from Rima at the end. It looked like the strategy team got the call just right in the race, having Thunder not worry about the top-2 spots and just keep the race behind him. Twice Rima closed the gap and twice Thunder extended to over a second. Being able to do that at the end of the race was especially impressive but Thunder said in the media pen later:
“Yea it was the result of the strategy. We wanted to have the energy to be able to fight off any challenges and at the end I was able to do a couple ‘quali laps’ if you will to secure the podium for the team.”
This result launches us off the floor of the table and into 16th while Thunder is now in the top-half of the overall standings with 3 races between everyone. Hopefully this result can inspire Bolt to show what he can do and get himself into the top-half of the standings as well.
Pole for Billy! A great Q1 and a good sprint win to show for it. In the race however he dropped back to about 5th right from the start and floated between 5th and 7th before settling into a respectable 5th place.
Mocha finishes 8th in the sprint. After falling well into the bottom 10 for the race the sweet racer rallies to finish 9th. Not a bad result but I was hoping for a little more.
Cloudy with a big win for the Hazers the 2nd of the year for the marble. They have put himself joint-top with Royal in contention for the individual title.
The home team had a great race with Frost rallying from 15th to make up 8 places and finish 7th, running as high as 5th at some points.
Finally a good week for the Thunderbolts. Hopefully you enjoyed the quote there. I might start to add some media-pen comments in the Thunderbolt section and maybe in the other two. I gotta put that media pass to good work am I right? Anyways it’s time to be excited for the next race for the first time in a while, and of course excited for the next THUNDERBLOG!
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2023.06.04 19:55 Anonymous_D-boi The Devil puts things into motion... accidentaly and far away.
Hi everyone! This is a continuation piece of my previous work
probably will turn this into a series/proper universe down the line), however reading it isn't necessary for understanding this story.
Any and all criticism is welcome. Hope you'll like it! -
For captain Gryio, it was a pretty uneventful afternoon shift aboard his mining ship, prospecting beyond the Imperial border. He was looking outside into the void from his cabin, watching automated drones bring asteroids full of rare metals into his ship's belly, when his comms officer, Lila, walked in on him with a datapad. She explained to him that they captured a transmission on the short range public interstellar channel. Curiously, the transmission came not from within the Imperial border, but from without. It seemed navy in origin and simply read: "To anyone who hears this message, forward it whole to the nearest Imperial ship or station as fast as possible. The reward for the first person to do so will be 100 thousand Imperial crowns." What followed was about a minute of what seemed to be static. Gryio, a former navy officer, recognized in it a classified message that was encrypted, so no one without the proper software would be able to read what it says. Navy messages coming from beyond the border usually meant pirates, however pirate warnings were always without any encryption. Thinking he would rather get the money than rummage through classified navy business, he ordered his comms officer to retransmit it to the nearest Imperial border outpost. What he didn't know was that the transmission would end up being sent to two locations. As it turns out, the comms officer made a deal some time ago. A mysterious individual aproached Lila with an offer. He would pay for her father's surgery if she gave him a valuable piece of information about the Imperium's actions on the frontier. A desperate sounding encrypted Imperial navy broadcast was sure to be worth more than fixing up an old man's heart, she thought. -
Some time later, at the Imperial navy HQ, located at the Imperial capital, the message caused quite a lot of upheaval. It said that the 16th Imperial exploration fleet made violent first contact with a newly discovered intelligent race.
The fleet's commander, a young prince of the Heyduk kingdom, decided that the smartest thing to do was to conduct a raid on the species' planet, the Earth, hoping to prove himself as a warrior, this attempt ending when an explosion took of his leg and forearm. The species', the Humans they call themselves, military then managed to push back the Imperial marines to their original landing site and forced them to evacuate to their voidships. They left with heavy casualties, with several of their landing craft being shot down as they attempted to fly to orbit. The prince, before being put into an artificialy induced coma to help him heal, then called for reinforcements directly to his father, the king, using a genetically matched long range transmitter that only he could use. His second-in-command then ordered a retreat behind the moon of the Earth. A lone SIGINT vessel, the Poltergeist
, was then ordered to return back to Earth's orbit to monitor any attempt by the Humans to shoot back at the Imperial ships. After not hearing from the vessel for half a day, they decided to peak from the dark side of the moon to establish visual contact. When they saw the Poltergeist's wreck entering the Earths' atmosphere, the crew presumed dead and entombed within the ship, they decided to call for help properly. With his most powerful antenna destroyed and the second one being unusable by anyone except a half dead aristocrat, the second-in-command used the public channel, desperately hoping that anyone would listen and retransmit.
One of the officers present then cared to check the Imperial navy Central Information System, and sure enough, a small military transport fleet of the Heyduk navy just left port, with their stated destination being a system on the edge of Imperial space close to the newly discovered Earth. The fleet was ordered back home. The young prince broke both Imperial and Common Galactic law by initiating first contact violently without provocation and considering the already shaky relationship between the Imperium and the the Galactic Alliance and the prince being, ultimately, an Imperial officer, the prospects for a quiet resolution weren't good. Someone finally ushered the words: "The Emperor should know about this." -
On a port orbiting a world far away from the Imperial capital, Hako Undu was at a bar, drinking, when his datapad got a notification. It was a message from the local company handling interstellar comms that he got a message. He payed for his drink and left for the nearest message kiosk. He downloaded the message without looking at it and went to his apartment. Once there he opened it. "Hope it's enough. Lila," read the message. He recognised the name as a girl he managed to strike a deal with. It also had an attachment. The attachment was an audio file, with a voice ordering the listener to retransmit it to the nearest Imperial forces and a minute of static. Hako walked to one of the cabinets in his apartment and moved it away, revealing a safe. He entered the passcode and opened the safe. Hako pulled a small box out from it. He connected his datapad to the box and ran the program that was installed on it. This decryption computer wasn't as powerful as the one they had back at the Bureau, but it should give him an idea if the message was worth passing on.
Once the box finished it's work to the best of it's ability, Hako played the now deciphered message. Not everything was intelligible, he didn't expect it to be, however with every passing second he wanted to hear more. An Imperial aristocrat and officer, initating first contact violently without provocation, wounded and forced to retreat with heavy casualties? He even heard something about a Poltergeist burning up in atmo. Hako had to stop himself from audibly laughing. Considering the events of the last few years, he found himself with the key that the Bureau, and by extension the Alliance, can use to push back against the ever more audacious Imperials. He put the box back into the safe, locked the safe and put the cabinet back in it's place. Then he walked to the ugly part of the station, the part where you can find a guy that does illegal interstellar transmissions that can't be tracked back to their origin. Once he had done his business there, he went to his bank, where he made a transfer of several thousand Imperial crowns to a bank account whose details he had memorized a long ago. "The lass struck gold while literally prospecting for gold," he thought as he signed the transfer papers, smirking to himself. -
The Imperial palace was usually quiet this time of day. Today, howerer, a visitor is causing ruckus. His uniform would tell you that he is from the Imperial Intelligence Agency, First Contact Detachment. They are the guys making sure that any first contact goes down in accordance with the Imperial and Common Galactic law while gathering intelligence on the contacted species and, most importantly, that nobody messes anything up. And boy did they mess up this time.
When his superiors knocked on his door with the top secret preliminary report about the whole Earth situation, he was suprised that anyone would entrust him with intel that highly classified. Then they told him that he would be presenting the whole ordeal to the Emperor in 2 and a half hours. Before he had time to ask any questions, they shut the door behind them after wishing good luck. They probably wanted to safeguard themselves, shifting blame to a lower ranking agent if anything more went wrong. He then studied the report, memorizing the most important event, numbers, names and the general timeline. When he was done with his studies, the transport to the Imperial palace was already waiting. He double timed it through the palace, stopping before the Emperors study. A servant opened the door and our agent walked exactly three steps into the room before kneeling, as the protocol required. The Emperor then spoke to him: "Rise. I am expecting you agent. But before we begin, please tell me your name." "I am lieutenant Coje Wetr of the Imperial Intelligence Agency, First Contact Detachment, my lord" said our agent. "Good, lieutenant, good. Please, take a seat, and begin"
The whole presentation took about three quarters of an hour, with the Emperor asking supplementary questions for about half an hour more. Coje noticed that the Emperor was slowly turning more agitated, however he managed to hide it well, but not so well that a trained intelligence officer wouldn't notice.
"The Hayduk king, a fool that has even more foolish children. I should have never given his son the commision, but it's too late for regret. The question is, agent, what do we do about it? We pushed against the Alliance, and it looks like the universe pushed back for them. If they find out what happened, they might be emboldened to consider economic or even military action, and we have no chance of quick and decisive victory against the whole Alliance at once, the best we could hope for is a slow battle of attrition, either of the military or economic kind. Do they even know about these so called Humans?" spoke the Emperor with a severity that he reserved for only the most difficult circumstances
Coje replied: "The exploration vessel that originally found them was civilian, meaning they presumably spread the word at the first opportunity they had. Being the first to identify a new intelligent species is a rare thing these days and such a discovery would bring them a lot of fame. But, considering the location of this Earth, everyone probably thinks that initiating first contact themselves isn't worth travelling through the whole Imperium, so they presume that we will be the ones to do the honors. However, this is just conjecture based on the limited information we have available. As far as i know, an exploration fleet from one of the Alliance nations could be asking for permission to travel through our Imperium to this new world right now."
The Emperor thought for a while, then motioned for the agent to come to him. He whispered: "Then we have to be fast. I want you to make sure that the expedition to Earth never happened. Make sure that nobody ever mentions that an Imperial exploration fleet made it to that system. Bribe, imprison or kill anyone that doesn't cooperate willingly. Purge records and falsify new ones when needed. We must convince the galaxy that the fleet that attacked that planet were pirates, or renegades, or mercenaries, or deserters, just that it wasn't us
. Now, go home, relax and sleep well. Tomorrow morning, a courier will deliver an Emperor's charter to you permitting you to use any and all resources that you might need in fulfilling your mission. You are also immediately promoted to major, so that your colleagues take you more seriously. I expect regular updates on your progress. You may now go, Major Wetr. Good night, and good luck. The future of the Imperium sits on your shoulders." -
The headquarters of the Galactic Alliance Intelligence Bureau is naturally one of the most secretive places in the galaxy. That is even before you enter the eastern building's cellar. Within it is a security guard that usually hangs out near one specific briefing room present there. The odd thing about this room is that it seems to never gets used. If you say the right thing to him, he places his ID card on top of the speaker's table, revealing a secret elevator. Ride the elevator down, and welcome to the top secret Directorate "J" of the Bureau, a whole department dedicated to gathering intelligence on the Imperium, buried under enough concrete to withstand nuclear bombardment. Now it's time to pass through a dozen biometrics checks to make sure it's truly you
The Directorate is filled with the best and brightest intelligence officers the Alliance produces. But it wasn't always like this. Two decades ago, Directorate "J" was seen as the most useless of the bunch. The only meaningful intel they produced back then was finding about lower then expected productivity on an agri-world a few weeks before it became public knowledge and other similar matters. The "Jokers", they started to be called. But then, a new Emperor came to the throne, more ambitious then the previous one. Suddenly, ships and stations on the border between the Imperium and Galactic Alliance started going missing, their crews and passengers missing or dead. At first, these were attributed to pirates and renegades, however as time went on, more and more evidence came out pointing at fact that these attacks were to well coordinated to be random bands of pirates. Things started pointing at a more organised force. Once the probability of the Imperium being directly involved reached "maybe", all of Directorate "J"s activities were marked Top Secret/Need to know only and every current and former member was persuaded
to never talk about anything they did as agents of the Bureau. With the Imperium's recent hawkish policies againts a species not yet in the Alliance, the pressure to find something that the politicians could act upon. Considering that the Imperium exports a lot of it's raw resources to the Alliance, and also does a lot of it's manufacturing, no action could be taken unless concrete evidence of the Imperium's transgressions could be presented.
A message was received by the Bureau. The encrypted code at the beginning identified the agent from whom the message came, and the letter "J" signaled which Directorate it should go to. The agent receiving the message 250 meters underground listened to it. She then notified her supervisor, he then notified his superior. In about 20 minutes, every Directorate higher up present was listening to it in the Director's office. Someone shed a happy tear and declared: "We got them boys and girls, we got them!"
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2023.06.04 19:53 Saint-Andros A Lesson in Scionics Sound the Drums Chapter 9
Big thanks to u/Killsode-slugcat
for helping me with proofreading and editing.
--- SUBJECT-DESIGNATION: Admiral Marcus Miller LOCATION: Earthen Orbit, Atlantic Citadel DATE: EARTH-TIME [Wednesday, August 23, 2186]
I stood above Earth, gazing down upon her bright blue brilliance from the comfort of my personal quarters.
It was odd to think that just five hundred years ago, humanity had been scared of the darkness that lingered at the forest’s edge. I couldn’t imagine that those born during that time could have ever imagined the heights which we would rise to. My only hope was that our vast distance from the ground of primitivity wouldn’t lead to a devastating fall.
Already it felt like a lifetime ago that my crew and I had braved our own dark forest—the endless expanse of space beyond our system’s heliopause. Now we knew of the devils that rested at the edge of those shadows. The fires of Sol and the shield of our Oort cloud were all that now stood between us and them. At least in the process of our journey, we had met another group of weary travelers. We now knew that we were not alone.
The reaction to our discovery of the Khimrox—or perhaps their discovery of us—had actually gone over quite well with the global population, though some fringe groups chose to remain skeptical for reasons I couldn’t fathom.
Following the acceptance of the Khimroxian people as refugees, I was rather quickly promoted to the position of admiral. Despite it being an honorary title for the time-being, it was one that I wore with pride. Besides, considering how things were currently going among the leadership of the UEN, it was my guess that we would soon need all of the fleet commanders we could get.
Being separated from my crew though, it was certainly an ordeal. For over a year, we had trained and prepared for our journey aboard the Challenger, all the while forming a strong bond—the bond of a crew. It was them who had kept my mind from plunging into the hopeless darkness that threatened to envelop my mind back aboard the ruined wreck of our exploratory vessel.
Liz and Garth had been reassigned to finally fulfill their true calling as biologists. Together, they dove head-first into in-depth studies of Khimroxian anatomy and physiology. Sid had opted to assist in the deconstruction of the Ignis
, allowing its analysis by a team of scientists that included Lee. As far as I was aware, they had so far produced staggeringly impressive results in regards to potential military applications. Jake was probably the wisest among us, choosing to enter an early retirement, which I quite honestly considered the smartest move. Each member of the Challenger had essentially become an influential celebrity overnight. If any of us chose to, we wouldn’t need to work another day in our lives.
Nia had taken an extended leave of absence following our return and chose to take up temporary residence within the Khimrox colony. Darius was perhaps the only one that had stuck with me. Due to my request, he was to be the chief navigational officer of a brand new fleet that had been promised to me—an experimental UEN fleet by the name of Vengeant Dawn.
Though word hadn’t yet officially been released, some part of me could sense the storm approaching on the horizon. War was coming. The only questions that remained were when and how it would be waged, one of which we were currently working to answer.
Some remained skeptical, but me, I had been waiting since the day I first heard of that wretched name, the one which hid behind a thin and lustrous coat. They would pay in blood for what they had done to our Khimroxian friends and to all of the scion species that they considered beneath them. Speaking of those pricks…
I turned from the window to look back at the objects of interest.
We had already begun to install improvements and replacements for our own technology from what we had researched so far. The holo-table of my room was one such improvement.
Atop it, hovered three ire-inspiring figures—the bastards of the Orion Arm.
One was what looked to be a molluscoid. Twelve long and winding tentacles stretched from its body. The creature’s skin could possess a wide variety of colors, but this one took on a dark shade of blue. Atop its head—or back, I still wasn’t entirely sure—was a large circular shell that spiraled backwards. The shell itself was fairly reminiscent of an ammonite, with the notable exception of its golden sheen. A green pair of eyes with slitted black pupils could be found at either side of its face. At the end of each of its limbs were a strange bunch of contraptions that were barely recognizable as the manipulators they were. To support its spineless body—and perhaps its brazen cowardice—was an exoskeleton which covered the length of its tentacles, allowing it to rise to an ironically respectable height. The Dodektopi.
The second was a shape that made no sense according to what little we apparently knew regarding the formation of life. The figure of flames was somewhat humanoid in shape, but distinct enough to separate it from ourselves. A frenzy of dancing plasma licked across the surface of its shape, occasionally whipping out from its body in flares of solar activity. Centered within the fiery specter’s face was an unfamiliar symbol forged out of a sleek black metal that did not burn with the being’s body. Its hands and feet that connected the body were made of similar steel and seemed to hold the shape together with the help of the head. The Novari.
Last but most certainly not least was a chillingly familiar shape. It was an ancient and terrible legend made manifest. The draconic figure before me bore ebony-black scales. A wicked pair of gold curling horns rose from the tyrant’s skull, covered in rings of that black metal that wrapped around them. Cryptic runes—whose mere existence denoted their ancient nature—were etched into the bone of these very same horns. Surrounding its head were countless quills that reached back behind the skull. From its oddly placed back pair of shoulders sprouted leathery wings that curled around the body, nearly encircling it in a hug. A long tail whose spiked end was covered in yet more of those sleek black rings fell behind them. The creature wore nothing more than a red ornamented kilt, bearing the same symbols as those etched upon its body across the sashes which held it in place. Its imposing physique was proudly put on display and an amber pair of greedy eyes rested behind its black maw of terrible teeth.
At the second and frontward pair of stubby shoulders, a shimmering pair of auric arms, engraved with yet more of those runes. I could have recognized their design anywhere. They bore an uncanny similarity with those utilized by our Khimrox friends. The three primary differences between those of them and those that belong to our friends were the sheer quality of the design, the notable exception of their shimmering sheen and their lethal talons that had been sharpened to a shining point. The Aeryvyn.
The terrible triumvirate mocked me with their mere presence, but I couldn’t tear them away from my sight. It’s fortunate that something else did it for me.
A ping that rained from the speakers in my ceiling heralded the incoming message. “All UEN personnel with alpha clearance please report to the briefing room.” Two more times, the soft and purposefully inoffensive voice repeated itself.
With a sigh, I shut off the display and marched to don the new garb that matched my position. When my door slid open, I saw several others stride through the long hall of yet more doors that matched my own.
The familiar scent of ozone had been a relief following the unnaturally clean air of the Ignis. That ship was no longer the home of the Khimroxian refugees, so I had little care for its continued existence. By now, it was a skeleton of alien alloys.
Our straight, gray walls and steel-vented floors were showered in warm light. Compared to the Ignis where the too-white surface where wall and floor blended together, the scenic viewing ports and recognizable craftsmanship felt like the warm embrace of a long-lost friend. Speaking of friends, I wonder if I’ll see Saffan.
Weeks had passed now since I last saw the captain-ambassador. His new position ensured this was so.
A stream of gray-coated senior staff flowed through the doors to the briefing room. At the entrance, a full complement of soldiers outfitted with Styx suits stood guard. That generation of armor would soon be outdated in comparison to the schematics I had seen prepared.
My heart warmed involuntarily as I entered the room. Saffan’s bright eyes of perpetual wideness stared back at me. I shouldered my way through the convening crowds of admirals. Each spoke with a weight of self-importance that I couldn’t have cared less for.
When I finally reached him he called my name. “Marcus!” The captain extended a hand. Wait, what?
I wasn’t sure whether to be more confused by his use of the gesture or his new set of arms. They were admittedly simple compared to the prior pair and they were coated with a blue shine that matched his eyes. The digits no longer took the shape of those reptilian claws, instead forming an approximation of human fingers.
The hands locked perfectly with my own. “Saffan, good to see you again. How are things going?”
