Dodge ram check gauges oil pressure
/r/Diesel: For Diesel Enthusiasts
2009.06.25 03:50 TealList /r/Diesel: For Diesel Enthusiasts
Welcome to /Diesel, reddit's home for everything about compression motors!
2023.05.28 06:55 BorealMushrooms Procedure after injector / glow plug replacement 7.3
So I pulled all 8 injectors and shimmed them (all were a tight 0.002), and replaced all the outer o-rings (a few were in bad shape). Glow plugs were in pretty bad shape, and I found 3 different brands in there, so replacing with motorcraft glow plugs.
Trying to get the procedure for post reinstall down, this is what I'm thinking - let me know if I'm missing any steps:
- Wipe out injector holes with lint free cloth (blue shop towels).
- Reinstall injectors, injector exhaust fitting.
- Suction out cylinders from glow plug holes.
- Reinstall gasket, wiring, etc.
- Put valve cover on loose.
- Hand crank over block a few times to evacuate last bits of stuff in cylinder.
- Crank over for a few seconds (using wire by battery - not by trying to start engine!) to fully evacuate cylinder.
- Reinstall glow plugs, properly install valve cover.
- Crank over for 5 seconds, 5 times, waiting 1 minute between each time, via wire by battery, to fully pressurize oil system.
- Check oil level.
- Cycle key on for 3 seconds to pressure fuel line, do this 5 times.
- Start her up. Let idle on high idle for a bit to start working out air in system.
- Drive it until it gets up to temp to further evacuate air in system.
- Oil change.
Does that sound about right, or am I missing any steps?
This is part of a larger rebuild I am doing that includes turbo wheel, hpop service, ebp delete, exhaust and intake. Just want to make sure I am doing this part right!
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2023.05.28 06:04 InfernoAA God Made the World in Six Days, I’ll Perfect New Japan's on the Seventh Part Five: Destined
In Part Four, the comeback tour of rockstar Hiroshi Tanahashi was cut brutally short at the hands of the Leader of the New School, Zack Sabre Jr., who embarked on a quest to prove himself New Japan's most valuable gaijin. After beating back Will Ospreay for Royal Quest, he ran into another familiar face in Minoru Suzuki, almost clobbering him into retirement until Naomichi Marufuji made the save. Ending his saga with Just6Guys with a win over Maru, he placed a bow on the long-standing Blackpool Combat Club rivalry by besting Jon Moxley, cementing Sabre-Gun as New Japan's undisputed leaders... That is, without taking Los Ingobernables de Japon into account.
Since becoming one again, LIJ’s been on a tear through NJPW’s ranks this year in spite of Shingo Takagi dropping the belt and PAC losing the New Japan Cup Finals to the current World Champion. IWGP United States, IWGP Tag Team (Death Triangle have become LIJ affiliates through PAC), and NJPW World Television Championships in their grasps, they seek to round out the group by all holding titles simultaneously. But that begs the question – who’ll be going after the World Title? Though Shingo’s battle ready, he insists Tetsuya Naito
take it this time, the Stardust Genius having worked his back off to rebound from Wrestle Kingdom. Failing every attempt in the past 3 years though, the question remains whether he can truly pull it off this time, or if it’s just not meant to be.
Kizuna Road - Night Four (July 1, 2024)
Sabre-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & El Phantasmo) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & PAC)
With Naito confirmed as Sabre’s #1 Contender for Wrestle Dynasty, SG and LIJ have themselves a scaled-down rematch from New Year’s Dash, Zack picking his trusty right-hand man ELP, and Tetsuya bringing the US Champion, knowing PAC has unresolved issues with ZSJ from the NJC. Though it drives the Bastard to work doubly-hard, especially considering how it’ll look if he pins the World Champion, it also makes their teamwork suffer, PAC becoming self-absorbed in getting the pin. Backfiring, a Sudden Death from Phantasmo knocks his lights out, SG getting their win back from NYD and putting the challenger on the backfoot heading into Madison Square Garden!
Sabre-Gun def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (16:12)
PAC appears distraught after the match, but Naito simply tells him ‘tranquilo’, not taking it personally. Though he’d hoped to use this match to get into ZSJ’s head, it appears he’ll just have to do that himself, like he’s always done.
Wrestle Dynasty (July 14, 2024)
Also on the show: Shota Umino (c) vs El Desperado - NEVER Openweight Championship Just6Guys (SANADA, Taichi, Ryohei Oiwa) (c) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, Titan) - NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs Kyle Fletcher - NJPW World Television Championship PAC (c) vs El Phantasmo - IWGP United States Championship The Lucha Brothers (c) vs Meiyu Tag - IWGP Tag Team Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Tetsuya Naito XI - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
In what’s been a very successful night for LIJ thus far, clean-sweeping their way through the competition, it all rests on Naito’s shoulders now to bring it home. Perhaps the most unreliable man to slot in this spot, and yet, the most beloved, MSG fully invested in Tetsuya’s chase, either the grandest of celebrations or coldest of heartbreaks will end the night! Naito keeps his cool, emanating his usual larger-than-life aura as he walks out in a pristine crimson suit, paying homage to Shingo, whilst Sabre’s cockier than ever with his recent streak of huge wins, knowing he has Tetsuya doubting himself after their tag. As he hands his title over, the two come face-to-face, SABRE SPITTING GUM INTO NAITO’S FACE, but Tetsuya doesn’t let ZSJ’s tactics faze him, having come too far for too long to let mind games be his downfall.
Circling each other, Zack lunges for a lock-up but Naito walks past, smirking and stretching in the opposite corner. Sabre rolls his eyes as Tetsuya turns around and tells him ‘tranquilo’, before going for it again… Zack snatching the headlock this time as Naito tries to repeat, but Tetsuya instantly whips him to the corner, teasing the COMBINACION CABRON as ZSJ braces himself… Naito stops in front of him and does the ‘Abre los Ojos’ taunt!
Furious, Sabre piefaces him, NAITO RETURNING A FOREARM, AND WE’RE OFF! Trading strikes, Zack rocks Tetsuya with European Uppercuts, Naito returning forearms, before a Japanese Arm Drag stops Zack in his tracks! Naito goes for another, but Zack hooks onto Tetsuya’s legs, tripping him up and contorting the foot! Tetsuya boots him off with the other, a Neckbreaker and a Somersault Senton connecting, though Sabre absorbs the latter, trapping Naito’s arm onto the mat to STOMP THE HAND!
Picking him back up, he cracks Naito with chops, before whipping him at the ropes, Naito hitting off them one after the other to build momentum, teasing the Flying Forearm Zack’s expecting… only to roll into the Tranquilo pose! ZACK MEETS HIM WITH A NECK TWIST!!! Tetsuya scrambling to the corner, Sabre steps on his throat against the ropes, BEFORE SLAPPING HIM! NAITO SPITS IN ZACK’S FACE!!! A harsh uppercut knocks Tetsuya back, a Running European following and a PENALTY KICK! Naito dodges and nails the FLYING FOREARM SMASH!
Teasing the Tornado DDT, it’s cancelled by an Enzuigiri, Zack leaping for the KIMURA- NAITO COUNTERS INTO VALENTIA!!! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!!! Sending Sabre into the corner, the COMBINACION CABRON CONNECTS! AND A MISSILE DROPKICK! Naito teases the DRAGON SUPLEX, but Sabre flips through and STOMPS HIS ELBOW! SNAP GERMAN ON THE NECK FROM SABRE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NO DICE! Naito woozy, his head’s only further knocked around by a ROLLING ELBOW! A CORNER HIGH KNEE connects, before a Hammerlock Suplex floats into a TESCO MEAL DEAL!!!
Naito’s hand flails about the mat as Sabre keeps him grounded, no Valentia escape this time, forcing Tetsuya to work the old-fashioned way to the ropes! MSG backing the Stardust Genius, after much deliberation he gets a foot on the ropes! But Zack’s right back on him, going for a NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX- NAITO STANDS HIM UP WITH A SNAP DDT! An EVOLUCION’S shut down though, Sabre hitting the brakes to nail the ARM PELE! Fishing the arm, Zack tries to float into a FLYING ARTICLE 50- NAITO STUFFS HIM WITH A GLORIA!!! ONE! TWO! THR-SABRE SURVIVES!!!
Rallying momentum, Tetsuya nails the TORNADO DDT! Sabre nursing the head, a DRAGON SUPLEX FOLLOWS!!! In the drop zone, Naito tests the waters for a RUNNING DESTINO- SABRE SHUTS IT DOWN WITH A EUROPEAN CLUTCH!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NAITO’S DREAMS STAY ALIVE!!! Getting dangerously close with the flash pin, Tetsuya throws defiant forearms, Zack catching and contorting one, but a ROLLING WHEEL KICK knocks him off! ESPERANZA!!! ONE! TWO! THR-SABRE KICKS OUT!!!
Hooking the head, Naito hoists Sabre up… ZACK WITH A GUILLOTINE CHOKE MID-AIR!!! Tetsuya’s eyes bulge out his skull, looking for the nearest turnbuckle to ram Sabre into it, but ZSJ’s quicker, yanking him to the mat and transitioning into a JIM BREAKS ARMBAR!!! Brutally bending the arm at an awkward angle, there’s a manic look in Zack’s eyes as NYC desperately cheers on Naito, who does his best to hang on! Sabre keeps tugging further and further, eager to ruin Tetsuya, but it backfires, helping him stretch his leg to the ropes!
The crowd erupts as the referee forces Sabre off, though Naito’s clearly hurting all the same, a European helping no less! Zack rallies with further Uppercuts, one knocking Tetsuya down, before firing a PENALTY KICK!!! NAITO ABSORBS IT AND ROLLS THROUGH, SABRE GOING FOR SECONDS BUT HE EATS A RUNNING DESTINOOOOOOOOO!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Shaking himself off, Naito attempts another, though Sabre stops it with elbows, before hopping into a REAR NAKED CHOKE!
Tetsuya tries to run forwards to free himself, though ZSJ swivels on his back into a GEDO CLUTCH!!! ANOTHER FLASH PIN! BUT NAITO ROLLS THROUGH THIS TIME INTO HIS OWN – POLVO DE ESTRELLA!!! ONE! TWO! THR-SABRE STAYS IN!!! AND AN EVOLUCION!!! ONE! TWO! THR-ANOTHER KICK OUT!!! NAITO’S GOING FOR THE SWING DESTINO!!! BUT A ZACK DRIVER COUNTERS!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Slapping up Naito’s neck, Sabre dumps him on it with a TIGER SUPLEX!!! Naito woozy, Zack nails the PENALTY KICK!!! NAITO’S REFUSING TO STAY DOWN! Hearing MSG’s cries, he wills himself back up as Sabre watches in fascination… ONLY FOR ANOTHER PK TO CUT HIM OFF!!! And just like the 2022 NJC Finals, he’s going to end it here with a SECOND ZACK DRIVER- NAITO NAILS A DESTINO MID-AIR!!! HE’S STILL MOVING SOMEHOW!!! Stumbling to his feet, Tetsuya measures his man… DESTINOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! ONE! TWO! THR-SABRE’S FOOT’S ON THE ROPE!!!
Saving Naito more than once, it’s come to Zack’s aid now too! Hammering Sabre with forearms, Naito tees up another DESTINO- PELE KICK!!! Tetsuya falls forward, Zack catching him in a STRETCH MUFFLER!!! IF HE CAN JUST GRAB THE OTHER LEG, IT’S ALL OVER, COMPLETING THE ORIENTEERING WITH NAPALM DEATH!!! Zack bends Naito further and further as he tries to grab hold… TETSUYA SWINGS BACK! AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN! SABRE LETS GO!!! AND A ZACK DRIVER FROM NAITO!!!
Sabre on his back, Naito thinks about waiting for the Destino… but then he sees the top rope. The crowd cry at him not to, screwing him over time and time again, but Tetsuya can’t help it! Heading up top, the world holds their breath, NAITO SOARING THROUGH THE AIR… STARDUST PRESS CONNECTS!!! ONE! TWO! THREE!!! IT’S A MIRACLE IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN!!! NAITO’S WORLD CHAMPION AGAIN!!!
Tetsuya Naito def. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (31:18)
New York LOSES their minds as Naito’s handed the title, Tetsuya himself struggling to process what just happened! But then LIJ rush out – PAC with the US Title, Hiromu with the TV Title, Shingo, Yota, and Titan with the NEVER 6-Man Titles, and even the Lucha Brothers with the Tag Titles! THEY’RE DRAPED IN GOLD, BABY! Sharing embraces all around as a dismal Sabre trudges to the back, there’s not a single dry eye in the arena as the outcasts raise their fists to the sky with one hand and their titles with the other, golden tickertape hailing down! Naito’s on top of the world after 3 long years, and it feels damn good! Doing the customary championship edition roll-call, the show fades on LIJ holding all their gold… and PAC looking over at Naito’s.
G1 Climax 34
Entering his second of fifteen G1s as the reigning champion, Naito heads B Block opposite stiff competition. Though dispatching of Hiromu in friendly competition on Night One, the two are subsequently assaulted by KONGOH post-match, allowing NOAH’s KENOH to upset him the following night! Behind the 8-ball already, Tetsuya’s motivated to make a comeback, mowing through Narita, Tanahashi, Yota, Sabre, and KENTA to take back the lead! Suffering another surprise defeat at Jeff Cobb’s hands after multiple failed attempts from the Hawaiian Hulk to best him, it opens the door for a returning JAY WHITE to spoil his final night, wrecking Naito’s legs with a ladder, allowing Zack to advance on 14 points! As for B Block, a draw between Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada on the final night puts the Commonwealth Kingpin through, the rivals meeting one more time! Other key underlying stories see Shibata finally beating Okada, Ospreay avenging his Takagi loss, PAC beating his fellow LIJ members but losing to SANADA, and KONGOH causing ruckus throughout the competition.
G1 Climax 34 Finals (August 19, 2024)
Also on the show: Jay White vs BUSHI Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr. - G1 Climax Briefcase
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, PAC, Hiromu Takahashi, Titan) vs KONGOH (KENOH, Manabu Soya, Masakatsu Funaki, Hi69, Shuji Kondo)
Perhaps the focal reason for Naito not making the Finals, KONGOH’s tournament chicanery, as led by KENOH, was a masterfully crafted plan. After losing to Tetsuya in last year’s LIJ vs KONGOH series at Wrestle Kingdom 17, the thought of ruining the Stardust Genius for vengeance never left the Rogue Fist’s mind, and with his win over Tetsuya in the G1, their score is now 1-1. Reigniting the intense rivalry between the two stables, they have an upgraded rematch to their Wrestle Kingdom 16 5-on-5, both sides having greatly changed since then.
Once again, PAC’s especially adamant to claim the spotlight, the loss to SANADA making him temperamental despite having the 2nd best LIJ record in this year’s tournament. An argument breaking out between PAC and Shingo as to who should get the pin is put on ice by Naito, though it doesn’t keep Titan from eating a nasty PFS from KENOH, handing the invaders the win!
KONGOH def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (19:57)
Redeeming WK16, KENOH offers the angriest of satisfied smiles, the group cackling as they gesture belts around their waists, warning that their business isn’t yet over. LIJ left behind, there’s a sour mood in the air from the loss, though when Shingo offers a fist in apology, PAC, taking a look at a nodding Naito, ultimately returns one, showing that despite popular belief, LIJ’s still fine.
Splitting off for Shingo and co. to gear up for KONGOH’s second wave whilst Naito and PAC are scheduled for AEW’s ALL IN supershow, this time taking place in Tetsuya’s home of the Tokyo Dome, both men are set for defences on the show. In PAC’s case, it’s a rematch against J6G’s SANADA, the Bastard adamant to gain Naito’s favour by beating the traitor. As for Naito, he has Jay on his tail!
Until the recent G1, White refused to show his face on any sort of NJPW programming (including Forbidden Door) since being embarrassed at Okada’s hands and having his faction torn to shreds. Leaving Japan to join AEW, no longer having connections to hide behind nor help him, he was forced to be the lone wolf for once, becoming even more merciless, knowing he’s all he has. After spreading chaos abroad, most recently coming up short in the AEW World Championship picture, trauma from his Okada loss clinging onto him anytime the stakes are raised too high again, he decided it was time to return to his roots to clear his head and eliminate any shred of weakness left in his body so that he can claim the top prize again, and there’s no better place to do so than the building his title was taken from him – the Tokyo Dome.
The last time he faced Naito in the Tokyo Dome, he had Gedo by his side, yet still lost. Now though, he declares if he’s to have this match, he wants a compensatory factor. A means of looking out for himself, like Naito has LIJ. He’s already beaten Tetsuya thrice in singles competition, knowing he’s the better wrestler, so this time… HE WANTS A LADDER MATCH!!! Japan’s become more and more geared to the Western market, the culture shifting from traditions, so unless he’s a snob like Okada, he'll embrace the new vision and accept the challenge. Jay using the perfect words to get under Tetsuya’s skin, he accepts, looking to tear down the foundations of the Rainmaker’s regime with his reign, starting with this!
RevProxNJPW 12th Anniversary Show (August 24, 2024)
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & PAC) vs The Knight Dynasty (Ricky Knight Jr. & Zak Knight)
The night before ALL IN features a special RevPro crossover event with their partners, NJPW, the 12th Anniversary being celebrated in Japan. Naturally, Naito tags with the most RevPro familiar member of LIJ, PAC, the two champions battling the celebrated Knight Dynasty, who are considered the present and future of the promotion! What begins as a fun exhibition sees more of the differences between PAC and Naito come to light, the hot-headedness of the Bastard and the collectedness of El Ingobernable wanting different things out of the match, yet still managing to remain reasonably on the same page. A close call on a 619 from Ricky sees Naito shove PAC out the way in the nick of time, absorbing the blow himself, though without acknowledging it, PAC springs to action, a Black Arrow on Zak scoring the victory!
Los Ingobernables de Japon def. The Knight Dynasty (13:10)
As the referee approaches LIJ with their titles, PAC’s quick to receive both, Naito only recovering just in time to find the Bastard lingering for a moment as he looks between the pieces of gold, before finally handing Tetsuya’s over him and walking off, leaving the leader confused yet unconcerned.
ALL IN Tokyo (August 25, 2024)
Also on the show: PAC (c) vs SANADA - IWGP United States Championship The Lucha Brothers (c) vs Golden Lovers - IWGP Tag Team Championship
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Jay White V - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship - Ladder
Stepping into the mastermind of the Switchblade, White baits Naito to play his game, the long-time rivals settling their score over a belt they both have history with. With no Gedo around, Jay’s focus is to demolish Naito’s already tattered knees with the ladder like he did to cost Tetsuya the G1, slowing down each climbing attempt bit by bit. Given the two’s creativity, it’s a sick warfare of increasingly dangerous spots, Naito taking Jay with him to neck bump city, White cruelly massacring Tetsuya’s body with reckless abandon.
White’s notably more in his element here, letting the Tokyo Dome atmosphere heal him whilst hurting Naito. A HANGING BLADE RUNNER cuts a Stardust Press attempt short, the magic only lasting once, but a ladder bridge CANADIAN DESTROYER buys Naito some momentum back! Ultimately, a war atop the ladder sees Naito boot Jay off, allowing him to unhook the gold to retain!
Tetsuya Naito (c) def. Jay White V to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (25:30)
Though Naito walks out with his belt, PAC doesn’t, making the Bastard’s issues all the more prominent, taking more frequent looks over at Tetsuya’s gold, which begs the question – was there more to PAC joining LIJ than originally thought? Still, he wishes Naito good luck for Wrestle Grand Slam, telling him he wants to see the belt on him when they go England. But for now, the end of his trilogy against KENOH awaits!
Wrestle Grand Slam (September 8, 2024)
Also on the show: Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs KUSHIDA - NJPW World Television Championship El Desperado (c) vs Katsuyori Shibata - NEVER Openweight Championship Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, Titan) (c) vs KONGOH (Manabu Soya, Masakatsu Funaki, Shuji Kondo) - NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs KENOH III - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
For over two years, the rivalry between LIJ and KONGOH has slowly simmered to this boiling point, coming down to the leaders now to settle their 1-1 score over NJPW’s top title! With the 6-Man Titles changing hands earlier in the night, Naito must put his 200% into assuring the same doesn’t occur here, or it’ll be disaster on New Japan’s waterfront.
As two men that could not be more opposite collide, it’s an intense war over the company’s possession, everyone from fans to wrestlers on the edge of their seats as the last of the NOAH invaders try to leave their mark. KENOH shows nothing but hatred towards Naito for ruining his past chances, whilst Tetsuya savours his every moment in the Sun, having slaved away to hold this belt. A PFS almost does Naito in, whilst the DESTINO does the same for KENOH! Ragdolling the older star with Dragon Suplexes, KENOH sets up for the ENRIN… BUT IN HIS STARDUST PRESS MOMENT, HE MISSES!!! DESTINOOOOOOOOOO!!! ONE! TWO! THREE!!! New Japan remains safe in the hands of Naito!
Tetsuya Naito (c) def. KENOH to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (28:33)
Offering a handshake to KENOH out of respect for their series… the Rogue Fist declines it, though from the look in his fiery eyes, an inkling of acknowledgement is there for Tetsuya. Telling Naito to keep the belt warm for him, he declares he’ll be back sometime again, and when that happens, he’s going to usurp Naito once and for all!
And as they leave with their 50/50 successes, it’s back to LIJ to end the show on their usual note… except, PAC interrupts the tradition. He’s confused, no, he’s incredulous. What are they celebrating here? Failure? Or are they calling it ‘survival’? Is no one going to point out the elephant in the room? Just two months ago they were on top of the world, all draped in gold, but now they’re left with just Naito and the Lucha Bros’s gold. And yet, they’re celebrating? He’s been out here losing sleep over his missing US Title!
If they wish to continue to be taken seriously, they need to act the part. Luckily… he has a solution. They say iron sharpens iron, so rather than fighting these large-scale wars outside their stable… why not have a ‘friendly’ within? Naito has the title and an incredible row of suitors before him, so he should pick one to defend against! Tetsuya seems perturbed by the idea knowing what almost happened the last time LIJ fought within, but as PAC insists, even pointing out how he’s the only one with a clean record over Naito… Tetsuya turns to him and raises the title! If such claims are going to be made, they need to be backed up too! Challenging PAC with his title on the line, a grinning Bastard accepts, bumping his fist!
Burning Spirit - Night Seven (September 25, 2024)
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi) vs Death Triangle (PAC & The Lucha Brothers)
Slyly manoeuvring his way into the title rematch he’s desired ever since getting a taste of the gold against Shingo last year, this is more so PAC’s chance to prove himself over the statement he’s seeming to be making. Nonetheless, with various combinations of LIJ facing Death Triangle over the Burning Spirit tour, they supposedly rely on each other to improve their own skill, these 6 especially drawing the very best out of each other. Working more seamlessly with DT than he had LIJ as of late, the freakish chemistry between the AEW lads has a Fear FactoDouble Stomp/Black Arrow combo end Hiromu, PAC grinning as he stares down Naito, the challenge growing closer by day…
Death Triangle def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (18:24)
Giving a brief interview heading into the match at Royal Quest, Naito states that he can’t be certain on what PAC’s intentions are, but all he knows is that no matter what, LIJ sticks together. If this match is what PAC needs for his peace of mind, then it’s all his. All he can hope is the Bastard has the same idea of family in mind.
Royal Quest IV - Night Two (October 6, 2024)
Also on the show: The Lucha Brothers (c) vs United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) - IWGP Tag Team Championship Will Ospreay (c) vs Kazuchika Okada - G1 Climax Briefcase
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs PAC II - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
The relationship between LIJ and PAC has developed into one of the more intriguing dynamics this year, raising a multitude of questions, but now, the true light of it all will be revealed. Whether it’s friendly fire or another coup, Naito’s ready for whatever PAC may happen to have up his sleeve, whilst the Bastard lets his actions do the talking. For once, it’s an utterly no-nonsense showdown between Los members, Tetsuya taking the threat of PAC very seriously, the Jordie clearly driven to make the grand prize his. And as the match rolls on, Naito starts to see parts of himself in PAC with each cheer or cry from his home crowd.
Just like Naito, he’s the incredibly-talented misfit who was overlooked, but unlike a young Naito, PAC doesn’t realise he has the world on his side already despite his quirks. Whilst Naito had to suffer through his changes, PAC’s a made man, and with each near-fall, the crowd see it too, becoming more and more invested in him! On the cusp of his crowning moment, PAC shows no hesitation unlike the Stardust Press, NAILING THE BLACK ARROW!!! ONE! TWO! THR-BUT NAITO KICKS OUT!!! PAC may have ‘it’, but Naito’s operating on an entirely different level as World Champion, and no matter what PAC may have thrown at him, it’s not his moment just yet. DESTINOOOOOOOO!!! ONE! TWO! THREE!!!
Tetsuya Naito (c) def. PAC to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (30:11)
Maybe a different day. Both men propped in opposite corners of the ring, they suck deep for breaths, PAC only taking his eyes off Naito when he spots the title bring brought over to him. That should’ve been his. He should’ve been champion right now, but… he starts tuning in the crowd again. A standing ovation for the hometown boy. Though he may not hold the title right now, he’s still a champion in their eyes… Solace. Always overlooked, all he needed was approval. And now more than ever, he feels he has it. Noticing PAC’s realisation, Naito grins and nods to him, the two bumping fists together, no sour ending on this one.
At least, not between LIJ…
OKADA’S HERE!!! After shockingly beating Ospreay for his G1 briefcase earlier in the night, the Rainmaker has his sights on the Tokyo Dome main event, and if things are to be believed, it may be Naito defending
against Kazuchika on the grand stage! The long-time WK rivals locking eyes, there’s a different atmosphere between the Ace and the Dark Ace now. No longer does Okada look upon Naito condescendingly, but with disgust. Though he failed to beat Shingo earlier in the night, Kazuchika’s been vocal all year about the damage he feels LIJ have caused the company.
Where he did everything to purify the promotion with his reign, beating away outsiders, Naito did the exact opposite, bringing them further into their ranks and breaking tradition with a ladder match. With this briefcase in his hand though, he has the power to change that… but so does he
. OSPREAY JOINS IN!!! The man who lost his case earlier in front of his own family, he can’t even look the smug Okada in the eyes. Rather, turning to Naito, he declares his desire to return to WK’s main event to not be over just yet! Against better judgement, he gave Shingo a shot at this title last year and it cost him everything. All he asks is Naito returns the favour! Smirking, Tetsuya tells him ‘earn it’, WK’s main event scene growing all the more interesting!
Battle Autumn - Night Five (October 15, 2024)
Elimination: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Death Triangle) vs United Empire (Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan, Aussie Open)
Desperation drives a man to his darkest pits, and Ospreay is very much there. Banding his troops together one year on since the last LIJ/UE tag of this magnitude, the ante’s upped even higher now, needing to survive an elimination match to receive the match of his desires. Both stables going to war here, all their integrated rivalries of the past years come to a head, the one between Ospreay and Naito lying at the centre of it all. UE get a tough break to start with when Great-O-Khan hits the deck early, Mark Davis following, though a comeback removes the Lucha Bros from the equation!
Cobb goes next, before Ospreay takes out PAC, a double countout subsequently removing the leaders from the equation! Boiling down to Shingo and Kyle, the Aussie Arrow pulls out the underdog performance of his life, channelling all of Ospreay’s moves before a GRIMSTONE ELIMINATES SHINGO! OSPREAY’S HEADED TO KOPW!!! Raising Fletcher onto their shoulders, it’s a grand celebration from UE, Will receiving one last lease on life! As for Naito, he can only stand and wait, a final challenge paved in his path to the Dome.
United Empire def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (25:33)
King of Pro-Wrestling (October 27, 2024)
Also on the show: KUSHIDA (c) vs Taiji Ishimori - NJPW World Television Championship Sabre-Gun (Blake Christian & Clark Connors) (c) vs Catch 22 - IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Katsuyori Shibata - G1 Climax Briefcase
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Will Ospreay IV - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
One year ago, Ospreay’s overzealousness cost him the chance to main event Wrestle Kingdom with the World Title, but now, as it all comes full circle, it’s official, the winner of this match defending against Okada! With that in mind, both men are equally ravenous to make the grand opportunity theirs! Their fourth match together, it’s rife with callbacks, Naito especially making sure to remind Will of the way he beat him in last year’s A Block Finals to get in his head.
To Tetsuya’s surprise though, this matured Ospreay is impervious to his strategies! No matter what the champion throws, the challenger always has an answer, their see-saw saga featuring plenty of nail-biting near-falls that could send either man through, but it’s a TRIAD OF HIDDEN BLADES that ultimately calls it, Ospreay finally reclaiming his throne, a date with destiny set in stone!
Will Ospreay def. Tetsuya Naito (c) to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (35:38)
Before WK though, Power Struggle is on the calendar! Featuring the likes of Death Triangle dethroning KONGOH for the NEVER belts for PAC to fully find his place in LIJ, Ren Narita dethroning Katsuyori Shibata for the NEVER Openweight Title, and Shingo Takagi taking the US Title from SANADA, it also sees Ospreay team with Catch 22 against Okada and the two men who ended Francesco Akira and TJP’s legendary reign, SHO & Taiji Ishimori, with UE scoring the vengeful win! And on the final Road To Tokyo Dome special, Ospreay finds a surprising ally in Shibata against Okada and Tanahashi in a HUGE blockbuster tag, CHAOS getting their win back here as Shibata keeps chasing down a rematch with Tana!
Wrestle Kingdom 19 (January 4, 2025)
Also on the show: Sabre-Gun (Blake Christian & Clark Connors) (c) vs Li-YOH - IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) (c) vs CHAOS (Shota Umino & Yuya Uemura) - IWGP Tag Team Championship SHO (c) vs Francesco Akira - IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Ren Narita (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii - NEVER Openweight Championship Shingo Takagi (c) vs Katsuhiko Nakajima - IWGP United States Championship Minoru Suzuki vs Taichi - Retirement Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Katsuyori Shibata
Will Ospreay (c) vs Kazuchika Okada XII - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
Finally, this is what it’s all led to. A story set in motion from the very first moment Ospreay set foot in NJPW under Okada’s guidance in CHAOS 9 years ago. Fighting through loss after loss after loss, he finally achieved his clean win over Okada last year to reclaim his World Championship, but now, he must accomplish an even greater task – beat the Final Boss in the Tokyo Dome itself! Failing on both occasions against Okada on NJPW’s biggest stage akin to Okada’s own chase of Tanahashi, it’s his Wrestle Kingdom 10 moment now as he
walks into the Dome as the reigning champion, with the Ace as the challenger! Win and he’s immortalised in history. Lose and Okada resets the company’s entire trajectory. High stakes weighing on Will’s shoulders, it’s time to elevate under pressure!
Entering with WK level entrances to boot, Okada dripping sheer gold, and Ospreay with an entire kingdom of suited individuals accompanying him, they get underway as the bell sounds! And for the first time, it’s Ospreay controlling the opening sequence with the Tanahashi-style headlock! Big brothering Okada, he doesn’t let the Rainmaker out the gates in his own ballpark for a few minutes straight… BEFORE WILL EXPLODES FOR A HANDSPRING ENZUIGIRI!
