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[Twilight Kingdom] - Chapter 89

2020.09.22 10:55 Ascendotuum [Twilight Kingdom] - Chapter 89

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Candle swooped down and landed with ill grace atop the rocky knoll. The small band of Ancestors Own cowered, then straightened as she transformed back into her human form. They watched, eyes wary as she crawled beneath the enchantments and settled beneath the rocky ledge dug into the ridge of the hillside. Once she stopped moving they relaxed. Turning back to their bows her presence was soon forgotten as the battle consumed their concentration. They fired mechanically. Arrow after arrow, shot after shot. The air around them rained feathers and ash as the iron found their marks.
Candle watched, breathing deeply and feeling guilty for the snatched moment of rest. She would never forgive herself if one of her friends died while she was hiding under a rock. But she needed a moment. Needed it desperately. Someone handed her a skin and she drank greedily, with shaking hands. Sitting, away from the immediate adrenaline of the battle it was harder to ignore the aches and pains in her body. Pasco's sacrifice had given her a brief reprieve, but she had no illusions. She ground her nails into her palm and resisted the urge to crush the water bottle in her frustration. While the Necromancer Queen could raise the dead, the living were at a severe disadvantage. Unless something changed, they would all die. Fact. Candle's mind sheered away from the implications, and she focused instead on her immediate pain. She took a moment to heal herself of the worst of her cuts and bruises, including the large gash on her thigh where corpse Asher had gored her with his teeth. She shuddered, shutting her eyes. When she opened them, the majority of her wounds had closed. She was still covered in blood and grime, but it would wash off. If she had the opportunity.
A thump heralded another dragon's arrival. A moment of tension passed before Candle recognised Steren, landing in a shower of soil and debris. She transformed, a look of terror on her face as she scoured the air above her, then scurried forward in her human form to duck through the meagre protection of the enchantments. Spying Candle, she dove beneath the rock and squeezed next to her friend, her chest rising and falling in time with her deep shuddering sobs. Listening to her friend nearly broke Candle. She knew she was holding back a vast damn of emotion, and if she let one teardrop fall her feelings would consume her. So she held it in. Her life and the lives of others depended on her control. Even now, she had been gone from the battle for far too long. She tried not to think that this snatched moment of rest might result in the death or serious injury of someone she knew. Their deaths would be her fault. Lost in dark thoughts, she nearly screamed when a shadow moved in the gloom beside her. The shadow squirmed about and Candle saw with some relief thatrelief, that it was just Murmux.
"Hello, ladies," he said. The lightning bird shuffled around awkwardly in his bonds so he could see their faces. His tone was light but Candle could see the same deadness in his eyes that was beginning to creep into her core. "Still alive then?"
Candle took another swig from the skin.
"Is there any way to free your brothers?" she asked. She needed to get a grip. There had to be some way they could use his knowledge to their advantage. Something, there must be something. "Those that remain?" Pasco's wall of fire had taken out approximately half of the lightning birds. But of those who had died, half again had been resurrected by the Necromancer Queen. "They fight because of the compulsion in their blood tattoos, yes? If they were freed would they still feel the need to kill us?"
Murmux shrugged, tilting his head on one side.
"Maybe," he said. "They would probably just fly off – bird-brained bastards the lot of them. But there is no way to free them, anyway. They will have to die. They will fight to the death, and then beyond." He sighed. "Most of them deserve it, anyway. They are horrible people. I will shed no tears." His eyes gleamed with moisture, and he turned his face away.
"And there is no way to release you from the compulsion?"
"Not while the Queen lives."
"So we kill her?"
He snorted.
"Good luck with that. I assume you have been trying. What have you been doing up there, painting your nails?"
Candle swallowed.
"I mean, surely there must be a way? You don't know any way to do it? To kill her?"
"Your relentless optimism is grating."
"Candle," Delen's voice called from somewhere above, high-pitched and laced with fear. "We need you!"
Candle stifled a groan and crawled forward on her hands and knees. She lifted her face to the night sky, letting the cool air caress her skin. Almost directly overhead, Jotham was locked in battle with Asher's corpse. The pair of them tumbled over and over in a flailing mass of claw and teeth. As she watched they broke apart. She stood, racing to the edge of the protected circle, not knowing what to do, but needing to do something. The air around Jotham seemed to contract. A blistering explosion of light surrounded him momentarily, silhouetting both dragons in harsh black against the incandescent white light. Then Asher's body was gone, reduced to motes on the wind and Candle breathed in a sharp, juddering sigh of relief. At least now Asher's spirit could find peace. He hadn't deserved to be the Necromancer's plaything in death.
Any relief she felt was short-lived, however. As she transformed back into her scales, Steren called to her from underneath the rock.
"Candle." Her friend was shaking and tears were tracking their way in dirty streaks down her blood-caked cheeks. "I don't think I can do it. I thought I could but I can't."
"It's fine," lied Candle, suddenly much older than her sixteen years. "Stay here."
"Goodbye," said Murmux, with no trace of humour. He didn't meet her eye, only turning his face away from hers, as if he couldn't bear to look at her. Fear threatened to overwhelm her then, hooking her heart with insidious little claws. She had thought Jotham would be able to save them, that her friends being dragons would be enough. Now she was suddenly afraid of dying.
A thought broke through the bleak sludge of her mind's fear. She turned her head to left and right.
"Where is Zephi?" she asked, panic gripping her afresh. She raised her voice. "Has anyone seen the little girl?"
No one paid her any heed. The fighting was directly overhead and the Ancestors Own had more pressing concerns than the whereabouts of one wayward child. One of the other corpse dragons bore down on the hideaway and all thoughts of Zephi evaporated in the more pressing and immediate concern of trying to stay alive.



Zephi had spent the first part of the battle lying on her stomach, chewing her fingernails. She gazed upward, watching Candle's flight with terror and awe, and trying to control the fear that gripped her. Every now and then she turned to poke Murmux. He did not seem to enjoy it, or to be particularly appreciative of her updates but prodding him in the side made her feel less anxious. His side was warm and solid, and his irritable cussing was a comfort. After a particularly tense moment in the battle, he announced that she was bruising him and that if she didn't stop he would fry her finger with a bit of lightning. Zephi didn't think he meant it but stopped just in case. Puffing out her cheeks, the moments crept by, punctuated by the bangs and crashes of battle from somewhere above. She tried not to think bad thoughts. Glancing at Murmux, she could see that he was wrestling with bad thoughts of his own.
Unable to bear the inaction, Zephi went in search of a snack. She couldn't find anything, and the Ancestors Own were too busy fighting to pay her any mind. Zephi tried to help by fetching them drinks, but only managed to get in the way. Wide-eyed, she watched the battle rage, and then Pasco as he strode away across the fell. She witnessed him release that devastating wall of fire which seemed to upset the Ancestors Own. Zephi couldn't understand their words but from the tone there was a lot of swearing.
No one paid her any mind and after a while, boredom and anxiety grew too much to bear. Candle had said to stay with Pasco. Pasco might have forgotten her but she would go and find him, even if it meant leaving the safety of the knoll. Decision made, she stood up. Slipping out of the stone circle unnoticed was the work of seconds. Moments later, she was padding across the fell with the wind in her hair, the ground coarse and scratchy beneath her feet.
Zephi could see well in the dark and made a bee-line for the tiny, distant figure that was Pasco. He was further away than she had realised, and her legs began to ache. Soon enough though, she was walking across the desolate fire waste of his magic. The object of her journey was sitting crossed legged at the epi-centre of the blackened valley floor, his eyes closed. She stood before him, ready with a smile for when he noticed her. The pale-skinned man remained quite still. She waited. Of all the people Zephi had met in the Day Nation, Pasco was the only one who reminded her of the humans from home. And he understood her, and he had given her a sandwich.
"Hello, Pasco," she said, stepping close to him and peering in his face. He didn't react. "What are you doing?"
She waited for him to notice her, but he was still. Cautiously she reached out and poked him – still no response. Zephi wondered if he was asleep. But humans didn't usually sleep seated upright, though. At least, in Zephi's limited experience they didn't. She waited some more. The minutes ticked by but he didn't stir. Disappointed she turned away.
In the distance, she could see Candle fighting the last remaining corpse dragon and the sight made her stomach knot. If only she could help – but she was just a small, stupid girl who couldn't fly. Even Murmux could fly. Zephi couldn't even raise a small animal from the dead let alone a person, or a dragon. And there weren't any bones here anyway. She looked around at the charred ground, her eye catching sight of something white against the soot-stained earth. Swooping down with a cry of delight she picked up the small, perfectly formed skull of a bird. She cradled it in her palm, feeling the smooth ridge of its eye sockets with her fingers. The poor thing must have died in Pasco's fires, the flesh melted from the bone. But what was she thinking? One tiny bird would hardly turn the tide of battle, even if she did get the runes right. Pocketing the skull she jammed her hands into the comforting velvet of her dress.
Zephi stood on the vast burnt plain of the valley floor and looked up at the unfamiliar night sky, feeling lonely. Besides her, Pasco might as well have been a rock. She turned away from him, from the battle and looked out towards the sea. What would she do if Candle was hurt? If Candle died? It felt selfish to even think about it but she was in a strange place with no one to love her. Having Candle made it all worthwhile but if Candle died...
Her eyes wandered the skyline. The mountains were familiar and yet different. The trees that grew here were small and stunted, nothing like the thick, luxuriant vegetation of the Night Nation. The valleys were brown and dull, and the mountain ridges were mostly bare. It was uncanny. Her gaze came to a stop on the recumbent figure of the Old Man of Sterlester. A short way across the isthmus, the vast mountain of his head rested against the distant ocean sands. The crags that made his body curved around the bay, solid and black against the stars.
Zephi started walking. The night was warm and pleasant, as long as she ignored the flash and boom of the battle raging behind her. As she crossed the remainder of the isthmus the ground grew sandier, and the tang of salt tweaked her nose. Something dry and scaly slithered away to one side, and a few moments later a bird took flight. A small animal scurried away into the fell. A bird took flight. At length, she passed beneath the deep shadow of the Old Man of Sterlester. It was quiet here. Nothing moved. It felt like the whole universe was focused on the aerial fight taking place over the Enchantments and Zephi was utterly alone.
Zephi paused, next to a rocky outcrop of exposed sandstone. She reached a hand out to brush the rough surface, then snatched it back. If she wanted to keep her friend, she needed to be brave.
"Be brave, Zephi," she told herself, puffing out her cheeks. Her voice sounded tiny, even to her own ears, spoken in the great empty space of that strange world. But the vocalisation gave her confidence.
She reached out, and with a shaking finger drew the rune of waking.
"Hello," she said to the rocks. "My name is Zephi. I know your brother."


Candle tore herself away from the corpse dragon, leaving a chunk of her scales in its blackened maw. Narrowly, she avoided a plume of flame aimed at her head. It singed her scales and she screamed in pain, consumed with adrenaline and primal agony. Trying to pull herself together, to fight with her head as well as her instincts, she banked, summoning threads of magic. It was hard. She was tired, pulling and gathering energy was becoming more and more difficult as the night marched on. The bitter edge of exhaustion threatening to rise and consume her. Her limbs were heavy. Her shoulders strained under the weight required to lift her wings. Summoning a burst of energy from her deep reserve she pulled away, then turned sharply and cast the rune guw for light spear. Her aim was good. The shaft flew true, piercing the flesh of the undead dragon and pinning it to the face of the rock. She had earned a moment's reprieve but she knew, the creature would not stay pinned for long. What was a spear through the heart when you were already dead? And felt no pain? Already the undead dragon was working to free itself, its gleaming blue eyes fixed on her with wicked intensity.
Candle hesitated in the air, not knowing who to help, who to turn too. Everywhere she looked her friends were in danger of being overwhelmed. Jotham appeared next to her. His face was grim, and he had a nasty gash across his face. One golden eye was bleeding and swollen.
"I was hoping the other Guardians would rouse," said Jotham. With casual strength he sent a second spear of light through the corpse dragon's body, further anchoring it to the mountain slope. It screamed at him, fighting to free itself.
"The others?"
"They have the power to tip this scale. Morwagr I haven't seen for a couple of years–"
They parted as a lightning bolt crashed between them. Jotham snarled at the lightning bird who had delivered it, snapping the creature's neck with a lazy shake. Candle slapped another away with her tail, cracking its head against the mountain face.
"Morwagr! She was there, at Angarrack!"
"You saw her in the Night Nation? Then she is probably still there. Charodon I haven't seen recently, I don't know if the others are dead, or sleeping."
There was the sound of ripping flesh and the corpse dragon tore itself free. Jotham swore. Down below, Candle could see the upturned face of the Necromancer Queen. She was laughing up at them, her eyes dark.
"While she lives," said Jotham, "there will be no end to this."
He dove, barrelling towards that composed, smiling face. Lightning birds, spirits and dead airmen crashed into his sides, biting and grabbing, rushing to defend their Queen. He pushed them away, snarling, his flame clearing a path before him. But they kept coming, an inexorable press of dead bodies, weighing him down. The great dragon slowed, then disappeared beneath the mass of them.
Candle screamed Jotham's name, but her cry was cut off as the corpse dragon rose in front of her, its body held together by sinew and dark magic. Great chunks of its flesh were missing. She froze, despair dragging at her limbs. The corpse dragon screamed. The sound was appalling – a horrible, death rattle of rage and despair and then Candle, too was fighting for her life. She twisted to evade the creature, pumping her wings, trying to coax the last bit of energy out of them. Just as she thought she could fight no more there was an earth-shattering screech – the sound of stone rending stone.
Candle tried to cover her ears with her hands, momentarily forgetting she was in her dragon body. The corpse dragon fell away from her as shock waves rippled through the air. Candle fought to stay airborne – everything was rumbling and shaking. Across the isthmus plumes of dust were shooting into the sky, tumbling piles of granite and sandstone sliding down slopes.
"What's happening?" cried Delen.
"No," came Jotham's voice from down below. "Something else."
Candle wheeled around frantically, trying to find out what was happening, trying to find the threat. Whatever it was it was happening in the mountains above Sterlester. Something big. Something enormous. A wild crack resounded across the land, echoing back from the distant mountains in the east and rolling around the foothills of the Guardians. Candle squinted through the dust, trying to see. The earth creaked and groaned, ripples spreading out across the diamond plain of the ocean. The mountain above the Lochlanach settlement rose and rose... until the Old Man of Sterlester stood, one craggy foot in Adamant Bay and one in Hammett.
He was bigger than the King of the Mountain, bigger than any giant. His head brushed the clouds, and his hair scraped the dome of the sky. His face was cracked granite and his skin weathered rock. Trees grew from his ears and his arms bristled with shrubbery. Water cascaded from his pores and when he roared the world quaked in terror. The Old Man took one low lumbering step into the bay, and a tidal wave of water loosed itself on the coast, sloshing over the low plain of the isthmus. As he turned Candle could see the exposed ridge of his spine, shiny with moonsilver, battered and ragged where the metal had been mined from his slumbering body.
The remaining lightning birds scattered before him, but the Old Man of Sterlester casually swatted at them with his sandstone fists. They disappeared beneath the waters and did not resurface. Two of the Night Nation dragons were not quick enough to avoid his wrath and were dispatched with casual violence. Airships with crews both living and dead were smashed into the ground. Imps screamed and chittered as they were crushed. With a boom the Old Man stepped across the plain, his feet uprooting rock and trees, leaving craters the size of villages in his wake. He turned his craggy face towards the Necromancer Queen, leaning forward. Her composure dropped, her already pale face turning grey. She picked up her skirts and ran.
But nothing could outrun the massive mountain giant. He lifted one giant foot. A tangle of roots and trees dangled down, suspended in mid-air. Then he stepped, deliberately. Rocks crashed into the ground. Borlowen screamed, once. When the Old Man lifted it there was nothing left to be seen, just a crater of ground rock, and a few gleaming silver particles. The Old Man lifted his craggy face towards the rising sun and the last remaining Night Nation dragon.
Zebulon crash landed on the sandy shores of Adamant Bay and turned into his human self. He waved his hands frantically.
"I surrender," he shouted. "I surrender!"

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2020.09.22 10:33 blogmoneyweb Conversation Tips - How to Talk To Men

Everybody has sticking points, whether it's work, relationships or life in general. But that's fine and dandy because the learning process is what makes us better women.
Perhaps you're struggling with certain behaviors or fears that might be keeping you from making the most out of your love life. Not to worry though; author Mirabelle Summers has created the ultimate game-free guide on how to do just THAT:
The "Get A Great Guy Guide" is just the thing you need to achieve the breakthrough that you've been waiting for. With its sensible, no-nonsense and down-to-earth advice for the sassy, modern girl, finding AND holding on to a quality man will be a cinch!
Now then - one of the most common stumbling blocks to more romance in a woman's life is a simple lack of conversational know-now. The good news is that this can be LEARNED and immediately applied in your everyday life!
Especially while you're face-to-face with a potential lover!
Oftentimes the problem is that some well-meaning girls overlook the importance of having the right communication style. It's not that they WANT to be boring; they're merely unaware of how to hold a conversation.
No sensible gal is going to get up in the morning and tell herself, "I wonder how I'm gonna BORE the socks off of that cute stranger I'm going run into at the coffee shop today?"
If you want to become a better conversationalist, it's important to consider if you've grown accustomed to certain patterns of speech that are actually counterproductive. Sometimes, you need to step back and ask if you've fallen into certain habits which you've numbed yourself to over time.
So the first step towards any form of improvement is SELF-AWARENESS. Think about the way you normally carry a conversation with a guy and ask yourself if your style could use some polishing.
Of course, I don't want you to start beating yourself up if you feel that the way you talk to men isn't as attractive as you might want it to be. Like I said earlier, there's always room for improvement, and it's definitely a good thing to know EXACTLY which areas can be improved.
With that said, I want you to go over the following tip you can use to enhance your communication style:

# 1: Rapport is Key

It may sound like the simplest thing in the world to say, but the fact is lots of perfectly adorable women have a hard time doing this. It's mainly because they only have a VAGUE idea of what rapport is, so naturally you can't create something you can't really put a pin on!
So let's clear up the fog surrounding this topic and identify what it is exactly. In a nutshell, having rapport is about having a CONNECTION with someone.
You know how you hook up your iPod or mobile phone to your computer, and they suddenly have this mutual understanding? It's kind of like that, but on a DEEPER level.
Let me give you a clearer picture: if you were at a party packed with all manner of gorgeous, articulate and friendly men, which one of them are you likely to REALLY fall for?
Since they're all visually and mentally appealing, you might have a hard time figuring out which guy suits you. Chances are the one who naturally understands you will be the man you'd want to date.
Why is that? Well, doesn't it feel just GREAT when a person instinctively senses where you're coming from?
I'm sure you've met at least one person in your life who you inexplicably feel drawn to. That's because that person seems to perfectly understand and echo back your own opinions or feelings.
That sense of being connected is what rapport is all about. Fortunately, it's actually not hard at all to do this in your daily conversations.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you need to be on the 'same page' as the person you're talking to. There are easy ways to do this.
For example, keep an ear out for specific concepts or values that are personally close to the person you're in a conversation with. If he brings up that it's important to him to have some quiet time everyday, store that away for future reference.
Later on you can echo back that same concept by telling him about how YOU like to spend your alone time: 'At the end of the day I like to spend an hour or so curling up with a good book and a nice warm cup of chamomile tea. It really helps decompress after a crazy day, you know what I mean?'
Step back and watch his eyes light up like a Christmas tree! By taking something close to his heart and giving it back to him in a genuine way, your words will make quite the IMPACT on him.
So, rapport really has to do a lot with speaking the same 'language'. Now of course, I don't mean you have to start mimicking everything he's saying like a little parrot, but rather do it in an EMOTIONAL sense.
Discovering and talking about the values that resonate with you BOTH is a way to speak the same language. When you think about it, we often adapt our modes of speech depending on the context we're in.
For example, you wouldn't talk to your friends, family, colleagues, or elders in the same EXACT way would you?
So don't think that you're being a phony by making an effort to speak in the same way that he does. You're simply getting into the practice of communicating in a way that's APPROPRIATE to the situation.
And when it comes to chatting up gorgeous guys, a meeting of the minds is best done through rapport-building speech patterns!

# 2: Switch Off Your Brain

Don't get me wrong, the kinds of guys who are worth your time are into women of SUBSTANCE. And certainly, this next conversational tip is not about acting air-headed or ditzy.
All I'm advising you do is keep your sexy brain from going into overdrive! A common mistake that intelligent women often commit is to think too much about certain things.
They get so caught up in their own world of thoughts that they'll come off as aloof or distracted, when in reality they're just petrified from FEAR of not knowing what to say next.
If you don't want your brain from stalling on you, then you have to quiet your thoughts and shut out the nagging distractions in your pretty little noggin.
The attraction-killing thoughts I'm talking about are those coming from the inner critic trying to sabotage your conversation. Sometimes, we make the mistake of mentally scolding ourselves after saying something that felt out of place or unfunny.
Other times, we're lost in a maze of thoughts on what to say next or get bogged down in a swamp of self-consciousness.
When you feel your brain going in this direction, acknowledge what's going on and DROP these mental distractions.
There's a handy little trick you can do in case your attention is drifting off to la-la land: instead of obsessing about how you look in his eyes or what he might be thinking, simply divert your attention to HIM.
It's a girl's best defense against looking aloof or detached from the conversation (or from this plane of reality for that matter!). So remember to shut off this part of your brain, and you'll do just fine.
On another note however, sometimes it's the guy you're talking to that's feeling self-conscious. If that's the case, then don't act or talk in any way that might give away you're AWARE of it.
Just play it cool and don't dwell on the vibe he's giving off. It'll only make things more awkward if you let his state affect your own.

# 3: Humor is Your Best Friend

Maybe you're still feeling each other out and you're trying to get a handle on how to connect to this hunk of a guy. But the awkward flow of your conversation is creating a major interference in your connection so you're having a hard time 'broadcasting' your signal.
Fear not, friend! The quickest way to clear up all that 'static' is by creating a private joke which you can share with him. When you both have some knee-slapping ground to start on, this accelerates the rapport-building process.
My long-time friend Marcus has a great story to illustrate my point. He says:
"One of my first jobs was a freelance product writer for all sorts of health merchandise. During one assignment I was talking with this guy who was telling me about the benefits of a sports bracelet that supposedly reduces muscular fatigue. I had to put on the bracelet and pretended how less tense my arm felt as I was stretching it. Monique, his pretty sales assistant, was visibly chuckling at how funny I looked during the product demo (though she tried her best to hide it)."
Marcus was then able to use this funny incident as an inside joke when he started chatting up Monqiue. To her delight, he referred to the silly arm-stretching debacle several times during their conversation.
To his benefit, Monique was game enough to tease him about it when they eventually started dating. The moral of the story here is that when used properly, humor serves as a great bridge between two people.
Heck, any doctor knows about the therapeutic effect of laughter. One way to bring on the charm is to put your man on a natural high by cracking a joke or making a witty comment!
Making people laugh will make people (cute guys included) want to be around you to get a dose of your feel-good charisma.
Of course, there's a big difference between laughing at a joke and MAKING one. However, appearing to be effortless at humor isn't as hard as you might think.
Don't assume you need to transform yourself into a standup comic at the drop of a hat.
Generally, a good punch line is the result of properly setting up the joke beforehand. If you need to explain the punch line after delivering it, it means you didn't build enough suspense first.
(Think about how some characters on TV bumble a perfectly good joke by explaining too much and adding a "get it, get it?" at the end.)
A good way to build up a joke is by keeping a relatively straight face and suppressing any snickers before dropping the punch line on him. Otherwise there won't be any escalation.
That's what comedic timing is all about: buttering up the audience and then BAM, you get the drop on them with a well-placed punch line!
Notice how comedians like Conan O'Brien or Tina Fey churn out the funnies. They like to talk about a mundane news item (the set-up) and then making a zany comment about it (the payoff).
As an aside, avoid making any pop culture references that might alienate or confuse the person you're talking to. It's good to be mindful of the particular person in front of you so he can better relate to your "material".
However, don't worry about making leaps and bounds in this particular area of conversation. Try adapting these habits of humor little by little into your speech.
Once you hit your stride and finally struck a guy's funny bone, you'll notice how easier it is to keep him laughing with a follow-up joke!
One last way to be funny without overdoing it is by doing the "pretend seriousness" routine. A little lighthearted irony goes a long way with certain folks!
Let's pretend that your friend introduced you to this incredibly cute guy who happens to be just into music as you are. So halfway through the conversation he confesses to not having heard about a certain band you absolutely adore.
Take advantage of this opportunity by *playfully* retorting, "Tell me you're kidding. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to drag you to my place and make you listen to my (name of band) records until you see the light. Seriously!"
Admittedly, this approach might not work on everyone, but if he seems like the guy who's game enough to go along with the fun, then give it a shot!