“Wonderfully. Though I must say, you humans seem to have more countries than you know what to do with.” Saffan folded his arms. “I’ve visited thirteen nations already and I still have over a hundred that have sent me visitation invitations.”
A scoff escaped my throat. “Yeah, that’s us for you. Needlessly overcomplicated.”
I took a step forward and placed a hand on a brilliant blue arm. “And these! When did you get these?” Saffan practically beamed at my inquiry.
“Elizabeth and Garth actually helped design them! They’re exceptionally lightweight compared to my last pair and they can fold to not hinder flight.” As he said this, the two artificial limbs pressed up against his body as he fully folded his wings in a similar manner. With both arms and wings folded, he would have looked like a great horned owl if not for the obvious discrepancies of his size, his horned head and the swirling patterns that covered his wings.
“That’s enough about me though, how have you been? What have you been up to?”
“Ah, not much,” I said, rubbing the back of my head. “Paid the family a visit a week back for the first time since the Challenger. For the most part though, I've been training on the battle sims these last few weeks. If I’m to be an admiral, may as well try to play the part.” Saffan slowly nodded. I got the feeling that he too sensed the approaching storm.
“This family of yours, I’d love to meet them some time.”
“Oh, I’m sure they’d love to meet you I…”
“Attention!” The stern sound cut me off. The rippling chorus of speech died down almost immediately as the call demanded our undivided focus. I could’ve recognized that voice anywhere.
“Thank you for joining me, my friends.”
“You’re a smart bunch of people, so I’m sure you’ve gotten the sense for what’s been going on by now.” Redd took a deep sigh and looked around the room at the entirety of the UEN navy’s command structure.
“Ever since the Khimroxians arrived, we’ve been faced with a choice—a choice that must not be taken lightly.” The captain turned our way and gave Saffan a nod.
“When the brave souls aboard the Ignis
saved the crew of the Challenger
, they showed the true character of their people. They were faced with hard decisions—for our people and theirs—but they chose to push forward and in so doing, saved not only the lives of those aboard the Challenger, but all of Earth from falling subject to their lords. After due deliberation with the council-members of the United Earthen Nations, we have decided to follow in the footsteps of our friends and take such a risk.”
“As of right now, we are at war with the Alliance of the Aurum Arm.
” The room fell into deafening silence.
“Each member-state of the UEN will alert their people in due time, but for the moment, not a single word heard within this meeting must be uttered outside of this room.”
Admiral Sturm, the very man who had been my commander not all that long ago, spoke up. “With all due respect, Director, we don’t have the means to wage such a conflict.”
“That's why we’ll create the means. For once, I’m glad to say something good came out of the Kuiper War.” This derived a few nervous laughs from the audience. “With the production facilities appropriated from the (x corporation), and with a few adjustments, we have the potential to create the most powerful fleet of human-made ships to ever enter space.”
“Unfortunately however, we do not have the means to reproduce the white hole drives utilized by the Aurum vessels, or even the dark matter used to stabilize the damned things.”
“Saffan, this is where you and your people will come in. If we are to stand a chance of waging war on such a scale, we will need intelligence and lots of it.”
“As difficult as it may be, we need information; without it, we’re dead in the vacuum of space. We will
need volunteers to go behind enemy lines and retrieve plans, schematics, layouts, anything that we can get a hold of that may provide us an advantage both strategically and technologically. Would your people be willing to go to such lengths?”
All eyes in the room turned to the ambassador-captain. “I—I don’t know. I will consult with them, but do I have your permission to speak freely about what you have told me?”
The aging man rubbed his orange-brown beard. “Yes. Yes that would probably be for the best wouldn’t it. Very well, just do your best not to allow it to reach other ears.”
“As for the rest of you, allow me to detail the plan we have so far.”
“Though most of the security council members are not tacticians, they have agreed to the plan that I and a few of my most trusted consultants have prepared. Right now, the nearest sector with a habitable planet is known as Mortamis. This was the last jump point for the Ignis
before it intercepted our distress signal. The tentative plan is to begin our expansion across their territory with the capture of this world to act as the staging grounds of our forces. However, until we receive more information regarding the exact layout of their defenses, we cannot commit to such an invasion.”
“From there, we will split up the UEN fleets into separate groups across the Orion arm and take out these tyrants by bleeding them of their most precious resource. Scions. Every world we take is an addition to our numbers, our production capacity, and our ability to fight.”
“Our end-goal is to capture the planet-capital of the alliance, Petris, and demand liberation of all species under control of the Aurum Alliance.“
“We do have a few major concerns however. According to the information provided to us by the Khimrox, a majority of Aurum vessels contain some form of scionic crew complement. Under no circumstances unless express consent is given by the command admiral of the fleet are we to attack a vessel with the intent of destroying it. We must first weaken and disable the ship’s defensive systems before boarding and liberating the captives.”
“I know that this flies in the face of all conventional battle tactics, but this is no conventional enemy that we’re fighting here. If we do not adapt, we will fail and all of humanity will be forced into scionship.”
“Keep in mind, this is a very brief version of our prepared plan. Each and every aspect of it is subject to change. We will
discuss this in further detail later, but for now, that is all. Any further questions?” Once again, silence. “Very well then. This council session is now adjourned.”
Other than the shuffling of feet exiting, all was silent. We had known it was coming, but to hear it confirmed…
“Marcus.” The director approached, placing a heavy hand on my shoulder. “Go ahead and join Ambassador Aeax, why don’t you? Might help some of those Khimrox to see a human face that they’re familiar with.”
With a snappy salute, I responded with, “Yes sir.” His words were certainly a surprise, but a chance to join the Khimrox that had saved us was not one I would pass up easily. He may as well have just given me a week of leave considering the excitement that bubbled up within me.
Together, I and Saffan made our way to a nearby shuttle bay headed directly to the Khimroxian colony. Surprisingly, I hadn’t yet paid a visit to the settlement placed within the province of Hunan, but I had seen some images on several media platforms.
The trip was a quick one. Our transport plunged into the atmosphere, kicking up flames all around the outside of the cabin. Soon enough though, the flames of our descent died out and were replaced by the darkness of night.
Even with the slight turbulence, Saffan seemed deep in thought as his eyes stared at nothing in particular.
“Hey, you good?”
That seemed to snap him out of it. “Wha—oh yes, sorry.” A look of focus still remained on his face. For a moment, he continued in his silence before posing a question. “What if my people decide not to volunteer? This entire plan could fall through in an instant.”
“You don’t give your people enough credit, my feathered friend.” Saffan gave me a narrow-eyed look before letting out a cluck of a chuckle. “Redd was right in what he said. I’m sure your people will make the best choice for all of us.”
“For both our sakes, I can only hope that you’re right.”
Our Harpy gently sailed over mountains and treetops, slowly sinking to a stop within a secluded area of trees that were foreign to me.
Only I and Saffan left from the Harpy’s bay and stepped off onto the tarmac. Behind us, the cargo-door closed with a hiss. As we stepped out from underneath our cover, light droplets of water pattered against my skin.
Seconds later, the Harpy’s thrusters kicked in and the ship took flight. The heavy hum and glow of burning hydrogen accompanied the bird as it flew away. In mere moments, it was gone, though the distant boom
of it breaking the sound barrier was audible enough.
Looking around, I saw a few of my fellow men and women unloading supplies from a parked Harpy onto a militarily designed transport truck. Dimly lit orange lamps shone down and around us, illuminating nearby hangar bays with their closed doors and rounded ceilings of corrugated metal.
“Let’s get going. I’m sure you don’t want to stay in the rain long.” The rain was enough to notice, but it wasn’t unpleasant. I gave a brief nod and we set off on the nearby road.
Though clouds of rain covered us, the light of the moon joined us as we walked to the village. The setup looked pretty standard from what I knew of modular UEN architecture. It was clear however that great care had been put into its construction. The rain kept most of the residents indoors for the time being, but through the windows of nearby buildings, I saw the illuminated interiors of cozy hostels where families and friends gathered together.
We passed another Khimrox while wading through the rain—one who held its head and horns high, walking with a cheery gait despite the gloomy weather. Compared to the stale and oppressive atmosphere aboard the Ignis
, the settlement brimmed with life, even amidst the darkness of both night and storms.
Saffan led me forward to a quaint home with a metal awning that covered the railed porch. We walked up the steps and Saffan rapped on the door with his cobalt colored knuckles.
I hoped for Nia’s sake that her time away from the military had treated her well. Lord knows she deserved some respite. The door opened and Nia's face peeked out to greet us. “Saffan! Marcus! What are you two doing here?”
Saffan answered as I silently sat by. “Oh we were just passing through. Thought it might be a good idea to stop and pay you a visit.”
“Well don’t make yourself strangers. Come on in!” Saffan sat behind as I walked forward and gave his whole body a shake. Droplets flew from his body and slid off his slick feathers.
The home was a simple one, consisting of a main living room joined together with a kitchen. In the back of the home was a short hall leading to a middle door that stood between a pair of two others. In the living room, perched Tokieran, the same physician who had plunged into my mind to extract our language.
Immediately, he rose from where he rested and turned to face Saffan, “Captain!”
“Can’t be a captain without a ship, Toki.” The former captain waved away the words with a hand. “Saffan will do.”
“Oh. Uh, well, it's good to see you again, Saffan.”
“Likewise my friend. I’m certain you haven’t seen much of me considering your position during our time on the Ignis
. It’s a shame we didn’t brush wings more often. You seem like a fine fellow.”
As the two avians got to talking, Nia gave me a light punch on the shoulder. “So, how’ve things been going for you admiral
?” It was at this moment that I realized I was still in full military dress. Rather sheepishly, I pulled the hat from my head.
“Fine.” I muttered “You?”
A smile met her face. “Best I’ve felt since I enlisted.” She gave a look towards the two conversing Khimroxians. “It's still hard to believe any of this is real sometimes, ya know?”
I nodded. “Yeah. The Challenger
, the Ignis
, all of it. Feels like a dream now.”
Nia’s eyes stayed upon the owl-folk. “One of those dreams you don’t really want to wake up from.”
I gave a grunt of agreement. “I only wish all of the Khimroxians could share it with us.” This turned her towards me. Her smile curved down somewhat and she gave a slight nod. What the hell. She’s going to learn it soon enough anyways.
Rubbing the rim of my hat, I spoke softly. “Maybe soon, that will be possible.”
“The council’s declared war.”
Her eyes snapped to mine, the smile fully gone. The room fell silent. I hadn’t hoped the others would hear me, but those Khimrox had an impeccable sense of hearing. I shouldn’t have expected any less from them.
All eyes turned to me. “The Aurum Alliance is a threat to humanity, the Khimrox, and all of the other scions that we haven’t even met yet. I think we both know this was inevitable”
“No, I get it, it's just… Wow.” The woman ran a hand through her black, tied-back hair as she heaved a sigh.
This facade dropped almost immediately and Nia’s mouth turned into a wonderfully devilish grin. After a few light chuckles, she said, “Better late than never I suppose. Those spineless sons-of-alien-bitches’ll never know what hit ‘em!”
The expressions on the faces of both Saffan and Tokieran showed no less resolve. Even the formerly jumpy physician proudly displayed a newfound sense of will. “The triumvirate operates under the expectation that we won’t fight back,” said Toki. “They see us as little more than animals and It's time we took full advantage of that fact.”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” remarked Saffan.
If these willing warriors were in any way representative of the entire Human-Khimroxian collective, the battle against these golden tyrants would be over before we knew it.
--- First Previous
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to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 17:29 docdoc5 RPDR Randomized Era 4: Season 10, Episode 3 (Tap that App)
| || | submitted by docdoc5 to RPDRfantasyseason [link] [comments]
The queens walk back into the werkroom after Honey's
talks about how clear it is that it can really be anyone who ends up in the bottom and that makes it even more important to always bring your A game.
The queens then all gather around and Honey's
mirror message as Orion
reads it to the group. Rock
talks about how she will really miss her hometown sister and that she knows that Honey
really wanted to be here. Robbie
mentions that all of them want to be here and that in order to stay they have to put up a fight. Kerri
then asks Orion
how she is feeling after falling into the bottom right after winning a challenge. Orion
talks about how it was a shock to her system to think that she could go home so quickly after coming out as the strongest in a challenge. She goes on to say that it really made her realize that no one is safe here.
In her confessional, Orion
talks about how she doesn't plan on going through that again and that she is going to really have to focus in these challenges.
The queens start to separate and go through their de-dragging processes. Rock
tears up as she talks with Jaymes
about how sad she is that Honey
was eliminated and that she knows that she is such a good drag queen and that she definitely had more to show and sadly had to get sent home. Jaymes
tries to convince her to just focus on her own place in the competition and to not get distracted because her opportunity could slip through her fingers.
THE NEXT DAY
The queens reenter the werkroom and talk about what they think will be coming their way.
In her confessional, Jade
talks about how the competition is progressing well for her and that all she can hope for in this next challenge is that there isn't another group or team aspect so that she can stand out on her own.
The queens all gather around the table and discuss the upcoming challenge. Monica
asks the queens what they think is coming their way this week. Kandy
jokingly responds by saying that whatever it is she will fight to win the challenge. Robbie
laughs and says that she will have to get past her. To which Kandy
plays along saying that it won't be too tough for her to do that. They then here the siren announcing their RuMail.
enters the werkroom.
tells the girls about the mini challenge. She explain that she will be holding a screen test for her new provocative RuPaul's Chocolate Bar
ad campaign. She tells the queens that they are young ingenues new to Hollywood that would do whatever it takes to land the gig. She then sends the queens to get into quick drag. One by one the queens all arrive for there provocative chocolate ads. As they perform Ru
makes them act crazier and crazier. After all the queens have performed Ru
announces that the winners of the mini challenge are...
- Jaymes Mansfield, Rock M Sakra
and Kerri Colby!
Following this, RuPaul
tells the queens about their next maxi challenge. She tells the queens that they will work in teams to help her to create an ad campaign to launch her new dating apps! Ru
tells them that they would be creating ads for the following dating aps:
- End of Days an app for doomsday preppers
- fibstr an app for pathological liars looking for a real connection
- Madam Buttrface an app for women who have a banging body...but her face.
She goes on to say that Jaymes, Rock
will be the team captains and will get to choose their teams. They choose their teams as follows:
Team Jaymes Jaymes Mansfield - Marcia Marcia Marcia - Jan - Jade Sotomayor
Team Rock Rock M Sakura - Robbie Turner - Orion Story - Elliott with 2 Ts
Team Kerri Kerri Colby - Kandy Muse - Monica Beverly Hillz - Akashia
looks annoyed by being left until the last choice as she walks over to join Kerri's
tells the groups which app they are designing for and goes on to say that they will have creative control over the script and their goal should be to make her tap that app!
then leaves the teams to start preparing for their performances.
PREPARATIONS FOR MAIN CHALLENGE
leaves the werkroom, the queens separate into their groups to begin working on their ad campaigns. We see Jaymes's
group sitting down to talk about their ad for End of Days. Jaymes
asks the group if they have any ideas for their ad. Jan, Marcia,
volley ideas off of one another whilst Jade
doesn't contribute as much to the conversation. Jaymes
attempts to throw to Jade
to see what she is thinking and what role she wants to play in the ad. Jade
mentions that she is fine with whatever they decide for her. Jan
gets a little frustrated and adds that she thinks that it's important that everyone feels good about the direction they are going with the ad because they will all be on the line if it fails.
In her confessional, Marcia
talks about how she can see the frustration Jan
is feeling since Jade
really isn't contributing to the group in any kind of meaningful way. She goes on to say that she isn't going to go down for Jade.
On the other side of the werkroom, we see Kerri's
group working together on their ad.
mentions how badly she wants to win this challenge but that it's clear that she and her team are really hitting a brick wall.
Kerri, Kandy, Monica,
are shown discussing ideas for their ad. There are moments where they all just blankly look at each other. Monica
jokes that she doesn't know how to be ugly so she doesn't know how to approach this challenge. Kerri
laughs at this and says that they need to all lean into what Akashia
laughs this off and says that she thinks that they should make sure that they make it funny and that she isn't sure that any of their ideas have been funny. Kandy
then asks her to come up with something funny that they can use to which Akashia
draws a blank.
The final group of Rock, Elliott, Robbie,
all try to come up with a premise for their ad. Robbie
mentions that they could have a lot of fun with this because they can make sure that the ad plays into everything not being what it seems.
mentions that so far in the competition she hasn't been getting the kind of attention that she wanted so she sees this challenge as an opportunity to change that.
As the group continues working, Robbie
takes more of a leadership role in the group coming up with most of their ideas. There are occasions when Rock
offers ideas but Robbie
cuts her off to insert her own ideas and it seems that both Orion
are following more of what Robbie
is saying even though she isn't the leader. This plays onto Rock's
face but she doesn't make it an issue with her entire group as they come up with their ideas.
The queens then arrive to set where they are met by their directors, Michelle Visage
and Carson Kressley! https://preview.redd.it/9xxazfgb4u3b1.jpg?width=2284&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3e11990771a284075f00f6d582e2ad6f42c3a42a
They work with Rock's
group first. As they work through their material, Robbie
continues to take control of things and talk over Rock
which makes Carson
ask the group who the team leader is. When they all say Rock, Michelle
then asks why it seems like Robbie
is the one in charge. Robbie
pipes up to mention that she came up with most of the ideas and that Rock
hadn't contributed as much to the direction of the ad as the other girls so that's why she is more vocal about how things are supposed to be staged. Rock
looks gagged about this and when Carson
then start taking notes Rock
tears up and mentions to Orion
how she feels like she was just thrown under the bus.
In her confessional, Rock
elaborates on how she feels that Robbie
really sold her up the river and made her look bad in front of the judges and how she can't believe that is the game the other girls are playing.
group is the next to go film their ad. Michelle
become a little frustrated with the group as it seems like there is no flow to their ideas. Michelle
even asks Kerri
if they had prepared anything. Kerri
tells her that they did have a concept, even though they didn't, and Carson
lets her know that they need to see it. As they continue to go through their material Kerri
starts getting a lot of great feedback from Carson
who love what she is doing. They also laugh a bit at Kandy
and Monica. Akashia,
however, keeps getting told that she isn't connecting and that her deliveries are flat. She then decides to change up her accent to be funnier but that doesn't translate either.
mentions that she has been working hard to prove that she should have been brought back to the competition a second time around and here Akashia
is likely dragging her team down to the bottom.
group is the final group to work with Carson
This team seems to work together much better than the other groups in that they have a clear concept and that each of them have moments in the spotlight. They respond really well to Jaymes
and even reference her to the other queens when they give them feedback. Marcia
also get positive feedback and only slight adjustments. Jade
is told that she could play bigger to especially match what the other queens are doing because they don't want her to fade into the background with the challenge.
In her confessional, Jan
mentions that she thinks her team really nailed it and that she can see the win going their way.
ON THE MAIN STAGE RuPaul
takes to the runway and welcomes everyone to the main stage and introduces the guest judges Nico Tortorella
and Courtney Love.
She explains that the queens were challenged to create ads for wacky new dating apps and on the runway the theme is... Feathers!
The queens all begin their runway presentation of their feather looks. Kerri, Jade, Monica,
have really strong looks for this category. Rock
really gags the judges with her black swan look as it is so different from her typical runway presentations. Elliott
both flop the runway category this week however.
announces that it's time to screen their commercials.
https://preview.redd.it/xlk299umiv3b1.png?width=962&format=png&auto=webp&s=b2835b3925869398f7bb3a9e7f2adc90ce0a0f1c Team Jaymes
is first. They do a great job of telling the story of finding love right before an asteroid hits. Jaymes
plays an astronomist that is the focal point of the app and is one of the comedic centers of their ad. Marcia
plays up a girl looking to lose her virginity before the catastrophe and also brings about some laughter. Jan
seems to go a little too over the top while Jade
doesn't seem to push far enough with her performance. Overall, they have a solid commercial.