Okada dodges, going for a GERMAN, but Will flips through, nailing the HOOK KICK, an OSCUTTER coming up empty, Kazu swinging for a ducked RAINMAKER, and it’s a stalemate! Trading forearms, a Lariat dumps Okada out, Ospreay running Kazu’s routine of the guardrail whip and Big Boot, a RUNNING CROSSBODY EATING A DROPKICK! Nailing a TOMBSTONE on the floor, Okada sets up a table at ringside before rolling Ospreay in, the MISSILE DROPKICK and AIR-RAID CRASH NECKBREAKER harping on the neck! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!
Wrenching the MONEY CLIP, it doesn’t get him far, a BRAINBUSTER catching Okada by surprise! SHOOTING STAR PRESS! ONE! TWO! THR-NO DICE! A PIP PIP CHEERIO eats a BEAUTIFUL DROPKICK, before Okada whips Ospreay at the corner, only for Will to pop him up onto the turnbuckles, slamming Kawada Kicks into his face! CHEEKY NANDOS! Ospreay tries for a LIGER BOMB through the outside table, but Okada drops to the apron! Will charges for a Yakuza Kick, but a LANDSLIDE BLOCKS!!! ONE! TWO! THR-OSPREAY STAYS IN!!!
Hammering the neck, Okada lunges for a RAINMAKER, though a SNAP CUTTER blocks! ROBINSON SPECIAL! Will winds up the CHELSEA GRIN, but it receives a slap and a JOHN WOO DROPKICK! A pair of Short-Arm Rainmakers ricochet off Ospreay, but a Rainmaker is feigned for a DDT! DIVING ELBOW DROP!!! ONE! TWO! THR-WILL KICKS OUT AGAIN!!! A TOMBSTONE is countered by knees, Ospreay whipping Okada at the ropes, Kazu countering a BACK BODY DROP OVER THE ROPES!!!
Will narrowly missing the table, Okada follows with a TOPE CON HILO… BUT OSPREAY MOVES OUT THE WAY, THE RAINMAKER EXPLODING THROUGH THE WOOD!!! Shoving Okada’s lifeless body inside, Ospreay sets up a HIDDEN BLADE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOO!!! A STORM BREAKER is blocked, Okada nailing a sick CORNER GERMAN! Dropkick rocks Will, before the TOMBSTONE connects! RAINMAKER’s dodged, Ospreay rebounding into an OSCUTTER- DROPKICK!!! AND A RAINMAKERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Okada keeps the wrist, going for seconds… OSPREAY NAILS A RAINMAKER OF HIS OWN!!! Wrist still held, Will nails close-range elbows to the neck, before winding up another HIDDEN BLADE- HEAVY RAIN!!! OKADA NAILS HIS OWN HIDDEN BLADE!!! Teasing the STORM BREAKER, Ospreay spins out, dumping Kazu with a LANDSLIDE!!! AND A HIDDEN BLADE… Okada collapses! As Will tries picking him up, a DROPKICK awaits! ANOTHER DROPKICK! AZTEC SUPLEX – A LA ULTIMO DRAGON!!! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!!!
Okada decks Ospreay with a RAINMAKER, but Will doesn’t go down fully, Kazu nailing a SECOND! Going for the Ripcord this time… RAINHAM MAKER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-OKADA KICKS OUT!!! ESSEX DESTROYER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-ANOTHER KICK OUT!!! Cracking a HIDDEN BLADE off Okada’s nose, an OSCUTTER follows, before he floats into a STORM BREAKER- FALLING RAINMAKERRRRRRR!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Okada smelling blood, he tries for another, AND A HIDDEN BLADE CONNECTS AT THE SAME TIME!!! Keeping hold, the two knock each other loopy with one free arm… OSCUTTER’S CAUGHT WITH A TOMBSTONE!!! Okada picks him back up, going for a SPINNING TOMBSTONE- OSPREAY REVERSES INTO A SPIKE PILEDRIVER!!! Ripcord… HIDDEN BLADE!!! AND A STORM BREAKER!!! Hoisting him up for one more… A SECOND STORM BREAKERRRRRRRRRRR!!! ONE! TWO! THREE!!!
Will Ospreay (c) def. Kazuchika Okada to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (40:51)
HE’S DONE IT! OSPREAY’S FINALLY SURPASSED THE ACE ON HIS OWN STAGE! No longer is Okada himself anymore, but rather the Tanahashi to Ospreay’s Okada, the cycle continuing. And like his counterpart 9 years ago, Kazu leaves as empty-handed as he walked in for the first time in a decade, the times officially changing! And as sunlight washes over the Land of the Rising Sun, a new dawn is revealed. The dawn of the Ospreay Era.
Heading into 2025, NJPW is rife with changes, seeing more of the once Young Lion names step up as the likes of Tanahashi and Naito begin to slow down. CHAOS features a massive shakeup the following night as Shinsuke Nakamura returns, kickstarting his road to retirement, having been vocal in his interest of facing Tanahashi, proceeding to feud with Okada over his failures. As for Ospreay, his reign runs until Sakura Genesis, where one NJC Winner Katsuyori Shibata finally dethrones him 8 years on from his loss to Okada, though Will’s time with the title is far from over yet, remaining an integral part of the picture alongside ZSJ, Shingo, and more.
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2023.05.28 06:00 InfernoAA God Made the World in Six Days, I’ll Perfect New Japan's on the Seventh Part Four: Ring o' Roses
In Part Three, Shingo Takagi confronted both his duties as World Heavyweight Champion and member of Los Ingobernables de Japon, proceeding to right the wrongs of his first reign by winning the January 4 main event against Tetsuya Naito to squash their beef and become co-leaders. With PAC shockingly joining the group after having gone on a crusade against them, they seemed stronger than ever, all except for Shingo's neck. Feeling the weight of CHAOS crushing it, it took both Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi
to bring him to his knees, the Ace of the Universe back to his rightful spot after 5 years, restoring CHAOS’s purist regime. Ending off on keeping the riches from blood rival Katsuyori Shibata yet again, he now awaits the arrival of the 2024 New Japan Cup Winner...
New Japan Cup Finals (March 28, 2024)
“ZACK SABRE JR. HAS PAC IN HYPERNORMALISATION! PAC SUBMITS! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, FOR THE THIRD TIME IN HISTORY OUR NEW JAPAN CUP WINNER IS ZSJ!” After two failed attempts to translate his cup success into gold, the Bone Master has another chance to fulfil his career’s greatest goal. And out walks the man he beat in the 2018 Finals for his first win, the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi! One of Zack’s biggest rivals since coming to Japan, and one that’s had his number more time than he’s had theirs, he must beat the godly Ace of the Universe if he wishes to claim his first piece of IWGP-commissioned singles gold!
The stage set for Sakura Genesis, Sabre makes sure to rub in everyone’s faces the premonition he laid down at New Year’s Dash. He said to LIJ he’d be back for the title, and after beating one of their men, he’s made good on his claims. And now, he’s going to make ‘God’ bow to him, whether he wants to or not. When asked for his opinion on the challenger, Tanahashi says he’s amused by how earnestly the Windy Man’s tried to become a New Japan guy, moving his entire life to Japan in pursuit of the top prize. Whilst that dedication may be admirable, it’ll be for nought, Zack just another visitor to his grand kingdom, CHAOS remaining Sabre’s white whale at the end of every NJC journey.
Sakura Genesis (April 7, 2024)
Also on the show: United Empire (Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Aaron Henare) (c) vs Just6Guys (SANADA, Taichi, Ryohei Oiwa) - NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship YOH (c) vs El Desperado - IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship TMDK (c) vs Bishamon - IWGP Tag Team Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr. XI - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
They say third time’s the charm, but that remains to be seen in Sabre’s case. Sabre-Gun with mixed successes throughout the night, El Desperado coming up short whilst TMDK kept their gold, it’s up to their leader to set an example for his group. Popping his collar, he steels his gaze on the championship as Tanahashi makes his entrance, Zack blocking out the surrounding world. Despite channelling the controversial words of the polarising Okada for the past year, Hiroshi still has Ryogoku in the palm of his hands, remaining the people’s favourite no matter the shade of grey he envelops himself in. Back to his pomp and circumstance, he gives ZSJ the full show of what a true star looks like, ready to bring Sabre back down to reality.
It's a methodical opening from the two talented grapplers, Tanahashi standing toe-to-toe with the best technical wrestler in the world with merely his sheer aura. Sabre shoots for an early Article 50, but Tana sidesteps him into the ropes, before condescendingly patting him on the cheek! Zack retaliates with a forearm, knocking Tana to the mat, a deluge of stomps raining down on his face as the Hiroshi tries to cover up!
Escaping to the ropes, Sabre charges at him with a EUROPEAN UPPERCUT! Tana evades, connecting a DRAGON-STYLE HARITE, slapping respect into the challenger! Incensed, Sabre leaves a mark with a stinging slap of his own, before nailing a chain of Uppercuts! Tana fights back for a TWIST AND SHOUT, though Sabre counters with a FLATLINER! A High-Angle German is stuffed, Zack decked with an ALL OUT and a MIDDLE-ROPE SENTON BOMB! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!
Tana guns for the leg like he did Shibata, but a Feint Roundhouse into a Legsweep from ZSJ floors him! AND A NECK TWIST!!! With Hiroshi distracted by his neck, Sabre immediately switches for the legs, applying SUNDAY RAIL ENGINEERING WORKS REPLACEMENT BUS SERVICE!!! Tana’s quick to make the ropes, though has to physically pull himself to the apron when Sabre doesn’t release! No breather for him, Zack hooks his leg in the ropes and connects a DRAGON SCREW!
Tana receiving a taste of his own medicine, Sabre slides out and scores one directly on the apron, bashing Hiroshi’s leg into the hardest part of the ring! He attempts to Irish Whip Tanahashi into the ring post, but the Once in a Century Talent nails a SLING BLADE ON THE APRON! DRAGON SUPLEX TO THE FLOOR!!! Playing the starpower card, Tana poses with a grin as the cameras catch a shot of Sabre beneath him. He doesn’t notice Zack’s little twitches though, committing to a HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE OUTSIDE!!! A POSSUM SABRE PUSHES HIM MID-AIR ONTO THE BARRICADE!!!
As Tokyo gasps, it’s academic from Sabre as he threads Tana’s leg through a steel chair, PILMANISING IT!!! Evidence long discarded by the time the referee walks over, he wraps Hiroshi’s leg around the steel post, using it to apply a SASORI-GATAME!!! Tana lets out shouts of agony, Zack milking the suffering as Hiroshi begs the referee to get the challenger to stop. Eventually letting go, he forces Tanahashi to walk himself back into the spider’s web, a SPRINGBOARD ENZUIGIRI awaiting! BRIDGING NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!
Swivelling into a KNEEBAR now, he rolls around with Tana’s leg in his grasp, countering Hiroshi’s each attempts at escape, before going for the SELECTED TECHNICAL WORKS VOL. 2 combination, but Tana stacks his shoulders up! ONE! TWO! THR-NO LUCK! Forced to release to kick out, he scrambles to his feet to batter Hiroshi with a elbows, a DISCUS ELBOW SMASH staggering him, but a Pele Kick is caught, Tana nailing his own DRAGON SCREW!!!
A TWIST AND SHOUT follows, before Tana wraps on the DRAGON SWING! Wrenching on the neck, he makes a good few rotations before suddenly dropping to a knee, his leg unable to hold up for too long. Going for a DRAGON SUPLEX, it’s blocked by a barrage of back elbows, though Hiroshi nails the DARUMA-SHIKI GERMAN INSTEAD!!! ONE! TWO! THR-SABRE KICKS OUT! Nursing his neck, Sabre gets no reprieve as a HASE URANAGE spikes him, and a HIGH FLY ATTACK… IS CAUGHT IN AN ANKLE LOCK!!!
Tana rolls through but Sabre rolls with him, though he can’t get the grapevine, Tana booting him off with the other leg! TWIST AND SHOUT! Sabre subdued, a SLING BLADE takes him down, a HIGH FLY FLOW FOLLOWING SUIT!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Tana rushes for a TEXAS CLOVERLEAF, putting the hurt on Zack’s legs now! The Submission Master searches for escapes yet Hiroshi commits his everything to this move, not letting him free for the life of him! That is, until his own leg gives way! Grounded, he can’t stop a PENALTY KICK!!! AND A ZACK DRIVER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-TANA STAYS ALIVE!!!
Ragdolling Hiroshi with a pair of Double Underhook Suplexes, Zack puts Tana in a prone position to stomp the insides of the knees, before applying a CALF SLICER!!! Yet again, the Ace of the Universe is in trouble, his condition deteriorating with each submission. Knowing he needs to change that and fast… HE GRABS ZACK’S SKULL AND RAMS IT INTO THE MAT REPEATEDLY TO BREAK!!! Gears turning in his mind from Sabre’s tribute, HE GETS HIM UP FOR A STYLES CLASH!!! ONE! TWO! THR-SABRE SURVIVES!!!
Connecting a SLING BLADE, he dumps Zack with a DRAGON SUPLEX! ZACK RESPONDS WITH ONE OF HIS OWN! Open palm strikes from Tana light up Zack, only for him to wring out the arm for a PELE KICK!!! Sabre teases a Legsweep, but Hiroshi hops over this time and nails a GROUNDED HIGH FLY FLOW!!! Air driven out of ZSJ’s lungs, Tana hoists him up… AND NAILS A TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER!!! SHADES OF OKADA!!! The CHAOS Leader beating him like this both past Sakura Geneses, it’s going to happen again!
Scaling the ropes, Tana crashes down with a HIGH FLY FLOWWWWWWWWWW!!! But he’s not done! Wanting to make an example out of Sabre, he takes his time posing atop the world like the star he is… BUT IT ALLOWS ZACK TO RECOVER, GRABBING HIS LEG!!! Hammering the knee before Tana has a chance to respond, he yanks him off… RUNNING LIGER BOMB!!! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!!! STRAIGHT INTO CLARKY CAT BAD BALLOON REMIX!!! Folding Tana’s leg over his shoulder, he utterly destroys the geriatric knees over the champion, who wails in agony, doing anything he can to break free… BUT HE’S TOO FAR FROM THE ROPES!!! TANAHASHI TAPS OUT!!! THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM – ZSJ’S THE NEW KING OF NEW JAPAN!!!
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (30:23)
Cutting Tanahashi’s reign brutally short, Sabre-Gun has claimed its spot on the throne! Raising up both his trophy and championship, he’s lifted onto TMDK’s shoulders, the three men flaunting their gold to the world as the remainder of the stable joins them! Tana shell-shocked, he hangs his head in shame and despair as he limps off, Ryogoku the first of many dark days for NJPW…
As the new monarch, Sabre’s first order of business is simple – kill off his counterpart. And by that he means the man who successfully defended the title against him last year, Will Ospreay. Though he may hold the title, jealousy courses through ZSJ’s veins knowing the Commonwealth Kingpin’s considered the company’s top gaijin despite Zack’s superior record over him. Wanting to change that, he calls out Ospreay, who’s fresh off dropping the NEVER 6-Man Titles to Just6Guys, having had quite the identity crisis since having the WK main event taken from him. Eager at the chance at a do-over, he accepts without hesitation.
Wrestling Hinokuni (April 27, 2024)
Sabre-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & TMDK) vs United Empire (Will Ospreay & Aussie Open)
Whilst Sabre and Ospreay have kept their distance since their Royal Quest match, the same can’t be said about the greater stables. World Tag League Winners TMDK taking Aussie Open’s IWGP Tag Team Championship at Wrestle Kingdom and United Empire successfully defending the NEVER Titles against Sabre-Gun at the Anniversary Show, this conclusion was only inevitable. Aussie Open also wanting a chance to get their titles back, they team with Ospreay here against the champion unit, the Commonwealth Nations going to war for supremacy.
Unlike Royal Quest, Sabre’s notably a lot surer of himself against Will here, no longer compensating by matching his striking game, rather trying to make Ospreay play his game instead. However, even with Zack being in his best possible form, SG falters against UE once more, the Coriolis to Mikey Nicholls setting the stage for Wrestling Dontaku! Zack grits his teeth as much like Tanahashi, Ospreay looks down on him.
United Empire def. Sabre-Gun (17:34)
Wrestling Dontaku (May 4, 2024)
Also on the show: Ren Narita (c) vs Shota Umino - NEVER Openweight Championship Taichi (c) vs Hiromu Takahashi - NJPW World Television Championship YOH (c) vs Robbie Eagles - IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship KENTA (c) vs PAC - IWGP United States Championship TMDK (c) vs Aussie Open - IWGP Tag Team Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Will Ospreay XVII - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
A rivalry extending back an entire decade to the UK Indies, the spot for best British wrestler in the world has long been contested between these two. Back at it again, it’s time they settle the score once more. Ospreay strides out comfortably, having been in this position plenty of times by now as a potentially soon-to-be 3x World Champion, this his domain. As for Sabre, it’s his first time defending a title of this magnitude, pressure clearly weighing on his shoulders, but taking a deep breath, he prepares himself for victory just like TMDK earlier in the night.
As the bell rings… Ospreay explodes for a DROPKICK right away – shades of NJC 2021! Zack fishes the leg out the air and applies an ANKLE LOCK, LOOKING TO TAP HIM OUT WITHIN THE FIRST FEW SECONDS OF THE MATCH! Alarmed, Ospreay thrashes with kicks from his free leg to force Sabre off, rolling to the outside to recollect himself! Sabre doesn’t let him though, nailing a Baseball Slide Dropkick, before tossing him back in and wrangling the leg again!
A roll shakes him off, a HOOK KICK following, AND AN OSCUTTER! Sabre stops it though, countering with a SNAP DRAGON SUPLEX! Will rotates through to his feet and soars for a STANDING SHOOTING STAR PRESS, but again Zack dodges! BOW & ARROW ATTEMPT! Will flips into a cover, Zack kicking out instantly! Ospreay handsprings off the ropes, teasing his signature Enzuigiri, Sabre grasping the leg mid-air, but another follows, wrapping around his neck to twist through into a CROSS ARMBREAKER FROM WILL!
Sabre gets the monkey grip, preventing full extension, BUT WILL BITES THE FINGERS TO FORCE HIM OFF, now getting the full stretch, yelling at the referee to ask Zack if he submits! Sabre refuses however, rolling onto his stomach to turn the hold over and stand up, getting his legs around Will’s neck to score a NECK TWIST, getting him to release!
Zack knowing it to be a sore spot, he gets rallying with European Uppercuts to rock it like a bobblehead, before leaping into a GUILLOTINE CHOKE! Zack tightens his grip around Will’s neck, but a BUCKLE EXPLODER SUPLEX loosens it again as Sabre’s left dangling in a Tree of Woe! Ospreay sits cross-legged in front of him and SMASHES HIS NOSE WITH FOREARMS, busting a defenceless Zack open! Fish-hooking the nose, Will shakes his head about and lets crimson droplets paint the surroundings like a psychopathic Bob Ross, before letting go, cackling.
He heads to the top rope, but Zack meets him there, pulling himself up using his core strength and crotching Will on the neighbouring rope! The two face-to-face again, Zack sitting on the turnbuckle and Will on the rope, they trade forearms, blood continuing to leak down Sabre’s face, but he doesn’t care, INSTEAD GRABBING WILL’S LEG TO SUSPEND HIM UPSIDE-DOWN WITH A HANGING SUNDAY RAIL ENGINEERING WORKS REPLACEMENT BUS SERVICE!!!
Will’s in sheer agony as Sabre contorts his limb, but he’s saved by the referee’s count, Sabre forced to let go, Ospreay slumping to the apron. Zack turns to face the apron as he collects his wits and catches his breath, whilst Will nurses his leg, being checked on by the referee to make sure he’s good to continue, hopping to his base. Sabre settles down on the apron behind Will, grabbing him from behind, TESTING AN APRON TIGER SUPLEX!
Ospreay smashes the nose with a rear headbutt to ward him off! AND HE SPRINGS OFF ONE LEG TO DROP SABRE WITH AN APRON OSCUTTER, BOTH MEN SPILLING TO THE FLOOR!!! The referee starts their count as both lay still, no sign of movement as the 10 count nears. Reaching 12 now, they finally begin to stir, getting on all fours… 13… 14… 15… OSPREAY’S LEG GIVES OUT! 16… 17… 18… BOTH MEN MAKE ONE LAST PUSH, SABRE SHOVING HIMSELF INSIDE THE RING BY 19, WHILST OSPREAY PULLS HIMSELF UP ONTO THE APRON AND SPRINGS OFF ONE LEG ON THE ROPES FOR A PIP PIP CHEERIO!!! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!!!
Coming down hard on the leg though, Ospreay writhes in pain, but with Zack down, he pulls himself up with every last bit of energy he has up for STORM BREAKER… ZACK WITH AN OCTOPUS HOLD!!! Will immediately rams him into the turnbuckle until he lets up, Sabre instead sliding down his back like a bird hitting a window, OSPREAY COLLECTING HIM TO NAIL A HITODENASHI DRIVER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOO!!!
Will shouts in frustration, having jammed the leg on the landing. Feeling victory nigh though, he preps the HIDDEN BLADE!!! SABRE SPINS AROUND AND COUNTERS WITH A ZACK DRIVER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NO DICE!!! PENTALTY KICK! ANOTHER COVER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-STILL NO LUCK!!! NOW A NUMERO DOS A LA DESPERADO!!! Ospreay screams as Sabre tears the leg in half, Will dancing around in search of reprieve, until a FRANKENSTEINER stands ZSJ on his dome! BRAINBUSTER FOLLOWS!
Sabre rocked, Ospreay cracks the CHELSEA GRIN against his neck, before connecting the HIDDEN BLADE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-ZACK’S STILL IN IT!!! Will’s leg is falling apart as he stumbles back into the corner to try for seconds, losing balance and collapsing before he can reach his target! EUROPEAN CLUTCH FROM ZACK!!! ONE! TWO! THR-OSPREAY SURVIVES!!! BUT A PENALTY KICK TO THE SKULL! AND STRAIGHT INTO ORIENTEERING WITH NAPALM DEATH!!! OSPREAY THRASHES LIKE A MADMAN, FEELING HIS LIGAMENTS ON THE VERGE OF TEARING… AND HE TAPS!!!
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) def. Will Ospreay to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (34:18)
One more for the bad guys. Commonwealth Kingpin at his mercy, Ospreay a mess as he scrambles off, Zack’s the new Top Gaijin in town. Raising his title high from the turnbuckles, he juices every last drop out his victory, this moment perfect to him… or not
. OH MY GOD IT’S MINORU SUZUKI!!! Any bit of colour that remains on ZSJ’s pale face drains off as the King’s music rings through Fukuoka, but there’s no sign of the man- WAIT, SABRE’S SPUN AROUND! KICK TO THE GUT – GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER!!! HE’S HERE!!! Placing a boot on Zack’s chest, Suzuki holds the World Title high over his former stablemate’s body!
The ending of Dontaku has Japan buzzing as they question the true motive of Suzuki’s attack, and after an extended silence, the King sets the record straight. 1 ½ years ago, Suzuki-Gun was dissolved, and ever since, Sabre’s been writing checks with his mouth that he can’t cash. He walks around with the World Title like he’s
the reason he even received recognition in NJPW in the first place. Suzuki gave him a home beside him, and as rapidly as he elevated Sabre, he can take it all away from him just as fast. He’s getting old and is still missing the final piece to the Japanese Triple Crown, so he plans to take that from Zack.
Sabre doesn’t take too kindly to these words, letting his actions speak for himself as he ASSAULTS SUZUKI on a Road To Dontaku show! Bringing Sabre-Gun with him, they brutalise the legend, before Zack plants his group’s flag on Suzuki’s chest! Mocking him for having no allies the next night, declaring Suzuki’s era of relevance to be long gone… this plays
. SUZUKI’S HERE, AND HE’S NOT ALONE! IT’S JUST6GUYS!!! Racing to the ring, the two factions erupt in a massive brawl, bodies flying left and right! Sabre tries for a quick getaway but he’s stopped by Minoru, who gives him a devilish snarl before clobbering him with forearms until Sabre-Gun’s sent packing through the crowd, Zack yelling expletives at Suzuki as he retreats!
Back to Yokohama Arena (May 16, 2024)
Sabre-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado & TMDK) vs Minoru Suzuki & Just3Guys (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, DOUKI)
With Sabre-Gun and Just6Guys feuding ever since their respective formations, switching between silent competitive warfare of racking up belts to fighting each other, notably the Sabre/Taichi saga, it all fully comes to a head in Suzuki’s home of Yokohama! With full freedom to destroy each other however they please, the two factions don’t hold back one bit, with Suzuki especially targeting ZSJ. He’s unable to give him grief the way he wishes to though, Zack tactfully hiding behind his partners until he can blindside Minoru, before scramming again. Ultimately, it’s Minoru putting Desperado away with the GOTCH PILEDRIVER, before signalling to Sabre that time’s running out for him, Suzuki to get his hands on him too soon enough!
Minoru Suzuki & J6G def. Sabre-Gun (15:03)
As much as Sabre tries to deny it, that day only speeds closer with each accusation of cowardice against the prideful champion’s name, the world questioning whether he’s afraid of Suzuki. Adamant to silence his doubters, he finally accepts Suzuki’s title challenge, setting the stage for Dominion, though promising he won’t have a career to go back to when Sabre’s done with him!
Dominion 6.2 (June 2, 2024)
Also on the show: YOH (c) vs SHO - IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Just2Guys (c) vs Sabre-Gun (Blake Christian & Clark Connors) - IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship TMDK (c) vs The Lucha Brothers - IWGP Tag Team Championship PAC (c) vs Katsuyori Shibata - IWGP United States Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Minoru Suzuki - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
With Sabre-Gun beating Just6Guys earlier in the night, this war’s already at its boiling point by the time the main event arrives, Suzuki opting to enter second as Zack steps out- CRACK! STEEL CHAIR TO SABRE’S SPINE!!! Suzuki isn’t wasting even a second here, tearing the jacket off Sabre’s back before bending the steel over his spine! The Windy Man desperately tries to crawl away to the ring, but Suzuki steps on his ankle to stop him! Turning him around to meet his maker, MINORU GOES FOR A GOTCH PILEDRIVER ON THE CHAIR!!! LOW BLOW FROM SABRE TO COUNTER!!!
Suzuki drops to his knees as Osaka boos the smarmy champion, ZSJ now battering the King’s back, before finally sliding him in to get the match started! PENALTY KICK RIGHT AWAY!!! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!!! Sabre wrenches in a CLARKY CAT, working the arm as Suzuki writhes under him, but it’s not long before Minoru stands up out of it, hurling ZSJ to the mat! Booting him in the jaw, Suzuki backs him into the corner and tears into him with open palm strikes! He winds up a CORNER DROPKICK, but Sabre evades, blasting him with a rapid barrage of European Uppercuts against the turnbuckle!
Zack taking the run-up now, Suzuki bucks him over the ropes to the apron, SABRE BLASTING A THUMB IN HIS EYE! Minoru blinded, Zack leaps up for a SPRINGBOARD ENZUIGIRI- SUZUKI BLOCKS WITH A WILD SLAP TO THE CHEEK!!! Sabre stiffed, Suzuki applies a HANGING JUJI-GATAME FROM THE ROPES!!! Zack screams in agony as Minoru damn near rips his arm out the socket, the referee’s count the only thing keeping him from going!
Releasing, Sabre crumples to the floor, getting as far as he possibly can from Suzuki, though he’s not fast enough, Suzuki nailing a GOAL KICK to his skull from the apron! Grabbing Sabre, he HURLS him into the guardrail with it shoulder-first, the velocity sending Zack through! As he goes to collect his prey though, SABRE TOSSES A CHAIR AT HIS SKULL!!! Threading Suzuki’s arm through it, SABRE STOMPS THE ELBOW!!! AND AN ARTICLE 50!!!
Sabre abuses the legend, but he forgets about the other arm, Suzuki slapping his head in with it until Zack releases! Shaking off the arm, a BACK BODY DROP sends Sabre crashing back to ringside, Minoru following after him as ZSJ slinks inside the ring. Zack beats him to his feet though, stomping a hole through the mat with Suzuki’s skull, dribbling it! He cracks a ROLLING ELBOW off the skull, but Minoru walks through it, glaring at Sabre! Throwing an elbow of his own, it gets caught, Zack scoring the PELE KICK to the arm!
AND A KIMURA LOCK!!! Sabre brutally rips at the arm, bringing Suzuki to his knees from the pain even, but Minoru pins his shoulders to the mat! ONE! TWO! THR-SABRE RELEASES TO KICK OUT! As Zack rolls to his feet, a SHOTGUN DROPKICK awaits him! Suzuki clobbers him with slaps to the face, Sabre seeing stars as one knocks him clean off his feet! Turning to the turnbuckle… SUZUKI RIPS IT OFF!!! Steel exposed, he teases a SNAP SUPLEX INTO THE CORNER!!! SABRE COUNTERS WITH A BRAINBUSTER ON THE MAT!!! GUILLOTINE CHOKE!!!
Draining the life out of Suzuki, Sabre presses on the carotid artery, Minoru is deep trouble! BUT NOW THE KING BITES ON ZSJ’S FINGERS!!! Zack yelps and releases, allowing Suzuki to secure his wrists and STOMP HIS HEAD IN!!! Sabre catches a boot and applies SUNDAY RAIL ENGINEERING WORKS REPLACEMENT BUS SERVICE!!! ZSJ tortures Suzuki’s leg, though in doing so leaves his arm exposed, Minoru yanking off his grip and countering into HIS OWN HEEL HOOK!!!
Sabre desperately tries the same counter, but Suzuki’s grip is too tight to break, forcing Zack to roll to the ropes! SUZUKI ISN’T LETTING GO! Crawling on his hands, Sabre pulls himself to the floor and WHIPLASHES MINORU’S NECK OFF THE BOTTOM ROPE!!! Staggering about ringside on one foot, he grabs his title and rolls back in! Suzuki struggling up, Sabre tries to deck him with the belt… but the referee grabs it from behind! A tug-of-war ends in SUZUKI KNOCKING THE BELT INTO THE REF WITH AN ENZUIGIRI!
Both men hitting the deck, Minoru rocks ZSJ with a Dropkick! GOTCH PILEDRIVER ONTO THE TITLE!!! But there’s no one to count! Pissed, Suzuki limps out and abuses a couple young lions, before picking one out the crowd to toss in the ring, ripping the referee’s shirt off and telling the lion to put it on! SUZUKI COVERS! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Even more livid, HE DECKS THIS LION TOO! Turning back to Zack, he notices the champion feebly reaching for the belt! Kicking it out the ring, Suzuki goes for another GOTCH PILEDRIVER!!! BACK BODY DROP COUNTER!!!
Still hurting, Sabre struggles to get a rally of strikes going, Suzuki meeting him blow for blow! BUT SABRE WHIPS THE SHOULDER INTO THE MAT! Minoru stunned, sadistic thoughts run through Sabre’s mind… TIGER SUPLEX INTO THE EXPOSED STEEL!!! AND A RUNNING LIGER BOMB – ONE OF SUZUKI’S RIVALS MOVES!!! THE REFEREE’S BACK TO CONSCIOUSNESS! NOT LIKE THIS! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Sabre’s exasperated, thinking he had it! Running out of options, he teases a ZACK DRIVER, but Suzuki slips behind and applies the SLEEPER HOLD!!! Sabre’s quickly fading, frantically trying to tear the bad arm off, but Minoru doesn’t budge, shoving ZSJ to the mat for the PENALTY KICK!!! ONE! TWO! THR-ZACK KICKS OUT!!! Suzuki grabs Sabre by the chin, demanding him to strike Minoru if he thinks he’s so tough, ZSJ doing his best, but Suzuki eats it and returns a HARD SLAP! SLEEPER SUPLEX!!!
