Carolina skiff j16 front deck
Our boy turned 5 today! Celebrated by howling from the back deck at someone out front that he couldn’t see
2023.06.01 11:40 007Pistolero Our boy turned 5 today! Celebrated by howling from the back deck at someone out front that he couldn’t see
2023.06.01 11:02 BallKey7607 Is it weird to deliberately spell your name wrong on cards to avoid embarrassing the other person?
When I was we had an old lady that lived in the house down the stairs (she didn't have dementia or anything) and I used to get awkward when we went to visit her because my mum would always remind us that when we see her we have to pretend her name is (I'm going to change the names for privacy but it was too the same effect as this) Carolina instead of Caroline. She said that when they first moved in she introduced herself as Caroline but the old lady just kept calling her Carolina. She said she tried to correct her at first but she just kept calling her it. Apparently my mum even got my dad to call her Caroline in front of the lady to try and drop a hint but nothing changed. So eventually we just all had to pretend that was her name when we went downstairs to visit her. It felt really weird to me and my mum would even sign Christmas cards etc as "from Carolina" even though that isn't her name.
I was just thinking about it and it semeed weird to me, what do you think?
submitted by BallKey7607
to NoStupidQuestions [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 10:06 UndocumentedSailor General questions regarding items.
What is the consensus on who gets items?
Like, Leonhardt, as a tank, has a lot of HP, so should he get the armor? Or should one of my DPS that are on the front line and die easily get it (like Mel)?
And same with bow, should my fast character get it and be super fast, or a slow character so he can be more on par with the others?
I'm not asking specifically for my deck, just in general. And if there are any specific exceptions.
submitted by UndocumentedSailor
to KingGodCastle [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 09:53 Odd_Goose6979 WIBTAH if I finally go NC and walk away from a 20 year friendship? And how? How do I walk away without it breaking me?
Please bare with me, first time poster, this was the hardest thing I ever had to write, I‘ve been bawling while writing it and I’ve been physically sick at the thought of following through with this.
I (f32) am wondering if I would be the AH for this. I have a ‘friend’, a girl I met back when I was 12 turning 13. She was honestly the best. We clicked, she was my soul mate friend - you know that ride or die girl that you think is gonna be there forever. I’ve been there for all of her kids over the last 16 years, done everything from pay for this that and the other, make sure her kids had Xmas and birthdays to house her and children when her partner and BD decided he was a big tough drug dealer and turned into a DV POS and ended up doing time for drug charges and DV charges.
I’ve let her run up credit in my name, sent her $$ left right and Centre whenever she asked, deck her and kids out in new wardrobes, even if they are my hand me downs (I’ve gone from a size 20 something to a size 6 in the last 4 years due to an eating disorder - I was buying clothes, fitting them for anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months and then had to buy new ones, nothing they were ever given was just target and Kmart clothing - not that there’s anything wrong with them, it’s for context).
Now I know it’s her choice that she went back and I know it’s her choice she stayed - you cannot help someone who wants to continue enabling someone’s behaviour for fear of being alone - I know this. I myself have had a DV relationship - I know how bad it can get and in a story twist, it was this girls mum that gave me the strength to leave mine.
Three years ago though, I was banned by him from contacting or having anything to do with her, after calling the police on this POS after he started his DV shit in a supposed drug induced psychosis (I say supposed cos this guy is your typical narcissistic, manipulative POS, smashes up houses and is physical in front of his kids, but when caught out cries that he’s got this that and the other wrong with him).
Since then she sits on the sidelines of my life, (makes multiple fake fb accounts to add me, has joined all public groups from my fb, multiple accounts on Insta and snap etc., - I’ve recently been told that this is classed as stalking but I have no idea), but she let’s me have contact with her children (I love her children like they are my own, always have and I always will), but only contacts me on the off chance I have a rant on fb or is sending me pointless snaps of pointless stuff.
Late last year I finally, after 8 years of trying with my partner, and the previous 4.5 years of trying before that with an ex, I gave birth to my son after receiving medical assistance to do so. All I have ever asked of her is 5 minutes to meet my son. 5 minutes, to just meet my little and probably only miracle. I don’t expect or want anything else, just some time. After he was 6 weeks old I travelled back to my home town so my mum could help out - I told this girl multiple times, but as usual, I was ghosted but allowed to spend time with one of her kids.
She goes down towards where I live with others and lets me know, yet when I ask to catch up, again I’m ghosted for days. I ranted on fb about how not one person I’ve helped out with kids (cos she isn’t the only one I’ve been an absolute sucker and idiot for years and for multiple people) has bothered to give me, my partner or son 5 minutes of their time and I get a sob story from her, but then snaps and snap stories about her bestie and all this other stuff.
At present I’m currently back in my home town and am staying for longer than intended as I need the break and after losing half my family in the last few years, I’m treasuring the time with my mum. I sent her a msg before coming up letting her know and if her sob story was true she would make an effort. I got messages and we were conversing like old times on the first day I was up here - ever since been ghosted but can send me pointless snaps.
I know in my gut I’m a convenient option for her now. I know deep down she doesn’t care and I am now rethinking our entire 20 year friendship. Did I mean anything at all? I know if I go NC I will eventually feel better one day. I 1000% know this. I also know that maybe letting her go means I might be able to one day make other friends. But the thought of walking away from her completely and absolutely guts me.
I know I’ll lose contact to her kids and that guts me even more. I know with DV, people don’t leave until they are ready and they need support when they do. But what am I supposed to do? Sit around for another 20 years waiting for her to realise that I don’t deserve what she is doing to me? My partner tells me it’s not worth it anymore and he is over seeing me crying all the time because of her. My mum says I don’t deserve the way I’m treated. The two of friends I do have are disgusted in the way she treats me but I just don’t know if I’d be the AH for letting go.
submitted by Odd_Goose6979
to AITAH [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 09:01 bobasianking Need Advice on Anki Decks
I'm currently learning N3 grammar using Bunproand have been making a pre-made Anki deck for vocabulary since the beginning of my learning journey and I have just come to realize that it wasn't very efficient. I've been on and off but lately have been adding new vocabulary as I encounter new material through videos or native material. For example, some words come from Japanese subtitles of K-Dramas and they're probably not very common but I add them anyway because I believe that I'll use them in the future. Should I continue doing this or begin using premade decks? My card format is really simple with the vocabulary in front and the english definition and it's furigana below the translation. I personally enjoy this method and it's been helpful, but I think it's very inefficient and I want to spend my time better. Furthermore, I'm trying to better my listening so I've been looking at premade decks with audio as well. I've been learning for a year on and off but want to efficiently study this summer. I don't want to give up on my deck that I have already made which is approaching 1000 words, but I also don't want to waste time either. Any thoughts?
submitted by bobasianking
to LearnJapanese [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 06:45 RetroDECK_Official RetroDECK - Status Update 2023-06
| || | submitted by RetroDECK_Official to RetroDeck [link] [comments]
We in the team thought we could give you a quick status update on how development is going. Status update 2023-06:
With 0.7b and summer just around the corner we in the team thought this month we should focus more on a mix of topics.
Read First – Important Changes in 0.7b!
- PCSX2-SA latest updates are not compatible with old save states. Please make sure you do an in-game save to your virtual memory card before upgrading.
- The following emulators have changed as the defaults and now run the stand-alone version: Dolphin, Citra, PPSSPP.If you have saves states or just want to go back to the RetroArch versions, you can always switch back by pressing: Other Settings – Alternative Emulators in the main interface and set them there.
- If you decide to install the new RetroDECK Controller Layout for the Steam Deck, it will wipe your custom configurations and emulator settings. That’s because all the configs need to be updated and changed to be compatible. The choice is yours (you can always install it later via the Configurator if you change your mind).
What are the upsides of RetroDECKs all-in-one approach?
Quite many actually!
- RetroDECK is updated via standard secure update channels where you update all your other software (we will have an internal updater added in RetroDECK in 0.7b, so users don’t even need to go to the Discover app to update if they don’t want to).
- It allows us to apply the RetroDECK Framework on the bundled software and apply custom made specific patches for emulators or ES-DE (more on that later).
- We can optimize the data to take as little space as we possibly could. Our whole application in 0.7b is around 3GB. Since we are using a single package, we can avoid a lot (but not all) of the overlap that takes up space when installing multiple AppImages or Flatpacks.
- We can expose various hidden/hard to find emulation features and allow the users to customize various experiences directly inside the application itself without needing to go into the Steam Deck’s desktop environment.
- We are leveraging the power of compiling these emulators ourselves (where possible) to make a more complete unified experience a reality with custom patches.
What are the downsides of this approach?
- You are bound to the software we ship inside our application and cannot add more things. But we are always open to suggestions on what to add next, just tell us on Github or Discord.
- That said we are experimenting with allowing users to import certain emulators early access versions like Yuzu (but no solution in the short term).
- Emulator updates need to be in point releases and not daily, since we can’t update emulators inside an existing flatpak. As we apply the RetroDECK Framework on top of the emulators, we sometimes need to do some tinkering before we can release a new version. But you can expect semi-frequent emulator-update point releases, historically we have been fast if we feel the need to get something out quickly. Major new updates that add features to the RetroDECK application itself will take more time.
- There has been some issues with Yuzu in the past, but we have redone our entire Yuzu pipeline for 0.7b s it should allow for faster updates.
What is RetroDECK's vision and design philosophy?
- Valve endorsed the use of flatpaks as their preferred and safe way to distribute software on SteamOS’s immutable system. Many other immutable systems like Fedora Silverblue/Kionite and standard Linux distributions have also endorsed flatpaks. We also share the vision that flatpaks are the future for the Linux desktop and Linux based devices.
- Everything must be accessible from inside the application itself where possible. Once you launch RetroDECK, you should have all the tools you need to play games and configure the application. For the Steam Deck that means minimizing switching to desktop mode.
- We need to build a foundation that pushes emulation forward and expose more of the niche hardcore features in an easier way.
- We shall not be so bound by design choices that others have made but make our own path.
- We should ship the emulators with optimized settings for Steam Deck (later other devices) but also allow the users full control to create their own configs and make it easy to do so.
- We should do our best to respect user-made config changes where possible, even during the updates. Any forced changes should always be explained and give the users a prompt to accept them.
- We believe in a transparent open community: Dialog , user feedback and testing development versions will never be locked behind paywalls or subscription tiers . This comes from deep rooted beliefs in open-source freedom. Subscriptions and donations will always only grant cosmetics like a unique discord color.
- We want to make the emulation available for everyone; from the casual to the power user. Keep it simple, everything in one application and download it like any other software. Only one thing to update.
- Prioritize security and keep everything contained as much as possible.
How does this vision effect design?
A good example is the new exposure of mods and texture_packs under the retrodeck folder.
Before it was quite hard for users to add mods and texture packs into the emulators. No work for any other solution (that we are aware off) has been done to make this very hardcore thing more easy to handle.
For the user it means no more looking into hidden folders of when and where to put the files. Our new approach also has received the blessing of famous texture packs and mod pack creators out there that were happy that someone lowered the barrier.
So if you found it hard before to add:
- A magnificent texture pack for Citra
- A spooky HD pack for the Mesen Core
- New 3D polygon racing models for Mupen64Plus-Next Core
Just look our wiki under mods/texture packs and look forward to 0.7b. https://github.com/XargonWan/RetroDECK/wiki
Another example is (as others have done) move gamelists to under the retrodeck folder. This is a safer way of doing it and it's easier for the users to take backups.
What to expect in the future?
You can expect most of the standard stuff like that you can except from an emulation solution in the future:
- USB and FTP file transfer
- External controller management
- Lightgun support
- Most of the supported ES-DE emulators
- Automatic Updates from Gamemode on Launch (0.7b it can be disabled in the Configurator)
- And more...
What is the RetroDECK Framework?
This is the feature we have been building on since the beginning and the true hidden core of RetroDECK that we are unveiling for the first time today. It’s the foundation we have built over many months of hard work and will keep expanding on in every upcoming update.
The RetroDECK framework is a complete system that applies and adds features, fixes, structure and functions to all applications/data shipped within RetroDECK.
This is also one of the reasons we needed to restructure save file folders in the past updates as well.
What does the RetroDECK Framework allow you to do?
It allows us to ship deeper choices, customization, apply settings globally, create custom patches or functions and expose hidden settings to the front.
But what truly excites us in the team is the more advanced big features that we have not seen anyone else do on SteamOS or other operative systems.
Some light examples in 0.7b of the framework is:
- Move everything everywhere.
Please be careful when moving data to exotic locations don't be like Mr.Angry:
Thank you Mr.Angry for your input!
- Log in/logout/hardcore mode for RetroAchivements hardcore mode for all supported emulators.
- Apply Borders, Shaders and Widescreen mode per emulator / core or globally.
RetroDECK will offer full user choice and not a blanket all or nothing. You could have widescreen on one core while the others have borders. What are some advanced big examples that you could do with the Framework?
Here is one example:
Think about configurations for emulators. How most other solutions are handling changes or updates is just a blanket call all-or-nothing. Either you accept the changes and remove everything you have done or keep your changes without getting the updates.
What we are building with the framework is a system to inject point changes into configurations.
So instead of doing the crude way others are doing:
Force replace in config.xml old with new config.xml yes or no?
What our goal is and what we are building:
Be able to open a config.xml inject the changed values across all those configs.
If an emulator updates and adds more config options, we can just add them without losing the rest of the user data.
So we can compare changes between the new config.xml and the old, then inject the changes. But if a emulator totally change how their configuration works and makes a whole new system from scratch (it does not happen often or at all) even we will be out of luck.
So we hope in the future to be able to save even more custom configs even with the emulator updates. We also hope to make configuring emulators easier... more on that in a future development update after the summer.
Another big example:
If you read the recent article, we in the RetroDECK team are happy to unveil the RetroDECK: Multiuser Mode. This is only the first one of the big features we have planned for future updates and stands as an example of the complicated features we can accomplish. There is even more crazy stuff in development for the future big releases then this, so consider this a taste of things to come. It will not be ready for 0.7b but can be enabled with CLI commands for testing.
See the following Q&A:
RetroDECK: Multiuser Mode Q&A
First read here: https://github.com/XargonWan/RetroDECK/wiki/How-can-I-help-with-testing%3F
This is for testing only in 0.7b!
What does Multiuser Mode mean?
It creates a new directory structure retrodeck/multi-user-data/ and allows multiple users to use RetroDECK from one device.
Wait... what.. how?! What about saves?! Configurations?! Custom settings?!
They are all saved per user if you enable it. You, your sister, brother, child, husband, wife, dog, cat could all have their separate saves, states and custom emulator settings just for themselves when they select their own profile.
Does it support the Steam Deck’s multiple users in Game Mode? Will RetroDECK hook those Steam Users into the enabled Multiuser system?
Yes, that is the intent and should work, so you can log into your Steam Deck profile and have your RetroDECK saves/configs.
What about a Linux Desktop PC that don't have Steam installed?
We also support locally created “RetroDECK Users” so, for those Linux Desktop users in the future that don’t use Steam and just want RetroDECK on their device.
What happens if I disable multiuser mode?
You chose one profile as the primary user and the other data still exists under retrodeck/multi-user-data/. No data is lost until you delete it manually.
What happens if I re-enable multiuser mode?