#4: Converse With an OPEN Ear

Some women might think that listening is just a simple matter of hearing what the other person is telling them. Truth is, this basic skill we've been taught to use over the years is often taken for granted.
Sometimes, we find ourselves zoning out a bit (refer to tip # 2) when we should be PAY ATTENTION in the full sense of the verb. A typical mistake is to listen on a superficial level and merely use the time the guy is talking to think of something to say.
This might sound like common sense, but I have this to share: you'd have a better chance of saying something worthwhile if you truly listened to what the other person just said.
I've told countless friends and colleagues that your genuine attention is a very powerful tool for conversational success! Really listening to his jokes and stories is a simple but effective way to make him feel good about himself.
And what red-blooded man wouldn't want to be around a sassy girl that he can associate his GOOD FEELINGS with?
The gift of showing real interest is the direct path to greater rapport in ANY sort of conversation you're in. Although our general interest here is to attract men through a good chat, we also have to consider the big picture here.
An attractive woman is someone who can have a great conversation with just about anybody. When you have a POSITIVE attitude towards the rest of humankind, it's an indication of how you'd be on a date.
...or as a girlfriend.
If you're there to talk with ANYONE purely for the pleasure of their company... and NOT because you want their approval... then that sincerity will naturally show.
People (hunks included) just tend you like more when you want to hang out with them with NO strings attached.
So what I'm saying here is that you shouldn't just limit your awesome conversational skills to men alone. Find an opportunity to flex your social muscles and chat up a storm with the next person you run into!
It doesn't matter if it's the nice old lady at the library, the friendly cashier at your favorite coffee place, or your fellow students at yoga class. Every person out there offers a chance for you to become a more sociable person.
Trust me, this mindset is the sure-fire path to becoming drop-dead gorgeous in the long run! What have you got to lose after all?
And part of developing the right mindset is by expanding your knowledge and beliefs about dating, courtesy of Meet Your Sweet's "Get a Great Guy Guide."
When you think about it, the cost of failure is pretty much ZERO, so get out there and work it!
This article comes to you courtesy of
If you are serious about changing your love life success, the first step on your journey of self discovery needs to be with Meet Your Sweet's "Get a Great Guy Guide."
If you want genuine men, and not just any man, let Mirabelle Summers and the team challenge your beliefs about love and attraction, and show you the way to become a seduction success story.
No games. No scripted lines. Real life dating advice for real women! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
submitted by blogmoneyweb to BlogMoneyWeb [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 09:50 the400000 First session started with a bang, twice.

The first session started off pretty easily with the party meeting on a ship headed north filled with adventures responding to an adventurers wanted post by a northern Lord. The party consists of Boot slocam a human bounty hunteprospector battle master, Mara the human life domain claric, think heavily armored nun, blippo the human WILD wild magic sorcorer, he chose his spells at random and uses them randomly in combat (the first spell he cast in combat was friend on a very angry ork) And me G8-s(gates) a warforged rogue/artificer who is a robot Butler looking for a worthy master. In case your wondering the dm started us on level 6.
Ok now on to the action. After our introductions and a round of tea, Boot spotted a group of orks heading below deck and decides to follow them taking Blippo with him, myself and Mara following shortly after. Below decks was the gally and messhall where most of the adventurers were congregating. Boot with arm around the nervious Blippos shoulders moves over to a table full of loud and drunk adventurers and begins telling them stories of his exploits. At this time Blippo, who was very out of his element, decided to slink off to the lower deck to find a dark safe place to hide. Boot who had weirdly bonded with Blippo decided to follow him down, me and Mara following after again. In the hold Blippo stumbled on an argument between a dark elf adventurer and four orks who were pilfering the supplys. Boot promptly stepped out of cover dragging Blippo along and accused the four orks of theft. Roll initiative. I rolled a nat 20 followed by Blippo then the four orks then Boot then the dark elf and Mara last. As Boot and Blippo were blocking the way into the hold I opted to enter stealth and que a help action on Boot. Blippo who had preppered a cantrip before the fight rolled his random spell dice and led the fight of with the friend spell on one of the orks, now I'm not gonna put the spell effect on here if you're curiouse look it up, but suffice to say it only had the effect of pissing off an already mad ork who then proceeded to club Blippo to the tune of a quarter of his health. Ork number 2 attacked Boot, ork number 3 attacked the dark elf and ork 4 decided to charge and spear Blippo taking him to under a quarter health. Boot then uses a manuver to sweep attack the two orks in front of him and with my help action hits them both for a good chunk of health, but then proceeds to miss all his extra attacks and action surge. Mara then try to help Blippo by casting spiritual weapon to knock the ork with the spear away from him but rolled low and missed both orks. Back to me, I vaulted over the orks and sneak attack one of the orks but miss with my offhand dagger, I then use cunning action to disengage. And then it happened. Blippo in a panik decides to double his next spell using meta magics and casts his random spell dice, evens he casts hold person odds he casts fireball, twice, in an enclosed space, in the hold of a very wooden ship, with casks and crates of who knows what all around. Needless to say fireball was cast twice and in Blippos defence he aimed the two fireballs so they only hit the orks and me. I managed a nat 20 on the first fireball and took no damage but the second hit me for 48 damage dropping me to 8 hp. Well as you might expect 2 fireballs going of in the hold got everyone's attention and with the aforementioned casks being full of nonflamable liquids the fire was put out with minimal damage to the ship. The captain clapped us the orks and the dark elf in irons and when we made pork unceremoniously threw us all off the ship and onto the dock for the awaiting guards. But I managed a final nat 20 to do a backflip and stick the landing with as much style as a sindge shackled robot butler could.
TLDR panicked WILD wild magic sorcerer fired off a doubled fireball in the hold of a ship nearly killing everyone on board.
Cant wait for session two.
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2020.09.22 07:34 larunex The Captain Diqhedd episode, transcribed.

This is a SleepyCast Lost episode: The Day We All Lost Our Virginity at the Same Time. Featuring: Psychicpebbles, JohnnyUtah, Spazkid, Oney, Stamper, Ricepirate, Nial, and introducing the newest member of the Sleepycabin, Steve... Blackface Steve. My name is Captain Diqhedd. When I was young, my father painted my little asshole pink to look like a pussy, so he wouldn't feel gay when he fucked me.
My name is Captain Diqhedd.
My name is Captain Diqhedd. Sometimes I wipe my buttcrack with cold raw bacon, so whenever I fart, packs of local dogs come and keep me company.
Where the fuck are these bozos? It's not like they're busy making cartoons for YouTube. I guess I'll wait for them to stop blowing each other. Wanna hear a great song? Guess what song this is. Do do do do do, do do do do do, do do do do do do do do do do do do. That was Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Okay? Sigh. What the fuck am I doing with my life? Sigh. How did I even get here? Sigh sigh sigh. Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to finally come clean and get the record straight. Woo woo woah woo wow woo!
The year was March 8th. I was born a little baby in the black heart of America to hard working French immigrants. My life was as normal as it gets. My father Walter was a French immigrant who worked full time on our farm tending to the cattle and horses and fucking the field mice. In 1951 all of that changed when my father was drafted to the Korean War. While my father was gone fighting those sneaky sneaky sneaky gooks, my mother was forced to raise me. I was a naughty little baba, and used to eat my own poopie to defy my mother, who was a good christian lady.
When my father left, I became very quiet and introverted. The only thing that ever made me laugh was when my mother would pull her Sunday pants down and make her vagina talk to me and tell me to eat my peas. It always made me laugh. Ah hah hah! My poor lonely mama started doubting whether or not my father would ever return from war at all, and started sniffing around for a brand new weiner. She started talking to Mr. Adams, the ugly ice cream man. His ice cream was always soggy.
After a trip to the beach, he really took a liking to me. Mr. Adams the ice cream man said he'd be my new daddy, and the only way for this to happen would be if we did the New Daddy Ceremony. I didn't know what this was all about, but it super sounded cool. He took me by the leg, and said "Are you ready, boy?" and I said "Yes I want you to be my new daddy, since my old daddy went into war and is fighting the bad guys." and he told me to shut my fucking mouth, and take a look at this. He pulled down his pants and showed me his big brown poo-poo stained butthole and said, "Are you ready for the New Daddy Ceremony?" and I said "I don't know if I want it now." and he said "What's wrong? Are you a chicken? Bawk bawk bawk! Fag! LMAO! Hah hah!" and I said "Okay... I will do it now. I am not a fag." and he said "Okay, all you have to do is let me fart in your mouth and I will be your new daddy."
I opened my little boy mouth and let the farts fill my mouth. He told me to be a good boy and swallow them all up. So I did like he said. Then I asked him, "Okay, are you my new daddy now?" and he laughed and said "No dude. It just means you're gay now. You ate my farts. That makes you a fag. L. M. A. O. Bye! Hah hah!" And then he ran into the woods. I never saw him again, and to this day I wonder if that ceremony was legit or not. Sigh...
Two years later in 1953, my father came back when the war wrapped up, but the man that returned was not the same man that left. He would often wake up in the middle of the night screaming and gasping for breath, and complaining about the smell of charred human remains. All of my teenage years, my father tried to make me into a real man, but constantly failed. One time he took me fishing, and he told me to put my dick in the fish's mouth. He said it would feel good, but the fish had teeth. It hurt so very much, and I cried. He laughed at me, and I had never felt so alone...
Nothing he tried would work. I remained a little bitch boy much to my father's disappointment. I was a lonely boy, probably because I often picked my ass in public. The only friend I had was Old Jimmy Schmidt. Jimmy and I had many mutual interests including baseball, and pissing in each other's mouths. Having a friend was nice, but life was still so pointless and full of pain. I had no purpose in life, and so I decided to do the one thing I thought would make my father proud; join the Vietnam War. Vietnam is what they say it is in the movies and such, I guess. It's a little more and a little less at the same time, somehow. I don't know if that makes any sense. It's just the way it is.
Most days early on, Jimmy and I just sat around playing cards and drinking beer. Occasionally we'd engage in some combat, and sometimes I'd do routine flying missions. As men started leaving or being killed, my flying missions became more regular, and I saw the action more and more. You ever see a Vietnamese man's intestines strewn out to spell the word "gook"? The cute little farm boy with rosy cheeks and a bowl cut never thought he'd see that either. The shit I saw there made me fucking sick. There were a couple times there where Jimmy had to leave from puking. I can't blame Jimmy, the guy had a good heart, but war gets the best of us.
They say the first casualty of war is innocence, but they are wrong. It's your soul. I never believed in God until I took another man's life, and in that moment, knew that I was going to hell. Oh God, the things we did... Whenever we captured ten or twenty of these gooks we'd fucking chuck them out of the helicopter and watched them splatter on the ground, and by the time we landed, we'd have only one or two left. Sometimes we'd get hot and heavy and get carried away and throw them all out. The trick was to throw them out before you have to count them, so the higher-ups didn't know many we killed. Even though everyone knew the higher-ups were doing much, much worse.
One time I'll never forget is in '68, we were told there was some Charlie in this school for children, so Jimmy and I checked it out. They told us to napalm it to get these fuckers out. I didn't buy it, and I don't think Jimmy did either, but orders are orders. Should I carry this out? Should I be a murderer, or did it matter? I've already murdered so many, so what would this make me if it were a mistake? A monster? Then so be it. Orders are orders. This is what we were trained to do. So without another word, I did it.
The school was ablaze, and sure enough, these kids come running out screaming. I remember one child ran up to me, looking me in the eyes as their skin melted off, and they screamed. I took a drag from my cigarette and tried to compose myself to the best of my ability. The child, maybe five or six, stopped screaming for a moment, looked me dead in the eyes and said something in Vietnamese. He said it again, and again, and again, and again, and again. The child grabbed my pants and the previously docile weak tone in his voice evolved into a panicked, scraming accusatory tone. I panicked and grabbed my pistol, put it to the child's head, closed my eyes and pulled the trigger.
It was the only way to make it stop. I knew what I had done and knew the only way I could live with myself was to give myself the same fate. I put the gun under my chin and took a final deep breath. Nothing. A click. I fell to the ground crying, and began slamming my fist into the wet mud until it bled. I couldn't sleep for a week. Every time I closed my eyes I saw the child and heard him screaming that single word. "Quái vật." "Quái vật." [translates to "Monster"]
Hey, maybe this isn't the best time, but check out what this voice box can do. [Little boy voice] Tee hee, I'm just a cute little baby boy, teehee, stop Captain Diqhedd, your pee is so cold, mama mama googoo gaga, mama mia, that's a spicy meatball! Lololol, isn't that fucked up dude? Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah, burning Vietnamese children.
I was too much of a coward to look up what that word meant and still haven't to this day. I was so psychologically fucked up by that point I was set to leave after one final mission. A simple transport flight with Jimmy and the boys. On the return for my last flight I heard the cracking of a machine gun, and the right side of me was blinded by a white flash, and I blacked out completely. When I came to, Jimmy and I were in a camp with a few other prisoners of war. I knew we were fucked and would probably die there. I tried to speak, but nothing came out.
Jimmy had tears in his eyes looking at me, and the full extent of the damages done to my body were clear. I lost of a good portion of my throat and part of my jaw in the explosion, but the Vietcong doctors had managed to stitch me up. How fucking grateful I was that they didn't let this god damn freakshow rot in the jungle. Jimmy and the other guys only sustained minor injuries like scrapes, bruises, and at most, a few broken bones. The Vietcong spent their days torturing us by showing us their dicks and saying they were bigger than ours, even though it wasn't true, and it was super frustrating.
Jimmy and I practiced Morse code when the Vietcong were invading the living hell out of us. We heard around camp that some of the other prisoners were being featured in Vietnamese propaganda that was being shown to the Americans. When the time came and the camera went on to all of us and I tried my best to spell out "torture" with Morse code, but instead I spelled "I fuck children" by accident. I was watching two rats fuck behind the cameraman, and it was making me horny.
One cold evening about a week later, they woke us all awake, screaming with their guns in our faces. They were frantically scrambling and all on their walkies. I assumed they figured out what I'd done with the Morse code. They grabbed me up and all pointed their guns at me and frankly, I was never more at peace. I waited for them to turn me into fucking swiss cheese, but Jimmy began screaming in Vietnamese at them. They both began to shout at one another, louder and louder until one of the men raised his gun in the air as Jimmy made eye contact with me. His eyes told me the entire story. He was sorry. He would miss me, and he loved his family.
A shot rang out. Another one. I was covered in Jimmy's brains. I couldn't feel any part of my body. I wasn't angry or sad or anything. I was nothing. They turned the gun and fired once into my abdoment and I immediately hit the ground. As the sweet embrace of death began to finger me, I was at peace. Bliss, even. I woke up in a military hospital in Saigon and was told my camp had been liberated and that I was completely paralyzed below the waist from the gunshot I took. They discharged me and I was on my way back home. On the bright side, maybe my father would finally be proud of me. I have been an honored Vietnam veteran.
Dead. Almost four months ago. They told me a heart attack, they thought. This news devastated me. Coupled with my new handicap, left me more mentally paralyzed than I had ever been physically. I tried working the occasional odd job, but always relapsed to drinking whiskey and fucking whores. After months of this dangerous cycle, I decided to get my first job at McDonalds. I had never been more excited and willing to start life anew. For the first time, I had true aspirations.
On the first day, I went in and was shown the entire place top to bottom. It was finally my chance to make something of myself. The first order came in, and I realized reaching the fries from my wheelchair was hard, and my arms could not reach above my shoulders due to the Vietnamese torture. I violently smacked the handle of the fryer, causing a pound of boiling grease to cover my face and hands, effectively melting my fucking skin off. I lost almost all of my five sense, and looked like a fucking potato. My hands and face were no longer recognizable or usable. I was essentially a human vegetable who had given up.
I was put in a nursing home where I spent many lost years listening to reruns or shitty soap operas. Minute after minute, the same routine. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Decade after decade. I could feel myself rotting. One day, something in me changed, and I knew I had to leave or die trying. I asked my nurse for some fresh air and she agreed. When I had the opportunity, I rolled over my nurse's foot, the only place in the area to escape to was the woods. So I went for it even though I think woods animals are fucking gay like owls.
I rolled for what seemed like days. I went over a bridge and passed a waterfall, beyond some thick woods where the path was lost, until I came upon a gay little cabin, where my wheelchair ran out of battery. I thought I was a goner until these cunts found me. They won't let me leave and force me to read lines for their shitty podcast. They only feed me baby carrots under the door and I just want a steak.
So that was my life. What the hell happened to me? I fought in Vietnam, god damn it. My name isn't even "Dickhead". It's D-I-Q-H-E-D-D. I used to know French and this stupid voice box only comes in hot little boy and American white man. Listen how dumb it sounds when I speak French. "Oui oui j'adore mettre des fermes dans mon cul et les regarder si edicha perla tourbillon qui est mon swamp ass". [Translates to "Yes yes I love putting bottles in my ass after watching Twister, which is my swamp ass"] See? I sound like a fucking retard. It sounds like a Harry Potter spell. Everything you know about me is a lie. I'm a miserable fraud who is too much of a coward to kill himself.
That's it, I can't take this shit anymore. Time to do something I should have done a long time ago. Fuck you, world. Allahu Akbar. [Gunshot]
God fucking damn it, I hit the radiator.
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2020.09.22 06:26 DerpySlurpyMaster "You don't scare me." "I WILL KILL YOU WITHOUT HESITATION-" AKA the absolute worst player I've ever had the misfortune of playing with

So! This was my very first DND game, it started out well enough, the party consisted of me, playing a human druid who was the beholder of the brain cell, my best friend playing a Kenku Bardlock who's patron was Asmodeus but hell was an office building, our mutual friend playing a half orc Barbarian armed with a plunger waraxe and zero braincells, a human action grandma warlock, and an albino Kenku warlock who was basically an angsty teen with wings. Our DM wasn't, the best DM or person which is why he let this happen, but his garbo behavior is for another post.
We were fine for awhile, we went on adventures and had fun, not really having a direction to go except wherever the DM pointed us. All in all, the party was a cohesive unit with good dynamics, my druid basically adopted the Bardlock and Barbarian, the action grandma was, well, like a cool grandma to everyone, and while the Albino Kenku tried to keep his distance, he was pretty much adopted as the younger sibling of the group. The found family was strong, we were having fun...
Then enter a new player. A player who played a Tiefling Rogue. And this guy joining started the chain of events that lead to this campaign becoming completely undone and disbanded.
First off, he was introduced when he randomly decided to jump into battle with us in the woods. No reason, no motive, no actual integration. He showed up, killed who we were fighting with ease, and just, decided to come along. It wasn't even addressed he just started following us and carrying the decapitated head everywhere. Yup. His introduction was showing up everyone (I'm pretty sure he was a higher level than us) and carrying around the decapitated head of someone he murdered.
This started a pattern, because for some reason the DM liked this guy a lot and played favorites. For example, he managed to steal 84 breadsticks from a joint somehow with one roll and meanwhile the Bardlock who loves to read can't find a book in all the land to the point of defying logic and railroading. Seriously we were in a big kingdom and somehow there wasn't a single book store, library, or general store that had books. The rogue managed to find a pen to steal on a body that had nothing to offer and the Bardlock had one of the two books he ever found dissolve into dust in his hands. Basically what I'm saying is that this guy got away with and rewarded for doing horrible things or dragging the party down with him. In the short time he was around, he;
  1. Was incredibly creepy towards the barbarian who was mentally a child due to amnesia, like he refused to sleep anywhere that wasn't near them, constantly would pause to say he felt up their muscles, ect... His behavior ended up making the player of the barbarian hate their character because the big lovable goof was poisoned for them because they were constantly being fetishized by this guy.
  2. Constantly loudly stated that he was going to steal, almost every single NPC we met hated us immediately because of his behavior and didn't listen to reason when I or the other players tried to ask him to stop because he was making it impossible to play.
  3. Constantly tried to hog the spotlight for himself, there was a point in time when he discovered he could do magic (who knows) and he immediately went to shove it in everyone else's face and try and get the other players to ooooh and aaaaah at his new powers despite everyone but the action grandma and the DM despising him by then
  4. Put a massive wedge between the barbarian and everyone else in the party, he constantly dragged them into his stuff and pitted the barbarian against myself and the bardlock constantly despite how beforehand we were a tightly knit group and had a really good dynamic. Like he straight up acted like an abusive controlling boyfriend trying to keep us away from them.
And then there were the worst offenses. All of them involving myself or the Bardlock as we were the only two players and player characters to call him out on his crap.
He pried. A lot. He constantly tried to force our backstories out of us because he 'didn't like secrets' and treated both of us like dirt because we had the human decency to try and tell him hey maybe don't do that? He sat down, in game, and and a conversation with the Bardlock threatening him if he ever 'stepped out of line' in his eyes, aka did anything wrong by him. Yup the murder hobo tried to threaten his fellow player into doing what he wanted.
And then came the biggest and most lasting thing he did;
He threatened to kill my druid to her face.
The story goes, he, the barbarian, and the Bardlock were all arguing over the most recent stupid stunt he pulled and, as usual, I stepped in and tried to stop it. But this time, he just got angrier and escalated. Thinking on what my character would do, I left the room because I was getting nowhere. See, my character is a druid who's not good at people-ing because she spent the last decade alone in the woods, and she's a timid sort of person who's soft spoken and is prone to getting stuck in her own head due to backstory trauma™ but can and will speak up and be assertive when it comes to protecting other people. The Bardlock followed and we had an actually rather touching conversation that was a highlight in this horribleness, and then it was crashed by the rogue. My character was in the middle of explaining how they got their new weapon (I just multiclassed as Paladin and got a weapon out of it) and when the Rogue saw it he immediately started interrogating her and when she just put it away because she didn't want to talk to him he just got all up in her face and straight up rolled to intimidate her, got a high enough score it worked, and she ran away because nope. The Bardlock eventually followed and we got a rather sad and bittersweet scene between them. The player of the Rogue asked me to have her leave and run into him in the hall, saying that they could talk through it and make amends. I said yeah sure that sounds like a good idea!
oh how wrong i was
When I came across him, he was punching a tree and screaming (as edgelords do) and when I went to talk to him he immediately snapped at me and started being awful again. He threatened the Bardlock (whomst, again, she just had some very touching interactions with) to her face for no reason and she finally stood up to him, for real. His response was trying to be scary. This is exactly how the conversation went;
Druid: ...Kid. There is no way on this plane you could scare me. Rogue: Kid. *actually frightening laughter* Woman. I have been through so much. I have Murdered close to 40 people. Decapitated my ex husband. Slaughtered famillies. I have lived my life surviving everything, nearly unscaved. And here you are. Calling me kid. I..will literally kill you..and not bat an eye..and I'm a kid. Am I a joke to you?
yup you got that right he asked me to find him to resolve the conflict and when I got there he spilled the most edgy stupid backstory conceivable (which originally included a line about rape that I cut out because it was incredibly untasteful and was one of the things lined out as a no no for this campaign) and then he threatened the life of my character to her face. I gave up on trying to stick up for her and call him out because at this point I was just tired.
But wait there's more!
Later on he used this threat as leverage to make her skin a giant snake when she's made an oath to herself to never hunt or cut open animals, he made her break her defining character trait as a Druid because I didn't want my character to be MURDERED.
And even later on, around the turning point where nobody was having fun anymore, we fought a big monster that almost oneshotted the barbarian and the Bardlock ran to escape because he was small and gonna die if he stayed around. I was gonna follow him before the DMPC (eulgh) came in and saved the day magically and made us all look like fools. The Rogue's response to this? Tracking down the Bardlock afterwords and chewing him out for that, straight up slapping him for it when we all know that if he had stayed, he'd be dead. The Rogue turned the entire party (except for me who was buried in the rubble of the place we fought and fighting to stay alive) against him and basically publicly shamed both the Bardlock and the player for it. When my character arrived she was relieved that he was okay and let him know that running was okay and she was gonna do it to. Then the Rogue got pissy again and let it slip that he slapped the Bardlock. That was the last straw. She lost it. She finally called him out on all of his BS and when the Barbarian was confused and asked why they were fighting, she looked him straight in the eyes and before she could say anything the Rogue piped up and bragged about threatening to kill her. He was smiling and everything.
let me say that again
he threatened to kill the main healer of the party and bragged about it.
Fuck this guy.
submitted by DerpySlurpyMaster to rpghorrorstories [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 06:07 grus-plan The (semi) Comprehensive Guide To Archaeologist Without A Ship

Hey y’all. Before I even begin this I’d like to clarify that if you haven’t completed the archaeologist achievement, or god-forbid, haven’t finished the game, this guide may not be for you. Spoilers. Obviously. Also this ended up being waaaay longer than I thought it would be, so if you’re having trouble on a specific part, just find it and skip over the rest.
So over the last couple weeks I’ve been completing this game for the third time. This time without a ship. To clarify what that means, it’s not that I never enter the ship (you need to to check the computer and get the suit) but that I never use the ships controls. No launching off that sort of thing.
Below you will find a collection of tips and ideas for how I got around some of the trickier bits, hopefully you can even try out this run yourself. If this seems familiar, it’s because this guide was inspired by a wonderful post by Froggy, which you can find here. If you just want to complete the game shipless, feel free. That’ll be at the end


There’ll be a few general concepts that you’ll want to keep in mind when doing a shipless run. These are terms that I might use later. This is just so you know what I mean. First is atmospheres.
Every orbiting body in the game (excluding the Sun Station) has an atmosphere, whether it technically makes sense or not. Some are obvious (Giant’s Deep, Quantum Moon) Some are invisible (Ember Twin, The Attlerock) You can tell you’re in an atmosphere because your Hearthian will automatically right themselves and your jet pack will be available.
Atmospheres are great, because when you’re coming into a planet from space, it will slow you down and save you fuel that you would otherwise use preventing your face from being caved in. They are also terrible, because when you try to leave a planet, they will drag on you and cost you fuel while you try to escape. When leaving a planet, get out and into orbit as fast as possible, when coming in, cruise through to soften your impact.
Next is orbits. Everything in this game (excluding the sun) orbits the sun, and sometimes has things orbiting it. Imagine the solar system as a set of seperate lanes. Even if you leave the atmosphere, you will continue at roughly the same difference from the sun, and boosting directly inwards or outwards is extremely fuel-inneficient. So how do we switch to seperate lanes? To go further out, boost into space from the same side of the planet that’s moving forward, this will add to your current speed and expand your orbit. To go further in, boost from the opposite side, this will cancel out your current speed and send you falling into the sun.
Lastly, remember to put on your suit. Without your suit, your capabilities are a bit... limited. Even if you could get into orbit, you’d just suffocate anyway. This should be obvious but y’know.
Ok. Now that all that preamble is out of the way, let’s start exploring.