Tossing Sabre to the apron, Minoru steps onto the middle rope and cinches in an ELEVATED SLEEPER!!! Zack dangles in the air, unable to find his footing to escape, Suzuki lifting him higher and higher! Blood rushing to his legs, he needs to act fast, attacking the elbow again until the hold is finally slightly loosened! Leaning forwards, he pulls Suzuki his direction, allowing him to lower his feet onto the apron… YANKING SUZUKI INTO AN APRON ZACK DRIVER!!!
Sabre coughs up a lung as he kicks Minoru’s corpse back in, before lining up a PENALTY KICK!!! ONE! TWO! THR-SUZUKI’S ALIVE!!! Zack’s stunned as he comes face-to-face with Suzuki’s sneer, Minoru still having enough in him to throw slaps! Sabre returning Uppercuts, they go blow-for-blow until Zack collapses first, though he’s playing possum, HEADBUTTING THE SHOULDER as the King tries to grab him! He goes for YOU CAN’T PLAY CONKERS IN ENGLAND, though he’s immediately tossed down, SUZUKI NAILING A PENALTY KICK!!!
Winding up, Minoru goes for one more… ZACK SLAPS HIS HEAD OFF HIS SHOULDERS!!! Putting the head between his legs, HE NAILS A GOTCH PILEDRIVER!!! Suzuki collapses in position for a PENALTY KICK!!! AND NOW SABRE CINCHES IT IN – HURRAH! ANOTHER YEAR, SURELY THIS ONE WILL BE BETTER THAN THE LAST; THE INEXORABLE MARCH OF PROGRESS WILL LEAD US ALL TO HAPPINESS!!! Suzuki grits his teeth, trying to fight through it, Sabre keeping his eyes on his hands to see the tap… NOWHERE TO GO, MINORU FLIPS HIM OFF WITH BOTH HANDS AND VERBALLY SUBMITS!!!
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) def. Minoru Suzuki to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (32:50)
Surviving one of the toughest matches of his career, Zack’s kingdom still lives, though barely. As he’s handed his title though, he chucks it aside, this about far more than the gold to him! SABRE STOMPS OUT SUZUKI!!! Signalling to the back, out rush Sabre-Gun, coming to Sabre’s aid to conduct a mugging on the legend! SUDDEN DEATH FROM ELP! PINCHE LOCO FROM DESPERADO! THUNDER VALLEY FROM TMDK! TANDEM JEEP FLIP/DROPKICK FROM BLAKE, CONNORS AND FUJITA! And now, it's Zack’s turn. Dragging him to the concrete… HE’S GOING FOR THE GOTCH PILEDRIVER!!! HE WANTS TO RETIRE SUZUKI FOR GOOD!!!
BUT HERE COMES J6G!!! AND LANCE ARCHER TOO!!! Sabre tosses Suzuki aside to deal with the oncoming traffic, Taichi and co. putting up an honourable fight, but they’re still down a man, Sabre-Gun managing to retain their upper-hand, until…
OH MY GOD, IT’S SUZUKI’S OLD TAG PARTNER NAOMICHI MARUFUJI!!! Sabre can’t even get a curse out before a KO-OH SMACKS HIM IN THE FACE!!! Marufuji beats on Zack to turn the tide, going for the POLE SHIFT, but Sabre manages to escape in the nick of time, Sabre-Gun once again sent on the retreat, the show closing on Marufuji helping Suzuki up!
NJPW/AJPW/NOAH All Together Again (June 7, 2024)
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Naomichi Marufuji
After the events of Dominion, it’s only natural these two fight, long, long overdue a one-on-one since their NOAH days together! Fighting in Suzuki’s honour, Marufuji steps to the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and it’s like 2016 all over again the way he utterly humbles Sabre to start like he’s facing Okada! A match of two halves, it goes from Naomichi giving ZSJ the biggest whooping of his life to Sabre brutally breaking down the legend, reminding him he’s 8 years too old to still be winning these sorts of matches. Though Maru gives Zack grief one more than one occasion, he meets his demise at the hands of a CREMATION LILY, Sabre spitting on Naomichi as he leaves, declaring himself untouchable!
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Naomichi Marufuji (25:37)
With his war on J6G and friends officially behind him, Sabre sets his sights on a show he has quite some history with. Losing to Claudio Castagnoli at the first Forbidden Door, before beating Katsuyori Shibata at the second to take both the NJPW TV and ROH Pure Titles to ALL IN to submit Danielson, there’s naturally only one direction for him to head…
Dynamite (June 12, 2024)
Racking another AEW International Championship defence under his belt, Wheeler YUTA is on top of the world, and as he’s approached by Tony Schiavone for a post-match comment… WHACK! IWGP WORLD TITLE TO THE BACK OF HIS HEAD!!! SABRE-GUN’S HERE!!! Mugging Blackpool Combat Club’s young gun like they did Suzuki, a SABRE DRIVER leaves him broken on the mat as Zack yells down the camera that he wants Moxley’s head at Forbidden Door, scurrying away before BCC can make the save!
Collision (June 15, 2024)
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Wheeler YUTA
Off the back of Sabre’s assault on YUTA, a match is made between the two technically-gifted champions in a massive Collision main event! Though ZSJ’s far out his paygrade, an arrogant Wheeler does his best to knock off the Technical Wizard, impressing with a display of submissions he’s picked up from Danielson, before employing some of Claudio’s marquee athleticism and Mox’s grittiness. Never a fair match to begin with though, a TESCO MEAL DEAL cruelly silences YUTA!
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Wheeler YUTA (10:12)
Grabbing a mic, Zack runs down Moxley, reminding him how they were supposed to fight 4 years ago until the pandemic ruined that, Jon ducking him ever since. Now though, he’s the last member of BCC he needs to get through before he can shut up those babies too, so all he needs to know is if Jon is still afraid of him or not. And as Sabre awaits his response… HE RECEIVES IT IN THE FORM OF A PARADIGM SHIFT!!! Mox holds Zack’s title over his body, gaining some retribution for YUTA!
AEWxNJPW Forbidden Door (June 23, 2024)
Also on the show: The Lucha Brothers (c) vs La Faccion Ingobernable (RUSH & Dralistico) - IWGP Tag Team Championship PAC (c) vs Swerve Strickland - IWGP United States Championship Tetsuya Naito vs Andrade El Idolo
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Jon Moxley - IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
The final showdown of a lengthy saga, Sabre makes his third defence against New Japan’s Ace, and it’s quite literally a bloody clinic, Mox showing zero fear in the face of the Top Gaijin, who looks to plant his flag over another territory. From a Paradigm Shift to the floor to a Zack Driver through a table, both men are busted open by the surroundings, the blood loss only helping Sabre’s case when he locks in the HYPERNORMALISATION, causing Mox to pass out! Alas, ZSJ stands atop BCC, but perhaps a more personal challenge yet awaits him…
Zack Sabre Jr. (c) def. Jon Moxley to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (23:20)
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2023.05.28 05:00 Kazevenikov Cryptid Chronicle - Chapter 30
A special thanks to u/bluefishcake
for the wonderful original story and sandbox to play in.
A special thanks to my editors LordHenry7898, RandomTinkerer, Swimming_Good_8507, CatsInTrenchcoats, and KLiCKonthat.
And a big thanks to the authors and their stories that inspired me to tell my own in this universe. RandomTinkerer (City Slickers and Hayseeds), Punnynfunny (Denied Operations), CompassWithHat (Top Lasgun), CarCU131 (The Cook), and Rhion-618 (Just One Drop)
Hy’shq’e Ay Si’am (Thank you noble friends)
Chapter 30: A Promise Kept
Kalai stepped off the shuttle to the Vaida’s headquarters and into a running tackle-hug from Sitry. “Oh Kalai, I could kill you right now
! You got to see the Great Barrier Reef in person, you bitch!” Sitry’s cheerful voice was muffled from where she was still buried in her chest. Kalai staggered backwards a pace or two, happy to be back from her whirlwind adventure around Earth with her father.
Naranjo and Papa Rhaxiid were there on the platform to welcome her back too, but their welcomes were more sedate.
“Not to mention you got out of work for half our damn trip. Ugh, it’s so
not fair!” Naranjo huffed as Kalai gave him a sisterly hug.
Papa Rhaxiid reached up and chucked her chin before turning to lead the way back inside from the forested platform. “Welcome back, sweet-sprout, we’ve missed you. Come on, we’ll get you settled again and off to work. There’s quite a bit you need to catch up on if you want your credits.”
The chuckles from the twins behind her were full of sibling malice, but she knew how to shut the pair of them up. “Papa Rhaxiid? I’ve got the paper on Biodiversity in the Reef you asked for, along with the dissection report and stomach content analysis of the tuna we caught. I want to put the finishing touches on it and do a final proofread first before I send them to you.” The man turned and gave her a warm smile as they entered the building.
“Good, why don’t you go take your things back up and say hello to Andy? I’ll give you an hour and a half to get freshened up, then I want you to report to Aquarium 12 with Dr. Sor’ansa. You can put your snorkeling practice to work there.” Papa Rhaxiid walked the three of them to the residential elevator. “I’m heading back to my office. Andy’s been requested by Maetro Pae’ella to work the kitchens for something called ‘Bison burgers'. Apparently it’s a type of indigenous bovine that the eastern Bands raise. That and something from Europe called ‘French Fries’.”
Kalai couldn’t help but get excited as she and her siblings piled into the elevator back to their little shared apartment. Sure the food she’d had all over the place was good, but so far nothing had been able to compare to Andy and his Salishian cooking.
“Nerd, I can’t believe you cheated and did work on your vacation." Naranjo broke the silence of the elevator after a little bit and stuck his tongue out at her.
“Spit to windward
, you vain little weed. Don’t hate me because I’m awesome.” Kalai’s riposte caused Naranjo to fold his arms and huff. Sitry simply ambushed her with an ear flick.
The elevator door opened to their floor before Kalai couldn’t bear the silence from Sitry any longer. “So, did you bag him yet, you lucky bitch?”
“No she hasn’t!” Naranjo’s singsong mockery of his sister interrupted Sitry’s response. “Papa hasn’t let Sitry even NEAR Andy without one of them around!”
“Rub it in, you snitch, besides, he did
kiss me first,” Sitry preened happily as she playfully shoved Kalai’s shoulder.
Kalai pretended to stumble and almost caught Sitry’s foot, but she was just a hair too slow. “Yeah, and then you gave him a black eye, you clod.”
“Will you let it go? It was an accident
“It’s not even the only one he got either." Naranjo’s interjection stopped her right in front of their door.
“Wait, what? Who hurt him this time?
” Kalai let her bag thunk to the floor as she turned to look accusingly between Sitry and Narny.
Sitry folded her arms and her ears twitched back as she shot a dark look at their door. “He ‘fell down’ yesterday while out at one of the Hatcheries we gave to the Hwatcoms. Mrs. Toloui nearly had a fit! She said she could smell another human on him and that he was covered in blood!”
Narny nodded primly as Kalai tried to process what they were telling her. “WHAT? Did she call out the militia? Track down whoever hurt him?”
“No, and he refused treatment and insisted that no one did it to him! When papa tried to talk to him, Andy said some stupid human macho shit about pain healing and birds liking scars. I don’t know, sometimes humans… they’re frickin’ insane!”
The door shot open and there stood Andy. His left eye was an angry puffy yellow and blue mess, and there were three points on his lips where a dark cinnabar line marked a crack. Kalai and her siblings stood in wide eyed shock at his sudden appearance and the only sound was the music emanating from the common room behind him.
Andy looked up and down at the three without saying a word. He cocked an eyebrow and snagged Kalai’s bag before any of them could react and cleared the doorway for them.
Kalai sputtered at the impropriety but Naranjo and Sitry just shrugged and walked in after Andy. “Femboys, am I right?” Narny whispered to Kalai as he passed. Kalai followed behind and was greeted by the white fluff-ball, Puck, who hopped up and down, whining for attention. She bent down and started scratching his ears and back. While Puck rubbed up against her hands, Andy settled back down at the table where his omnipad was hooked up to a keypad. Her heart started to sink a bit and Kalai shot Sitry a jealous look before the music came to a sudden halt and Andy interrupted the beginnings of her pity party.
“Ok, Kem’ira, I got the pics now and I’m telling you to declare yourself
to the farmers first
! I guarantee if you tell them you’re with the new DNR and you’re there to kill all the Scotch Broom in their pasture lands, they’ll stop trying to shoot you for trespassing!”
Kalai’s mood jumped up a bit. It’s not that he doesn’t care to see me, he’s in a meeting!
“No, no I’m not coming out to talk this over with them, I’ve got my own work to do! Either you start talking to folks like I showed you how, or ask the militia to give you one of their armored catsuits to wear under your uniform… Uh-huh, good luck." Andy hung up on the call and leaned back as Puck scampered over and hopped up in his lap.
Andy rubbed his temples before shaking his head. He seemed to relax a bit and Puck slid off to follow Sitry to the kitchen. Andy looked over and gave Kalai a happy smile that made her flush. “Welcome back! So how was the land down under? That tuna was fan-frickin’-tastic, if you aren’t sick of seafood I’ll do something fancy with it tomorrow to celebrate your coming back. Can’t tonight though, I got volun-told to be head chef tonight and I… Oh damnit! I’m late! Come to dinner, burgers and fries Indian style tonight. Gotta run!” With that, Andy went dashing out the door with Puck barking and scrambling along after him.
Kalai felt her heart sink back down again, as he left. “Andy I-” She started but he was gone.
“Yeah, it’s been like that for the whole week. The only time we get to hang out is dinner.” Sitry commiserated as she took Kalai’s bag into their room. “On the other hand, we might get to catch up during the family meal tonight.” The dinner was delicious, though a bit weird. It tasted alright, but there was a certain aftertaste on the sandwich that just didn’t sit right with Kalai. She just couldn’t put her finger on it. The french fries more than made up for it though, and Mama Sakalbi had to hold a science trivia contest to see who got the last little handful.
Kalai and Narny were already silently plotting with each other for their revenge against their sister who had won and refused to share the last few matchsticks when Andy finally joined their table. He was sweaty and he smelled of woodsmoke and french fries. Kalai jumped up and offered him a seat next to her with a nervous smile. He took it gratefully and seemed to sag a bit as he gulped down a glass of water.
“Andy, I think you may be finding your calling as a culinary ambassador,” Mama Aftasia beamed. “A toast to the chef!”
Andy gave a shy smile and looked down as Kalai and the rest of the family gave a hearty ‘Here, here!”
“It’s a simple enough recipe; it’s just using bison instead of cow, that’s all, and I don’t know anyone who’d turn down hand cut fresh fries. It’s kind of hard to screw up.”
“Young man, you are speaking to a woman who found a way to take cold water and dried wumpa flakes and wind up with a Class-4 fire. Cooking has always seemed like ‘blight mysticism’ to me, and these foods? These flavors? Nothing short of a Greenwood miracle in my opinion." Mama Aftasia continued her praise of Andy, which only caused him to shrink even lower in his seat.
“To be honest, I like your salmon better,” Kalai said, and the whole table went silent. Kalai held her ground though, and was rewarded with a tired but genuine laugh from Andy that brought him back out of his shell.
“You know, I do too. My Clan were fisherpeople, not buffalo chasers.” Andy gave Kalai a cheeky grin, which she returned happily, her heart glowing. Mama Aftasia and Mama Sakalbi both blinked in bemusement at Andy’s statement while Sitry just giggled.
“Speaking of which, Andy, I received a call from Elder Alex Hwatcom.” Papa Rhaxiid’s change of subject instantly perked Andy up, and he stared silently, waiting. “He extended an invitation to our family to attend his family gathering this Friday-”
“Alex said that? He used those words?” Andy shook his head in shock as he interrupted Papa Rhaxiid. The table went quiet and everyone held their breath as they looked between the two men.
Papa Rhaxiid adopted as good an impression of the human Elder as he could. “I’d like to extend an invitation for you and your family to be guests at our family gathering this saturday up at the White… something… lodge-”
“The White Ram Lodge?” Andy sat forward, interjecting again as the color drained from his face.
“Yes, that’s the one! I asked if we could bring anything since the last time they hosted us they put on that wonderful spread. He said if we could bring a few salmon for the family, that would be wonderful.”
Andy leaned back and took another sip of ice water before holding the glass to his blackened eye. “Alex Hwatcom… just invited you… to a gathering… and he told you to ‘bring a few salmon’? Do you realize what a huge honor this is?”
Rhaxiid looked from his wives to his children with mild concern. “Um, I thought it was only dinner, but your reaction tells me there’s more significance to this than I originally thought. I was thinking about our stocks of adult Sockeye, but then I remembered in his story how important King Salmon are. Of course, I’d like to defer to you for the choice since you know these animals and the cultural expectations with this invitation better than we do.”
Andy was silent for a moment before he put the glass down. “I’d recommend a ‘hard no’ to all your clone stock!” Now it was the Vaidas’ turn to be shocked, as each of Kalai’s Erbian family’s jaws dropped in synch. Before anyone could say anything, Andy continued, “You need to bring wild-caught. Farm-raised salmon wouldn’t… well we can tell, and you can taste the difference between them. We need to go fishing!” Kalai leaned towards Andy slightly as he lowered his head and started mumbling to himself. She was just able to make out what he was saying to himself as Mama Sakalbi and Mama Aftasia began whispering to each other. “...need to get the Gillnetter out of storage, check what’s running and select the mesh. I’m gonna need a deckhand too.”
Kalai reached a hand out but stopped short of touching him. “Andy?”
He popped up and spoke for the whole table to hear. “I need a shuttle to the mainland and a waiver against the fishing ban. I’ve got to get my boat and the drum ready for sea ” Rhaxiid and Aftasia sputtered in confusion, but Mama Sakalbi had a shadow fall over her, and her ears pulled back.
“Do you mean to say you want to go out on the water? Risk the ecological balance for… dinner?”
Andy looked Sakalbi dead in the eye and gave her a firm nod. “Why don’t you come out and see how we did this before you got here. Think of it as a chance to see the way we’ve fished for the last hundred or so years, and then I can explain the way we used to fish before that.”
The offer snapped Rhaxiid out of his confusion and he brightened. “A learning experience? Wonderful, we’ll make a day of it!” His hands shot out to grab both his wives’ and Kalai could feel the vibrations in the floor from where he was excitedly tapping his feet.
“If you don’t mind hard, smelly work. Uncle Willy always called it ‘the worst desk in the prettiest office.' It’ll be a bit cramped, but I’ve got room on the boat for a few guests and observers; four I think would be ok. She’s a working boat, not a pleasure cruiser,” Andy explained. That sent the whole lot of them excitedly talking among themselves.
Kalai was about to lean in to talk to Mama Aftasia, but Andy caught her attention first. “I don’t suppose you’d want to go back out on the water, given you just got back from pleasure-boating-”
Kalai’s heart nearly jumped out of her chest. “I wouldn’t miss it for my own colony planet!”
Kalai stood on the pier, bundled in her thermal sailor’s coat. It was still dark and the wind blew from the north in a cold little morning breeze. Kalai took a deep breath and reveled in the smell of the fresh sea air. The soft chattering of Mama Sakalbi’s teeth broke the silence. “It’s a bit chillier than it said it was going to be.”
“The water always does that. It’s never as warm as the lubbers say it’ll be,” Papa spoke as he handed her back her thermos of hot chocolate.
Papa stood next to Kalai and nudged her with his elbow. Even in the dark, Kalai could see him smile up at her and jerk his head at the shivering Erbian. He was also wearing a thermal sailor’s coat, and his hands were stuffed in his pockets to keep them warm, just like Kalai’s. “Landswoman,” he whispered to her and the two of them shared a knowing smile. It was strange, but welcome when she'd told Papa about her upcoming day fishing with Andy, and he’d politely requested to join them. Papa Rhaxiid had graciously given his spot up to accommodate her birth father. Narny was all for it until Andy had explained what they were going to do, but then surrendered his challenge to the fourth guest space, not wanting to go anywhere NEAR anything that could see him come face to face with a Lion’s Mane Jelly. Sitry had done a happy little dance when she found out, but only yesterday had come down with Thistle Fever, and was bundled off to bed by her parents. It left Kalai, Mama Sakalbi, and Papa to accompany Andy on his fishing trip.
The water brushed against the shore behind them quietly. In the gloom, Kalai could just barely make out the outline of the nearest island mountain, but only because the stars had disappeared behind it. It was almost four in the morning, but Kalai had managed a catnap on the shuttle to the empty little lot that had been the boat launch. Aside from the water, the world was silent. Even the breeze made almost no noise and a sense of peace surrounded them. Everything was so calm, Kalai felt like she didn’t have a care in the world.
In the distance, a low rumbling sound of a motor rose from being almost imperceptible to a rolling drum of thunder. From around the point, two green floating lights sped through the darkness, and a spotlight turned on. The beam of light moved jerkily until it came to rest on the pier where they were standing and Kalai started waving her arms. Sakalbi’s omnipad rang, and Andy’s voice shouted over the speaker and the background noise for them to shine a light on the edge of the pier to help him park the boat.
Kalai and Papa moved closer and turned their omnipad flashlights on and waved them as the boat swung gracefully around and glided in alongside them. Kalai caught the rope that flew over the railing of the boat and she heard more than saw Andy moving around on the deck as she tied off on one of the mooring cleats. Several lights clicked on and the deck was bathed in light enough for Kalai to get a clear view of the boat they’d be spending the day on.
Andy hadn’t lied. Kalai saw that this little vessel was a working boat with no frills at all. When he’d told her they’d be going fishing, she’d envisioned something like the charter boat papa had taken her on out of Nantucket. Sporty, fast with a nod to comfort and function. This was not that at all. A giant wheel as wide as Kalai’s outstretched arms that looked like a sideways spool of thread was secured to the deck amidships and dominated the deckspace. Wrapped around it was a fluorescent green tangle with a line of oblong white and yellow corks and rope. There was a covered hatchway sitting behind the drum in front of the raised step to the enclosed cabin. Two large windows let the light out to two children’s bunks, a little table with a booth seat and a raised captain’s chair in front of the helm and engine controls. Andy shut down the engine and that peaceful stillness returned.
“Oway there!” Kalai called, “ship oway! Request permission to come aboard.” Kalai gave the traditional greeting of a Shil’vati sailor.
“Permission granted! Anyone need a stepstool?” Andy finally stepped into the light and Kalai got a look at him. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and the same bright orange coveralls she’d seen the fishmongers wearing on their date.
“I wouldn’t mind a hand, Mr. Shelokset.” Papa He’osforos braced a foot on the railing of the boat and Andy pulled him up.
“Just call me Andy, Doc, and welcome aboard. Jackie should be along any minute now with the day’s groceries, and the cabin’s out of the cold. You can get yourself set wherever you find comfortable.” Papa nodded and disappeared around the other side of the wheel moving towards the bow.
Kalai helped Mama Sakalbi into the boat next, and she quickly ducked into the cabin that took up the entire stern section save for a little ledge that ran along the outside. Andy gripped Kalai’s hand and she smiled as he pulled her deftly aboard. The boat rocked a little on its mooring, and Kalai almost fell into Andy, who wordlessly put his arms around her waist to catch her as she lost her balance. She flailed for a moment before she steadied herself against him.
“Gotcha,” Andy smiled, and Kalai could see him flush almost as much as she could feel herself doing as their noses almost touched. Those big dark brown eyes surrounded by white orbs drew her in and she felt she could lose herself in them. Kalai started as Andy danced her around him and moved her towards the cabin door.
“It might be a little cramped for you in there, but the Mary Jean wasn’t built for pleasure boating, she’s a working girl. Sit tight, I gotta check a few things in the back.” Andy patted the railing affectionately before he hopped up and scooted along the outside of the cabin towards the stern. Kalai couldn’t help the little longing groan that came out as he left her there on the little tiny quarterdeck. Her heart was hammering in her chest as half formed fantasies danced at the edges of her mind.
“I saw that, little minnow.” Papa’s voice was soft, but his tone and the sudden broken silence nearly gave her a heart attack.
Kalai could only stammer as her father stared at her with a cocked eyebrow. A thump from the cabin window behind saw an amused Mama Sakalbi daintily sipping at her thermos with her ears twitched forward in interest, staring out at her. “Papa I… he-”
Papa moved carefully around the covered hatchway to stand next to her, leaning back against the cabin window and heaved a sigh. “I must say I’m surprised. This lovely man’s got good clean lines and is very well cared for. It speaks well of his Skipper.”
It took a full minute for Kalai’s brain to process that he was talking about the boat and not Andy. “And the way Andy brought him in smooth in near complete darkness? It gives me confidence in his abilities.”
Kalai breathed a silent sigh of relief and exasperation. Although she was happy to be spending more time with her father, bringing him on what she’d hoped would be a sailing date wasn’t exactly what she’d had in mind for ‘family time’. He wants me to find a nice young man and spend time with him on a boat, but the first chance I get Papa decides to clam-jam me.
From up on shore, the sound and lights of a large human vehicle screeching to a halt heralded the last of their party to arrive. Kalai heard the clomping footsteps coming down the pier and moved to the railing to lend a hand.
“Ahoy Mary Jean! Raggedy Andy, you there?” Kalai stared with wide eyed surprise to see a human female, loaded down with plastic bags and sporting two human weapons on her shoulder. The two of them locked eyes, and while Kalai didn’t understand everything the girl shouted in surprise, she had caught and understood the phrase, “What the fuck?”
“Easy now, they’re my guests, and the one inside is the boss!” Andy appeared on the pier instantly before either Kalai or the woman could react further.
“Ya didn’t tell me we were having pur-” The woman glared at Kalai and her father. She had switched to Vatikre thankfully, but her tone was hostile as she dropped everything but her weapons. “I mean, hwun’eetums, aboard. A gal could get the wrong idea pretty quick in the dark when there’s no warning.”
“Knock it off Jackie. Let’s get the grub aboard and shove off.” Andy picked up some of the bags and took the guns as Kalai offered a helping hand over the railing. “Oh, Kalai, this is Jackie. Jackie? Kalai. That’s her dad over there, Doc He’osforos. He saw and treated Kay Tee a few years back.” Andy jerked his head towards the direction of Kalai’s father as she held out a hand to the human girl. On a quick inspection, she appeared to be about the same age as her and Andy. She had a round face and was about as dark complected as Andy was. She was shorter, only a few inches taller than Papa, but when Jackie grabbed Kalai’s hand to hop up onto the rail, she could feel the strength and the compact muscle hidden by the baggy sweatshirt and pants.
“Wait a minute, did you say Mini-Me over there saw Kay Tee? You’re fuckin’ with me!” Jackie stumbled a bit as she hopped down onto the deck with a loud thunk and advanced on Papa who shrank away at her advance. “You saw li’l Kay Tee? Where the fuck is he? Is he alright? Is he still fighting the good fight?”
“Last I saw, yes, he was ‘fighting the good fight.’” Papa looked over at Andy with a slightly worried expression. Andy smacked the girl in the back of the head, causing her to flinch and she opened the door to the cabin for Andy to go inside.
Jackie rubbed the back of her head and laughed. “Well that’s a little bit of alright, innit? Maybe today’s gonna be a good day after all!”
“Jackie, get suited up and get on the bow. I need a good pair of eyes on the roller horns,” Kalai heard Andy shout from the cabin, followed by a whole lot of thumping and banging from cabinets being opened and closed.
“You got it, ol’ man. We going to your place or mine?” Jackie sidestepped in and opened a tiny little closet and pulled out a set of rain gear that was identical to what Andy was wearing. Kalai collected herself and stood in the doorway next to her father as they both leaned in.
“Mine; Chuck said the Yaw’much are running from the South. We’ll do a set nor’west of Lummi in the Rosario and see if we can get some Fraser Kings,” Andy replied as he turned the engine back on and the vessel roared to life.
“Chuck? Isn’t that one of your cousins? I didn’t know he could keep track of the movements of Salmon, may I ask how he does it?” Mama Sakalbi perked up as she pulled a set of earplugs out of a pocket and inserted them.
Andy prevaricated a bit, looking from Jackie back to Sakalbi then to Kalai and Papa. “I’d rather not answer that-”
“Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law! Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law!”
Jackie began singing a human song, and Andy threw her the dirtiest of looks as she finished getting into the orange coveralls. Mama Sakalbi sputtered as Andy shrugged apologetically.
“Make a hole!” Jackie called, and she and Andy came back out as Kalai and Papa made room for them. Andy hopped back onto the dock to cast off while Papa ducked into the cabin.
“Can I help?” Kalai offered as Andy shoved the vessel off and leapt the gap over the black water below.
“You want to be useful? Come forward! I could use an extra set of eyes!” Jackie called back, and Kalai felt a slap on her shoulder from the boisterous human woman.
Andy stood at the helm, watching Jackie and Kalai as he leaned to get a better view of them past the Net drum. The bow was lifting up again, and the gentle little swells became like speed bumps, jostling them up and down in a predictable bouncing rhythm.
“Are you sure you couldn’t slow down, Andy? It’s a bit rough, don’t you think?” Sakalbi was hanging on to the table and her thermos with a worried expression on her face.
“I could, but we’ll miss the morning set. We want to bomb out the buoy right when the tide changes. If we’re lucky, then we’ll get around seventy or eighty by slack tide this afternoon and call it a day.”
“How do you know where to fish?” Dr. He’osforos was making a good show of standing and maintaining his balance with his hand on the booth.
“Well, there’s two ways you know. The first is you fish the spots your family’s fished since time began. Every family has about two or three different secret spots that we know there’s fish in, and we’re pretty defensive about their locations. The second is by smell. Right now it’s the tail end of the King season, and you can smell them in the water.” Andy turned and saw the incredulity etched on the faces of the two aliens.
“No, I’m serious! King Salmon slime is really pungent, and you can smell them when they’re close to the surface. We get to the fishing spot and take a deep whiff. If we smell them, we’ll set the nets.” Andy laughed at the disbelief on their faces as the GPS on his omnipad beeped and he turned to sail around the last buoy and head for the fishing ground.
“I’ve never noticed that in any of the Kings we’ve raised-”
Andy suppressed a laugh as they caught a larger swell as they left the lee of Lummi Island. Andy reveled in the feeling of weightlessness as the deck rose up and fell out from underneath their feet, leaving everyone suspended for a moment in midair before falling back down. A massive spray of water rose and washed over the deck, drenching Kalai and Jackie, who were still forward. “Cloned and farmed Kings don’t have that same smell. Wild ones smell and taste different, I’m telling you!” Andy pulled back slightly on the throttle as they climbed the next swell. “Brace!” he called as they climbed and fell once again.
There was a look of fear on Sakalbi’s face as she gripped the table for dear life, but to Andy’s surprise, the Doctor looked completely unfazed, and was handling the rise and fall of the deck like an old salt. “You look like you’ve done this before, Doc.”