If you have had multiuser mode enabled and disable it, then re-enable it and have not deleted any retrodeck/multi-user-data/ everything should work as it did before.
Will there be an easy way transfeexport/import a user profile, like press a button and my can export to my profile (saves, configurations, with/without roms) to my friend's device on something like a USB or other media?
Not for 0.7b but hopefully for the next major update 0.8b.
Other things What does Amazing Aozora mean?
Aozora is Japanese and means blue sky.
So, you could interpret the name as one team member:
“Amazing blue skies... The first update that shows the exiting new horizon and the path we are heading towards.”
Or as another:
“Aozora is just a tiny Japanese banks name! This is clearly just an update to pay some of our dept to the community off! Stop with that horizon nonsense mumbo jumbo!”
What are some examples I can help out with with?
- Create new pixel art for the Radial menus.
- Create easter egg art for the new easter egg system for various holidays.
- Create menu art for a new Configurator.
- Create input art that can be shown when you start a game.
- Create input art guides for the wiki for the Steam Deck and later various controllers.
- Create patch note videos.
- Create instruction videos.
- Help us make RetroDECK better.
- Help us put in new features.
- Help us make the configurator a godot application with full controller support.
- Help us get releases out faster.
- Help us make RetroDECK better.
- Help us test cooker builds and submit bugs and feedback.
- Help us make RetroDECK better.
- Be kind and follow the rules.
- Spread the word of RetroDECK if you like it, if you don't like it or have suggestions put them on github into issues or discuss them on discord.
- Engage with the rest of the community.
- Help us make RetroDECK better.
As the summer period arrives there will be a holiday break on these kind of development posts until after the summer. Some parts of the team is also going on vacation, you can still except semi regular emulator updates and bug fixes as usual in 0.7.X releases (but no major 0.8b - Bonsai Banana version in the middle of the summer!).
We hope you are excited about these features and our vision as we are and we want to get 0.7b out to you as quickly as possible (hopefully next week).
We also wish everyone a happy and good summer!
//The RetroDECK Team
2023.06.01 06:28 SwissCheese4Collagen The Nostrils McBeardsley Power Hour-Part 2: Rimmy J Gets A Fresh Hit of Youth HE IS HERE! (Official Birth Vlog)
| || | submitted by SwissCheese4Collagen to SnarkyRecapsBySwiss [link] [comments]
Alright y'all, Actually Gunner has arrived and now begins the parade of family members to see the baby. When we last left OfNostrils, Actually Gunner had been born and placed on top of his mother. Actually Gunner gets wiped off, weighed, and wrapped up in a blanket to be passed around to his father, siblings, aunts and grandparents. This reboot of A Baby Story suuuuucks. Getting his stats Now I want to watch Monty Python to see what we do with witches... Austina's here to take control, Giddy-Up is here to name the baby
Nostrils The Next Generation arrive to welcome their newest member to the ranks, Giddy-Up climbs into his mother's lap as Austina climbs up on the bed to take possession of her new buddy. I mean it, she immediately grabbed hold of the baby, refuse to let go and didn't quiet down until she was holding him on her own. once Giddy-Up is securely on his mother's lap, and Actually Gunner securely on his sister mom's lap they asked, again
, what they wanted to name the baby. Giddy-Up has changed his vote to David, Austina doesn't have an option for the name, she's just happy to finally be holding her brother. Giddy-Up thinks he's got his spot back on OfNostrils' lap. \"Do I want to hold the baby, what a stupid question...\"- Austina \"I'm not squeezing, I'm holding him tightly\"- Austina OfGrandNostrils gets her updated phone background
Rimmy J appears, walks in with three bags from tropical smoothie Café, leans towards OfNostrils for a semi-hug type thing, then bares his teeth towards his grandchildren. Austina is excited for food, Grandmother Nostrils rocks Actually Gunner. Rimmy J is handed his 30th grandchild, and holds him like he's some crusty Fundie White Walker going to sacrifice the poor thing on an altar of ice. Rimmy J states that when Ra! appears she will be the 16th granddaughter, to apparently break the tie between the 30 grandchildren. Meech comes over, looking like a prequel era Macbeth witch. Rimmy J guesses that he weighed 7lbs 11 oz, so he's way off. They are amazed that he is sucking on his fingers and thumb, like they haven't had 19 children, and now 30 grandchildren. I guess they'll never learn how to actually handle or pay attention to babies. He had to bring food or no one would have been happy to see him. \"Wow\" is the sound his brain makes when he stops that creepy chuckle. Guess the kid looks like Giddy-Up/Nostrils... He must hold the baby just right so he can get the maximum hit of youth. Breaking News, baby sucks thumb...more at 11 Hansel juggles, The Tontitown Gruesome Twosome shotgun some youth to each other.
J 16 finally gets to put down the camera and hold the baby, "her first full birth experience". Of course Meech hovers, covers, corrects something and shuffles off. Is Baby Orson going to be the new Rosemary's Baby????
Now we have some weird culty newborn dedication of Actually Gunner, who the captions call baby Orson, as he is held by Meech while both headships hover over their sacred vessel helpmeets. the baby seems to be perfectly healthy so I'm not sure why they have to have a dedication service in the hospital. Nostrils is punch-drunk Or maybe actually drunk if they got a bottle of $4 champagne with their New Parent meal.
OfNostrils feels great after this baby she's up walking around, discussing names. Nostrils says they can name him "Cannon because of the camera 4.2 x 15" and...do they think they will get a new camera if they name him Cannon? Honestly I think if I had to pick I would pick Cannon over Gunner. Is Austina a Snarker???????? It's her baby, thank you. OfNostrils is just a live-in surrogate as far as Austina is concerned. Austina settles in to begin her reign as Official Sister Mom. OfNostrils goes to wash off the hospital and take advantage of Meech for once.
Back to the McBeardsley cabin, where Nostrils The Next Generationis waiting with Meech and J16. Giddy-Up and Austina jump up off the chairs and dance in place when their and alerts them that their parents and brother have returned home. J 16 asks them if they know his name. Austina says Bowman, that they should name him Bowman. J 16 has them sit back in their chairs, as Austina insists on pushing the stroller in the front door. Nostrils makes her wash her hands as she demands to hold her buddy. OfNostrils says they're going to tell the name once he sat on Austina's lap. Apparently they tell them because she doesn't tell us, it's too important to show off the stuffed lion pacifier all three of the children have used. OfNostrils goes take a shower since Meech is staying to help this evening. We will see what she has for us next week.
That's all for Actually Gunner's birthday, and now we wait for the documentary. Catch you guys later!!
2023.06.01 06:00 Analypiss Respect Juggernaut! (Marvel, 616)
This won’t hurt me! Nothing can! ♫Theme
Cain Marko was the son of nuclear scientist Kurt Marko, who worked in Alamogordo, New Mexico with Brian Xavier. After Brian died in a lab accident, Kurt married Brian’s widow Sharon for her family’s money, resulting in Cain becoming the stepbrother of the Xavier’s son Charles, the eventual founder of the X-Men. Kurt proved to be an abusive father to both Cain and Charles, which combined with Cain’s jealousy over his brother’s telepathy, fostered a lasting resentment between the two of them. After Kurt died saving them from another lab accident, Charles and Cain would end up serving with the army together in Korea. During their service, Cain would stumble across a cave that had a temple dedicated to the powerful mystic being known as Cyttorak. Touching a crimson gem at the heart of the temple, Cain was transformed into Cyttorak’s avatar on Earth, an unstoppable human Juggernaut. Shortly after, the cave collapsed, with Xavier barely managing to escape. Years later Cain would dig his way out and seek revenge on Charles for the perceived slights he had inflicted upon him. In doing so, Cain would come into conflict with the X-Men, Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Doctor Strange, and many other superheroes before eventually burying the hatchet with his brother. However, despite joining the X-Men and later Thunderbolts, Cain would return to being a villain each time. Throughout his life and various goals and motivations, only one constant has remained for Cain Marko. No matter the obstacle, he will never stop.
This respect thread is abridged due to Juggernaut’s large number of appearances. A full version is available on the Juggernaut Mega Respect Thread, with links to the unabridged sections posted where appropriate.
Key and explanation of periods where Juggernaut was stronger or weaker than normal
Lifting, pushing, pulling, throwing, grip, etc.
Durability w/ Force Field/Armor
Durability w/o Force Field/Armor
Endurance and Regeneration
Kuurth Once upon a time, there was a man. A man who got everything he wanted. In the end it wasn’t enough. In truth, it could never be enough. No amount of power could change who he was. It could never quench his thirst for power. He was now and forever the Juggernaut. And he would never stop.
submitted by Analypiss
to respectthreads [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 05:42 Guilty_Chemistry9337 Hide Behind the Cypress Tree, pt. 2
They didn’t tell us the name of the next kid that disappeared. They didn’t tell us another kid had disappeared at all. We could all tell by the silence what had happened. It spoke volumes. I’m sure they talked about it in great detail amongst themselves. In PTA meetings and City Councils. My parents made sure to turn off the TV at 5 o’clock before the news came on, at least in my home. They’d turn it back on for the 11 o’clock news, when were were in bed and couldn’t hear the details.
The strange thing is, they never told us to just stop going outside. They told us to go in groups, sure, but they never decided, or as far as I could tell even though, to keep us all indoors. I guess that sort of freedom wasn’t something they were willing to give up. Instead, they did the neighborhood watch thing. For those few months, I remember my folks meeting more of our neighbors than in all the time previously, or since. Retirees would spend their days out in their front lawns, watching kids and everybody else coming and going. They’d even set up lawn furniture, with umbrellas, even all through the rains of spring. Cops stopped sitting in ambushes on the highways waiting for speeders and instead started patrolling the streets, chatting with us as we’d pass by. Weekends would see all the adults out in their yards, working on cars in the driveways, fixing the gutters, and so on. They had this weird way of looking at you as you’d ride by. Not hostile stares, but it was like they were cataloging your presence. Boy, eight years old, red raincoat silver bike, about 11:30 in the morning, heading south on Sorensen. Seemed fine.
The next time we saw it, it wasn’t in our neighborhood, and I was the one who saw it first. We were visiting Russ, a sort of 5th semi-friend from school. We rarely hung out, mostly owing to geography. His house wasn’t far as the crow flies, but it was up a steep hill. We spent a Saturday afternoon returning a cache of comic books we’d borrowed. The distance we covered was substantial, as we had decided to take lots of extra streets as switchbacks, rather than slowly push our bikes up the too-steep hills.
The descent was going to be the highlight of the trip, up until I saw the Hidebehind. We were on a curving road, a steep forested bluff on one side. The uphill slope was mostly ivy-covered raised foundations for the neighborhood’s houses. That side of the road was lined with parked cars, and the residents of the homes had to ascend steep staircases to get to their front doors.
I was ayt the back of the pack when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Movement, something brown squatting between two closely parked cars. My head snapped as I zoomed past, and despite not getting a good look, I knew it was that terrible thing. “It’s behind us!” I shouted and started pedaling hard. The others looked for themselves as I quickly rushed past them, but they soon joined my pace.
Ralph’s earlier idea of directly confronting the thing was set aside. We were moving too fast, and down too narrow a street to turn around. Then we saw it again it was to our left, off-road, between the trees. Suddenly it leaped from behind one tree trunk to the next and disappeared again. That hardly made sense, the base of the trees must have been thirty feet below the deck of the street we rode down. One of us, I think it was India, let out one of those strangled screams.
There it was again, back on the right, disappearing behind a mailbox as we approached. That couldn’t have been, it must have outpaced us and crossed in front of us. Logic would suggest there was more than one, but somehow the four of us knew it was the same thing. More impossible still, the pole holding up the mailbox was too thin, maybe two inches in diameter, yet that thing had disappeared behind it, like a Warner Bros. cartoon character. It was just enough to catch a better glimpse of it though. All brown. A head seemingly too bulbous and large for its body. Its limbs were thin but far longer, like a gibbon’s. Only a gibbon had normal elbows and knees. This thing bent its joints all wrong like it wasn’t part of the natural order. We were all terrified to wit’s end.
“The trail!” Ralph shouted, and the other three of us knew exactly what he meant. The top of it was only just around the curve. It was a dirt footpath for pedestrians ascending and descending South Hill, cutting through the woods on our left. It was too steep for cars, and to be honest, too steep for bikes. We’d played on it before, challenging each other to see how high up they could go, then descend back down without using our brakes. A short paved cul-de-sac at the bottom was enough space to stop before running into a cross street.
Ralph had held the previous group record, having climbed three-quarters of the way before starting his mad drop. India’s best was just short of that, I had only dared about halfway up, Ben only a third. This time, with certain death on our heels, the trail seemed the only way out. Nothing could have outrun a kid on a bike flying down that hill.
We followed Ralph’s lead, swinging to the right gutter of the street, then hanging a fast wide left up onto the curb, over a patch of gravel, between two boulders set up as bollards, lest a car driver mistake the entrance for a driveway, and then, like a roller coaster cresting the first hill, the bottom fell out.
It was the most overwhelming sensation of motion I’ve ever had, before or since. I suppose the danger behind us was the big reason, and being absolutely certain that only our speed was keeping us alive. I remember thinking it was like the speeder bike scene from Return of the Jedi, also a recent movie from the time. Only this was real. I didn’t just see the trees flashing past it, I could hear the motion as well. Cold air attacked my eyes and long streamers of tears rushed over my cheeks and the drops flew past my ears, I didn’t dare blink. Each little stone my tires struck threatened to up-end me and end it all. Yet, and perhaps worse, half the time it felt like I wasn’t in contact with the ground at all. I was going so fast that those same small stones were sending me an inch or two into the air, and the arc of the flights so closely matched the slope that by the time I contacted the trail again, I was significantly further down the hill.
At the same time, I had never felt more relief, as the thing behind us had no way of catching us now. Somehow, maybe the seriousness of the escape gave us both the motive and the seriousness to keep ourselves under control. Looking back, I marvel that at least one of us didn’t lose control and end up splitting our skulls open.
We hit the pavement of the cul-de-sac below, and didn’t bother to slow down. We raced through the cross-street, one angry driver screeching to a halt and laying on his horn. This brought out the neighborhood watch. Just a few of them at first. Still, we didn’t slow down, our momentum carried us back up the much shallower slope of our neighborhood. Witnesses saw us depart at high speed, and this only brought out more of the watch. We heard whistles behind us, just like our P.E. teacher’s whistle. We figured that was the watch’s alarm siren. Regardless of what happened to that thing, it was behind us. We returned to our homes, shaken, but safe and sound, our inertia taking us almost all of the way there.
Another kid disappeared that Sunday, up on South Hill. We’d suspected it because we could see the lights of the police cars on a high road, surrounding the spot where it would turn out later, one of the kid’s shoes had been found. Russ confirmed it at school on Monday. It was a kid he’d known, lived down the road from his place, went to private school which is why we didn’t recognize his name.
I remember seeing Ralph’s face the next day when he arrived at school. He looked angry. Strong. Like he’d been crying really hard, and now it was over and he was resolved. He said he’d felt guilty because the thing we’d escaped from had gotten the other kid instead. He tried to tell his old man about it, then his mom, then any adult he could. He’d tell them about the monster who hides behind things. They needed to focus on finding and stopping that instead of looking for some sort of creeper or serial killer. Of course, nobody had listened to him. They hadn’t listened to the rest of us either when we’d tried to tell.