Timber Hearth

Yes, I know, this seems kind of like overkill, but we’ve got to start somewhere.

The Bramble Seed

You can get this by climbing out of one of the Waterfalls around the village crater, and following the your signalscope to the seed. There’s a convenient tree leading from the rim down to the base, so use this.

Quantum Poem

Go to the South Pole. Enter at the higher side and don’t fall and die like I did on my first run.

Mining Site 2b

You can get here over land. Don’t. It’s complicated and you might die to Ghost matter. Instead, jump into the geyser in the centre of the village and follow the underground currents to mining site 2a, then take a geyser up into the entrance platform.

The Attlerock

Jump into the geyser (by the way, we’ll be using this for the rest of the game. Assume that whenever I refer to lifting off, I’m talking about getting in the village geyser and being spat into the air.) Then once you’re in the air, start boosting with your jet pack until you reach orbit. Boost forwards until you reach orbit, and fly to the moon. Remember to slow down before you end up as a bluish smear on the surface. Esker has a fuel refill which should allow you to sightsee the rest of the rock.

Brittle Hollow

Brittle Hollow is great because at the beginning of any given loop, it’s in prime position to fly to from Timber Hearth. Remember to face prograde(right on the little navball) and keep flying. Even if it feels like you’ve escaped, keep boosting, its very easy to fall back into Timber Hearth.


Although you can access most locations from the surface, you will usually arrive with only about half fuel from the journey and the descent. Luckily, fuel canisters are available at the North Pole, near the white hole teleporter, and by jumping downwards. Hitting Riebeck’s gravity well is pretty easy and you can access most places from there.

Old settlement

One of the few places you’ll want to go directly to, this place collapses fast, so don’t delay going here.

Hanging City and Grav Cannon.

Go via Riebeck’s camp

Tower of Quantum Knowledge

North Pole, boost south to the opening on the surface. If waiting for it to fall in, wait and watch from Riebeck’s camp.

Southern Observatory

Via Grav Cannon

Hollow’s Lantern

I recommend using the Grav cannon when the moon is overhead, or slightly to the side. Lock on quick, lest you fall into space. There seems to be a misconception that the test site takes a while to be uncovered, but I could access it only about 5ish minutes in. So do this whenever.

White Hole Station

Fall into that hole

Ember Twin

In a less advantageous position at the start of the loop. Boost the opposite direction from Brittle Hollow. Stop boosting after you miss the Attlerock and lock on to the twins. Try to slow your fall into the sun and skim across the surface or through the canyon to lose speed. Because of Ember’s low gravity and small size, Chert is pretty easy to reach through some basic jet pack use at the start of each loop. There you can get a refill and prepare to explore the rest.

Sunless City

If you want to roleplay you can take the survivor’s route pretty easily and get into the city, but due to the extra interplanetary time, this will not be fast enough to reach certain locations like the High Energy Lab. For this use the Grav cannon shortcut.

Lakebed Cave

May seem impossible, but it’s not. Get to Chert quick before plummeting into the depths. Any bone fractures can quickly be healed with a few well-done marshmallows later.

Everything else

Can pretty much be done normally. It’s a small planet, where you don’t use your ship much normally. The hardest part is just getting here.

Giant’s Deep

Unlike Brittle Hollow or the twins, the outer planets aren’t really accessible at the start of the loop. If you’re a badass, you can try and slingshot around the sun. But for the rest of us schmucks, we’ll be using the Quantum Moon. For optimal Quantum discovery, grab your suit, stand on top of your ship with your camera out, and start hitting the map button. After you zoom out far enough, go back and scan the sky for the Attlerock’s cloudy companion. Thankfully your camera isn’t taken away when you go for a dip in the geysers, so you can snap a photo and blast of to it once you reach orbit.

Gabbro’s Island.

Giants deep is a pain, because it takes a lot of fuel to get around there, and there’s not many fuel canisters to use. Gabbro’s island contains one of only two canisters, and this one isn’t hidden behind a brambly platforming challenge. After splash-down, you can swim to his island using the signalscope. It’s kind of a pain,but it most importantly gives you access to meditation, which you’ll be using a lot on these runs when we miss the planets.

Other islands

Can basically all be accessed by swimming, which, weirdly, consumes no fuel. Perhaps your Hearthian ancestry is kicking in?

Tower of Quantum trials

What is normally a minor inconvenience in where you land your ship now becomes your mortal enemy. Any and all attempts to swim past the enormous tornado can and will fail. You can try accessing the North Pole from the Quantum moon, but you’ll probably be coming in with so much speed that you’ll fall past the tower, into the tornado, and be pushed back out. The only way I’ve found to do this is to find a tornado near to the North Pole, gain enough height to breach the atmosphere, and carefully manoeuvre yourself over the pole on the navball. Try to hit the water or the gravity well, because your remaining jet pack fuel probably won’t be enough to stop the crushing gravity of Giant’s deep. From there you can complete the tower normally.


This is probably the hardest part of the shipless run. An area that has to be navigated almost entirely with your space suit, moving in a fast orbit over a high gravity planet that has little fuel. If you are going to try any part of the shipless run, try this. The Quantum moon is often in the wrong orbit, and regular tornados rarely give you enough height or speed.
The way I found out to get there was to stand at the campfire on Gabbros island, which usually stays close to the equator, and wait for a tornado to carry me into orbit. Carried islands are better because they give you more height, so any equatorial island should work. I chose Gabbros because of the canister there. From there boost retrograde(? I think, if I’m wrong correct me) until you catch up with the OPC. Manoeuvre yourself into the gravity well, and from there, be very, very, careful with your fuel. If all goes well you should be able to conquer the Orbital Probe Cannon.

The Core

The reverse tornado won’t really activate if you just swim to the bottom. Instead, go up another tornado and fly in through the atmosphere. You won’t have your ship’s medical facilities here though, so try not to get zapped.

Dark Bramble

Phew, that’s Giants Deep done, now we just need to- oh. Oh no. Yeah this ones bad. We’ll be using the Quantum moon to get here again, but be a bit more careful in your descent. For reasons I cannot fathom, touching the exterior brambly but of Dark Bramble in your suit, even if you’re on the way in, kills you instantly. You may be thinking “What the fuck” and so was I, but yeah, be vary careful to land in the mist in your descent through the... atmosphere? Whatever it is. You also die if you touch the ice, so, fair warning.


Feldspar is relatively easy to get to, by Dark Bramble standards. In the Bramble? You are on a ticking time bomb. While the Angler’s are less perceptive of your suit, you’re not invisible to them, as I learned rather quickly. Oh, also, there’s no fuel stop anywhere nearby, so on the best of runs you’ll be entering at half capacity. Oh yeah, no oxygen either. Follow Feldspar’s signal. Carefully. Feldspar is the only place in this thorn-infested hell with a canister, so get to him fast. Have the usual conversation, go check out the big jelly... then

The Vessel

Reaching the vessel direct from the Quantum moon, is, imo, impossible. There’s just not enough fuel. Any first attempt to find the vessel should go via feldspar. Weird thing which I didn’t realise until this run, the jellyfish isn’t inside the bramble, it’s in an ice chunk, above another entrance back into the bramble. This is a godsend.
After refilling fuel with feldspar, you should have enough to re-enter bramble with a bigger tank, and reach the third escape pod, and subsequently the vessel, barely. Once you reach the vessel you’ll probably be out of fuel, but there’s some plants in the main area which will allow you to still boost around. Besides, the sun will explode soon anyway, giving you only a few minutes to see the communications of a stranded mothership.

The Interloper

The interloper is a strange beast. Trying to catch it in a regular orbit is almost suicide because of its high speed. If you miss it, you die stranded in space, if you hit it, Hornfels might notice a blue smudge on the comet before he dies. This means we’ll have to catch it at the far points of its orbit. Because I didn’t really want to end up as Crispy McHearthian, I chose to catch it at the white hole station. When here it moves slow enough to lock onto and ride to the sun.
Start your run at Brittle Hollow, refuel at Riebeck’s camp and jump into the black hole as the interloper enters its u-turn around the station, from there fly outwards to catch it and match your speed. While the Interloper does have an atmosphere, it’s nowhere near strong enough to slow you down, so most of that will be lost fuel.
After investigating the shuttle, move to the sunward side and wait. Your oxygen might look like it’s getting pretty low, but if you timed it right, you’ll be able to survive. There is a single pot-plant in the entrance cavern you can use to refill. Big problem, the interloper has no fuel. There is no room for error. Use your scout to check for safe passages and make your way to the core. After this, the next orbit of the interloper yeets you into the sun anyway, so meditate next to some corpses to end the loop.

Ash Twin

We’re finally back. Getting to Ash Twin is just Ember Twin with extra steps. Refuel at Chert’s camp, give them a mental breakdown, and boost over to Ash Twin. This can be done with either the Gravity Cannon or just a really good jump. Time it to when you see the first tower start to emerge so that you can begin the process.

Sun Station

Can be completed normally. Unlike some madmen I’ve seen on here, you don’t need to catch it around the sun.

Black Hole Forge

A bit more of a problem. Go to Brittle Hollow, raise the forge, then get to the Gravity Cannon. Try and fire the shuttle retrograde to fall in towards the sun, and hope to god that you can catch Ash Twin before you’re vaporised. From here just do it the correct way. As in not attempting to smush your ship against the ceiling.

The ATP and beating the game

Here we are. This is why I recommended using the Ember Twin shuttle earlier. For some reason, the sand column has no effect on shuttles, so you can land it there and be sure that it’ll still be there when you get out with your new toy. If you’re a skilled player, you can use this shuttle to teleport back to the launch pad and fly to dark bramble. If you’re like me, just use the same strategy as on timber hearth to wait for the Quantum Moon. Before you start the final run, make sure to mark the vessel on your HUD so you can go straight through the Angler Nest, negating the need for a visit to Feldspar. If all goes well, you can punch in the coordinates and begin the epilogue. Don’t worry about fuel, the game gives you a free refill upon warping your the eye. Congratulations, you’ve beaten the space game without using your spaceship.

Ending Note

Phew, this thing took a long time to write. It’s pretty bloated, so just take what you need really. There’s probably going to be 50 formatting errors so if you come in and see that, just let me fix it and come back later. If there’s anything you’re having trouble with, or anything I missed, leave a comment, I’d be happy to help. This is u/Grusplan, signing off.
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2020.09.22 05:48 soulkoden [SPOILERS] Just finished Time of Contempt; some thoughts and questions.

I enjoyed Ciri's trek through the desert and that was honestly one of the best chapters I've ever read of any novel (reminded me a lot of GoT when Arya was abandoned and forced to trek/left starving in the forests - a very grim and realistic depiction of starvation). I hope more of this type of writing exist in the next three books, because it made for a tense and low-hope atmosphere that made me want to keep reading.
A lot of Geralt's aftermath after the coup was kind of confusing and it was weird how they offscreened how exactly things happened to Geralt right after being teleported by Triss and Tissaia.
Can I get some (if possible) clear-cut answers to how some things occurred?
(But please, no spoilers for the next books, if it is explained in the next one(s), but I feel like some of this stuff will be brushed oveignored and just considered as "it happened somehow behind the scenes, get over it and move on")
1) Where did Triss take Geralt to after he got utterly destroyed by Vilgefortz?
IIRC he was literally an inch away from death and Triss didn't even do emergency magic first-aid or whatever; she literally just dragged his seconds-away-from-being-a-corpse to Tissaia and got help to teleport away, but somehow Geralt is in Brokilon healing and when Dandelion goes to visit, apparently Triss didn't even know Geralt was there/she didn't personally bring Geralt to Brokilon?
2) What was up with Kiera's allegiance to Redania (the Northern Supporters side of the Coup) considering that Geralt had just escaped being Dijkstra's prisonecaptive?
Wasn't Kiera on Philippa/Dijkstra's side of the coup? How did she suddenly count on Geralt for help unconditonally, and why did Geralt help her (even if she wasn't present I think when Geralt got detained when he snuck out of bed?) if he knew that she was not a "neutral" sorceress, and technically is an advocate for the war that Philippa wanted to start through scapegoating Nilfgaard? Wouldn't Geralt been hesitant to help her out (even though she landed on top of him after being thrown out the window) since he had just crushed Dijkstra's foot after being threatened that he would be killed by Redanians after escaping captivity? (Also what even happened to her after Geralt left her on the floor even though he said "I'll come back for you", when he didn't.... I played TW3 so I know she lives but...)
3) Why did Philippa let Geralt "have" Ciri after she decided to flee the coup?
When Ciri got caught by Terranova, Philippa owl-form'd him and Geralt sliced off his head, but why did Philippa say that she gave Ciri as a "gift" to Geralt? Did Geralt do something for her offscreen/that I'm forgetting? I did not understand this part, and did not really understand what happened to Philippa after Tissaia ousted her plan using Ciri's trance. Where did Philippa go during the fight, why did she flee exactly (if she was so invested in the coup, even if Vilgefortz was "winning" and killing everyone else), and why did she help Geralt save Ciri?
4) Played the games/know a few spoilers (but not all), is this literally all the books have for Geralt and Yennefer's relationship? I know from TW2 that for whatever reason after this they don't meetup again until the last book in the saga (when Geralt "dies"?), so this is all the content we get for Geralt and Yennefer's "love" story? If so, I kind of expected a bit more so it's a bit disappointing if true. (If there is more, just tell me there is, but don't spoil anything (: )
5) What the hell is wrong with Mistle? Kayleigh saved Ciri from being raped from the trappers at the inn, so in turn he decides to rape her, which is fucked. Luckily Mistle saves Ciri from being raped by Kayleigh, but once again the cycle continues and Mistle in turn decides to rape Ciri.
So Ciri got saved from being raped by a group of rapists, only to find out her saviour is also a rapist, AND THEN get saved from that rapist in turn, only to find out that she is to be raped by her second-rapist-saviour? All I can say about this writing is... why?
Anyway, clarifications on my questions would be highly appreciated, and any just clear-cut explanations on what exactly went on with Philippa/Geralt during and after the coup would be great. Thanks.
submitted by soulkoden to witcher [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 05:41 soulkoden [SPOILERS] Just finished Time of Contempt; some thoughts and questions.

I enjoyed Ciri's trek through the desert and that was honestly one of the best chapters I've ever read of any novel (reminded me a lot of GoT when Arya was abandoned and forced to trek/left starving in the forests - a very grim and realistic depiction of starvation). I hope more of this type of writing exist in the next three books, because it made for a tense and low-hope atmosphere that made me want to keep reading.
A lot of Geralt's aftermath after the coup was kind of confusing and it was weird how they offscreened how exactly things happened to Geralt right after being teleported by Triss and Tissaia.
Can I get some (if possible) clear-cut answers to how some things occurred?
(But please, no spoilers for the next books, if it is explained in the next one(s), but I feel like some of this stuff will be brushed oveignored and just considered as "it happened somehow behind the scenes, get over it and move on")
1) Where did Triss take Geralt to after he got utterly destroyed by Vilgefortz?
IIRC he was literally an inch away from death and Triss didn't even do emergency magic first-aid or whatever; she literally just dragged his seconds-away-from-being-a-corpse to Tissaia and got help to teleport away, but somehow Geralt is in Brokilon healing and when Dandelion goes to visit, apparently Triss didn't even know Geralt was there/she didn't personally bring Geralt to Brokilon?
2) What was up with Kiera's allegiance to Redania (the Northern Supporters side of the Coup) considering that Geralt had just escaped being Dijkstra's prisonecaptive?
Wasn't Kiera on Philippa/Dijkstra's side of the coup? How did she suddenly count on Geralt for help unconditonally, and why did Geralt help her (even if she wasn't present I think when Geralt got detained when he snuck out of bed?) if he knew that she was not a "neutral" sorceress, and technically is an advocate for the war that Philippa wanted to start through scapegoating Nilfgaard? Wouldn't Geralt been hesitant to help her out (even though she landed on top of him after being thrown out the window) since he had just crushed Dijkstra's foot after being threatened that he would be killed by Redanians after escaping captivity? (Also what even happened to her after Geralt left her on the floor even though he said "I'll come back for you", when he didn't.... I played TW3 so I know she lives but...)
3) Why did Philippa let Geralt "have" Ciri after she decided to flee the coup?
When Ciri got caught by Terranova, Philippa owl-form'd him and Geralt sliced off his head, but why did Philippa say that she gave Ciri as a "gift" to Geralt? Did Geralt do something for her offscreen/that I'm forgetting? I did not understand this part, and did not really understand what happened to Philippa after Tissaia ousted her plan using Ciri's trance. Where did Philippa go during the fight, why did she flee exactly (if she was so invested in the coup, even if Vilgefortz was "winning" and killing everyone else), and why did she help Geralt save Ciri?
4) Played the games/know a few spoilers (but not all), is this literally all the books have for Geralt and Yennefer's relationship? I know from TW2 that for whatever reason after this they don't meetup again until the last book in the saga (when Geralt "dies"?), so this is all the content we get for Geralt and Yennefer's "love" story? If so, I kind of expected a bit more so it's a bit disappointing if true. (If there is more, just tell me there is, but don't spoil anything (: )
5) What the hell is wrong with Mistle? Kayleigh saved Ciri from being raped from the trappers at the inn, so in turn he decides to rape her, which is fucked. Luckily Mistle saves Ciri from being raped by Kayleigh, but once again the cycle continues and Mistle in turn decides to rape Ciri.
So Ciri got saved from being raped by a group of rapists, only to find out her saviour is also a rapist, AND THEN get saved from that rapist in turn, only to find out that she is to be raped by her second-rapist-saviour? All I can say about this writing is... why?
Anyway, clarifications on my questions would be highly appreciated, and any just clear-cut explanations on what exactly went on with Philippa/Geralt during and after the coup would be great. Thanks.
submitted by soulkoden to wiedzmin [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 03:20 jlodaddie My Renovation Story - 7b/8a - Charlotte, NC - Covid Crazy

It all started back in April when we were forced to quarantine in our homes by the silent beast. I manually dethatched the front yard and put weed and feed on both front and back. Costco became a daily trip and they constantly had great deals on hydrangeas, azaleas, Japanese maples etc. Here's where the addiction really began. Everyday I was pounding Coors Light and digging holes.
When planting got boring in the front I decided to do a privacy screen with green giants in the back. Learning that they get huge and being that almost all of the screen was to be under a powerline, I decided to contact the power company first. The vegetation manager urgently returned my call wanting to meet at my house to discuss my options. Long story short he agreed to clear about five trees that were "at risk" and regrade the land under preventative maintenance. It took about six weeks to for them to finish and when they were done I threw some kentucky 31 down (may 15th - first pic) to help prevent the rain from eroding the soil. I knew I had to wait until fall to get TTTF down.

From mid August until seeding the process was grueling. I bought a used garden tractor with multiple attachments (dethatcher, aerator, large steel cart and drag behind harrow - for $600) on facebook marketplace. I had already been using various 24d type weed killers and battling decades of weeds just wasnt working. The seeding of kentucky 31 helped pretty good until late july so once it started dying off I got aggressive with prepping the soil for fall reseed. My back yard is about 15,000sf and it almost killed me to lay three pallets of topsoil out. At this point im fully geeked out (spraying liquid aerate, humic acid and any other thing i could find).
On September 5th over memorial day weekend I laid the seed and covered it using a eco 250 topdressing machine. (second pic on Sept 10th on the 5th day when seeds first germinated). The last pic is the 12th day. (today is the 16th). After the hurricane rains finished last friday, i then raked the bare spots, used a foot plugger and reseeded bare spots. More pics are to come but so far the back is VERY thick and I look forward to my first mow tomorrow.
All credit goes to Pete from GCI and other youtube heroes! - more updates and pics to come (i obviously left off many steps in this post so If you guys have any questions let me know!) - (all in one imgur link)

Tools Used
-Lebanon Turf Winning Colors TTTF
-Tenacity (spray just before seeding as pre-emergent)
-Starter fert
-Blend of compost/topsoil/clay breaker
-Eco 250 top dresser
-Forearm forklifts
-Dethatch/scalp-bag/drag level/top dress-cover

Coverage area
-15,000sf of newly deforested terrain
-extremely unlevel and neglected
-Roughly $1,800 (power company cut trees for free) - may 15th - sept 10th - sept 11th - sept 11th evening - sept 13th - sept 15th - sept 16th - aug 20th - aug 20th - aug 20th - aug 20th - aug 20th - aug 20th
submitted by jlodaddie to lawncare [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 03:01 Coco-P Burning Stars, Falling Skies - Chapter 16 - At The Threshold