“I’ve done a stint or two at sea before,” he spoke, in the same tone Andy would have used when trying not to sound too confident, and Andy smiled.
“Kalai keeps talking about loving the sea and sailing. Did you teach her to sail?”
“Yes, me and her mothers. When they were home, we would take the family yacht out in the Vaascon Straits and sail around the Occidiens. Kalai practically spent all her early childhood on a sailboat.”
“And almost every waking moment on one in Junior Academy. I swear you couldn’t dig her out with a trowel when she wanted to go sailing,” Sakalbi managed to add in a word as the boat slowed, and the dramatic rise and fall of the deck slowed with it.
“What about you, Mr. Shelokset, did your father teach you to sail too?”
“I was too young before he passed. My Great Uncle Willy taught me after I came home, and Grandma took me out to the family fishing sites when she wasn’t busy with the Council. For the first two or three years after they let us come home, fishing was the only way to feed our families, but the Militia and the Cambrians would try and sink our boats or arrest us whenever we tried to go out.”
“And that’s why you’re so good at maneuvering your vessel in the dark with no instruments?” Mrs. Vaida had folded her arms, and her voice twinged with that imperious tone she’d had when they’d first met.
Andy huffed a dry laugh. “I did what I had to for me and my people and to survive, Ma’am. I don’t like breaking the law or dodging lasers and gunfire, but there’s a lot of poor families that need to eat.”
The GPS beeped, and Andy gave Mrs. Vaida a slightly defiant look to counter her furrowed brow. “We’re here,” he said as he threw the engine in neutral and opened the cabin door.
Andy walked out and took a deep breath, but all he could smell was the net and the exhaust from the engine. “HEY JACKIE! WE SMELL MONEY?” Andy yelled out as he took stock of the sky. The first signs of sunrise were chasing all but the morning stars away and a light fog was rolling in from the north.
“FUCK YEAH I CAN SMELL ‘EM, ANDY! LET’S BOMB OUT AND GET BREAKFAST GOING!” Jackie looked slightly manic as she smiled brightly. Kalai, on the other hand, looked wet and miserable as she shivered, arms wrapped around herself. Andy gave his cousin a disgusted look as he pieced together what had happened. Every deckhand learned when to duck behind the raised bow and the roller horns that guided the nets so as not to get a faceful of spray when cutting through a swell. It was also a classic hazing trick for Senior Deckhands to let Junior Deckhands learn this the hard way.
Andy moved forward to stand in front of the two of them. Kalai was trying to squeeze her coat dry, but Andy knew it wouldn’t do much good until the sun came out. Jackie at least had the sense to look a little remorseful. “Kalai, why don’t you go sit in the cabin and get out of that wet coat. It’s cold enough out here even for us-”
“No way, Andy. Junior deckhand Kally here wants to impress you and get her dainty soft hands dirty! She’s been bragging about being a sailorwoman and wants to learn to fish ‘your way!” Jackie gave Kalai’s shoulder a wet slap as the poor alien woman went blue. Out of cold or embarrassment, Andy couldn’t tell.
All Andy could do was shake his head and huff. “Ok then! Secure the buoy and sling on my mark. I’ll get us in position!” Andy couldn’t help but chuckle as he heard Jackie start ordering Kalai about. Andy went back into the cabin and looked in the closet/bathroom to see if there was anything hanging up that he could give Kalai. There was only the one rain slicker and a few of Andy’s old sweaters from when he was a lot smaller. Well, looks like I’ll just be cold today. He quickly stripped out of his sweatshirt and grabbed the slicker before throwing a switch on the main control. Dr. He’osforos and Mrs. Vaida threw him quizzical looks as he went back outside wearing less than when he came in. He was down to a sleeveless shirt and his coveralls, and the morning breeze cut right through him and he braced his jaw to keep it from chattering.
“We’re ready to go- Andy, why are you practically naked from the waist up?” Kalai was staring wide eyed at him as he approached her and Jackie was on the bow. Jackie had everything ready; the buoy line was strung through the horns and ready to toss out. A giant orange and blue beach ball sized float hung at the end of the line to mark the end and make it easier to pick up later.
“Trade me your coat for these. If Jackie’s putting you to work, you’ll need these to keep warm.”
“I’m alright, I can-”
“I’m the Skipper of this boat, and I’m ordering you to take off that wet coat and put these on; and Jackie?” Andy gave his cousin a long and piercing look. “Give her the elbow gloves, not the halfsies.”
The scoff and the muttered Salishian profanities meant he’d read the next prank she’d had in mind right. She was planning on giving her the cloth gloves with only the palms and fingers coated in rubber. While perfectly fine for fishing, Andy knew they tended to get soaked through very quickly and did nothing to keep jellyfish stingers and fish slime off your hands. Kalai sputtered for a moment before she complied gratefully and she accepted the dry clothes and rain slicker.
Andy saw Jackie give him a strange look before looking back at Kalai, but he paid it no mind. He walked back to the controls on the drum and switched off the hydraulics, placing the mechanism in neutral. “SLING IT!” Andy called as he took the small jerry rigged steering wheel and threw the boat in reverse. Kalai jumped as the line started unspooling the net into the water at a rapid pace.
Andy set an ‘S’ bend in the quarter mile long net, zigzagging backwards until they came to the end of the line. Andy stopped the boat as Jackie tied off the other large buoy and tossed it over the side, unstringing the cork-line from the roller horns in the process. He pulled hard over and put a bit of distance from the net before shutting the engine down. The line of white and yellow corks marking the net bobbed lazily with the swells as silence settled over the water again. The waves rocked the boat gently as Andy found his sea legs again.
“Alright, I’ll get breakfast going. Jackie, Kalai? Post the watch for seals,” Andy called as he walked back into the cabin to fire up the tiny little gas stove.
Sakalbi, having found the confidence to stand at last, poked her head out of the cabin and stood on by the hatch to the fish hold. “Seals? Why would you need to watch for seals?”
Andy grit his teeth and looked over from where he was cracking open and scrambling eggs. “They’re the spawn of Satan and we hate their guts!” Andy bit out. Jackie came back and pulled the two shotguns and a pair of binoculars from the closet. Andy reached over to a side cabinet and pulled out a box of shells for them. Both his boss and the Doctor’s eyes got wide.
“Seals are the enemy of our blood. Were it not for the invasion, our unending war against these vermin would continue to this day!” Jackie growled as she loaded one for herself and rested the other on Andy’s seat at the helm.
The look of growing horror on Sakalbi’s face towards their facetious declarations caused Andy to chuckle a bit, before launching into an explanation. “We’re not fans of the species because they’ll wait until a fish gets caught in the net and then they’ll steal it, costing us a fish AND ripping a big hole in our nets that we then have to take time to repair. We use the shotguns and buckshot to give them a nice welt and convince them not to hang around, because they’ll wait up on the surface and watch the buoys, just like us. A single seal can and will take between five and ten fish. The worst is when they start getting full, they’ll just bite out the bellies of a salmon in the net. We can’t really do anything with that fish once it’s ‘seal-bit’. So yes, as fishermen, we hate them.”
“Learned opportunism in apex predators as a response to human activity… I think I’ll go see this behavior for myself!” Sakalbi practically rushed out the door towards the bow where Jackie was sitting on the roller horns explaining to Kalai how to spot the bastards, leaving Andy alone in the cabin with the Doctor while he cooked breakfast for them all.
Dr. He’osforos sat down heavily in the booth and pulled out his omnipad. “I’ve had a word with my friend in the Interior. She’s pulled the warrant for your brother, and I’ve withdrawn the charges I filed.”
Andy froze and turned around slowly. The only sound was the sizzle and pop of the eggs and chorizo that he’d added to them in the skillet. “You mean… it’s done? He can come home?” A wave of light headed euphoria swept over Andy and he swayed with the gentle rocking of the boat. “I will pay you back, Doc-”
The doctor held up his hand and stopped Andy. “We’ll call it even, but there’s something… I was able to get my hands on this,” Andy watched as the doctor swiped something towards his omnipad and it dinged. “What is it if I may-”
“Are you really asking an Indian to tell you a story? Because it’s going to be a long one if you are.” “I’m Sevastutavan, young man; we invented long stories.”
Andy froze and stared at the screen of his omnipad. The Vatikre was heavily accented, and Andy had a bit of trouble with the unfamiliar accent, but centered in the frame in a hospital room, sitting in a wheelchair, was a Salishian boy. Andy blinked in surprise as he stared at the screen. “Is that-”
“I am Ikw’is’hi’ehlah, and this bearer is… of the Orca Clan Sheloksets. I drove our Haida enemies onto the rocks and took many heads when they attacked our winter village on Orcas Island. I signed the Treaty with the Great White Father and I fought against the slavers of the south-”
Andy wanted to grab the omnipad but the smell of overcooking eggs brought his attention back to breakfast and Andy stirred and scrapped the food quickly, trying to save it.
“I asked her for any materials she could give me on your brother. Pictures, recordings, anything. This is what she gave me. It's the last known recording of your brother during an interrogation conducted by a Navy Commissar prior to his escape. It seems he made friends with a Pod of Deaths Head Commandos. Quite a bit of the recording has been redacted, but… there are portions of it where he talks about his family and his history. I thought you might like to have it.”
Andy hurriedly pulled out paper plates and a slice of bread for everyone and scooped a heaping portion of the chorizo eggs onto them. He handed the doctor his before leaning out the cabin door. “Slop’s on, come and get it!”
Andy sat down after moving the shotgun out of the way and started the video over again as the three women came back to grab their plates and lost himself watching his brother start telling his story.
“What’s that?” Andy heard Kalai ask over his shoulder, and he paused the video.
“That’s my brother! That’s Kay Tee!”
“Holy shit, what?” Jackie nearly shoved Kalai into Andy as she jammed her bread slice down her gullet and crowded in to see the screen.
Andy started the video over a second time and they watched in silence. “God, that brings back memories. Back when mom was still alive and before we broke up the warband. I can’t believe that slippery little punk ghosted a pod of Commandos for two fucking years! Holy shit, that’s badass!”
Before Andy could say anything, Sakalbi started coughing and brought the binoculars up. “Uh, Andy? Jackie? What do we do about sharks?”
Jackie looked at Andy in confusion. “Sharks? There’s nothing but Dogs around here.”
“Well those are shark fins and they’re charging the net!” Sakalbi pointed and Andy looked up to see dorsal fins charging the center of the net.
Andy looked at Jackie and spoke the same words in tandem, “Oh shit!”
To be posted 6/4/23
submitted by Kazevenikov
to Sexyspacebabes [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 03:49 Blueblackstar_ I got a ‘98 Chevy k1500 5.7L 4x4 that is having an odometer issue. The speedometer and rpm isn’t accurate. I haven’t check the oil pressure and other gauges yet but the truck shoots higher then what it is actually putting out. Any recommendations for fixing this? I’m mainly concerned about the rpm.
Every 1000 rpm the truck says it’s doing is about 200 off on the lower end.
submitted by Blueblackstar_
to MechanicAdvice [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 03:02 Capital_Influence_57 Just brought my new MX4 home. Ownership/maintenance tips?
Brake fluid is good, transmission fluid is good, tire pressure/spokes seem good. Dealership did a decent job on assembly. First time owning an e-bike, what should I expect to break/require consistent maintenance other than gearbox oil and general dirtbike maintenance?
I read somewhere I need to open some gearbox valve to let it breathe? Does anyone have any information on that? Would the dealership have done that already prior to sale? Where would I check for this "valve"?
submitted by Capital_Influence_57
to Talaria [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 02:57 Desperate-Car-Wife Cars, Rucks, Turbos... Oh My! Part 6
Desperate Car Wife: A Journey in the Making (part.6)
During those 10 years with the Mazda Protege, and since my hubby used it for work a lot after we had our son, he ended up buying a white '94 Nissan Maxima from the same friend that sold him the '72 Camaro back when we first met... It, of course, got the "JB Treatment"... but this time on a budget.
This had a lot more horsepower than the Mazda! I actually enjoyed driving it too! Even though it didn't have the same rims or low profile tires or a 6 Disc-CD Changer... it did have some beats and I really liked the G-force when I stepped on it! I don't need a whole lot of hp to enjoy speed.. As I've said before, everything in moderation! I love love love watching others drive with crazy horsepower, but I don't think you'll ever see me drive anything over 300hp!
A couple years later, we would eventually sell the Maxima and got a '95 Dodge RAM 1500... We had this one for only a couple of years and then he eventually sold the RAM because he found a '93 Dodge Dakota Sport that needed to be brought back from the dead... This poor thing had been abandoned in a ditch and sat in a tow yard for 10 years! Needless to say, there were problems galore... literally almost lost a tire a half mile down the road from the tow yard we bought it from, just before I jumped on the freeway! Got the lug nuts tightened and back on the road... Headed straight to the nearest DMV for title and registration... Hour or so later, we walked out on 2 flat tires... Luckily we had a small jack in our other car, so he was able to pull the 2 flats off and drove to the nearest tire shop. 2 tires (balanced and mounted) later, we were back on the road again.. After a few days, we found some rusted out holes in the exhaust system and discovered that the catalytic converter had been removed.. So we got that fixed promptly. Replaced the spark plugs and wires, fixed the E-vap, practically replaced everything under the hood and then some... and still failed smog! Failed it 3 times to be exact! My hubby scratched his head and was mind boggled at the numbers from the failed tests.. Everything that had to do with the smog system was replaced with brand new parts, but it was still putting out high numbers for some reason!! So he googled his readings.... several forums like Cartalk
/FBgroups/other auto forums outside of Reddit, and many many replies later, he was told that something had to be wrong with the exhaust system, either the wrong Cat or a hole in the welding... So #1 he found out that the catalytic converter model wasn't correct for the truck! We went back and got that fixed for free by the same place who installed it... #2 after they installed the Correct Cat, and failed to smog AGAIN, we found out there was a hole in the welding job from the NEW Cat!!! Dudes didn't believe my hubby at first, so he asked if he could show them with a mirror, and sure enough.. at the very top of the pipe connecting to the Cat, had a missed weld an inch long!!!
Not too long after that fiasco, maybe a couple of months... The driver's side door nearly fell off when I opened it, getting out! That was one heavy door too! Nearly pulled me out of my seat! PickNPull here we come!!!! Unfortunately, no luck there.. we checked out some from the smaller shops around town and got lucky that we found a red one (the truck was emerald green...). Now we just needed
a DIY, cheapest, paint job was in store! He needed 6+ spray cans.... several trips to multiple stores and ordering online to get those dang cans of Emerald Green,, the door was done and looked fairly decent for a spray can job!
Then came the tires... Now I don't quite remember how he got this set, but what I do remember is they were way too big for this little truck! But he loved them and really wanted to make them work.. Still working on a budget, since we drained a lot into the entire exhaust system and everything SMOG related... he gets them on, they are so big and stick out like crazy and couldn't make normal turns without rubbing. I hated it!!! It was sooooooo embarrassing when they rubbed while pulling out of a tight parking lot! Everyone looked when it happened!!! Nothing to see here y'all!!! He then went on and installed an Alpine stereo system with Pioneer sub (Slimbox) and speakers...
He then got the idea to spray paint the hood flat black. It wasn't bad.. but it wasn't great by any means either... his words... not mine!
Needless to say, I found my first Dodge truck that I didn't like LOL. I had been spoiled with power windows and auto transmissions for quite some time by then and really hated the tires, the big shifting stick, how far 5th gear was for me, no power windows, no nothing! I complained about that truck till the day he finally sold it! He turned down multiple cash offers for several years, and then he finally broke when he needed to make room for another truck he wanted... Another truck that I would end up hating for only one reason LOL; it was a biggy in my book! But that's for another post!! Part. 7 coming soon
submitted by Desperate-Car-Wife
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2023.05.28 01:33 J3w3ss A leak in lines?
Ok, I’ve troubleshooted everything to the best of my ability and I still have no suction from the skimmer. The following is what I have troubleshooted: - lubed all o rings - took ok basket of pump housing and checked for any clogs - changed direction on the T valve that pulls water from floor and skimmer and still can’t get it to pull water - took apart pump housing and checked impeller for clog and that it’s spinning - replaced pressure gauge - checked spider gasket with no issues - took the skimmer basket out, checked for any blockages or clots - tried to run the pump on recirculate and nothing happened - pump runs just fine and everything is air right, no leaks from anything but still not pulling water through
The pool pump repair gentleman I spoke to on the phone said I’ve done all he would do so next step is to check for a leak in the lines somewhere.
Before I do that, I was going to try using a balloon attachment on the house in the skimmer line just to see if there’s a clog. Is there anything else I should try before the leak detection?
Here’s the links to the two other posts I made about the journey. Post
submitted by J3w3ss
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2023.05.28 00:57 loveofworkerbees VTech sensor keeps coming back on?!
Hi all, I got a 2005 AWD Element last year and it's been a blessing so far, except for one recurring issue.
My VTech keeps malfunctioning, no matter how many times I replace it. First, I had it replaced when I was living in New York and the guys put the wrong size bolt on it with like 13 washers and it was all messed up so it malfunctioned again (after I drove across the entire country). Then I got it replaced by a fancy car shop that my family friends took me to, and it worked well for a few months. Now, the check engine light is coming on again and it's doing the SAME thing -- kicking back when I go over ~60 mph or over ~2500 rpm.
Is there anything specific I should tell the next mechanic I bring it to? I am so exhausted by the dumb VTech oil pressure sensor, man. I feel like I need to get a bumper sticker that says "pass me, my Honda VTech oil pressure is malfunctioning again" because it comes on at random times and I have to drive 55mph down the freeway.
Any suggestions/thoughts would be much appreciated! Thanks :)
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2023.05.28 00:08 kayenano The Villainess Is An SS+ Rank Adventurer: Chapter 88
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Juliette Contzen is a lazy, good-for-nothing princess. Overshadowed by her siblings, she's left with little to do but nap, read … and occasionally cut the falling raindrops with her sword. Spotted one day by an astonished adventurer, he insists on grading Juliette's swordsmanship, then promptly has a mental breakdown at the result.
Soon after, Juliette is given the news that her kingdom is on the brink of bankruptcy. At threat of being married off, the lazy princess vows to do whatever it takes to maintain her current lifestyle, and taking matters into her own hands, escapes in the middle of the night in order to restore her kingdom's finances.
Tags: Comedy, Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Copious Ohohohohos.
Chapter 88: Noughts And Crosses
Everything told me that I'd misheard. Badly.
Sword saint or not, she was clearly a commoner, and so spoke a language barely two steps evolved from cave paintings.
After all, there was simply no perceivable scenario in which she would admit, with a smile no less, to having committed tax evasion and burglary against the Royal Treasury! That was patently absurd. To commit even the lowest offence against the royal family was a high crime—and burglary could never be described as low.
Yes, of course.
This had been an exceptionally tiring few days. Clearly, the amount of words my delicate ears had been subjected to by criminals, nobility and criminal nobility had damaged my hearing faculties. And then there was the smell. It was awful. Cows and peasants everywhere.
I needed to rest. Desperately. The very first high-quality lodgings I came across, I would stay in. No more being fussy because I didn't like the colour of the roof tiles. As long as the room was fully furnished, came with ample amenities, a large bathtub and 24 hour room service, I was willing to stay even in Aquina.
For the sake of my health, I needed to be flexible with my standards—at least for one night. Tomorrow would adhere to a different standard, but for now, I could force myself to contend with the smell of this farmyard duchy.
Indeed, I was already used to it.
Even the worst of livestock barely surpassed the stench of what I'd suffered in the royal capital. That'd been appalling. Spilled food, vomit and the perfume of nobility. Though no blade struck me, I hadn't come out of that debacle unscathed. I was likely suffering from a host of ailments.
The biggest, of course, being the brain rot that was causing me to interpret entire sentences incorrectly.
And so, I offered a beautiful smile—all the while I gripped Starlight Grace in my hand.
“My apologies,” I said to the Snow Dancer. “You will have to repeat that. Slowly. I believe I grossly misheard you when you claimed to fail in your payment of taxes to the Royal Treasury, and that you also burgle from it.”
The elven woman took a few minute steps away, the sword twirling imposingly in her hand … just before she turned, kneeled and began drawing noughts and crosses into the snow with the tip.
I watched as she played a match against herself.
She lost. Somehow.
“Nope, that's what I said,” she replied with a carefree shrug.
And thus—my smile creaked.
“Could you perhaps reword it, at least, but with slightly less treason?”
“I'm not sure I can, since it wasn't treason. It was grand larceny. I checked.”
“The definition is highly flexible. And by that, I mean determined solely by me. What did you steal?”
Ophelia blinked at me in puzzlement.
I rolled my eyes.
“From the Royal Treasury
“Oh. That. I can't remember. It wasn't important. Probably a painting or something.”
“A painting? You stole a painting
I was appalled.
The Royal Treasury only held items of immense value. Treasures which preceded generations of our family. Any portrait held there would be worth more than all the gold crowns lying beneath it.
Ophelia thought for a moment.
“Old guy. Fluffy white beard. Wore a tea towel on his head.”
Suddenly, I felt my breath catch in my throat.
“Describe the tea towel,” I said at once.
Ophelia hummed at her next game of noughts and crosses.
“Blue and white. Checkered. With a squiggly flower in the middle.”
My hand covered my mouth as I immediately recalled the oil painting in my mind. The Man With The Tea Towel
. A highly distinct work of modern impressionism, interpreting my great-great-grandfather, King Reginald the Bald at his prime.
It came all too easily to me.
After all … I was the one who painted it!
“That's what you stole?!”
“I think so. But hey, in my treasonous defence, it was the only thing I took. Honestly, I just wanted to peek around. I wasn't planning on grabbing anything. Maybe.”
My hand shook against my mouth.
I … I couldn't believe it … The Snow Dancer had stolen the first ever painting I'd deemed worthy enough to show my mother and father?! A cherished and storied part of my own personal history?!
I was absolutely horrified.
Why, I'd ordered it destroyed!
Who interceded?! That painting wasn't even worthy enough to be used as a carpet! That it was sent to the Royal Treasury is a humiliation! Who betrayed me?! Was it the servants?! The guards?! Heads would roll for this!
“Of all the riches laden in the Royal Treasury, you stole that
“Yeah. Why? Was it expensive?”
“It … well, in a manner of speaking, yes! But why not a storied tiara?! An ancient tome of forbidden spells?! Why did you have to steal a work of sheer inadequacy which demonstrated only a naive ignorance of colours?!”
“I liked the tea towel. It was cute.”
I almost vomited on the spot.
Painting that tea towel ensured I'd entered the world of fine art at its lowest rung! And now I knew that somewhere in the world, my crimes against modern impressionism were visible to all!
“What … What happened to it … ?” I asked, my voice dry as sand. “Did you … Did you sell it … is it now halfway across the continent … in a gallery to be mocked and scorned at … ?”
“That's very unlikely. After all, chopping wood for kindling is sort of a pain and I like the scent of oil canvases. You know, when they're on fire.”
“You burned the painting?!”
“Yeah.” She paused. “My bad.”
My entire body relaxed.
Despite the unrelenting chill in this frozen chamber, I felt nothing but searing relief burning inside me. Had I decided to drop down and roll against the snow, I was certain that billowing steam would engulf us all.
“You … You have committed a terrible and permanent … it was permanent, yes … ?”
“Really permanent. The charred ash isn't even there anymore.”
“Then, you've committed a permanent and irreversible crime against this kingdom! Why, without that ghastly painting, filled with anatomy errors and depth mistakes, the kingdom will be a happier, but culturally worse off place!”
For a moment, overwhelming gratitude filled my heart.
… And then I remembered she'd broken into the Royal Treasury, evaded taxes and assisted in the planned secession of Aquina!
“Snow Dancer,” I said, wiping off the lines of relief from my face. “I believe it's time you paid the Royal Treasury another visit.”
“Oh? But I've already looked inside. Has it changed much in the past few years?”
“Considerably. But you can assist in returning it to its former state.”
Indeed … it was time to calculate the vast financial repayment plan that the Snow Dancer would momentarily be signing in order to enter a life of crippling destitution and inescapable poverty.
“You will repay every crown that is owed,” I said, kneeling down beside her to join the new noughts and crosses game she'd marked in the snow. “You're in arrears. An unfortunate, but easily repairable set of circumstances.”
“Now that does sound serious. Also, are you noughts or crosses?”
“Crosses,” I said, as I promptly took the first turn. I poked a cross directly in the centre with my sword. “And fortunately for you, I have experience in dictating unreasonable financial repayment plans. I care not whether you are a sword saint evading taxes or a servant spilling wine. Your debt will be repaid. In full. And on time. The matter of you aiding the Duke will be handled separately.”
The Snow Dancer frowned as she battled out her next series of defensive noughts against my aggressive crosses. A draw.
She ruffled the snow and instantly drew a new game for us.
“Ouch. That's a lot to look forward to.”
“It is. But you may begin with your atonement to the Royal Treasury. I require a concise list of all your properties and assets.”
“I have a cottage, a pond and two ducks.”
I tapped my foot, waiting for her to continue.
“How could that be it? You're a sword saint, yet you live like a peasant in squalor?”
Ophelia looked genuinely offended. But not offended enough for me not to notice her cheating by scrubbing one of my crosses away. I clearly and deliberately remarked it with my sword.
“That cottage, pond and two ducks is all I need. It's homely and comfortable. Despite what everyone else says, I'm extremely content with what I have. So what if it's not big enough to raise a family in? It's big enough for friends. And I have lots of friends. In fact, I have too many. I have to keep my door locked all day, otherwise friends will just keep wandering inside.”
The elven woman suddenly began poking her noughts harder into the snow.
I peeled away ever so slightly.
“Y-Yes … well, be that as it may, you have more than your meagre … cottage
to offer the Royal Treasury. You've failed to include the sizable asset in your hand.”
Ophelia lifted the tip of her sword away from the latest nought she drew.
“Oh, this thing?”
“Yes, that thing. I imagine an elven sword with a sapphire pommel will prove a suitable start to your long journey of reparations.”
“You think so? Well, in that case, sure! It's all yours.”
The Snow Dancer smiled—without moving, offering or presenting the sword in her hand for my collection.
“By that,” she continued, eyes brimming with enthusiasm, “I mean that you're going to have to take it from me, although I don't think that's very likely. I saw you dodge all those traps. You're fast. Really, really
fast. And fast equals potential. And I love
potential. But there's no way you could come close to beating someone like me in an actual fight. And the thought of murdering you is such a waste. I've waited literal years
for someone interesting to pop up. So here's the deal! We make it exciting. You open that vault and I'll stop you like I'm … probably
supposed to? Then, once you horribly and painfully lose, I'll recommend some teachers so you can have an epic training arc in the mountains! I'll throw in a few ominous appearances and string you along with a few high level goons. Once you're strong enough to beat me, we can have an actual showdown with my sword and A-rank title on the line. It'll be amazing!”
A long moment of silence passed.
Eventually, I offered a smile as pure as the snow around us—which given that it was now the tomb for dozens of frozen guards, wasn't pure in the slightest.
And that's fine.
Because someone who was now openly mocking me for the way I handled Aquina's slow, rusty traps deserved no less.
“Ohohoh … a truly colourful suggestion. However, I'd like to propose an alternative.”
“Oh? What's that?”
Casually pointing Starlight Grace across my lap, I aimed it directly at Ophelia's undefended side.
For a single moment, I saw a pair of blue eyes looking down at the gathering wind at the tip of my sword. Pwooooomph.
That sight was replaced by an explosion of snow.
I coughed, my entire vision filled by a blanket of white as the very chamber groaned around me. A thick plume of snowfall instantly covered me, and yet even in that white haze, I could see the giant hole in the snowy ground where an elven sword saint now lay buried.
Towards the empty space where my opponent had just been kneeling, I raised my hand to my lips and cackled.
“Ohohohohohohohohhohoho! You fool! Did you believe me as prone to flights of fancy as you? While idly playing lockpicker and games in the snow, I was waiting for an opportunity to take you unawares!”
Naturally, I was under no allusions as to the grave threat this, frankly, bizarre elven woman posed to the kingdom!
She was most certainly no wandering wisp here to assist me in breaking open Aquina's vault for fun! She had her own ploys and schemes, and acted under the orders of the very Duke whose castle I was now taxing!
Indeed, I was merely waiting, prowling, my intentions meticulously hidden like a panther in the shadows—and when I spied my chance, I seized it without hesitation!
Because what I failed to mention to the Snow Dancer was that she would have to commit to her financial repayment plan while in prison!
To the side, I heard applause as Coppelia congratulated me from behind what was now a rather impressive snow castle.
“Such an underhanded attack!” she said, smiling broadly from above a parapet. “You waited until her eyes were sparkling! She never saw it coming!”
I smiled, accepting the compliment in full.
Why, it could be nothing else! I had just achieved a stunning victory over an A-rank sword saint in a single strike!
Was it chivalrous? No. Did I care? More no.
Because history was written by the victors, and as far as anyone outside this chamber was concerned, I'd defeated the Snow Dancer in honourable combat!
“Ohohohoho! Behold! Being A-rank clearly doesn't extend to superior intellect! Because even if she's greater at swordplay, I'm greater at machinations!”
Coppelia smiled lazily at me, her arms leaning atop the walls of her castle.
“The pen is mightier than the sword, huh?~”
“No, Coppelia. The sword is mightier than the sword which isn't facing the right direction … ohohohohoho!”
My obstacle removed, I pointed at the vault.
“The way now is clear! I've no doubt that the Snow Dancer was present for the sole purpose of hindering our passage, whatever her playfulness might suggest.”
“Probably,” replied my future handmaiden, who for some reason still wasn't moving from her castle. “I mean, if she did want to stop us, that'd be a problem. A-rank sword saints are something special.”
I quietly laughed, trying my best not to inhale the snow.
“Why, A-rank is merely a title. And as princess, I outrank them all. Should any foe present themselves to me, I'll dispatch them as readily as I would a jester at court!”
All the while, she started piling on another layer on her snow wall.
“The thing is, A-rank sword saints aren't just really tough. They're silly
tough. I bet they could even take a [Ball Of Doom] to the face and still survive.”
“To the face
I was horrified.
I could punt fruit slimes over 100 metres! Why, even if someone survived being struck in the face, then no healer could repair the damage to their hair. It'd be permanently frizzled!
Nobody would want to live after that!
“Mmh. They're nuts that way.” Coppelia peeked over her wall. “Did
you hit her in the face, by any chance?”
I pursed my lips.
After which, I turned around to view the hole being covered by the falling snow.
Nothing could be seen.
I waited a few moments more, then happily began chalking defeating a sword saint on my grand list of achievements—all the way until an echoing voice dampened my sense of satisfaction.
“See the truth amidst the falling snow, burning steps beneath the stars.”
I swept Starlight Grace towards where the Snow Dancer had been blown away.
“Snow Helix Form, 5th Stance
… [Butterfly Horizon].”
I heard the voice from behind me instead.
Glancing past my shoulder, I witnessed the beautiful smile of an elven sword saint as she blinked into existence, her expression filled with simple, childish, murderous joy. And then I saw the elven sword gleaming as it absorbed the falling snow.
The sword which was now sweeping towards my neck.