So he’d devised a plan. He was calling it the “Fight Patrol,” which we didn’t argue with. If the adults wouldn’t do something, we would. We’d patrol our neighborhood on our bikes, the four of us, maybe a couple more if we could talk others into it. We’d chase it off like that first time, maybe for good, or maybe corner it. Clearly, it could not handle being caught.
Naturally, we brought up the scare on South Hill. He argued that was a bad place. Too isolated, couldn’t turn around easily. We needed to stay on our home turf, lots of visibility, and plenty of the Neighborhood Watch within earshot. Maybe we and the adults working together was the key, even if the adults didn’t understand the problem.
Well, that convinced us. Our first patrol was that afternoon, after school. We watched everybody’s back like hawks. Nothing had a chance to sneak up on us. Nothing could step out from behind a bush without getting spotted. By Friday afternoon there were eight of us. The next week we split up to extend our territory to the next neighborhoods over.
Nothing happened. We never saw anything. Ben thought it was because we were scaring it away. Ralph just thought we were failing, and took it personally. I myself thought the thing had just moved to different parts of town, where the new disappearances were taking place. I told him we should keep it up until the thing was caught.
It was all for naught.
One day, India didn’t show up for school. I asked everybody, the teachers, the office staff, the custodian, my parents. All of them said they didn’t know, and it was so easy to tell that they were lying. That would mark the end of the Fight Patrol.
Ben didn’t show up a couple of days after that. When I got home and collapsed into bed, my mother came in to tell me that Ben’s mother had called. She’d taken him out of school and they were moving elsewhere. I called up Ralph to let him know the news, and he was relieved too.
My last day was Friday, and then I was taken out. Again, I called Ralph so he wouldn’t worry. I guess when there were only two weeks left of school, and it was just grade school, a couple missed weeks don’t amount to much. So I ended up spending the bulk of the summer out in the country, with my grandparents, which was why I brought up my grandpa in the first place.
I suppose I did fine out on their farmhouse. I was safe. There was certainly no shortage of things for a kid to do. I think my mom felt a strong sense of relief too. Things slipped through the cracks.
My grandparents didn’t have cable, too far out of town. They just had an old-school antenna and got a couple of TV stations transmitting out of Canada, Vancouver specifically. I remember one July day, sitting in their living room. My grandmother had just fixed lunch for me and my grandfather and had gone out to do some gardening as we watched the news at noon.
My grandfather was already being ravaged by his illnesses. He was able to get around, but couldn’t do any real labor anymore. He’d lounge in front of the TV in a special lounge chair. He hardly talked, and when he did he’d just mumble some discomfort or complaint to my grandma.
The lead story on the news was the current situation in Farmingham, despite being in the neighboring country, it was still big news in Vancouver, and the whole rest of the region. It seemed the disappearances were declining, but the police were still frantically searching for a supposed serial killer. I didn’t pick up much about what they were talking about, I was a kid after all, but my grandfather was watching intently, despite his infirmity.
He mumbled something, I didn’t catch. I asked him was he said, and as I approached I heard him say “fearsome critters.”
He turned his eyes to me and said again, distinct and in a normal tone of voice, “fearsome critters,” then returned his attention to the screen. “I don’t know why they call them that. Fearsome, sure. But ‘critters?” Makes it sound silly. Like it's some sort of fairy tale that it ain’t. Guess it’s like whistling past the graveyard. Well, they don’t have to worry about them no more, guess they can call them what they like.”
Then he turned to me. “Do you know what it is?” he asked. “Squonk? Hodag? Gouger? Hidebehind?”
“Hidebehind,” I whispered, and he turned back to the TV with a sneer. I had no idea what on earth he was talking about. Remember, this would be years before I learned he spent his youth as a lumberjack. And yet, somehow, I knew exactly what we were talking about.
“Hidebehind,” he repeated. “That will do it. They give them such stupid names. The folk back East, that is. Wisconsin. Minnesota. Ohio. Way back in the old days, before my grandfather would have been your age. Back when those places were covered by forests. They didn’t give them silly names back then, no. Back then they were something to worry about. Then they moved on, though. They all went out West, to here, followed the loggers. So as once they didn’t have to worry about them anymore, they started making up silly stories, silly names. “Fearsome critters,” they’d call them. Just tall tales to tell the greenhorns and scare them out of their britches. Then they’d make them even sillier, and tell the stories to little kids to spook them.”
“Not out here they didn’t tell no stories nor make up any names. It was bad enough they followed us out. I had no clue they even existed until I saw one for myself. Bout your age, I suppose. Maybe a little older. Nobody ever talks about them. Not even when they take apart a work crew, one by one. They just pull the crews back. Wait till mid-summer when the land is dry but not too dry. Then they move the crews in, a lot of them. Do some burning, make a lot of smoke. Drives them deeper into the woods, you know. Then you can cut the whole damn place down. But nobody asks why, nobody tells why. The people who know just take care of it.”
“I guess that’s why they’re coming to us now. All the old woods are almost gone. So they’ve got to. Like mountain lions. I supposed it’s going to happen sooner or later.”
We heard my grandma come into the back door to the utility room, and stomp the dirt off her boots. My grandfather turned to me one last time and said, “Whichever way you look at it, somebody’s just got to take care of it.” Then my grandmother came in from the utility room and asked us how our lunch had been.
Now that I look back at it, that might have been the last time my grandfather and I really had a meaningful talk.
We moved back home in late August. I had been having a fantastic summer. Though looking back, I suppose it could be rough for a still-young woman to be living in her aging parents' house when she’s got a perfectly good husband and house of her own in town.
First thing I did was visit Ralph. He’d been busy. He’d fortified his treehouse into a proper, well, tree fort. He’d nailed a lot of reinforcing plywood over everything. He hadn’t gone out on patrols by himself, of course, but the height of the tree fort afforded him a view of the nearest streets. He’d also made some makeshift weapons out of old baseball bats, a hockey stick, and a garden rake. The sharp rocks he’d attached to them with masking tape didn’t look very secure, but it’d only take one or two good blows with that kind of firepower. He also explained he’d been teaching himself kung fu, by copying all the movies he saw on kung fu movies late at night on the unpopular cable channels. That was classic Ralph.
As for the monster, it seemed to be going away. Its last victim had disappeared weeks previously, part of the reason my mom felt it was time to go back. This had been at night too. What’s more, the victim had been a college student, a very petite lady, barely five feet tall, under a hundred pounds. The news had speculated that their presumptive serial killer had assumed she was a child. I remember thinking the Hidebehind didn’t care. Maybe it just thought she couldn’t run fast enough to get away or put up a fight when he caught her. Like a predator.
At any rate, the college students were incensed. Of course, they’d been hyper-alert and concerned when it was just local kids going missing. Now that it was one of their own the camel’s back had broken. They really went hard on the protests, blaming the local police for not doing enough.
They started setting up their own patrols, and at night too. Marches with sometimes dozens of students at a time. They called it “Take Back the Night.” They’d walk the streets, making sure they’d be heard. Some cared drums or tambourines. They’d help escort people home, and sometimes they’d unintentionally stop random crimes they’d happen across. I felt like this was what the Fight Patrol could have been, if we’d just been old enough, or had been listened to. This would be the endgame for the Hidebehind, one way or another.
I stayed indoors the rest of the summer, and really there wasn’t much left. It doesn’t get too hot in the Pacific Northwest, nobody has air conditioners, or at least we didn’t back then. It will get stuffy though, in August, and I liked to sleep with my window open. I could hear the chants and challenges from the student patrols on their various routes. Sometimes I could hear them coming from far away, and every now and then they’d pass down my street. It felt like a wonderful security blanket.
I also liked the honeysuckle my mother had planted around the perimeter of the house. Late at night, if I was struggling to fall asleep, the air in my bedroom would start to circulate. Cold air would start pouring in over my windowsill, bringing the sweet scent of that creepervine with it, and I’d the sensation before finally passing out.
This one night, and I have no knowledge if I was awake, asleep, or drifting off, but the air in the room changed, and cooler air poured over the windowsill and swept over my bed, but it didn’t carry the sweet smell of honeysuckle. Regardless of my initial state, I was alert pretty quickly. It was a singularly unpleasant smell. A bit like death, which at that age I was mostly unfamiliar with, except a time some animal had died underneath the crawlspace of our house. There was more to it, though. The forest, the deep forest. I don’t know and still don’t know, what that meant. Most smells I associate with the forest are pleasant. Cedar, pine needles, thick loam of the forest floor, campfires, even the creosote and turpentine of those old timey-logging camps. This was none of those smells. Maybe… rotting granite, and the spores of slime molds. Mummified hemlocks and beds of needles compressed into something different than soil. It disturbed me.
So I sat up in bed. I hadn’t noticed before, but I’d been sweating, just lightly in the stuffy summer night heat. Now it was turning cold. Before me was my bedroom window. A lit rectangle in a pitch-dark room. To either side were my white, opened curtains, the one on the right, by the open half of the window, stirred just slightly in the barely perceptible breeze.
Most of the rectangle was the black form of the protective cypress tree. Only the slight conical nature of the tree distinguished it from a perfectly vertical column. To either side was a dim soft orange glow coming from the sodium lamps of the street passing by our house. It was perhaps a bit diffuse from the screen set in my window to keep out mosquitos. In the distance was the sound of an approaching troupe of the Take Back the Night patrol. They were neither drumming nor chanting, but still making plenty of noise. They were, perhaps, three or four blocks away, and heading my way.
For some reason that I didn’t understand, I got up, off of the foot of the bed. The window, being closer, appeared bigger. I took a silent step further. The patrol approached closer. Another step. I leaned to my right, just a bit, getting a slightly wider view to the left of the cypress tree. That was the direction the patrol was coming from.
That was when it resolved. The deeper black silhouette within the black silhouette of the cypress tree. A small lithe frame with a too-bulbous head. It too leaned, in its case, to the left, to see around the cypress tree as the patrol approached. They reached our block,on the other side of the street. A dozen rowdy college students, not trying to be quiet. None of them fearing the night. Each feeling safe and determined, and absorbed in their own night out rather than being overtly sensitive to their surroundings. They were distracted, unfocused If they had been peering into the shadows, if just one of them had looked towards my house, behind the cypress tree, they might have seen the Hidebehind, poking its face out and watching them transit past. But they didn’t notice.
It hid behind the cypress tree, and I hid behind it, hoping that the blackness of my bedroom would protect me. I stood absolutely still, as I had done once when a hornet had once landed on the back of my neck. Totally assure that if I made the slightest movement or made the slightest sound that I’d be stung. I hardly even breathed.
The patrol passed, from my perspective, behind the cypress tree and temporarily out of view. The Hidebehind straightened, ready to lean to the right and watch the patrol pass, only it didn’t lean. Even as I watched the patrol pass on to the right, it stood there, stock still, just as I was doing.
It was then I became aware that my room had become stuffy again. The scent was gone. The air had shifted and was now flowing out through the screen again, carrying my own scent with it. I knew what this meant, and yet I was too paralyzed to react. The thing started to turn, very slowly. It was a predator understanding that it might have become victim to its own game. It turned as if it was thinking the same thing I had been thinking, that the slightest movement might give it away.
It turned, and I saw its face. Like some kind of rotting desiccated, shriveling fruit, it was covered in wrinkles. Circles within concentric circles surrounded its two great eyes, eyes which took up so much of its face. I couldn’t, and still struggle, to think of words to describe it. Instead, I still think in terms of analogies. At the time I thought of the creature from the film E.T., only twisted and distorted into a thing of nightmares. Almost all eyelids, and a little drooping sucker mouth. Now that I’m more worldly, it reminds of creatures of ancient artworks. The key defining feature were the long horizontal slits it had for eyes. You see that in old masks carved in West Africa, or by the Inuit long ago. You see it in what’s called the “slit-eyed dogu” of ancient Japan.
As I watched the wrinkles on the face seemed to multiply. Then I realized this was the result of its eyes slowly widening. It’s mouth, too, slowly dilated, revealing innumerable small razor-sharp teeth. A person, standing in its location, shouldn’t have been able to see in. Light from the sodium streetlamps lit the window’s screen, obscuring the interior. It was no person. It could see me, and it was reacting to my presence. Its eyes grew huge, black.
My own eyes would have been just as wide if not for my own anatomical limitations. I was still watching when it disappeared. It didn’t see it move to the right. I didn’t see it move to the left, nor did I see it drop down out of view. It simply disappeared. One fraction of a second it was there, and then it decided to leave, and so it did. It was not a thing of this world.
There were no more disappearances after that poor woman from the university. I don’t think it had anything to do with me. The media and police all speculated their “serial killer” had gone into a “dormant phase”. There was no shortage of people who tried to take credit. Maybe they deserve it. The thing’s hunting had been on the decline. All the neighborhood watches and student patrols, I think that maybe all that commotion was making it too hard for the Hidebehind to go about its business. Maybe it had gone back to the woods.
Then again, maybe Ralph had been right the whole time. Maybe it really, really, really didn’t like to be seen.
Now I’ve got some decisions to make. I think the first thing I should do is look at social media and dig up Ralph. It’s been a good thirty years since I last talked to him. He ought to know the Hidebehind is back. He’s probably made plans.
Then, there’s the issue of my son. He’s up in his bedroom now, probably still mad at me. Probably confused about why I’d be so strict. Maybe he’s inventing explanations as to why.
I’m not sure, but I’m leaning toward telling him everything. He deserves to know. It’d probably be safer if he knows. I think people have this instinct where, when they see or know something that they’re not supposed to know, they just bottle it up. I think that was the problem with grown-ups when I was a kid. It was the issue with my grandfather, telling me so little when it was almost too late. I think people do it because we’re social animals, and we’re afraid of being ostracized. Go along to get along.
Hell, my son is probably going to think I’m crazy. It might even make him more mad at me. And even more confused. He knows about the disappearances. “The Farmingham Fiend” the media would end up dubbing the serial killer that didn’t really exist. It’s become local “true crime” history. Kids tell rumors about it. It was almost forty years ago, so it probably feels safe to wonder about.
So yeah, I suppose when I say I know who the real killer was, a magical monster from the woods that stalks its prey by hiding behind objects, then impossibly disappears- that I’m going to look like a total nut. I’d think that if I were in his shoes.
Except… people are going to start disappearing again, it’s only a matter of time. The media will say that the Farmingham Fiend is back in the game. Will my son buy that? He’ll start thinking about what I told him, and how I predicted it. Then he’ll remember that he saw the thing himself, he and his friends, even if it was just out of the corner of his eye.
I hope, sooner or later, he’ll believe me. I could use his help. Maybe Ralph is way ahead of me, but I’m thinking we should get the Fight Patrol back together. Father and son, this time. Multigenerational, get the retirees involved too.
Old farts of my generation, for reasons I don’t understand, like to wax nostalgic over their own false sense of superiority. We rode our bikes without helmets and had distant if not irresponsible parents. Yeah, yeah, what a load. I think every new generation is better than the last, because every generation is a progression from the last, Kids these days? They’ve got cell phones, with cameras. And helmet cams. GoPros you can attach to bikes. Doorbell cameras.