They then watch Team Rock's
ad. Their ad see a group of women who have a history with catfishing and how they want to be able to live their multiple lives through the dating app. It culminates on them all ending up on a date with one another after they tell the tale of a different person, they still all end up making out. Robbie
really carries the ad while Rock
is barely memorable and Elliott
both come off a little strained.
https://preview.redd.it/xdcpi5g4jv3b1.png?width=896&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d38610473296ae45c2eceb6b7843058ac62e38e Team Kerri's
ad is the final ad watched. In their ad, Akashia
plays the spokesperson for the ad while Kerri, Kandy,
are all "success stories". Akashia
plays too seriously and it is strained and forced. There aren't many moments of humor from her characterization whereas Kerri
really leans into being ugly both in the look and even in physical comedy. Kandy
both are ok, though they are eclipsed by how funny Kerri
is throughout the ad.
tells the girls that they worked in teams but they will be judged individually. She goes on to say that Jaymes Mansfield, Kerri Colby,
and Robbie Turner
are the tops of the week. The three queens look excitedly at one another. She then goes on to say that Rock M Sakura, Elliott with 2 Ts,
are the bottom queens of the week. Following this she releases Kandy Muse, Monica Beverly Hillz, Orion Story, Jan, Jade Sotomayor
and Marcia Marcia Marcia
backstage to untuck.
The critiques then begin.
starts with Jaymes
and tells her that she absolutely loved her in her ad. She goes on to say that of all the groups she felt that she came out ahead as the strongest leader as her team worked well together and actually delivered a solid commercial. Courtney Love
tells her that she loves the character that she puts on and that she can tell that she is a funny queen and will be one to watch.
moves on to Rock
and tells her that she looks great on the runway and that she has such an imagination. He goes on to say that is what made it so strange to see her as a deer in headlights when they came to taping and that he found her to be the most ineffective leader of the three. He goes on to say that she should be happy that she had a teammate who even remotely came up with something for them to use because it could've crashed and burned. Courtney Love
tells her that she is surprised to learn that she was the leader of the team because she didn't really have a leading performance in the ad they just watched.
then talks to Robbie
and tells her she was the saving grace of her team. He goes on to say that it was quite awkward during taping when Robbie
announced that their team leader didn't pull their weight but that he still feels like Robbie
came up with material that should've worked and that she was the person in her team that really sold it. Nico Tortorella
agrees and adds that he thought her performance this week was one of the strongest and that she really stands out from the crowd.
then talks with Elliott
and tells her that she wasn't memorable at all. She goes on to say that they had the easiest way to make something really funny and that all the ideas were there but the execution on her part just wasn't as effective. Nico Tortorella
tells her that he didn't connect with her in the challenge and that would make it hard for a consumer to want to buy anything that you are marketing.
that she thinks she wasn't the strongest team leader because it was evident during rehearsals that there wasn't a solid concept coming into the challenge and that really falls on her. She goes on to say that she still found her performance to be incredibly funny in a way that is unexpected for Kerri
and for that she applauds her. Courtney Love
tells her that she is so beautiful to look at and that she thinks that juxtaposition really helped her to be really funny in the challenge.
ends the critiques with Akashia
and tells her he wanted to enjoy her performance but that she was tough to get through rehearsals and that the final product really showed that she just didn't connect with the challenge. Nico Tortorella
tells her she came across really flat and that there was so much opportunity to make it funny but that he feels she dropped the ball in that regard.
then sends the queens to the back while the judges deliberate.
- The queens return from untucking backstage.
then goes on to announce her decisions.
She announces that....
https://preview.redd.it/69li3wqy4u3b1.png?width=340&format=png&auto=webp&s=0909828fdfb8e069ec5397e17caf63395262d7dc Jaymes Mansfield
is the winner of the challenge!
celebrates winning her first challenge and talks about how she feels the judges have finally taken notice to her and she isn't going to let down Ru.
that they both did a great job as well and that all three queens can step to the back.
She then speaks to Jade, Akashia
She announces that Jade
is safe. She thanks the judges and walks to the back to join the other queens.
Elliott with 2 Ts
are in the bottom two and up for elimination. Both queens look determinedly towards the judges.
mentions that she knows Akashia
turns the party when she lip syncs but that she isn't one to be underestimated because she knows she can perform.
says that she can't believe she is up for elimination once again and that she will send Elliott
home just like she had to send the last girl home.
announces that the time has come for them to lip sync for their lives. They had to prepare a lip-sync performance to the song Celebrity Skin
Good luck and don't FUCK it up!
The lip-sync is...a strong one! Elliott
surprises the queens in the back with how she goes full tilt into her performance. Akashia,
as well, is really putting her all into the performance. Each queen really feeds off each other and performs with grit. As the song progresses, Akashia
loses her wig but continues to lip sync with it laying on the floor of the runway.
The lip sync ends and RuPaul
Elliott with 2 Ts...
shantay you stay
The queens clap for Akashia
as she departs the main stage and delivers her exit line.
11 Queens Remain...
ALL STARS 4 VOTING TO BEGIN LATER THIS SEASON
2023.06.04 17:13 WarLorD_1939 Need Help Choosing a Submarine Line
Hey fellow captains,
I'm in a bit of a dilemma and could use some advice from experienced players. I'm looking to dive into the submarines, but I'm having trouble deciding which line to choose.
First off, I've noticed that the German TX submarine is quite popular in the game. However, I've also heard that it has a notable weakness in the form of forward torpedo launchers only. I'm curious to know why the German submarines are still favored by many players despite this limitation. What advantages or strengths do they possess that make them worth considering?
Additionally, I'm curious about the US and British submarine lines. How do they compare to the German submarines in terms of overall performance and playstyle? Do they have any unique features or advantages that set them apart from their German counterparts? I'd appreciate any insights or personal experiences you may have with these submarine lines.
In summary, my questions are:
Despite the forward torpedo launchers, why are German submarines so popular in the game? What makes them competitive and attractive to players?
How do the US and British submarine lines stack up against the German submarines? Are there any distinct advantages or playstyle differences that should influence my decision?
I'm excited to hear your thoughts and recommendations! Thanks in advance for your help!
submitted by WarLorD_1939
to WorldOfWarships [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 16:13 WritingDrakon (EODAT Ch.5 REPOST) brewing legacies, and oversized weapons
(Hey everyone! Finally out of the shadow realm! Im reposting chapter five here as it got wiped last time, 6 is still percolating away in my head, but in the mean time, enjoy! Comments are appreciated!)
4-LOM rolled up to the holotable, the aging shipbuilder looking over the various fleet and division commanders.
4-LOM was an old Mk1 astro robot, his main body was a sphere, with four mechanical arms extending from his body, two large and bulky, and the other two smaller, more nimble and accurate, more dexterous, with a cylindrical lower body leading down to his treads, which were angular, tank like in shape, designed for heavy lifting. His head was flat, with a duo of square optics, a set of welding shields flipped up, ready to flip down when and where needed. His backpack was open, with tools sticking out, ready to be grabbed and used.
Looking around, he noted that the Saurians had their Admiral, a middle age Rox, their massive, tyrannasauric form still managing to tower over most of the others, even in holo, while Serano stood next to him. Nearby, Hota sat, nursing a coffee, rubbing his head, while one of the chief science officers hologram glanced at him nervously.
Another door entered, and a Mk12 frame entered, standing at the table. At first glance, the frame looked pristine, but 4-LOM wasn't fooled. He wasn't a shipwright for nothing, and he could see the pitting under the paint where plasma weaponry had uselessly splashed off, taking with it little layers of metal with it. Despite how new the frame looked, it was clear it had seen some action, recently as well, judging by the fresh coat of paint.
More holograms of fleet officials, and the bridges, or representations of their ships, flickered in above their shoulders. Serano looked like he had an old sailing ship floated there idly, a representation of the Enterprise. Some had wasps, while one captain had a cartoonish Barbus fish, with an old style white sailors cap and a belt of dynamite.
And then a small black hole flickered into view in front of his faceplate, making him roll back with a start. Getting a good look at the now pulsing black hole, he seemed to frown, one of his welding shields rising higher to simulate a eyebrow raise….. "Horizon? Is that you, little lass?" He said, with a thick, Scottish accent as his other shield rose up to join the other in shock.
The holographic black hole bobbed up and down in the air, two arms extending out from its corona and spun, as if to represent it, no, her, spinning in happiness. For a moment, 4-LOM was silent, before he began laughing, reaching up, even as his servo passed through the holo. "Ach, what I wouldn't give ta be in the Link with ye, lassie! I'm glad ye survived." He said, as the little ever hungry representation of the ship spun around him, before it shot off, floating near the Mk12, who looked at it.
The 12s head tilted more, as it listening to what the ship was saying, while 4-LOM felt a bit of possessiveness flair. Horizon was one of HIS creations, his and his wife's. Their ships were like children for them. Rolling over, he mentally began preparing a bit of what his wife would call the shovel talk, something they used to do with Captains that took on their vessels……
"Did you need something, Grandfather?" The machine said, domed head snapping to his, taking the wind out of his sails, and stare blankly at the taller, thinner machine.
Behind him, he heard Serano chuckle behind him, even as the Rox raised an eyeridge, while the Saline sat his mug down and placed his head in his hands.
"Grandfather- oh. I see…." He said, gaze turning flat as he gave a glare at Horizon. "I see the little gremlin is still able to make me short a fuse or two. Void knows Maria's hair turned white before she had to move bodies due to someone's antics." The little black hole pulsed sharply, as if squawking. "Would have appreciated a warning she made herself a captain…. Lassie, ye best be teaching him self preservation instincts." Catching the snort from the Rox and the sigh from Serano.
Slowly, his head turned around to face the two, one shield twitching, and finally saw Hota looking up with a flat look. "Too late on that one. I'll pass you the after action report later, AFTER the meeting." Serano said, hiding a smile. "If you want a first hand account, ask Hota. From what I understand, he had a front row seat for the Chaos the two caused."
She wasn't a little ship anymore, she wasnt- ah kriff it all. She was still his little lass. He'll talk with her later…preferably with Maria there…..after he grabbed his wrench and had a….. talk….. with whoever was their crew.
All the admirals and fleet commanders were soon in place, Asimov standing to the side, near the Admiral Serano, Horizons representation floating next to his head as his own panned about, looking at the assembled species. Several robotic ones, not Astro Robot series, called Glinch, looked at him curiously, while he picked out several different….Saurians, a few Roxes, several Trikes.
Several were pale, white skinned humans, bald, be they male or female. Clones, like himself, but with organic bodies, accompanied by nat-born humans, and several more advanced Astro Robot series units, these ones looking everything from near human, to large and bulky, armed with cannons, inbuilt missile launchers on their upper arms, and massive treads, or slimmer, almost skeletal ones with modules that could be swapped out at a moments notice.
"I appreciate ye all for coming on such short notice" 4-LOMs voice said, cutting over the gentle hubbub of the side conversations. "I had hoped that we wouldn't be facing them again, but here we are." The robot said as one of his smaller limbs tapes a command into the console, pulling up images of Everwatch stations current…condition. "Those of yeh from Federation space are more familar of the old stories, battle videos and the like. The Demons, as the Human Federation calls them, have been returned. It's only thanks to the work of Representative Hota that we have this information….. and had stumbled across an old Ace that had woken back up in time for this chaos." 4-LOM said, nodding to the Saline, getting the attention of his compatriots, who he shook his head to.
"Our opponents are equipped with biotech vessels, and are known for appropriating technology to forcibly integrate it with their own. Which means keep an eye out for a worse hodgepodge of weapons than a pirate vessel after its crew hits a pound of Spice and then gets drunk at a star port." 4-LOM said dryly, as various, old, images of the vessels and a few of the newer ones. "That being said, expect the sheer firepower jammed onto each of these ships to be on the higherside. However, they need long recharge periods, likely due to whatever power source used overloading, or the capacitor banks running dry and needing to recharge. Don't be fooled, they do have some form of biological armament, acid spitters, spike launchers, the works." He said, as images flicked up organic turrets, tentacles, and what looked like maws.
"As of right now, several of our larger vessels are being inspected and repaired, resupplied, and upgraded as needed. Several older vessels are being pulled out of mothball for the same reason. All civilian vessels are being drafted for emergency roles, receiving refit with hardware that will allow them to fight in a pinch, though their primary objective will be escorting transport ships and acting as emergency evacuation ships. We won't be expecting them to fight, but we need every ship we can get."
An image flickered into view of what amounted to the humans old museum of warships and deep space vessels, revealing it to be a hive of activity. Many other races had laughed at humanity for keeping their old vessels, rather than scrapping them, but now, now there was a reason why humanity had.
"Patrol fleets are to be at least one Saline Sensor ship, two to three Buckler class Trike Shield Bearers, one Rox Artillery ship, one Vohle capable human vessel, Two human PT ships, and three Raptor Swift claws." 4-LOM said, "these things aren't to be taken lightly. Sensors pick them up, call it in and engage. Stall for time if needed for reinforcements to arrive. Intercept fleets are to consist of five Trike Aegis class Shield Bearers, six Swift claws, one Rox supercarrier, three Rox artillery ships, two Saline Auxiliary ships, one Saline Medical cruiser, one Human Vohle Super-carrier, eight human PT ships, two Human Iowa class destroyers." The elderly bot belted out, making several Captains and admirals wince. Those weren't lightweight ships. The 'patrol' fleet could have been considered a planetary invasion force.
Before anyone could make any arguments or questions as to why the fleets were set to the Human classic of 'Maximum Overkill', and before any more ridiculous fleet deployments could be called out, a slightly panicking human sprinted into the room. "Sir! Confirmed hostile assault on Tisan-4" the human said, breathing heavily. "The Demons made planet fall, looks like a small invasion force that had left before the incursion field went up."
4-LOM stared….and then sighed. "Well, Caliburn had been itching for a fight." He sighed and placed a servo over his optics.
/-----------------------------------/ WARNING: Hostiles detected. Match confirmed; species D-65. Threat level:Apollyon. Combat systems:unlocked.
That was what appeared on the Colony Managers terminal as alarms screamed across the Colony, alerts screaming on PADDs, sirens spinning as bunkers opened up.
An aging Wargen bared his teeth as he rapidly tapped at his terminal, as the younger human clone stood grimly at her manager's terminal.
"Civilians are filling out the bunkers, tunneling charges are set and ready to clear escape routes." The elderly, wolf like Wargen said, his muzzle splitting into four as he spoke, one part vertical, the other horizontally. "Colonial militia are manning hard points and connecting to systems now."
"Understood." The Colony manager said and let out a long breath, before opening the PA system. "All hands, brace for Activation procedure. I repeat, all hands, brace for activation procedure." She said, before securing herself in on one of the chairs, even as the commander buckled himself in across from her, even as terminals all around them flickered and the building shuddered and shook, new lights came online all over.
"And the other races call our alliance insane for building the bunkers" The Wargen muttered under his breath as the command room became a flurry of activity, sensor teams working together in an attempt to get data on their opponents. "Our people are safe. That's what matters, commander." The clone said softly, looking at her long time friend, even as the hidden defense system of the Colony woke up.
Outside, the demonic army approached, on a slow, steady March, disgruntled at the lack of organics they had found to use. They needed biomass to fuel their war machine, to create their bases, their armies, their ships. And while they didn't care much about the sheer number of ships they lost during planet fall thanks to the orbital defenses, they needed to deal with the local defense computers. There had to be a way to broadcast an all clear signal and allow their other ships past.
Before them sat a large, fortified structure, looked like a massive cathedral, really. The irony was not lost on them as ports on the castle-like structure opened up, and began spitting metallic shells at them, exploding after punching through their infantry, leaving craters behind, destroying more of their forces.
The ground shook as their massive siege beast began forming from the splattered biomass, like some strange, oozing horror, slowly forming into a quadropodic creature.
The beast was mostly just a giant mouth in legs, with a long, worm like body lined with eyes, teeth, spikes, and tendrils, flinging said teeth at the structure.
Warlord Gistle ground his teeth as he stared at the cathedral as it held its own, his forces decimated by the attempted rain of metal. Said rain changed to one of scalding plasma as the castle changed tactics to try and burn the bodies to prevent them from forming additional, stronger units.
"Battle lord." Hissed one of the smaller battle chiefs said, as they stepped up next to Gistle. "The Seekers have not located where the miserable Frails have hidden themselves. Our efforts would be best put to entering the fortress ahead." The chief said, pointing at the massive fortress as the siege beast brushed off the weapons fire.
"No need, we will be inside soon en-" Came the guttural voice of the Warlord, before it was interrupted by a computerized voice, echoing out.
"THREAT ASSESSED. ASSUMING COMBAT MODE."
There was a rumble, everyone grabbing onto the stablest thing around them as the ground tore apart, the siege beast stumbling back, as the building tore up its own foundations as steam hissed out, and part of the building lifted up, and then slammed into the ground, and then the other side, slowly pulling itself up….and up…and up……
The structure wasn't a structure. Not any more. Towering over them, looking like a massive hunchback stood the cathedral, it's towers opening, revealing to be cowling around massive artillery cannons. It's arms, once covered with flat pillars, opened up to reveal a set rotating barrels, slowly spinning up, and a bulky duo of MAC batteries on the other arm. Sticking off the side of its upper arms were smaller hardpoints, each turret armed with four barrels, small and accurate, sniping ground units with horrifying accuracy, the soft metal shells ripping away to reveal their incendiary cargo held within steel mesh, allowing the coilguns to spit them out rapidly.
The head section looked like a sphere with three optics in a triangular formation, around a cannon that locked onto the siegebeast and whined, arcing brightly, before it fired, a bright flash seen as the cannon went off, it's round leaving behind a trail of fire as it raced through the air, punching through the beast, making it howl, and began trying to heal the injury that pierced it, ripping open a hole below it.
It's bipedal legs were thick, armored, and just as equally armed, it's lower legs armed with rotary cannons that spun, the lower pair foring a heavy stream of plasma, one barrel firing and then cooling as it spun, the others keeping the pace up, while above them, physical artillery was spat out, helping pierce armor for the plasma to scorch and burn to uselessness. More cannons sat on the sides and back of its legs in, taking aim at the surrounding armies, making sure to add on their screeches of rage.
Hanging off the underside of the platform that held the Cathederal sat more turrets, each swiveling around and adding to the chaos, their mini MAC armament chattering as they fired, picked a new target and fired again. On the top of the platform were AA cannons, taking aim and firing into the air, altering the timing of their rounds so that they acted as impromptu artillery, while more cannons, on four turrets, covered the monstrosities back, preventing them from sneaking up behind it, as if the cannons on the back of its legs weren't enough to cover it.
Warlord Gistle hissed in shock. The Frails had been LIVING in a Siege beast of their own!? Hidden partially underground, deceiving them to make it seem as if it was nothing more than a fortification!?
"Have all expendable units merge with our Siege beast, NOW! if the frails continue to pick our forces off one by one, they will never be able to reinforce our beast after they fall!" Gistle roared, even as around him the battle chiefs barked out the orders……..
The massive machine stared down at the hostile forces as they turned into a thick, biological slurry, short of the Demons themselves, and oozed towards the horror before it.
The monster seemed to absorb the substance on contact, growing larger and larger with each passing moment, howling and hissing.
He could feel his crew cursing in their heads, humans and otherwise, lighting the slurry up with plasmafire, burning some of it, but not enough. Caliburn agreed with them, as his Plasma getting cannon spun up, the five barrels glowing brightly, the heatsinks by the ends of the barrel glowing as the machine poured plasmafire from the barrels, searing into the beasts body, burning it up as it grew, stunting its growth heavily, and forcing it to consume more biomass to make heavy, chitenous armor, layers burning away under the assault.