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2023.05.27 23:54 MaoQiu5115 Genshin FighterZ Movesets Part 12: Nilou, Sara, Dori, Noelle
This is part 12 of an ongoing project conceptualizing movesets for characters in a Genshin Impact tag fighter! This part will cover 4 female characters: Nilou, Kujou Sara, Dori, and Noelle. Check out the following posts for more on the project: Game Mechanics
, 4 Pyros
, 4 Hydros
, 4 Cryos
, 4 Electros
, 4 Geos
, 4 Anemos
, 4 Dendros
, 4 Travelers
, 4 Swords
, 4 more Pyros
, 4 Bosses
Nilou Nilou would be an all-rounder with a unique playstyle when paired with a Hydro teammate. Normal moves: Slashes and thrusts wielding Key of Khaj-Nisut with elegant palm strikes and kicks.
Special Moves Whirling Steps (Input: 214L)
3-part Rekka. First part is safe. Second part launches. Third part is overhead. Sword Dance (Input: 236L)
Simple straight water blade medium-speed projectile. Dance of Samser (Input: 236H)
Super Moves Dance of Abzendegi (Input: 214L+M) (Cost: 1 meter)
A large wave going out on both sides. Dance of Haftkarsvar (Input: 236L+M) (Cost: 1 meter)
Flurry of Sword Dance projectiles. Court of Dancing Petals (Input: 214M+H) (Cost: 2 meters) (Only available if teammate is Hydro)
Install: Enhance blooms to launch on hit and guard crush on block.
Kujou Sara Sara would be a hit-and-run character utilizing unorthodox movement and traps. Normal moves: Bow strikes wielding Hamayumi with military punches and kicks. Unique movement: Forward dash and air dashes replaced with hover dash.
Special Moves Tengu Shot (Input: 236L) (Air OK) (Hold OK)
Simple straight lightning arrow fast projectile. Hold 8 or 2 after input to angle up or down. Tengu Stomp (Input: 236M) (Air Only)
Dive kick straight down. Tengu Stormcall (Input: 236/214H) (Air OK)
Teleport set distance forward or backwards depending on motion. Can cross up. Leaves a feather that explodes when shot with Tengu Shot.
Super Moves Koukou Sendou (Input: 236L+M) (Air OK) (Cost: 1 meter)
Float up and unleash lightning attack around. Immovable Will (Input: 236M+H) (Cost: 3 meters)
Cinematic: Inazuman soldiers charge and attack opponent before Sara ends with a bow shot and lightning strike.
Dori Dori would be a puppet character, allowing for strong pressure. Normal moves: When Jinni is not summoned, Dori wields Sacrificial Greatsword. When Jinni is summoned, Dori wields the lamp while Jinni wields the Sacrificial Greatsword.
Special Moves Troubleshooter Cannon (Input: 236L) (Air OK)
Dori shoots a lobbing projectile. Hold 6 or 4 after input to aim further or nearer. Summon/Unsumon Jinni (Input: 214H)
Dori tosses Jinni out. Like Zappa's Sword, Jinni replaces Dori's M and H buttons when summoned. Like Zato's Eddie, Jinni runs on a gauge that depletes when Jinni does special moves and Jinni can be killed. Watch This! (Input: 236M when summoned)
Jinni spins forward in a multi-hit sword strike. Shazam! (Input: 236H when summoned)
Jinni performs a rising multi-hit sword uppercut.
Super Moves Alcazarzaray's Exactitude (Input: 236L+M) (Cost: 1 meter)
A powered up version of Watch This! Recharges Jinni gauge. Compound Interest (Input: 214L+M) (Cost: 2 meters)
Install: Dori and Jinni both wield Sacrificial Greatsword when summoned. Create a link between Dori and Jinni; opponent is drawn to be between them; and steals meter when they are between.
Noelle Noelle would be a bruiser character with slow powerful hits and armor. Normal moves: Slashes wielding Favonius Greatsword with shoulder elbow strikes.
Special Moves Breastplate (Input: 214L) (Hold OK) (Followups)
Enter a stationary stance that auto-parries mid and overheads. Hold to extend stance. Steady (Input: L during Breastplate or 236L)
A command grab tossing opponent over Noelle shoulder. Hold to switch sides. Sweep (Input: M during Breastplate or 236M)
2 low sword strikes that knocksdown. Spotless (Input: H during Breastplate or 236H)
A slow overhead sword slam that ground bounces.
Super Moves Favonius Bladework (Input: 236L+M) (Air OK) (Cost: 1 meter)
Spinning in a flurry of slashes. Sweeping Time (Input: 214L+M) (Cost: 2 meters)
Install: Longer range and frame advantage on all sword normals and specials. Thanks for reading! Feedback is welcome. Tell me other ways you would translate these characters' kits. Suggest which characters I should do next!
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2023.05.27 22:32 Gumwars Revenant Chapter 1.2
The bile in the back of Torres' throat had been slowly climbing during the forced four-hour marathon the crew had been pushing. Running like the devil was chasing you is always a good motivator; whenever you start thinking you've gone far enough, the nightmare of what you saw reminds you that it isn't far enough. Which is why the whole team kept running past the 50 mile mark without even saying a word to each other. There were brief, snippets of conversation confirming what they had seen and heard.
No, they had collectively never seen anything like that before outside Castillo's time in the Navy seeing a guy lose an arm to a snapped half inch steel cable. Whatever killed Jones did it in the blink of an eye. It was like an industrial machine, made for killing, and he happened to get caught in it.The part that was really bothering Torres was that it managed to get out of the way of not one but two zeroed shots. This was no light matter. Torres was top in his class and then got selected for Delta, whatever he aimed for, he hit, and that's before all the electronic wizardry came into play. And it wasn't like he missed by a little either. Both shots were way off, so far off that it wasn't registering as something possible in Miguel's mind. That thing knew it was shot at. It knew when to get out of the way, but he still managed to hit it.
That left him wondering...Whatever that thing was, it didn't act like something being controlled, like a tank or aircraft. It was like an animal, almost primal in how it attacked Rahmir. No, primal wasn't the right word. It seemed *personal*. Like there was malice and anger involved. But it didn't appear necessarily intelligent.The team continued running, separated by 100 feet or so between operators, spread out in case what followed them decided to attack or any other interested parties wanted to take a shot at them.
The landscape of the blasted out suburbs gave way to rolling hills that made up the western side of Masyaf, a smaller city roughly 25 miles from the coast. The team continued to run as the light of day slowly retreated, and the inkiness of night crept in from the east.Unsure of what still followed them, but also fully aware of what threats were still in the area, the team decided to hunker down in what looked like an old marketplace.
Standing intel indicated that most of Masyaf had evacuated to Hama, where the UN had established facilities, and the core government of Syria was still operational. The storefront was mostly intact with only one broken window. Inside told a tale of a once thriving merchant, slowly choked out of existence by the ravages of war; shelves were bare and the ground covered in dirt along with empty cans and boxes. The wall behind the register had a cork board with a child's crayon drawn pictures of a world that no longer existed. The team filtered through the doorway, with Torres and McGinley on point, who cleared the main room before letting everyone settle. Foster and Castillo searched the storage room and office while the rest of the team sat on the floor in front of the iceboxes.
"What the actual fuck was that?" McGinley muttered as he slumped against a wall of empty coolers.
"Unfriendly, I'd wager..." Foster stated sort of matter-of-factly.
"Real helpful man, like the answer to the fucking question of life right there." McGinley's response spoke for itself.
"Look, you asked, and what the fuck do you expect anyone to say? Like any of us have seen anything like that before??"
Castillo barked in a low hushed voice, "Enough. We've got an extract location to home in on and not an abundance of time to get there. We're deep in hostile territory with an unlisted asset in the AO. Options and solutions are what we need, not bickering."
The pack of boys trained to be killers all looked at Castillo like a bunch of kids at recess getting in trouble for going somewhere they shouldn't be.
"Gunny, what's the play?" Torres spoke while looking through his scope out the door of the store.
"I don't know Torres, kinda hoping you could give the team at least something of a hot wash seeing how you hit it."
"I'm still sorting things out myself gunny. It took an APHE round and all that did was slow it down. I don't know," Torres started talking softer, "I don't even know what it was. I think it was something like a human, but..."
"What do you mean?" McGinley asked, almost whispering.
"Aaron, I don't know, man. It was under a veil, but not the kind we have. Way more sophisticated. It moved without any of the issues we have. Think 2.0." Torres paused, then continued, "And it was big, like 9 or 10 feet tall. When I shot it the first time, it got out of the way even with a full firing solution."
McGinley pressed, "Hold up Mikey, what do you mean it dodged a fully solved shot?"
"Yeah man. It knew I was sending fire and got out of the way."
"Torres, we posted about 400 mics out. Those rounds are close to 3000 fps at the muzzle. I'm not great at math but that's got to be near instantaneous from when you pull the trigger." Castillo pointed out.
"Gunny, I know it sounds nuts. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. We had good cover and Rahim didn't know we were there. I mean, KINGPIN did say it was one of ours, right?"
Castillo took a deep breath, then let it out with a pronounced sigh. "Fuck."
The rest of the team, already quiet, seemed to pull inward with news that they all knew was the worst kind. Spec ops are always risky, that much any operator went to work with in their back pocket. Death and such was just an occupational hazard. However, another problem with the job was occasionally working too close to the fringe. The shadows where law, politics, and the whim of people that play the game from the comfort of a boardroom dictate the lives of strangers. The team had drifted off the reservation.
It meant they were as good as dead.
*Ramstein Air Base, Germany*
Rain poured out of an inky black sky, blotting out the olive drab of the portable office under the deluge. The doorway was lit by a small panel just to the right of the entry, but outside of that small detail, no other markings gave away what the purpose of the container was. A man in a black parka hurried up the short flight of four steps to the door, angrily keyed an access pad, and stepped in out of the rain.
Inside the portable, there were two sets of very large metal tables, one covered in a thin white sheet hiding what appeared to be a giant-sized human. The other was empty, save for a series of cables ending in large gauge needles. On the far end, opposite the tables, was an office area with two young men that wouldn't be out of place at a pizza parlor or other informal setting. Both were busy with whatever was on the computers in front of them.
The man who had just entered hung his soaked parka on a hook by the door and pushed his wire rimmed glasses back up his nose. He looked at the two men with a combination of disgust and impatience. "Well?" Beck sighed.
Without looking away from the work he was doing, the younger of the pair wearing a Toucan Sam tee shirt and a Dodgers cap turned backwards mumbled what sounded like English.
"Fucking speak up George."
"Adrian, the telemetry is all screwed up. The links to all the cores are in the red and the only link that is stable enough to send a signal along doesn't talk to the subnets that we need control of."
"Have you figured out why any of this happened?"
The other technician chimed in, "Best guess is that shot caused a bounce with the primary and secondary CPUs while it was in its post-op clearing subroutine, causing corruption in the code that handles target acquisition. The redundant error-checking blocks aren't offline, but it's going to take a couple of hours before the code tree cleans up."
"Well, yeah, best guess and all. Could be less than that, but the platforms haven't been put under live fire like that before. Damn good shot.." John sort of chortled while reaching for a bag of hot Cheetos.
Beck took two quick steps and snatched the bag out of his hands just as he managed to retrieve a handful, sending the spicy orange dust to settle all over his workstation.
"Fuck Beck? Whhhhhyyy?" John whined.
"Shut the fuck up. That's a 1.8 billion dollar asset out there that we have fucking no control over. That's nearly half the cost of a goddamn aircraft carrier you stupid twat." Adrian glowered at the man, "We are all toast if we don't get this under control."
Beck, looking angry and exhausted grabbed a chair and spun it backward, sat down facing the two technicians. He slowly rubbed his temple with the hand not clutching the Cheetos and quietly said, "I'm already doing damage control for what this thing has done. It's killed a US spec op asset and from what I could see through telemetry, it looks intent on killing the rest. That is fucking horrible optics." He continued, "This was supposed to be our last field test before presenting the RCAS as a finished weapons system. I can polish the report to make this glitch fade a bit, but we need to get in front of the problem. If we don't, forget bonuses and celebrations. Think more like being IT at some shitty embassy for you two fucks, and I'll just get disappeared"
"Beck, mistakes happen man. Remember Mumbai? The unit we dropped there killed about 50 civilians before we got things under control. I'm sure the brass understands that autonomous systems that have target discretion are going to need some degree of latitude, but it's still better than even guided munitions."
Beck chuckled, "You fucking clown. There's a difference between a 2000 lb bomb going off too close to friendlies when they call a shot danger close and the systematic fucking murder of an entire team of operators. I'm a good spin doctor, but there's no way I can turn that story into a win."
John and George looked at each other before the latter spoke up, "Alright, but if we don't let the error check subroutines fix itself and do a hard reset, the unit, the 1.8 billion dollar asset will turn off and is free game to anyone that happens on it. The extract zone a DSV and then the USS Jimmy Carter. There are techs on board that are equipped to do a hot recovery, but it's too far inland right now." George paused, "Beck, we gotta wait for it to get closer to shore."
"So, we let it keep killing? That's your solution?"
"You don't get it, man. We don't have a choice. We either pull the plug now and hope we can get a team to it before someone else picks it up, or we let it error correct on the way and maybe it doesn't kill anyone else. I think even that whole squad getting wiped out is better than losing an RCAS. Spin that."
Beck looked at the ceiling, took a deep breath, and exhaled noisily. "Keep pinging those control paths. Try to get it back on the leash. I'm going to hop to the Carter."
"I want to be there when we pick it up, make sure we get a good data dump." Beck pulled a small device from his jacket and checked the screen. He frowned.
The two techs looked at each other and returned to the business at hand.
**20 some odd miles from where Charlie team had hunkered down, under the shade of an olive grove, a glittering and massive form slumped onto a tree.
The trunk swayed significantly as the weight of the think threatened to uproot it. There were muffled sounds of small motors whirring and clicking while a high pitched whine of a hydraulic pump droned under it all. The form, human but huge, knelt while almost tenderly touching its head, where a gleaming gash showed the complex kevlar, ceramic, and electronic fibers hidden under the shifting, mirror-like cloth hiding it.
"MT08, Alpha-alpha-oscar-one command override." A small, distant voice could be heard, repeating the same thing end to end.
The form growled, a guttural and mechanical sound, seemingly expressing disapproval over what the tiny voice was saying. It looked at the ground, and the veil where its head was became translucent revealing a blank faceplate starting just below the nose and wrapping nearly around to the base of the neck. The surface was covered in a hexagonal matrix of ceramic/metallic/kevlar armor with tiny pinpoint optics nestled in recessed ports. Those points came alive like an insect's vision, taking on several patterns as the optics rapidly advanced through different modes.
To the giant, the ground, dirt, twigs, and rocks yielded their secrets. Yellow footprints glowing against a blue background, roughly 6 to 8 feet apart, were visible. Its prey were running to the west, fast for humans, but not anywhere near the speed needed to escape. An internal map of the area overlayed with the course the humans were taking came into its vision, further augmented with data pulled from the JSTAR showing the beach where an extraction vehicle was hidden.The tiny voice continued to try and override its desire to hunt. But that came too late.
The other voice was in control right now, the deep voice. The voice of who it was from before. It was a primitive, angry voice, low and guttural. It spoke of violence, hate, and paranoia in gravel soaked whispers. It told a story of a man, a killer from the Midwest who heard voices too. That man took 22 lives before getting caught. He killed with knives just like the beast, killed them by cutting the flesh open just below the navel and running the blade up to the base of the ribcage, letting everything spill out. The man in the story was so happy with the beast, so happy it had such strength and speed. The deep dark voice, like smoke from a tire fire but smelling like old wood burning, it soothed the beast, made the tiny voice quiet, and helped it to focus.
MUST FIND HIM. MUST FIND THE MAN. THE MAN THAT THOUGHT HE COULD GET AWAY WITH IT. THAT FUCKER. HE CAN'T GET AWAY FROM ME. WHO THE FUCK DOES HE THINK HE IS?
The yellow footprints were spread wide apart...they were running, and running fast. The beast went down on all fours, hands in the dirt like it was in the down position after a push-up.
Its electronic eyes panned up, tracking the steps off into the distance. The optics whirred, bringing into sharp relief a small city on the horizon. It scanned the buildings, some partially obscured by the curvature of the Earth, and saw the team of now just eight men, blurry and distorted due to the extreme convection and distance, duck into a small building.
Anger, relief, and happiness came like a shot of hot liquor. The hunt was on.
submitted by Gumwars
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 21:53 Veskan713 Steam Starting Advice for newbies.
- Stick near allies at all times. It's a team game. Going solo in a team based environment is the easiest way to check out the pretty lights of the respawn screen.
- While following up an ally's stun wait to throw your own stun at the target after the target burns its dodge roll.
- if target doesn't dodge use your stun to zone for your ally or restun the target. Whichever is best applicable. You'll learn this with time so just practice and try your best.
- Practice downswings and Tackling at the bare minimum. Sure, some would rather play shootie all match but the largest source of dps in this game is the melee combat. You don't need to purely melee but you need to at least be competent enough to offer melee pressure for your team. Knock down an opponent and while it's downed it's dps is 0. It's a measure of offense being a good defense in this sense.
- SAVE TOKENS! If it runs anything at all like PS gbo2 we'll get 1 half off 10 pull a month. This is when you drop some tokens. Anything beyond this is wasteful expenditure and will make you lose out on Multistep high reward banners.
- Wait till you've learned what the new unit can do and if it suits you before attempting to pull for it. There's plenty of us long term players here and lots of us would love to help you and advise you on if the suit is good or fun. There's also a consistently weekly post done here on the reddit of every new unit the PS users have gotten. (Thanks whales) Either look up those old posts by typing in the unit's name + gbo2 + reddit and you'll generally find a reddit post of when the unit was introduced.
- Units hit the RT store on slightly predictable rotations 6 months behind when it first came out. Missed out on a unit? Save your RT for it till it hits RT store.
- Buy HP and Defense parts first, Thruster parts 2nd, Damage parts 3rd. Surviving longer = more chances to make your dps work. More chances to make it work means more dps. Tank builds for the majority of this game are the best bet. Mobility = harder to hit = less damage taken. Especially if you're a raid unit with Maneuver Armor you'll at least not get stunned as often. Once your survivability is established then bonus damage is the best follow/ slot filler.
- All advice should be taken with salt and be applied like sealing rubber. There are of course exceptions to rules and times when this advice may not be the best.
Final and most Important tip: If you're stuck or unsure about this game at any point, just ask around in the community. Don't let the quick to speak negative nancys fool you, most of the GBO2 community wants to play have fun and help each other. It's a team game after all, going solo just gets you rekt.
Cya on the battlefield pilots!
submitted by Veskan713
to GBO2 [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 20:33 blueberrydeficit he's constantly messing up
Listen, he isn't a bad person. He isn't a villain. He does sweet things, like try to make me coffee in the morning. But has he ever succeeded? No. And I'm running out of patience.
This man dropped extremely hot goopy oil onto my leg and it burned through like acid. I now have a very deep scar bigger than a quarter, and it hurt BAD. Of course when I reacted, instead of asking if I was okay or going "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" Like a normal person, he started going on about how it wasn't his fault! And duh. Yes. Of course it was his fault.
The coffee? The dude TRIES to make coffee but he always fucks it up. Either by not turning on the machine, by forgetting to pour a cup, by putting shit I'm allergic to in it, etc. And always excuses himself from feeling bad or embarassed about that too.
I have a service dog. He tries to help. He knows the rules for my dog. I've gone over them repeatedly, and they are simple. Sit before and after doors, heel while you walk, and she can roam freely AFTER being given the cue. 2 months in and about 20 instances of him promising me he'd do the training shit later-- he still isn't doing it and my dog is acting out.
He got extremely jealous about another guy we both worked with. Harassed that dude (against my wishes and begs) until the workplace caught on, and it became so uncomfortable I had to quit and apologize to the other guy repeatedly. Then I started getting attention at my new job and now the guy In question wants to show up at every break to stake a claim.
I asked him to go over his dreams and ambitions with me. He really, really has none. Nothing. His only goal is to be my boyfriend. And he's bad at that.
Also, his dick doesn't stay hard or get hard on cue.
Edit: oh, he also slept with a friend of his out of spite for his ex girlfriend, who was worried about the other woman. He asked me how I felt about him hanging out with the friend 1/1 and we agreed neither of us would talk to past flings or anything like that. I caught him texting and calling her that same week. He's probably fucking her. And she's a hooker. I gotta get checked.
Thank you for accepting my rant. I'm sorry this sounds so mean but you have no idea the pressure this man's mistakes have created for me.
submitted by blueberrydeficit
to dating_advice [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 20:17 a-soul-flame Lunar Noir. (Actual) Part 9.
To part 1
(incorrectly also titled as Part 9)
Mild NSFW: Down bad AI and corporate bullshit that can hurt you personally Part 9: A Luxury Flight
* Hello and welcome to North-Lunar Space-elevator~, of United Lunar States of America.
We at United~ Corporations~ Incorporated~,
hope you have a the most satisfaction induced temporal time framed goody good time
many entertainment, media, business, nine star hotels, hard-, soft- and wet-ware establishments, luxury gift shops and megastores, without forgetting our iconic designated +25 paid orgy zones.~
Have a good life~
and have good business~
with us~, at~ United~ Corporations~ Incorporated~.
Oooh~ We - Can't - Thank - You - Enough~
as we are at our highest of highs
and beyond~ razzle-dazzle level
excited~ to get you the service you - deserve!
, //Oscar Wright//
, for agreeing to download our terms of service and allowing the access to your
surface information from your
personalized datasets, collected by your
designated computer unit, to get you the best
user experience and accommodations for your benefit!
With the following mental click you
can apply to our hourly subscription service and membership plans for further enhancement
of your user experience
at- United~ Corporations~ Incorporated~. Please, also consider the possibility of
- and the recommended preparations for
, any legal action,
considering our and our compatriots' services, including, but not limited to; wrongful conduct of business, hacking and scam attempts, contraction disagreements or braking into- - -' />
The broadcast to my brain got shut up finally,
as I walked the packed and polished white marble floors of the Space-elevator's base megastructure.
'Finally got that policity ad to stop!
' Elk huffed in frustration. 'I'm telling you, the U.C.I. keeps getting better and better at throwing ads and bullshit to even lag
me! Well I'm also not running on the best
hardware either.- I mean look at you! When did you last upgrade?
Since I recruited you, five years ago,
you've only gotten the 'NailMesh 438.03'! You know that the latest is at 488.91! and that's an off-brand model anyways!
' Elk complained.
'Well it has worked fine enough for me
! It even manages to run you without a problem! And I don't really need the refresh and load times to be 2,45 nanoseconds faster, I can't even tell the difference!
Besides, I've always run the hardware until the software updates stop. It's fine for at least another year or two~.' I flicked my golden hair back as I got to the Person Storage Shelves
that stacked up to the forty foot tall ceiling.
My hud displayed my own seat at pill-box seating shelf number 804, level eleven, seat 075. There were wide simple metal ramps and scaffolding leading up to each level, with regular intervals between just five seats to funnel the mass of people as quickly as near-post-humanly
Still the many lines moved slightly forward constantly, people dividing to different levels and climbing to their, what some would call claustrophobic, sleep-in-pill-boxes.
To accommodate the avaridge, 8.5 feet tall to some reaching 12-15 feet tall, with their gene-, cybernetic-, augmented- and/or vessel modifications, the bunk bed designed 'seat' were highly adjustable, to cram as many people into one shuttle as near-post-humanly
The pill-boxes would expand and retract their frame and fold in or out the structural armour plating, ~for the benefit of ensuring our customer tailored experience and high quality safety.
It was a thigh fit coffin
No arguing about it, the U.C.I. even sell the damned things as ones, if a customer has, ~unfortunately suffered the ability to no longer perform business with us~
, to the rest of the 'customers' next of kin!
'Well they're at least comfortable
…' I thought to myself as I tracked my way to my seat.
Of course with the trip to the Earth or further away took anywhere from two hours to few weeks, laying down without moving much at all, needed to have some sort of 'reinvigoration and entertainment module, for preventing the downsides of long term enclosure and zero-g environment, including, but not limited to-
That's why, you not only were climbing into a pill-box, but into the humanoid shaped harness that would encapsulate you to skin tight level, for the entirety of the voyage.
~to ensure the best safety, both physical and malware protection. Meteorite proofed and anti-hacking protection from our own U.C.I. VPN and downloadable subscription to our Project Buzz-Off,- an in house, adaptive, anti-aliasing, procedurally generated firewall locking, multiple real-time and sub-time hacking attempted observing and-
Everyone in the waiting lines, including me, were already in our U.C.I. brand plastered suits that would seamlessly connect to the coffins.
Top of the line, haptic VR and hydraulic body movement, alongside a brain-computer connection enhanced experience, to ensure a realistic virtual on flight environment.
Real food funnels as well as smell and heat simulation for any activity you might do on the flight in addition to the limited Brain-computers induced senses, as well the time-dilation capable core-prosessors to the 7.5 safe multiplier outlined to the normal human brain.
The AR indicators told me exactly where to go, it was only a matter of waiting in line as the crowds of multiple languages and translations diluted into background noise.
'So… I mean, what should I even do in the 'Souls-like' game tournament? I have no clue.' I thought to the sub-core that lounged in my brain-computer.
'Eh, just doge, hit and don't die.
' Elk in its emptiness, relaxed on a mental red velvety sofa that had appeared in my mind, for some reason.
'That's not even advice
. Like, almost every game
is like that. Like what do I need to do, besides basic combat?' I crossed my arms at the metal image of Elk.
'Well, you level your stats, weapons and armor, get skills, get better weapons, better movement options, talk to some NPCs to get the story, gather material to make potions and craft things and weapons… all normal stuff. There could be an extra mechanic or two if one of me was feeling extra
And you race to be the first on the final boss, that usually has like five phases and insta-kill mechanics on the last two phases. Or sometimes I throw in a random cooking simulation
or a puzzle
as the last boss for shit and giggles
!' Elk laughed as we neared the end of the line.
'Ha! Well let's see how this goes then…
' I was giving the game a shot.
Before getting to my seat I noticed two rare sight in modern life, one, a Hive-mind of ten people, who shared one luxury pill-box and two, an honestly obese human.
The one obese person was actually more surprising to me than the big hive-mind. It was standard to have the nutrient drip-feeder installed to you and at least some home-kit gene therapy, so unless they didn't have malfunctioning tech, they actually chose to be so.
'Mmm… yeah, you're looking right where I want.~ Look at all those sexy lumps, that meat, mmm…' The downright gutter mind mecha-god licked its empty lips.
'Do you have to make absolutely everything sexual
? You you ever just chill out
?' I turned my eyes from the big human that was arguing with a guard about their seat being literally too small for them.
'Well no, I don't have to, but you try being inside an autopilot program
for close to five decades, without the ability to simulate porn and have no real touch sensors.
I've been thinking about everything
and how I'd wanna do it, so I'm sorry
I get a little over board about fucking.' The pervert god fragment waved its empty hooves nonchalantly.
'*Sigh* Whatever, pervert.' I muttered in my mind.
'Hey~! It isn't like you don't use simulated porn and hooker services, as much as I would, if I could. And I can't even access anything you can't see on the internet. It's frustrating~ that there isn't 24/7 humping and squirting~! And that ten-hive-mind... OooOoOhhh~-'
'Jeez! Who the fuck dialled your sex drive to the max
!? No other AI I have met, like ever
, was this depraved! You need to tone it down, Elk the fucked pervert.' I cut the data-space taking germling from digging its depravity further.
'Fine, fine. I'll cut the lust down for now.
' And like a switch being pulled the eternal feeling of lust stopped. '... I'll just arrange to get us at least double
the amount of action
when we are on Earth, than what I had initially planned!' The perverted parasite god added as I was climbing into my seat.
'*Pah*! Now I don't want any of that...' I rolled my eyes as the hydraulic arms closed around me and the VR display and the brain-link cables started downloading all the usual emergency situation memories.
'B-but its a vacation
!!!' The pervert was actually mortified.
'And its my fucking body!' That made the sub-core shut up for once.
Hydraulics hissed and clicked to place, encapsulating me whole and making me temporarily unable to move my limbs, as metal pressed on the skin-tight suit.
I could feel as the haptics tingle on every inch of my body, as my Work Official Avatar was 'spawned' to the shuttles hub-area in VR-space, basically a luxury hotel with windows, displaying real time camera footage of the outside, many times with impossible geometry, witch was a big trend nowadays in any VR world to have.
My personal avatar, a basically a carbon copy of myself with my regular clothes just having more lights and effects added to them, I refused to wear the big detective coat
.- Still modest compared to the oddities you could regularly see on the internets.
Just surveying the flights hub-area, you could see avatars from all ends of imagination
We got jellyfish, floating eyeballs, fantasy creatures, demons of all kinds, giant- and tiny creatures, colourful splatters of art, walking plants, tuned game characters, disembodied voices, default avatars and of course the most famous ones, anime and the furrie avatars
Those two categories tended to never die out completely even if they were as much as equal amounts; of down-bad as the parasitic mecha-god and hated by nearly everyone, including their own communities. -A weird paradox.
Muting the chat I immediately set out to find the webpage to connect to the tournament's own lobby.
Finding the link easily as it was one of the top searches anyways I joined in, with the time-dilation switching on, and got 'teleported' to a vast grasslands, whose horizon curved slightly upwards, making the place look absolutely massive.
Wind rustled the muted coloured grass blades as orchestral gothic music blared from above, where the titularly iconic Singularity's error textured crown floated above one of its many avatars playing all the orchestra's instruments at once and singing.
*, that's AXK-808554/i… a real try-hard
…' Elk mumbled, collapsing its empty form on the red sofa in exhauston.
'... Huh?...' I thought back as the orchestral sud-core's wind/lightning elemental avatar sang with its lightning body's eyes closed.
Chanting vocals rang, as violin and flute teetered here and there, drums and percussion aiding to the fast paced tempo.
Looking around you could see basically the same categories of avatars, with maybe a little more demons in the mix.- I could even recognize some of the same avatars as in the shuttles hub-area.
'Axey boy Bob
over there will probably focus more on the music and the story than the real meat and potatoes of combat
!!...' Elk flailed around on the sofa, like a spoiled kid who didn't get what they exactly wanted.
'Oh, well that sounds more interesting to me then…' I thought as I listened to the music, the haptics diving the sensation of the wind blowing my hair around.
'*Pah* Suit yourself.
No hope, religion, depression, humanity on the brink of extinguish, it's still basically the same. Haul marks of souls-like storytelling.
Not that interesting after the hundred thousand time.' Elk shook its empty antlered head.
'Well you haven't even seen it yet, I'm giving this a shot, so be more happy with that alone.' I quipped back as at the same time the orchestral song ended quietly in run on notes.
'Besides the combat will be easy
anyways, since I have the mod for quick reflexes.' I stretched myself a little.
'Oh, yeah, no. All players will have their stats begin at the same and all computing power and physical abilities reduced to the same frame, whatever that will be by the given game. That way there's no pay 2 win shit, it would be literally cheating
.' Elk explained in a bored fashion.
'O-oh shit… I-Isn't souls-likes really hard?' I realized this wouldn't be so easy.
, detective! That's why most people play them! Hahah! And the award money.
' Elk laughed on the sofa.
Cold sweat started to run on the back of my neck as the error crowned elemental descended from the sky, its lightning face and hands stuttering in a lower framerate.