It seems the Hidebehind loathes being seen. This time around, with my grandfather’s spirit, my own memories, and my boy’s energy? I think this time we’re finally going to beat it.
submitted by Guilty_Chemistry9337
to EBDavis [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 05:12 RegalLegalEagle Made of Mud
Based on a Dream
FDF Resolute, Sanctum Class Battlecruiser, en route to NT-2125 deep Fringe.
Mary had been rather intrigued by the concept of an observation deck on a ship. Curator ship designs didn’t even have windows let alone a whole deck. Yet, deck seemed a bit of a grand exaggeration now that she was standing in the room with the large window dominating one wall. The room was empty aside from herself. Though there were tables and chairs enough to fit a few dozen people easily. No doubt it was more in use if the ship should be hosting dignitaries over some important planet, or picturesque astronomical feature. En route to NT-2125 however they were instead enveloped in the Ink, a sight no one seemed keen on viewing.
Her education had of course touched on the existence of the Ink, but that was about it. She had no idea how it really was used to facilitate FTL travel. What she did know, now that she was looking at it, was that it was rather unpleasant to look at. She had seen purest black. The concept of looking at entirely nothing but a void was fine with her.
The Ink however… While she watched it slowly move around before her eyes it was like a vast ocean of some kind. An ocean of… incredible depth. When she had first stepped into the room and seen it dominating the large window she had thought it to be a mixture of blues, purples, and blacks. But the longer she watched the bubbles and lines slowly moving around she wasn’t sure if she were seeing color at all. Maybe she was seeing not the absence of light, but something opposite to it. As if the Ink gave off… anti-light.
She had no basis for this thought of course. No training, education, or experience to make her believe it was a real thing. Yet, if matter had anti-matter why couldn’t light have anti-light? After all the longer she looked the more if felt like she wasn’t really seeing anything. Nothing real anyway. More like… if she closed her eyes and rubbed against the eyelids and saw the attempts of her brain understand the shadows. Then there was the thought maybe she really was seeing something. Something just under the waves of its vast deep ocean of anti-light. After all, what was causing it to move? Were the waves, ripples, and bubbles purely random? Or was there something making it move?
As unpleasant as her line of thinking was, at least watching it gave her some small alone time on the otherwise crowded vessel. It also gave her an excuse to keep her headset muted. She would much rather deal with staring out at a vast ocean of anti-light than listen to the ship around her at this point. Yet, the moment she began to consider that she saw a flash in the bottom of her vision. Door opening. With a flick she started the program to let her headset gradually increase volume as her ears began to work again.
First sound, click of hard heel on metallic decking. Second sound, sharp intake of breath likely indicating surprise, anxiety, unease, or combination. Third sound, a tongue flicking against teeth before making a disapproving sucking sound. Fourth sound, fabric on fabric rubbing was very low and soft indicating luxury stitching and material. “Hello Director Obli.”
“Translator.” Came the curt reply, though said at a perfectly reasonable volume for normal speaking Mary winced a bit. Going from total silence to even the muted sounds she was getting now was rough at times. Especially as more just kept building. Even at this low level the sound of the ships began to return to her. The groan of metal, the hum of electricity, the distant murmur of people going about their tasks. She had no idea what she’d do without the headset to at least partially mute the world around her.
“Your bodyguards aren’t joining us?” Mary glanced over at the Huul’Rav in his custom suit. She couldn’t see his guards, but she could hear them just outside. She recognized Hrue from his breathing pattern, as smoking had done a number on his lungs. Based on the jingle of grenade tabs the other was Juul.
“If the Curators wanted me dead I highly doubt they’d create you just for the task. They’re more than powerful enough to have no need for subtlety or subterfuge.” Even though the director was talking to her he was looking out the window at the Ink. She could see the disdain on his face rather obviously. A hand moving up to nervously brush his furry chin, even as he tilted his horns side to side.
While he seemed focused on the Ink her mind returned to his curious comment. Did the Curators need to employ subterfuge? Of course they were powerful, but surely there was also use in subterfuge. Regardless, she had not been sent to kill the Director. Or anyone for that matter. She had no training in combat or related topics. He seemed to also be thinking about this though as he looked at her. “You aren’t here to kill me right?”
“No. I’m not here to kill you or anyone else.” She assured him. “I’m just here to facilitate communications during the negotiations.”
“It is curious though. Why the Custodians sent anyone at all…” He trailed off and while she was about to answer he turned and spoke first. “Actually do you mind if we talk somewhere else?” At the end his eyes darted to the window and the swirl of the Ink beyond.
“Certainly.” She nodded, and gestured to the door letting him go first.
“I appreciate it.” He commented and even as he stepped through the door Hrue stepped in front of him to lead, while Juul stepped up behind Mary to follow. “I will admit it spoils my plans a bit. I wanted to talk with you in private a little. But uh… I do not particularly enjoy looking at the Ink.” She could hear his breathing pattern change just being in the hallway, out of sight of the swirling anti-light.
“I’m sure we can find privacy elsewhere. Though I am unsure what kind of private chat you would like. I’m here strictly as a neutral party to facilitate negotiations.” She reminded him.
“As you’ve said many times.” Obli waved off her remark. “Anyway, since you’re new to this sort of thing I just want to introduce you to my underling since you’ll be working for him during the start of the talks.”
Mary frowned at this sudden revelation. “First, I don’t work for you, or your subordinate. I-”
“Are a neutral translator provided by the Curators.” He waved her off again as they walked. All around her she could hear the ship and its crew going about keeping the ship alive as it were. It was an older vessel and every creak and groan of stressed metal, or electrical spark continued to heighten her anxiety. She could not wait to get off this vessel and onto a planet. “I meant work for him in a more metaphorical sense. I know you likely expected to work with me throughout these talks but it’s just not how labor talks to management. They don’t get to start by talking to a Director. They’ll start with someone just important enough to garner attention but with no real power. If he fails, I swoop in and save things. If he succeeds I get to take credit in the end and talk about how I knew he was the man for the job.”
The further they walked from the observation deck and the Ink the more confident and in fact arrogant Obli got. She wasn’t particularly keen on his behavior but she had at least grown accustomed to it on the trip so far. “Why then did you spend most of this trip testing my abilities as a translator?”
“Because I was trying to figure out your angle.” He replied with a glance back over his shoulder as they reached a lift. The four of them filtered into it before Juul hit the button for the hangar deck.
“I don’t have an angle. I was instructed to come here and facilitate-” She began but he yet again waved her off.
“Neutral yes yes. But why? We’ve never needed nor requested Curator assistance for anything like this. We have a proven history of successfully ending labor disputes and organization efforts. So why have the curators bothered to send you? Shouldn’t you be trying to help keep the FDF from falling apart? Or spreading the word of the Curators to the masses or something? That is something they do right? Proselytize?” Mary was fairly confident Obli tried to be dismissive about the Curators just to make himself more comfortable. It was a minor enough annoyance to overlook. Though she wondered if it actually helped ease his fragile ego.
“The Curators do not proselytize no. They have no need. They exist. They act. They do not need the approval of others, nor belief in their correctness. I am here because I have been ordered to be here. I was told I must assist in negotiating between the belligerent parties on NT-2125 and observe the outcome. That is all. If the Curators have a deeper reason for sending me here I do not know it.” While she spoke she could already hear Obli clicking his tongue in disapproval. Hrue was trying, and failing, to breathe quietly. Juul was running her hand over a smooth metallic object in her right pocket, slowly turning it over.
“I know you are flesh and blood, but you’re more like your creators than I find comforting.” Obli very bluntly commented.
“I do not exist for your comfort.” Mary pointedly replied, which made Obli click his tongue in disapproval once more. By that point the lift stopped and the doors opened. The rush of sound from the hangar deck made her wince a moment as she had to deal with the sudden volume as she lowered her headset sensitivity.
“I don’t think you exist for your own comfort either.” Obli remarked, now smirking a little at her obvious discomfort. There was little she could do but cast a glare in his direction as the pain subsided and the sounds took on a more muted level. Looking out across the hangar she could see dozens of people moving around and working on the ship’s complement of shuttles, and fighters. No one was expecting combat, but that didn’t stop the captain from preparing anyway. While she was told most of the machinery operated at frequencies most species couldn’t hear it always gave her a headache to be around so many buzzing, grinding, churning machines.
“Regardless.” Obli continued. “I want to make it clear I have been authorized to extend to the Curators our most sincere intent to be friends. If there is anything we can do to make your job more comfortable let me know. And if you see fit to pass on anything you hear from the labor organizers direct compensation is on offer.”
“I am here as a neutral party.” She reminded him yet again. But he just spread his hands and smiled.
“We’re willing to pay for even what you would consider banter and gossip. Anything you hear. My subordinate is also authorized to compensate you but I’d prefer a direct copy.” He held out an encryption cylinder. While she had no intention of passing along anything she did take it. It might be useful for other reasons.
“I don’t have a bank account, you know. Or any credits.” When she told him this he looked entirely confused. “I am not paid for my efforts. Curators do not use currency of any kind. Resources are simply provided as needed.”
Director Obli’s look of pure disgust was even more obvious than when he’d been in the observation deck. “And here I thought they were civilized… But it’s then all the more important for you to start building up your own nest egg!” He began to pull a credit chip from his pocket but she waved him off.
“I’m not chipped nor do I have a slate.” This time he scoffed and looked confused even as he held it out.
“You can take the whole thing. How do you expect to pay for anything on the planet without credits?” He seemed genuinely baffled.
“I don’t expect to pay for anything on the planet. Your company has extended their most sincere intent to be friends after all.” As she tilted her head a little while looking at him Obli just snorted.
“Ah… This is why my assistant was babbling about an expense waiver. Yes… There are limits to it, you know. Food, drink, necessities only.” Mary just stared at him until he finally sighed and tucked the credit chip back into his pocket. “Fine. It’s best for you to go change now then, the shuttle will be leaving as soon as we hit real space.”
She was wondering why he’d brought her here directly. “And why am I changing?”
“Well, you can go as you are if you like. But this isn’t a Curator ship. The Resolute has to drop further away from the planet so the shuttle will be in space to close the gap to the planet. And, I mean clearly Curator tech never breaks or has any accidents but our poor mortal hands make poor mortal vessels.” Obli spread his hands as if to highlight his own soft, well manicured hands.
“Fine.” While her suit wasn’t as comfortable as her normal clothes she didn’t intend on being the only one killed by some sort of accident on the way to the planet. It would set a terrible precedent. So she walked away from Obli and his guards then towards the hangar’s locker room.
As she strode across the deck, stepping over fuel and coolant lines she tried to make some sense of the mass of sound around her. Obli no doubt thought she was beyond earshot when he spoke to his guards. “Strange bird. Easy on the eyes though.”
Hrue cleared his throat a moment to reply in a gravely, raspy voice. “Think the Curators made her to be attractive to most species somehow? Robot magic or something?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. I still don’t know why they sent anyone at all. I don’t trust those damned machines.” Obli replied. She had expected this sort of reaction. It was in line with their comments during the trip.
Other than that most of the technicians, mechanics, and pilots moving around the hangar seemed much more focused on their work than anything else. Grumblings about the captain’s standards, and an apparent lack of spare parts. Based on the overall comments it seemed to be more about not wanting to do so much work rather than serious concerns over abilities to keep ships functional. Or so she hoped.
Once in the locker room she made her way to the back where a special case had been installed for her suit. While she would have preferred to travel on a Curator vessel she was glad to at least get a Curator suit. They didn’t have many organics, but the suits they made for her and the other Lifted were absolutely the best in terms of survivability, durability, and protection. Just not… comfort.
Since the locker room seemed to be empty she quickly stripped down, setting aside the encryption cylinder Obli had given her. For a moment she examined herself, along the deep red feathers of her head and neck, gradually turning to a sunburst yellow down her torso, and finally a rich deep blue along her legs and tail. Did species find her attractive? If the Curators had intended for this they likely would have included it in her training surely. Must just be Obli and his guards.
Stepping up to the Curator case she hit the activation button and then held perfectly still as the case opened, arms moving out to begin affixing the suit to her body. First she felt the snap of metal rings around her ankles, wrists, neck, hips, and ribs before the rest of the exoskeleton was built up around it. Then came the cool mesh of the inner suit pulled up underneath it and against her feathers. Next was the composites slotted into the outside, layered and overlapped for maximum coverage. Finally she prepared herself for the final step as two hoses connected to the metal collar around her neck. She hated this part.
When the liquid began to pump into the lining between the mesh and the composite layer it was ice cold and caused her to gasp and shudder as it filled in. It took a few minutes while she tried to carefully control her breathing and push past the cold. Once it was finally full the suit activated and the liquid turned solid, controlled by the sophisticated Curator chip in her skull. Her temperature quickly began to return to normal now and she took a slow deep breath in relief before taking the helmet the case offered last.
She refrained from putting the helmet on yet though, it wasn’t quite big enough for her taste and always rubbed her eartips. Walking back out into the hangar she could feel the suit somewhat flowing around her movements. It would turn liquid to move, then solid when it didn’t need to. She was also told it would go selectively rigid to deflect projectiles. A feature she hoped to never test.
Looking around a moment she saw Obli near the closest shuttle, speaking to someone wearing an executive pattern suit. Luxurious and comfortable, but she’d prefer the Curator suit in an emergency. Next to him was a human in a deep blue armored suit with steel accents. As she watched he draped a travel cloak over the shoulders of the suit. An interesting touch. Walking towards them she had to stop a moment to let a rumbling hangar tug pass. Several technicians rode in the back, carried to their next task.
Judging on the whine of the back left wheel she figured their next task might be to fix the tug itself. Either way she continued on up to Director Obli. “Translator. I’d like you to meet Kingus.” Obli gestured to the figure in the executive suit. Up close she could see through his helmet’s faceplate and examine the Nikvic inside. Rather stubby bone ridges. Rather young then for an executive.
“Translator.” He nodded to her.
“Kingus, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Mary, though translator is just fine as well.” She took an amicable approach for now.
“Yes. This is my bodyguard, Eli.” He gestured to the human next to him, who made for an imposing figure in his armor. With his helmet in place the steel visor reflected a distorted reflection of herself back at her.
“Ma’am.” He nodded and extended a hand out from under his cloak. Shifting her helmet to her left hand she carefully reached out to shake his hand in return.
“Eli, it’s nice to meet you.” The first human she’d found in the employ of the company. Though she knew most of the problems on the planet were related to their human miners. Allegedly at least.
“Nice to meet you as well ma’am.” His shake was firm but not aggressive. “We should be ready shortly. They’re loading the last of some food supplies and then we’re waiting on the marines.”
“Food supplies… I don’t even know what we’re taking down there. Argyle is a full fledged city. The problems its facing are related to labor terrorists. Not famine.” Kingus mentioned with a huff.
“It’s likely my food.” Mary answered. “The Curators were unsure how long I would be here and sent me with a full complement of prepared meals.”
“Oh.” Kingus coughed lightly. “Well… that’s fine then. I wasn’t aware you had special dietary needs. But the marines at least should be here. What’s taking them so long?” He tried to deflect a little and looked around.
As if summoned by his complaint she saw a group of human soldiers approaching the shuttle. The few times she had seen soldiers so far they’d been in smart uniforms and moving with purpose and sharp specific gestures. These… did not look nearly so impressive. Or poised. Instead the group just walked casually towards them, in a mixture of armor sets. Most had a haphazard drab olive green coat of paint but much of it was chipped and worn. Not to mention much of it was also covered in writing, drawings, and decals that she doubted were officially sanctioned.