Previous Chapter - Drums of War First Next Chapter - Making History
I have a discord!
- - - - - -
Threedak stood on Meridian Station’s observation deck silently. To her right stood Dahlass and Bekai while Pinrakt and Dormah occupied her left. It was a rare occasion for three of her daughters to be present at the same time with Threedak. The threat of Maxist terrorism loomed large, and potential loss to the empire if an unlucky bomb or radiation leak eliminated all of them at the same time would be catastrophic.
Still, Threedak wouldn’t hear otherwise. Kahtash’s fleet was leaving Dhaj’s orbit to accomplish something the humans never had. To beat back the invaders.
Slowly, the brilliant white plumes of the fleet’s fusion torches disappeared from view as the incredible distance robbed the ships of all semblance of speed. Remoteness was funny that way. Intellectually, Threedak knew that the ships were moving away at kilometers per second relative to Dhaj, but in her vision they crawled. It was the same with the planet. Great cities housing millions of Dhajtel appeared to just be motes of silver and light from the heights of the belt.
Threedak sighed and glanced at Dormah. Maybe it was the melancholy of watching her daughter go off to risk her life, but she couldn’t help but wonder what time and distance would do to her memory after she passed. True, those who consumed her would remember Threedak with perfect clarity, but who would she be to the rest of the Dhajtel?
The Maxists sought to demonize her, slandering her with words they barely understood. Maybe she was an imperialist, but she certainly wasn’t bourgeoisie. She snorted. If they were going to try and insult her, they should actually try to be accurate. How could an Empress be anything but a feudal lord and monarchist?
Frankly, these days robots did most of the factory work and the Maxists drew their numbers from amongst the clerks and managers. If anything, the Maxists were the bourgeoisie. Of course, none of them actually understood Marx enough to know that. It was just words to them, an excuse to work less despite the ravening starvok of the invaders at the Dhajtel’s collective throats.
She smiled slightly as Pinrakt shifted behind her. Her daughter was only a little bit better than the Maxists. Pinrakt and her disciples sought to preserve the early history of the empire via art, but nearly all of it lionized Threedak. Whether in painting, sculpture or vid drama, she was always portrayed as a noble and intrepid pioneer braving untold hardships to force culture on her neighbors. Every Dhajtel that played her was at least twenty percent larger than she was, their coloration computer enhanced until they practically glowed.
After a decade or two of fawning media, Threedak was pretty sure that her citizens wouldn’t be able to recognize her in a crowd. Her daughters and her guards dwarfed her, and her coloration was still muted from a harsh growth phase with barely enough food and zero shelter. She certainly wasn’t the dashing figure cut by the vid stars as they slashed and quipped their way through the surrounding tribes.
Finally, she exhaled, doing her best to avoid coughing, and turned to her daughters. Bekai was still staring out of the viewport, a pensive look on her face while Dahlass fretted, opening and closing her graspers while shifting her weight. Pinrakt, per usual, gazed off into space, disconnected and aloof.
“I worry too,” Threedak spoke quietly to her daughters, “but your sister will be fine. Her fleet outmasses the invaders by almost 50%.”
“I know,” Bekai replied, her throat pouches fluttering with discomfort. “At the same time I can’t help but worry. We only have long range passive scans of the invader base. For all we know they have another three torchships powered down and ready to spring on us. I really won’t feel safe until she’s close enough to scan them with active sensors.”
“Even if she wins,” Dahlass fussed at her sides, trying to smooth her scales with her grasper, “there will be casualties. She’s in the most powerful ship in the fleet, but that could just make her a bigger target for the invaders. I don’t want her to win at the cost of her own life.”
“Come now,” Threedak chuckled slightly as she led the other Dhajtel away from the viewport. “You’re the ones who convinced me to let her lead the expedition. It’s hardly fair that I have to be the one quieting your concerns.”
“Either way it will be almost a week before Kahtash’s fleet gets anywhere near the invaders,” Bekai said from behind Threedak. “I don’t want to spend that time worrying.”
“I’m just concerned that something I did will hurt Kaht,” Bekai sighed. “We’ve tested the systems on all of the ships a thousand times, ran their thrusters at 100% while having them fire at static targets. Everything we could think of. I just can’t help but fret over the possibility that we missed something in the designs and they’ll break down at a critical point in combat. I really don’t know how I’ll be able to take a week of anxiety without any sort of resolution.”
“We just need something to take our minds off the invaders,” Dahlass interjected, her tail twitching restlessly. “Bekai has been meeting her production numbers, but my analysts have noticed a worrying trend.”
She paused, forcing the rest of the group to stop or leave her behind. Threedak simply looked at her daughter, waiting for Dahlass to finish. Bekai on the other hand was less patient.
“Out with it Dahl,” she snorted. “You just can’t drop a cliffhanger like that and get all shy. It’s just not how things work.”
“The Maxists,” Dahlass blurted out, her tail thumping against the station’s metal floor. “Their propaganda has been more effective than expected. It’s still not a lot of people but we’ve always had about 10% of our population, usually not from our line, that don’t buy completely into the concept of unity. They still work their jobs but they’re disaffected, not truly connected with our society.”
“The increase in workload as we geared up for Kahtash’s expedition led to a lot of complaints and dissatisfaction from them,” Dahlass continued. “Many of the complainers are flirting with joining the Maxists. That’s the bad news, that so many of our people would be willing to sell out our collective destiny just to work a few less hours a day. The good news is that the influx of Maxist recruits has allowed us to infiltrate them.”
“Wait,” Threedak interjected before breaking down into a series of coughs that wracked her body. After almost a minute, she continued speaking, exhausted. “Do we know the location of their central leadership committee?”
“Yes,” Dahlass responded cautiously. “Are you alright? That was…”
“Mother,” Bekai’s eyes were fixed on Dormah who was studiously avoiding her gaze. “You’d tell us if something were wrong right? I’ve noticed Dormah nearby almost as much as Bahwel and the rest of your guards. Is there anything that we need to worry about?”
“Now isn’t the time to be concerned about that,” Threedak waved a grasper dismissively, still gasping for breath. “We need to bring down the Maxists once and for all. It was one thing when they were just advocating for work slow downs and increases in pay. Once they started bombing factories and killing Dhajtel, they sealed their own fates.”
“But,” Dahlass stared at Threedak, worry in her eyes as their membranes nictated.
“Kahtash isn’t here so command falls on you Dahlass,” Threedak put her grasper on her daughter’s shoulder, squeezing tenderly. “Talk to the marines and put together a team. Use as many soldiers as you want. I don’t want any of them to escape.”
“Don’t change the subj-” Bekai began, still staring down Dormah.
“I am the Empress and I will change the subject if I want to,” Threedak replied dryly. “Your concern is noted and appreciated, but it is time to rid ourselves of these parasites once and for all.”
Four days later, Threedak and her daughters reconvened in Meridian Station’s command center. They still fussed and fretted over her, but Threedak wasn’t going to let her health stop her from purging their society. She didn’t mind dissidents. After all, even the smartest of beings were prone to miss important details here and there. Having a subset of the Dhajtel that disagreed with her viewpoint was an important element of preventing it from growing stagnant.
That said, denying simple truths was anathema. That the invaders existed. That all Dhajtel needed to work in order to thrive. That their society was better off today than it was as a collection of hunter-gatherers, dying to hunger, disease, or predators almost as soon as they were hatched. This was a viewpoint that harmed the Dhajtel as a whole. Honest disagreement was to be cherished and nurtured, but parasites that denied the rain even while standing soaked in the open. They needed to be removed from the whole before they poisoned others.
“Dahlass,” Threedak nodded her head toward her rather skittish daughter. “Please announce the beginning of the operation.”
“Mother,” Dahlass fretted. “This is Kahtash’s job, I don’t want to overstep my authority. Are you sure that we can’t just wait until she gets-”
“Daughter,” Threedak chided her softly, a smile stretched across her muzzle. “Kahtash is better at fighting and leading in combat than any Dhajtel ever hatched, but you are the best at organizing and supplying an operation. This is not the early days. You are not fighting an existential threat to our empire. You are crushing a bug that we have let live on for too long. It will be fine. Give the order.”
Dahlass ran her graspers over the scales on her face and neck, smoothing them one last time. Then she reached forward and pressed a button on the command center, bringing up the image of Dhajtel wearing battle armor painted in the colors of the Imperial Marines.
“Captain Salaht,” Dahlass spoke, a quaver in her voice slightly undermining the formal tone she attempted to take. “Please initiate Operation Haunting Spectre.”
Threedak smiled again. As much as she enjoyed watching Dahlass come into her own and overcome her omnipresent nervousness, Threedak had intervened to name the operation. Even if the Maxists didn’t know the first thing about Karl Marx himself, that didn’t mean that Threedak’s memories didn’t contain the contents of his books. Given the senseless violence and setbacks caused by the Maxists, at the very minimum she could have some fun at their very final expense.
“With pleasure Minister,” Captain Salaht’s voice was clipped and formal. Threedak forgot if she was Kahtash’s daughter or granddaughter. Over the years, the family lines had all become a bit indistinct. Regardless, she had inherited her sire’s serious tone of voice and burnt orange striping.
From the belt, twenty dropships fell into the atmosphere. Ungainly and ugly vessels, each was capable of reaching orbit under their own power, but today they displayed their primary purpose. Gliding on stubby wings the dark craft glowed in the dark Dhaj night as the atmosphere heated their plating cherry red, turning them into a deadly hail of shooting stars. On cue they all banked and changed their angle of descent, shedding momentum and letting their plating cool slightly.
Minutes ticked by as they flew toward their target, located in the hills just outside Lament, without using their thrusters. It would be wrong to call the flight silent, after all, the speed with which they plowed through the atmosphere easily generated a sonic boom and the heavily dopplered sound of a freight train. Still, with their reactors silent and their thrusters unburnt, they were fairly hard to see on advanced sensors.
The view in the command center switched to a spy satellite floating overhead. As the dropships rumbled toward their target, each of them began firing their fore-mounted railguns, jerking as their forward momentum slowed from the cannons’ heavy kick. The penetrators left hand sized holes in the gates of the compound before their kinetic energy discharged into great blooming mushroom clouds in its interior.
Then the dropships rattled visibly on the overhead view as their drop tubes fired backward. Of the twenty ships, fifteen rapidly fired fifty pods. Little more than black armored shells equipped with drag chutes, single-use landing engines, and impact resistant gel, each carried a Dhajtel warrior in full battle armor. The other five dropships opened up cargo bays, releasing walkers strapped to landing platforms festooned with parachutes and counter thrusters. The walkers themselves had barely changed from their first introduction, serving as legged/wheeled heavy support tanks depending upon terrain. A full armored battalion. Overkill, but overkill that the Maxists had richley earned.
The dropships bombardiers did their job, countering much of their ships forward momentum with the backward facing launches and landing the infantry in tight clusters. Quickly, the marines recovered from their rough landings and kicked open the sides of their drop pods as the walkers began their final gliding approach.
The Maxist compound was in chaos. One or two Dhajtel got to old style chemical machineguns and began spraying the advancing forces only for the bullets to bounce harmlessly off of their heavy powered battle armor. Threedak could almost hear the heavy crack of rail rifles as the marines returned fire. The heavy caliber long range slugs simply shredded the enemy emplacements. The hand held rail files took time to charge their capacitors, making them slow single-shot weapons, but their range and anti armor potential was unparallelled.
After the first volley, the rest of the marines charged, needle carbines at the ready to pick off any Dhajtel foolish enough to pop her head over the compound’s walls. Just short of the gate, an officer waved a metal encased grasper, bringing the column to a halt.
On cue, two of the walkers fired their heavy coil guns. The coil guns were a pared down version of the weapons on torchships, but their effect was certainly spectacular. The gate, and a significant portion of the supporting wall, simply disintegrated in a flash of light as they were shredded by metal flechettes.
The Maxists did their best to fight back. Pockets of resistance formed around rebels with crude rocket launchers or recoilless rifles as they tried ineffectually to use chemical rifles to stop the oncoming marines. Ultimately, it was futile. Even a needle carbine would struggle with battle armor’s thickness leaving only the Maxists armed with heavy weapons as threats. Threats that were quickly eliminated by the walkers’ heavy coil guns or rail rifles firing through walls.
The scary thing about the heavy electronically propelled penetrators wasn’t necessarily the slug itself. At high enough speed, they simply turned whatever they hit into plasma. Now, if the target had enough armor, this usually meant that there would be a suitably theatrical explosion on its surface. With the thinner interior walls of the compound however, the penetrator would put a small hole into the outside barrier. The inside however would be sprayed with remains of the wall and a wave of overpressure that would hit with the force of a blowtorch combined with a grenade.
Without battle armor, any one of these forces would be enough to kill a Dhajtel. The shockwave from the shell passing through was enough to rupture their lungs. The flash heating was enough to cook everyone in the room to death simultaneously. Even the shrapnel from the shattered wall was enough to mince entire squads. With battle armor, a Dhajtel in a room hit by a coil gun penetrator would require immediate medical attention. Without, the results were messy.
Within fifteen minutes, the battle was over. There weren’t survivors mostly because the shock and brutality of the attack was such that the Maxists didn’t even get a chance to surrender. Most died before they even realized that the marines were approaching their rooms in the compound. Threedak slapped Bekai’s shoulder, and her daughter gave her a fierce grin. All was as it should be.
- - - - - -
Previous Chapter - Drums of War First Next Chapter - Making History
submitted by Coco-P to HFY [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 01:36 oppoqwerty The All Barbarian One-Shot

Be me
DM running a series of high-level, single class one-shots to build out the world before a major 1-20 campaign
First one is barbarians
Be players
Three level 11 barbarians, one zealot, one storm herald, one totem warrior
Decide they are going to be brother half-orcs
Sent into the hideout of the last giants to end giantkind once and for all
Breeze through the first encounters, hill giant, some ogres, stone giant
Next room, fire giant dreadnaught standing in the middle of a lava pit
Bad MF with two shields and 21AC
Give him reaction that throws anyone that moves adjacent to him against the wall
Zealot barb gets knocked out by third round as the others are trying to maneuver the lava by pushing the stone giant's throne through like the cooler from ATLA
"Can I throw a health potion into his mouth from across the room?"
"You can try."
You know it's coming
Nat 20
Describe as the potion flies past the shields and lands in the zealot barb's mouth like a baby bottle
He gets up with like 4 hp
Finish fire giant and move into next room
Cloud giant in the middle of an open feet
"At least hundreds of feet down."
Too far to really jump, but giant can throw rocks at the players
"I have a trident, can I tie a rope to it and try and skewer the giant?"
"You can try."
Nat 20
Players go nuts
Drag this cloud giant, kicking and screaming, over to the solid ground so they can murder him.
He rolls a nat 1 on his strength check to remove the trident
MFW the giant also fails to grab a player to throw him into the pit
Wouldn't have killed anyways, they're raging meatshields
20d6 wouldn't have dropped them to half
Climb along walls after butchering the poor bastard
Ice giant fight is easy
Storm giant is harder bc he has lair actions, a whirlpool around him, and spells, but they just wade into the tempest and start beating this dude
He opens a portal at the bottom of the whirlpool and jumps through, have to fudge HP a bit so he can jump through
"Can we follow him?"
I have nothing prepped for this
They swim down and are sucked through the portal
Describe as they appear next to the barely conscious giant above a thunderhead
"I want to hit him."
MFW they're 1000 ft in the air and still unga bunga hitting shit
One succeeds acrobatics check to swim through the air
Decapitates giant with his giant slayer greataxe
Sent flying in the opposite direction
All survive the fall bc half-orc racial feature+barbarian bullshit
Wakeup in a strange land far from home in craters, next to the corpse of a giant
Nobody from home knows what happened, just never see giants ever again
submitted by oppoqwerty to DnDGreentext [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 01:35 MickeyG42 Disney after Dark: A Zippity Do Dah Day

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
I’ve been in here for three days. Maybe more. Its hard to keep track. You think listening to Small World for hours on end is rough? Try the same twenty seconds of Zippity Do Dah. Over and over. I came in here hoping to find the damn notebook. Instead I’ve been hiding and running for my life. You think the fucking Tardis is bigger on the inside? It’s got nothing on this fucking ride.
I came in determined to finish this. Where once I was a fan of this place, now I didn’t care if it burned. Even considered that as an option but realized it probably wouldn’t work. I showed up like normal and went right for Splash Mountain. Fuck patrolling, I wanted this shit to end. Wanted to find the book, see what was in it and be done.
Like all the others, the ride started up as soon as I got to it. Unlike Small World this one moved at a normal pace. It was, however, loud. Almost unbearably loud. I went through almost the entire thing before something was off. The big drop came like normal, then darkness. The log stopped, as did the music. I stepped out and dim red lights kicked on.
The riverboat was still there but none of the ‘characters’ were present. The riverboat, which is normally quite stationary, seemed to hum with energy. So I did the single stupidest thing I could think of. I got on it. Almost immediately it started moving. Down a non-existent river. I sighed heavily and sat down. About an hour later, (and yes the music kept fucking playing) it pulled in to some sort of dock. The same red glow hung in the air, although I couldn’t see lights anywhere.
I got off and took in my surroundings. It looked like the dock where the Mark Twain docked on the Rivers of America. The sky above me was swirling with red and black, and there standing on what normally was the path to Frontierland was a figure.
She took a step towards me, and on instinct, I backed off. And she laughed. A loud, hearty laugh that echoed through the air. “Smart. You have learned something. Been breaking the rules have we?”
“What in the blue hell is going on around here?”
“Red hell.” She corrected. “You’ve found the place they all came from. He convinced you to look for the book too?”
“It didn’t seem like I had a choice. I tried to stay home.”
“You were bound to this place the minute you said you’d help him. Part of the continued ritual.”
“I suppose now that I’m stuck here I can tell you some more. I used to be on graves. Got hired just like you. They handed me the rules, told me nothing and set me lose. I asked one day, like you. The man, I bet you met him, told me to fid a replacement. Someone to take my spot. So I did. Next day I was able to come and go. Until I woke up in a room with Walt. Kid I hired had died.”
“So did you get asked to find a book?”
“No. He asked me for sacrifices. ‘Tell them nothing’ he said. Told me the being were restless and needed bodies. When the crowds are here, its easy for someone to go missing, vanish from time to time. Now? They’ve become angry. The rules were, quite literally, made to br broken. You just weren’t meant to survive. I was already looking for a new person when you made it rhough your first night. Bribed you to come back, hoping youd die the second night.”
“You what?!! Hang on…”
“Then you got some of them to talk, and I found myself in the park, tied up, with Walt next to me. I saw you heading to Toontown, and Walt looked at me and shook his head. ‘He’s not supposed to still be alive Penny. They need a sacrifice, and they want you. My soul cant rest, and now, neither will yours.’ He gave me to the hooded things, and when I woke up I was here. I certainly didn’t expect to see you. Figured you’d give in after everything else.”
“Is there even a book?”
“There is. In his office. Office is in the same place here as it is back home.”
“Are…are there creatures here too?”
“Not that Ive seen. Come on,” she said, reaching for my hand, “Lets walk together.”
We walked, and I filled her in on everything that happened. “You didn’t really chase them around?”
“I sure did!” I laughed. “And yelled at them too. Never having kids after this.”
She smiled. “You’re kind of a shit employee aren’t you? Cant even follow some simple rules.”
“Yeah. Youre one to talk. Couldn’t just let me die.”
“So what? I thought maybe we could get out of this.”
We made our way down main street to the fire station and looked up. Even in this world, there was the office. And his lamp was shining bright white, he only light in this world. This all seemed…too easy, but I was tired, and not very bright. Went up to the office, and sure enough, right on the desk was a book, about the size of a textbook and a smaller notebook. It was in that second I realized I had no idea what I was actually looking for, so I took both. I put the notebook in my pocket and started flipping through the bigger book.
I grabbed the book and walked outside. Much to my surprise, Penny was still there. I smiled as I walked up to her “”Oh my god you’ll never guess what book was in there.”
“STOP MOVING!” she screamed
“What?” I said looking around, the I saw it.
The light was red. I stumbled backwards and fell over.
You ever go somewhere that’s below zero? You feel the cold piercing your bones, and every fiber of your being? Imagine that but with a shriek. Hundreds of shrieks. I ran. I didn’t even think to see if Penny was behind me, but she was. We flew down Main Street and made a sharp left towards the boat. From Tomorrowland came dozens of the masked figures. Through the castle came the little bastard toddlers. All making a beeline for us. “Mother…..fucker….” I screamed, nearly out of breath.
They were coming from all sides. Bodies crawling over each other, trying to catch us. I was on the boat, I was safe. I looked back to see…Penny had fallen. They were almost on her. I dropped the book and ran back. The toddlers got to her first, clawing and slapping at her legs. I kicked them off of her and dragged her to her feet. They swarmed around us, blocking the way.
I told you I didn’t want kids. I don’t know what I’d feel right ever having one after what I did next. I kicked, punted, punched, slapped. I know they weren’t real toddlers, but they sure as shit felt like real ones. Their bodies began piling up, and Penny was free. I grabbed her and dragged her on to the boat. I picked the book back up and looked at Penny, relief washing over me.
The boat didn’t move.
“Why won’t it move?”
Penny walked up and put her hand on my chest. “You now,” she said, leaning in close, “Us creatures from this side can’t go back.”
She slid her hand around my throat and squeezed, bring her other hand to join. I slapped at her arms but she had gotten so strong. “You really thought we would let you take that book? You won’t send us back here.”
I tossed the book towards the water and she recoiled in horror and dove after it. The second she was off the boat it started moving. Penny crawled ashore, triumphantly clutching the book. The weird history of Disney book that was, somehow, sitting in the office. I pulled the notebook out of my back pocket and began reading. It seemed what I had learned was true; Walt had ideas but they all failed. Then he found a ritual, performed it and suddenly, success. He had idea after idea. The funding for the park came through, and everything was turning up Disney.
Being about as smart as me, he never questioned the cost. And didn’t think about it until the day they had the first child go missing. According to his journal, it had been a slow season, and a child just up and vanished. The mother, a yo9ung blonde woman, was so distraught she threw herself off a building. Walt started seeing her around the park after closing.
It didn’t take him long to put it together, but it was too late. He spent his remaining years trying to find way to stop it, but the journal just ended before he was successful. There were, however, several illegible scribbles over all the final pages but it looked like insane doodles. When the boat landed back inside the ride, the lights were back on, and the characters had returned. I got back in my log and it continued like normal. When I exited, Walt was waiting for me. When he saw the journal his eyes lit up.
Before I could even speak he said, “Burn it. Burn it now!” Even after all this, I still wasn’t that bright. I did as I was told. ‘Walt’ began to change in front of me. The human façade melted away and what remained was a grotesque, melted version of Mickey Mouse. Red, fiery eyes started into my skull and I was paralyzed with fear.
“You just saved me lots of work ha-ha.”
Imagine Mickey talking, but instead of the high pitched, silly voice, it was deep, and gurgly. It sounded like he had a mouthful of oil. “how about a promotion for all your hard work ha-ha?”
“How about you fucking let me leave?” I replied, half expecting it to kill me.
“You and I can do great things ha-ha. Just find me a sacrifice and you can have everything you want, just like Walt did.”
“Do I have a choice?”
“You can be the sacrifice ha-ha.”
I smiled and knew what I had to do.
submitted by MickeyG42 to nosleep [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 01:22 Angry_Waveform The Last Panel Of Attack On Titan Explained - My Unique Take (Feedback Greatly Appreciated!)

Main Theory: I believe the last panel of AOT will be Adult Eren holding Child Armin.
Attack On Titan is a phenomenal show with twist and turns, plot reveals that blow our tiny mids away, and god tier character and world-building. I've always been fascinated with this series and I am proud to call Attack On Titan my favorite series.
A while ago, Isayama leaked his envisioning of both the last panel of the manga and the final audio for the manga. While many people have speculated what both of these leaks mean and have reached varying conclusions, I believe they are wrong, and the one I am about to present to you all is the one I believe to be correct.
The drawing Isayama leaked shows a picture of a man who looks similar to Grisha and Eren Yeager holding on to a small child saying "You're Free...". Many people suspect this could be Eren holding maybe Historia's son or Grisha holding Eren, but I beg to differ. This may be farfetched but I believe that this is a picture of Adult Eren holding Child Armin. Before you all downvote me instantly and ignore the rest of my post I want you to hear me out because after this, my prediction will make far more sense.
Let's go back to some of Isayama's previous interviews. During one of his interviews, Isayama tackles some of the intricacies behind some of our characters, Eren and Armin to be specific. A big idea in Attack on Titan is freedom, a very subjective matter emphasized by Eren and Armin's contrasting views on the same goal.
In one of his interviews, Isayama states: " Isayama: Yes there is. However, the Eren then was different from Armin, who fought for the goal of even just seeing the sea once. In truth Eren is not that committed to the sea. Even though Eren and Armin became great childhood friends because they shared the dream for “the world outside the walls,” but the root of that dream has some slight differences. Armin possessed a curiosity for knowledge, and held onto the thought of “I want to see the sea.” On the other hand, Eren viewed it as, “The sea obviously exists, but we don’t have the freedom to see it” - and he felt indignation towards that. He was not interested in the sea itself. Other than this, throughout the entire story, all the situations Eren became involved with continues to change, and his grasp of the sea itself subsequently fades. The gradual clarity of how the two of them have diverged in perspective, and Armin’s own shock towards this realization - that’s the story of that scene in volume 18. "
And this may not seem like a big deal at first but it really is as I will explain shortly. Throughout S1 to S3 of AOT, Armin and Eren are portrayed as close friends with a similar goal, but as Isayama states after volume 18 (beach episode) the difference in Eren and Armin's perspectives of being free become more apparent.
We know Isayama is consistent with his plot, he won't write something important in if it does not serve a purpose. Another thing we know about Isayama is that his plot reveals tend to be very out there but make perfect sense and have obvious clues that nobody picked up on prior to the reveal.
During Season 1 of AOT, Eren and Armin are shown reading a book about the outside world. Eren's goal is to show Armin this "outside world" and Armin wants to experience the world. During season 3 p2, on Episode 54 during Eren and Armin vs the Colossal Titan Armin and Eren promise to go to the Ocean together, and in this story, the ocean is symbolic of freedom considering the numerous times that the Ocean has been used as a placeholder for the outside world. However, when the squad does reach the Ocean, everyone basks in its freedom.....everyone but Eren. Eren just points to the other side and contemplates killing everyone, symbolizing he hasn't found his freedom yet.
Now we go on to episode 53 and 55. During Episode 53, Erwin states that he is going to die before getting to learn what is in the basement. It is also shown throughout the series that Erwin has a fascination with learning and wants to uncover the secrets of the titans. During episode 55, we see Erwin passing his dreams and legacy to Armin.
Now we go on to Chapter 131 of the AOT manga. Near the end of the chapter, we are introduced to imo the most terrifying and best panel of this series, the freedom panel. We watch as Eren brutally tramples on the poor souls under him with no remorse and basks in his idea of freedom. Right after the freedom panel, however, we see Armin and child eren meet in the paths realm. Eren brags to Armin about this scenery and brags that "he reached it". At first glance it may seem like Eren is fulfilling his dream and is happy to be free, but then why would Isayama bring Armin out of any character in and exactly at that time. If he wanted to make this scene more terrifying he could've added Armin spectating anywhere but here and he also could have made Eren's lines different, so why did he word and construct this scene the way he did. Isayama is a genius, I doubt this was a mistake but very slight foreshadowing that won't make any sense until the last pattern, similarly to how the difference between a warrior and a soldier wasn't that clear until S2 Ep6.