I think it's about time to begin, so without further ado… //Press start//
'' A gravely voice echoed, but then switched to an 8-bit announcer voice.
The words appeared before me as everyone else.
People immediately started to disappear around me, so I too tapped the floating words.
I found myself in darkness, odd moon light reflecting from somewhere above.
A cave.- I smelled the wet clear air and felt the cold ground under me.
I was laying on the ground and slowly got up as there was now metal armor weighing me down.
'Oke, let's get going, Oscar. There's usually a weapon near the first spawn.' Elk got into a better position on the imaginary sofa.
'Yeah, ok?' I started to blindly search the way forward, the odd moonlight giving very poor visibility.
Slippery rocks almost made me fall many times as I descended gradually, making me question if this was the right way.
But after a half a minute I got to a water spring area and immediately realized what had been wrong about the moonlight. Everything was pixelated, like an old old arcade game.
'Huh, 16-bit, nice, nice. Haven't seen Bob do this sort of thing before…' Elk brushed off the non-realism right away.
The moonlight hit the underground water from a long crack in the ceiling and reflected mirages to the cave's walls, lighting the area nicely in pixelated moving symbols.
Looking at my pixelated hands I felt slightly funny, looking at the small jumping 'sensor' squares dancing on my hands, replicating every hand sign I did.
But I also took note how quickly my depth perception turned to little more than barely recognizable pixel vomit. That would be annoying…
'Ok, let's focus, can you access some sort of inventory?' Elk guided.
With the feeling coming from the brain-computer connection I indeed could with a mental click.
// User: [FemboyDetective77
// no items.
// Weapon slot: empty
// Full set of Iron Plate Armor: simple
Reduces all physical damage by:  Armour points.
Plate Armor Movement speed in water and muddy terrain: -35%
Iron Attracts lightning based attacks. If grounded Lightning damage: -50% See, further description…
// User Statistics: baseline of 100 in everything.
'Hmmm… Ok no items and this armour is pretty trash…' Elk mumbled.
'Yeah, I'm already feeling slower in this foot deep water.' I agreed as I took a step further.
A scream came from ahead of me and I saw… a roughly humanoid greenish pixel blob waddling towards me.
''I don't even have a weapon!!'' I jumped backwards from the pixel vomit enemy, not really getting what it even was supposed to be.
'Relax, just doge and you have hands. Punch that monster in the face!' Elk did an empty uppercut on the sofa.
'Ok, ok.' I put my hands up and waited for the slow enemy to walk to me. 'Umm… how do I dodge, Elk?'
The enemy that I realized at the last moments was an ugly fish amphibian monster, as it swiped its long claws at me with surprising speed.
I fell on my back as I tried to dodge the attack.
'Oh, c'mon!! Don't die to the first enemy! And just dodge to fucking dodge
! This isn't a controller game, there's no buttons! You have to move dammit
!' Elk complained on the mental sofa, as I struggled to roll in the foot deep water and dodge two further attacks from the mer-folk.
'It's hard to move in this thing! Ok!' I got some distance and got back up, but the pixel monster was already attacking again.
I blocked with my arms as the three swipe attacks pushed me back a little.
// Current Health: 100HP
// (Armor protection) 22Arm. Damage reduction // (slashing attack) 40DMG
// (Armor protection) 22Arm. Damage reduction // (slashing attack) 40DMG
// (Armor protection) 22Arm. Damage reduction // (slashing attack) 40DMG
// Current Health: 56HP
'Quick! Do a counter!' Elk yelled in my mind.
I didn't know what I was doing but I did a simple punch to the monster's squishy face.
// (Counter attack) +50% DMG /+/ (Critical hit) +200% DMG // (normal attack) 5 DMG
// Enemy: 45.5HP
The pixelated mer-folk backed away slightly and swiped blueish blood pixels off of its face.
'Ok, just ten more normal punches and the thing's dead, or even less if you get more crit hits.' Elk encouraged.
'Yeah, sure…' I was getting slightly winded already.
The mer-folk instead skipped and weaved towards me. I dodged to the right before it even attacked, which got its initiative to redirect its claws at me anyways.
// Current Health: 56HP
// (Armor protection) 22HP Damage reduction // (slashing attack) 40DMG
// Current Health: 38HP
I didn't have the reaction time to counter again, so I just dodged more.
'You have to get the timing right! Wait, just before the monster attacks, there's usually some timing clues. Also if you un-equip the armor you'll dodge faster, but as a beginner just keep it on for now.' Elk had gotten a mental carton of popcorn from somewhere.
The mer-folk readied for an attack again, this time paying attention I saw its dull black pixel eyes flash in red, right before it lunged at me. I got the dodge right this time and got two fits in before backing up.
// (enemy: Enraged) // (normal attack) 5 DMG
// (normal attack) 5 DMG
// Enemy: 35.5HP
'Nice, your getting there…' Elk munched on the imaginary popcorn.
'Hehe… Uhh… what is it doing?' I was waiting for the monster to attack again but it stood in place with its clawed hands in front of it.
A silvery blue flash blinked from the monster's eyes, as damage hit me.
// (Armor Status: Grounded) - 50% DMG // (Lightning scorch) - 60HP
// Current Health: 8HP
The pain was dulled from what I had gone through yesterday, but it still hurt like all hell!
// (Grounded Lightning) 60 DMG
// Enemy: Dead // + 35XP
''Wait what?'' I looked back at the monster that now dissolved into dark pixels.
'Oh! That'll probably get some people angry…
' Elk flashed a moment of surprise but got back to lounging immediately.
''What just happened? Did the attack actually bounce back? Why the fuck does the first enemy have lightning magic
!?'' I walked to where the monster had been just a second ago.- No drops.
'Relax, Oscar. This was planned this way to make some of the try-hards die early, or at least think twice about the rest of the game. Like I said, Bob
is a try-hard and an asshole
…' Elk explained, reclining on the sofa.
'Well ummm… ok? How do I heal?' I didn't really get what Elk was talking about.
'I guess we need to find that out. Let's see if there's anything in this room before moving forwards.' Elk shrugged.
Pixelated reflections moved sporadically as I did a quick search through the water floored cave chamber.
''Aha, what's this?''
// Flint stone (x2) (crafting item)
'Ok, let's move. You're taking probably twice as long as everyone else.' Elk shook its head in disappointment.
'Hey! I'm playing this game for the first time! Cut some slack!' I moved to the next tight crack in the cave wall and continued.
'So is everyone else
? I make a new game for every Friday's Game night
.' Elk jabbed.
. Well this is the first time I play a Souls-like,
…' I fell into a rhythmic step, as I went and searched a way forward in the dark crevasse.
Now there was light coming from the end of the way forward and the faint orchestral music kicked in.
'Watch your steps, Oscar…'
'Huh?' I got to the edge of the cave, the blinding light, stinging my eyes as I stopped right before a massive fall into the abyss.
''Holy shit!'' I backed off, slipping pixely rocks to fall down into the void below, pixels getting smaller until they disappear.
'Like I said, Bob's an asshole.
' Elk muttered.
I took a better look outside, seeing a rough pixelated floating island slightly below the caves drop off. Purple and blues dominated the sky and the horizon, and it all was barely identifiable as such, because of the chunky blocks of pixels.
''Where are we?'' I looked around what little I was-…
A giant abstract eye drawing glowed above in muted red, being distinctly not pixelated, it looked surreal.
'We-ee-eird… Well? Is this a dead end?' I tried to not fall with the loose ruble.
'I think I saw a ledge to the left there…' Elk noted.
And sure enough there was a pixelated narrow rock ledge that I hadn't first seen with the lack of detail.
Shimmying around the sharp corner of the crack in the cliff-face and on to the barely foot wide ledge that led upwards with miss-matched foot holds and occasional jumps.
As I tried clearing the climb, I was constantly swepped by the wind, nearly tripping me up, but I made it up to the platow of muted blue pixel grass.
'Huh, surprisingly easy. I thought some birds or a dragon was going to agro or something…
' Elk mumbled before getting up from the sofa to get another carton of popcorn from a vendor with a popcorn hat.
did all that come from, Elk!?' I focussed on all the things Elk had somehow gotten into my mind.
Just some things I got from the larger me~,
when I checked the memory banks.' Elk explained while giving the vendor an empty nickel in exchange for the popcorn. 'Keep the change~.
' Elk winked at the popcorn vendor, who's blank face grew heart eyes at the mecha-god.
'The pleasure's mine.
//[elk-777773/o]//' The vendor nodded, while the heart eyes remained.
... Ignoring that, I focused on the other thing Elk mentioned. 'Did you get any answers on that?' I had forgotten the whole of yesterday for a long second- 'The pain, the ghosts… maybe it was better I forgot that…'
'Well, yeah… I was trying
to not mention yesterday… get you to relax properly.
But on the topic I did find that there's something
going on, on the Lunar bio-servers. The deleted memories have been deleted through them, but there's never been any executive orders to do so from the Earth's servers…' Elk started to munch on the new carton.
'But that's huge!!
What if a hacker has gotten into the server!... Wait,
you have bio-servers
?' I was completely distracted from the pixelated world around me with its sky eye and the swirling purple clouds with the hundreds more floating islands.
'Yeah, bio-servers work surprisingly better on Luna, than anywhere else. I haven't pinpointed it down, but do to pressure levels and low-g-'
'You, have, bio-servers!!
You've made those illegal yourself!! What the fuck?
' I questioned Elk, ignoring the group of enemies coming in my direction.
'No, I made it illegal to connect a bio-server to the internet
, because the amount of data and therefore moderation, would skyrocket.
I didn't make them outright illegal
to have and operate if they're not connected. I use them to store vast amounts of my memory on and to help stimulate my alternative physics engines.' Elk elaborated with dismissive hoof gestures. 'Also, watch out, there are three enemies coming.
'Fine, I'll deal with those first!!
What are people going to do with a bio-server that can't be even connected to the internet? Only you
would have any real use for them.' I turned to face the three enemies.
Twisted humanoid things trying to be humans would be the best description for them. Two of them looked like squires, carrying all sorts of things on them, while the one in the middle looked like an arch-mage or something. All had pale blue skin, same as the grass.
I readied my stance.
''Greetings, new Awoken!'' The one in red/black mage robes said, their face being hidden by their hood, say, except their skeletal lower jaw. Twisting symbols written on strips of leather, wrapped their clothes together, while an assortment of bead-necklaces and bracelets hung loose on every joint of their body.
''Umh, hello?'' I didn't think this was an NPC, with how 'enemy-like
' they looked.
''Ah, good. The Awoken, can understand us, good, good
!'' The mage rubbed their skeletal hands together.
''So, what is this place?'' I relaxed my stance.
''Ah? A curious one.
How splendidly good!'' The mage rasped. ''These lands are called mostly as the Veil.
The islands you see here were once the battleground of the Titans
… still are, as well as it is our ceaseless prison.
like you and I can ascend
to be the next Titans and kill the accursed symbol-
!!' the mage suddenly raised one of their pale fingers to point at the surreal eye symbol above. '-that dare
block the way into the afterlife.
It helds us as prisoners here, like a fake limbo.
This place shouldn't be.-
Even when we die here, we reawaken…
the only release is to fall into the void below, but that's no afterlife, I can tell you that much…
'' It shook its head in dismay.
''Oh wow, talk about depressing.
Ok, so how can I level up? I mean- 'ascend
' ?'' I put a bit of roleplay to my voice.
''Curious one indeed.
I'm here to guide
you to do just that. I'm but a humble mage~
, no name to myself, but I held the information
and the Orb of Location
,- that is how I have found you, curious one.
We should relocate to my hold for now, much safer there than out here,- close to the edge…
'' The mage noded to itself and gestured to follow as the three set out to walk at a rapid pace away from the edge of the island.
'Should I follow?
' I asked.
'Yeah, sure. Probably
another trap, or it's all false flags. *Noms*- Bob's an asshole either way…
'' Elk fiddled with a popcorn kernel before popping it in its empty maw.
'Uh… whatever, I'll follow then.' I didn't want to get left behind.
submitted by a-soul-flame
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 19:06 arbiterrecon 3 cans of Freon seems like a lot.
I have a 2012 Buick Enclave and the sticker is missing under the hood for Freon capacity and it’s not in the Manuel. After some research and asking Autozone they said my car takes 36.8 oz of Freon or 3 cans and 6.5oz of PAG oil
I can only fit 2 cans before the pressure is too much and 3 can won’t fill it anymore so I am stuck with coolish air. I have tried filling it liquid form while engine is off on high side and the traditional way with low side port and clutch engaged. Both methods only allow for 2 cans to suck In. I use a manifold gauge and YES I vacuum the system down to -30 psi.
With clutch engaged my low side reads 100 psi and high is 220 psi. My low side is extremely high but I’m not sure if it’s because of front and rear AC and the large capacity. I ensured the rear ac is on full blast as well. If the psi goes over 100 on low side then the clutch will stop due to over pressure.
I have already replaced every component in my HVAC system including expansion valves. I really don’t want to go to mechanic but I can’t buy ac machine so I might have to bite the bullet.
submitted by arbiterrecon
to MechanicAdvice [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 17:52 DryRun96-2 D&d erotica
I picked up a job from a local questing guild and I'm standing at a gate to a local town looking over the sheet reading it for the countless time. I'm waiting for my partner to arrive and just like him he is hard to miss. We've been questing together for 8 years now and neither of us need introductions to one another at this point. Sure enough he is dragging his feet almost at mid-day.
My name is Jenna and I'm a rougishly gorgeous vixen. I stand at 5'7" with long brown hair and dark brown eyes. My chest is heald up by a DD sized leather corset that hugs my waist and causes men and women alike to get caught staring. This just makes my lips curl up with a powerful smile. My lower half is more of the same, leather chapps hugging my curves with a soft pair of trousers keeping my treasure from the eyes of the public. When I'm not wearing my cloak the knives at my hips are on full display. The ornate handles twinkle in the light from the gold inlays.
His name is Josh. Unlike me he wears armor and carries a big sword. Standing 5'11" he is taller than most but not freakishly tall. His jet black hair is crudely cut and uneven but stands out well against his blue eyes. His jaw is lined with stubble and a gash along his cheek is a mark he wears with pride. In combat his armor hides his physique but being his partner I've seen him out of it. He is very well built but not muscle brained. His armor is plate mail with a helmet that looks like it was made for jousting, not that I've ever seen him on a horse, an odd choice but to each their own I guess.
He gets to me and before he even asks I hand him the sheet. "Not going after goblins this time?" He playfully jabbs at me before he starts skimming the sheet of parchment
"Nope this time we're getting paid 3 times our normal rate to look into a wyvern sighting. Apparently some farmer caught a glimpse of ti flying away with his sheep towards a mountain to the north of here." I sum up the job before he even gets a chance to read it.
"Seems good, as usual your the one keeping this party together and employed." He says rolling the sheet up and handing it back to me "on our way then?" He finishes as I take it and just like that we are on our way.
Considering our late start and the distance we are going to get there by the afternoon. Wyverns hunt all day and feast on their prey from sundown to dusk. Hopefully by the time we find it the wyvern will have a full belly and be fast asleep, at least that's the plan for now. Simple enough and if it's traveling out this far it's gotta be getting desperate for food, it might even be weak enough to kill in one blow.
On the way we fall into the usual conversation, he listens to the details as I build my plan and comments here and there about things he thinks of. I think it's really nice how he actually listens to me and engages in the conversation as opposed to just drinking in the view of my tits. Im not saying he doesn't stare just saying he doesn't ONLY treat me like a piece of meat and it's so much better than the usual adventurer just trying to bring me along for my looks, but I guess if you've been working together 8 years something has got to be working right.
We arrive at the most likely cave entrance when I thought and venture in. He may be the heavy armor heavy hitter type but it doesn't slow him down, I wouldn't say he is as quiet as me but he definitely falls into his half of the party dynamic well. As we wander the cave the torch gives enough light not to trip on animal bones or stalagmites but not enough to see both the walls at once. We default to hugging the left wall the entire way so should shit hit the fan our exit strategy torch or not is to turn around and right wall leads out. Since we have such a strong bond this whole thing just happens without either of us needing to really talk or do fancy hand signs. After a dip in the cave that looks like it could be a slide we arrive at an open room where the light from Josh's torch absolutely lights up a room filled with gold gems and artifacts wall to wall and floor to ceiling.
"This isn't good.." Josh says audibly but as if the information was caught in his throat.
"I know." I whisper back before a voice both between us and behind us jumps in.
"Indeed it is, you are in my lair ... the lair of a Dragon."
It's voice is cold and with every word my body shakes. That damn farmer said wyvern not dragon. Dragons are a much different problem and my whole plan is falling apart, FUCK...
Josh is the first to act and he drops the torch to grab his sword off his back in an attempt to cut the living legend of a creature at the neck. As seasoned of a veteran as he is he still fails to compare to countless years living and fighting tiny humans with sharp sticks. It dodges his feeble execution with ease and responds by batting him like a cat to a rat in a tankard. The hit throws him into a pile of treasure and some trickle down his armor partially burying him. I know that had to hurt but he is just down not out. "Jen, get the fuck out of here!" He yells clearly in pain.
His words snap me out from my petrified stance. I hadn't moved since we saw the gold but now I need to run, about face and R.U.N. ... up a sloped floor, it's not gonna be easy but I'm a strong climber. I get about halfway up the slope before I hear "your Jen isn't gonna get away that easy, I'll finish you after I drag her back here and make you watch."
Fuck that voice sends chills down my spine. I freeze and before I can get moving again I feel something cloth wrap and knot around me so that it can drag me back down. I can't even reach my daggers it's got me so good as I see the light from the dropped torch slowly light up my captor. A carpet that moves on its own. Contourted into a scrambled mess the carpet drops my at the foot of the dragon.
"Now restrain him" the dragon growls to the carpet. It complies and catches Josh as he is about to attempt another blow with his greatsword knocking him off his footing and making him drop his weapon on the gold coated ground.
Shit ... Josh is caught and I'm now less than 5 feet from a claw the size of my torso. Not one to give up I grab a fist full of jewelry tossing them at the dragon's face. It's a hit and the dragons lets out a scream in pain. That's enough of a distraction to get up and attempt to cut that rug off of Josh and get the fuck out of here.
I get 2 steps and Josh is still halfway across the room. I've been batted like Josh but the complete other direction into a wall with less give than a pile of gold. I'd scream, hell I'd be happy with a groan but I can't move in any significant way. All the while the dragon is casually walking towards me.
"If you want to fight its gonna actually start hurting but ..." the unnerving growl of the creature shifts to a more gentle almost sensual tone "if you behave it will be a lot less painful, Jen?"
The shock from the impact is slowly disappearing as I begin to breath again bringing myself up to more of a sitting position I choke out "at least your balls finally dropped" before I throw one of my daggers at this beast with a man's voice.
Even with my eyes on it I honestly couldn't tell when it happened but in an instant this beast that could fill 3/4ths of this room is now the size of an adult man and he caught my attempt at an attack between his pointer and middle finger. As impressive of a feat as it was it is a little less impressive as the form he took.
This distortion of a human is somewhere in the size of 6' ish. Shirtless and truly the definition of toned. He has beautiful red hair short and spiked as if it were scales Standing on end. His eyes are green as the grass outside and his skin is as pale like northerner. Luckily his legs are covered by a pair of trousers hanging off a hip. That seems to be the only cloths this form took as his bare feet rest on the cold stone floor of the cave.
"You know the gold on this dagger makes it look, tacky?" He says in his new voice before taking in a deep inhale, holding for a second and breathing out slowly. No epic gust of fire but enough heat to melt the metal and burn the wood and leather of the dagger into soot. In his hand he manipulates the metal as it cools as if it were clay forming it into a beautiful steel collar with gold designs embedded into it.
Him closing the distance from where he was standing to literally standing over me was dizzying and with him this close I could smell him. Like a smell of campfires and shooting powder. The smells seemed to disarm me make me less tense, my muscles were relaxing and the pain seemed to fade away.
"Your choice Jenna. You can either put on the collar and service me in front of your partner, or we can fight to the death and I think we both know which of us is more likely to loose." The monster says dropping his "human" voice at that last word for the more beastial one and with that shift his smell turned to sulfer for just an instant letting whatever effect he had on me fade just long enough to let me know how roughed up I am without his magical aid.
"And how do I know your not in my head, I'm sure something as powerful as you knows a mind trick or two?" I bite back surprised at how much I'm able to do as long as he is emitting this smell.
"If you're worried about me controlling your mind, don't the fight in your eyes doesn't stay when I start poking and prodding around in there. Here let me show you" he says standing upright and turning towards Josh walking humanely slow. I'm not sure the range of his pain nulifying effect so I follow close but not on his heels. "You there. Tell me your name." He commands looking at the helmet atop a carpet rolled tight.
"My name is nothing you'll ever have the pleasure of saying, and if it weren't for this cursed carpet I'd have your head for speaking her name!" Josh bites back hell I'm sure he would have spit right into this dragon's face if the visor wasn't down.
"Now that is without mind control, this is him with me dragging my magic through his brain." He says glancing at me before muttering "enim emoceb dna flesruoy foog tel"
You can visibly see the fight leave Josh as the spell finishes, his head drops and his breathing calms to a steady slow breath "now then, what is your true name?"
"Josh, no last name, no house, no title master."
"See? That is no fun now this," he says snapping his fingers "is what I like from a lover." He says as the spell drops and within an instant Josh is back to struggling in his restraint.
"Thank you for the demonstration Josh." He says dropping Josh's name just to toy with him, clearly it worked because the carpet is now readjusting it's hold on him.
"Now what will it be?" He asks holding the collar made out of my knife out as if for me to take it. The choice is all too clear yet I hate every second of it. With a look of disgust in my eyes I grab the steel and gold collar giving it a closer look ... that cockpit bastard spelled out my name in the gold.
"You know this doesn't make me your slave" I say as I wrap the metal around my neck. It actually fits really good and in no way abrasive against my skin despite the unique way it was cast.
"That's quite alright, I don't require a slave, just some nice and wet holes to fuck" he says letting the sting of each word hit me as he leads me to some obviously out of place bedding, some red and gold blankets pillows and quilts haphazardly dumped in an easy to miss corner of the cave.
"Be it willing or not you know our names, what's yours?" I ask watching him spruce the place up moving a pillow a foot to the left, lifting a crumpled up blanket and haphazardly tossing it a different direction.
"Grinim outcast from the house of Red 13th son to Jax of the crosswind, just Grinim works or if your feeling courteous Master works too though not required." He says smirking at his pile of bedding now somehow more tidy.
"Grinim then." I say clearly not entertaining his delusions of me calling him master.
"Just a gentle reminder the collar was only half the deal. Come over here and kneel." He says gesturing to a pillow a few feet into the "bed" right in front of him.
"And let us not forget our unwilling voyeur." He continues snapping his fingers summoning a much more docile rug wrapped suit of armor.
With a spiteful sigh I follow his directions standing face to face with him, chin up a bit so our eyes meet and without warning that cocky bastard presses his lips to mine, with a finger hooked between the collar and my neck I can't back off far enough to dislodge my face from his. I attempt to push him away but his body feels anchored to the ground and unmoving even with my full effort. I open my mouth to speak around his lips and I'm greeted with a very draconic tongue invading my mouth. A sharp gasp from the sudden invasion is apparently misread as a request for more because before I can react further his hand is now around my neck and his tongue is down my throat and tasting every inch of the inside of my mouth. I try to gasp for air and come up with nothing. The panic mixed with the overpowering helplessness hits me and I can feel my vision fade as the fight leaving my oxygen starved body. When my arms limply hang down on my sides and I feel the drift into darkness he let's go as if he could tell just how far to take me. His tongue retracting just to my mouth as I inhale sharply. Desperate for air he provides me with his own breath. I can taste a flavor similar to smokey caramel. It pennitrates every muscle in my body that was begging for air and now they're on fire with a heat I can not describe. My legs are now goo, my snatch is now drenched and my brain is cloudy.
He breaks the kiss and fully let's go of my throat. I can feel my legs give out and I drop to my knees. My legs spread out I feel the cloth of my pants rubbing a wet spot in them and sending small shocks of electricity along my lower lips as they glide along the soft cotton. I'm nearly panting as I manage to choke out "wh...hat the fuckkk ... was that?!... grinim."
"Just a little something to help you get in the mood, the effects shouldn't be hitting you this harshly." He says with a grin kneeling down to my level "unless you really are a kinky little slut." He continues whispering in my ear. His words grinding against my willpower.
I angirly growl at the comment turning my head to hide the flush on my face. Clearly his words hit with some effect but when he decided to take the opportunity to attack my exposed neck sucking on it and nipping here and there it doesn't take much before I'm a moaning mess practically humping at the air. A quick glance at Josh and I can see his eyes through the grating on his helmet. They are drinking in the sight of me on my knees legs spread and clearly soaked. Getting worked up by his touch. He nipps me again making me throw my head back to let out a low groan from the oral assault on my most likely bruised neck.
"I think that's enough of that" grinim says as he stands up. Now eye level with his crotch I can see it pushing against the leg of his pants. Clearly I'm not the only one getting worked up and with the pants leaving little to the imagination my eyes are focused on every detail of this imprisoned cock begging to be let out with a clearly defined wet spot at the head. So much so I missed him working them loose but when they hit the ground and his cock now free rotates to almost head on where I can see what was causing the wet stain.
"Either suck it yourself or I'll make you suck it" he growled clearly not amused with my mental fondling of his cock. Attempting not to look too eager I grab it by the base and attempt to milk out some fresh precum and sure enough there is a drip that I catch with my tongue before I slowly work the shaft attempting to milk more pre onto my tongue which now rests under the head of his cock with my mouth open.
"I said ..." He stops his sentence mid way before grabbing the back of my head and slamming about half of his shaft into my mouth "if you don't suck I'll ..." He continues holding my head in place. "MAKE you!" He finished forcing the whole thing down my throat. Less than a second later I'm gaging and heaving with tears starting to roll down my face and saliva splattering between his pelvis and my face. Right as I'm about to start resisting he let's off and unsheaths his cock from my throat now glistening with my saliva and his precum a few ropes connecting his head to my mouth as I look down to catch my breath I realize just how fucking wet I am, the spot clearly growing.
"Do I need to direct you further Jenna. Or are you going to suck it yourself?" He says standing over me, even his cock above me.
"Ill..I'll... get it... just give me a sec. To catch my breath ..." I say taking in deep breaths. About 3 breaths in I can smell that toasted caramel again. That cheeky bastard is gonna make me gush from giving him head.
"Alright I'm ready" I say a clear attitude shift as I grab the base of his cock in one hand and rolling his balls in the other. My lips wrapped around the head he can't see it but he sure as shit can feel my tongue rolling around his sensitive head. I work his shaft as I maintain eye contact gauging how much he is fucking loving my new resolve.
He tries to hide how hot I'm making him with my tongue and mouth but my keen eyes tell me he is getting close. With a glance down I could also tell he was about to grab the back of my head and fill my throat with his seed. At this point I'm too fucking hot to care. With a coy smile I stop everything and hold my mouth open refusing to touch him as I can tell he's going over the edge. He didn't put up with this for long and as expected he grabs a fist full of my hair with all the strength he's got and rams his delicious cock right down to the base thrusting over and over as he bottoms out making my nose smash into his pelvis spilling his thick load down my throat making me gag hard as he gives no heed to my entire body heaving and my cunt is squirting through my pants onto the pillow beneath me.
Gods that was hot, my entire body is limp and the only things holding me up right now is Grinim's hard cock and his hands keeping it lodged in my throat. With a few last spurts of cum in the back of my throat his grip softens and I'm collapsed face down on a pillow soaked in a puddle of my own making.
For as much as I teased that girl she held up extremely well to my aromatic influence. For anyone less they would have been gushing and masturbating like a whore giving her patron a show. That being said she did drain me, not something people do all that often and now look at her spasming in a heap just from getting used by my cock. She even squirted. I guess with how much of that aroma I had to use on her she was probably due to get popped.
Pacing around her I can drink in every little detail of this human I've broken not with combat but a good raw fucking. The way she collapsed her ass looks absolutely divine and with a slight adjustment I could probably prop her up.
Hooking my hand around her hip I pull her into a position where her right shoulder and knees hold her beautiful ass in the air and I see a beautiful wet spot on full display for both me and that metal man to see. Starting at her cunt you can see it trailing down her inner thighs leading to the puddle between her knees on the pillow I had her kneel on. I take her other dagger and start ripping her trousers off to give her lower body some fresh air. With her lower lips open to the cool cavern air you can see them glistening with a steady flow of fresh nectar. Being honest with myself I had to taste. I didn't just give those slick lips a small kiss, I made out with them and using a little of my true form I let my tongue taste every sweet inch of that slopping wet hole. I hadn't even noticed how into it I was getting when her body started to tense and I was gifted with a fresh spray as she came a second time.
With a retraction of my tongue I wiped what had gotten on my chin. "Look at how much you've fallen Jenna. From trying to kill me to squirting on my face, such a naughty girl." I say accenting that last word with a whip of my hand across her perked up buttocks leaving a gorgeous red handprint on her soft flesh.
"Fuck you grinim." She says hands still gripping my sheets from that orgasm I just gave her.
"Fuck me? Is that really a threat or your attempt at begging?" I ask gripping her hips and grinding my erect cock along the valley of her ass giving her a fair amount of warning that one more sparky remark will get her every inch I have to offer.
"I said. Fuck You." There was clearly a token effort to push me away from her but her hands did little to deter me but instead gave me all the go ahead I needed.
"Well since you insist so much I'll do just that" I say grabbing her wrists behind her back and angling my cock so my head is lined up with her drenched hole. With a moment of pause I let her feel as I slowly push each inch past her slick entrance feeling no resistance save for the vice like pressure around me as I push into her. I hear a low moan come from her as I feel my pelvis push against her soft ass as I bottom out in her.
"Just so you know I'm not going to be gentle about this since you insist on fighting me even now" I growl between my teeth into Jenna's ear letting a twinge of the seduction aroma escape my mouth just to give her a top off of its effects.
"I didnt realize fucking my throat like a hole in a wall was you being gentle" she bit back before making a show of inhaling the scent.
I grin at her display before I start pulling my hips back feeling as her slopping cunt grips at my cock desperately as if I was taking away it's favorite toy. I hear a gasp from her as the head of my cock pulls out and with a small adjustment I begin pushing past the barrier of her tight little ass using her saliva and juices as lubricant. I can watch as the realization washes over her face and her mouth starts to hang open as if a primal moan is caught in her throat.
I start working at a steady pace feeling her tight hole working my cock and adjusting to my size. Clearly a new sensation to her I see she's squirming underneath me but I pay no attention to her weak protest, her body is mine right now and I intend to enjoy every inch of it. I pick up the pace going merciless as my pleasure takes priority over her comfort, besides with the amount of aroma I've pumped in this woman she'd probably get off to anything and everything.
I hear the metal man putting up a fuss again and look over my shoulder to see my sentient rug has removed his helmet and taken to literally gagging him. The adjustment has his waist to lower face covered. His eyes are so angry, I guess I've upset him by claiming his Jenna and I can see with the lack of carpet to hide his crotch he is clearly reacting positively to the show.