Caliburn could feel the dust coming off as his gears spun, and he stepped forward, swinging the glowing arm as it cooled down, making the horror screech as he spun his upper body to add to the force of the blow, digging the glowing heating into the beast's face and knocking it back, buying time for his crew to deal with the horrific slurry around them, which still tried to fuse with the horror, chasing after it with a single minded determination.
As his upper body slowed down and he was facing forward again, he saw the beast setting up, snarling. His other arm came up, and he could feel his capacitors burning as he began firing his MAC arm at it, the massive, vehicle sized slugs punching into the beast, knocking it back farther, punching holes in the chitin it tried to grow as armor, making it hiss and move rapidly, trying to put distance between itself and the machine.
Unfortunately, the beast had the advantage in land speed, as it had four legs, while Caliburn only had two and lumbered slowly forward, his aging systems relishing the taste of combat after so long. And now he had far better weapons then a simple crane arm, like he had last time he fought a creature like this.
Because the beast had put distance between itself and him, it managed to absorb the last of the biomass, and began bounding forward, it's maw open, teeth spinning like some sort of Cuisinart….
A target he couldn't miss. His head cannon barked again, not as powerful as last time, but this time, he wasn't trying to rip it apart from the inside. The shell detonated on contact with the teeth, shredding them, tearing into the soft flesh within, making the beast howl and close its maw, it's chitin armor weathering the plasma splashing off, hardened to withstand the smaller weapons fire his crew spat at the creature.
His arms pulled their shrouding back around them, as he drew back and swung, hard, again using his body spinning to his advantage, striking the beast, the heavy weight of the heatsink and the weapon itself burying the shroud covered arm inside, the end opening up. Unfortunately, thanks to the partial shrouding, he wouldn't be able to spin his cannon, but all he needed was one shot inside it, and let it fly, ripping his arm out as it howled, smoke billowing from its new hole it tried rapidly to heal.
The tendrils it had tried to dig into his arm burned away as he kicked it up from below and began unloading both arms, fully unshrouded, the heat coming off both of them making steam hiss up into the air, as the beast took a heavy slug and then a plasma bolt, one after the other, deep into its stomach, sending it onto its back.
Loud popping sounds were heard as its limbs reoriented, allowing its former belly to become its back, the holes sealing slowly as it circled the walking cathedral, even as Caliburn scanned it, his upper body following its every movement. His command crew were breaking down every schematic and scan he gave them, working hard to figure out a way to kill the horror.
In the mean time, Caliburn and his crews would do their damndest to stall the beast and continue on their current plan. Burn it down, slowly.
He could feel his crews tracking the retreating demon forces, listening to the mental chatter within him as the artillery crews happily worked together to figure out their path, searching for the enemy command position, even as sensor crews watched as the rapidly approaching flood of biomass and machinery charged for them, some of the artillery crews already letting loose N-4 shells, the 'super-napalm', as the crews nicknamed them, impacting and exploding, burning into the biomass, unquenchable, even as the biomass attempted and failed to smother the burning substance, only serving to make it worse, melting the weaponry it carried with it.
The only reason why the crews could get away with it was because the biomass wasn't near the Bunkers exits or near infrastructure. Or Burnable items.
Command soon had a viable target, a sort of brain mass it had, separated throughout its body in a vain attempt to make sure it could still operate when a few of them were destroyed.
Several had been burned away by the plasma bolt going off inside of it, but many more remained, and it was attempting to make more/replace the burned away ones. They needed to eliminate the command signal….
Jubilation and grim satisfaction bloomed in his sensor and artillery crews, as he felt the mad scramble for bunker busting shells, before they were let loose into the air. Even as he blocked a tail strike from the beast and managed to crush its head under one foot, letting his landing engines ignite for the first time in decades to burn the creature more, his crews targeted the command bunker, shelling it with deadly accuracy, smoke rising from the hill they were tucked away behind in the distance, making Caliburn burn with satisfaction and praise for his crew.
Gistle ran as fast as his hooves could move him, teeth barred as he snarled.
Around him, their command temple shook and shuddered, veins bursting, cables arcing wildly as the biomass contracted involuntarily or simply sagged, turning to biomass.
"Warlord, they are heavily shelling our position, we won't be able to retreat at this rate!" Hissed one of the Battle Chiefs at his side, hissing in fear, even as he snarled at the Pitiful, compared to him, creature. "We won't be taking everyone, only the essentials. The Everlasting King must be notified of this development. King be damned, the frails took the time to prepare for our arrival again." He growled as he came out to a hanger area, and ran into a small, fast ship, even as the others ran into larger, bulkier, slower ships.
Soon, the chitin that served as the door opened, and they shot out, erratically flying, trying to avoid the artillery shells, and now AA fire joining the fray.
He kept close to his compatriots, using them as a living shield as he twisted the small vessel around, smirking as he dodged the fire while they took it..
They were almost to space, soon, they could tear a Gate and get the fleet-
Reality tore open above him as a massive ring shaped vessel pushed itself into real space, disgorging hundreds of smaller vessels, bearing down on their positions, others engaging the floating fleet around them with aggressive assault runs, the sudden appearance in the system allowing them to have the element of surprise.
Weapons fire began filling the space around f them, tearing at their vessels faster then they could repair them as little, frail vessels zipped in and out of line of fire faster then they could shoot, track, or react, unloading slugs, plasma, torpedoes in a flurry of activity before diving away, allowing their munitions to wreak havoc amongst them.
Already, the larger vessels were disabled before Gistle managed to sacrifice one, smirking as it warped, it's biomass fueling the Gate, as he flew through, hoping he was in friendlier territories, unaware of a sensor torpedo flying in behind him.
Down below, on the surface, Caliburn flung back his opponent again, arms blazing as he shelled it.
It was bigger then it had been, managing to absorb the biomass from the surviving landing ships and the remains of the command center they shelled out. It's armor was thicker, and was flinging out dozens, hundreds of calcium spikes, spitting its unknown energy weapons, only to splash off his shields, for the energy weapons, and his ar.or foe the calcium spikes, even as his weapons screeched.
The beast had holes all over its chitenous armor, from his shells punching in, or his artillery crews shelling the beast, his plasma following close behind as he sought to burn the creature out from the inside, going so far as to ram his plasma cannon inside and unload it, the rotating barrels helping tear it up from the inside as the heat sinks burned it.
Ships began dropping down from above, doing strafing runs, dropping smaller caliber explosives, distracting the beast as he tore another hole in it by spinning his upper body, one shrouded cannon arm striking the beast and ripping in, just as a gunship fired a Cleaner into it, just before it healed.
A burning flash of light, a horrific scream from the beast as it howled, body jerking as the explosive did its job…. Before it swung down, still alive, though just barely, it's armor shattering rather then buckling on the next strike from Caliburn, a facsimile of a uppercut, before the barrels let loose again, even as the plasma cannon dumped bolt after bolt into its lower body, searching for, burning the neural clusters as he found them.
The beast wrenched itself away from his grasp, snarling as it looked at him, the beast snarling as it tried to heal from the most recent injuries.
Caliburn felt his crew snarling back, his cannons swiveling around as they gave their response in munitions as he lumbered forward, the ground shaking from his steps and the escape ships erupting out of the ground around them, his rotary cannon screaming as it fired, the MAC on the other arm barking as he hit it again and again as it charged forward.
The beast no longer cared for its injuries, all it cared was to take the metal monster before it down, spitting acid out of it as it tried, and failed, to blind the machine, even as said machine swung its smoldering plasma cannon up and brought down the burning barrels down on its head, smashing it into the ground, pinning it there as it's crew continued shelling it out ruthlessly.
Caliburn refused to let the beast survive, he refused to let the thing get to the civilians. His crew snarled their agreement as the beast tore the pinned head off its body, even as it burned away to nothing, and tried to charge again, blindly, only to smash against the MAC arm and receive a pair of heavy slugs to the neck stump for its troubles, sending it somersaulting back, trying to reform its head.
It was much, much smaller now, now matching Caliburns size, due to all the biomass loss, it's head reforming as it snarled.
Caliburn seemed to roll his pauldrons and twitched his MAC, as if saying 'come at me'. The beast howled and charged forward, razor sharp tentacles erupting from its sides, whipping about wildly, only for turret crews to blast the tentacles off at the base, and for his artillery crews to shell it down from above, flattening it into the ground again with explosive shells.
Again, the beast began pulling itself out of the ground, only for another strafing run from aircraft , this time dropping standard napalm canisters onto the beast, making it howl as it healed around the canisters, and began burning from within.
It thrashed and writhed, tail and body whipping about, even as Caliburn kept firing, not letting up, shells puncturing the chitin bubble it was trying to form around the napalm to contain it, keeping it burning into the beasts body.
At last, the beast tried to fling itself at Caliburn, thinking that it could at least burn out the mechanical monster with it, only for Caliburn to swing and strike it, flinging it away again, the beasts body unable to get back up, and laid there, slowly burning away at last……………
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2023.06.04 15:58 Lindsey1151 TIFU by thinking i'm 100 percent immune to motion sickness.
So last month we went on a cruise and people were asking if I was going to take any motion sickness medication and I said no because I never get motion sickness on airplanes, cars, or small boats. Well the day of the cruise comes and we board. As we are sailing away the captain comes on saying weather conditions were going to be rough. A hour later the boat starts bouncing, partying and rocking and I start walking sideways like I was drunk. Welp the next moment I start having nausea and i'm like oh shit it's messing up with my vestibular system. I go to my parents and let them know I was not feeling well so they give me bonine and the oil behind my ear. Nope didn't work and ended up throwing up in the toilet. I start to feel a bit better but as we were getting ready to go to the MDR for dinner I started not to feel well again and thought eating dinner will help. But during dinner I struggled to eat my appetizer and ended up throwing up at the table. Thankfully in the barf bag. I go throw it out and come back but still couldn't eat so went back to the room. After dinner my mom gives me the Scopolamine patch which thankfully worked after a short nap. The rest of the cruise was adventurous and memorable. TLDR: I thought I was 100 percent immune to motion sickness but ended up throwing up at the MDR table due to motion sickness.
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2023.06.04 15:34 ARSENAL_DAILYNEWS Arsenal 2022/23 Season Review.
Arsenal 22/23 A Season Review Part 1 Of 3: August-World Cup: A Stunning Start.
The 2022/23 season is Mikel Arteta’s 3rd full campaign in charge of Arsenal and as well the 3rd of his managerial career. His 1st game in the hot seat came on Boxing Day of 2019, a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth which saw Arsenal drop down a place to 12th in the table. Just a few months into his reign and Arteta was the first high-profile figure in English Football to be diagnosed with Covid-19, the virus which drew the Premier League to a standstill for 3 months and the wider world for a much longer time. It was to empty stadiums which Arsenal played out the remainder of their season which eventually concluded on the 1st of August. An 8th-placed finish was the club’s lowest since 1995. However, there was joy to be found as there so often has been for Arsenal, in the FA Cup. In the one and only Covid FA Cup Final played in front of no spectators Arsenal came from behind to defeat London rivals Chelsea for their record-extending 14th FA Cup, after reaching the final with an unlikely triumph over Manchester City in the semis. Arteta’s first half-season had ended brilliantly and his first full-season started in the same vein with more silverware following as Arsenal defeated Premier League Champions Liverpool to win the Community Shield. Tough times quickly followed and Arteta
may have been somewhat grateful for the empty stadiums, as it’s questionable whether the board would have held their nerve and kept faith with such a young manager through this dreadful period had the fans been inside the ground and able to voice their frustrations. On Boxing Day of 2020, not only did Mikel celebrate the 1 year anniversary of his first match in charge, he celebrated a 3-1 victory over Chelsea, his side's first league win for nearly 2 months. It was the first time Saka, Martinelli & Smith Rowe all started a league game together for Arsenal. It was to prove a seminal moment, but it wasn’t enough to move his team up from 15th in the table. It was never so bad again for Arteta and his Arsenal team, with the side eventually settling for a repeat of the previous season’s finish, again coming in 8th. Failure to win the Europa League (exiting the competition to Villarreal in the Semi-Finals, who were incidentally managed by Unai Emery, the manager sacked prior to Arteta taking the job) meant that Arsenal would be without European football for the first time since the 95-96 campaign. And the 21-22 season would begin horribly with Arsenal bottom after 3 matches in which they failed to score and conceded 9 goals. However as the season progressed Arsenal began to find some resilience, quality and self-belief. The sides upheaval came not coincidentally around the time club captain Aubameyang was stripped of that duty before being allowed to depart for Barcelona in the January window. Aubameyang had been the team’s standout performer when winning the FA Cup, but since those performances had seen him rewarded with a new bumper contract which made him by far the club’s best-paid player, his attitude and performance level had become a problem that needed to be dealt with.
More so than any win, it was actually a home defeat to Champions City which perhaps best demonstrated this new Arsenal which was beginning to emerge. They took City on and pushed them all the way only to eventually lose in the 93rd minute, whilst being a man down for the final half-hour with centre-back Gabriel being harshly dismissed. The fight was on with local rivals Tottenham for the final Champions League spot and it was firmly in Arsenal’s hands until a run of 4 defeats in 5 allowed Spurs back into contention. The Gunners appeared to retake control with a run of 4 straight wins before losing tamely away at Spurs and then Newcastle, in the end missing out by 2 points. Throughout the season Arsenal had spells of real high-quality football, and the fans had taken to the project with more passion and belief than they had in the final years of Wenger’s reign or during Unai Emery’s short-lived stint. In the end, though they missed out on the prize of Champions League football due to a combination of injuries to important players and the inexperience of a young group.
Despite the significant setback of missing out on a Champions League spot having held it in their hands for many of the season’s final months, Arsenal still entered the summer of 2022 with plenty of reasons for optimism. Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe had emerged as the real breakout stars of the prior season and Gabriel Martinelli wasn’t too far behind. There had been some clearly smart signings made by the club, in particular, those of Martin Ødegaard and Ben White, signed from Real Madrid and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively. The July purchases of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko for a combined 75M from Manchester City seemed yet more smart business, in them, they had picked up two quality players with four Premier League winners medals each, and both arriving aged 25 they seemed in the perfect age bracket to become big players for Arsenal not just for the immediate but as well the foreseeable future.
Jesus’ Arsenal debut came in a 5-3 friendly win over FC Nurnberg in which he scored twice. He followed this up with another in a 2-0 win over Everton as Arsenal continued their pre-season with a tour of the USA. Arsenal played 3 matches in America and won all 3, by far the most impressive being a 4-0 trouncing of Chelsea. The Gunners made it 5 pre-season wins from 5 when they returned home the following weekend to beat Sevilla 6-0 at the Emirates, a hattrick from Jesus meaning he had netted 7 goals in his first 5 appearances in Arsenal colours. Arsenal would get the Premier League season underway away at Crystal Palace, under the Friday night lights of Selhurst Park. No Premier League side would have envied them this difficult fixture, Arsenal had experienced just how tough it was 4 months prior when a 3-0 loss away at the ground began a torrid run of results for the Gunners. Arsenal had also begun the previous season away on a Friday night and come unstuck against newly promoted Brentford. Again Arsenal was straight back under the Premier League spotlight to see whether they had grown and matured from such damaging defeats last season. The Arsenal quickly proved they were up to the test, starting right on the front foot and keeping Palace penned back in their own third. Jesus immediately highlighted the new dimension he was going to bring to Arsenal’s attack, when his strength and then neat dribbling fashioned a great chance out of nothing, a chance Martinelli should have done much better with, his side-foot finish going the wrong side of the post with the goal gaping. The Brazilian would make up for it in the 20th minute when a corner was headed into the six-yard box by Zinchenko, who was picked out by Saka to deliver a free header. His head found Martinelli’s and from close range, he was able to notch Arsenal’s first of the league campaign. That was to be the only goal in the game for the next hour, but despite Arsenal’s slender lead they rarely looked in danger of being pegged back. On the instances that keeper Aaron Ramsdale was called into action, he was ready and dealt with Palace’s occasional threats soundly. The game was put beyond Crystal Palace in the 85th minute when Bukayo Saka’s dangerous ball across the six-yard box was headed into his own net by Guehi. This made certain of 3 richly deserved points for the Gunners.
Jamie Carragher for one was particularly impressed with the start Arsenal made to the game saying afterwards: “Arsenal played like a big team. When I say a big team, I’m talking about a Man City or Liverpool, a team who wherever they go, dominate the opposition. I felt like we were watching City or Liverpool in that first 20 minutes, half an hour.” Fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville was more impressed with Arsenal in the second half saying: “The question mark about Arsenal will be whether they’ve got that robustness and resilience, physicality to get through that difficult 15 or 20 minute periods in away matches, and they got through that (tonight) and that impressed me.” Saliba was also singled out for praise with Carragher adding: “He looked the real deal. He adds something, we’ve always felt they were weak, at Brentford last season they got bullied and here last season, his physical stature will certainly help them in tough away games.”
Arsenal’s first home league game of the season was against Leicester City. The opening goal began with Jesus tormenting Johnny Evans tight to the touchline, after beating him he fed Martinelli who was able to get into the penalty area and find Xhaka, the Swiss international touched it first time back into Jesus who took a touch to steady himself then teased it over the head of Ward in the Leicester goal and into the net. It was an angle he had no right to try from, let alone score from but such was the Brazilian forwards confidence in front of the goal he fancied his chances from anywhere. The goal was nominated for Premier League goal of the month. Jesus got his second to double Arsenal’s advantage in the 35th minute, this time in a much simpler fashion. A corner across the six-yard box was not dealt with, a Leicester head on it only sped up its path to Jesus who was waiting to nod home from practically on the goal line.
Later in the first half, Leicester thought they had a way back into the game when referee Darren England pointed to the spot having judged Ramsdale to have brought down Jamie Vardy. However VAR advised him to check the monitor, and after re-watching the incident it was clear there was no contact made and the penalty decision was reversed. Leicester did still manage to half their deficit early in the second half though, a long ball was flicked on leaving Saliba in a difficult situation to deal with. Ramsdale was advancing but wouldn’t get there first and Vardy was waiting on the French defender’s shoulder, leaving him no alternative but to try and head the ball clear whilst facing his own goal. He only succeeded in diverting it into the net. This could have been a moment when the Arsenal crowd got nervous and frustrated. They had allowed a soft goal and their youngest defender was at fault. However the crowd immediately rallied behind Saliba and his teammates, he and the team needed help putting that mistake behind them and the crowd’s noise in the aftermath of conceding will have been reassuring to the players.
Demonstrating this, Arsenal went straight up the other end and scored, Ward made a meal of a cross, dropping it at the feet of Jesus who squared for Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder was being deployed in a new, more adventurous role where he was spending more time in the opposition box, he got his reward for this new tactic with a simple tap-in from right in front of the goal. Leicester would again reduce the home team’s lead to one however when Iheanacho found Maddison, who was able to shoot straight through Ramsdale. The young English keeper will have been disappointed at being so easily beaten from such an angle, his wide-open legs presenting the opportunity to the Leicester midfielder. Again Arsenal immediately responded to the setback by going up the other end and scoring again. This move began with Martinelli winning the ball back and feeding Ødegaard who moved the ball on to Jesus, who carried it forward before finding Martinelli who shot low from outside the box, he beat the outstretched Ward and hit the bottom corner, with the ball hitting the inside of the post on its way in. It had been a good day at the office for Arsenal and a great day for Gabriel Jesus, though despite scoring 2 and assisting the other 2 of Arsenal’s 4 goals, according to his manager Jesus left the field disappointed because: “he thinks he should have scored 4, that’s the sort of mentality you need. I wouldn’t like to play against him. He’s so mobile, intuitive, sharp and proactive in any moment or phase of the game.”