Now to how this all connects with the last panel. The end of the story will be a tragedy but yet very poetic, Eren killing off the whole world to show his childhood friend what they wished to see together, only to find his sacrifices fruitless. The way Adult Eren holds Child Armin, the same Armin who he wanted to help fulfill his dream of seeing freedom (symbolized by the ocean) but Armin's back facing towards the scenery Eren is trying to show him represents Armin's differing perspective on freedom and this wasn't the freedom he wanted. This also makes Erwin's death more tragic. We know for a fact that Erwin would not have supported Eren considering his personality and also by the way he acts towards Hange in chapter 132. Erwin passed his goals and legacy onto Armin and ended up seeing Eren's twisted view of freedom through Armin instead of the one he wanted to see. Eren says "You're Free..." to Armin in the hopes of pleasing him, only to be met with no gratitude and only discontent. In this scenario, Armin's closed eyes could also represent how Eren thinks Armin is naive.
But wait there is more. Isayama also stated during an interview, " Eren is a character being dragged along by the story" and “Eren was a slave of the story.” which helps support Eren having the tragic ending instead of achieving his goal.
The last point I want to make clear is why is it Adult Eren and Child Armin. I feel like this refers to their childhoods and Eren's constant drive to be free. Even as an adult, he wants to accomplish his childhood dreams. The scene with kid Eren could also show that he already accomplished Kid Eren's dream of being free, leaving only kid Armin's dream to fulfill his childhood or can show how kid eren could not fulfill Armin's dreams so adult eren must have to.

Side Theories/Predictions
Debunking the Audio Clip: - There is a shaking noise which I am assuming is the plane - There is Maneuver Gear meaning they are near Eren or the Colasal titans - At the beginning of the audio clip there is some subtle shrieking that fades away. Im assuming that means the rumbling is complete and only those on Paradis (actually I feel like they might die but ill explain that in a bit) and the plane are alive - Someone is yelling (i feel like this is armin) - The audio fades out at the end (could represent the cycle ending)
Paradis Islands: I said that I think everyone on the Paradis Islands will die and here is why. Eren got rid of the walls meaning titans can breach the settlements easily and since many of the competent scouts are away, the people inside the 'walls" are going to die. If this happens this will also be cool since it further proves the line that says Eren is a slave to the story.
Everyone except for Armin and Eren will die. Historia will probably have the most gruesome death and her death will probably break Eren. Mikasa will probably die and the scarf will be important in her death. Reiner will die but this time he will not be willing to die and hopefully he dies after his character arc is finished and he stops trying to kill himself (this isn't a dig at Reiner his is my personal favorite character of Aot)
The manga will end with Eren showing Armin's freedom over a blood-colored sea and land made up of dead bodies.
The Allies will not be able to take out Eren with the plane as that would contradict the founding titan being the ultimate weapon and would make Marley's obsession with the founding titan seem dumb.
submitted by Angry_Waveform to titanfolk [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 01:13 Bibbity-Bop “Battle of weird kid and the famous YouTuber wannabe.”

Hello Moonhorse! This is my first ever post on reddit. I enjoy watching your videos! And so, I decided to get an account and post a funny story that I’d thought you’d be interested in reading. While my nickname on this site is Bippity-Bop, I go by the Marvelous madmen on YouTube (which is a channel I just use to comment on videos and streams now because most of my past videos were absolute cringe). I’m aware that this isn’t important to the story, but I just thought I’d let you in case you remember me. ^
Side note: Sorry if the formatting is bad. I typed this story on my phone.
While I am yet to have any actual tales of me encountering the fascinating yet terrifying anomalies known as neckbeards, I do have a story about a series of events back in in junior high, that revolved around two friends of mine being at each others throats that almost resulted in a fist fight! Before we get started. Let’s meet the main cast.
To hide the identities of the people that were part of this story, I’ve given these people alternate names for the sake of their privacy.
Steve: Known him ever since kindergarten, and are still friends today. Steve can be pretty cool, however, there have been multiple times that he hasn’t gotten along and even fought with other friends of mine, which strongly irritated me. He also started a YouTube channel the same time I did, and still posts videos on it unlike me. (This YouTube channel of his is important to the story).
Vincent: Vincent was also a friend I known for a very long time. But even as my best friend, I must admit that he can be a little weird (By weird I mean, being able to download pornhub on his school iPad at the time). However I wouldn’t consider him a Neckbeard because he is actually aware that many people see him as a strange fellow, and frankly he embraces it because he thinks it’s funny. I never had much of a problem with it because he was never malicious or a jerk towards anyone as far as I know. He was genuinely a pretty friendly dude If you exclude all the weird things he talked about. Well...except for this certain story. I’ll elaborate on that soon enough.
Mr. Krueger: My geometry teacher. While he doesn’t have too much of a significance in this story, he was there when the climax of this tale occurred, so I’d thought I should include him on the list. Other than that, He’s a pretty nice and chilled dude, along with being a helpful teacher.
Me: Just call me Bop or something. I unfortunately dragged myself into the mess that Vincent and Steve started because I was a dumb kid back then.
Well, now that we got the introduction out of the way, let’s get into the fried meat and the potatoes that Kay made and start this story!
If I recall, this happened sometime around 2017. It was close to summer and Vincent, Steve, and I were on our final year of Junior High before inevitably being moved up into High School. Steve and I were a couple years in our “YouTube careers” (even though we weren’t making any money). While I was making crappy videos about Super Mario and a cooking show where me and my bro made terrible food combinations and had our friends eat it, Steve stuck to making blog videos about his life and other stuff. He sorta wanted to be like Logan Paul, since these events occurred sometime before he pulled that insulting stunt in Japan, and wasn’t as hated as he is now. I normally didn’t tell anyone about my channel unless it was with someone like Vincent, who shared common interests in the same franchises that I did, such as Super Mario Bros and Five Nights at Freddy’s. However, Steve “advertised” the hell out of his YouTube channel. If you were to meet him back then, he’d be sure to let you know about his channel, and would ask you to “buy his merch.” (Yes, he was even trying to make merchandise at the time such as T-shirts and hoodies. I even remember him wearing these custom made hoodies at school).
While many people probably found it quite annoying on how much he was promoting his channel to many people who probably didn’t care for YouTube, I never really had too much of a problem with it since it was mostly harmless, and him just wanting to build up a big follower base. Vincent on the other hand, just got sick of hearing about it. So he started a rumor that Steve was buying subscriber bots to assist him on building up a bigger following, and how most of the people that supported him weren’t even real. Now whether or not this was true, what Vincent did was a bit petty. Sure, Steve talking about his channel all the time got pretty annoying for me as well, starting a rumor about him probably was a bit too harsh. But thankfully it didn’t spread to much, because I don’t think many people in our school or online gave much of a damn. However, I must address that the way Steve handled these rumors back then was rather really childish! Because a couple days later, I ran into a rather very angry Vincent. I asked him what was the matter, and he proceeded to tell me what happened to him earlier. Apparently while Vincent was in the bathroom, Steve and one of his buddies waited for him to come out of the stall that he was in. When he did, Steve and his friend proceeded to “attack” him. While I didn’t get much context on what he meant by “attack”. All the info I got was that they bombarded him by throwing toilet paper at him as he tried to get out of the bathroom. Hopefully that was it and he didn’t get too physical with Vincent. However I doubt that he did because Steve seems to be someone who has a bark worst than his bite. I didn’t know whether Vincent was telling the truth or not, so later on that day I decided to text Steve and ask him if he actually did something similar to what Vincent told me. The messages went a little something like this if I remember.
Me: “Hey dude. Vincent is telling me and others that you and one of your friends attacked him in the bathroom with toilet paper. Is this true?
Steve: “Yep!”
Me: “Why did you do that exactly?”
Steve: “Because he was spreading those stupid rumors of me buying subscribers. So I decided to get some revenge!
“It’s payback time. 😈” (I do remember him sending that exact message. And yes, he did use the devil emoji).
And that’s when Steve and Vincent’s “Ultimate rivalry” began. Whatever class or group all three of us shared (which was a few), Steve and Vincent would constantly through insults towards one another during work time, or whenever the teacher wasn’t speaking. Their bickering was non stop and filled with strange but funny insults, with Steve’s most iconic line in most of these petty arguments being “Shut up, kid! Your adopted!” He tend to use that a lot whenever he got in disagreements with others. This normally went on until a teacher told them to shut their mouths. However, it wasn’t always humorous. The worst part was that sometimes these confrontations would get physical, with Steve one time telling me that Vincent “kicked him in the grind.” This concerned me, and made me wonder to this day if the two actually got into physical fights with each other that I wasn’t made aware of. This madness continued onward until the fateful day that Vincent and Steve’s hatred for each other would reach its climax.
It all happened during geometry class which was another class all three of us shared. Mr. Krueger was tutoring us on the agenda for today that I just can’t remember no matter how much brain power I put in trying (because I hate geometry). Everything was normal, we were all trying to listen, until I looked over at Steve and Vincent. Curious to know when the two would inevitably start bickering towards each other like two Neckbeards arguing about who the best waifu in their favorite anime is, I spotted Steve leaning a bit close to where Vincent was, who was around two desks away from him, sitting at a small table instead of a desk like the other students for some reason. I couldn’t hear what he said, but whatever it was, it got Vincent so furious that he did something rather unexpected. Vincent got up from the table he was seated in, picked up his chair, and chucked it over the two desks that the other students were seated in and right at Steve. Steve got out from his desk and moved out of the way before he could get hit. The chair landed against the empty desk, knocking it onto the ground. Everyone in the classroom was most likely shocked with even some people snickering, likely finding this entertainment. To me, I was just sitting there thinking to myself, “Well that escalated quickly.” Mr. Krueger stopped talking for a moment and turned away from the smart board to see what happened. Even though his expression didn’t change too much, I could see the utter shock in his eyes. He tried to break up the fight, telling them to sit back down and knock it off, but neither of them backed down. Steve was now in a fighting stance with his hands up near his face like a professional boxer. He was even bouncing up and down as if he was a character in a fighting game. Vincent began to walk towards Steve growling like a bear. Then I realized, “Holy shit, these two might actually try and kill each other!” Mr. Krueger continued to try and break them up, but it still didn’t do anything. He didn’t try to step in between them for some reason. Actually a little scared that this may of ended up escalating into a full on fist fight, I did something that now looking back, I probably shouldn’t of done.
I got up from my desk and ran in between both of my friends before one could deliver the first punch or kick to the other. With my hands out, I told them to cut it out. Surprisingly, the seemed to listen. Another second passed, and Steve put his hands down as if he was disengaging. Vincent however just snarled and ran out of the room. The assistant teacher we had the classroom got up and promptly left the room to probably go after him. Steve and I returned to our seats as most of the class were giggling and chuckling at the outburst that just occurred in front of them. I admit that now today, I found it a little funny as well. Now looking back on this, I feel like I probably shouldn’t of engaged and stopped the fuse. After all, it wasn’t really any of my business. However, back at the time, I was scared that one of them would of actually harmed the other really badly. They were my friends! And I didn’t want to watch them attempt to actually hurt each other to the point where one of them might of had to go the nurses office. However, if the fight were to get out of hand, I believe that Mr. Krueger or the assistant teacher most likely would of been able to handle it.
So what ever happened to Vincent and Steve? Well surprisingly not long after, they stopped arguing. Not only that, but they actually became friends! This was a strange turn of events for me, but I was honestly okay with it. Now in the present time, with all of us currently being seniors in high school, they sorta changed. Steve doesn’t over advertise his channel as much as he used to, and doesn’t attack people in the bathroom anymore. Him and I still talk to this day. He even still uploads content, and from what I heard is building an actual career off of his channel. I’m pretty happy for him that he’s making money off of doing what he loved. I don’t know much about Vincent though, due to us not sharing the same class with each other for a while now. We do talk to each other whenever we pass by, and he seems to be a pretty chilled guy judging by our brief conversations.
I don’t really bring up this story to them because frankly, it doesn’t really matter anymore. They changed into better people, and so it doesn’t really matter anymore. The only reason I posted this was because I thought these events were funny, and thought it’d be nice if shared them with you and others. Hell, even I wasn’t the best person during junior high and did some pretty stupid things. Things that I embarrassingly regret whenever I look back on my past.
I still have a couple more bizarre moments revolving around Steve and Vincent, but those are other events that deserve their own stories. Maybe I’ll post them here sometime soon! If you ever choose to read this, thank you for your time! Love your content! 👍
submitted by Bibbity-Bop to MoonhorseStories [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 00:59 RP-the-US-writer The Fayelons Story (Con't XXI)