Only the man in the lead looked to be in a truly official uniform set of armor. “I’m Lieutenant Barrow. I assume this is the shuttle we want?”
“Barrow, this is Kingus our Executive Labor Liason.” Director Obli introduced them. “This is our translator Mary.”
“Never seen one of you before. What species are you?” Mary turned to look at the soldier who’d spoken to her. He was just next to the officer, and his armor looked particularly beat up. She also noticed signs of scorch marks in several places. Unlike the single smooth faceplate of Eli’s armor his helmet looked more like a scowling face with golden lenses in the eyes.
“I am not an official species. I was Lifted by the Curators to act as a translator.” She informed him directly.
“Interesting. So you’re a bird. But you’ve got ears. What’s with the headset?” He gestured up at it as she reflexively reached up with her free hand to touch the side.
“There was a slight miscalculation in my creation and I find most settings to be… uncomfortably loud. The headset is to regulate the volume of my surroundings to prevent damage and discomfort.” She explained.
“What… wait. The Curators made a translator who gets hurt by sound? Am I understanding that right?” Mary frowned at his comment.
“That’s somewhat reductive.” She tried to deflect.
“Is it wrong?” He pressed.
“It’s not entirely inaccurate.” Disparaging on the work of the Curators wasn’t something she was comfortable with.
“That’s a fancy way of saying I’m right. So your job, which is listening to things, actively hurts you. Man… sucks to be you.” A few of the other marines snickered and giggled behind him as Mary frowned.
“Gunny, that’s enough.” Barrow finally waved off the other marine.
“Where’s the rest of your company? And the Major?” Obli asked now, thankfully moving things along.
“Elsewhere. He said if you’re not going to the planet yet he doesn’t see a reason to go either. My platoon and I are sufficient at this time. Once you’re ready to head down then the rest of the company will deploy.” Barrow shrugged. “You send your flunkey first he sends his flunkey too.”
“We have concerns about possible terrorist strikes on civilians during the labor talks. Are you sure a platoon is really sufficient?” Kingus asked.
The officer sucked in a breath, likely about to answer but Gunny cut him off. “Isn’t it interesting. All across the fringe you corporate types like to talk about how safe and secure your mining colonies are. Biding everyone to bring their families and get to work. Yet, the moment a union starts to form you start screaming about terrorists and how you need the military to keep order.”
“Gunny.” The officer hissed at him. Gunny waved it off a moment as the officer cleared his throat. “Your own reports suggest corporate security is robust enough to secure the city. We have no intel to suggest any threats of terrorist strikes by the miners are really valid. A platoon will suffice for now. If the situation changes the rest of the company can deploy very quickly I assure you.”
“Fine. But remember just because the miners in question are human doesn’t mean you can give them free reign. The FDF and by extension the marines rely on our funding to keep functioning.” Kingus replied.
“You never let us fucking forget.” Gunny muttered that barely under his breath. Neither Kingus or Obli seemed to pick up on this but Mary did.
“Many species across the Fringe have been generous enough to accept many human refugees. We obviously seek a future of cooperation and mutual success. This is not about humans being singled out. They have been given the same rights and contracts as all other species who join our corporate family.” Director Obli smiled and spread his hands in a friendly gesture. “We ask only that you protect the talks because they’re so important to our continued wellbeing as united front here on the Fringe. The Tide comes for us all and we must be ready. Together.”
“Well said Director.” Kingus nodded in support.
“Fucking please…” Gunny muttered and made some sort of gesture with his fist making a pumping motion in front of his hips. From the reports the Curators had given her, really what it seemed like was the humans massively increased their productivity, but in exchange wanted better treatment from the various industrial consortiums. The executives like Obli enjoyed the productivity but felt treating them better would set a bad precedent.
Across the fringe however humans had been getting their way more often than not. NT-2125 was by far the biggest, most high profile case, but she didn’t imagine it would be anything special. “Yes, well, we are here to keep you safe and make sure no one kills anyone. On either side.” The officer assured them and then gestured at the shuttle. “Shall we?”
“Have a nice flight Translator. Remember to call me.” Obli smiled and nodded at her.
“I’m sure we’ll be in touch, Director.” She finally pulled her helmet up and on, feeling it settle into place with a click and a soft hiss at it pressurized. The very tips of her ears were lightly pressed in by the sides which was why she’d waited this long to put it on. The marines began to board the shuttle first, shuffling along rows in the center to get into seats with metal shoulder restraints that would help hold them in place.
“Hey, so you’re a Lifted? What do the Curators want you here for? What’s the deal?” Gunny asked as he waited near the back for the others to shuffle in.
“I am not at liberty at this time to discuss the Curators or their work.” Mary’s forehead felt slightly warm as she answered him.
“Oh come on. There’s got to be something special the Curators want you here for.” Gunny insisted.
“I am not at liberty at this time to discuss the Curators or their work.” Mary’s forehead felt a bit warmer still.
“Gunny leave her alone.” Barrow instructed.
“C’mon why a translator at all? We’ve got earpieces! I’ve never seen a translator before, let alone a Curator one!” By now the other marines were seated and Mary began to shuffle up the row looking for a free seat.
“Ma’am you’ll need to take one of the jumpseats up front. These harnesses aren’t made for your Curator suit.” Barrow tapped one of the set of shoulder restraints. So she kept shuffling past the row of marines towards the front.
“I don’t rely on machine translation. I am fluent in over six hundred languages and forms of communication. I listen to all parties and ensure nothing is lost in translation.” She assured them.
“Only six hundred? I knew of a guy who was fluent in over six million forms of communication.” Gunny’s voice had a slightly different tone to it. Was he joking?
“Six million seems excessive. I assure you I am well trained for my job.” Now at the front of the shuttle she found the jumpseat in question. Yet, when she went to pull the seat down the dangerous whine and groan of the metal hinged did not inspire her with confidence. Still it was her mission so she settled into the seat and went about trying to figure out the harness.
Barrow approached her and pointed to the straps in order to help her out. “You’ll be fine. This is really just a precaution.” The Lieutenant nodded and gave her shoulder a pat. She smiled up at him then, her faceplate clear unlike their armor. It was thought to be better for non-verbal communication cues if people she spoke to could see her face. Kingus and Eli were the last to settle in seats nearby.
“Hey! Corpse!” Gunny called out as Eli settled into his seat and set the shoulder restraints with practiced ease.
“Excuse me?” Eli looked across the aisle at Gunny.
“You’re corporate security right? Corp-sec.” Gunny more carefully pronounced. But Mary was positive he hadn’t made a mistake earlier.
“I’m a private bodyguard. I work on contract.” Eli corrected him.
“Oh well anyway the fuck is with the cloak?” Gunny gestured at the deep blue cloak draped over Eli’s shoulders and body. “You’re in a suit right? Kind of the point of a space suit to be waterproof and somewhat heat proof and shit yeah? Kind of defeats the point of a cloak right? So what gives?”
“It’s about looking stylish. Something you clearly have no concept of Gunnery Sergeant.” Eli’s response seemed to take Gunny by surprise. The Gunny? Was Gunny a nickname or a title? Either way the marines around snickered and chuckled a bit though she could hear Gunny snort.
Barrow took the jumpseat next to her instead of one of the more secure seats. Possibly to help set her at ease. Which she appreciated. “So, Lieutenant. Do you expect this mission to be dangerous?”
“What? Protecting the talks? No. We’ve done this a few times so far. It’s pretty boring. No one has actually done anything. Usually there are some protests. Corp-sec shove people around. Both sides are upset. But no one dies. The talks advance. The miners get a bit more pay and benefits. Both sides are mutually annoyed with the other. And I’m sure in a few years it’ll all happen again.” Barrow shrugged and seemed entirely unconcerned.
“Don’t be so flippant.” Kingus said even as Barrow seemed to dismiss any concerns. “We’ve had some communications troubles from NT-2125. The work of labor agitators no doubt.”
“Communications troubles? Why are you telling us that now?” Barrow asked, showing some concern.
“I thought it was common knowledge?” Kingus sounded genuinely confused that Barrow was unaware of this. “Is it not? Executives on the ground have spoken of damaged communications systems, and delayed reports from outlying facilities.”
“Have there been delays in ore shipments? Or minerals or whatever?” Barrow asked.
“No. In fact due to our exemplary corporate structure we’re seeing increases across the board.” Kingus nodded, clearly proud of this fact.
“So… in your mind the labor agitators are breaking lines of communication. But not… the ore shipments which you find significantly more valuable?” Barrow asked, clearly not buying the idea.
“Don’t be complacent! Just because labor organizers have been rarely violent in the past doesn’t mean it will always be the case! I want your men on their highest alertness lieutenant!” Kingus stressed.
“Yes sir, I’ll be sure to pass that along.” Barrow assured him, even though Mary could tell by his tone that he had no intention of doing anything.
“What’s the planet like?” She asked next.
“The locals have called it Argyle.” Kingus answered. “It’s our largest mining operation and a highlight of our terraforming technology. A dozen zones have been established across the surface and ten of them are already fully habitable without a suit. We expect work to be done on six zones within the solar cycle, and shall open up another dozen to be finished within the next three solar cycles. Mineral and ore outputs are quadruple expectations. Mostly thanks to our unequaled refinery efficiency.”
“Or maybe cause you’re exploiting the shit out of your workers.” Again Gunny muttered this quietly enough to be missed by the others. Mary was settling into her seat as best she could when she heard the engines spool up. Inside the armored cockpit behind her she could hear the pilots flipping switches.
“Systems check complete. Echo shuttle requesting clearance for departure.” She wasn’t sure if that was the pilot or co-pilot. Deeper, possibly male.
“We got a flight plan?” Lighter possible female. Maybe that was the pilot?
“Yeah.” Navigator. Younger, more youthful. Not clear if male or female. “Not much to it. Follow the automated beacons. Their spaceport is big enough for Tagmax freighters so it should be easy peasy lemon squeezy.” Human definitely.
“We’re clear.” Co-pilot.
“Okay.” There was a moment where Mary’s hearing seemed to echo as she heard both the pilot in the cockpit and over the speakers in the hold at the same time. “We’re in real space and disembarking now. Remember to keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times until we come to a full and complete stop. We know you’ve got no choice in airlines today so suck it up because we’re all you got.” Also definitely human.
Gunny seemed to wiggle and settle in his seat, as if to take a nap. In general the marine chatter in the hold seemed very relaxed and calm. A good sign. The most nervous person was likely Kingus whose breathing she could tell was getting a bit quicker and more nervous. After another few seconds she heard the engine spooling get more intense and the shuttle picked up off the deck. Kingus tensed at this as his hands gripped the seat’s armrests more tightly.
While Mary wished she was in a superior Curator craft she was relatively relaxed. She’d flown many times, especially in her training to make sure she could translate even in stressful situations. Part of her wanted to mute her headset for now, to free herself of the need to listen to every jostle of the shuttle and the people within it, but she knew it was more important to maintain her ability to listen to the flight crew.
For several minutes however she mostly had to fight her growing desire to take a nap. Gunny’s breathing shifted into a soft and consistent snore so he already fell asleep. The gentle rumble of the ship around her and her secure nature also lent itself to a desire to nap… “Hey did we check the sensor calibration before we left?” Navigator.
“Yeah, total systems check. Everything cleared. I’m not seeing any problems.” Pilot.
“Uuuhhh… Okay.” Their tone implied things were not okay. She turned her head a little, and began to dial up her headset, ignoring the other sounds and focusing on the cockpit. Another minute went by as she just had the hum of the engines and marine chatter around her. “We’re sure the sensors were checked?”
“Yeah. Why what’s wrong?” Pilot.
“It’s just… uh… doesn’t make sense. I’m reading like… aaa lot of different atmospheres?” Navigator.
“Yeah. They’re terraforming it. So, a lot of different atmospheric readings.” Co-pilot.
“Sure but… some of these are… bizarre.. Like a… nitrogen? Maybe? And uh… ammonia.” She frowned as the Navigator said this.
“Maybe those are the natural planetary atmosphere. Listen, everything else I’ve got is reading fine.” Pilot.
“Ask ground maybe? Terraforming… accidents?” Navigator.
“Resolute this is Echo Two. Do we have any direct communication with Ground? Over.” Co-pilot. Pause. “No direct comms at this time. But the nav beacons are loud and clear.”
“Probably just some interference. I mean if they’ve had a terraforming accident it’s probably hell on comms.” Pilot.
“Yeah… probably.” Navigator, entirely unconvinced. As she listened she realized Barrow was staring straight at her. Did he suspect something? Was he on their channel?
“Something up?” He asked.
“The navigator thinks there might have been a terraforming accident on the planet.” She explained.
“What? How do you know that?” Barrows looked from her towards the armored door between them.
“I can hear them.” She explained simply.
“Did you say a terraforming accident?” Kinugs looked her way now.
“They say there’s strange atmospherics on the planet.” She revealed.
“I knew it! Labor agitators!” He huffed. “Tell your men to be ready for all manner of terrorism Lieutenant!”
“Mmhh…” Barrow's answer was noncommittal but seemed worried as he focused on Mary. She was still focused on the cockpit however.
“Was there a cruiser in orbit somewhere?” Co-pilot.
“The uh… Tartar or something. At least on the mission brief. We tracking it anywhere?” Pilot.
“I… no. I’ve got us, the orbital refinery platform, and the Resolute.” Navigator.
“Freighters? Shuttles? Corporate Yachts? Anything?” Pilot.
“They aren’t seeing any other traffic in orbit.” She relayed to Barrow.
Barrow cleared his throat and seemed to trigger a mic in his helmet. “Guys, shut the fuck up. Gunny wake up.” A marine besides gunny slapped the man’s shoulder causing him to jerk in his seat and a knife seemed to appear in his hand.
“Wah?” He looked around.
“Something’s up.” Barrow mentioned. “No traffic, planetary comms are down, and terraformers are fucked up.”
Mary expected some smart comment but Gunny tucked his knife away and just listened. “Wait. A… freighter is taking off.” Navigator. “And I’ve got one leaving the orbital platform.”
“Ping them?” Co-pilot. Pilot must have nodded because he continued. “Pinging.” Pause. “Both are automated. Both report… systems are fine. No issues.”
“Nothing from ground? Emergency beacons? Distress? Nothing?” Pilot.
“Nothing.” Co-pilot confirmed.
“I mean… they’d be loath to stop shipping ore. Maybe it’s just really comms trouble and they aren’t flying anything right now. Cruiser might be on the far side assisting with some kind of… recovery effort? I don’t know.” Pilot.
“That might be the case…” The co-pilot did not in fact think that was the case. “Resolute, this is Echo two. Uh… do we have any further… mission details? Are we still go on landing? Over.” He sounded nervous. “We’re still go… they think it’s just comms trouble. But they’re prepping more shuttles now for possible rescue or support efforts.”
“I mean everything I’m seeing is clear. Not even rain clouds.” Pilot.
“They’re saying there’s comms failure on the planet. They’ve found automated traffic only. No distress calls.” Mary relayed. A moment later the pilot keyed in a direct channel and she heard the voice through Barrow’s helmet comm.
“Hey eltea. Just a heads up. We think there’s some kind of comms failure on the planet. And maybe a terraforming accident. No signs of hostile action though. Still prepped to land shortly. But uh giving you a heads up.” So they could talk to him but hadn’t.