Arsenal next travelled to newly promoted Bournemouth. It took The Gunners just 5 minutes to take the lead and again it came from the phenomenal centre-forward play of Gabriel Jesus. A loose touch from White saw the ball launch high into the air, the Brazilian reacted first, beautifully controlling the ball whilst at the same time using his considerable body strength to hold off the Bournemouth midfielder, with exceptional balance he then dribbled around two other Bournemouth shirts until he was on the edge of the box facing their defence, with a lovely disguised pass he then fed Martinelli who was free to his left, his shot was saved but it fell straight at the feet of new captain Martin Ødegaard who was on hand to notch his first of the season. Rightfully though the praise went to Jesus with commentator Alan Smith saying: “You won’t see a better example of centre forward play than this.”
Ødegaard had to wait just 6 more minutes for his second of the season, a cross along the floor from White found Jesus who was free, his first touch wasn’t the best but it allowed it to set up nicely for the Norwegian to strike first time, which he duly did and the ball flashed into the net. Early in the second half and Arsenal had a third goal, with Xhaka setting it back to Saliba just inside the penalty area. Saliba struck it beautifully the first time, keeping his shot down under the bar and too perfectly placed for the keeper to do anything about. It was just Saliba’s second goal in senior football but he had finished it with the class and composure of a player who had scored 200. The strike drew Zinchenko to his knees, clutching his head in disbelief at the quality of the finish and unsurprisingly it was voted as Arsenal’s goal of the month. Jesus thought he’d netted Arsenal’s 4th but a VAR check ruled the goal out for offside, so the North Londoners had to settle for a 3-0 win in what had been an excellent away performance.
The Arsenal faced more newly promoted opposition the following week, this time back at home against Fulham for Arteta’s 100th Premier League game in charge. They would be without Zinchenko and Partey who had picked up injuries and were replaced by Tierney and Elneny respectively. The best chance of the first half went to Saka who got beyond his marker to face Leno one-against one, but he was unable to beat the keeper. It would be Fulham who took the lead however with Arsenal falling behind for the first time in the season. From the full-back position, Saka flighted a ball into Gabriel, who unnecessarily played himself into trouble. He never seemed to have the ball truly under his spell, and his second touch invited Mitrovic to try and take it off him, the defender then got his body positioning wrong, and failed to protect the ball allowing the forward to nick it from behind him and then the Serb was able to keep his composure and finish past Ramsdale.
Fulham’s lead lasted just 8 minutes, Martin Ødegaard lodging Arsenal’s response. There was a degree of good fortune about the goal, with a big deflection on the strike. But there was no doubt the Norwegian had deserved it, he was having an outstanding game with all of Arsenal’s danger coming through him. He was constantly creating, with inventive passes and dribbling runs. In this instance, a clever stepover had bought him the space for the shot. Ødegaard continued to lead Arsenal’s push for a winner with he, in particular, deserving to be on the winning side, and the winner did come though not until the 86th minute. Leno failed to deal with a corner, missing his attempted punch clearance and the ball fell at the feet of Gabriel who was able to gain the perfect redemption for his earlier error by securing all 3 points for his side. The goal kept Arsenal at the top of the Premier League as they remained the only team with a 100% record.
Arsenal finished August with another home game, facing Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa. This presented Arsenal with a chance to win their opening 5 league games for the first time since 2004. Saka passed up a golden opportunity to give Arsenal the ideal start when Martinelli’s cross found him completely free at the back post, it was set up perfectly for Saka to hit on the volley, which he did but he got too under the ball and lifted it horribly high and wide from inside the six-yard box. An Arsenal opening goal felt inevitable however and it came on the half-hour mark when Emi Martinez could only push out an Xhaka shot as far as Gabriel Jesus, who was on hand to punish him. Martinez did go someway to redeeming himself later in the half with an excellent stop to deny a brilliant half-volley from Martinelli from 25 yards out.
Arsenal dominated the first half and continued their domination in the second but could not increase their advantage, it was instead Aston Villa who got the second goal of the game, in a somewhat controversial fashion. A corner from Douglas Luiz went straight into the net with Ramsdale unable to reach the ball due to his path being completely blocked by Kamara, who also limited the keepers’ movement by having both arms wrapped around his back. The goal stood but Arsenal cancelled it out in their own way, by going straight up the Villa end and retaking the lead. Saka coolly picked out Martinelli who struck it the first time on the half volley, Martinez clawed desperately at the ball but could not prevent it from going over his goal line and The Gunners were able to see the victory out. Arsenal’s player of the month was unsurprisingly Gabriel Jesus with 3 goals and 3 assists in 5 games. Arsenal’s maximum points after 5 games saw Mikel Arteta pick up Premier League manager of the month.
Arsenal started September with a chance to go 4 points clear of City in 2nd, after just six games. Standing in their way was Manchester United who would be hosting the Gunners at Old Trafford, a ground Arsenal had only won at once in the league since 2006, that one as well being without fans during the Covid season. Arsenal was boosted by the return of Zinchenko but had to start with their 3rd choice midfielder Sambi Lokonga for the Partey role after Elneny had followed the Ghanaian onto the treatment table. Regardless of the blow, Arsenal appeared to have made the ideal start when Saka threaded the needle and put Martinelli clean through on goal. The Brazilian finished brilliantly to give Arsenal the lead, but VAR advised the referee to have a look at a potential foul in the build-up. On review, the referee judged Ødegaard to have won the ball from Eriksen unfairly and chalked the goal off. The intervention made by Lee Mason on VAR was later judged by a Premier League review to be an incorrect one, the minimal contact not penalised in real-time by the ref was judged not to be a clear or obvious error. The review came too little and too late as far as Arsenal were concerned as they’d lost their lead and instead found themselves trailing at half-time after a good move from United culminated in a debut goal for Antony who finished past Ramsdale.
VAR’s intervention in the Arsenal goal was always likely to prove a vital one as remarkably United had not lost at Old Trafford when leading at half-time since 1984. This showed the size of Arsenal’s task going into the second half, but they continued to probe and ask questions of United and they got their equaliser on the hour mark when the ball broke to Saka in the penalty area after Ødegaard had looked to thread one through to Jesus. United dealt with that immediate threat but could only clear as far as Saka who slotted through the legs of Martinez for his first of the season. Arsenal looked to be in the ascendancy, but they were only level for 6 minutes. Overcommitting bodies forward left them without a midfield and after winning it back United was able to counter-attack with Bruno Fernandes who looked and found Rashford in behind the defence and he put United back in front. Arteta reacted immediately by looking to chase the game, giving a debut to summer recruit Fabio Vieira. The changes appeared to backfire however as Arsenal were left with even fewer defensive bodies on the field and in the 75th minute they were cut through once more, with Eriksen and Rashford both left in acres of space as United hit Arsenal once more on the counter-attack. It was a horrible goal for Arsenal to concede, it reminded of the worst years of Wenger with everyone so committed to attacking they had no thought for defending. Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season going down 3-1.
There were some positives to take in how confidently and capably they had passed the ball around, however, United had defended their penalty area very well and counter-attacked effectively. The frustration for Arsenal was how they had helped them in that regard, by leaving key areas of the midfield devoid of players. Partey had been very badly missed, and to a lesser extent so had Elneny whose defensive intelligence would not have seen him vacate his position as often as Lokonga did. The third goal conceded was perhaps the responsibility of Arteta who had gone all out attack mode too early, given the counter-attacking success United were already enjoying.
Arsenal got the chance to put the defeat behind them 4 days later when they began their Europa League campaign. They were placed in Group A alongside PSV Eindhoven, Bodo/Glimt and FC Zurich, and would kick off against the latter away in Switzerland. Summer signings Matt Turner and Marquinhos made their competitive debuts, and Vieira would make his full debut. Arsenal did some counterattacking of their own in the 16th minute when Vieira found Nketiah who travelled down the wing before playing a great ball across the box which found Marquinhos who expertly finished the first time into the top corner. The hosts equalised on the verge of half-time however when Nketiah was judged to have committed an offence in his own penalty box. The death of the Queen being announced during the first half led to the unusual circumstance of a minute’s silence taking place before the second half. When it did kick off, Arsenal regained the lead in the 62nd minute through Nketiah who was found with a delightful ball by Marquinhos who had made a fine debut. That’s how the score remained. Arsenal would not be in Premier League action that weekend, with their home game against Everton being postponed due to the Queen’s passing. Also delayed was their home game against PSV the following week, so the team were not back in action until 10 days after the Zurich game when they travelled to Brentford.
Arsenal dominated the games opening and took a deserved lead in the 17th minute when Saliba’s header from a corner struck the inside of the post on its way over the line. Just shy of the half-hour mark and Arsenal had their second, again with a header, this time it was Gabriel Jesus who rose to meet Xhaka’s perfectly placed ball. The Gunners then got the ideal start to the second half, when Vieira, making his first start in the Premier League in place of the unavailable Ødegaard, struck a beauty out of nowhere from well outside the box for Arsenal’s September goal of the month. Arsenal was in cruise control, always looking like the more likely team to score whilst barely giving Brentford sight of their goal. In the final minutes, Ethan Nwaneri came on for his Arsenal debut, aged 15 years and 181 days he became the youngest player to ever appear in the Premier League. After the match, Brentford Manager Thomas Frank was one of the first to tip Arsenal for a title challenge saying: “I think they will do brilliantly. I think they compete for the title now.” Xhaka was the resounding winner of Arsenal player of the month picking up 83% of the votes. A once deeply unpopular player, his turnaround best exemplified the strides in the right direction Arsenal were taking.
After the international break, Arsenal returned to action in the North London Derby against hated rivals Tottenham. Arsenal went into the fixture just one point above their opponents. Spurs were content to let Arsenal have possession whilst aiming to contain them and spring counterattacks. They kept Arsenal at bay until the 20th minute when Thomas Partey shot from over 20 yards out and hit it so perfectly that Lloris couldn’t get so much as a fingertip to it, the ball flew past him into the net for Arsenal’s goal of the month. Spurs responded in the 31st minute however after a good counterattack between the front three of Kane, Son and Richarlison saw the latter presented with a chance to cross from inside the penalty area and Arsenal did not effectively deal with the situation, a loose touch from Xhaka put his side back in trouble and Gabriel was panicked into conceding a penalty. Kane stepped up and of course, scored for the 7th time from the spot against Arsenal. This sent the sides in at the break-level pegging.
Arsenal regained the upper hand early in the second half after a shot by Saka was spilt by Lloris to his centre-half Romero who, under pressure from Jesus, looked to return it to the French keeper. Lloris missed the ball, it travelled under his body and then Jesus reacted first to poach it home. Spurs hopes of drawing level for a second time were damaged when Emerson Royal was shown a straight red card in the 62nd minute for a stupid and unnecessarily bad tackle on Martinelli. Arsenal quickly punished this ill discipline getting their third 5 minutes afterwards, with Granit Xhaka rifling past Lloris. At this stage Conte retreated to avoid a hammering, he accepted defeat and took off his offensive players, bringing on defenders to ensure the score line didn’t get embarrassing and Arsenal saw out a comfortable 3-1 derby win. Arsenal next returned to Europa League action putting Bodo/Glimt to the sword with a 3-0 win, goals coming from Nketiah, Holding and Vieira, the latter after brilliant footwork in the box from substitute Jesus.
Next up for Arsenal was another tough test at home against Liverpool. With a win, Arsenal would return to the top of the Premier League. Arsenal had faced Liverpool 4 times the previous season, failing to win any, losing 3 times including twice at home. They had also failed to even score against Liverpool in their last 6 meetings with them, but they needed just 58 seconds on this day, with Saka finding Ødegaard, whose ball between Van Dijk and Alexander Arnold put in Martinelli who finished beyond Alisson. Liverpool recovered well from the nightmare start however and was the better team from that point until they got their deserved equaliser in the 34th minute through Darwin Nunez. It was Arsenal however who went into half-time with the lead when Martinelli led a brilliant counter-attack from a Liverpool set piece, finally taking out both Arnold and Henderson by cutting inside and finding an unmarked Saka who slid in to put his team back in the ascendancy.
Again Liverpool responded well, equalising for a second time early in the second half through Roberto Firmino. From that point on though Arsenal found another level, they searched feverishly for a winning goal, looking to pass Liverpool to death and calving many openings. The noise inside the Emirates had reached deafening decibels as the fans urged their team on. The golden chance came with just under 15 minutes to go when Thiago was judged to have caught the back of Jesus’s foot inside the penalty area, having been beaten to the ball by the striker. Saka stepped up and held his nerve, confidently dispatching an excellent spot kick. Arsenal held out for what was in the end a deserved win after an excellent second-half display. In a decision that had raised a few eyebrows, Tomiyasu had been drafted in for a first league start of the season to go into an unfamiliar left-back position, the move paid dividends as the Japanese international had a fine game up against Mo Salah. The result put Arsenal 14 clear of Liverpool who had endured a dreadful start to the season. “These are broad shoulders, this is courage. A sporting moment in time. Bukayo Saka.. Such poise! such noise!” – Peter Drury as Saka beats Alisson Becker from the penalty spot
Four days later Arsenal made it 3 wins from 3 in the Europa, with an away win in Norway on the artificial pitch of Bodo/Glimt. A sole goal from Bukayo Saka was enough after he got on the end of a one-two with Lokonga. His initial shot was blocked by a defender but the ball then deflected in after coming back off the Arsenal winger. Bodo calved out many good chances for themselves but was let down by woeful finishing, squandering chance after chance by blazing high and wide of the target. Arsenal then returned to Premier League action at Elland Road against Leeds, though 40 minutes behind schedule after a power outage just after the game had initially kicked off caused the game to need restarting once power had returned.
Again Saka was the only man to get himself on the scoresheet, his goal coming after Jesus had passed up a golden chance to open the scoring failing to hit the net from close range after Ødegaard had found him with a backheeled flick. Jesus attempted to lift the ball over the keeper, but he lifted it too high and it ended up over the crossbar. Arsenal did not let Leeds off a second time however and punished them after a sloppy cross-field pass from Leeds midfielder Rodrigo only found Saka who headed it into Ødegaard’s path. Ødegaard’s return pass then asked a lot of the winger, but his speed allowed him to reach the ball first. Saka was faced with a tight angle, but it didn’t phase him one bit and he picked out the top corner hitting it high into the roof of the Leeds net.
The second half was full of drama, first when Bamford thought he’d equalised but was instead penalised for a foul on Gabriel. The Leeds striker received a second chance though when Saliba was found guilty of a handball in the box after the referee had checked the monitor. Ramsdale guessed correctly in his dive, but in the end, he wasn’t required as Bamford’s penalty went wide of the post. Arsenal continued to suffer in the second half, struggling to cope with the Leeds onslaught and maintain their slender advantage. Through fatigue and pressure from the home side, Arsenal had lost all ability to pass the ball and could do little else but stay in their own half and try to defend. Ramsdale proved his worth to this Arsenal side with his best performance of the season to date, right when his team needed him most. It appeared as though Arsenal had got the job done when crazily they conceded a second penalty of the half in additional time. Patrick Bamford was nowhere near the ball which was safely back with Ramsdale when Gabriel was penalised for a kick out in the box on the Leeds forward. As well as a penalty, the Brazilian centre-back was also dismissed. However on a VAR review, it was clear that Bamford had fouled Gabriel first, barging him to the floor, so rightfully the decision was reversed and Gabriel’s red card was rescinded. Arsenal held on to a win they’d scarcely deserved and it proved an even bigger win later that day when City lost at Anfield meaning The Gunners stayed 4 points clear after 10 games.
The following Thursday Arsenal were back in action in the Europa League. They were originally scheduled to host Manchester City in the league that mid-week, but the Queens’ death led to the postponement of Arsenal’s fixture with PSV, and it was re-arranged to this game week. Arsenal battered their Dutch visitors, in the end mustering 25 shots to Eindhoven’s 4. As was often the case Saka and Jesus were the standout performers. The young English winger was unstoppable in his direct dribbling runs, unstoppable that is without resorting to fouling, which PSV defenders did time and time again after being skinned by Saka’s great ball control when running at speed. Jesus was similarly dangerous, doing his usual thing of fashioning chances out of nowhere with his quick thinking and somehow even quicker feet. In the end, though the deadlock was broken by Xhaka in the 70th minute when Tomiyasu found him in space 15 yards from the goal. He hit the shot down into the ground and it bobbled just at the right time to go under the keeper and past him.
Next Arsenal travelled to struggling Southampton looking to make it 9 straight wins across the Premier League and Europa. They started fast, and when Xhaka finished off White’s cross with a brilliant volley into the back of the net in the 11th minute, it looked like it would be a case of how many, as it wasn’t the first good chance Arsenal had created. For the first 20 minutes, Southampton couldn’t get out of their own half, Ødegaard cleverly found Jesus with a lifted return pass but his volley was straight at Bazunu in the Saints goal. Jesus was in again after a long ball flighted over the head of Caleta-Car putting the Brazilian clean through until the defender dragged him back using both arms. There seemed to be enough contact for 3 separate penalties in there, but unbelievably the referee Robert Jones didn’t point to the spot and nor did VAR intervene. One of the most inexplicable decisions of the season, and that’s saying something, meant that Arsenal went in at the break only a single goal to the good.
The Southampton defence must have felt encouraged from not being penalised inside the box, as the fouling continued on Jesus outside the box for much of the second half, Lyanco getting away with man-handling Arsenal’s striker time and time again, wrapping both arms around his body whenever the ball was anywhere near the Brazilian. Jones did not however ignore perceived ‘diving’ from Saka showing him a yellow card for simulation, even though there did appear to be some contact. A one-sided refereeing performance and poor finishing from Arsenal allowed the home team back into the game and they got the equalising goal with 25 minutes to go through Armstrong after a swift move cut through Arsenal’s defence. In the 78th minute, Ødegaard thought he’d put Arsenal back in front but Tierney had just carried the ball beyond the line before he was able to cut it back into his captain’s path.
The Gunners had to settle for a point and an end to their winning run, paying the price for not scoring more in the first half. As they began to tire in the second half Southampton calved out some good chances of their own, but there’s no doubt the visitors were also harmed by a dire refereeing performance. The dropped points cut Arsenal’s lead at the top down to two. Another away game followed for The North London side as next they travelled to Eindhoven. With 2 group games remaining, they needed just 1 more win to secure the top spot which would mean they progressed straight through to the final 16, without the need for a playoff game. However Arsenal’s performance was poor, PSV were the better team for 90 minutes and good value for their 2-0 win.
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2023.06.04 13:56 JoshAsdvgi THE MAGIC APPLES
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THE MAGIC APPLES
There was a soldier in the army whose name was Jack.
One day he deserted, ran down the road, and left his horse and uniform.
The general sent a captain and a corporal after him to capture him; but when they overtook him, Jack said, "Sit down here, and we will talk it over."
Then he asked them if they were satisfied with their job, getting only a shilling a week, and he coaxed them to start in the world with him to seek their fortunes.
At last they agreed, and all three started out on the road in search of adventure.
Soon they struck into a big woods, and at night saw lights shining in the windows of a wonderful palace.
When they entered, they found it completely furnished, but without occupants.
A fine meal was spread on the table, and three beds were found made up.
The only living things they saw were three cats.
After eating and smoking, three beautiful maidens appeared and told the men that they would like them to stay and live with them.
That night they all slept together; and the next morning found everything as before, but the beautiful women had turned back into cats.
For three nights they staid in this way; and the last night the captain's girl told him that if he would live with her, she would make him a present of a tablecloth which would always supply itself with whatever food he wished.