Episode 22-Respite
Within much time, Ashley was seen observing the holographic map of the galaxy.
Joker: “Ash, we’ll be arriving at Korlus shortly.” Ashley: “Thank you, Joker. Tell Cortez to ready the shutter, I’ll have everyone ready soon.” Joker: “Roger that.”
She made her way to the lab. There, Mordin was analyzing something. Liara, Tali, Miranda, Jacob, Kasumi, Jack, Grunt, Thane and Javik, although the admiral was nowhere to be found.. As she walked in to join up with the others, Garrus and Ms. Shepard arrived soon after. They walked in to join up with the others as well. Everyone was already staring at them. Garrus did not seem pleased by this.
Tali: “So, were you 2 able to rekindle with each other?” Garrus: “That’s...not important right now. We have other things that we need to worry about.” FemShep: “He’s right. We should be focusing on the Fayelons.” Ashley: “But before we do that, where is the admiral?” Liara: “He’s in the QEC, conversing with the prime minister and some of the research team back on Earth.” FemShep: “Hm, I see. So, anything we need to know regarding the Fayelons, such as where we’ll be able find them on Korlus?” Ashley: “EDI is already scanning for their energy traces as we speak. We’ll be making our way to their location as soon as we reach the planet.” Garrus: “Let’s just hope we reach them in time.” FemShep: “So, what have you guys been up to?” Liara: “Mordin had been looking into some analysis of the girls’ wings. He said that he found something very interesting and he wanted to share it with us.” FemShep: “Alright, let’s hear what he has to say.” Mordin: “Yes, of course.”
He was able to bring up the images of the girls’ wings.
Mordin: “Did recall picking up on an unusual reading consisting of some unique magical energy stored within their wings, from this, was able to find that it can utilize a burst of energy that can enable them to undergo light speed.” Garrus: “These girls can fly faster than the speed of light?” Mordin: “Yes, have also found that from these wings, Fayelons can travel many distances, perhaps to places much further than even standard starship couldn’t reach.” Liara: “That’s...incredible!” Jacob: “Let me see if I got this right, the Fayelons can travel much faster than any starship?” Mordin: “Correct.” Miranda: “Well, they did mention that they have drifted from one realm to another, so I can imagine that they are able to travel at remarkable speeds.” Jacob: “Huh, compared to how fast they can fly through space, they must think that the Normandy is too slow.” Javik: “Hmm...remarkable, such incredible power from such young girls. I did not expect to find out about something like this and here I thought they weren’t anything special.” Tali: “You’re kidding, right?” Thane: “This may not seem remarkable to them.” Kasumi: “I would imagine, considering that this would be typical of their species.” Jack: “Damn! Why don’t we have anything like that?” Ashley: “Hmm...well, I do remember the girls mentioning something about their kind serving their “Divine Bringer of Light” as guardians of the Universe or something like that.” Jack: “The Divine Bringer of Light?” Thane: “They did mention to us something about that. It is the deity of their kind and the very being that is said to be an entity while others believe it to be a powerful form of matter.” Ashley: “Well, their kind has been raised at a young age to treat it as their deity and they mentioned that some choose to serve this deity, to protect all of its creations.” Thane: “I see, so that would include being able to reach other galaxies in the universe. Other...realms, as they would say.” Miranda: “So, theory suggests that this power to fly faster than light speed is necessary.” Mordin: “No, not a theory. The magical energy from their wings not part of their natural magical abilities. Readings confirm it to be the Light Magic from their Divine Bringer of Light.” Liara: “Are you serious!?! That Light magic!?! The one that the girls say is forbidden for any of their kind to wield?” Mordin: “Yes, that. No denying it, this power from the true source itself.” Jack: “So, this Divine Bringer of Light or whatever grants these girls this power?” Liara: “Do the girls even know about this?” Garrus: “I would think so. I mean, it would be very difficult to remain unaware of using a special power that is utilized by the “Forbidden Light Magic”.” Grunt: “And yet, their kind did nothing to save us from the Reapers.” Liara: “We don’t know why that is, not, yet, but there have been a few clues that suggest Dark magic had something to do with that.” Miranda: “And besides, the Universe is incredibly massive; there’s no telling how many galaxies they know about. For all we know, we could be another speck that is very difficult to find.” FemShep: “But there’s also the matter of their deity, their “Divine Bringer of Light”. There’s a lot that we don’t know about it.” Garrus: “Yeah, there’s that. Even their own kind knows very little about it. Some don’t even believe in it.” Ashley: “Well, some hold it in high regards and the girls talk about it as though it is as such. Also by their actions and beliefs of serving this deity, this “Divine Source” as they call it...” Garrus: “Divine Source? That’ interesting name; less of a mouthful than the Divine Bringer of Light, but it does speak high volumes.” Kasumi: “Well, this Divine Source must be real if some of their kind are willing to pass on the teachings of this belief and the importance of serving it.” Tali: “Not to mention Mordin saying something about a lifeform of sorts that can control this Ultimate Light Magic. That would have to be it.” Thane: “Yes, I believe that, too. This magic is without a doubt not some formless energy that can control itself.”
They looked up at the holographic images before them.
Ashley: “Yes...There is something out there that is very much alive. Whether or not it takes on any shape or form, I really don’t think that matters.”
Everyone nodded in response.
FemShep: “Well, let’s talk about our destination. This planet, Korlus. Last I heard, my cousin arrived here to extract some krogan warlord by the name of Okeer.” Garrus: “Ah, yes, I remember that mission. He was on the dossier for the suicide mission to the Collector’s Base.” Jacob: “Too bad he never lived long enough to partake in that.” Miranda: “That’s right, he risked his life for his research. This was where we recruited Grunt instead.” Grunt: “Is that so? We’re returning to where I was found? This should be interesting.” Garrus: “You know what? I don’t care about that at the moment. The sooner we reach the girls, the better.” Ashley: “I agree. As soon as we’re able to locate them, we’ll have Cortez send us down immediately.” Garrus: “Let’s just hope that’s soon enough.”
Minutes later, they were able to reach Korlus. The group stood by and looked out at the planet for a few seconds.
Ashley: “EDI, what’s the status on the girls?” EDI: “They seem to be holding together quite well, but I suggest you get down there soon.” Garrus: “That’s all we need to hear.” Ashley: “Let’s go.”
From there, they rushed to the cargo bay as fast as they could, boarded the shuttle and made their way down to the planet. Along the way, Garrus was fidgeting. Ms. Shepard, who was sitting next to him, took notice of this.
FemShep: “Garrus, are you OK?” Garrus: “Yes, it’s just...I really hope that we make it down there in time. I don’t want anything to happen to them.”
She placed her hand on his thigh.
FemShep: “We’ll make it there. Those girls are resilient. We will reach them in time.”
Garrus stared at her, he seemed comforted but was still nervous.
The shuttle eventually arrived on the surface. As soon as it landed and opened, the group rushed out as fast as they could. They soon stopped to look out at what was before them. They seemed almost relieved with what they saw.
Liara: “There they are.”
Before them was the girls fighting a horde of monsters in the air.
FemShep: “Looks like we weren’t too late.” Garrus: “Thank goodness.”
Mordin was on his omni-tool.
Mordin: “Hmm...their energy declined at an alarming rate. Still have plenty to fight, but not for long.” Kasumi: “At least we know they’re still alive and hanging in there.”
The girls continued their fight, then stopped and noticed the group. They flew up close enough to be able to converse with them.
Jewel: “Hey! You made it!” Aera: “Took you long enough.” Garrus: “Sorry, we can’t fly as fast as you.” Aera: “Yeah, we noticed. Geez, your ship is so slow.” Garrus: “Don’t get snippy with us again, young lady. I'm just glad that we were able to make it here before you nearly got yourselves killed...again.” Aera: “High-strung as always.” Flare: “We’ll worry about that later. Right now, we need to clear out these monsters before they cause any more damage here.” Jewel: “Right, let’s get on it.”
The girls flew back into the sky.
Star: “Glad you were able to find us!”
They stood by and watched as the girls continued their fight. Mordin went on his omni-tool again. He seemed quite concerned. The rest of the group turned their attention to him.
Miranda: “Mordin, what’s the status?” Mordin: “Picking up on potent reading retaining to Dark magic. Something...odd...” FemShep: “Care to clarify, professor?”
He fiddled on his omni-tool for a bit.
Mordin: “Unusual, scattered readings detected all over the place. Suspect this could be...from the monsters but....hmmm....could be from...other places...need to find the sources of these readings.” Ashley: “I don’t like the sound of that.” Kasumi: “What could this mean?”
Garrus looked back up towards the sky, he was indeed worried.
As the fight continued on, the girls were holding their own, utilizing different magic techniques regarding their powers. Jewel, forming a large gem from both of her hands and using it as a battering ram. Flare, conjuring up large streams of flames as a means of attack. Star, conjuring up several balls of light and sending them off to the monsters, bursting on impact. Aera, summoning gusts of wind that can cut her enemies like knives. Splash, unleashing her water abilities, sending hard blows from her water attacks as well as her ice powers. At one point, Splash was knocked out of the sky, she fell towards the ground, seemingly unconscious.
Liara: “SPLASH!!!”
Before she got too close, she regained consciousness, then with the use of her powers, materialized a large puddle of water and fell into it.
Liara: “Oh, no!!” Miranda: “Splash...” Jack: “Is she OK? Please someone tell me she’s OK!!”
From a few feet from where she fell, another large puddle of water formed. She flew out of it, back towards the sky with great ferocity. From there, ice formed on her hands and feet all the way up to her elbows and knees. She flew to nearby monsters, punching and kicking each one that she encountered. She then unleashed the ice that formed on her to other monsters, utilizing them as lethal projectiles.
Jack: “Whoa! That Splash sure is wicked.” Miranda: “Indeed. Her skills towards water and ice are remarkable. No doubt she has exquisite control and execution over her elemental powers.” Ashley: “Yeah, they all do.” Kasumi: “They must have undergone some training within their realm to become so skilled.” Tali: “They did mention something about taking courses, so I would think so.” Liara: “Hmm...I wonder if their transformation is part of those courses.” Tali: “Maybe.”
They continued to watch the fight from the ground. The girls were unleashing each of their different attacks. Jewel then stopped as she seemed a bit suspicious about something.
Jewel: “Something’s not right. It feels as though...he’s holding back.”
Flare was nearby.
Flare: “Yes, I can sense it, too. He’s planning something, but the question is what?”
They were about to continue on with the fight, but then, they could hear a screeching, the very same one that they have heard during their previous fights.
Jewel: “That screeching again!!” Flare: “No! This can’t be.” Aera: “Um...did I just hear that coming from the ground or am I wrong?” Star: “You’re not wrong, Aera, I heard it from down there, too.” Jewel: “Oh, no, down there is where...”
Jewel looked down and was startled.
At that moment, the crew members could hear the screeching, too and it was coming from behind them. They turned to look behind them and found a whole horde of Banshees approaching them.
Liara: “Banshees!!!”
From the skies, the girls could see the Banshees approaching their friends on the ground.
Flare: “Banshees!! No!!!” Aera: “They’re going to overwhelm the Normandy crew!!” Star: “Noooo!! Garrus!!! Mordin!! Someone do something!!!”
From there, Splash unleashed a massive amount of water. It approached the group on the ground in the form of a massive typhoon. The group was greatly startled by this, they then braced themselves. Soon enough, the water rushed through the entire ground. The crew members, however, soon noticed that nothing happened to them. They lowered their guard to find the typhoon somehow split and redirected itself away from them. They looked on at this in amazement.
Liara: “Whoa...this is....incredible...!!” Miranda: “She redirected the massive typhoon away from us.”
Mordin, seeming a bit more amazed by this, looked towards the massive water stream before him.
Mordin: Hmm...”
He slowly attempted to reach out to touch it, but Garrus immediately grabbed him before he even got the chance to.
Garrus: “Whoa, easy there, professor. We can’t risk having you be swept away by the current. We need that brain of yours in one piece.” Mordin: “Yes, of course, apologies.” Star: “Hey! You OK down there!?!”
They looked up to see the girls hovering nearby.
Liara: “We’re doing OK. This is amazing!! Splash was able to control her water powers to divert away from us.” Star: “Of course, she’s really good at redirecting her massive typhoons away from anyone that she doesn’t want to hurt, so there really is no need to worry about that!” Miranda: “We appreciate that. For a moment, I thought she was being reckless.” Aera: “Heh, there aren’t many who would appraise her for it.”
Garrus seemed a bit suspicious. Soon enough, Splash stopped blasting out her water, she then felt a little worn out.
Splash: “Phew...that took a lot out of me.” Jewel: “I think we all feel that way. This fight really took a lot out of us, so let’s try to use the last of our reserves to finish off this fight.” Flare: “Indeed, we must end this quickly."
From there, the girls proceeded to finish off the last of the monsters with some of their strongest attacks. After a long while of fighting, the monsters were decimated and everything quieted down again. The girls were relieved for the fighting to have ended then descended to the ground. They landed near the crew member, reverting to their dormant forms. Each of the different crew members tended to them.
Liara: “Girls!” Miranda: “You’re OK.” Kasumi: “Thank goodness. That was quite a rough fight.” Jewel: “Yeah...we’re OK now.”
At that moment, the girls were exhausted and collapsed on the ground, barely able to stand back up.
Ashley: “You look like you used up a lot of your energy.” Jewel: “Yeah...we did...that was rough...” Garrus: “You shouldn’t run off like that! We were seriously worried about you!!” Aera: “Ahhh!!! Must you always be...oh.....” Mordin: “Concerned for your well-being but amazed with your powers. Didn’t know you had the ability to travel at such an incredibly fast rate.” Star: “Of course we can! How else were we able to traverse from one realm to another?” Mordin: “Hmm....understandable.” Garrus: “I don’t want any of you to do that again. If there is anywhere that you need to go, we’ll gladly take you there. It’s not a problem.” Jewel: “Yeah...OK...sorry to...leave you like that...we were just worried about getting here soon enough. You’re too slow...” Tali: “We figured as much. We found out about your special power from your wings.” Jewel: “Heh...we keep forgetting that this is new to you...we’re so use to it...” Ashley: “Come on, let’s bring them back to the Normandy. It looks like they’ll need some rest.” Jewel: “’t sound like...a bad idea...”
And with that, the few crew members tending to the girls carried them back on to the shuttle and made their way back on to the Normandy.
Much time later, the Normandy was already flying through space. As they were making their way through space, some of the members met back in the lab. Mordin was already on the console while a few others, Ms. Shepard, the admiral, Ashley, Javik, Kasumi, Thane, Miranda, Wrex, Tali and Jacob. A little while afterwards, Garrus, Liara and Traynor entered. The others took notice of them.
Miranda: “Oh, good, you’re back.” Ashley: “How are the girls doing?” Liara: “We brought them into the crew quarters to rest. They seem to have fallen asleep almost immediately after we laid them down.” Samantha: “They looked so peaceful sleeping, that was after they magically changed into what I believe is there...pajamas...I think?” Garrus: “Hm, I didn’t see anything like that. I guess they didn’t want to be seen changing in front of everyone.” Samantha: “I don’t know why; it’s not like they had to strip down into being nude to do that. They just changed from their regular clothes to their pajamas right before my eyes.” Liara: “I guess they didn’t want to change into such in front of everyone. It made them feel uncomfortable or something like that.” Garrus: “And yet they’re perfectly fine with changing to their other forms in public.” Liara: “Well, they would be use to doing that in public.” Ashley: “Well, either way, we should let them rest. They’re very tired.” Garrus: “Yes, and we shouldn’t disturb them while they’re sleeping.” Miranda: “Of course, let’s wait until they decide to wake up.” Hackett: “Now then, since we’ve taken care of that, there are a few things that we need to discuss.” Liara: “Yes, of course, how was your meeting with Prime Minister Jones and your research team back on Earth?” Hackett: “We were discussing the matter of those residual readings of Dark magic. We’ve been spreading across the entire galaxy and have even reached out to researchers from other races, such as the salarian and the asari. They were a bit skeptical about our findings upon revealing the possibility of it being magical energy but after seeing the data, they soon realized that this was no mere fantasy. They also became very interested when we disclosed that the mysterious readings being LIght magic might be causing the miraculous survivals.” Garrus: “So, pretty much a lot of other people across the galaxy are already becoming aware of the existence of magic.” Hackett: “Correct. For some, that had become apparent after seeing the girls and their powers. For others, all that was needed was this indisputable evidence of such.” Thane: “Hm, I see. I, myself, or anyone who went through what I have would truly believe in magic. It is hard to explain how I could have survived the injuries that I sustained without involving such.” Jacob: “No kidding, you were stabbed by Kai Lang and in a spot in which pretty much no one would have survived. If that doesn’t convince anyone of the existence of magic, then I don’t know what would.” Mordin: “Indeed. Have scanned your injuries. No way for you to have lived by any means. To have you alive after that, truly a miracle and an impossible one at that.” Miranda: “The council already thinks of this survival as an abomination for it being impossible.” Ashley: “Yeah, tell me something I don’t know. Seriously, I had expected better of them, especially the salarian council member. You did give your life to save him.” Thane: “I know and I would do it again if I did as such.” Garrus: “I would advise against that. You may be alive because of magic, but I don’t think you’ll be given that same miracle a second time.” FemShep: “I agree, we don’t know the limits to these miracles and there is very little we understand about these magical forces. For all we know, none of us would be given a second chance.” Thane: “Understood, it would be unwise to become reckless, especially with dependence towards magic.” Garrus: “That’s fine, I wouldn’t anyway, not to this and especially not to the girls.” Liara: “Yes, we’re all in agreement with that.” Hackett: “Well, at the moment, a lot of the other races are already taking the initiative to seek out more readings of these residual traces. I requested them to send any results of those scans here so that Dr. Solus can look into them. Hopefully, we should find some answers to many of these questions.” Liara: “How long do you think it will take to get all of the results?” Hackett: “I’m not sure, probably many days. The search is ongoing, something I believe will continue until the very last of these traces have been identified, but chances are that it could have spread throughout the entire galaxy. Thankfully, we have the other races helping us out, so I believe that will help to cut down the amount of time that will take by a massive amount. As great as that is, I fear that what we’ll find will paint a very grim picture.” Javik: “If we are able to solve the mystery as to why these miracles are happening, I will be fine with that. Our situation had always been grim throughout these many eons.” Thane: “Yes, there is no denying that.” Liara: “But there is also the matter of this vigilante who is able to control this dark entity. He seems to know a little too much about the horrific events of this galaxy for someone who is still within another realm.” Ashley: “Yeah, that is very odd. I would think the Fayelons know nothing about what happened here. They are capable of traveling to different galaxies at will based on what we have found out about them.” Liara: “Indeed, we do not know why it took them so long to find us.” Tali: “Maybe it’s because the universe is so massive, we may seem very small and unnoticeable. As Miranda said, our galaxy may be a small speck that is very difficult to find.” Garrus: ”That is a possibility, I mean, who knows how many galaxies or realms they have visited before they ended up here and not to mention it took them several months to find us.” Wrex: “ many indeed.” Liara: “And they did mention that they stayed no more than a day within each one. Within the many days that they have spent drifting from one galaxy to another, they must have visited a lot.” Ashley: “Hmm...their kind, according to those girls, are meant to be guardians of the universe, although not all of them need to be and they can reach one realm to another with ease while none of us even come close to coming up with that kind of technology.” Mordin: “Indeed, such ability not their own, granted to them by their Divine Bringer of Light, possibly. Magical energy from their wings consisting of the same reading of their forbidden Light Magic.” Liara: “Well, I would think that they have permission by their deity to use this power.” Garrus: “It’s apparent from everything we’ve seen that there are so many questions that we don’t even know what questions to ask first.” Mordin: “Indeed, such is absolute but maybe we’ll be able to answer them before we even get the chance to ask them. Or maybe we already know the answers but are not aware of it.” Wrex: “OK, this whole talk of magic, the universe and such is really starting to hurt my head.” Tali: “Yes, there is a lot to think about.” FemShep: “We should probably take this one at a time, let’s focus on what we do know and work our way from there. We’ll figure out the rest along the way.” Liara: “That sounds like a good idea. I’ll continue to look into those Intel Crystals and see if I can find out anything else.”
Liara walked out of the room.
Mordin: “Yes, so many mysteries, so many questions, much to look into.” Garrus: “Great, we’ll leave you to that. In the meantime, since the girls are sleeping, I think I should take a break from all of this magic stuff and get back to working on the forward batteries.”
Garrus walked out.
Tali: “I’ll get going, too. Let me know if you’ve made any breakthroughs.”
Tali also walked out.
Hackett: “Miss Williams, Miss Shepard, if you don’t mind, I would like the both of you to join me in the QEC. There are some things that our researchers back on Earth would like to discuss with the 2 of you.” FemShep: “I’ll be right there.” Ashley: “You’ve got it.”
Ashley and Ms. Shepard walked towards the other area of the room with the admiral. The rest left the lab as Mordin was busy on the console.
At that time, the girls were in the crew quarters, sleeping on a few of the bunkbeds. Splash, however, was sleeping on a waterbed formed from her powers. Both Jewel and Star were sleeping on the bottom bunks across from each other with Aera and Flare sleeping on the respective top bunks above them. Each one was sleeping quietly. Star was quiet for the most part but has a tendency to talk in sleep.
Star: “, Mordin, don’t...slow down, I enjoy...hearing you talk.”
Thankfully, she wasn’t too loud to wake her friends. However, Jewel seemed a bit bothered in her sleep. In her dream, she was floating in an empty void. She was in her pajamas. She was confused as to where she was.
Jewel: “Where...what is this place?”
From there, she could hear a faint voice coming from seemingly nowhere calling her name.
Jewel: “Huh? Who’s there?” Voice: “I am here. I am always here. I am everywhere.” Jewel: “What? What do you mean?”
She kept looking around as the voice continued to call for her.
As she dreamed, she also began talking in her sleep.
Jewel: “I-it’s you...who are you...?”
Meanwhile, Mordin was still working on the console. After a little while, he stopped to take a look at everything that he had been working on and nodded.
Mordin: “Hm, that should be everything for the moment. The data just needs to process. Now then, how to spend this time while I wait for the data to compile?”
Suddenly, a chime went off. He went on his Omni-tool to check on something. Shortly afterwards, he smiled.
Mordin: “Ah, just in time, entire First Pretty Cure series just finished downloading, must find Tali’Zorah and let her know about this, looking forward to seeing this with her, though, might be busy in Engineering.” EDI: “Tali is not in Engineering at the moment, Professor Solus.” Mordin: “Is that so? Then where is she?” EDI: “She is currently in the Main Battery Room with Garrus.”
Mordin smiled.
Mordin: “Ah, perfect. Been meaning to see him, too.”
He walked out of the lab.
At the Main Battery Room, Garrus was working on the Forward Batteries while Tali hung out nearby. They heard the sound of the doors opening, they looked over and saw Mordin walking in. He stood by for a brief moment before clearing his throat. Tali didn’t wasn’t phased upon seeing him, but Garrus seemed a little annoyed.
Garrus: “What do you want?” Mordin: “Just wanted to let you know, the complete first series of Pretty Cure has successfully downloaded. They are ready for viewing.” Tali: “What!?! Really!?! The entire first series of Pretty Cure!?!” Mordin: “Yes, just wondering if you would like to watch them with me.” Tali: “Are you kidding me!?! Of course I would like to...uh! I mean, sure.” Mordin: “Excellent, let’s go then.”
He walked out of the room, Tali was about to follow him while Garrus went back to work on the Forward Batteries. She stopped and turned back towards Garrus.
Tali: “Are you coming, Garrus?” Garrus: “, thanks, I...still have a lot of work to do on the forward batteries; perhaps some other time.”
She shook her head.
Tali: “Oh, keelah.”
She walked back towards him.
Tali: “You’ve been at that non-stop for hours, you should take a break.” Garrus: “I’m fine, but I prefer to be left alone.”
Tali grunted then grabbed him by his upper arm and pulled him out of the room.
Tali: “Come on.” Garrus: “Hey! Wait a minute!”
She continued to pull on him as he tried to resist. Mordin stopped to watch as this was taking place.
Tali: “You’ll thank me later, Garrus.” Garrus: “I still haven’t approved of this!”
Mordin seemed pleased by this then went off with them.
A little while afterwards, they were at the Recreation Room. Tali was trying to get the monitor on the wall just near the door set up.
Tali: “Alright, hang on just a few seconds and we’ll have this up and running.”
On the other side just facing the monitor, Garrus and Mordin sat down on the couch with Garrus, who was sitting on the end that’s opposite to the bar. Mordin sat patiently while Garrus was annoyed with his arms crossed.
Mordin: “Ah, of course, no need to rush, Tali’Zorah.” Garrus: “I can’t believe you guys actually dragged me down here just to make me watch your...magical girl shows.” Tali: “Heh, do you know how long I’ve been wanting to watch this? It’s been years and I never thought I would get another chance to see them again.” Mordin: “As do I, truly been ages since the last viewing I’ve had. Don’t even know if my niece is still a child. Most likely fully grown. Need to look into that.”
Tali then walked up to the couch and sat right next to Mordin.
Tali: “Also, I think it would be a lot more fun to view it with some of my closest friends.” Garrus: “Do you guys really need me to be here? I mean, seriously, I’m hardly the kind of person who would take an interest in girlish shows.” Tali: “Magical girl anime isn’t just any girlish show. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.” Mordin: “Often common for magical girl shows to appeal to both males and females, contain qualities of such.” Garrus: “You guys would know that better than me.” Mordin: “Also, this may help you with better understanding the Fayelons, our magical girls, good way to study the demographics of such.” Garrus: “Well...if you say so. Actually, to be honest, I am kind of curious about this.” Tali: “Alright, let’s get on it! I can’t wait another minute!” Mordin: “Certainly.”
Mordin went on to his Onmi-tool.
Tali: “You did make sure to exclude the intros and outros, didn’t you?” Mordin: “Of course, made that request upon download entry to toggle off both, must avoid spoilers.”
He was then able to turn on the monitor and they began viewing from there.
submitted by RP-the-US-writer to u/RP-the-US-writer [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 00:34 Lovetheangelshadow Splinterbark: For My Entertainment CH 10

Chapter 10: Fallout

Reed had barely gotten out of bed and dragged himself over to breakfast. His whole body ached like one does from recovering from intense exercise. He was starting to wonder if these transformations were taking more of a toll on him that he thought. He never saw his father in an exhausted state, why did it feel like it was only happening to him? He was surprised to actually see the whole of his family sitting at the breakfast table even on a Saturday. With the upcoming holidays from rolling in, his brother and father would already be at work. Maybe his mother would be there to see him or she could be out. Seeing all three of them together felt…odd. And they were all staring at him.
“Morning”, he forced to say as he seated himself down. He had finally gotten some of the sleep gunk out of his eyes when he realized there were papers in front of his father and the school’s letterhead at the top.
“Reed, is there something you want to tell us?” Lenora started first. Not really, her son thought. Morgan was far more direct.
“We got a call from your school yesterday. You skipped three days of school, during midterms! Isn’t this why you were sent to the counselor in the first place? Because your grades were already slipping this semester? How are you getting worse? Are you even seeing this counselor? What are you really doing after school?” Reed did not respond. He had already heard this from his classmates and yet listening to this now made him shudder a bit and he gripped the skin above his collarbone hard.
“Morgan, please, yelling isn’t going to help,” Lenora tried to placate her husband.
“Then what is? What do you want me to do Lenora?”
“Maybe he’s having some trouble with school. Reed, do you need extra help?”
“Not like it matters”, Reed hissed under his breath, but it was loud enough for his father to hear.
“Not like it matters? You’re an Altamiri! And Altamiris don’t fall below the mark! Your brother never had this problem when he was at Valdus Academy. You have no excuse!” he bellowed.
“Dad!” Marco objected. Reed wanted to melt into his seat but barely moved from his slouching position on the table. This conversation was not anything new to him. Why can’t you be like your big brother, Reed? This was so easy for your brother, Reed. Reed wanted so badly right now to scream how much he was sick of hearing it. Gee, father, sorry I’m not an exact clone of Marco. Now he had to deal with being seen as second fiddle with the Golden Guardian. Then his own anxieties kicked in and he just shut down. However, he knew better. It wasn’t like him saying any of what he felt would change anything.
“Until your grades get back up, consider yourself grounded, Reed. You are only allowed out for school and work. You know, the job you insisted you get on your own. At least you had enough spine to do that.” Reed twitched at the last comment his father just had to jab in. Reed just uttered a ‘yes sir’ before he excused himself saying he was not hungry and was going back to his room. Marco had followed him upstairs where he found Reed half slumped over his desk as if he had tried to make it back to his bed and did not make it that far.
“Reed, you’re not going to say why you skipped school.” Well it was not like he could exactly tell him he had been unsuccessfully hunting for a pair of villains in a maze of a city like Cadric as a winged avenger thanks to a ring he stole from his brother’s personal safe.
“You used to be a lot more open with me. Look I know dad can be a little hard sometimes, but you’re better than this. I can’t stand up for you if you don’t trust me.” Reed was about to open his mouth when they both heard the buzzer downstairs ring.
“Huh, that’s odd. Who’d be ringing the door today? Ah jeez, I gotta get downstairs! Dad’s gonna kill me if I keep him waiting!” Marco ran out the door and down the opposite end of the hall towards the back of the house with Reed slamming the door behind him.
The Saturday afternoon had just begun as Thomas sped down the expressway though the outer circles of Cadric City. Shelly was holding on tight to his waist while trying to keep her helmet on. Finally he turned off and slowed down in a residential area.
“I really appreciate you inviting me to your club meeting at the rink”, she said through her muffled voice in the helmet.
“Hey, no problem. Nothing like a little adrenaline rush on the rolling rink to alleviate stress. *Aside from smashing abandoned buildings with a baseball bat*”
“What was that last part?”
“Uh…nothing”, he responded rather quickly.
“Wait, aren’t we rather far away from downtown?” She had finally opened her eyes wide enough to notice that where there should have been numerous buildings all huddled tougher or fancy historic statures, they were surrounded by trees and were driving uphill.
“Y-yeah, I gotta make a quick stop first. We’ll be there in a few.”
They had finally gotten past the hill of trees until Thomas pulled up onto the plateau. Before them as a massive Italian-style villa surrounded by a high iron fence. The gates had a pair of large ornate A’s in the Roman style. She had a gut feeling she knew exactly where this “quick stop” really was. Her grip on Thomas’ coat tightened with a small flare of anger hard enough to make him yelp a little. He removed his helmet and pressed the buzzer.
“Hello?” a female voice came over the intercom. Thomas looked up and waved at the camera.
“Hey, Mrs. Altamiri! Is Reed home?” There was a loud gong like noise and the gates opened enough for Thomas to pull in his bike. Shelly almost lost her hold as she was awestruck by the environment they were driving past. Statues of Greek and Roman heroes dotted the perfectly manicured lawn complete with fountains that seemed to spout their own colors in the autumn sunlight. Most of the flowers and bushes had been covered in preparation for winter. Thomas pulled up into the roundabout and hopped up with ease the long flight of marble steps to the large gilded doors. A woman in a wheelchair answered the door.
“Hello Thomas. Oh, who is this girl? Did we meet before?” When Shelly finally got up the stairs she recognized the woman from the hotel party. So she was Reed’s mother. Aside from the blue eyes-there was not much of a resemblance between the two.
“Oh, I’m Shelly Holmes. Nice to meet you Reed’s mom.” She then slapped her forehead realizing just how juvenile she sounded. Thomas was trying to suppress a giggle and Lenora’s face just flushed red for a moment from amusing embarrassment.
“Holmes…Holmes…I know that name. Is your mother’s name Vivian by any chance?”
“Yup”, Shelly announced proudly.
“I see”, Lenora responded a bit curtly. Shelly picked up on how abrupt the friendly tone changed so sudden. She didn’t think she had done anything wrong. And before the diner party at the hotel, she could have sworn she had never seen this woman before.
“Hey, is Reed in his room? We were just dropping off some school stuff on the way downtown.” Lenora snapped out of her glare and the kindly smile shifted right back into place.
“Yes, he should still be. I’m afraid you cannot stay long. He is grounded.” Thomas and Shelly looked at each other and nodded in knowing. They had to go down several doors in the upstairs hall before finally getting to the door that had an engraved placard that had “Reed Morgan Altamiri” in formal font on it. Thomas inhaled and exhaled a long sign before rapping on the door with the back of his knuckles. At first there was no response though Frix said he thought he heard a grumble akin to “go away”. Thomas knocked again. There was some shuffling and complaining before the door slowly opened.
Reed’s hair was not even his usual coif and ponytail and laid about in curly strands along his shoulders. Heavy dark circles were around his eyes and he yawned as he rubbed the sleep out of them. The only thing that actually looked neat was his polo shirt and slacks.
“What the hell, Reed? Were you up all night?” Thomas exclaimed.
“What do you want, Thomas?” Reed griped sleepily. Without saying much else, he backed up and opened the door wide enough to let them inside. Shelly took a pause to look around Reed’s room. It was surprisingly simple beige room that was only just shyly larger than her own. He had a loft style bed and desk on one side of the room. On the wall were a few posters with giant robots and a few older science fiction style anime she didn’t recognize. On a high shelf was a collection of robot models ranging from Lego sets to the Japanese models you buy to put together. Somehow that explained the Silver Guardian’s appearance so much to her right now. Reed slumped onto the chair at his computer desk and ran his fingers through his hair. Shelly thought he really was not looking well and he looked more ghoulish than Alucard.
“Reed, are you okay? You look really sick.” Reed just glared back at her.
“I ran into that explosive trap like an amateur. Damn clown had the whole section in the tunnel rigged. Dropped a lot of brick on my head. They were gone before I got out. But you did not come here about that, did you? I can practically see it on Thomas’ face.”
He hadn’t expected Thomas to suddenly grab him with both hands by his shirt lapels and rammed him into the dresser side of the loft bed.
“Do you have any idea what you did last night?! You left Shelly behind in that tunnel! You never leave your partner like that! Ever!”
“Woah Thomas, we don’t have to…” Shelly tried to interject, but Reed loudly sighed in annoyance.
“Shelly is perfectly capable of defending herself if she is somehow angry about that. She does not need you white knighting her.” Thomas’ grip tightened almost close to choking his best friend. Shelly gripped his wrist and told him to let go. Thomas released Reed and let him fall into a heap on the floor like he was garbage he did not want to deal with. When Reed finally got back to standing, Shelly jabbed her finger in his chest.
“And yes I am really really really pissed at you right now! You saw me fall and you left me behind!”
“I almost got caught by the cops! Did you forget you and I are wanted criminals? I would be sweating it out in jail right now if that lady detective didn’t decide to let me go! What the hell, Reed? Why? Why did you leave me back there? I thought we we’re partners!” Reed folded his arms and cocked his head slightly as he frowned back at her.
“Partners huh? Some partner you’ve been.” This time he nudged her in her shoulder.
“It was YOUR fault Madame Tink got kidnapped! It was YOUR fault they were able to kidnap Ronder! I had them in my grasp and both times you went and ruined it! And why? Because I had to waste my time saving you!” Shelly began to shake a little.
“I…I…didn’t…I’m sorry. I didn’t think…”
“Sorry? Sorry?! Those three could be dead by now and guess who gets all the blame? Me! Who do you think people blame for what happened at the news station? Me! Who do you think people hold responsible for Feronia Gardens? Me! And who do you suppose people are now criticizing for the auction house incident? Guess?! Every time something happens to this city-apparently it’s my fault! Not yours!” Thomas tried to move between the now trembling Shelly and the hyper-ventilating Reed buy putting his much taller frame between the two.
“Hold on there, Reed. You’re letting the media get under your skin. It’s not what…”
“You stay out of this, Thomas!” Reed bellowed as shoved his friend aside in shaking fury.
“Reed, please I…listen I know I messed up, but we might be able to fix…”
“No, you listen! What good are you? All you can do is what? Give people mildly annoying splinters? You’re worthless!”
“Now hold on there, Reed. That is going too far,” Thomas cried out. Reed did not seem to hear him and he was storming over to where Shelly was backing close to the door. She had never seen Reed this angry before.
“I don’t need you! I never needed you! No one even knows who you are so why don’t you just end your little dress up game as Splinterbark? The Golden Guardian did not need a partner, so why do I need you?” Shelly’s face turned from shock to anger.
“You…are…not…THE GOLDEN GUARDIAN!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. Reed roared and raised his hand to strike her when Thomas gripped his wrist and squeezed hard.
“Reed, I told you to stop!” He swung Reed effortlessly behind him and let him crash into the floor. All three of them just stood there, the air now thick with pent up anger from all parties. Thomas suggested they leave and left Reed to pick himself from the floor nursing a sore shoulder. He threw himself onto his bed and screamed into his pillow.
As Shelly and Thomas were talking down Lenora had just gotten up to the upper landing.
“Is everything okay? I was in the kitchen and I heard shouting.” Thomas and Shelly forced smiles on their faces and made the excuse that they got into a heated fandom debate. Lenora seemed a bit crestfallen at the answer. Thomas excused themselves and Lenora grabbed his arm as he tried to pass.
“Thomas, you’re his best friend. Do you know what’s wrong with him?” Thomas bit his lip even has he still held that artificial smile.
“I…I’m afraid not”, he lied.
When they finally got outside and was about to drive off when Thomas apologized profusely.
“I didn’t think he’d react like that. He’s never acted that way before, even when I broke his nose with my roller skates.”
“No, you didn’t know. And…he is kind of right.”
“Hey! Hey! Don’t think like that! It was your plans that beat Metilla Gorilla.” Shelly chuckled nervously.
“Thanks for trying to cheer me up.” Thomas deflated a little. Even though the heavy visor of their helmets his comment did not alleviate much.
“You want me to take you home?”
“Nuh uh, you promised me some stress reliving rush on the rink, remember. Come on, let’s go!”
Circus Freak had just finished loading the last crate onto the truck of their three special guests. The drug had worn off Ronder a tad too earlier than they would have liked and they had to listen to the man try to bribe to be released. It was made even worse with Madame Tink trying to do him one better by offering even higher amounts to be set free instead. Bringer finally told both of them to shut up and let him sleep-a plea that went unanswered until Circus Freak had enough and just gassed them back to unconsciousness. It could possibly make a slight delay in their plans since they would have preferred them to be awake for the final show.
Prism Beak was fueling up the tanks on his suit and watching his colorful partner do all the heavy lifting. Soon both of them would be out of this dingy warehouse on the outskirts. All the while the captives had been whining and complaining, several times Prism Beak offered to just evaporate them right then and there. And each time, the clown warned him that if he killed them-he would be the one taking their place in his show. Once Circus Freak had latched the doors to the truck, they plucked an envelope from the numerous pockets and handed it towards their comrade.
“And this is…”
“Our agreement? You help me capture my three guests and in return I give you a foolproof plan of vengeance on one Morgan Altamiri. A perfect piece of poetry.” Prism Beak snatched the paper and glanced it once over. He hacked a wheezy laugh and used one of his canons to burn the paper to the ground. Circus Freak just watched it turn to a fine powdery ask and yet seemed unfazed at the reaction.
“I don’t need your little ‘poetry’. Just point my gun at Morgan and vroom! One dead Altamiri.”
“And have you planned how to deal with the rest of security? The police? The Silver Guardian and his sidekick?” Prism Beak laughed hard enough to clutch his sides in slight discomfort.
“You honestly think I have anything to fear from that second rate angel or the little girl? If it were the Golden Guardian I might be worried.”
“Don’t underestimate them. You’ve only managed to escape because of MY help.”
“But you needed MY tech to pull this off! You couldn’t do this thing without me!” Circus Freak just shrugged. Not once had they raised their voice no matter how much Prism Beak shouted.
“Very well, go your own way. I cut your strings. And for the record, I never really needed you. I was merely doing you a favor. I owe someone else a far more impressive debt.” They hopped into the truck and drove off leaving their former companion inside the empty warehouse. Prism Beak just spat after them and then went back to working on something very special for the object of his hatred.
submitted by Lovetheangelshadow to SuperheroStories [link] [comments]