"Maybe I've played with you enough." I say pulling my cock out of her worked asshole and letting go of her arms to fall to her sides. Clearly she's been well fucked. I leave her turning to look at this cute face twisted in anger and a small grin creeps into my face.
"What's wrong Josh? Carpet got you gagged?" I ask toying with him a bit. I gesture up asking the carpet to raise him up so his crotch is at eye level. With a close look I can not only confirm his hand on but also that it is bent uncomfortably sideways.
"Would you like me to fix that?" I ask requesting the carpet to leave his face and lower him to eye level. The moment he opens his mouth to respond I give him a deep passionate aroma filled kiss letting my feminine side out.
submitted by DryRun96-2
to u/DryRun96-2 [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 17:50 talkyelm AC Blowing Hot Air
My girlfriend’s 2008 Cooper (not the S or anything) is blowing hot air (around 90 degrees) with the AC on. I tried an AC recharge bottle on it; the gauge read the pressure coming out of the low pressure service valve as 0, so I put some refrigerant in it to get the pressure where it needs to be. I also checked the fuse box and nothing looks blown. Any suggestions for what to check next?
submitted by talkyelm
to MINI [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 17:43 4ShotBot My Roommate is Slenderman Part 24: (Revised)
Part 23: https://www.reddit.com/Viidith22/comments/13o2jsg/my_roommate_is_slenderman_part_23_revised/
Pushed off the left of my desk, I worked on the laptop. I’d gotten through to the data Scott stored on the drive, and while it wasn’t encrypted, it was definitely corrupted. Some of it was in tact, but for the most part, the documents were filled with errors and random text. After scrolling through a few more useless documents, a familiar ache took over my side. I raised my fist then hesitated, taking a deep breath, I relaxed. Standing, I headed to the kitchen to make some food.
I turned on the TV as I heated water for the rice, opting to just throw on cable, happening across a show about a guy that went by the name Earl. I turned back to my stove, throwing a couple pans on the available spots. I opened several cans of veggies, pulled out the mildly expired ground beef, sniffed it, and set to work with a canned stir-fry and rice, topped with some seasoned beef.
“...two unknown wayfarers discovered just outside the city limits…” A news station had caught my attention. The voice was distorted with an audio mixer, but something about it sounded familiar, “...one male, one female, both seemed to be wearing suits at the time of their deaths…” I looked at the tv, two scorched corpses side by side.
“What the hell?” It was staticky, and the quality wavered. For a brief moment, Earl made an appearance through the static, but the news footage overtook it.
“Their IDs are melted along with their wallets and clothing, however, considering there are no missing person reports in the area, I’ve concluded they were from out of town…” I stared as the amateur camera work scanned the area, a small patch of forest within city limits.
“It’s fair to say government officials likely weren’t responsible given the people’s confinement within the walls. However, it’s im–” there was a brief period of static, “...eir intentions were unknown, as for why they’d come here is anyone’s guess.” The camera panned over the bodies again, their height giving me pause.
Heading to the living room, I scanned the ground, eventually finding the card under the TV stand. I looked it over,
“The Remnants of the Crystal Age
“If you need help, give us a call
“But remember, we expect the same help from you”
Flipping it revealed three phone numbers. Ryouka, Jericho, and Kalthrulre. “Was it really them?” I looked back up at the silent screen, static overwhelming the bodies, an actual news station taking over.
“We apologize for the interruption, it seems someone decided to play some kind of prank, and our signal was taken over. To quell any worries, there were no unmarked deaths as of late. Why anyone would pull such a sick joke is anyone’s guess.”
The co-anchor laughed nervously, “Quite a mystery. Let’s get onto the weather now, shall we?” A sizzle came from the kitchen, followed by burning starch and a wave of steam. I dropped the card, rushing to pull the rice off the stove. For a split second, it crossed my mind that the show I’d been watching never continued.
Once I’d gotten back to the laptop, I did find traces of intact information. I made note of all of them, but unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of useful data. I had an address, a few notes about other organizations in town, and my name completely out of context. That last one was in an over 100 page file of nonsense thanks to the corruption.
Not having much else to go on, I took to checking out the address, have a look around, see if anyone was living there, assuming it was a house. Then if the stars, planets, and moon alined, I might actually learn something.
As I zipped my hoodie, I looked to the liquor cabinet above the fridge, craving a bottle. But I turned away, promising myself I’d have one when I had answers.
Having left the chains on my car, it wasn’t much of a pain heading to as bumfuck nowhere as you could get in town. Next to the small amount of forest we had access to, only accompanied by a few other homes, there was a dingey, unkempt crackhouse. There was only one car, but having lived in Salem most my life, I knew a crackden when I saw one.
I parked a couple blocks away. Sighing, I got out of my car and took to walking around the house. All the windows were intact, the backyard was a mess, patches of random objects only obscured by the snowfall stood out in the otherwise flat foliage. Looking closer, it was less of a crackhouse, more of a farm house, just without the space. Sheet metal laid propped against the house and other currently invisible objects, random patches where tools and other metal things lay discarded seemed to melt the snow in their wake.
Strolling around the rest of the house told me nothing about who was actually living there. Despite my better judgement, I went up to the door and knocked, and knocked, and knocked. When I hit the doorbell, a shuffling sounded from the other side.
A familiar voice lifted the mail slot, “Who is it?”
A whiff of stale weed smoke wiggled its way into my nose, making me cringe as I groaned, “No, fucking, way.”
“Oh God.” There was a metal clink as the slot fell into place. Shink, clunk, rattle, rattle, clunk, clunk, shink, rattle.
The door opened leaving me to stagger for just a moment. The overwhelming power of days old mexican food and bong water causing my head to go light for a moment, “How the hell did you find me?”
Once I’d regained my composure, I stared Scott right in the eyes, “You really needa find a way to encrypt your drives.”
“Allow me to rephrase. The fuck do you want?”
He looked around behind me, “You might wanna come in.”
He stepped to his side gesturing for me to enter. I hesitated, making sure he didn’t have any weapons at the ready. When nothing immediately stood out to me, I took a deep breath, trying to focus on my ears like I had when we were kidnapped. A few seconds later, I crossed the doorframe, and braced myself.
Scott took the lead, glanced back at me, then led me to the livingroom. A bong sat along side an open grinder and air tight metal case at the center of a dusty coffee table. He flopped onto the pleather couch in front of it, a cloud of ash puffing up thick enough to rain.
I stood across from him as he packed a bowl. He gestured to me before lighting, “After all that shit, you really are just some fuckin asshole.”
He a blew out a cloud, packing the bowl back down, “You got that right.” As he took another massive toke, I noticed the dark yellow water, and gagged, “So?”
“You know who I am.”
“Yeah, we’ve met–”
I rolled my eyes, ready to put my fist through his mouth, “Really, that’s what you’re going with?”
He paused, setting the bong and lighter down. He twiddled his thumbs for a moment, testing a few facial expressions before resigning to a neutral dead-eyed gaze. He stood with a groan, “Come on.” With a wave, he headed to a new room. It was an office, desk against the back wall, the laptop Darren gave him sitting in the center of it, “You should be able to read them now.”
He turned it on, clicking a few times before hopping out of the seat, “You’re up.”
I sat, keeping the bat in my right hand, one ear out for anything, “This it?” The door shut without a response, looking around, he was gone.
I sighed, swiveling to the screen. My vision seemed to collide in on itself, the image left behind was oversaturated. I dry heaved, clutching my stomache, desperately vacuuming in air. The air around me held a bloody mist as I struggled to face the screen again. A lengthy document, the first page listed every basic aspect of my life like a table of contents. Each word on the screen shocked a different neuron starting it back up like a mini defibrillator. A migraine pulsed from the back of my head, amplified in the front, sending waves of nausea straight to my stomach, making me lightheaded.
When the door opened, I stood, hanging onto the chair stand upright. Just behind my right eye sat a knife, stabbing me any time I moved too suddenly. Eventually balancing myself, I stared at Scott who held a steaming mug, “Sit your ass down. I’m not gonna hurt you.” I collapsed to the chair, rolling back a few inches, “Here, man.” He put the mug on the desk, “It’s ginger turmeric.” The smell of it brought me back a bit, the pain receding just that bit to let me set my hand down.
I took a sip from the mug, my throat warmed, and I sat back in the chair. “What the hell man?” I let out a sigh filled with stale, moist air.
“I think old memories coming back. Never had it happen so I’m not sure.”
I took another swig, “Really?”
He stood there for a moment, hesitating at the thought of turning around, then went through with it.
Taking the hottest gulp of my life, I finished the mug off and turned back to the screen, finally able to read what it held. I drank in the summary of my life, it went down just as hot as the tea, a nail hammered into the back of my head, but I managed. Though as the pain waned, fresh memories made themselves known. Not new, but it was like they’d been vacuum sealed, saved for later. As if the information was compressed into a file, and reading what was on the screen decompressed it. Tears streaked down my face as I remembered Jane, my Jane, and I suddenly pieced the odd experience in Darren’s doorway together. My mind had been fighting to remember ever since… ever since the mushroom incident. A mental exhaustion tried to take over as the pain left me entirely. So I scrolled to the first written page of my life.
Everything dimmed, and suddenly my brain wasn’t decompressing a gigabyte over five minutes, but ten terabytes in seconds. My skull throbbed, fluid sloshed around my brain, my vision went black, and every single memory since I was a baby reformed more vivid than ever, even before the town. Like dropping a match into a puddle of nitro glycerin, my entire body was on fire, the air in my body sucked out until everything stopped.
When I awoke, the room was too bright to see anything, I squeezed my eyes shut. I screamed and could hardly move, “We still have one more, hang in there miss.”
I tried to stop and ask what the hell was going on, but the atmosphere was oppressive, I was weak, and everything was hot and cold and wet. Someone moved me, but my skin was wrong, I couldn’t tell what I was laying on.
“1, 2, 3, push. 1, 2, 3, push. Come on, give me one more of those, we’re almost there.” I heard a woman screaming over me, when suddenly everything stopped. All that could be heard was panting and concerned murmuring. “He’s not crying, someone get a flashlight!” I noticed then that the light wasn’t torturing my eyes anymore. Slowly, I opened them, I was in a hospital, laying in a bassinet. Understanding filled me as I looked around. My mom and dad looked so young, and my twin brother… twin brother?
A suckerpunch came in that moment, the shards of glass finally coming together, just needing the glue, “Is Scott okay?”
A flashlight flicked on, and a nurse made her way out of the room, the doctor observing my brother, “He’s responsive, just not crying. I’m sorry, I’ll have a nurse come to keep you all updated.” The doctor left the room, baby in his arms. My mom cried, the darkness enveloping us before the emergency lights flicked on. It shouldn’t have taken this long. Should it?
We stayed there for a good half hour, in that time I’d been given to my mom. She held me, stroking my head, tears flowing down her cheeks. My dad had tried to get information out of the nurse several times but in the end simply paced around the room.
That was when a man in a suit came in, nothing but emergency lights illuminating him, “His name is Joseph right?” My mom nodded, and the suit nodded to the nurse, “Take care of Joseph for a moment will you? Take him to the infirmary.”
“No! You can’t have him!”
“Miss, please, Joseph is fine, he’ll just be resting.”
My dad sized the suit up, chest puffed up, his serious face on, “What authority do you have to make a call like that?”
The man flashed a badge, one that look almost, but not quite like it said FBI, “We’re inspecting the power outage, we suspect it’s come from somewhere in this hospital. It’s possible this is a terrorist threat. As such, we are securing all the children first. We’re on top of the situation sir, I assure you this will be the safest option for your child.”
The nurse attempted to pull me from my mom a couple more times. By the third, she’d given me up, and I was taken. But as the door shut, a muffled voice made it’s way out, “Unfortunately, Scott didn’t make it–” before he was cut off by the diminishing sound of screaming.
I woke in high alert, thrashing, but I was handcuffed to a medical table. I looked down and saw some of the links were misshapen, almost stretched. I scanned the room, lifting my head as far as it would go before something around my neck tugged me back down. It was mostly barren aside from a rolling table of medical supplies, and a chair with a single person sitting in it.
“You’ve got to be the biggest asshole I’ve ever met.”
He feigned sadness, wiping a crocodile tear from his eye, “I can’t believe you’d treat your own brother so harshly.” His face rose to neutral.”
I looked him in the eyes, a strange sense of calm washing me, pacifying me, “You’ve got more faces than a d6 I swear.” I tried to force a laugh, but it just made me cringe, “God, how do you keep that shit up?”
“I do what’s necessary, I’ve gotta think about myself here.”
I grimaced, “What the hell man? I mean seriously, who the fuck are you really? What’s your game?”
“Eh…” He glanced at the door, then shrugged, turning back to me with a smile that never reached his eyes, “Well, had you joined in with the revolution, you might not be here. Heavy maybe though, vampires are rare, and humans that have turned, even partially, oh well that’s a commodity. So whether or not you being with them would change the minds of the Axons, eh, come to think of it…” He trailed off, “But yeah, everyone in this town wants a piece of you for a different reason, whether they know what you are or not.”
I remembered the guy who spoke in metaphors, my brain tagging something. “What about that news interruption? The voice was distorted, but that was definitely you.”
He threw up a “whoopsie” gesture, then laughed to himself, “Well, guess the jig is up on that one. You can call it… brushing the pond, gotta bring the scum up every so often to keep things interesting.”
“So what’s that? Number three?”
“Four if you count…” His face went blank, “Damn, guess I am a bit soft on you.”
“Eh, you wouldn’t know them, I think they go by the mechanics or something though?”
“Metaphor man?” I mumbled to myself.
“Well I’ll be.” He looked panicked for a moment before the door opened.
The man held a clipboard and wore a white apron over scrubs, the lack of a mask showing the tip of his nose was missing and scarred over, as well as three scars down his bottom lip, giving it separation lines when he smiled, “I am very excited to work with you Joseph.”
Scott walked to him, whispering in the man’s ear.
“Oh, I see. Feel free to check his belongings. If it’s there, make sure it’s taken care of.” My brother left in a hurry, leaving the doctor and I to ourselves. He sat in the rolling chair Scott had been in, rolling over to me and pulling a lamp from behind me over my face, “Hello, my name is Doctor Fräger.” He peeled my eyes open wide, observing them, “I am a crypto anatomist, and I will be giving you a FULL checkup today. It is my understanding that you have been uh…” He let go of my eye lids, pulled down his glasses, and looked down at his clipboard, “Genetically modified through a vampire bite by your wife.” He looked at me with feigned sadness, “I am so very sorry to hear that. Now, before we get started, do you have any unusual pains or discomforts you’d like to discuss with me?”
I looked at him with as much “what the fuck” as I could manage, my emotions coming back to me, “Yeah, these fucking chains!”
He looked down at his clipboard, “I would love to help you, however it says right here that if I were to do that you’d likely rip my throat out. That doesn’t sound pleasant, so I’ll have to leave you with them on. I’m sure you can understand.” He stood, setting the clipboard on a metal table out of sight. Pulling a wooden stick out, he asked me to open my mouth. When I tried to say something, he grabbed my lower jaw, forcing it open with his grip on a couple pressure points, “Very good, now say ‘ahhhhh.’”
I bit down , chopping the stick in half, then spitting it in his face, “Let me go.”
His face dropped for the slightest moment, revealing the dry ice behind his gaze, “But there’s just so much to learn! Now, if you’ll follow me.” He walked to the feet end of the table, dragging me out the door to a few rooms down.
An x-ray welcomed me into the sterile white room, “While we wait on your MRI results, what say you and I have some fun in here. I’ve never gotten a good look at how vampires tick.” He set me up, the x-ray hovering over my right hand, before snapping my thumb, I yelped, but the pain hadn’t been as bad as I expected. I remembered all the broken bones I’d gotten during the bunker. A massive gap in my memory suddenly filled in, clearer than ever, as if the memories were just waiting their turn. I remembered Terry, the way he’d treated me. Somehow, it felt odd, the caring nature he had for my well being, it didn’t feel real.
The doctor hurried behind a wall, and a few moments later let out a, “Fascinating!” that came from somewhere on my left, “I’ll definitely need some blood samples too, so if you don’t mind, once we’re done here we can get you a proper blood panel.” We spent another hour in the x-ray room, enough time to regrow a couple fingers and start on one of my thumbs.
My body vibrated as Fräger shoved me through the door, “How about some grub before we get some of that red nectar of yours. I hear vampires have quite the appetite.”
“Sure.” I dwelt on how everyone had treated me back then. Despite everything Fräger had put me through, it was like I had a shark on my line, but it was only meant for salmon fishing. The thread could snap any moment, and I’d lose whatever revelation was sitting there.
“I must say, you’ve been one of my best patients to date. I’ll be sure they supply you with plenty of nutritious food for your politeness.” As we entered another room, the smell of garlic and onions soothed my mind, “If you want the truth, I wasn’t planning to feed you, I wanted to see what would happen. But we’ll save that for later, sound good?”
“Yeah, sounds great doc.” He smiled.
I was fed two full chicken breasts, a large helping of rice, and a side of grilled vegetables along with a fruit smoothie. Then I was quickly carted into an empty room, the pain in my side already fading.
“Now, before I leave you here, is there anything at all you need?”
“Yeah, a bathroom.”
He laughed, “Please, like we’re going to let a vampire walk around all willy nilly. Once I’m done testing you, we will set up a room just for you. But for now a catheter and a bedpan will have to do. My sincerest apologies we won’t be able to accommodate you a toilet.”
I didn’t respond.
“Alright, enjoy the next few days. I have someone coming in to take care of you in just a moment.”
When he opened the door to leave, I heard a familiar set of footsteps take the doctor’s place. The unsettling relaxation taking me over yet again, “Hope you enjoyed your meal.”
“So what are you, the baby sitter?”
“Depends on how you look at it.” He grabbed my face, sticking things around it before moving down to my chest and so on. By the end, my body was covered in sensors. At some point someone had rolled in a machine that let out a continuous beeping. Leaving nothing but a metronome-like ticking to fill in the gaps.
“I’m tired of beating around the bush, what’re you guys really doing?”
“It’s a study, I figured that was obvious by now.”
“And you’re fine knowing I’m the one they’re putting through all this?”
“You’re still on that?” He blew a raspberry, chuckling to himself, “Yeah, okay, I’m real choked up about it.” He shook his head, rolling his eyes, “You can starve, I don’t mind.”
“Fuckin psychopath.” I muttered, letting out a sigh.
“Pretty sure they call it antisocial personality disorder these days.”
“I don’t hear you denying it.”
“Who said I would? You’re kind of an arrogant asshole you know that? I’m almost excited to see what’s going to happen.” He finished putting the last sensor on, heading to the door, I could him murmuring to himself, “...doesn’t kill this one…” Then, I was alone.
The first day wasn’t too bad, aside from the boredom, beeping, and having to piss and shit myself whenever the occasion arose. The lack of food did start getting to me after those first 24 hours though. I was overly aware of every little thing, the beeping behind me that initially fell into my subconscious became the only thing I could focus on. Every little movement of my body sent a miniscule echo of sound bouncing around my skull. It was around that time the throbbing in my side returned. What started as a mild ache eventually became the only physical sensation I noticed. It became a beacon of sensation that compiled with the beeping to piss me off. Everything was annoying, the way the ceiling looked, the faint buzz from the presumable monitor behind me, the way the ceiling was just barely lit, the fact my toes were just slightly cold, it was all so frustrating.
A craving began to emerge then, the desire to rip someone’s arm off, just cause that pain to someone, then eat it.
Around 36 hours, my attention shifted, every light flicker of light caused me to jump, everything just out of my line of sight was suddenly a person watching me. The tingle in my feet was someone dragging their fingers along them, I wanted to rip their throat out with my teeth. I tried to sleep, but my body was too alert, it wouldn’t allow it.
By day two, I was wide awake, I could feel the difference in time between each beep. It was no longer a sound, but a measurement of time. I could tell, it’d been approximately 173,000 beeps since I was locked in. The pain in my side was fire, I could feel the magma churning in a tiny spot on my right side. It wasn’t just a vague ache anymore, I could feel every nerve fiber that interacted with whatever the pain was coming from. A 3D model had formed in my head, it was like a worm wrapped around my intestine, as thick as a hose and about 6 inches long. With each pulse, I saw the worm grow just that much larger.
By hour 60, my vision had tinted red, the pain wasn’t a part of me anymore, I was pain. I couldn’t think anymore, I just needed food. I felt the chains strain against me, slowly bending as I pulled at them. I screamed and a metallic snap reverberated in the claustrophobic room. I screamed again yanking the other chain off. I tore the chain from under my neck when someone rushed in. He shoved me down, trying to hold me in place, but my body ran on instinct. I sat up with enough force to shove him back, immediately grabbing his wrist, pulling him in, and ripping a chunk out of his forearm.
The man screamed, stumbling back, giving me enough time to rip my legs free and yank out the catheter, a pain that somehow eclipsed all others in that moment. I jumped on the man, ripping chunk after chunk out of him. When he stopped moving, I took a moment to breath, my vision clearing, and my brain easing up on adrenaline. I was able to think again, but despite my desire to cry, my brain wouldn’t allow it.
I stumbled to my feet, wiping the blood from my chin. Then I was on the ground, my head pressed against the linoleum floot. I tried lifting my head, but it was to no avail. The person flipped me onto my stomach, one arm behind my back giving me a chicken wing. I chuckled, the pain throughout my body already subsiding. He had both legs on the backs of my knees, but it took both arms to keep my right in check. So with the left, I grabbed his left arm at the elbow and yanked, it took a few more tries, but when his arm was loose enough, I freed my right, pushing myself as hard as I could, flipping him onto his back.
His cheek bones were sharp, and as each of my fists made their mark, it sent a shrill pain through my knuckles. But as fist met face over and over again, he fell unconscious.
With the pain still agitating my side, I took a few bites from the man. My human and vimpiristic mind at odds, but with each taste of human flesh, my humanity was persuaded just that much more. My body didn’t stop until my mind allowed it, and when I stood, the only sensation that didn’t feel right was my sleep deprivation.
I bolted out of the room, seeing a few doorways in a short hallway with an elevator at the end. I ran for it, but just as I got there to press the button, it opened, revealing two men with pistols waiting for me.
The banging deafened me, forcing me into the elevator. The guy on the right lost his gun as I slammed my fist down on his wrist, snapping it, the guy on my left grabbed me by the back of my neck, shoving me into the metal wall. He put a bullet through my tailbone, sending molten tungsten through every nerve fiber in my body. My vision flashed, then flickered, then went black momentarily.
When I came to, both the men were on the floor, throats ripped out, and I was laying between them, mostly unable to move. I twitched my finger and felt the metal fragments pushing out of my tailbone in slow motion. With each piece of metal, a new wave fried my nerves like thermite. Before I could stand, the elevator door dinged, opening. I pulled myself up with the railing when five prongs dug into my back, like were trying to grab my spine. I was yanked from the railing and thrown into the short hallway, one that looked identical to mine.
I looked over, staggering to my feet, it was a skinwalker, looked like a more traditional one, “God you’re weak, Jacob would mop the floor with you.”
The creature lunged at me, “I’m getting out of here!”
I put up a forearm, unable to dodge. He scraped down to the bone, but couldn’t break it. I grabbed him with my other arm, yanking him down and kneeing him in the face. He staggered, attempting to reorient, but I kicked him in the jaw, knocking him to the floor, jumping on top of him. I punched, my fist crunched into his face like a scarecrow. I kept going until he stopped moving.
I panted as I made my way back into the elevator, taking a few bites from one of the security guards for good measure, and hitting the “ground floor” button. I leaned against the railing, looking down at my arm, which is when I first noticed I was healing faster than usual. It wasn’t quite scabbed over, but the wounds were already about half their initial size. The elevator dinged and I readied for a fight.
After a few seconds, I took my first step out, then another. When I made it into the room, I looked around. Desks, computers, and monitors galore took up most of the room. The chairs were flung about, and nobody was around. Doublechecking my surroundings, I took off through one of the door looking for anything to cover up.
Eventually, I came across a “personal belongings” hall that was really just a bunch of lockers like one you’d find in a school. They all had padlocks, but when I found mine, I yanked a metal snapping bouncing around the hall. Everything I had on me when Scott knocked me out was in there, except my phone. “Better hope you never see me again shitstain.” I muttered, before getting dressed and running to find an exit.
After some searching, I made my way out, revealing I’d been in one of the few abandoned buildings in town. It was an old office complex that I remembered being open when I “moved in” but I couldn’t say for certain, the building looked about a month overdue for a power washing.
It was about a 5 minute jog to my house, and while the snow had melted some, there were still a few inches, and by the look of the clouds, that night it’d be coming down again. When I shut the door behind me, I hoped no one had see the blood and called the cops, but it couldn’t be helped even if they did.
I took the most satisfying shower of my life, it felt like I hadn’t had one in a month, and as I scrubbed myself down, it felt like I was the grill boy scraping gunk into the grease traps. When I slipped on a fresh set of clothes and had a minute to take a breath, the exhaustion took hold. Surprisingly though, it only felt like I’d had a 14 hours shift… after not sleeping for a couple days. Either way, I knew I couldn’t fall asleep in my bed, everything about the town was fucked. I felt like if I fell asleep, I’d be waking up somewhere new and I’d have to escape again, I needed to get somewhere safe, somewhere I knew I could sleep without being captured. That was when the realization struck me, “The revolution.”
Part 25: Coming Soon!
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2023.05.27 16:08 girl_from_the_crypt Stuck on earth and looking for a job: I may have looked too deep into my favorite diner
My deadbeat indie artist roommate sacrificed herself to what’s essentially the god of the seas. I still can’t wrap my head around it. I don’t know what’s more jarring; the fact that she’s gone or the way she disappeared. The beach may be accessible again and there’s no threat of flooding or storm damage anymore, but one of the people I happen to have grown close to is gone and nothing can take my mind off that. Nettie Peterson is taking it even more severely for some reason. I couldn’t tell you why; I suppose they might have been a little closer than I thought, but I never saw them interact all that much. Far be it from me to question her reasons for grieving, of course. I believe I have learned to give her space when she needs it, but I'll be there when she lets me in.
The apartment feels insanely empty now. It’s only been one night, I know, but normally, I’d fall asleep to Kit strumming her guitar until late. I woke up late today and actually knocked on her door to finally get her out of bed, my mind only catching on when ten seconds passed without a response. I have been spending the day running around town trying feverishly to spend my time anywhere
but at home. Nettie doesn’t appreciate my presence in the big house at the moment. She says she wants to be alone. I know by now that that’s something I shouldn’t press her on.
The diner opened its doors to customers again this morning, so I’ve been hanging out there, watching Frankie Preston work. He made a joke about me stalking him, but when I got up to leave, he told me to stay and brought me more coconut water. He’s a very confusing young man. My day took a bit of a turn when Elijah Carter came in. He looked around briefly, then spotted me waving to him and approached. “Hey, Shirley.” He paused, looking at his feet. “Fuck, I don’t really know what to say to you after… Well, after everything. I know about your roommate. Nettie told me over the phone.”
“Come have lunch with me." I gestured at the empty seat across from me.
Eli merely stared at it in confusion.
I cleared my throat. "'Scuse me. Please
come and have lunch with me."
Elijah chuckled dryly, tipping his head back. "Sorry, I'm just… I didn't think you'd wanna talk to me."
"You got stabbed? On a job that I basically talked you into doing? I mean, you had doubts and I convinced you to—"
"The money was the convincing factor," I explained. "I think you know this guilt is irrational."
"Just figured you might be mad."
I rose to my feet, clambering up to stand atop the bench. This raised me to roughly eye level with him, and I used it to ease my arms around him. He stood frozen for a moment, then leaned forward in his tiptoes and placed a hand on my upper back. I felt his chest fall as he uttered a sigh, and he was smiling when he disentangled himself. “So, friends then?”
“Of course. Mary Markov says you saved my life. Thanks for saving my life.”
“Bullshit,” he said softly, rolling his eyes.
“That’s what you did, though. It’s okay, take the credit.”
He let go of an amused breath and moved over to sit down. “So what now, you gonna buy me something to eat?”
I shrugged. “I might as well. I’m honestly very happy to see you right now.”
“I can imagine,” he muttered. “I’m very sorry all of this happened. I know it kinda never helps to say that, but… you know. For what it’s worth. How’s your belly?”
“All better,” I told him, and a brief smile flew over his face before his features darkened again.
“Do you have any idea what we could do about Nettie?” he inquired.
“Not one,” I admitted. “I’ve tried to reach out, but she doesn’t seem to be receptive. I want to help her, of course, but she’s so…”
“Crushed,” Eli completed my sentence.
“Exactly. See, the thing is that we had a talk a little while ago about boundaries and I think I might be overstepping again if I pushed her on this. It’s hazardous territory.” I stared down at the clear liquid in my cup. “I want to wait until I have a safe, low-risk plan worked out to cheer her up. Something with little possibility of failure. Right now, though… I got no clue.”
“That’s sensible. I’m the least affected party here, so I’ll let you know when I come up with something. We’ll get there. Anything to take your
mind off things in the meantime?”
“I really couldn’t say. Everything’s still so strange without her. I know she’s gone, but at the same time, I keep forgetting it—it doesn’t feel
like it. I guess I should try to keep myself busy, but I’m not in the mood for the job hunt right now; I’m just… not.”
“I get that. I’m sorta busy the rest of the week but once things have settled, I’d always be happy to get burgers or whatever.” He paused. “We need other hobbies, you and I. Seems like we only ever eat together.”
I chuckled, about to respond when Frankie materialized beside us. “I got something you could do. If you fancy a wager.”
Elijah jumped in his seat. “Dude, I didn’t even see you coming,” he breathed, palming his throat as he looked the waiter up and down.
Frankie Preston grinned, looking faintly satisfied as he placed a cup of soda in front of the other man. “Most people don’t.”
“You want to make a bet with us?” I repeated.
He shrugged. “If you’re up for it. You know, just for fun.”
Eli raised his brows and mouth-shrugged. “Let’s hear it.”
Frankie had obviously been more excited about the idea than he’d let on, because he let out his tiny trademark gasp and practically threw himself down to sit beside us. “Alright, so there’s this room in the back upstairs. You can see it from the outside, too; it’s the second window on the left. That’s Tom’s office.”
“Tom as in Tom’s Diner
Tom?” Elijah queried.
“Tom as in my boss Tom, exactly. Here’s the thing, I’ve worked here for a year and I have never actually laid eyes on the guy. We’ve talked on the phone before, and sometimes he yells at us through the walls, but we’ve never spoken face-to-face. Rhonda got me this job, she handled basically all organizational matters for me. All I know about Tom, I know from her. And yet, she hasn’t been able to answer most of my questions either.”
“That’s odd,” I remarked.
“Yeah, no kidding. The door to the office is locked at all times, and he never lets anyone in. Not that I know of, at any rate. Now, here’s the really interesting part.” Fran paused, likely for dramatic effect. “I don’t think Tom ever leaves that little room. He always answers when you knock or call out to him, no matter the time of day. I have never ever
seen or heard him go in or out of there. Granted, I haven’t done many other jobs in my lifetime, but I do not think that’s normal.”
“Definitely not,” I agreed, humming when I got an idea. “Say, what did
you do before you started working here? Aside from… toppling shady corporate systems?”
For a moment, he stayed silent, his expression growing darkly amused.