The corporal's girl told him the same, and offered a wallet which should always be full of gold.
Jack's girl made him an offer of a cap which would transport him wherever he wished.
The men accepted the offer and received their presents.
The next day, when the women had turned back into cats, the three men proposed to travel around and see the world; so they all put their heads together, and Jack pulled the cap over them and wished them to be in London.
They found themselves in London at once.
Soon Jack became infatuated with a beautiful woman whom he wished to marry.
She kept refusing him, however, and putting him off till the next day.
He offered her a wonderful present.
Then he went to the captain and borrowed his tablecloth.
He gave her that, but still she put him off.
Then he borrowed the corporal's wallet and gave her that, yet she put him off.
At last he begged her to give him a kiss.
She laughed and agreed.
Then he slipped the cap over their heads and wished to be in the wild woods of America. Immediately they found themselves in the heart of the wild woods, with not a soul near them for miles.
She cried very hard, but soon begged Jack to go to sleep, and smoothed his forehead for him.
Then, when he fell asleep, she took his cap and wished herself back in London again.
When Jack woke up, he found himself alone in the wilderness, and he began wandering, and soon came to a great apple-tree with apples as big as pumpkins.
He tasted one, and immediately a growing tree sprouted from his head, and he could not move.
Near by, however, was another small apple-tree whose fruit he could just reach.
He ate one of these small apples, and immediately the tree came off his head.
So he gathered some of the big apples and the little ones, and wandered on.
Soon he came out upon a great headland overlooking the ocean, and there he saw a ship sailing by.
He signalled to it, and at last the sailors came ashore to get him.
He told them he was a great doctor who had been lost in the woods, and wanted to get back to the old country.
Then they took him on board and started back to England.
Halfway across the ocean the captain got terribly sick, and the sailors called upon Jack to try to help him.
He went down and gave the captain a piece of one of the big apples to eat; and at once a growing tree sprang from his head, its branches reaching way up among the masts.
When the sailors saw this, they were going to throw him overboard, but he told them to wait until he tried his other medicine.
Then he gave the captain a piece of the small apple, and the tree came off his head.
By this they knew Jack was a great doctor.
When they landed in England, Jack saw his two friends, the captain and the corporal, sawing wood at an inn to earn their living.
He went to a town and built a shop, where he put his great apples up for sale, and many people came to see the wonderful fruit.
In the meantime Jack's lover had built a great palace with the money from her wallet; and she heard of the wonderful doctor and his apples; so she went to see them.
When she saw Jack, she did not know him because his beard had grown, and thought the apples were very wonderful.
She bought one at the price of fifty dollars.
When she took it home, Jack left his shop, and waited to see what would happen.
Soon the word went around that the wealthiest woman in the kingdom had a tree growing from her head, which none of the doctors could take off.
So Jack sent word to the woman that he was a great doctor and would guarantee to cure her.
So she sent for him, and he came.
First, he told her that she had some great mystery in her life, that she had wronged somebody.
He told her that before he could cure her, she would have to confess to him.
Then she admitted that she had wronged a man, and had taken his things and left him.
Then he told her that she would have to give up these things before he could cure her.
So she gave him a little key, and told him to go in the cellar to a certain brick, behind which he would find the tablecloth, the wallet, and the cap.
When he got these things, he left the palace, and soon she died for her wrongs.
He went back to his friends who were sawing wood, and gave them their things.
Now, they all started back to the palace where the three cats were.
When they arrived, they found the palace all neglected, and the three cats looked very old. That night they turned back into three old women, who complained bitterly of being neglected.
After they had eaten, however, the old women resumed their youth and beauty, and that night the youngest told Jack how they were bewitched by a great bull who lived near by.
She told him that if the bull could be killed and his heart cut out, the spell would be removed, but that others had tried in vain.
So the next morning Jack went down to his enclosure of stone and looked over.
He saw a monster bull coursing around the inside. In the middle of the yard was a well, and a big rock standing at one side.
When the bull was at the far end of the yard, Jack jumped the wall and ran for the well, followed by the bull.
He had no sooner jumped into the well than the bull smashed against the rock and fell over dead.
Then Jack climbed out and cut out his heart, which he took back with him.
That night the three girls ate a piece of the heart, and the spell was removed.
After that they all lived together in the palace.
2023.06.04 13:11 iridael 3 wishes: Gatecrash
[Next]() Two days later Nathan Sophie and Jim were standing on the bridge, all three had chosen their outfits properly. Sophie and Nathan were dressed as opulently as possible, Nathan in his armoured empire battle suit shining white and gold, his helmet tucked under one arm and a rusty Kettle held in the nook of his other. His hand white knuckle gripping the thing from inside his suit.
Sophie was dressed in her own imperial regalia, a large ornate headdress was bedazzled with jewels, her face was painted white with silver and sapphire paint across her cheeks, a single line of gold going down her black lips. She’d chosen a jade dress embroidered in silver which billowed with smoke around her feet.
Jim was dressed the same way he was the day Nathan found the kettle, ripped and worn clothing that bore the weight of years hung off him but his hair was neatly trimmed and freshly combed, a few days of beard growth was evident on his face and his eyes were tired, red around the edges and he had bags underneath them.
They all stood in a triangle alone on the bridge in silence, the soldiers all standing guard at each end giving them distance, they had already said their goodbyes. And Nathan had spent all of the previous day reading and re-reading the wish he was going to make.
Sophie reached out and gently took Nathan's helmet from him and nodded at him. He took a shaky breath and began.
“I Lord Nathan…” he starts but fails to complete the sentence as a lump forms in his throat.
He takes another breath and starts again. “I. Lord Nnnn” athan wish that my friend and Djinn, Jim, be reborn. Come on and say it! He screams in his head but the lump is there like an anchor on his tongue preventing the words from forming.
Jim looks at him and smiles. “Its alright kid.”
“No it's not.” Nathan complains. “I'm losing you and I accept that Jim, and it makes sense that it's here but.”
“The guy who comes afterwards…what’ll he think when he’s born on the wrong planet.”
The two Djinn look at Nathan for a few seconds and then Jim nods. “Yea. I suppose you’re right, it's not about me anymore it's about him.” he says, taking a look around before sighing. “Well it was good to spend some time here anyway. What are we going to do with the rest of the day then?”
“I have an idea…my lord ” one of the soldiers says moving closer.
“Go ahead,” Nathan replies as the man stops a few feet away from the group.
“Back to the ship. Fly it over Buckingham and let the world know who you are.” the soldier says.
Jim looks at the man and then to Nathan. “You were going to do something similar anyway. Did you figure out a nonlethal method yet?”
“Yea, one of the lads borrowed a SA80, fired a mag at one of us a few fields over. Didn't drain the shield so a dozen of us will be a lot harder to stop…that's provided the royal guard shoot on sight. If we drop from a big ass plane hovering over and ask to meet the queen we’ll probably get a meeting.” the soldier says.
“Did you run this by Cave?”
“Not yet Sir.”
“Get on it. Have the others pack up, leave anything we don't need for the security team. We’re heading back to the ship.” Nathan orders.
Four hours later the sun is at its peak as the Hello Kitty’s Revenge drifted as slowly as it could down across London. Attack helicopters flanked it, guns pointed as jets flew overhead, on the ships speaker as quiet as they could make it and still hear the voices of several pilots were demanding the ship alter course, Fly higher, surrender or be destroyed. As if the first or second volley of missiles had done anything to them so far. They hadn't shot at them since the ship entered London's airspace but that might change. As Trafalgar square drifted out of view, hidden by the belly of his ship.
“Lower the landing gear and stop us just over the gates. Keep her about 30 metres in the air at least.” Nathan tells Jim who was in the pilots chair, before marching out of the cockpit accompanied by Sophie, Cave and the 10 soldiers all wearing their full suits, sabres at the ready, guns on their backs. The plan was to go in, let their shields take the brunt of anything coming their way and cut through anything put in the way.
He walked with his helmet under one arm to the forward landing strut and stood at the end as it juddered down an inch before lowering smoothly revealing a crowd of civilians, a number of armed police outside the gate and a small squad of royal guards gathering inside the courtyard. Sophie waited at the top of the stairs whilst his own soldiers formed two lines behind him. One of the helicopters, a gunship, bravely flew in front of the ship and he stared at the pilot for a few seconds before looking away. The gunship pilot seemed to take the hint because it slid backwards before rising up and flying away leaving them a clear path to the palace.
He watched for over a minute as Jim carefully piloted his cruiser until it was hovering nose first over the courtyard.
“Everyone ready?” he asked not looking behind him.
“Yes sir! We drop on go, you drop after us.” Cave replied. He put his helmet on and heard Cave through the helmet speaker count down from 3.
On ‘go’ the soldiers all step off to the left and right, plummeting briefly before using their suits' flight packs to drop slowly and in formation. Nathan waits for them to land and form a wedge before stepping forwards and plummeting himself. Instead of controlling his fall from the get go however Nathan waits until he’s about a second from becoming paste before full powering his flight system, jets of flame coming from his back and feet whilst tiny bursts of gas come from the front of his suit keeping him stable as he slams into the ground right in the middle of his guards.
“Surrender! Drop the weapon or be fired upon!” one of the royal guard shouts. As he and the rest of his squad take aim at Nathan's group.
In response Cave, who was at the tip of the wedge formation, steps forwards. “Lord Nathan has a meeting with the queen,” he announces.
There's silence for a few seconds. “Drop your weapons final warning!” the Guard shouts again.
“No.” Cave replies. “Let us pass or start shooting.”
The guard hesitates, apparently listening to someone before closing one eye and shooting a single round at Cave. The bullet sparks against his shield before the rest of his squad open fire, shooting single rounds into Cave and the soldiers who stand there blades ready.
When the magazines run empty the royal guards start falling back and reloading. “Advance.” Cave orders and as one his squad move forwards swords at the ready. Nathan follows after them, remaining inside the formation as they walk towards the main entrance of the palace.
Nearly twenty seconds later we’re close to the main door of the palace when shouts of “Hold fire!” ring out and the Royal guard to their credit immediately stop firing, which was lucky since some of the shield readouts on Nathan's HUD were running very low. Cave’s in particular was in the red, not that losing his shield would even slow the man down at this point.
The Guard wait as a man comes out in an odd uniform and speaks to them. “We are to escort you to her majesty.” the Guard captain shouts, the gunfire probably deafened him slightly.
Cave nods and once the door is hastily opened by the guard we head inside. “Sheathe blades” Nathan orders quietly and everyone's silver blades vanish.
The royal guard stands back and their leader moves into the palace entry hall followed by Nathan and his men. Once inside the guard turns around. “I need to know. Are you here to harm the royal family.”
“No, there are simply matters that need discussing with the Monarchy.” Cave replies using his suits' speakers.
The guard captain seems to accept this because he leads the way up the staircase past groups of armed guards. There are no house staff visible as we’re led through the public spaces and into the private areas of the Royal palace.
We pass through several hastily vacated offices until we come to a pair of wide open doors with a quartet of guards outside. One of them steps forwards. “Your guards wait outside.” he says.
Nathan thinks about forcing his way inside for a moment but then nods. “Cave with me.” he says, walking into the study.
Inside sitting at a squat, ornate, tea table on an old richly embroidered two person sofa is the queen, sipping at a porcelain teacup. Standing behind her to her left and right are prince Charles and prince William.
Nathan takes two steps inside before reaching up and taking off his helmet and then moving to sit at the sofa opposite the queen. Cave taking up positing behind him to his left.
The queen sips her tea one last time before setting her cup down “So you’re the little shit that stole my favourite tea pot.” she says startling Nathan.
“Suddenly a lot of things make sense,” he notes.
“Suddenly things make sense. Great, we have a genius. Let me guess your first wish was for something fucking stupid. What was it, a million pounds?”
Nathan doesn't reply for a moment. Considering his responses. He could tell the truth but why play her game. “Does it matter?” he asks.
“I Suppose it doesn't. Fuck sake. Well are going to tell me how the fuck you did it?”
“I wished very specifically that all the Djinn Phylacteries be relocated to my home.” Nathan replies. “On the advice of a friend.”
“A friend…they’re not friends, they’re tools…I did feel for the one those Japanese had, poor thing.”
“You mean Dorei?” Nathan asks.
“Slave yes. That cunt of a woman treated her most valuable asset like a trash tool only fit to mop floors.”
“We at least had ours as a butler.” Prince Charles says offhandedly
“Shut the fuck up Charles did I say you can talk?” “No Mommy.” he replies, bowing his head.
“Then shut the fuck up. Useless child, at least Harry had the balls to leave the family…now back to the subject at hand. What the fuck do you want?” the Queen says reaching for her tea. “And someone pour him some tea, we’re royalty not common businessmen.”
A soldier moves towards the table and pours Nathan a cup of tea.
“Official acknowledgement as an independent state by your self, your government and endorsement going forwards to facilitate the transfer of individuals from being members of earthbound states to citizens of my own state.”
“And what state would that be. The state of chaos?”
“Give it a few years and it will be the start of a stellar empire, for now, I have a small city on a planet some 3000 lightyears distant. It's a terrain like world, roughly 60% water covered. Completely untapped for resources…but when you’re skimming stars for fuel and cracking asteroids for metal. Mining iron from a planets crust seems a little redundant.”
“And what do I get out of this?”
“I don't fuck off and leave, permanently. I have no reason to stay on earth. No family to care for, no friends worth a damn that I haven't already gathered. I already have an alliance with an interstellar conglomerate of species. You want the scraps of that. You do what I ask, and in 10 years, there might be humans out there in the asteroid belt mining for resources. People farming on Europa, fishing under titan. I leave, that leap vanishes.” Nathan replies somehow finding the queen's crass nature easier to navigate than some shrewd negotiator.
“How sure are you that achieving long range space travel is possible in 10 years?” Prince Phillip asks.
“I could drop off a ship for you to study and you could have a working prototype inside a year probably.” Nathan admits.
“And you’re asking for us to recognise you as a nation separate from our selves, and to allow immigration.”
“Yes. 8 billion people on the planet. Why not let a few million go somewhere else and start up a new life? Get unemployment down at least.” Nathan notes.
Prince William nods and Prince Charles opens his mouth to say something before looking at the Queen and bowing his head again.
“Fuck it, why not.” the queen says finally.
“Good, we’re going to need a method of communication, shall I just use your email?” Nathan asks.
“You really are an ignorant little shit. But considering the distances involved. Digital communication is favourable.” the queen says waving to one of the soldiers who grabs an envelope and hands it to Nathan, Cave deftly reaches over and takes it for him.
“I think that's it.” Nathan says standing up. “It was a pleasure to meet you.” he says getting ready to walk out.
“By the way, what did you do with the Djinn? I find it hard to believe they’re all in a cupboard somewhere.”
Nathan turns around and looks at the queen again before flexing his presence for the first time, letting it settle around everyone, the soldiers shudder and look for the threat whilst prince philip and Charles stare at Nathan in shock. The queen simply glares at him. “I set them free.”
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2023.06.04 10:57 thegreendog4 Dinamo Bucharest - The craziest football story you've never heard of (one final update)
Hello once again. No, I'm still not shutting up about this. The end of the 2022-2023 season is drawing to a close and I just felt like letting you know how it ended for Dinamo Bucharest. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I wrote a series of posts on this subreddit about the history of Dinamo Bucharest (the craziest football story, bla bla bla). If you are curious to find out about it, I will link parts 1
, and 3
for you, along with the update
that I posted back in the middle of May. This one right here is meant to wrap up the whole thing, one final update on what's been going on at Dinamo Bucharest. And no, no one asked to but I'm doing it anyway.
The last fixture
So, the last time I told you about your (now) favorite Romanian football club, we still had one more match to play in the Romanian Second League playoff. We were tied on points with Otelul Galati and if we could get a better result than them in the last fixture, we would be promoted back to Romania's top flight. Our opponents in the last match would be the leaders and already promoted side, Poli Iasi. They won the playoff by a landslide, having an 8-point lead over second-placed Steaua before the last game and they also allowed 10 of their players to go on vacation earlier, some of whom were regular starters. So in theory, Dinamo had a pretty easy job of obtaining the 3 points that we needed. All that was left was to hope that Otelul wouldn't win their match against 6th-placed Unirea Dej.
However, real life isn't always as easy as it is on paper. Dinamo started the match poorly, conceding in the 8th minute due to a clumsy mistake from our goalkeeper, who literally passed to ball to the opposing striker. Poli Iasi then made it 2-0 after some more chaotic defending from us. We managed to get one back, however, in the 23rd minute and the score at halftime was 2-1. We even had a free kick near the end of the first 45 minutes, but we sadly hit the crossbar. Everyone believed that we would bounce back in the second half as, again, Poli Iasi had nothing to fight for anymore and our determination would be enough to turn the tables on them.
But, once again, reality hit us like a ton of bricks and the home team made it 3-1 in the 49th minute. Dinamo were completely dominated for the rest of the game and even conceded a 4th goal with ten minutes left to play, losing the game 4-1
. This came as a huge disappointment to a lot of people, as many of us believed it was finally time for lady luck to be on our side for once. But in the end, we couldn't get the job done. Again. Luckily, at least Otelul won their match as well, defeating Unirea Dej 1-0 at home. Why luckily? Because at least the players wouldn't have to live with the thought that if they had won, they would've been promoted. At least this way, their result was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
The most worrying aspect of them all was regarding the players' morale, as the promotion/relegation tie was going to take place about a week later, so they needed to forget this failure and focus on what was to come. It would be the second year in a row when Dinamo would find themselves in such a tie, only this time they would try to climb back up in the Romanian First League, rather than fighting to stay up. Our dance partner was going to be former 2-time Romanian champions, FC Arges Pitesti
Promotion battle: the first leg
The first match took place in Bucharest at the largest stadium in the country, the National Arena, in front of a crowd of 25.000 strong. The fans were hopeful, but optimism wasn't exactly at an all-time high, as we were clear underdogs for this bout. We had what looked like a weaker squad and very little experience in playing against first-league teams. What Dinamo did have was a lot of heart and the support of thousands of people in the stands. They sang loudly even before the match began, in an effort to both encourage our team and intimidate the opposition, who weren't used to playing in front of large audiences.
We had our first corner of the match in the 15th minute. The cross was aimed at the near post, and our player there deflected it to the far post for a teammate who headed it in, and just like that, we opened the score. 9 minutes later, we got a free kick from about 30 meters out. The shot hit the wall and bounced inside the box toward one of our players, who tapped it in to make it 2-0. It all seemed too good to be true, but Dinamo was actually dominating the match.
in the 28th minute, FC Arges gave away an easy ball close to their box, allowing striker Alexandru Pop to score with a sublime goal from the 18-yard line. With five minutes left to play in the first half, French midfielder Lamine Ghezali received a ball near the center of the pitch and went on a solo run, dribbling past two opposition players and then scoring with a slick lobbed ball of his own. No one could believe what they were seeing. Dinamo was leading 4-0 at halftime
. FC Arges' players were in shock. They had a huge chance themselves shortly after Dinamo opened the score, but conceding that second goal messed them up completely, being incapable of any sort of reaction from that point until the end of the first half. Dinamo was like a hungry beast that smelled its prey's blood, being absolutely relentless and attacking with everything they had.
FC Arges did look like they were bouncing back in the 2nd half though, even pulling one back after 10 minutes of play. Fans may have been a bit fearful of an away team comeback at this point, but it wasn't to be. In the 56th minute, Spanish midfielder Dani Iglesias tried his luck with a long-range effort, which got deflected by an FC Arges player into his own net, bringing the goal difference back to 4. Six minutes later, Ghezali did a wonderful give-and-go pass near the middle of the pitch, sprinted toward the FC Arges box, and slotted it in calmly, making the score 6-1.