2020.09.22 00:19 DehLeprechaun Post War Rules - 18

First Previous Next

Darenius stared, half-blinded by the intense light that burned a humanoid shadow into his retinas. But he dared not look away from that haloed figure as voices echoed through the room. They spoke all at once, in a hundred languages he could not understand, and in the Imperial Trade-Tongue.
“You maniacs! You blew it up,” a man wailed! “God damn you all to hell!” The voice rattled in his ears, charged with emotion – dread, grief, and a wailing sense of powerlessness that sat like a stone in his chest.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion,” another voice monologued, drawn flat with palpable mortality. The purple-blue fairy-light spun and glittered, and it left impressions of unfamiliar constellations and of shapes that smoldered in the black. “I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.”
Something in the imagined blackness shimmered, and one of the fairy-light shapes was ripped apart into burning pieces. “They fell. They fell as pebbles fall down wells. They were scattered as jackstones are scattered from a gigantic throw.”
All the while, the silhouette stood. Frozen as the stink of burning flesh and hair began to fill the room.
“It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with,” yet another voice implored. Its words felt almost pleading as if it were desperate to convince Darenius that what it said was true. “It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop. Ever!”
Finally, the silhouette spoke. “So that’s how it is,” the Human said, its voice echoed a hundred times in a hundred languages. “Then it seems our end is always self-made.” Its voice echoed with pain and horror. The depths of sorrow swallowed him. “Twenty years, all for nothing.”
It hurt Darenius’ head to try to listen to it, but the pain in his leg was forgotten. If he could have dared to look away from that burning light, he might have noticed the ribbons of light that danced around the wound in his leg.
He couldn’t look away as the halo of light finally died. He could vaguely hear the fusion reactors and their turbines as they performed an emergency shut down many floors below them. Darenius blinked his eyes, the purple-black afterimage took up his entire vision – perhaps permanently damaged. But eventually, his vision cleared enough, and he looked back at the Human.
No, there was no Human there anymore, only a charred corpse.
Its eyes, once so defiant – as if by nature it dared those it looked upon to witness it – were now smoldering pits in a charred skull. Hair and skin were charred red and black and burned into a stinking purple smoke. The head toppled forward on the charred flesh of its throat, and the flesh tore and cracked as the weight of the head dragged it down.
The crown shattered as it hit the floor, held together by a putty of boiled brain matter and cooked scalp. No spine connected it to the rest of the corpse.
The rest of the corpse soon followed, the legs stiff and nothing to maintain its precarious balance. A chasm of smoldering flesh split the carcass in two, though the entire rear of the body looked like it had been pulled from a fire. A pool of slag was all that was left of the spine, barely enough to hold the upper and lower halves of the Human’s corpse together.
Darenius sagged, equal parts relief and exhaustion.
Dead. The Human was killed. And just like the first time the army scientists had tried to take one of the Humans apart, its spine had burst into a fire so bright and hot that it had turned the rigid bones into ash. It was more than enough to destroy the metallic implants.
He almost wanted to laugh: Humans even died with spite.
~,~’ ~{~{@ ((●(●_(●_●)(◌_◌)_●)●)) @}~}~’ ~,~
“Sir, orbital traffic is moving,” a sensor specialist barked over the hum of the INV Manifest Destiny’s various systems. Per the Captain’s orders, the sensor specialists and astrogation officers had begun to carefully monitor all activity around the station.
The Captain sat against the opposite wall of the Tactical Pilot’s station, where he could look directly up and see any other station in the hexagonal module. In microgravity, no surface was left unused – every wall had a purpose. The Sensors, Communications, Astrogation, and Electronic Warfare stations took up the other four walls of the hexagon. The remaining two walls that enclosed the densely packed command module housed the door and a large holographic display.
From the Captain’s station, the display’s carefully calibrated screen could present the illusion that the information it displayed extended into and beyond the room. The effect became increasingly broken the farther from the Captain’s station an observer got. Still, its effect allowed the person seated at the Captain’s station a commanding view of local space around the ship.
With several keypresses, the Captain changed the holographic display. The view zoomed in, the tiny triangles and squares that had represented every single ship in orbit around the ring-shaped station zoomed past his vision. In a single moment, the small symbols were replaced with detailed silhouettes of the ships within several hundred kilometers of the INV Manifest Destiny.
One hundred kilometers was not far in orbital terms, and the INV Manifest Destiny was capable of responding instantly to anything within eighty kilometers. Determining the effective range of a weapon in orbital combat was complex, taking into account the target’s delta-V and acceleration profiles and things like bullet travel time or laser diffraction.
Every ship around Torus Terminal was civilian grade: slower, low power thrusters, and only what armor was necessary to stop micro-meteors – certainly not enough to stop a stream of 3-millimeter shells from the Manifest Destiny’s sniper coil guns.
No one in their right mind would deviate from their flight plan while the INV Manifest Destiny was on watch. Which made it extremely unexpected when so many of them began to change course.
“All vessels be aware, an emergency has been declared. New flight paths are being directed to you now,” the tower controller’s voice stressed.
“Get me more information,” the Captain ordered.
The communications officer listened carefully to his headset. “An ice hauler is reporting drive malfunction, sir. It’s an old nuclear-torch drive, the throttle is stuck open.”
The Captain adjusted his view until he could see the ship in question, quickly changing course as its massive engines fired. Several other ships were already changing course, attempting to intercept the ship to render aid.
Torch ships were brute force ships, virtually just a fusion reactor with a hole punched on one side of its magnetic torus. It produced power and thrust in spades using a relatively small amount of material: the same principle that powered the Manifest Destiny’s interstellar drive. Such ships were fast. They accelerated continually through their entire mission – accelerating toward their target, and then flipping at the halfway point to slow.
“Sir, that plume is pointed at the station,” one of the sensor specialists interjected. An instant later, their sensor data was pushed into his view. A massive false-color orange cone of hot, radioactive gas accelerated toward the distant ring-shaped station. After a moment, it was clear the cone was growing and would overlap a large portion of one side of the ring. Several flashing icons appeared where the cone was predicted to intersect with the station. “Tower informs us that there are workers out there, repairing one of the laser reflectors. If that plume hits them before they can get to shelter, sir …”
The Captain hissed out his displeasure. To abandon their overwatch was risky, but he wouldn’t be able to sleep if he did nothing. “Put us on low alert, we’re moving! I want us on an intercept course with that plume. Retract weapons and point our nose at them; our armor can handle it. We’ll put as much of the station as we can in our shadow,” he commanded.
The Manifest Destiny shivered, and a phantom weight overcame the occupants of the command deck as his orders were carried out. The corvette’s chemical engines fired, and a subtle buzz of the low alert echoed through the halls over the hum of the warship’s systems. There was a lurch as the ship spun, and the Captain felt as the weapons along the armored hull retracted into their bays, and blast shields lowered into place.
“Forty minutes,” the astrogation officer announced. “We’ll make it in time.” The officer’s estimates appeared on display as a glowing, arced line that intercepted with a ghostly projection of the orange plume.
Slowly, as they accelerated into their intercept and the communications officer explained to the station what they planned to do, the Captain relaxed. It seemed that so much of his work involved long stints of waiting, only for moments of panic to perforate the boredom. But now the situation was handled, and his crew knew their roles and could do it well.
Forty minutes later, almost to the half-second, the ship shuddered as it changed course again. A moment later, the ship began to groan as the armor was stressed. A hot plume of radioactive gas battered at the Manifest Destiny’s armor, impacting it and heating the layered armor. He wasn’t worried; it would take far more than an engine plume at this distance to truly harm the Manifest Destiny’s protective shell.
The civilian grade station – and the pressure-suited workers that scrambled across the surface toward shelter – however, would not fare so well under a similar assault. Even though it was even farther away than the Manifest Destiny, the workers were basically naked. The plasma would have cooled by then, probably, but the accelerated particles would punch straight through a pressure suit and wreak havoc on a cellular level. Even the surface equipment might be damaged.
The Captain’s holographic display fuzzed slightly. The many icons went dim to indicate that the information they represented had not been updated in a significant amount of time. “Sensors?” he asked.
“Retracted, sir,” the sensor specialist replied. “There wouldn’t be anything to see anyway, that plume is too bright,” he groused.
“Radio is noisy, too, but we still have a line to the station,” the communications officer interjected. “They’re keeping us informed,” he assured him.
“What’s the ETA on those ships that went to assist the torch?” the Captain asked.
“Not long now,” the communications officer reported. “They’re starting their intercept, and the torch’s crew are trying to manually override the throttle.”
The Captain sat back and watched the tactical pilot as they caressed the controls. There was little to do now but wait, or maybe start on the paperwork that he would need to fill out about this incident. And repair requests, the armor would be fine, but the outer layers would be compromised by the heat. They were thin, meant to break up micro-meteors and bullets into plasma and dust before hitting the actual armor beneath.
He spent several minutes considering leaving to do his paperwork, it irked him to leave the chair during an incident, but these sorts of accidents were practically routine. He was of half a mind to lower the readiness level despite protocol.
But then the ship rocked.
“Rear docking ring is being engaged!” the sensor specialist shouted.
The tactical pilot cursed and attempted to compensate for the unexpected motion. And the Captain felt dread wash over him. It had been timed perfectly with the accident, the only moment they would have been virtually blind. There was only one possibility.
“Prepare to repel boarders!” the Captain commanded through a veneer of calm.
It was ridiculous, impossible, and yet the alarms began. Several officers unbuckled and left their seats, and they pushed off towards a locker near the entrance. The Captain followed them, his mind a race of thoughts.
The Human had control over a torch ship and at least one shuttle – possibly heavily modified to withstand the torch plume to make their approach. Owning a ship, or having the kind of influence to command one, was not impossible for a citizen of the Empire – but that would be considering generations of planning and collecting money and power. The creature didn’t even have a civil status, and it had somehow managed it in a few years? And that wasn’t even considering the Orbital Control Tower. How could anything less than an invading force gain control of that?
The Inquisitor had tried to warn the Captain about his prey, but the Captain had dismissed it. Clearly, the creature was a threat. Otherwise, it couldn’t have escaped Imperial custody and wouldn’t be worth the attention of the Inquisition. But he hadn’t even considered the possibility that he would be steering his ship into a trap.
Leaving only the communications officer and the tactical pilot in place, the rest of the crew moved to the lockers in the module. With the Captain’s access codes, the safe gave up its charge: concussion grenades, automatic pistols, and frangible rounds. Shrapnel was not desired, but a concussion grenade could stun and even kill in the enclosed spaces of a ship quickly enough. Other lockers in the ship would have armor and helmets, but the command module only had goggles and filtered masks.
Ironically, dust and smoke would be as much a danger as the bullets and grenades would. Typically, the ship’s robust life support systems would create drafts to pull in dust and smoke particles to be filtered out of the air. But during a firefight, the system would not be able to keep up, and the smoke and dust would not settle on its own in free fall. Such particles could blind a person if they made their way into their eyes. If the particles were big enough, the damage they caused could be permanent.
As the officers slipped the masks and goggled over their heads, a heavily accented voice rattled through the ship. “Attention, Imperials! Today you face the elite of the General. We have been forged in blood and blessed in the Singer’s light. Surrender, and you may live to die another day.”
The Captain growled under his breath. The audacity of these pirates was insanity. No Imperial vessel had ever been successfully boarded, certainly not during peacetime, and his vessel would not be the first. The Captain floated back toward his command chair and slammed his fist down on the intercom.
“The Imperial Navy does not negotiate with terrorists,” he growled into it, his voice echoed through the ship.
For a moment, there was silence, and the Captain wondered if he’d somehow scared them off. But then the voice returned with deadly calm, all the bluster of ‘blessings’ and ‘elites’ gone. What they said next was not a threat. It was a promise of violence.
“So be it.”
~,~’~{~{@ ((●(●_(●_●)(◌_◌)_●)●)) @}~}~’~,~
Becoming alive was a strange mixture of waking and drowning.
Lungs burned as the fluid they were immersed in became oxygen-deficient, and the heart fluttered as it urged the body into motion. A hand – her hand – small and uncalloused, slammed forward against an invisible barrier. Her legs kicked, tangled in a braid of tubes and wires that ripped free from the flesh they’d taken root in a millennia ago. The fluid perforated with bubbles of other liquids, unable to mix even with the struggling of the body suspended within.
Mercifully, the barrier moved. It folded away at the touch, and the fluid frothed out of the seam as it lifted away. The liquid splashed into the cold air, a transparent and viscous mixture perforated with bubbles of blood and other fluids.
She tumbled out onto her hands and knees. She heaved and coughed, doubled over as the heavy liquid drained from her lungs and stomach. She shivered as the liquid’s warmth fled, and left her naked to the air.
Rainfall filled her ears as the coughing and retching finally came to a whimpering stop. She was oddly drawn to the sound, and though she hadn’t even opened her eyes yet, she knew where it was.
She coughed weakly as she sucked in a breath and struggled to her feet, both for the first time. She wobbled on unfamiliar knees but soon took her first steps. Her bare feet stepped into water that barely covered her toes, and she gasped as the water sprayed her skin. The rain was warm, and the water around her feet was warm like a spring. She sighed as the tension in her body melted away, massaged by the falling water and its warmth.
The liquid, unable to mix with the water, washed away. The bleeding stopped from where tubes and wires had ripped free from her body, and that also washed away. Finally, clean and refreshed, she opened her eyes to a golden light.
Noli Timere,” a voice echoed like thunder through the dim halls.
She smiled and felt pride blossom in her chest. “We did it,” she coughed in a hoarse, never before used voice.
She stood in the warm rain and stared up toward the sunset-gold light. Steel beams crisscrossed in an almost-organic pattern above her, and the light shone through. She could almost convince herself that she was standing in a forest at sunset in the summer rain.
The moment passed, however, as she realized how quiet it was. She turned away from the light and the water, to the rows of other pods that lined the strange chamber.
Why were they dark? Shouldn’t they all be waking? Shouldn’t there be a crowd of newborns standing beside her, exultant, full of life? There were bodies in the pods. She could read the blue-purple fairy-light that glowed at her approach: they were healthy, ready to be born. So why weren’t they?
Then she heard it, the telltale hiss of released seals. She spun toward the sound and spotted the opening pod immediately. She burst into a sprint on wobbly legs, soon exhausted but quickly arriving at the opening pod. A man coughed and heaved in front of it. Heavy fluid flowed from the pod and off his back into the pool at the center of the hall.
Finally, he took a shuddering breath, and anticipation bloomed in her. She wondered what she would say to him? What would he say? Would he be an Explorer-class, like her? Or perhaps one of the other Ideals had been shaped into him?
But then he screamed and kept screaming.
She jumped as he clutched at himself, apparently unaware as his fingernails dug into his skin and dragged bleeding furrows into his face. She jumped forward as she realized what he was doing to himself, heedless that they were both nude as babes, and wrapped her arms around him. He struggled as she pinned his arms against his chest. When he kicked and writhed, she was forced to wrap her legs around his and squeeze as hard as she could.
The massive, slick fluid of the pod made it challenging to keep her grip, but eventually, his struggling faded. His screams died in a whimper. When he finally spoke, the first Human words she heard made her heart ache.
“There’s no point to any of it at all,” he sobbed. “So much blood. So much pain. What’s the point?
~,~’~{~{@ ((●(●_(ө_ ө)(Ο_Ο)(◌_◌)_●)●)) @}~}~’~,~
The marines surged through the airlock, with Turin’eh and Kanen’eh at their head. The gunfire started soon after that. Once they were through, the other crew worked to fortify their retreat with barriers and entrenched weapons. They were no warriors, not like the General’s marines, but they didn’t need to be to turn their shuttle into a fort. And with the doors jammed open, the other ship would not attempt to force an undocking – not unless they were willing to destroy their cold engines that were so very close to the shuttle.
Sheh’teh stayed behind as well.
The light of God had faded some time ago, and Sheh’teh had grit her teeth and got to work rather than go to the sobbing Human. She left the Singer in her straps to cry, and perhaps it would be better to allow her some time to process what she’d seen. Instead, Sheh’teh had prepared the warriors. It had taken all of her strength, all of her faith to ignore the Singer.
Her crying was so familiar. It hurt her in a way she’d almost forgotten, a wound more than twenty years old. But finally, with the soldiers on their way, she gave in to her maternal urges and jumped toward the Singer.
She floated through the not-fall and ‘landed’ softly over the Singer’s seat. One set of hands held her steady while the other pair gently pulled the Singer from her harness. And just like one of her kits, the Singer curled against Sheh’teh’s chest. Her tears pooled over her eyes strangely in the not-fall, only breaking away to float as wobbling bubbles on occasion.
Sheh’teh felt a small conflict about comforting a Human in such a way. They were noble and enduring beings – not children. But it was clear the Singer was in pain, not of the body, but perhaps of the soul. And as strong fingers clutched at the fur of her breast, and the sobbing slowly came to an end, she knew that she’d decided correctly.
“They’re all dead, Sheh’teh,” the Singer croaked into Sheh’teh’s chest. “It wasn’t even our fault, not really. But it doesn’t matter, none of it matters anymore. They hate us, Sheh’teh,” she whispered, and the sobs started again. “They hate us.”
Sheh’teh shivered despite herself and held the Human tighter.
When the light of God had shone through the Singer, she’d sung for them. Music, unlike anything Sheh’teh had heard before, had manifested around the Singer. But the things she sang about had left Sheh’teh haunted. Somehow she understood the music, though she was certain it had been in no language she had ever spoken. The words had wormed their way into her brain nonetheless.
Fire falling from the sky like rain. Ashes like snow. A sun turned black. And death. Death but no blood, hardly any blood. Only glass and scattered stones. And those terrible words:
Noli timere.

~`~,~{@ O @}~,~`~

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2020.09.21 20:10 EldestSister A demon arrives and destroys floating hotels that I was visiting as a field trip

September 21: I was going on some sort of school field trip where we had to take a hovering car up to the X/H shaped hotel. I remember seeing it and it was huge and rotating. We became comfortable there and for some reason, everyone’s mom was there, including mine, I think, however by the middle of the story, my mom is no longer present, she just disappears, no longer part of the story.
I don’t remember what happened during most of the week, but near the end week, things started turning negative. There was a weird feel in the atmosphere and something was wrong. It was getting dark and red outside. I was going back to my room to collect my things. It was almost time to leave. I had two other roommates with one who had already packed and was waiting for everyone else downstairs in the lobby. I was packing my things when my second roommate suddenly pounced on me. I became frightened and looked at her. She had this anger in her eyes I had never seen before. She was sitting on my stomach with my back to the floor and she did the “son, the ghost, and the holy spirit,” motion in her hand and when she went to do “amen” she punched me super, super hard in the chest. I coughed and tried to kick her off me. I told her I didn’t understand what she was doing and why, but she screeched out that I was a demon. She tied me down to the floor and left the room, locking it. She wanted us to leave without me.
I managed to escape and twist the door handle hard enough so I broke. I wrapped myself in a blanket and rushed downstairs. Everyone was in the lobby and I started shouting about the girl who hurt me. I expressed how scared and angry I became and the girl looked sheepishly away as her mother became shocked. She was yelling at her daughter, when suddenly something outside erupted and everyone became silent. It was a monster. A demon. And the demon was bellowing about how he was going to kill everyone. He was as huge as a mountain and everyone started panicking. We couldn’t get back down to safety without the floating cars, and they became out of service when someone tried to turn them on.
The demon started slashing and dragging his claws through the rotating, floating hotels, and they started falling apart. Suddenly, Wilson was in my arms, my small white dog, and very scared. I was very afraid, but determined to keep Wilson safe. Everyone was fleeing and screaming, running down the hallways that no longer had ceilings, they were exposed to the dark, windy air, where the red demon with bright eyes was staring down at us. The hotels cluttered together as be pushed them around and I clutched Wilson and ran. I held him in my jacket. I was suddenly not a girl anymore, but a boy with short hair. I was in a random part of a falling apart hotel, imagine the Death Star in the ROS. The demon sent out a electromagnetic pulse that made everything crush together. I was pushed between two walls, but I pushed my legs against the wall to prevent Wilson and I from being crushed. I was screaming and Wilson was whining. While doing that, the demon screeched again and he summoned all the rest of the pieces of him, living pieces of flesh that lived in people, including Wilson. His leg that had once been broken became crippled again as a purple/red worm mushy thing crawled its way out of him. He was screaming. Then my legs buckled and he and I were crushed. I saw it happen from a third person view. There was a bright light and my arms fell open.
I died.
And then the dream started over. I was back at the hotel, but this time as I was visiting, I worked there. There was a huge parade that would happen in an area that looked like this. I was a background character that floated around on a pedestal, I was dressed as a nutcracker. There were three other kids who worked with me. There was a boy who I worked with, who I was very interested in, and I wanted to be with him, but I was too shy to ask.
During a parade, I floated by him and for some reason became very sad. I looked at him and he saw how sad I was. I was painted as a black and white nutcracker, but when our pedestals landed in the center of the stage, I was suddenly colored. I was painted in black, white, red, yellow, all the colors of a nutcracker. I started ballroom dancing with another boy, while I watched the boy I was interested in rush over to the monochrome nutcracker girl, thinking it was me, and started dancing with her. My heart broke in that moment. People cheered as the parade ended.
I was finding something to do and I decided I would fly a kite. However, there was a mesh pouch you could sit in as the kite rides the winds. I sat, controlling the fin behind me, and flew around, past the sky-high colorful balloons, past the parade center, and now I was ready to land.
There was a sand pit meant for landing and I tried to guide myself to crash land in it, but I was too high and had to buckle back into the air and glide around again. A mistake was made as I did this, because I realized that there was a tether keeping me tied to the ground. I should have landed the first time, because when I came around again, this time much closer to the ground, the tether got caught in electrical wires and I was thrown to the ground as the pulled apart. I had a “oh crap” moment as I looked at the damage. The boy I was interested in was not too far away, training children martial arts or something, and had seen everything I did. I didn’t know that, and I ended up calling for help through my phone. When assistance came, they were disappointed in me, but glad I was OK. Then I woke up.
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2020.09.21 19:25 fantastic1ftc [RF] The turn of the tide