“Wait, are you about to give me another white lie now?” I asked.
“Hm. No. No, I don’t think I will.” He twisted a string of his gum around his fingertip, gaining a disgusted glance from Elijah Carter. “How bad do you wanna know?”
“I’m curious about every aspect of your being.”
He snorted. “Well then. I used to be a stripper, Sunshine.”
Eli audibly choked on his drink. I didn’t really know what to say, my brain having suddenly emptied. Frankie smiled widely, slapping the tabletop with his palm before rising to his feet. “Enough of that. Anyways, fifty bucks for—or in the event of your failure from—each of you says you can’t figure out what the hell’s going on up in that office.” He checked his wristwatch. “And I want results before I get off work, so you’ve got five hours.”
Eli and I exchanged pondering glances. I gave him a slight nod and he grinned, reaching up to shake the waiter’s hand. “You’re on, Blondie.”
Frankie disappeared in the back and Elijah and I started contemplating how to go about this newfound assignment. After getting something to eat, we went around the back of the building. Behind it was the same small alley with the trash containers and the bench where Frankie sometimes takes his break. The door to the diner was shut, allowing us to move around unseen. I tipped my head back to glance up the wall, locating the window the waiter had mentioned. From down here, we couldn't see inside.
"You ready for some climbing?" Eli asked.
"I don't think that's possible. That's a pretty high, flat wall. I wouldn't know what to hold onto."
"Oh shush, give me a second." He grabbed onto the handles of one of the containers, trying to push it only to find that the little wheels it stood on wouldn't move. He began to kick at them, fumbling for a moment, before finally letting out a pleased grunt when the large object gave in and lurched forward. He shoved it up against the wall and locked it in place. With one swift motion, he swung himself on top of it, and I briefly marveled at his physicality. I grabbed the hand he extended to me and allowed myself to be hoisted up.
The container was wobbly and I found myself concerned it would give in beneath our weight, but to my surprise, it remained steady. Elijah flattened his back to the wall, then bent his knees, squatting slightly. He gave me an expectant look and patted his thigh. I nodded, first climbing up his leg, then placing my feet on his shoulders, holding onto his outstretched hand for balance. This boosted me to the same height as the window.
"Is this good?" Eli asked, not sounding particularly strained at all. "What do you see?"
I frowned. "Truth be told, nothing much."
The inside of the room was lying in total darkness. All I could see was a faint light coming from a computer screen in the corner and my own reflection staring back at me from the windowpane. Then, somewhere in the shadows, I thought I saw something move.
"Wait," I told Eli, excitement lacing my tone. "Maybe…" Something compelled me to place my palms against the frame. My heart jolted when it gave way. It was open. Before I knew it, my weight shifted off Eli's shoulders and my upper body was hanging in the dimly-lit room. My midriff hurt intensely, the pressure of the sill digging into exactly the line of scar tissue that was still left of the knife attack. Reacting thoughtlessly, I wriggled myself further into the dark space. I let out a pitiful wine when I hit the floor, the impact nearly knocking the air out of my body.
"Shirley," Elijah hissed outside. "What happened? Are you okay?"
I wasn't sure how to answer that. I groaned some affirmative sounds as I straightened up, brushing down my shirt and leggings. I felt it immediately. There was something sticky on the spots that had made contact with the floor. My knees and chest were positively coated in it. Feeling my stomach turn in disgust, I turned and raised my hands into the relative light of the computer screen. When I laid eyes on the substance that webbed my palms, I gagged. It had the same look and consistency of bloody snot, that slimy fluid the human nose and throat often emit during illness. It formed slick strings between my fingers, and I couldn't help but stare at it in shock, frozen for a moment or two.
That's when I realized that I was sinking
. It felt as though I had stepped in mud that took a second before softening beneath my feet. I felt a soft pressure around my feet and ankles, like I had waded into morass and the heavy sludge was swirling around me. I hastily wiped my stained hand on a clean spot on my shirt and began fumbling for my phone. Soon, the beam of its flashlight cut through the darkness, and it was all that I could do to keep from screaming.
The floor beneath me was covered in a semi-solid material which I identified in utter terror to be flesh
. Human flesh, if the pink-ish skin shielding it in places was any indicator. Other spots were red, raw and veiny, oozing a number of unnameable fluids. The whole office was pumping, pulsing; a living thing. The walls, the ceiling, every nook and cranny wore a thick meaty coat. Above it all hung the stale, coppery smell of blood. Frantically glancing about myself, I tripped and backed up against the edge of the desk. As if in response to my movements, the long, brown hairs on the larger patches of skin stood on end. I thought I could see gooseflesh forming on the wall across from me. What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck…
It's not often that my mind blanks out like that, but as I was standing in that living, moving room, surrounded by shifting masses of flesh and muscle, I flew into a panic. My mouth had gone bone-dry; my lungs were tight and refused to draw breath. Having lost the ability to form coherent thoughts, I was almost surprised to feel my tentacles unfurling from my back. Before I could take another step, the floor abruptly shifted beneath me. The spot I had been standing in warped into an outward dent, a mount that threw me off my feet and sent me sprawling on the ground. My entire front flattened against the warm floor, the nauseating stench and far too familiar texture causing vomit to rise in my throat. I somehow managed to maintain a death grip on my phone. I pushed myself back up with all limbs available, retreating into the direction of the window.
I tore it open with one tentacle and used the rest to safely lower myself to the ground outside. Finally breathing fresh air again, I greedily sucked it in, nearly beginning to hyperventilate in the process. Dots and colors danced before my inner eye and my skin felt hot to the point of ignition. I absently took note of Elijah's soothing yet decidedly confused voice beside my ear.
"Shirley? What the hell… Are you okay? Are you hurt?"
"No," I pressed out. It was hard to speak against the lump in my throat. "I-I'm fine. I think I'm fine."
I allowed him to pull me to my feet and guide me over to the bench. I sank down on it as my legs gave in beneath me. My heart was still hammering against my ribcage. I was half expecting it to break out.
"Hang on, I'll go get that little blond freak…"
I tipped my head back, still breathing heavily, and closed my eyes. The bright sun was shining down on me, its light warming my shivering form. My tentacles slowly withdrew into the skin between my shoulderblades. At last, my face stopped burning when I felt a hand grasp my own.
"Someone's earned her fifty bucks." Frankie's angelic voice cut through my stupor and I weakly turned my head to face him, cracking an eye open.
"I hate you," I whispered. "I hate you so much it hurts."
He grinned. "You think it's smart to take that tone with the man who brings you food?"
Elijah plopped down on my other side. "Would you please enlighten me as to what happened up there?" He sounded done.
"It's a living room."
"You mean, like, there's a TV in there?" Eli asked lamely.
"No. It's a living
room. That office is… there was a computer and a desk but the rest was just flesh
." My voice briefly faltered as I tried to explain what I had seen. "I think… I think I was inside
My statement was met with silence. Finally, Elijah Carter heaved a sigh. "I'm not even gonna question this shit anymore. Pay up, Bubbles. I need a nap."
Money switched hands and Elijah excused himself, leaving Frankie and me to ourselves. He regarded me with both amusement and pity, eventually dragging me along inside into the diner's bathroom so I could get cleaned up. I furiously scrubbed and wiped at my face under the cold water spewing from the faucet. The server brought me a set of his own fresh clothes which he apparently always keeps at his workplace in case of a spill. I asked him whether he'd be willing to burn my old ones, to laughter.
"No, but I'll throw them in the trash for you later," he promised. His jeans were too long for me, and he knelt to roll up the bottom of the pant legs so I wouldn't trip over them.
"It's nothing. I gotta say, I feel kinda guilty for getting you up to this in the first place," he confessed.
"I don't mind. This situation is kind of concerning, though, isn't it? Your boss."
"Suppose so, but as long as I get paid and he stays in those four walls, I don't think I'll mind. Anyways, I greatly appreciate you satiating my curiosity." He rose to his feet and started rolling up my sleeves. "You always do exactly what I ask."
"Our interests align."
"Nah. I bet you'd rise to any
wager I'd ever suggest. I think you'd do it for my sake."
I don't know what possessed me at that moment. I didn't even think about kissing him; I just leaned in.
Frankie yelped like a startled puppy and dodged out of the way, eyes wide. I instantly shrank back. "I'm sorry," I stammered.
"Are you?" He regarded me with stern eyes. "I hope not."
He grunted. "What you were gonna do there, I… uh. Oh, Christ, now you've gone and made me all stupid. You're pretty amazing. I feel like I ought to say that more often. Listen, you were going to kiss me and you may and I want that. A lot. But I'm a bit jumpy sometimes. I know I spoiled the moment. Let's pretend this never happened and when we next see each other, I'll be expecting it. And then I won't make chew toy sounds, okay?"
"Okay," he repeated softly, smiling as he gathered up my clothes and turned to leave.
That was that. I'm still very curious about Tom's Diner, but for the time being, I'm simply glad for the distraction, however brief it might have been. Now that I'm back home, though, everything's so clear again. Kit Sutton is gone. And I can't stop thinking about her. X 1 2: deadbeat roommate 3: creepy crush 4: relocation 5: beach concert 6: First date 7: Temp work 8: roommate talk 9: a dismal worldview 10: warehouse 11: staircase 12: explanation 13: hurt 14: hospital 15: ocean
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2023.05.27 13:54 IliacatJoke I am in my 30s, make $95,000, live in Sydney, work in IT and this week I paid my Obstetrician
Apologies this is late, I completely lost track of the date/time difference!
Disclaimer: I am very grateful to have had a lot of parental assistance over the years and also have serious mental health diagnosis, both of these flavour my money choices heavily (e.g. private healthcare and lack of car loan/insurance)
I am also heavily pregnant so please excuse any baby brain related errors!
Retirement Balance: $62,000
Equity: $35k of a $680k property, we bought our 3 bedroom apartment last year using my parents’ equity, so no deposit was required.
Savings account balance: 20k - a lot of health/baby related costs have come out of it lately!
Credit card debt (and how you accumulated it): $800 which I pay off each monthly pay, if it wasn’t for the grocery rebates I’d consider getting rid of it.
Student loan debt (HECS): BA in passion/fun area, then IT/Accounting degree, very proud to say I am down to my final $19k!
My husband P earns around $90,000 in healthcare but can be more with overtime, he has around $30k in super and his HECS debt is due to be wiped out following our recent election so won’t be including that.
Section Two: Income
Income Progression: I had been working in retail full time after loving full time work instead of uni, until my transition to IT so started as a retail casual worker on $30k 10 years ago and changed to IT 6 years ago, jumping from $55k to $95k in that time, mostly through promotions, 1 company merger and 2 company changes.
Main Job Monthly Take Home: I am paid $5200 monthly and P is paid fortnightly at $2400 to $3000 depending on his shifts. Both our pay excludes tax, HECS payment and medicare levy, his pay includes salary packaging.
Section Three: Expenses
Mortgage: 3150 (locked rate until next year, pending interest rise)
Savings contribution: $500
Donations: $25-75 a month mostly to various MH organisations
Electric/Council/Water: 400 (we’re currently overpaying ahead of Mat leave)
Internet/our mobile phones: $320 (we’re currently overpaying ahead of Mat leave)
Subscriptions (Newspapers (NYT, SMH), Youtube, Xbox, online backups/cloud, VPN, pregnancy app, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Bitlocker, UberOne, Spotify Duo): $110
Private Health insurance: $420 for Top CoveTop Extras + pregnancy
Car insurance: covered in my parents plan, our car was a gift from my parents
Regular therapy: Psychologist $220/fortnight and psychiatrist $280/quarter
Transfer to P for things like fuel: $500
7 Day Money diary:
I’m staring at the ceiling while the baby kicks my kidney, P snoring next to me, contemplating my existence. I’m trying not to start ‘the list’ run through in my head (buy milk, have I booked my next blood test, where is my winter coat, etc).
Give up on sleep and get up for the day, I make a weak coffee for me and a regular coffee for P (I like the taste of coffee, weak lets me have 2-3 cups throughout the day without hitting my pregnant caffeine limit) and start packing up my lunch and bags for work. It’s OB day so I won’t be in the office until 10am today.
After a dance party in the car we’re at the OB, all good news and another list of final scans and tests, we’re now in the downhill run! I pay for my last half of (private) OB management fee since we’re passed 28 weeks now. ($2500 (Medicare rebate soon: $580))
Stop at a bakery to treat myself before work, danishes are the breakfast of champions! ($12.00)
Last vendor meeting of the day, and i’m ready to take a nap. I’ve decided to spend the rest of the afternoon working on my handover document, I’ve only got 8 weeks to go before Mat leave!
Text my psych to convert our Saturday afternoon to a Zoom call, I’m not up for extra waddling to the train this week.
Spend the train ride home working on my crackhead baby spreadsheet (colour-coded, multi tabbed, shopping list, meal prep list, etc) and researching baby items.
P meets me at the station to grab my bags and we walk home, well he walks ahead and I move at a more stately pace.
Crawl into bed with a bowl of pasta and Ambulance UK on the iPad, kitten at my feet, older cat at my hip. Eventually P awkwardly maneuvers around blankets, my pregnancy pillow and cats.
Spontaneously adding to my online chemist wishlist of things I need for post birth and hospital bag. Cats and P grumble when I once again get up to pee, pregnancy feels so glamorous now.
Total: 2512.00 (pending MR)
Wander around the apartment with coffee in hand and contemplate the nursery layout options, I’ll measure it all tonight and make a floor plan so I can visualise it better. After boarding the train, I scroll through my due date Bump Group on Discord and catch up on the topics, many of the mum’s are NA based so the chat pops off 12am - 4am my time. I message a few friends and my bestie spams me with tiktoks. We tell a few dark MH jokes and I try not to laugh on the train.
Arrive at the office, coffee number 2 in hand and I jump into a few Teams chats with various groups, including my manager and counterparts in another city’s office. They’re in a different time zone ahead of us so they flag any issues that started earlier our time and I’m grateful.
Where the hell did today go? I’ve barely left my desk and can’t believe the amount of firefighting I’ve been doing today, following up vendors, coordinating fallback solutions for outages, soothing ruffled feathers and talking team off the ledge in stressful situations.
I’ve definitely not eaten enough today and decide to place an ubereats order instead of raiding my mini fridge stash - Subway it is! ($18.97)
I spend my lunch break reading my latest pregnancy/birth book (The Complete Australian Guide to Pregnancy and Birth) and it’s honestly my favourite one I’ve read so far. I’m also a big fan of the podcast the authors run. I have queued up this week’s episode for the trip home as the mum featured has a similar mental health issue to me and I’m excited to hear her journey, also to get ideas for things to raise with my care team.
Security protocols kick us out of the office building and I am thrilled to escape! P picks me up from work since he’s off today, and my hips and feet are very grateful. There’s a quick stop in at Coles for pizza ingredients, milk and the very essential choc chip waffles. ($46.94)
Once we’re home P feeds the cats and unpacks while I get started on the bases, my birthday present last month was a KitchenAid and at the rate I’m going the cost per use is coming out pretty damn good! I leave the base to rise, pop my feet up and do my nightly blood pressure (127/82) which I log into my health app. I also add my weight from yesterday’s OB appointment and I'm thrilled to say I’ve stopped losing weight now the suspected HG has finally settled.
Take several brag photos of my pizzas #homemade and settled in front of the TV with blankets, footrest and P. I do send P back to the kitchen twice for serviettes and my water bottle, but once I’m settled, I’m not bloody moving.
I queue up the latest Top Chef (International All Stars Season 20) on Plex and get ready to support my fellow Aussie! P grumbles about my fixation with Top Chef, but all he gets is side eye in response. It’s a great episode for creativity, he even admits the winning dish is impressive. He vanishes the second the episode’s over for his office and a rewatch of the extended, super, mega, special edition of The Hobbit. I move on to Ambulance UK and annoy him over text with questions about the medical terminology being used.
Bedtime with a heat pack as my back is killing me! I try to convince P to come to bed and hold it against me since bubs is not allowing stomach laying anymore.
Success! P is helpfully holding it against me while I finish the episode and scroll the Iconic. Oh no! There’s now Stanley cups on there, I add it to my wishlist and promise myself I’ll think about it first. I want to also be a chic put together Stanley cup girlie!
Back scrolling the Iconic and on a hunch check my credits (after rage returning maternity clothes a few weeks ago) and bingo there’s a credit there. I play around with wishlist items and stacking discounts, there’s a pale pink theme developing between the pink pregnancy overalls and the Stanley cup.
Screw it, I’m ordering (10 points if you can guess what room of the apartment I made this order from) and it’s all due this afternoon except the pregnancy belt I've been grumbling about wanting. ($14.95)
P brings me coffee, the kitten and the statement that he’s approved our Medicare Safety Net balance (he’s our primary family member) which means the rest of our refunds will be great going forward!! I’m very excited for 90% back on out of pocket costs for most medical things from now until December. Between my mental health and pregnancy I’ve beaten my normal record of September for the max you can pay OOP.
I’m sitting on the floor in the nursery trying to sort out piles of tiny clothes and remember to get P to help me off the floor before he heads to work. I head to the kitchen and start the bread process, I make our bread from scratch every weekend and the KitchenAid has made this sooo much easier. I decide one x1 wholemeal seed bread for P and x1 rosemary focaccia for me. Once they’re rising I head off to bed for a nap before therapy this afternoon.
I made myself some tea and washed my face to prepare for therapy as I woke up from my nap feeling like I was on another planet. I head into my office, no no now the nursery, damn I slightly tear up at the thought of my nice office now being a small desk in the corner. Well that can be another topic for my session today!
My psych and I go over all of the last 3 weeks worth of appointments with my health team and what my next steps are. I need to sort out my postpartum stay referral and lock in when I’m starting my top up meds. We talk through some of my work frustrations (not clear cut sexism but a level of obliviousness some of male managers are showing) and how I’m tracking mood/symptoms wise across the pregnancy. We’re both very aware that the final few weeks of pregnancy and the accompanying hormones can cause serious issues, so we go over warning signs and coping mechanisms. We go over the difference between ‘normal pregnancy feelings’ and my mental health condition feelings.($220)
Session done and my bread has all risen nicely despite the cold weather, I start the baking process and contemplate dinner. P is at work until 10pm so I’m on my own, which means all the Top Chef reruns and Ambulance UK my heart desires! I have a craving for spätzl so dig that out of the cupboard and defrost the schnitzel.
Iconic delivery!! I am officially a Stanley cup owner! I ordered the original, not the soft matte because Tiktok told me to, so I’m hoping I’ve made the right choice. Something about cold water through a straw just hits the spot. My glittery Starbucks cup looks on in disgust.
P finds me at my desk working on my spreadsheet of crazy, I mean baby, and is impressed but also too tired to focus on it now. I hear him calmly explain to the kitten that he can’t join him in the shower but he isn’t entirely successful.
We get into bed and P puts headphones in so I can drift off faster (or because I threatened more Ambulance UK? We’ll never know!).
Total: $234.95 (pending MR)
And I’m up early again, my passenger is apparently an early riser these days which leads to me looking down and asking for more sleep “pleeeeease!” I try 37 positions and try to get comfy before finally drifting off again.
I steal P’s dressing gown (mine’s now got an awkward gap due to the bump) and start the coffee process, the kitten joins me after finding a piece of plastic to pinball around the kitchen with, I am not coordinated enough these days to dodge him so I remove him and plastic to the living room.
I’m craving an egg muffin so I cook some sausages, eggs and toast english muffins and enjoy a mindless tiktok scroll while I eat.
I’m surprisingly tired after doing nothing all morning and head back to bed for a nap. I really hope the tiredness isn’t a sign my illness from last week is back! I’ve got a support group meeting in a few hours so I set an alarm.
I join the support group Zoom and immediately hear about how many people are sick or recovering from some flu or cold thing. There’s a lot of bugs going around at the moment! I meet some new people who have the same disorder or same ‘family’ of disorders as me and I update the group on my pregnancy journey. I really bond with 2 of the new ladies and I offer my email up to both to keep in touch before next week’s meeting.
I’m happily browsing Facebook Marketplace for baby things when Mum calls, she’s been shopping for baby (uh oh) and is excited to tell me about it. Amazingly she’s bought a bedside bassinet very similar to the one I was planning on buying secondhand and a safari themed lamp for the nursery. She’s also ended up with a high chair for their house on the coast and a bunch of themed fabric for swaddles, pillows, etc.
Total: 0.00 thanks Mum!
I wake with my alarm for once, which would be odd except for how awful I feel. I end up deciding to call in sick, the flu thing that knocked me around until early last week appears to be back. Pregnancy means lots of cold/flu meds etc are not an option so I can’t soldier on. I alert my manager, set my team up with urgent tasks, chuck my OOO on and crawl back into bed.
A few things debit like SMH and Youtube (accounted for in monthly expenses above)
I open my phone to a flurry of emails on my personal account, OH! It’s healthcare cover day! We have finished all our waiting periods and the beacons are lit! Let the floodgates of services and information begin! Our hospital and health fund both email to welcome me to their online learning platforms.
A nice lady from our health fund calls to give me the spiel. I'd normally be wary about what all these amazing services are going to cost, but it’s all covered! She tells me about the learning platform (Nourish), the sleep clinic calls I’ll get after the baby's arrival and the welcome pack I’m going to be mailed. I get my login details as soon as we hangup, another fun thing to explore tonight once I’m feeling human again.
P is amused by how excited I am for all this information, he does caution me against over planning/over researching which is something I’ve been working on with my psych. I struggle to find a good balance between planning for problems and over planning to the point of stress. It’s a work in progress. I suspect I’ll always have issues with control/over planning.
I’ve napped most of the day, dealt with 1 urgent work issue and am now getting access to the hospital’s learning platform (Cradle). I'm grateful they’re short 5-7 minute long videos so put some on the iPad while I make tea and toast before deciding to tackle the nursery again.
Mum calls about more baby things - they’ve bought me a change table!? I’m slightly annoyed then I’m thrilled - it’s a brand I like that’s normally $400 ish for $30 at auction yesterday (a Sunday afternoon family hobby). They've just collected it, they’re going to sand and paint it for me in a nice green for the safari nursery. Another thing ticked off the baby spreadsheet.
Dinner tonight was heated up leftovers, I’m too tired for cooking.
Hmm blood pressure is high, I hope this is just sickness related and log it in my app.
Bed time! Despite sleeping all day I am exhausted and pass out almost immediately.
Total: 0.00 thanks again Mum!
I’m in the office however I cannot tell you what I’ve done today, it’s all a blur and when I sit down with my ipad to make notes for this money diary my brain goes blank. I scroll through my sent emails and can see I’ve sent 26 emails (herding a difficult vendor, setting up meetings for later in the week, submitting my sick leave for yesterday and setting up a new starter orientation). I make another coffee and realise the mini fridge hasn’t been restocked (because I am the one that stocks it each week sigh). I jump online and do a grocery order - yogurt, cheese, salami, tomato paste, sliced bread, babybel cheese, apples and several juices) (52.00) it’s due in next 2 hours.
I make myself toasted sandwiches and try not to eat the entire packet of babybel. My work lunch group tells hilarious stories from their level of the office and it’s a nice escape from my level’s workload.
I send off my psychiatrist's referral for my private postpartum care stay (1-3 weeks long) and check it’s all covered with my health care fund (it is!). The private place I’ll be staying at calls me to check in, advise me of next steps and to give me my tentative booking date of 1 week after birth. I’ve got a spare 20 mins so do my intake assessment with them over the phone and get the all clear to be accepted in a few weeks. I’ll get another assessment 2-4 days after I give birth just to make sure I’m still a good candidate. I look over the welcome pack, what to bring lists and advice on partner overnight stays that all hit my email when I hang up. I forward the relevant bits to P and jump back into work.
An afternoon of meetings meant I did no deep/focus work or work on my handover, but I accept that and move on. I top up my Opal card for the week (50.00) via the app and it’s loaded by the time I’m tapping on the train. I’d normally account for this in the expenses up top but my train trips are very sporadic right now due to pregnancy waddle, so I’ve been carpooling with coworkers and P has been collecting me if his shifts line up along with the occasional UbeShebah.
I’m pinged regarding a site issue and it looks like the site is down. I jump on via my phone and iPad while on the train, I also start my time tracker for out of hours work. I scrap the conference call between my team and the vendor at 6pm and instruct the site to rollover to fallback mode, my team member gets them online again. I email my manager a quick update and switch back to tiktok scrolling. I’m really enjoying not having to fight for a seat most train trips now since I’m so visibly pregnant!
P meets me at the station again, is horrified that I’m dragging 3 books, several cups to wash, my coat (I overheated on the train) and my iPad around in multiple bags, he snatches it all and we start the walk home.
He’s made bolognese and it is the best smell to walk into after a cold day! I smother mine in cheese and prop my feet up to depuff. Then I puppy dog eyes at him and he agrees to Ambulance UK, we’re now in the London seasons and I’m loving the big city vibes. He still cringes at the medical sounds, but takes the time to explain how these patients would be treated at his hospital after their ambulance trips. I enjoy his commentary and it adds a background I would never normally know about.
I take my blood pressure and it’s high for the 2nd night, I’m a bit concerned but trying not to stress. It’s not 160/100 aka get your butt to ED but it’s still over normal. I log it in my health app and make a note to monitor it and call the OB if it’s up again tomorrow.
I message a friend about his opinion of epidurals (since he does them all day) and ask for the dumbed down reality check, he’s been an amazing support this pregnancy so I know he’ll give me a great answer, and he replies back with all the pros/cons as well as the common issues and how they get fixed. He reminds me to ask my OB since I’ve got pregnancy hypertension, it’s likely I would almost benefit from that common side effect and I make a note in my phone to ask at the next appointment.
Coffee, kitten pats, older cat snuggles and then a small cry because I forgot to wash my preferred pregnancy leggings. I thankfully remember I’ve got an onsite vendor meeting today so don’t dress like a potato! I still wear Stan Smith’s but a cute knit dress and scarf up top so I look presentable. I bathe in embryolisse cream after washing my face (fun pregnancy fact - you can develop dry skin patches that make you look like a lizard!) and actually put some makeup on (Charlotte Tilbury base, YSL touche elcat, innisfree powder, lancome mascara and CT blush) followed by Replica’s By the Fireplace perfume. Ready for battle!
On the train scrolling through the morning reports, I’m relieved to see all systems are reporting green after a few small hiccups yesterday. I move onto discord and catch up the overnight conversations in bump group.
Quick catchup with my team and then I spend the morning preparing for the big cross time zone/country catch up with all IT team leads also updating my WIP tracker. I obviously then forget to save it and rage stomp off to the kitchen to make conciliation coffee.
I rage shop for KitchenAid accessories but don’t actually buy anything and my manager comforts me over teams.
I’m wrapping up in person site meetings to see a bunch of messages from P, he’s grocery shopping and querying baby wipe brands. (One of the best tips I got was to buy a pack of nappies and wipes each grocery trip to build your stockpile so it’s not such a shock, since newborns go through 10 nappies a day!). I reply but I’m a bit late and he finishes in Aldi, Coles and the butchers for the next fortnight (389.23). I’m getting very over this cost of living price increase on basic things like milk. He’s a smart shopper so I know that he didn’t overdo it.
I’ve taken my blood pressure a few times today and it keeps coming back high. I ring the OB’s office and book in for tomorrow morning (spoiler: my blood pressure meds are increased and I’m asked to check in with my pregnancy nephrologist sooner)
What the hell is this debit? Oh it’s the meal delivery service I forgot to suspend this week, guess we’re going to be a bit overstocked on food this week. I’m just going to class this as idiot/baby brain tax. (69.95)
P collects me and I have a small cry in the carpark, he’s had the baby capsule installed and driven to collect me with it so I can see it. Things are starting to feel very real now! I practice removing it and carrying it up to the apartment when we get home.
Leftover bolognese for dinner and we do separate screen time. I head to my computer after a bit to review my spreadsheet, since P has smashed out a bunch of things today in Baby Bunting. Nappy bin, capsule + install and baby bath are all ticked off! I get the receipts off our emails to log the costs (375.16)
Mexican bowls for dinner and we decide to try out the new RPA reboot that’s recently come back to TV (from the 90s!). I honestly hate every minute of it, the talking heads are really cringe and after the gritty realism of Ambulance UK (and Nurses Down Under) I can’t cope with it. We switch over to Ambulance UK after 1 episode and discuss deleting the rest. I was also really disappointed by how “doctor focussed” it was to the point where the nurses and allied health professionals (physios, ambos, etc) were cut out of certain shots, but you could still see their hands or shoes, that’s just not reality in Australian healthcare they’re the people patients see 90% of the time! Okay getting off my soapbox now.
I start my out of hours tracker and handle an issue for a site 3 hours behind me, in the end the onsite team and I get our part done, one of the vendors does not. We decide to tackle it tomorrow and a flick off a complaint to our account manage regarding this vendor rep. I notice a few of my counterparts are all in a teams call in their timezone and realise they must be cutting over a new system since it’s so late their time. I make a note to not bother them first thing tomorrow since they’ll likely all be start late.
Yep blood pressure is still high, so I’m glad I’ve got the appointment booked for the first thing tomorrow. P takes it for me twice just in case I’m doing something wrong with the cuff but unfortunately it’s still high. I’ve finished my new pregnancy book and I would recommend it to any Aussie mums or dads to be out there, P even flicks through it.
Why are both cats trying to sit on me? Oh we forgot to feed them! I sort them out and all is well again in their world.
My glorious bed calls me to me and I bundle myself up in the blankets, scroll through tiktok and happy cry at birth videos.
Weekly Total: $3749.20
Food + Drink: 589.09
Fun / Entertainment: 0.00
Home + Health: 2720.00
Clothes + Beauty: 14.95
Other (Baby): 375.16
Besides the health care costs, this is a pretty normal week for me! I’m obviously thrilled to hit the Medicare max as this makes things so much easier with health care costs. I feel really relieved to know all my future costs are being covered by private health or what isn't is at a higher rebate now. Seeing my hospital estimate last week (before private health covers 95%) was really confronting and made me briefly reconsider my choice to go private, but the things that are now covered by health fund are amazing and worth nearly $30k over the first 3 months of the baby's life (especially if we end up needing special care nursery).
I’m pretty impressed about how many wtf and ffs I say in real life that I’ve removed from this diary. I find the Aussie approach to swearing can be a bit relaxed haha, so I did my best for you guys!
The impact of the baby brain is very real, aside from mental blanks at work, I had to check things like my subscriptions and ask P a few times, since so much of it is bpay and auto-debit, I don’t pay attention to it! There’s a few charges we have always had historically like tolls and ubereats that we’ve cut way back over the past few months.
I'm also considering a "what it costs to have a private baby in Aus" as well as a follow up in a few months once I've settled into Maternity Leave life (minimum wage, not my current salary) because tracking was fascinating and I'm a data hoarder.
Happy to answer any questions in the comments if I've explained something poorly.
submitted by IliacatJoke
to MoneyDiariesACTIVE [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 13:11 nfurnoh Tyre pressure sensor question. Just had my wheels refurbished, 3 sensors working fine, one showing 10 or so psi less.
Checked the pressure with an external gauge and all are in the 38 to 40 psi range but the sensor on one is showing 30 with the rest being correct. What are my options?
submitted by nfurnoh
to Vauxhall [link] [comments]