Dinamo had a few more chances after this through players that were brought on during the match, but their eagerness to score themselves instead of offering simple assists for their teammates ruined said opportunities. FC Arges could've scored as well toward the end but only hit the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the box. After 90-something minutes of play, the ref blew his whistle and Dinamo won the match 6-1
This was by far the best match we've played all season. Despite going up against what seemed like a stronger side, the boys kept their cool, played like a real team, and won the game in dominating fashion. For the first time in who knows how long, fate finally seemed to be on our side. We only had like 2 misses the entire match. Almost every shot that we attempted went in. It was a more-than-perfect result for us. However, we were not done yet, as we still had the second leg to play.
A year ago Dinamo played their first promotion/relegation tie, which they lost. Back then, we barely looked like a team. There was just a group of people brought together to play football, with no chemistry, no team bonding, nothing. The atmosphere at the club was horrendous, we played terribly and deserved to get relegated. This time it was different. We looked not just like a real team, but a family. We now had an identity, a style of play, and for the first time since the '15-'16 season, a head coach who would spend a complete season in charge
. The hellfire that was the second league cleansed us of a lot of dead weight. We now only had people at the club who were all fighting for the same purpose. We no longer had "big names", there wasn't a "him" at the club anymore, there was only "us".
On the other side, there was FC Arges who were in the same position that we were last year. They reached the promotion/relegation tie in the last second, narrowly avoiding a direct fall. They went into the first match away from home, lost, and were now afraid of going down. And just like Dinamo last year, the atmosphere over there was abysmal.
One of their players, Andreas Calcan, got interviewed after the match and at one point told the reporters "Maybe you should ask our foreign players what they think about this result." This clearly indicated that there was a rift between their players and were not all on the same page. During the match, one of FC Arges' players was brought off when the score was already 6-1. He could then be seen on the touchline kicking a water bottle and trying to rip his shirt off.
It was also a known fact among Romanian football fans that FC Arges players had one or two unpaid salaries. However, news broke out after the match that the board paid the wages before the first leg, but only for some players
, driving an even bigger wedge between them. But wait, there's more!
FC Arges was lucky enough to receive state funding for rebuilding their stadium. Every legal aspect was taken care of, so their second match against Dinamo was going to be the last match they ever played on their old home ground. However, given that they were thrashed 6-1 in the first leg and were unlikely to turn things around, they probably didn't want their last ever match there to be one where they got relegated. So they moved the event to a different city altogether, claiming that their stadium's floodlights weren't working
The day before the second match, things reached an even more ridiculous point. FC Arges sent an official letter to the Romanian Football Federation asking them to withdraw Dinamo's license for the next season
, in an effort to remain in the first league. Also, one of their main investors went into a live interview on TV, claiming that they had received "information" that some of their own players got paid to "fix" the first match
. This says more about the type of people at FC Arges rather than Dinamo, but I still thought I should mention these aspects just for the sake of it.
Promotion battle: the second leg
The stadium for the second match was filled to the brim. Even though the arena only had about 8000 seats, the atmosphere was red-hot. FC Arges wasted no time and went on the attack from the first minute. In the 14th minute, they had already opened the score through a long-range effort courtesy of their team captain, that got deflected off of a Dinamo player. The very next minute, Arges made it 2-0 after a counter-attack. Some minutes later, they had two more huge opportunities, but both efforts went over the bar.
Things weren't looking bright, as Dinamo was in the ropes. Though we had a 5-goal advantage from the first leg, it was already clear that nothing was decided yet. Luckily, we managed to calm things down by lowering the tempo of the game and keeping possession of the ball. Dinamo even scored in the 40th minute through the one and only Ghezali, by far our best player this season. The score at halftime was 2-1
. There were 45 more minutes of purgatory to endure.
Shortly after the second half began, FC Arges made it 3-1 after a corner kick. In the 51st minute, following another corner, it was already 4-1. It was bad. FC Arges were more and more determined to turn things around and Dinamo weren't looking like they could weather the storm. Forget Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund bottling their league titles. If we would somehow lose this tie after winning 6-1 in the first leg, we would be the laughingstock of the world
Right when things were seemingly going in FC Arges' direction, Andreas Calcan, the player who subtly criticized his foreign teammates after the first match, got a second yellow card and was sent off in the 55th minute. This completely killed his team's drive and they even conceded a second goal five minutes later. Arges tried to stay on the attack, but that spark from the beginning of the half wasn't there anymore. In the 94th minute, the ref blew for full-time to make it official: DINAMO IS BACK IN THE FIRST LEAGUE!
Celebration after the second leg against FC Arges
It was a weird season, to say the least. We started off with a terrible run, losing 5 times within the first 7 matches, and were hoping to at least avoid relegation to the 3rd tier or bankruptcy. We had even less money than the previous year, we weren't allowed to sign any players during the winter break, we couldn't afford to pay the salaries of the ones who were already at the club, and it looked like we were never going to get rid of our former owner, Dorin Serdean.
However, this is where we can remember a message displayed by our supporters a number of years ago: "True defeat is giving up on your dreams." And that's the most important thing that we never did. We never gave up (jeez, I'm starting to sound like John Cena.) Even when the situation looked like it couldn't get any worse, we kept the hope alive. Not the hope for promotion as that seemed like a fantasy, but the hope of keeping Dinamo alive.
We, the fans, kept going to matches, donating money, and doing whatever was in our power to "keep the engine running". The players, the coaches, the employees, everyone at the club kept doing their job as best as they could, even though there were months when they received no payment for their work. Their devotion through these hard times was immeasurable and we could never thank them enough for believing in the cause until the very end.
As cliche as it may sound, this is what happens when you don't give up and keep working hard. We hit rock bottom but through our collective effort and, I need to say it, a LOT of luck, we pulled through in the end and turned fantasy into reality. We got the promotion, we now are hoping to get financial stability, and then finally start making progress and get back to the top of the league. Though the recent years have been dreadful we did not forget about the good times, and the thought of reliving them one day is what kept us alive.
A story ends, and another one begins
And this is where we end things. This has been the story of Dinamo Bucharest, the craziest football story you've never heard of...until now. Sure our story will continue long after this post of mine, but this is where (hopefully) the "crazy" part of it has reached its conclusion. We now have new ownership, new management, people who (again, hopefully) will start investing serious funds into Dinamo and bring it back to glory. We will HOPEFULLY enter a new era, one of normality. One where we will mostly be talking about football and not scandals. But, if things do go south again (God, please no), I may just return and let you know about it. Sure, scandals will still pop up here and there, we are in Romania after all but, (for the last time) hopefully, we won't be hearing about arrests, backstabbing, fraud, mutiny, throwing matches, or owners who can't/ won't invest at the club ever again.
For one last time, thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.
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2023.06.04 06:11 TheSmogmonsterZX The Daughter that Follows - Chapter 27 - Reunited - Part 3
Disclaimer: Registered trademarks and copyrights are properties of their rightful owners. As this series jumps realities very often it is hard to track that info. DM, the Digitalman, the Scion of Variable is a creation of my good friend who does not use Reddit and is used with permission. The Pokémon Lucario is © The Pokemon Company.
“My Dad is my hero.” Harry Connick, Jr. The Daughter that Follows Chapter 27 Reunited Part 3
Anna’s barriers flared to life and she felt Hong Long try to push through. “No, we don't want to scare them any worse than they are.”
Anna said telepathically as she felt the creature’s jaws begin to squeeze down on her barriers.
She felt Hong Long strain against her will then finally push through and form in front of her. The dragon roared and slammed into the beast, coiling and restraining the struggling creature. Then it looked in the direction of Alan. Anna followed her tulpa’s gaze.
Alan Quain was casually holding the moth of the Indominous Rex shut, the creature was now forcefully crouched and clearly in a submissive stance. He was patting its side and soothing it with comforting words and a telepathic reassurance. He looked over at Anna briefly and nodded to the other one which was currently trying to bite into Hong Long, which was proving fruitless as the tulpa’s skin was near impenetrable to a mundane creature. Anna, however, was getting the feeling of bites all over her body.
She sighed and walked over to the dinosaur, near enough to its snapping jaws, but more than just out of range. She focused and soon she was in it’s mind. He was a furious and aggressive creature, made even more aggressive by a lifetime of shocks from batons and drugs from guns. She saw his only solace was his sister who was now being casually restrained by something it saw as food. Anna reached out mentally and hugged the creature in its mind. To the dinosaur’s perspective though it was now very tiny compared to Anna’s mental form. She tried her best to comfort it, but it was continually lashing out. Soon though, her father joined her and pulled her away. The dinosaur soon fell into a deep sleep.
“They’ll have to be quarantined in the old Bio-Syn sanctuary, but we don’t have to end them.” Alan said. “This one is going to be a problem unless he’s asleep though.”
“People suck.” Anna sniffled.
Alan nodded. “We can, but we can also...”
“Be better.” Anna nodded. “Kratos wasn’t a subtle teacher.”
Alan laughed, “You’d be surprised.”
“So what now?” Anna asked.
“I contacted Billy, they’ll be here for pickup in the morning. Then they go to the sanctuary and we go back to the camp for a bit. Until then I’ll keep him in a deep sleep, his sister won’t be too much of an issue, she’s calmer, but she’s gonna need to eat.” Alan said as he looked to Hong Long, “Think you can help out there?”
Hong Long snorted and nodded, then looked at Anna.
Anna smiled and nodded. “Thank you.”
Hong Long made a series of mumbles and nudged Anna’s head.
“Go get her something good to eat. Like a big crocodile or something.” Anna smiled and patted him on the head.
The tulpa dragon flew off.
Alan made camp and Anna helped. By the time they had finished Hong Long had returned and put an overly large snake by the Rex’s mouth.
“Well that’s a fucking huge anaconda.” Alan sighed as purple flashed around the area of their camp.
“Something we should worry about?” Anna asked.
Alan shrugged. “Potentially, there are realities where anacondas just get absurdly large and eat people.”
Anna’s eyes went wide.
“I doubt this is one of those worlds, but for all I know someone de-extincted the Titanboa.” Alan huffed and added, “Again.”
“Again?!” Anna almost shrieked.
“I thought you loved all animals.” Alan laughed.
“I do, but who keeps making these clones and why?” Anna stomped her foot on the ground as Hong Long shrunk down and coiled over her shoulder.
“Rich assholes wanting to make more money by selling a ‘perfect weapon’.” Alan sighed. “Story doesn’t change much honestly. Psionic soldier. Cloned dinosaur. Engineered Dinosaur. Ancient Snake. They always want to exploit something, there’s always a Looten Plunder.”
“Okay, was that a name?” Anna asked.
“Ah, you didn’t get to meet The Planeteers, that’s right.” Alan sighed and shook his head. “We’ll go find a world of theirs, you’d get along with all of them. But yeah it's the name of an asshole whose only goal is to exploit nature for money. Also hires a very lethal mercenary I tend to have to kill.”
“Yikes.” Anna said as she sat down and began to stroke Hong Long like a very long and reptilian cat.
“The Planteers were 5 kids recruited by a very literal spirit of the Earth, Gaia. They’re not soldiers and were never meant to be, their entire purpose is education and enlightenment. But they weren’t left defenseless. They each got a magic ring, four with the classic elements and the fifth is heart, which is kinda like telepathy but more here...” He tapped his chest. “If they really get pressed, which happens to them a lot because they're teens and they’re fighting psychotic, sometimes super villain adults, they can combine the powers to make...” He gestured in the air and the illusion of a blue skinned man with teal hair and red suit-like parts on his body appeared, “Captain Planet.”
“Nice mullet.” Anna snickered.
“He likes it.” Alan laughed. “He loves those kids, I try to remember that when I’m in their worlds.”
Anna nodded as she watched the image. “He has the heart of a hero.”
Alan laughed, “Filling those shoes already?”
“I think it’s because the other part of my base is already there.” Anna said. “I’m just waiting on you.”
“Well now we’re just waiting on each other.” Alan smirked. “Get some sleep. I got the watch. Need to keep the big boy asleep anyway.”
Anna nodded and walked into her tent, “Hong Long keep him some company for a bit please?”
Hong Long nodded coiled around Alan’s waist, waiting to be patted.
“Oh no, you don’t fool me.” Alan smiled as he pulled out some cards. “Come on, a game or two.”
Hong Long wrinkled his nose and snorted but coiled his lower body in such a way that it made a flat enough surface to play a game of cards.
Anna woke up to the sound of metal clanging against metal. Slowly she walked out of her tent and saw that her father was loading the male Indominous Rex into a holding sling. The female was actually sitting calmly in a holding crate, two large goat carcasses at her maw for her to eat whenever.
“Your dragon cheats.” Alan laughed as he locked the final column into place. “But he cheats poorly.”
“Why are you teaching my dragon card games?” Anna asked as she patted the dragon that once again coiled around her like a sash.
“He knows them, I just wanted a game or two.” Alan snorted.
Hong Long made some murmuring noises and grumbles that Anna understood as him being upset at being caught.
“Of course he caught you, he’s endlessly old.” Anna said with a minor jab to her father.
Alan smiled then realized what she had said as several work men laughed at the joke.
“My daughter, guys.” Alan sighed. “All right, let’s pack and get back to the camp and a warm shower!”
“Oh, warm showers.” Anna nodded. “And you can tell me about some other places we should visit.”
Alan smiled as he hugged his daughter. “I got a great one!” He laughed. (T)(D)(T)(F)---(T)(F)(T)(W)
Another helicopter ride and a few time zones later the father and daughter were once again at the Montana based Camp Cretaceous. Alan had gotten the honor of the first shower in no small part due to a pachy skidding and covering him in mud and excrement through the fencing it had. Anna was glad that she had it last though, she got to enjoy the fresh hot water that she knew her dad had helped kick up.
It was well into the evening when they were sitting on his porch, looking out at the heads of the brachiosauruses swaying in the setting sun. Rio was even taking her time to watch them as well.
Alan was actually enjoying himself to a degree he hadn’t let himself in a very long time.
Anna was ecstatic, and enraptured by the gentle giants.
Rio’s recent turmoil and confusion seemed to have faded.
Then Alan sighed loudly and put his beer down on a table.
Anna focused and Rio did as well.
Hong Long coiled around Anna.
Rio stood and took a defensive stance.
From the high above the green aura of Psy-Ko descended, her enhanced powers made her glow like a beacon in the night. Besides her a suit of black metallic armor was descending as well.
“Hello Alan.” Psy-Ko smiled. “Anna.”
“Go die in a fire.” Anna growled.
“Is that anyway to greet--” Psy-Ko was cut off.
“Yes!” Alan shouted, “Yes it is how you great lunatics who hound and harass your family!”
An invisible force sent the armor that contained Sindri sailing into the sky.
“Well, I guess we’re fighting then!” Sindri roared as he rebounded back faster than anyone could react. His armor’s fist impacted a barrier that seemed to pop out of thin air. It was gleaming white and had odd symbols filling it.
“I’m sorry, I’m keeping them safe for a bit.” Ragnis grinned as he appeared. “Allow me to assert your place in the hierarchy of power.”
“Above him.” Psy-Ko grinned as green strands of hair stretched out and began to weave themselves into the various dinosaurs.
“Oh no you don’t!” Anna snarled as she formed a blade of her aura around her wrist and levitated herself up to the stands, cutting through all of them.
Alan just stared as his temper started to flare. “FLEISCH!” He roared.
The psionic woman smiled at the man she hated. “You remembered my name.”
“You’re boring.” Ragnis said as he looked down at the straining form of Sindri in his mech suit. “Now her..” Ragnis made a kicking motion and Sindri’s mech was swallowed by a beam of light and vanished.
Ragnis was then immediately at Psy-Ko’s side swinging a huge claymore down on her. Psy-Ko smiled as she dodged effortlessly. Soon she felt all the strands of her hair were cut free from their targets. Shr grinned again as she turned to Anna.
“My dear, why such worry? They’d be under better care with me.” Psy-Ko tried her best to give a sweet smile.
Anna stopped and turned to her.
“Anna!” Alan shouted. “She’s up to something.” He brought himself into the air and watched as Rio awas now engaging the returning form of Sindri. “This is some sort of trap!”
“Oh do be quiet Alan!” Psy-Ko sneered as tendrils of her hair raced and encased Alan Quain.
Anna roared as she surged forward. Ragnis joined her in the shout of rage. Psy-Ko moved effortlessly as she used her hair to snake into Anna’s aura and steal control of her arm from her. She directed it to the sword arm of the Scion of Life.
Ragnis shrieked in pain as his right arm was lopped off half way up his forearm. The limb fell as Anna watched in shock at what Psy-Ko had done. Psy-Ko laughed in joy as Sindri caught the limb and vanished. Then the hair that had encased Alan Quain detonated as if a bomb of pure power had gone off. It left Psy-Ko with only half of her hair left as she too shrieked in pain.
Psy-Ko floundered as she tried to focus once more. She was able to get just enough focus to see the rising form of Alan Quain, the purple mark of his psionic power that marked his eyes was now expanded out like with the edges splashed in black and white, like volcanoes of rage highlighting just how dangerous a force of nature he was becoming.
“Retreat Ragnis.” Alan said with an angry hiss.
Anna was still in shock. “Ragnis...”
“It’s alright kid.” Ragnis winced, “We both fell for it.” He vanished and left her to her confusion.
“I’m done pulling my punches with you.” Alan focused on Psy-Ko and the woman felt an intense pressure on her throat.
“No!” The high pitched and gleeful voice of Atropos said as she appeared and encased Psy-Ko in a wave of dark pulsing energy. “I think that will have to wait...” Then they vanished.
It took both Anna and Alan a few moments to establish that no major damage had been done, but there were now reports of UFOs fighting over dinosaurs. Which was going to definitely boost their tourism funding at the camp.
When they came down and went back inside Anna was crying into her pillow.
“Stupid question, but can I do anything?” Alan asked.
“I’m sorry, I should have listened.” Anna sniffled.
“She actually surprised me with that.” Alan said. “Hair powers. That’s quite a change.”
“Psychic hair powers.” Anna corrected him with a small laugh.
“That’s...” Alan blinked. “That’s just dumb and I know a woman who uses her normal hair in a similar way.”
“Will he be okay?” Anna asked.
Alan shrugged. “I mean according to them you took off half of the Wicked Bitch’s hand and she couldn’t fix that.”
Anna nodded. “I’m a danger to them.”
A flash outside their door and a knock later and Ragnis was opening the door and walking in. He was wearing a heavily metallic prosthetic.
“You could have waited for me to answer.” Alan said.
“You were going to let me in anyway.” Ragnis shrugged and showed off his hand. “No hard feelings, I got a new one.”
“Why does that look...” Anna stared at it. “Is that Vik’s work?”
“No, but it is from V’s reality.” Ragnis smiled. “Going to need some variants, but now that I have one that’s a part of me I can work with it.”
“But she has your hand.” Anna pointed out.
“Yeah, that’s concerning.” Ragnis nodded. “But don’t blame yourself, they clearly planned this. And we both had to fall for it.”
“I mean, I did say it was a trap.” Alan shrugged.
“Yeah but how did you know?” Anna asked.
“He is endlessly old.” Ragnis nodded.
Alan stared at the Scion.
“I already used that earlier.” Anna said.
“Daughters get a ‘being cute’ pass.” Alan growled.
“Look, I already told the others, I got this so don’t blame yourself.” Ragnis sighed. “She’s been a step ahead for so long.” Ragnis shook his head. “But I’m still keeping an eye on you. Let her meet the kids, get some rest, leave when you’re ready.”
Alan nodded. “Thanks.”
Rio stared at the Scion. “Will she target others?”
“Oh my god she’s trying to become Sarumon of Many Colors!” Anna gasped.