“Appreciated. I’ll relay.” He acknowledged. Then she had to try and focus a bit harder as Barrow began to speak to his marines about the situation but the flight crew was still chatting.
“Entering atmo now. Any change in sensor reading?” Pilot.
“No. Area around Argyle looks… okay. Wait, that's the city right?” Navigator.
“Yeah. Uh. Maybe.” Pilot. The shuttle began to shake a bit harder though from what she had experienced before this was just normal for entering atmosphere. They were quiet as the shuttle rumbled. But after another minute the rumbling seemed to get worse instead of better. She was much more acutely aware of the groaning of the metal and just shuddering of everything around her. Kingus’ teeth were rattling and clicking especially. “Okay what the fuck.”
“Yeah… Yeah… Uh… fuck.” Co-pilot. What were they seeing? Just describe it outloud!
“I can’t turn it off. Ground has us locked into our corridor.” Navigator.
“I can’t! I’m trying!” Navigator. The shuddering of the shuttle intensified further as it seemed to be moving around, like the pilot was trying to shake them out of whatever their path was and kept getting pulled in. “It’s not using any normal code! I’ve got no fucking clue what this is!”
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!” Mary winced at how loudly the Co-pilot yelled that. So far their voices had been full of stress and anxiety, but not fear, nor had they been loud.
“Jesus!” Pilot. What? What was it? “Look at it fucking move! Chaff! Flares! Dump everything!”
“Brace!” Mary cried out as she clutched her harness. She could hear the deployment of flares and chaff in a rapid series of bops and clanks. Then she could hear something hit the shuttle… But it wasn’t an explosion? Just a meaty metal crunch. Her body jerked hard in the harness as the shuttle around her began to spin, or jerk, or she had no idea but it was twisting violently!
“Watch it!” Co-pilot. Red lights immediately came on in the hold of the shuttle, she could hear as well as feel the violent collision as the port wing slammed into something. For a brief instant she could hear the shattering of glass before her hearing was just overwhelmed by the rest of the crash and the screaming around her. The force yanked her hard against the harness as she heard the terrifying screech of metal being pried apart as the hold and the cockpit sections of the shuttle seemed to detach.
Strapped to the jumpseat she could only watch in horror as the marines before her were suddenly spun in a different direction while Barrow and her were tumbling on the now suddenly exposed outside of the cockpit section. She was screaming as loud as her lungs could bear, but he was oddly quiet. As if resigned to their fate. She could see the city spinning around her, and the straps holding her began to give way as they were never intended for this. Barrow reached out and for a moment she reached towards him but then they hit something hard and her body was sent flying free of the seat.
[Continued in Comments]
submitted by RegalLegalEagle
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 04:59 midevilman2020 Reviewers bias
Are reviewers and Youtubers ever critical of boards? Like ever? Every single one is a 10/10 or 9/10 with few nitpicks. Rides smooth, awesome deck, great carving, etc etc etc. It is so cliché and predictable by now. Almost always followed by a discount code of course!
They seem to get handpicked perfect condition boards sent to them. That they probably don't put many miles on because they have 20 other free boards in their garage.
They clearly benefit from never shitting on boards or reporting issues. And it seems like this is something they should be more up front about.
Am I crazy here?
submitted by midevilman2020
to ElectricSkateboarding [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 04:42 Brennod10 Someone drove into my front porch today
| || |
Person crashed directly into a bollard in my driveway, tore it out of the ground, and knocked out the pole supporting the front corner of my deck. submitted by Brennod10 to Wellthatsucks [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 04:00 Analypiss Strength - Force Field and Advancing
Key and explanation of periods where Juggernaut was stronger or weaker than normal
- Walks through a thick wall of ice and causes the X-Mansion to shake and start collapsing - Uncanny X-Men #12
- Walks through an electromagnetic force field - Uncanny X-Men #12
- Exerts enough pressure to buckle and shatter a metal wall that had 50 times the tensile strength of battleship steel - Uncanny X-Men #12
- Pushes aside Jean Grey's telekinesis as though it was a physical thing after she lifts him into the air - Uncanny X-Men #13
- Crawls through a solid wall of earth and erupts out of it - Uncanny X-Men #13
- [Limits] Loses his footing after some stairs he was climbing are turned to ice by Iceman - Uncanny X-Men #13
- Walks through a wall - Uncanny X-Men #46
- Charges into Nightmare and forces him back - Doctor Strange #182
- Charges through a solid steel parade float - Amazing Adventures #16
- Snaps a tree in half by charging into it while Beast is on top of him - Amazing Adventures #16
- Shatters a concrete power station by running through it - Amazing Adventures #16
- His powers let him swim in water even though he should be heavy enough to sink - Amazing Adventures #16
- [Limits] Sinks in water after Colossus knocks him into it unexpectedly - Spider-Woman (1978) #38
- Starts breaking through a metal wall designed to hold a hundred Hulks and eventually does so with Hulk's assistance - Hulk #172
- Shatters a tank by charging into it - Hulk #172
- Knocks Hulk over a hill and shatters it with a single charge - Hulk #172
- Runs through machinery - Uncanny X-Men #103
- Colossus, Storm, and Wolverine can't stop him from climbing some stairs - Uncanny X-Men #103
- Knocks Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Storm out of his way with a charge - Uncanny X-Men #103
- Climbs through the metal deck of a ship - Spider-Woman (1978) #38
- Walks through a building, with Spider-Man saying he's never seen Namor smash through a building as destructively as him upon viewing the aftermath, but before meeting Juggernaut - Amazing Spider-Man #229, 214
- Walks into a net of Spider-Man's webbing and stretches it to its limit until pieces of the buildings it's attached to rip off - Amazing Spider-Man #229
- Makes a large hole in the road by climbing out of the sewers - Amazing Spider-Man #229
- Walks through a building while Spider-Man was trying to pull him back - Amazing Spider-Man #229
- Walks through a police barricade and tips over an APC - Amazing Spider-Man #229
- [Limits] Sinks to bottom of a 40 foot foundation of wet cement - Amazing Spider-Man #230
- Walks through miles of bedrock and fractures the tectonic plates under Manhattan, which results in a catastrophic earthquake months later - Amazing Spider-Man #629, 628-629
- Jumps from a plane and lands hard enough to make a large crater in the ground - Marvel Team-Up #150
- [50%] Rams Black Tom into a bus hard enough to crumple it and make it explode - Marvel Team-Up #150
- [50%] Jumps from the top floor of a building and lands in the street hard enough to make a large crater - Marvel Team-Up #150
- [50%] Runs through a concrete wall - Marvel Team-Up #150
- Creates tremors that fracture a street with his footsteps - Thor #411
- Holds onto Thor's hammer as it’s returning to him and tackles him through five boxcars and into a building hard enough to shatter part of it and knock him out - Thor #411
- Rams Thor into a stone wall hard enough to shatter it - Thor #429
- Knocks down a uh... certain skyscraper by charging into it - Spider-Man (1990) #16
- Knocks Hercules and several other Avengers out of his way with a charge - Hulk #403
- Literally walks over Thunderstrike when he tries to push him back - Thunderstrike (1993) #2
- Warps and knocks down a metal door - Deadpool (1994) #1
- Runs through two thick sewer walls - The All New Exiles (1995) #3
- Jumps off a cliff and lands hard enough to knocks trees into the air and make a large crater - X-Men (1991) #53
- Creates a large hole in the hull of a ship - Professor Xavier and the X-Men (1995) #12
- Makes footprints in concrete - Professor Xavier and the X-Men (1995) #13
- Walks through a massive barrier of ice like it was made of tissue paper - Professor Xavier and the X-Men (1995) #13
- Charges through the walls and doors of the X-Mansion - Professor Xavier and the X-Men (1995) #13
- Charges into War Hulk and pushes him through hundreds of meters of rock, though Hulk is eventually able to stop his advance - Hulk #457
- Walks through a police car - Spider-Man (1990) #84
- Rams Post-Crisis Wonder Woman through a concrete wall - Unlimited Access #1
- Rams his fellow Exemplar Stonecutter through a stone staircase - Juggernaut (1999) #1
- Knocks down the Stranger by jumping into his head - X-Men Forever (2001) #6
- Jumps hundreds of meters off a giant tower - X-Men Forever (2001) #6
- [X] Lands on a concrete roof hard enough to shatter it - Uncanny X-Men #420
- [X] Him and Sasquatch collide into each other hard enough to create a large crater in the ground, with Juggernaut being the first to recover - Uncanny X-Men #422
- [X] Knocks out Sabretooth by landing on him after being pushed down an elevator shaft - Identity Disc #4
- [X] Charges straight through Earth 6141 Jean Grey's telekinesis - New Excalibur (2006) #3
- [X] Climbs through a pile of wreckage and causes the ground the shake and knock cars into the air - New Excalibur (2006) #6-7
- [X] Jumps from a plane and lands in the road hard enough to shatter it and disable several mechanical tendrils - New Excalibur (2006) #7
- [X] Runs through a concrete wall - New Excalibur (2006) #8
- [X] Walks through a pier, two huts, and numerous trees - New Excalibur (2006) #14
- [X] Jumps into a Shadow Captain Britain hard enough to crater the ground - New Excalibur (2006) #14
- Fights evenly with World War Hulk and pushes him back, undermining the foundation of the X-Mansion, though Hulk is able to knock him away by sidestepping him and adding to his momentum - World War Hulk: X-Men 3
- Rams Hulk through a log and knocks him on his back - Marvel 1985 #2
- [T] A Raft scientist says he has endless kinetic energy and is unstoppable once he begins charging - Thunderbolts #144
- [T] Runs through several trees - Thunderbolts #145
- [T] Charges into two Asgardian trolls hard enough to kill them and shatter a tree and part of a hill - Thunderbolts #145-146
- [T] Breaks through a section of the Raft two prisoners thought no one could get through - Thunderbolts #147
- [T] Pushes back Man-Thing - Avengers Academy #4
- [T] Charges downwards through 1.3 kilometers of bedrock - Thunderbolts #149
- [T] Cracks the shell of a giant lobster monster by running into it - Thunderbolts #152
- [T] Stops a building sized monster by charging into its foot, though it knocks him away with a strike from its tail - Thunderbolts #152
- [T] Rams King Hyperion into a boulder hard enough to embed him in it - Thunderbolts #153
- [T] Runs through a fortified stone wall Fear Itself: The Worthy #2
- [Kuurth] Runs through an upwards spiral Songbird created and lured him onto to cut down on his running area - Thunderbolts #160
- [Kuurth] Charges through a burst of kinetic energy from Speedball that shatters the road and knocks him out of his way - Fear Itself: The Home Front #3
- [Kuurth] Runs through a building - Fear Itself: The Home Front #3
- [Kuurth] Knocks train cars into air by charging through one - Fear Itself #3
- [Kuurth] Flies out of a deep pit through the ground - Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #3
- [Kuurth] Flies into the road hard enough to make a large crater - Uncanny X-Men #540
- [Kuurth] The X-Men try at least 42 plans to stop him from walking towards San Francisco that all prove ineffective, including:
- Charges through a force wall government scientists couldn't find a way to penetrate - Dark Avengers #181-182
- [Unstoppable] Jumps into a giant Living Monolith hard enough to topple him - Amazing X-Men (2014) #18
- [Unstoppable] Walks through a wall and scatters the O5 X-Men - X-Men: Blue (2017) #1
- [Unstoppable] Trips through a metal railing - X-Men: Blue (2017) #1
- Runs through Iceman's ice ramp and a metal fence - Iceman (2017) #5
- Pushes back Rogue and shatters the ground under them - Uncanny Avengers (2015) #29
- Runs through a brick wall - Despicable Deadpool #298
- Makes footprints in rock - Thor (2018) #1
- Charges through police cars and knocks them high into the air - Venom (2018) Annual #1
- Pushes back Venom and and causes him to tear up up the asphalt he was standing on - Venom (2018) Annual #1
- Dismembers Frost Giants by charging through them - Punisher Kill Krew #3
- Jumps through the ground above a basement and few meters into the air - Uncanny X-Men (2019) #18
- D-Cel, a mutant that can slow down kinetic motion to the point objects stop falling, can't stop Juggernaut from advancing towards her - Juggernaut (2020) #1
- Charges through a portal that teleports him high above an Asgardian dragon, and lands on him hard enough to set church bells ringing for miles and create a large crater - Savage Avengers (2019) #14
- Jumps through a giant Quicksand - Juggernaut (2020) #3
- Jumps from a helicopter and into a mountain hard enough to reach an underground bunker - Juggernaut (2020) #4
- Jumps through a metal roof - Juggernaut (2020) #5
- Fractures a street and knocks cars into the air by charging through it - Sinister War #4
- Charges through a concrete pillar - Sinister War #4
- Knocks down a concrete guard tower by charging through it - X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #13
- Walks through several trees - X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #19
- Runs across Krakoa and creates a wide trench in the ground - Legion Of X (2022) #3-4
submitted by Analypiss
to JuggernautMegaRT [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 03:21 thecupstacker Put together a front rack with an old skate deck as seen on bikepacking.com
2023.06.01 02:39 AslandusTheLaster Wolfgang's pups
Original prompt: [WP]You were a powerful villain, wielding great power and caused great destruction. Then, you became a reformed anti-hero who saved the world 5 years ago from a greater evil. Now, you live quiet life of solitude away from society, with a part of you knowing that not everyone is so easy to forgive. (link
) I sprinted hard up the stony stairway, my two companions following closely behind. We had gotten enough headway that our pursuers were out of earshot, and it was dark enough that they might not spot us instantly if we hid, but we couldn't dally or they'd be on us before we could even catch our breath. Still, I could tell Annie was out of breath and Otto was still bleeding from his wounded leg.
We couldn't keep this up, but I spotted a potential salvation: a wooden shack on the side of the mountain, illuminated from within. I pulled slightly ahead and banged on the door, hoping for a fast response. My companions quickly caught up, but Otto stumbled and collapsed behind me and the moment Annie stopped she started gasping for air.
It took a moment longer than I would've liked, but finally a middle-aged man opened the door. His voice was low and gruff, like the crackle of a campfire, and the backlighting from his hut combined with his size and sneering gaze caused him to cut a dark and imposing figure.
"Yes? Ah, heroes, prosecuted vagabonds, miscreants... whatever, come in before the hail of stone gets you," he said.
I quickly ushered my companions inside, and the man closed the door behind me.
"Do you have healing magic? Those wounds will require treatment," he asked, gesturing at Otto.
"Yes," I said. "We didn't have time to heal because we're being pursued."
"Ah, unfortunate. I have a boat below the house, under that hatch," he said, gesturing at a wooden hatch in the floor. He glanced over my companions. "It's stocked for an escape, but it's down a flight of stairs. Do you think you can make it?"
"I need a minute..." Annie said, stopping to cough as she hunched over.
"Well, gravity will guarantee I get down there, but making it in one piece..." Otto said, stumbling into a chair as the adrenaline started to wear off.
"Right. Get down there as fast as you can, I'll hold them off," our host said, grabbing a quarterstaff that was leaning against the wall and walking to the front door. "Oh, and take Tabby with you, would you?"
I looked over and saw a cat sitting on the windowsill. As the man stepped outside, I picked up the cat and handed it to Annie, before casting a minor healing spell on Otto. He'd need better treatment, but it would probably be enough to get us out of here.