“Wonderful reference, but no it doesn’t work like that. At most that hand has a very small amount of what my concept of life is.” Ragnis shook his head. “Although now I have to have Perfection paint the image of her in a rainbow outfit just to annoy her.”
“Why would it annoy her?” Anna asked.
Ragnis sighed, “She’s Evil, not terribly original and quite frankly she should be easy to predict, but we keep missing something.”
“Her actual goal.” Alan sighed. “It’s been something so insane you can’t grasp.”
“Do you have any insight oh, old one?” Ragnis asked
Alan glared once again. “No, because again I’m not that desperately insane. Once this thing with Darkseid is over you got me for the seconds it takes to flatten her.”
“Or flatline her.” Anna added.
Alan and Ragnis both cast a concerned glance at Anna.
“She’s getting to me.” Anna sighed.
Rio stood up and sat next to Anna. “Would you like to pet my head again?”
Anna smiled and slowly patted Rio’s head.
“When in doubt, pet a friend.” Ragnis said, “You two relax, you’re safe. Even if the res of us aren’t.”
\\\\ First Previous
/// Next SPOTIFY LIST!
S: (looks around) Well...
S: I know one of you wants to say it.
Perfection: Say what?
S: Spaceballs, Lord Helmet.
Perfection: But there wasn’t a jamming scene.
S: I keep forgetting your sense of humor.
Wraith: (Walks in wearing an oversized helmet) “So, Lone Starr, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”
DM: (Walks in wearing the same helmet)
Perfection: Also I’m a fan of Yogurt.
S: I worry about my mind sometimes.
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2023.06.04 03:04 harrybrowncox69 captain week in june? when exactly?
the reason i ask is because i want to know if i'm too late or if i still have time to get a table cosmetic. when in june does captain week start?
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2023.06.04 01:02 Oradainer Celestial Empire - Chapter 1
Victor turned around for one more look at what had been his childhood home. It was a three bedroom apartment on the four hundred thirty third floor in the Manchester district of the hive city New Avalon. It did at least have one window facing the outside of the hive, which made it an instant selling point.For which he was glad, it was part of his new inheritance from his parents who had recently died in the latest rounds of terrorist bombings against Canary Corps headquarters, which they both were middle management.
His military leave was coming to an end, his amassed two week respite was only due to his twenty years of service in the imperial guard. As a Captain and veteran of the Emperors many campaigns, he could pull rank when needed.
In five short years he would be able to retire a full citizen. Something his father scoffed at, but that was nothing new, his father scoffed at anything he had ever done. His everything ached, as he turned his back on his former home and made his way towards the transmat pad. Selling the apartment and consolidating his assets weren’t the only thing he was doing on Terra.
He spent those two weeks getting augments that would have been out of reach to a lowly Captain of the Imperial guard. Gene-mods were common throughout the Empire, but there were gene-mods, and then there were gene-mods
. His were now top of the line, far beyond the mil-spec given to him in officer school. That, combined with his new dimensional storage add-on allowed him to purchase and store massive amounts of goods for his upcoming retirement.
Some things you could only get on Holy Terra, a nano-forge capable of making anything you have a SBC to construct could be found on most technological worlds. A nano-foundry to make the nanites the nano-forge uses can only be purchased on select worlds of the Empire.
But SBCs can only be found on Terra, and are heavily restricted. But some connections in Imperial Guard logistics pointed him to some people who might have some SBCs that may or may not be considered illegal to own. That combined with raw materials, a habitat module, weapons, food, mining drones, security drones, and forge spiders now filled his dimensional storage.
“Next!” Shouted a bored looking transmat officer in front of Victor. To which he sighed and presented his Imperial Guard ID and his permissions to be transported to Andosious Prime. The officer looked him over in his Imperial Guard Armor, a bit battle worn, but impeccably maintained. It felt much lighter with the upgrades, which was the point. Two hundred kilos of light power armor is still heavy even with the minor gene-mods of the guard. Now he barely felt it as he stood before the officer.
“No baggage Captain Cane?” He asked looking down at this console.Victor kept his face emotionless, something driven into him by officer training. “The guard provides me with all I need officer. No baggage today.” He lied through his teeth.
The officer nodded, that was the proper response, “Thank you for your service Captain, next stop, Andosious Prime!” He said with a flourish as he pressed a button on his panel.The universe went white, time fell away, then he felt like he was falling. This wasn’t what normally happened on a transmat. Suddenly the world came back into focus, blue sky followed by a green forest followed by a brown ground coming up fast.
His mental commands screamed through the interface nodes imbedded all over his body into the scout armor. Retro-rockets fired as he made a hard landing in the clearing of a forest. Two weeks earlier something like that would have hurt bad, if not caused serious injury. Now it just added to his aches.
He looked around, his heads-up display noting the fauna, surprisingly it came back as all Terra based equivalents. Well, they would have been if most of them didn’t say EXTINCT beside their classification in red.
“Captain Cane to Guard unit 117154, please respond.” The hud responded with something he had never seen before. NO SIGNAL.
“What the hell?” He asked himself. He had never been without a signal. “Computer, run diagnostics, maybe the transmat damaged something.” He watched as the diagnostic finished running, no errors, no signal.
He looked up, the sun would be going down in a few hours, he could use the celestial navigation software in his armor to find his location anywhere in the galaxy. Emperor above, he hoped the transmat hadn’t put him on a Xeno world.
He activated his jump pack to launch himself up for a better view of the land. About a thousand meters up he saw smoke coming from a medium sized village… maybe? He could work with that, maybe he was in a non-technological world of the Empire, even those had outposts to get a signal out from.
The jump pack’s capacitors would need to recharge before he could use it again. Nothing to do but start walking towards the village. With any luck he would reach it before nightfall, from there he’d get some answers.
He did not get to the village before nightfall. The terrain made going slow, the ground was soft and muddy, the forest was densely packed with oak trees and rocks. He had to use his jump pack to clear a particularly deep gully and it was slowly recharging.
As he looked down on the village he remembered his navigation software, he looked up to the sky and let the computer gather data. Location confirmed, Holy Terra, New Avalon, District 334.He sighed and looked back down to the village, “Either my suit is borked, or I’m back in the distant past.” He muttered. His armors’ limited AI printed something new on his hud. CONSTELLATIONS OUT OF SYNC BY 4271 YEARS.
Victor froze at the revelation. All the physics classes he took in his youth stated going back in time was impossible, something about paradoxes prevented it. “Computer, do you have any information on transmat failures?” The AI showed it was indexing before coming back with an answer, LOST MATTER IN TRANSMAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN PUSHED PAST THE FINITE CURVE OF THE UNIVERSE. NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE.
Victor sat on a tree stump taking in the information. “Well, I’m not in the Empire anymore, even if the computer thinks I am. Nothing to do but head down to the village.” He pushed up from the stump and made his way in the dark towards the oddly ancient eastern looking village.
There was a road leading into the village, a sign stood crookedly at the crossroads, his AI translated it as Wuzhen, with other arrows pointing to Tongxian, Jiaxing, Huzhou, and Wujiang. “Computer, what language is this?” IT IS A DIALECT OF ANCIENT CHINESE, ADJUSTING GENE-MODS TO FOR TRANSLATION.
His vocal cords did that weird thing that happened whenever the AI needed to translate from Terran to another language or dialect. How the gene-mods did it was beyond his pay grade, but everyone always complimented him on his accent, so apparently the technology was sound.
He saw figures up ahead with a ox and wagon. His enhanced vision showed him about what he expected, peasants bringing their wares to town for sale. That was, until he saw the woman had goats eyes. The man had goats horns curling from his forehead but in all other aspects looked Human.
“Emperor above, what is going on?” He thought to himself as he decided he may not want to walk into town in green and black scout armor. He reached into dimensional storage and found a large trench coat that would fit over his armor. He pulled it out and put it on, then sent a mental command to retract his helmet as it whooshed back into the backpack portion of his armor.
As he walked up to the gates he was met with a solitary guard, this man had human features but a monkey’s tail. “Hurry up and get in, we’re about to close the gate house.” Victor pointed a thumb backwards, “There are two people behind me on a wagon coming.” The monkey guard yelled out as Victor stepped into the village past the walls.
“Hurry up you dumb turtles, instinctive are on the prowl and won’t think twice about making a meal of the lot of you!” The guard yelled. This seemed to put some fire under them, as they cracked their whip on the ox yelling for it to move. He sub-vocalized to his AI, “Does the term instinctual in reference to ancient china mean anything?”
The computer spoke back in his inner ear, CHINESE MYSTICISM STATES PRACTICERS OF INSTINCTIVE CULTIVATION BECAME ANIMAL LIKE AND OFTEN CANNIBALISTIC. Victor looked around at the village, seeing the sign for what must be an inn, he made his way across the street narrowly avoiding a steaming pile of horse manure.
The inn was bustling, barmaids with cats ears or pigs snouts served drinks and food to tables and people seemed to huddle close to the strange hearth like fireplace of the inn. It wasn’t like any fireplace he had ever seen. He sub-vocalized the question to his AI and it responded with the word “KANG”.
He found a chair near the front of the inn, far away from the kang and watched the locals. It appeared that coinage was copper discs. He turned his head from the inn and ducked down to bring his helmet back up, “Computer, replicate those discs in the nano-forge from copper ingots, have them ready for me to pull out of dimensional storage, we’ll need currency.”
His helmet slid back into his backpack and he raised his head and turned around just as a barmaid noticed he had no food or drink. “We have veil or pork, beer or wine. What can I get you?” Victor kept his face neutral, something that would have been impossible before his training with the Guard, she looked Xeno after all, the snout was all that was out of place on an otherwise attractive woman.
“I’ll have the veil and wine. Also, who do I see about a room?” He asked.
The boar-kin woman turned her head towards the bar, “Old man Huang would be the one to check with, don’t know if we have any open tonight. We have a lot of refugees from Huzhou after all.”
Victor raised an eyebrow, usually refugees meant something bad, “Refugees you say? I’m new to these parts, what happened?”
The barmaid snorted, which was ironic considering she was a boar-kin. “You must be new, Huzhou was raised to the ground by the instinctives, the Empress has sent a small contingency of the sect of the Iron Paw to defend Wuzhen, as we are a central transport hub.” The barmaid then looked over to a table of women in much more elaborate dress than the commoners, each with a jade talisman on their wrist.
Without another word she brought more drinks to their table, on it stacked plate after plate, bowl after bowl of food. After setting down the drinks she bowed until her snout almost touched the table before hastily retreating from their prescence.
Victor’s AI chimed in his ear that fabrication was complete and he reached under the table to access his dimensional storage, grabbing two handfuls of copper coins he put them in his trench coat pockets. He noted that although the inn was crowded, everyone else avoided the table with the sect women. It was almost as if others had moved their tables and chairs away, as if there were danger near them. The women didn’t look especially tough, they were armed with swords, but mostly dressed in robes of fine silk, no armor to be found.
He also noted they all had traits of tiger in them. Some had tails, some had the ears, some had the eyes. He supposed that was why they were called the Iron Paw sect, not very creative, but he doubted he could do better.
The barmaid came back with a plate of veil, steamed vegetables, and a large cup of wine. As she sat it down she said quietly, “Stop staring at the cultivators, do not draw their notice or they will decide they need make an example of an upstart mortal.”
Victor kept his face stoney as he accepted the meal and looked elsewhere while he ate. The food was quite good although he didn’t like the turnips. The wine was made from rice, and quite strong. He was about to wave the barmaid back over when a bell started ringing. Everyone in the inn froze, well all but the cultivators.
They pushed their plates to the center of the table, stood as one, and marched out of the inn. As they reached the door conversations started up. With Victor’s enhanced hearing he heard variations of ‘They must have spotted instinctuals’, or ‘I hope the iron paw is as fierce as they are rumored to be.’
Victor stood up, asked the barmaid for the tab, placed some copper on the table and raised his collar as he walked out of the inn. He noticed none of the other patrons followed him out, if anything they huddled away from the door. Seeing no-one was around he jumped using the armors powerful servo motors to propel him onto the roof of a two-story store. He almost didn’t clear the roof, landing with a slight thud and breaking roofing tiles as he made his way to the peek of the roof.
He watched as the women of the sect bounced almost weightlessly off of the rooftops reaching the guard tower at the east gate. Bringing his helmet back up his hud instantly targeted over 30 creatures rushing the east gate at monstrous speed. 160 KM/HR, ETA 45 SECONDS his AI helpfully informed him.The creatures were vaguely humanoid, they resembled ware-wolves, and ran on all fours. He watched as the cultivators drew their weapons as one, the human guards dropped from the wall and grabbed long pike-like weapons.
WAR MODE ENGAGED, EVASIVE ACTION REQUIRED fired through his ears as his armor spun from a crouching position and narrowly avoided a sword that stabbed through the ceramic tile of the roof to nearly the hilt. Before him stood a woman with the ears of a tiger in a blue silk dress.
His AI relinquished emergency control of the armor back to Victor as she spoke. “You are fast for a male. Surrender to this Mei, and I will make sure your execution is quick.” Victor cocked his head to the side before partially raising a hand. The bolter pistol appeared in his hand from dimensional storage as he pulled the trigger.
Mei’s eyes were round as the roof beneath her feet vanished in a hail of ceramic and wood, a noise as if a volcano had exploded right next to her severely stunned her more sensitive cultivator ears as she fell through to the second floor. Victor turned to the east wall in time to see a mass of bodies, all female it appeared, as he had never seen ware-wolves with breasts, leap the ten meters or so to the top of the wall. Howls pierced the night air as some were impaled on swords, others lashed out with razor sharp claws tearing into members of the Iron Paw sect.
It was obvious they would not hold that position. If they didn’t retreat they would all be lost, some of the smarter or luckier of the sect began to tactically retreat, fending off claws and teeth with their swords. Victor turned and saw the highest structure in town, a bell tower that stood about five stories high. That must have been where the warning came from, he could get a better vantage point from there.
Suddenly he heard a growl and the woman he had unceremoniously dropped through the roof jumped through the opening and landed as if gravity held no sway over her. “You have made a grave mistake instinctual, for this Mei will end you this…”
She didn’t get to finish her sentence as she watched the black armored figure with a strange brown robe suddenly launch himself on wings of fire from the roof to the top of the bell tower.
“Mei, Mei! Where are you, we are being overrun!” She heard from the east wall as her sect sisters were back pedaling as the mass of instinctuals climbed over both their own dead and her sisters. She turned away from the strange male and leaped from rooftop to rooftop to aid her sisters in battle.
She landed next to Xiang, who now had a gash across her cheek from combat, “There is someone else here, a male!” She shouted as she drove her sword into one of the wolf-kin that came too close. It howled in pain and retreated, but she knew it was not a fatal blow.
Xiang parried a high swipe of a claw and with a spin kick sent the instinctual she was fighting flying backwards only for it to catch itself with its claws and grind to a crouching halt. “Who? We are in the backlands of the Empire, and why would they send a male, he would surely be courting death against foes such as these!”
Mei blocked a razor sharp claw with the blunt edge of her sword before parrying backwards, “It doesn’t matter, our orders are to protect this town at all costs, don’t let them push us into a blind ally or somewhere we can’t defend ourselves.”
Victor watched as the tiger ladies tried desperately to fend off the ware-wolf ladies. It was not going well for the tigers, it seemed that although the instinctuals didn’t use weapons, they were faster, bigger, stronger, and meaner on average. His hud counted six cultivators down, two of which were being eaten by the ware-wolf women, the remaining five were being pushed towards center square.
What they couldn’t see was a group of four cultivators coming up on their flank from the south. It seems that even though these sect ladies seem haughty at best, they are the closest thing to the good guys in this fight. Victor cursed as he reached into his dimensional storage, a mark 8 flamer wrapped itself lovingly around his scout armor, as his hands wrapped around the handle and nozzle.
He leaped from the bell tower, shattering roofing tiles and bricks as he dropped the five stories to the ground before firing the retro-rockets in his boots, hitting the ground behind the Iron Paw sect before pouring withering fire from the flamer into the four instinctualists rushing from the south. They howled in agony as napalm lapped at their fur and burned them as they wallowed on the dirt road of the town square trying to quench the fire.
Victor turned around as the women of the Iron Paw were forced back to his position, which worked out fine, now they weren’t in the way. He poured burning liquid napalm into the ranks of the instinctuals. Those that could turned on claws and ran, those that didn’t burned in the street.
He turned around and ordered his helmet to retract, the four standing sisters of the Iron Paw leaped a step back bringing up their battered swords. He allowed his flamer to dissolve back into this dimensional storage. “Stand down ladies, the threat is over.” If anything this made them bring their swords up more.
Mei was the first to find her voice, “You are obviously a master of fire to dispatch so many of the betrayers instinctuals. Who sent you?”
Victor’s face remained impassive, this was new information, the instinctuals betrayed the Empire in some way. “No one sent me, I was in the area, and you apparently needed aid.” Let them decide with that what they will.
Mei slowly lowered her sword, before starting to laugh without much mirth, “In our darkest hour a hidden master appears and saves us from death. You would think we were part of a play or poets story.” The other women lowered what was left of their weapons as well.
Xiang looked Victor up and down, “I have never heard of male becoming a cultivator of war, that is usually the domain of females. I have also never seen clothing or armor like you wear, are you from the Empire?”
Victor sighed, well, here goes. “I am not from the Empire, I am from a far away land called Terra, and at the moment, I am merely passing through.”
The smaller one known as Li spoke up, “One does not simply pass through the Celestial Empire! The wall has stood for millennia untold, only the Immortal Empress remembers when it was built. How did you cross it?”
Victor only shrugged, “Who said I crossed the wall?” As he turned around and walked to the inn he only recently left. The crowd of people parted as he walked in.
Xiang turned to Mei, “He is a foreigner wandering our land, Shihan must be informed of his presence and bring it before the court.”
Mei nodded her head turning to the final woman left standing, “Hua, travel to Wujiang, let our sisters know what has transpired here and have a message sent back to the Imperial Palace about this newcomer and what we should do.”
Li spoke, “Should we not attempt to capture him ourselves? After all, a male cultivator is a rarity indeed.”
Mei looked over to the smaller Li, “He burned down instinctuals with what appeared to be the forgotten Concept of Fire, for that was the Sixth Level Yang Fire, something we females who cultivate yin are incapable of. No, we would court death trying to capture a hidden master of his power. Did any of you even feel his Chi?” They all shook their heads.
Mei continued, “Then he is hiding his true power from us. When I first saw him leap from the ground to the rooftop I thought him a spy for the instinctuals. When I tried to attack he moved with a speed even I could not match. When I threatened him he simply ignored me, and throughout that I never once felt his Chi. This is a male we must be careful around sisters, now go Hua.”
Victor watched as the people in the inn parted before him. He noticed many of them bowing as though he were part of the Imperial family of Terra. He reached the bar where the innkeeper, what was his name again? HUANG his AI chimed in.
“Huang, I require lodgings for the night. Do you have a room available?”
The Ox-Kin bowed so low as to touch the bar, “This lowly one will gladly provide you with a room hidden master.” He raised his head and waved the boar-kin barmaid over to him in a frenzy, “Chun, find the hidden master a room.”
Chun rushed over and bowed before Victor, “Please follow me hidden master?”
“Victor, my name is Victor Cane. Please, lead the way Chun.”
As he followed Chun upstairs to an empty room Victor closed and locked the door, if they want to think he is a hidden master then let them. In the meantime he needed sleep. He reached one more time into his dimensional storage and pulled four small security drones and paired them to his armor’s AI.
One flew out the open window to watch from outside, one crawled under the door to watch the inn, the other two sat inside the room.
Once he felt all was secured he settled into the not so great bed and closed his helmet. He’d worry about everything else tomorrow.
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