My companions pulled the hatch in the floor open, and began slowly climbing down. I watched them go for a moment, then stepped back to the front. Outside the front door, the man was standing, holding a small jug.
"Sir, there's no need to sacrifice yourself for us, I can still fight," I said, stepping outside and placing a hand on the hilt of my sword.
"Hm?" he asked, looking back at me. "Who said anything about sacrifice?"
It was at that point that the soldiers reached us, shouting for us to stop in the name of the king.
Our host merely whirled around and hucked the jug over their heads, blasting it with fire. The jug exploded, raining burning oil down on the soldiers, who immediately panicked and began attempting to pat out the flames. Some even dove from the cliffside, presumably attempting to douse themselves in the sea below. The rocky cliffside had other ideas, and many ended up bouncing once or twice before hitting the water. Those who weren't being baked in their armor simply pushed past their allies and continued charging at us.
"We can't win here! We need to run!" I said, grabbing our host's arm.
He simply raised his other arm, and shot a blast of magic that covered the top few steps in a layer of ice, before jerking his arm away. As the soldiers reached him, they began to slip on the ice. Some of them immediately fell off the side of the mountain, but those that reached him were "encouraged" off with a blow to the head. The soldiers at the back of the group quickly backed off and retreated back down the mountain.
"Come to my mountains with this half-assed assault force? They just don't make tyrants like they used to," he said, tapping his staff against his boots to knock off the teeth and blood that had gotten on them.
"Sir? Who are you?" I asked.
"Ah, right, the name's Wolfgang," he said.
"Sir Wolfgang? As in the knight who slew the mad king half a decade ago?" I asked.
"The one and only," he said, stepping back inside his hut. I followed him, watching as he collected a few bottles from his pantry and grabbed a framed picture off one of his shelves.
"Is there a reason you're grabbing everything? The soldiers are gone now..." I asked.
"Not for long, they'll be back in a matter of days. You picked up the cat, right?" he asked.
"Yes, my sister has it," I said.
"Good, she was Claus', so she can be a bit stubborn with me," Wolfgang said. He grabbed an open wine bottle and drank from it until it was empty.
"Uh, is this going to take long?" I asked.
"Just go ahead, I'll catch up," he said, opening the door and hurling the empty bottle onto the stairs. I could see a small group of the soldiers creeping back up the stairs toward the hut, but when the bottle shattered, the broken glass made them stop their advance again.
The soldier at the front of the group gave some quiet command to the others, and they began using their hands to carefully brush away the glass.
"What are you waiting for, boy? Get moving!" Sir Wolfgang shouted at me. I quickly ducked into the trapdoor, and began hurriedly climbing down the stairs.
Annie and Otto were just now getting into the small boat, which appeared to be an old fishing vessel large enough for four to five people. I quickly hopped into the boat, and helped the two of them in before I started untying it from the mooring.
"What about the old guy? Is he not coming?" Annie asked.
"He should be here soon, but the soldiers are still behind us," I said.
As I spoke, a rope lowered down from above holding the bag Wolfgang had been loading things into, which came down onto the deck. Wolfgang quickly slid down the rope after it, before hurling a fireball up at the shack above him. We quickly took the hint, and began pushing away from the dock, with the bag and Wolfgang landing on the deck as we began to part.
"Whoof, that almost got messy. Boy, when I tell you to get going, you need to get going!" he said.
"I couldn't just let you throw yourself away! That's not what heroes do!" I said.
"Not what heroes do? You're telling me that you were planning to fight them alongside a man you barely knew, out of some idiotic sense of honor?" he asked.
"Well... It would be preferable to just letting an innocent person die," I said.
"Honor is a lie made by the powerful to make the multitudes feel safer. You don't just jump into a fight you don't have to, and if you have to fight then you fight to win!" Wolfgang said.
"That doesn't sound very heroic, sir," I said.
"Bah, you remind me of Claus. All about truth, justice, and honor up until you get your fool head lopped off and leave it to the rest of us to finish the quest," he said.
"You don't sound like most of the knights I've met," I said.
"Knight? You mean this is-" Otto began to ask.
"Yes, but before I became a knight I was just known as the Night Wolf, terror of the western forest. But that's a long story," Wolfgang said.
I looked out over the open water, and up at the collapsing hut on the side of the coastal mountain ridge.
"I think we've got time," I said.
"Perhaps not as much as you think," Wolfgang said, pulling on a rope and snapping his fingers. The sail on the fishing boat unfurled, and a gust of wind kicked up, carrying the boat up the coast, away from the direction from which we'd come.
"So is this him?" Annie asked, holding up a framed photo. Her other hand was stuck in the bag Wolfgang had brought down with him, but I hadn't even noticed her digging through it. The photo depicted Wolfgang and another man, who even with just the one image could be identified as being leaner and far more cheerful than the man we'd been speaking with.
While I had assumed he would be angry with my sister, Wolfgang let out a raucous laugh and said, "Indeed, that's him. You seem like a sharper sort, girl."
"Thank you, sir," she said.
"So you said you wanted to know about my past?" he asked.
"I mean, we didn't say we wanted to know, just that your excuse for not telling us seemed flimsy," I said.
"So you don't want to know?" he asked.
"I'd like to know," Annie said.
"That's what I thought. It started back in that little mountain village, a lad living with his family herding sheep. Then one day raiders came, killed both his parents, before stealing all their valuables and the lad himself," he said.
"Aw, that's so sad..." Annie said.
"Yes, it is, but as the boy grew he learned to fight and to command respect. As leader after leader among the bandits died, he ended up in charge, and just like those before him looted and pillaged the countryside," Wolfgang said.
I could see a lighthouse in the distance, directly ahead of the bow of the boat.
"Then one day, his group assaulted a caravan, lead by a brave and dashing hero, who easily bested all but the most elite fighters among the bandits. As the others withdrew, the former village boy fell behind. There's no honor among thieves, so none of his comrades came to save him, nor did he expect them to. Instead, he made his prayers and turned to face the young man," Wolfgang said. "The hero got the upper hand, but after having sand thrown in his eyes, he got knocked over and run through..."
"Wait, but didn't you and Claus end up being friends?" Annie asked.
"Turns out he was a hero of legend, one of the gods' chosen, so he came back," Wolfgang said. "Caught me off guard when he came directly to our camp and assaulted it to liberate the people we'd kidnapped from the caravan. He was expecting the dirty tricks this time, so he managed to beat me. But instead of just killing me, he offered me an ultimatum: Give up my life as a bandit, or give up my life as a living person. Naturally, I chose the former, and joined him in his quest, and together we slew the Duke of the Shade."
"The Duke of Shade? But you're famous for slaying the mad king," I said.
"Indeed, Claus was a hero of legend, and his legend was done, but tyrants are forever," Wolfgang said. "When a new king ascended the throne, and turned out to be a monster, he took on another journey to stop him, and I came along. Long story short, he did the same he did with me, asked the king to change his ways, and the king betrayed his trust to put him in the ground... Turns out, the gods don't care what happens to a hero once their destined quest is done, so Claus was gone for good."
"So you moved to the mountains to... Wait for more adventurers?" I asked, looking at the small dock coming into view through the mist.
"No, I just didn't want to deal with people any more. Bastards, the lot of them, and the good ones tend to die young," he said. "Looks like we're here."
The boat pulled toward the dock, and Wolfgang threw a rope over the mooring before hopping out of the boat. A middle-aged woman was standing on the nearby shore, and approached us as we exited.
"Thought I'd heard a strange wind, turns out it's just an old wolf caught in the surf," she said. "Though this is the first I've seen of his cubs."
"They're just a loan, for the time being. Heroes, this is Sonia the Cyclops," he said. As Sonia got closer, it became clearer that she was blind in her left eye, though she lacked the eyepatch to make it fashionable.
"And this is the greeting I get after all we've been through together! Honestly, this guy," she said, with all the offense of someone responding to a joke from a long-time friend. "So what brings you lot here?"
"Well, we fought off some bandits, then a group of soldiers came by the orphanage to arrest us for no reason," I said, recalling the last few days events in as succinct a manner as I could.
"Ah, must be a prophecy," Sonia said. "Come on, I'll take you kids to the oracle so you can get a proper start on your journey. Care to come with, Wolf?"
"No thanks, Cy, I've got to get to a bathhouse. Might swing by later to give them some pointers on fighting, but I've seen enough oracles for one lifetime," Wolfgang said.
"I'm sure the goddess of destiny has... forgotten about all those things you called her after she said the gods wouldn't bring Claus back," Sonia said.
"All the same, I'm not going," Wolfgang said.
"Suit yourself. Come on, kids, we're burning moonlight," she said.
With that, Sonia led us off into the mist, toward a large building which claimed to hold the secrets of the future. Wolfgang took off in a different direction, heading for some other place I couldn't see due to the ever-thickening morning mist. We wouldn't end up seeing him again for the rest of our journey.
submitted by AslandusTheLaster
to AslandusTheLaster [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 01:40 AdTime5718 Need help with front yard landacaping!
| || |
Last year my husband and I attempted to do our front yard landacaping ourselves and really aren't happy with how it looks. We'll most likely have to wait until next year to either try again or hire a landscaper due to putting in a deck this year, but we have no idea what to do with it! I like the brick edging but hate the plants we chose. Our house gets FULL sun and the poor hydrangeas (on the left) did horrible and were completely bleached last summer, and the plants on the left are supposed to be more green but ended up very brown. I also don't like the imbalance of how much green is on the right side vs left side. submitted by AdTime5718 to landscaping [link] [comments]
What should we do with it?! We want something relatively low maintained as neither of us has a green thumb. Thanks in advance!
2023.06.01 00:31 Jay2KWinger Account of a Parley
The little cluster of rocks wasn't much, but the cabling and paneling and sundries that had lashed them all together marked them as being a part of the asteroid belt known as the Reef. It was a nest of scum, the sorts that had been banned or kicked out of the Tangled Shore, that even The Spider didn't want to associate with. Because it was where the worst sorts filtered down to, the locals called the area "The Trench." Awoken enforcers never went near it, unless they had numbers and firepower at their backs.
In recent months, the Trench had become more crowded. Ships of all stripes had parked around it-- Eliksni ketches and Cabal cruisers, Awoken galliots and Arcadian shuttles. The makes meant little, as they were frequently stolen. The livery and banners they flew all varied, but there were two specific ones worth noting. One was blue and bore a sigil of a broken sword stabbed into a stylized crown, the other black and portrayed a stylized Eliksni skull with an upper jaw full of jagged teeth. The banners of House Salvation and the pirate lord Gresdin Sawtooth.
A skiff dropped out of a short-range jump and docked itself between a sloop and a cobbled-together transport, both of which had their old livery scored and scratched away. As the skiff's captain disembarked, he could see that crews were already at work painting Sawtooth's standard onto them. A vandal stepped out in front of him, crashing into him, but the vandal took one look and thought better of finishing their scowl, instead scuttling away to another ship.
Similar reactions followed, even from a few of the Legionless Cabal that plodded the walkways of the Trench. But soon enough, the skiff captain approached the Trench's topmost suite of cabins. Two Eliksni guards glared at him, but he stared them down in kind, until one turned and barked into the cabin, "Tell them the Technomancer's back."
But the Technomancer-- a Fallen reaver named Bansiks-- raised his bulky mechanical arm and shoved the two House Salvation Elites out of his way as he barged into the cabin. His synthesized voice rasped as he approached the high table. "Lord Gresdin," he called.
Several other figures were clustered around the table, turning toward him as he approached. One was just Kalsek, one of Gresdin's lieutenants, bristling with indignation-- but not just from Bansiks's interruption, the Technomancer could tell. Kalsek was more angry about the two interlopers at the table. Both were Eliksni, and one towered over all present at the table, wearing scarred armor and clutched in his lower hands was a heavily modified forge hammer, the head of which glowed with Scorch energy. He stood behind an older Eliksni seated at the table, but Bansiks could see the lightly-armored elder's own scarred body beneath the faded, priestly robes he wore. Both wore the blue banner of House Salvation.
He knew them both by reputation. The giant was, despite his size, the lesser of the two, a retainer to the elder. One of the many outcasts of the scattered House of Scars, he had become a reaver in his way, taking part in pirate raids and eventually seeking more glory for himself in the Last Attempt at conquering the human City. He had been captured along with many others and languished in the Prison of Elders, but had escaped along with so many others when the Prison had fallen, and eventually came to House Salvation, eager to smash the wretches that had defeated his people and imprisoned him. But in the end, Brekkis the Breaker was simply a brute to his core.
On the other hand, the elder, Morsik, was a former archon of a lesser House that had long ago fractured and fallen apart, one who had suffered much abuse in the time since, but largely at the hands of Lightbearers and the Reef folk. Drawn to Eramis by the promise of a reborn Riis, he had become a very effective recruiter for his new House, speaking in an almost hypnotic fashion as he whipped up the furor and fervor for revenge against the Lights for the pain they'd all experienced. It worked so well, it was little wonder why they called him the Demagogue.
Seated at the midle of the table, opposite the entry to the chamber, was a broad-shouldered, barrel-chested Eliksni. A bandolier strapped across his chest had several Shock pistols at hand, and though they were blocked by the table, Bansiks knew there was an array of swords and knives and similar bladed weaponry around his waist. His Ether-mask had a twice-bifurcated crest, two flanges of which twisted forward and down, almost like tusks, while the other two were bent into horns. The front of his mask had its grill wrought to resemble a mouthful of jagged fangs. He wore his own black standard, with one upper hand resting on the grip of his namesake sword, a zweihander with a jagged edge. Gresdin Sawtooth, pirate lord of the Trench, looked up at him.
"Bansiks," Gresdin acknowledged. But then he turned back to the House Salvation envoys. "For all she demands of me and mine, Eramis could not come herself, and sends you instead?"
"Eramiskel," Brekkis growled.
But the pirate lord slapped his palm on the table. "Not my Kell," he snarled back. "She disrespects me like this, she does not get that wisp of respect from me in turn."
The brute glowered down at him. "No one--"
"No one sends a thug like you unless they're trying to send a message," Gresdin interrupted. He turned his gaze instead to Morsik, dismissing the retainer immediately. "The Shipstealer expects much from me, and all the other crews that berth in my Trench." A rasping snarl rattled in his throat. "Running down and looking for old relics, but what does she offer in return? A vague threat that we will be allowed to live?"
"Eramiskel has been given purpose." Morsik's voice was soft, quiet, the kind that forced the listener to strain to hear, and to thus better absorb his words. "To revisit the pain our people have suffered upon those who inflicted it."
"Lightbearers," Brekkis snarled.
"You know better than others, Lord Gresdin," the Demagogue continued, "that our people are plagued by weakness. Those with the means to lift us up simply won't make the decisions necessary to shape a place for us to live. No one, apart from Eramiskel."
"She wants trinkets that grant their bearers power," Bansiks rumbled, and raised a relic in his hand, setting it on the table in front of the pirate lord. "Iriks is dead," he told him. Brekkis made a move to reach for the lantern-like relic, but the Technomancer's bulky synthetic arm twitched up and extruded a blade that touched the brute's throat. "That's not for you."
Morsik's expression did not change, but there was the impression of a frown. "Eramiskel has asked for the relics."
"This is not the new Riis that Eramis ruled," Gresdin picked up the relic and passed it to Kalsek. "You are in the Trench, and this is my domain. Not even the Lightbearers dare come here. What makes you think you can make demands of me?"
The Demagogue placed two hands on the table as he ponderously rose, his scarred, aged body trembling some as he did so. Brekkis moved to assist him, but Morsik waved him off. The elder Eliksni stood with an almost regal air, and then slapped a hand down on the table. Cobalt blue ice crystals rippled outward from where he struck, spreading across the table, and then the floor, flash-freezing Kalsek in place, relic included. As the pirate lord bellowed in fury, Brekkis slapped aside Bansiks's blade and grabbed him by the throat.
"You think you have power," Morsik murmurred, as he lifted his hand, letting the pirate see the Splinter embedded in the gauntlet he wore. "But you do not. And there is a power beyond even this, which eclipses even the Light."
To the former archon's surprise, however, Gresdin began laughing. "Your House kneels to the Black Gale. But the Gale is not here--"
At which point, red SIVA clouds snaked out of Bansiks's gauntlet, winding around Brekkis and pinning him to the floor with hardened cables of metal. As this happened, the Technomancer raised his synthetic arm and the blade unfolded as the barrel of a cannon emerged from it. Morsik stared this down, raising his hands carefully. The Stasis crystals receded, Kalsek staggering as he was freed, and Gresdin arose from his chair, hefting his namesake sword to one shoulder with a speed that belied its weight.
"--and Gresdin Sawtooth bows to no one."
Morsik inclined his head thoughtfully. "How would you like to strike down the Reef folk?"
The Lord of the Trench paused, lowering his sword briefly, though not fully. "Explain."
"The man-folk and their Lightbearers have plagued our people since the moment we first reached this star. But only one of their Houses has ever enslaved Eliksni." The Demagogue spread his hands. "The House of Sov." Gresdin stared him down, but then glanced at Bansiks, gesturing subtly with a spare hand. The Technomancer lowered his cannon, but left Brekkis pinned under SIVA tendrils. With a nod, Morsik continued, "The apologists will say the broken Weavers swore oaths, but oaths made under duress are not binding, as they proved later when they rebelled."
"A rebellion that got them all killed," Kalsek pointed out.
"Because the man-folk will never let Eliksni live unless they kneel to their Lightbearers and to the Traitor Machine," Morsik spat. "If we start to rise back up, they send their ghouls to slaughter us."
Gresdin grunted again. "No one dares attack the Trench. Even the Lightbearers stay away." But he looked over as Bansiks shook his head.
"The Lightbearers have pirate hunters now," he reported. "Not only have they taken out several of the ketchkilers, they are hunting relics like that," he indicated the lantern in Kalsek's hands.
Gresdin chewed on that thought for a moment before Morsik folded his lower hands over his belly, the other set behind his back. "The relics have power. The old crews knew this." He eyed the pirate lord. "You broke from your House because your Kell was weak. House Blades was renowned for its prowess in battle, but Yovariskel had been too cautious to join the Last Attempt, and Koussakskel is too cowardly to seek the glory you crave. You earned your place as Lord of the Trench as befits your old House's ways.
"You have supporters in House Blades," Morsik continued. "They grumble and whisper and want their glories, but Koussakskel holds them back. A bold move on your part-- scouring the Reef of House Sov-- would galvanize them. They would flock to your banner. And Eramiskel would honor your deeds, and offer you pride of place as High Baron in her House, as admiral of Salvation's ketch fleet."
The pirate lord mulled this over, while Kalsek argued, "Why should Lord Gresdin lower himself to serve a kell who failed her House? The Lights defeated her, her House was scattered." But the expression on Gresdin's face told that he'd already taken the bait, and now the Demagogue just needed to reel him in.
"Perhaps her House had been weak," Morsik suggested. "And with you at her side to assure the strength of her followers..."
Bansiks looked at Gresdin, who regarded the elder with a long stare. Then, with a ponderous move, he planted the end of his jagged zweihander on the floor, and nodded to the cyborg Eliksni. The Technomancer stepped back from Brekkis as the cabling binding him down dissolved back into clouds of nanites, which withdrew into the tanks on his back.
"Then let us speak," Gresdin Sawtooth smiled, "of what your Kell will do for me."
submitted by Jay2KWinger
to DestinyJournals [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 00:24 Madpinnr3 Neighbors birdfeeder is staining my deck
This honestly is small potatoes, however, my neighbor has now annoyed me to the point that i need to figure out how to get her to listen it's not all about her. This is in Maryland I own my townhouse. My neighbor leases to own. I've reached out to the landlord several times and nothing changes. I've reached out to the neighbor. She doesn't change. We bought our house in 2020. The neighbors kids climbed my tree out front and my railings on the outside. I asked them to stop. (Didn't) I've asked them to be mindful of the way they walk cause they don't understand sound transfers. Can't sleep in past 630. She rents her basement out to someone who has a modified car exhaust who works 11 pm to 7 am he leaves at 10 pm. My kids can't sleep cause of the noise. I've asked her and her land lord to address all of these issues and nothing. This weekend I power washed my deck. I noticed that my neighbor has a bird feeder and her feeder has feed a bunch of animals! Great right?! Until I noticed that my railings are stained. Vinyl wrapped railings are permanently stained. I told the landlord. I am done dealing with the tenant. What do I do?
submitted by Madpinnr3
to legaladvice [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 00:22 lawnguy13 Would adding a box to my rear mids be worth it?
My rear speakers, 6.5's, hang freely into my trunk. Essentially using the trunk as a box. Compared to my front speakers, they sound pathetic. They are the same speakers with same amount of power as my fronts. Thinking about attaching a box to the bottom of my rear deck on each speaker. Question is, is it worth it? Has anybody done this?
submitted by lawnguy13
to CarAV [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 23:58 RepresentativeIcy132 Can I send sealed cards to get graded?
Do I have to open the seal on order to get them graded or can I just send it sealed like this special delivery bidoof I have?
submitted by RepresentativeIcy132
to pokemoncards [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 23:24 ingabrinks If only all marking instructions were this fun to read
2023.05.31 23:18 Archives-H Watch out for Corpse Boats when you travel by ferry. Don’t end up like the many missing people of Bandai Landang.
This story takes place a few years ago, back when I had just graduated from high school, in the summer months that separated my juvenile years from the coming dawn of (semi)-adulthood.
I was naive then, still a child without a care in the world, save for my life ahead of me and spending the rest of my ‘youthful days’ with my friends.
So we decided to go on a trip around the world to sightsee, to be close before we were inevitably forced apart. We journeyed off into the lands of the British, to the towers of France, and even to the deep jungles of South America.
It was all very fun until we decided to head over to a little known island by the name of Bandai Landang somewhere in the Java Sea. If you look for the island now it barely shows anything save for a few internet forum adventures gone bad and Bandai Namco, the entertainment company.
I think our friend Canopy was the one who found out about it. He was always into the weirder side of things.
The island can be considered a micronation, but the countries nearby all claim it’s part of theirs. Indonesia, Malaysia, and even China have it listed as some other name. No, I’m not going to share the ‘official’ name of the island- I don’t want anymore unfortunate wanderers.
Anyway, Canopy said the island promised exquisite beaches, awesome views, and untouched air and a sense of peace.
“I’ve never heard of this,” I pointed out. “Is it really a thing?”
He patted my shoulder. “It’ll be fun! My cousin’s been there and she said it was AWESOME!”
So we decided to venture onto the island. We were nearby anyway, and after asking around, Canopy managed to find us a ferry that would take us there.
This is where things go wrong. This is where we had to split up.
“I’m sorry,” the old man running the boat said, “the ferry's full.” And so our group of six was split into three.
Canopy, Myra, and Al went on first, and the rest of us- me, Quincy, and Jan would have to stay over the next day. Now it was only too late when we found out that there were no ferries crossing the next day.
“It was perfectly fine yesterday?” I snapped, confused. “The weather hasn’t even changed!”
The old man who’d ferried our friends shook his head. “Today is… festival,” he pronounced. “Water no good- there are things in the water. Evil things.”
“What festival?” Quincy demanded. But the old man had walked away, leaving us on a very empty dock. “What-” he sighed.
“It’s okay,” Jan assured. “There’s things to do here.”
I nodded, and we started to walk back to our hotel when a burly man appeared. He was white, not local, and had an air of gusto to him. “You three really believe that crap about the festival?”
I looked at him, perplexed, and shook my head. “No. We just want to get too the island.”
He took my hand and shook it. “Name’s Captain Murrow,” he told. “And I can take you to the island.”
This was great news. So I shook it and we settled on a deal. He charged double the price, being as that he was the only one willing to take us. And being naive kids, we decided it was a fair trade.
We just wanted to see our friends.
Besides us and the Captain there were two others on board- a rich couple that seemed to avoid us with their dog, a fancy chihuahua of some sort that barked at everything.
“Enjoy yourselves,” Murrow suggested. “It’ll be an hour.”
An hour wasn’t that bad, considering the flights we’d traveled and the hikes we’d been on. So me and my friends made small talk, and we chatted about colleges, journeys, romance, all the little things that made up life.
The fog rolled in an hour later, when we were supposed to have arrived.
“Excuse me, friends,” Captain Murrow announced. “We seem to have drifted…” there was a certain confusion to how he was saying his words, “...off course?”
Me and Quincy ran up on deck while Jan slept. We found the rich, pretentious looking couple bickering with the captain. “I can’t wait any longer with this riff-raff on board,” she hissed, dog barking in hand. “We’re going to be late for the auction!”
“Is this some sort of tourist trap?” her husband snarled. “I’ll pay you all you need to set us back on course!”
Murrow’s brow furrowed. “I don’t know what exactly is going on,” he told. “This hasn’t happened before.”
Quincy spoke up. “Maybe the legends are true and we never should’ve gone.” I giggled at that. “OoooOo!” he joked. I think Murrow found it a little funny, cause he smiled.
The couple most certainly did not. “Kids like you will never understand what it means to be on time,” the woman hissed. “Always late.”
Her husband looked out into the mist and pointed. “Look- there are-” he squinted his eyes, “boats!”
Jan came out, wondering why we hadn’t arrived. I told her we didn’t know, and the three of us- and Murrow walked over to the edge.
There was nothing out there, much to the man’s confusion. But the more we drifted, and the more Murrow tried to set us back on course the more it seemed there was something out there.
A sense of- dread? Fear? Excitement- filled my veins. It was all very new and interesting. A youthful adventure- a group lost at sea, ready to be rescued!
“Boats!” the husband shouted. “Look!”
This was when they came into view. First it was one or two, little wooden rafts that drifted in the distance against the ferry- despite the wind blowing the opposite direction.
And then more started to come, and closer they came. They were tattered wooden things, ripped by wind and cut-like marks.
That’s when we saw what was on them. “What the hell?” Jan whispered. “Are those-”
They were almost like dolls, burnt and faceless, strung against the boats, strapped downwards with odd multicolored ropes that stood out against the graying mist. “They must be dolls, right?” I asked.
Quincy sniffed the air and withdrew in fear. “I don’t think so.” I smelt it too as the wind blew, now harsh.
It smelled of decay. Burned flesh and the sickly stench of burnt hair. “Is this the festival?” the woman pleaded, asking Murrow. She folded her arms in disbelief. “Some trick.”
“I’ve heard of these,” Murrow murmured, now serious. “I didn’t think they’d be true.”
Jan asked him what they were as more drifted nearer and nearer. The answer was just as foreboding.
“Corpse boats,” he told. It was said an unprepared traveler wandering the seas at night would find themselves met with the rafts. They would smell the decay at first, and the burnt hair.
Then they would see the burnt, paper-wrapped bodies, strapped to the boat. It was said that once a year a couple traveling out those would kids would meet them- and that they would vanish forever.
And there was something else to them, too- staring at them for too long would-
The husband gasped before Murrow could finish. “Alice, look!” he shouted. “It’s- it’s Marissa!”
The woman looked blankly at the ocean, seeing nothing. “What the hell are you talking about?” she spat. “Of course you’re thinking about your ex at a time like this!” And then she turned to the captain. “Get us out of here. This trip is over.”
“No, look- it’s-” and then he stopped. And then across the boat, floating in parallel with us was one of the corpse boats, closer than ever.
The raft was different. Three sharp, pointed sticks raised upwards, and the foul smelling corpse-doll (what were they?) was impaled. A stick through the head made it look upwards.
“She’s calling my name,” he stammered, walking away back. He screamed and put his hands around his ears. He screamed and screamed, backing away, terrified. We started to back away, shocked by his actions.
And then he did the impossible. He ran and flung himself off the ship, whispering the name “Marissa!” as he fell.
There was no splash. Just an empty nothing. “What the hell!” I yelped. It wasn’t even a question, it was just- shock.
Hesitantly, the three of us looked downwards. No strung up impaled corpse was there. No husband to be seen. Just the fog, the sea, and the corpse boats in the distance passing us by.
“Don’t look at them!” Murrow snapped, finishing his story. “Don’t look at them or they’ll take you!”
We instantly avoided our gaze, returning to the center of deck, staring at the ground instead. The boat suddenly hit something, and it flung us to a side.
I picked myself up and-
It was in front of me. Impossibly, an impaled, foul smelling corpse covered paper, arms strung almost trying to reach me. For a second it wasn’t a corpse but the dead body of my high school sweetheart and I almost reached to meet it.
But I avoided my gaze and shut my eyes.
Then my hair began to be brushed, to be braided, they same way she would do it before she’d been killed in a car accident. I heard whispers in my ear, whispers I couldn’t make out that sounded all too familiar.
“Come with me,” I heard. “Float away…”
And then I heard screaming, and the feeling of the thing near me evaporated. I opened my eyes to see the rich woman tugging at Captain Murrow. “Look!” she cried, pointing to the ocean.
“I don’t-” he was tugged, “-want to!”
“It’s my husband!” she snarled. “How’d he get on one of those?!” she slapped Murrow across the cheek. “Get him back here.”
In the sea I saw a corpse, impaled and stretched out to reach out to her. The woman started back lovingly. “Don’t worry- I’ll get you!” And then she, with Murrow in hand stepped over the barrier and, with her free hand, clasped the corpse’s hand in hers.
And then she screamed. The body pulled her dowards with such force her arm was ripped clean off.
She screamed and fell over the edge- taking Murrow with her- but Quincy and Jan leapt to action, seizing him just before our captain was lost forever.
Like before, there was no splash. Nothing to tell us she’d ever been there but for a confused chihuahua and blood on deck.
We spent the next hour below deck, avoiding the rest of the corpse-boats. And just as it had all begun the boat seemed to right itself on course. The sun shone brightly, and Murrow ferried us to the docks.
I texted my friends, the three who'd come before- but they didn’t respond.
I asked around where they’d gone, and after a while, a visitor to the island told me they jumped off after looking into the ocean for far too long. I asked further, to the locals who had been on the boat the day before.
So many had vanished on the journey. They were only three more.
I researched this phenomenon as the years passed by, wondering if they would ever be found. This event isn’t local to the journey to Bandai Landang, though. No, Corpse Boats have been sighted throughout history and in international waters.
Be careful when you travel by ferry. Don’t look at the corpse boats or you’ll end up like many of the missing at sea.
submitted by Archives-H
to nosleep [link] [comments]