I look around myself and watch the smoke rising into the dark stormclouds over my head. I watch the freshly lit fires destroying what I loved: I passed my burning schoolhouse and watch my 4th-grade teacher narrowly escaping and joining me and the other new refugees. I sprint past one of the town farms where our food is grown that had been set alight. I am too focused on getting away to feel the throbbing in my legs from sprinting away from my town, and I am much too focused on getting away to worry about how the other women and children I know are running with me are doing. I hope they can keep it up, as I flashback to the trauma starting at the beginning of the day, watching the man who lived in our house shot in the head, then reeling through the following events of escaping and starting to run.
The day before I would never have fathomed what was happening so close to us: I had helped Didier and my mother, Mary, attach the signature epaulet of a Lieutenant Colonel to prepare my father’s uniform so he could lead his troops in Boston, but that was 25 miles away. I could never have imagined what was happening today. I was out on a morning walk around the town with my friends when we saw the enemy ships under the looming stormclouds steaming towards our defenseless town. My friends and I decided that they would be just passing through, on their way to attack their next target. We decided to stop and watch them go by when we saw the scout ship drop her anchor and the fleet begin to slow. We look up and see the storm clouds darkening and lowering. It suddenly became evident that they were targeting our defenseless town. My friends all looked at each other and split, each trying to get home. I sprinted the short trip up Elk and Main Street, desperately trying to get to my mother, hoping she might be able to save us. Her eyes widened, and she abruptly ran to the door to see for herself. She took a good look then hurriedly wrote to Hammond:
My dear Hammond Please turn back; Concord has been overrun, the enemy has anchored on our shores. Your love, Mary
She desperately gathered what little money we had in the house and dragged me on to the now nearly abandoned town hall on Bedford Street where she paid the mail boy all the money she could find and told him to go as fast as his horse would take him and intercept the town’s warriors before they got too far.
We made it home and Mother told Didier it was time to pay for his stay and ordered him to get dressed and ready. We began to prepare our house for what we hoped would not follow: we threw water on the floors and walls, soaked our bedsheets, and boarded up our windows. No sooner had we sealed our cabin then did we hear a loud thunderclap. I could see through the cracks in our walls that our dark ceiling was continuing to close in. It was dark enough to feel like dusk. I continued to peer through a crack, with Didier watching through another, his facing the river. I watched the turbulent skies as I heard a gasp from Didier. I looked back and watched him recoil, spring for his bayonet, and station himself next to our door. I went back to watching through the crack, and noticed a new haze, accompanied by an orange light. Mother peered through another crack facing the river and exclaimed what she saw: South Bridge and Elm Street had been lit aflame, and the fire was spreading fast. Mother took me into her arms and reassured me. Moments later, a man dressed in a red jacket with a white sash burst into our house. He looked disdainfully at Didier, asking why he wasn’t with his men. Didier proudly responded that he was French, and the rest of his men had not yet arrived. Hardly allowing Didier to finish his sentence, the soldier raised his pistol and killed Didier. My mother squeezed me tightly and covered my eyes, but I could still feel the soldier’s glare land upon us. “This should teach you about harboring traitors,” he said and closed the door. My mother uncovered my eyes to see a small fire the soldier had left. I looked at my mother fearfully, and she reflected my look. We put the fire out and covered Didier’s body with one of our damp sheets. It had seemed that we saved our home, but we soon saw smoke pouring in through the gaps in our house as we began to get hotter. Eventually, it became obvious that we could not weather the siege. Mother and I burst outside and quickly took account of what was left of our surroundings: the clouds were so low and thick that once mixed with the smoke of our burning town, the flames were the only source of light. Mother and I began to run towards Boston, joining the other recently created refugees as we sprinted down Thoreau Street into the woods that surrounded our town. I looked around and saw my mother was beginning to fall behind the group. Knowing nothing else, I instinctively slowed down and kept by my mother as we ran past much of our hometown. She told me to continue running with the group; she would meet me once it was all over. I hoped she was right, and looked back to see the soldiers several hundred yards behind us in pursuit, destroying everything in their path. I saw there were several others who were lagging behind, and I could do nothing more than pray that they would make it through.
I look around myself and watch the smoke rising into the dark stormclouds low over my head. I watch the freshly lit fires destroying what I loved: I passed my burning schoolhouse and watch my 4th-grade teacher narrowly escaping her home and joining me and the other new refugees; I sprint past one of the town farms where our food is grown that had been set alight. I begin to feel the effects of the run I have endured, but I am too focused on getting away to feel the throbbing in my legs from sprinting away from my town, and I am much too focused on getting away to worry about how the other women and children I know are running with me are doing. We continue to run deeper into the woods, keeping to a thin path used by buggies, praying we can lose our invaders, despite them being just a minute behind us. As I am running, I begin to feel the sweet drops of rain on my sweaty, smoky face, and before we know it, we are running through a downpour. I clench my teeth and continue to run through the now mud and focus on getting through the woods. I hear my father shout “hold”. I shake my head, thinking I was hearing things, but I hear him shout “fire”. Our group is jarred out of our running daze by the sound of 50 simultaneous gunshots around us. Startled, I trip and fall. I stand up and look around. Several others are also getting up, covered in mud. I look deeper into the woods, and watch my father shout “push” and see all of our fighters from our town step out of the woods and begin to make their way back to Concord. As we all gather our wits, it occurs to us that our town is ours, and, not only had we made it out, but we will be going back.
Several hours later, after the Concord Regiment push the intruders back to the coastlines and their ships, we are brought back into our town. Over the next several weeks, we begin to rebuild. My father and several other soldiers dressed in their most formal uniforms escort Didier’s body to Boston. Upon his return, I finally gather the courage to ask what happened. I ask why he goes to Boston so much. I ask what happened to Didier. I asked what happened to our town. My father takes me into our half-built house and pulls up a chair, and continues to tell me everything. He explains that the colonies had elected to break away from England and the rule of King George. He explains that the British are fighting for control of Boston as a city from which to base their forceful takeover of the colonial governments. He explains to me Didier was a French soldier who was staying with us as he was waiting for the rest of his men to come to assist the colonies fighting the British, and the British do not like the French. He explains to me that our town supplies the colonial army in Boston when the city is held under siege by the British navy.
The next day, I am told to clean myself up as best I can, and we make our way to the town hall, where much of the town is gathered. I see my father and his commander, Brigadier General David on the stage. Brigadier General David awards my father the rank of Colonel, and gives a brief speech:
“Lieutenant Colonel Hammond led the men that took back control of our town, and has rescued a critical source of resources for the Continental army. In the weeks since Hammond commanded his men to attack the pursuing British soldiers, the tide of the entire war has turned. I have been told by my commanders and colleagues that they have felt the impact of his attack all along each of our fronts. I venture to presume that this brave counterassault will go down in history, and given its effects, it may perhaps go down as ‘the shot heard around the world’”.
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2020.09.21 18:00 EmpireOfChairs Capstone for Part 3: Gravity's Rainbow

Hello, everybody! It’s finally time to leave the Zone!
Can you believe that you haven’t even gotten to the most difficult part of the novel yet?
Anyway, I’ve included a massive plot summary here, because the last capstone had one, but this is only for the benefit of new and future readers who are struggling to make sense of the plot threads, and it doesn’t contain any real analysis. If you feel like you understood the gist of what happened already, then feel free to skip it. I am hoping that this summary will elucidate this part of the novel for those who are having trouble following the narrative but still want the opportunity to come to their own conclusions about what it all means.
Throughout In the Zone, I found my real life suddenly full of random obstacles that meant that I couldn’t contribute to as many threads as I would have liked. I would read those other threads and find that things which had fascinated me were either being ignored wholesale or else (I felt) misinterpreted in the comments. As such, I would like to give my thoughts on them here and now, before we leave the Zone and the opportunity to discuss these things is lost.
However, because the plot of In the Zone is so damn long, I’ve decided to do things a little bit differently: I’m going to use this main thread for the summary, and then I’m going to write individual comments on the various parts of In the Zone which I think deserve more analysis before we move on to The Counterforce. The parts I will be analysing will be titled Bianca, Enzian, and The Castle, with associated page numbers based around the 902-page Vintage edition.
Plot Summary:
As you would imagine, I can’t put a lot of detail into a brief summary of what would, on its own, still represent a fairly long novel. I’d like to apologise in advance if I happen to miss anything important, story-wise.
In the Zone opens with Slothrop in his new secret identity as British journalist Ian Scuffling, travelling by train trough the remnants of post-war Germany, the Zone, where he shall remain for most of the book. He meets a racist, jingoistic military man named Major Duane Marvy, who is promptly thrown off the train by a mysterious African ‘rocket-trooper’ named Orbst Enzian. Wandering through the Zone, Slothrop encounters Geli Tripping, a witch with an owl who reveals herself to be the lover of a murderous Soviet cyborg named Tchitcherine, who is involved with finding the Schwarzgerät; a one-of-a-kind V-2 rocket. Having apparently escaped Them, finding out what happened to this rocket then becomes the primary goal of Slothrop – his new epic quest.
Slothrop attempts to infiltrate the Mittelwerke, a vast SS-shaped underground tunnel complex, used by the Nazis to create V-2 rockets using slave-labourers from the nearby Dora concentration camp. He finds the place invaded by Marvy’s army, and the Russians – who both decide to murder Slothrop for discovering what seems to be… an ongoing operation? After his escape, Slothrop finds himself escaping to Berlin via hot-air balloon, only to be hunted by Marvy’s boys once more, but luckily the balloon is filled with custard pies, which are then thrown into the engine of Marvy’s aircraft, presumably killing most of them.
We come to learn more about Enzian, who turns out to have lived previously as a sex-slave to Weissman, a high-ranking German officer who participated in the Herero genocide that wiped out Enzian’s family. As time progressed, Enzian became Weissman’s Monster – the sinister, black right-hand man during his master’s involvement with the development of the V-2 rocket and the mysterious Schwarzgerät. In the Zone, with Weissman’s disappearance, Enzian has taken on a new, commanding role as the leader of the Schwarzkommando – a paramilitary death-cult made up of members of the Erdschweinhöhle (the death-obsessed Herero-survivors scattered throughout various communities in Nordhausen), who have made it their goal to find the Schwarzgerät. He even gets his own right-hand man in the form of the radio-enthusiast Andreas Orukambe. Among the Schwarzkommando, however, there is disagreement – some, like Enzian, believe in the destiny of destruction promised by the Rocket, whilst others, such as Ombindi of the Empty Ones, wish to initiate their own form of ‘racial suicide’, which uses sexual deviancy to ensure a negative birth-rate, which is seen as a triumph of material pleasure over the European ideals of Christian asceticism and death-worship.
Because of his quest to discover the Schwarzgerät, he is by default the arch-nemesis of Tchitcherine. Tchitcherine, we find out, is the long-lost half-brother of Enzian, their father having had a steamy affair with a Herero girl whilst in the midst of deserting the Russo-Japanese War. He grows up into a high-ranking agent of the Leninist Soviet regime, being principally tasked with giving the native people of Kyrgyzstan a new language (the New Turkic Alphabet), which isn’t historically accurate, by the way. During an uprising against conscription in 1916, thousands of native Kazakhs were killed, in an event which Tchitcherine refers to as the Kirghiz Light, which loses him his cosy, bureaucratic job. He is haunted by this light, which he sees as an illumination, a transcendent moment in which he saw the force behind it all. Sent out to the Zone, Tchitcherine has quickly adopted the new role of Rocket-fanatic, believing (like Enzian) that there is a spiritual force to be revealed to him in the Schwarzgerät. He is not entirely sure why his superiors sent him to the Zone, but he is absolutely convinced that it somehow involves Enzian and the Schwarzkommando.
Back to Slothrop, who briefly runs into Enzian again, only to be told, rather ominously, that reality is not real. Enzian, indeed, seems to treat his existence as though they were all conjured into being by some director or writer-God, and that all they can do is follow a pre-determined path to His ending. Weird. Anyway, Slothrop then meets Säure Bummer, the coolest man in the Zone – a proto-hippie drug dealer and money-counterfeiter, who suggests that Slothrop take on the superhero identity of Rocketman (which he does) and then advises him to travel to a bar to meet a contact (Seaman Bodine, the foul-mouthed sailor) who will show Slothrop the way to the Schwarzgerät in exchange for picking up a massive shipment of marijuana – located in the centre of the Potsdam conference. He is then to return with the product, which will be given to an influential Zone personality called der Springer, who will know Slothrop is cool because Säure has given him a chess-piece (a white knight) with which to identify himself. With this potential reward, along with part of the score and one million fake marks, Slothrop decides to haul ass to the conference. He invents another disguise (Max Schelpzig, the name on the fake ID which brought him to Europe in the first place) and sets forth, first by taking a boat into the Russian sector and then running on foot through an Autobahn, jumping the barricade into Potsdam. He gets the dope eventually, after a few awkward encounters with politicians and a few epic stealth moves, and then returns to his boat, where he is then drugged and dragged away, unconscious. Turns out, Tchitcherine has been watching him the whole time, and has just drugged him with the truth-serum/LSD stand-in Sodium Amytal.). He then tries out a huge chunk of Slothrop’s product with his right-hand man, Dzaqyp Qulan, and dumps Slothrop in an abandoned film studio. Waking up, Slothrop encounters Greta Erdmann, a pre-war pornographic actress, who is searching the studio in the hopes of finding her daughter, Bianca, who was conceived at this very studio, with a man named Max Schelpzig, during the filming of German director der Springer’s movie Alpdrücken. Slothrop confides that he isn’t so sure that he’s not in a movie right now.
Meanwhile, the Argentinian anarchists of Squalidozzi find themselves in a submarine, longing for the Zone to become a permanently decentralised monument to the freedom of the individual, in stark contrast from what is happening back home, in their native Buenos Aires. They believe in the power of art to inspire revolution, and desire to work with der Springer to create a film version of Martin Fierro which will force their revolution into existence – just as his propaganda films seemed to will the Schwarzkommando into existence.
Quite the opposite kind of person is then introduced to us: Franz Pökler, a Nazi engineer who worked on the V-2 rocket and the Schwarzgerät under the command of Weissman (now calling himself Captain Blicero). Pynchon shows us basically all of Pökler’s adult life, in a non-linear order. What happens, in short, is this: Pökler is inspired to become a rocket-engineer after taking university lectures in chemistry via Laszlo Jamf, the Pavlovian who somehow conditioned Slothrop as a baby to get erections during V-2 rocket strikes, decades before the V-2 was invented. He marries Leni Pökler, a communist reactionary who will drift apart from him as Weimar Germany becomes the hotseat for a new form of Evil. After watching the late-night premiere of Alpdrücken, Pökler runs home and impregnates Leni with their only child, Ilse. Raising her, he feels compelled to instil within her a desire to travel to the Moon, which is handily reinforced with frequent visits to Zwölfkinder, an amusement park run entirely by children. With Leni gone, Pökler falls deep into his work for the Nazis. As time goes on, he begins to question the nature of his work – is what he is doing just as Evil as what They are doing? Blicero and the other higher-ups catch wind of this, and, to prevent sabotage, Ilse is removed from Pökler’s life. He realises that bringing up the topic will result in termination, possibly of his life, and so he keeps on with the rocket work. He then sees Ilse again, delivered to him at his office without a note, and is advised to go to Zwölfkinder with her, which he does. She disappears the next day. This happens year after year on the same day, with Pökler gradually developing a harrowing fear that she died in the first year, and was replaced by a similar-looking girl. On their final visit to Zwölfkinder, after the Nazi defeat, they find the park empty, and ‘Ilse’ no longer likes the Moon. She tells him that they will no meet again. He returns to the office to find that it has been bombed to smithereens – interesting, isn’t it, how this just so happened to occur on the same day that Pökler goes on his holiday? Bewildered, Pökler travels to the location that Ilse and Leni were supposedly being held, only to find himself in the middle of the Dora concentration camp.
We then encounter the quick story of Horst Achtfaden, another Nazi engineer who, whilst on-board a possibly imaginary “Toiletship” vessel, is captured by Enzian and the Schwarzkommando, who demand that he reveal to them the location of the Schwarzgerät. Deciding that the entire War was just a big joke and that it definitely isn’t worth dying for, he claims that he has no idea what they are talking about, but that there was a colleague named Narrisch who worked directly on the project, so maybe bother him instead.
Back to Slothrop, who is now following the slightly unhinged Greta Erdmann’s lead as she follows a hunch that she hopes will lead straight to Bianca. This leads to a coastal town near the Lüneberg Heath, where the glimpse of a shrouded figure in the mist sends Greta into hysterics before it disappears. As evening approaches, a party-boat named the Anubis drifts by the coast. Upon seeing it, Greta becomes convinced that Bianca is on-board, and jumps into the water after it. Slothrop swims after her, losing his entire Rocketman costume to the sea as he does so. He discovers that the ship is a massive upper-class, elite society orgy vessel - people are indulging in the most depraved sexual acts he has ever seen, all the time, all over the place. And as the night wades on, the centrepiece of this orgy commences – a young girl (Bianca) performs half of a Shirley Temple routine before being publicly humiliated and whipped by Erdmann, her mother. The following morning, Bianca enters Slothrop’s room and the two have sex. Later, a Japanese people-watcher named Ensign Morituri, who lived on the same coastal town that Slothrop was at when they saw the Anubis, relates the horrible truth of Erdmann’s past life. In the lead-up to her time with Slothrop, Erdmann, a fellow native of the town, had gradually gone insane with her partner Gerhardt von Goll, believing herself (for some reason) to be part-Jewish. As some sort of psychotic payback against the Nazis, she began dressing in a shroud and luring the local children out to the swamps, where she would role-play with them (her as Nazi, child as Jew) before drowning them. The figure Erdmann saw earlier is revealed to be a grown-up version of one of the few survivors of her serial-killings – a survivor only because Morituri was there to stop her.
Later, Slothrop endeavours to find Erdmann after she locks herself in her room out of guilt. However, she reveals that her guilt is out of a completely unrelated event – during her time at the Heath, she became the sexual associate of Captain Blicero, who is revealed to have gone insane whilst pursuing some kind of apocalyptic project with a sex-slave (a young boy named Gottfried, who has mysteriously disappeared…) and has now come to see himself as a mythic figure in a fantasy world, running through a different version of Germany from everyone else. During her career as a sex-icon, Blicero took Greta to a remote room in a petrochemical plant, filled with politicians and business tycoons, who introduced her to clothing made entirely out of a new form of plastic – she finds it so stimulating that she wanted to immediate get down and dirty with those around her, but was just as quickly led out of the room again, and, over time, left with a growing concern that she witnessed the birth of something too horrible to really get to the bottom of.
Shortly after this encounter, a major storm hits the Anubis, and many of the passengers, including Slothrop, find themselves thrown head-first into the Sea. Slothrop seems content that the ‘Fascist cargo’ of the ship will soon drown to death. Of course, he is not included – he is soon picked up by an illegal smuggler and sweet old lady called Frau Gnahb, who travels with her young descendant Otto. Reaching land the following morning, Slothrop quickly finds a white-suited man calling himself der Springer, who (after Slothrop shows him Säure’s chess-piece) reveals himself to be none other than Gerhardt von Goll. He is travelling with his friend, an ex-scientist named Narrisch. They all then hop on-board to journey to Peenemunde, where von Goll is immediately arrested by Russian authorities. Narrisch, angered by the whole thing, then forces Slothrop to accompany him as they do another deep-cover infiltration, this time of the Tchitcherine’s military base where they are keeping von Goll. Freeing von Goll, who is on Sodium Amytal, Slothrop finds himself kocking a guard unconscious and taking his uniform. Then, Slothrop and Narrisch run into Tchitcherine and Qulan, where they all get very confused about the uniforms, thus buying enough time for von Goll’s escape. Narrisch then decides to stay behind to fight off the Russians, to allow Frau Gnahb and the gang to get away safely.
Then, to Slothrop’s horror, they once more find the Anubis, where Slothrop is told that he will find his stash to give to von Goll in the engine room. Going on-board, he finds that no-one on the ship remembers or recognises him at all. He gets to the engine room, where the lights go out completely, and voices proceed to taunt and beat him. Frightened, he looks up to find the corpse of Bianca hanging from a noose, just above the stash. He gets it and runs, finding invisible hands grabbing his own as he tries to climb the ladder out of there.
Meanwhile, two older characters, Katje and Pirate, find themselves entwined with a counter-revolutionary force after the destruction of the White Visitation. Katje discovers a film by Osbie Feel which seems to reveal to her the whole Plan and how to combat it, whilst Pirate, on the other hand, has a psychic vision in which he discovers that people of those whom he had trusted are actually parts of Them, and, what’s worse, They know that he is watching them. Both Katje and Pirate begin to form a vague hope of something that can defeat Them, some kind of Counterforce…
Wandering homeless around the Zone again, Slothrop begins to wonder about his own family history, and the environmental damage wrought by his family’s paper company. Furthermore, he thinks back to his first American ancestor, William Slothrop, a pig-loving anti-establishment figure whose political pamphlet was burned on-masse by the Elite, and was then forced to return, defeated, to England. Slothrop once more meets both Marvy and the Schwarzkommando, neither of whom recognise him in the Russian uniform. We soon find out that Marvy is now in league with the Soviets, who have been extracting information about the Schwarzgerät from Narrisch and selling it back to Marvy. While this is going on, Slothrop finds Cuxhaven, where the local children ask him to become their mythical pig-hero, Plechazunga, as part of a pagan festival. Crashed by the cops, Slothrop takes refuge with a teenage girl, who wishes to escape with him, but refuses to leave when the time comes. Slothrop, on the road again, finds a slightly mad German child who demands that Slothrop help him find his lemming, which they fail to do, but Slothrop himself finds a pig, who accompanies him on his journey, which is interrupted by one evening in which Slothrop finds a fellow homeless wanderer named Franz Pökler, who he finds strangely relatable.
Meanwhile, we get to hear about Lyle Bland. Bland was a member of the Masons, though he did not care about the society in the same way that the other Masons seemed to. However, as time went on, he felt that he understood their rites and rituals in a way that the real members never did. He became connected to arcane magickal forces, creating nightly out-of-body experiences, saying on his deathbed that he would choose that night to break through to the Other Side and achieve transcendence. Bland’s life prior to this event was a mish-mash of government deals with mobsters, with the conniving blackmail techniques of intelligence agencies, with the grand conspiracies of international technology tycoons. This last one seems particularly interesting, don’t you think? Bland thinks so too, and he actually has quite a pet passion for a remarkable scheme involving pinball machines that are built to fail – the machines will, in fact, fail immediately after they are fixed. How? Good question.
The final Slothrop scene of In the Zone shows him once more with Bodine, running away from American troops and straight into a mansion which happens to be hosting the party of the century. Ditching his pig-costume in a closet, he takes up in a bedroom with a prostitute named Solange, who is actually Leni Pökler in a new identity. Meanwhile, Bodine runs into Major Marvy, who is here to have sex with a minority so that he can live out a racist power-fantasy. Bodine gives Marvy a vial of cocaine, which Marvy then stashes into his jacket. Later, the mansion is raided by American troops – Marvy, having sex with a minority, freaks it because of the coke he left in his pocket, runs to the closet to find the jacket, only to discover that his whole uniform is missing – the only outfit he can put on to escape is some sort of pig costume. The American troops then find him, ask him if he is Tyrone Slothrop, which Marvy agrees to, hoping that Slothrop hasn’t done anything too bad. He is then kidnapped and dragged into the woods by Muffage and Spontoon, the two hitmen hired by Pointsmen in a previous part of the book to find Slothrop, who proceed to drug and castrate Marvy.
The final section features Mossmoon and Scammony, two government boys back in England who gossip about Pointsman’s career ruination over the castration of Marvy, and the collapse of the whole Scheme. They uneasily discuss the role of homosexuality in government conspiracies. They reveal, finally, what Slothrop was supposed to do in Their Grand Scheme. He was supposed to begin the extermination of the black race. Oh well, they think. If he can’t do it, They will just have to develop different methods.
In the Zone ends on, or around, August 6th 1945 – the date of the atomic bomb strike on Hiroshima. It is also the celebration the Transfiguration.
Discussion Questions:
· Has it occurred to you that most of the dialogue in these sections would have been spoken in German?
· Why do you think the novel is divided into four parts, and what do you think separates them?
· What do you make of the use of the Wizard of Oz quote that begins this section? Quite interesting, especially considering that this is the only epigram that seems to have no reference point in the actual novel.
· What has changed between the beginning and the end of In the Zone?
· Many have expressed the view that Gravity’s Rainbow is not about WWII at all. In fact, Gravity’s Rainbow is about Vietnam. How do you feel about that interpretation, given the focus on the Zone here? More importantly, what does In the Zone tell us about the world in 1973?
· Do you believe that Gravity’s Rainbow is at all autobiographical?
· Why do you think Slothrop keeps becoming a superhero in these sections? What do superheroes and comic books mean to Pynchon?
· Some people have pointed out, with a particular focus on the episodes in which Slothrop wakes up in the studio and Katje finds Osbie Feel’s movie, that the plot is actually a giant film. How does that strike you, and how do you think that metafiction and the introduction of alternative mediums relates to the themes of In the Zone?
· In the Zone makes up literally half of the book. But why? What’s so important about it that could not expressed elsewhere?
· For that matter, what do you make of the Zone itself? Why do you think he wrote a book around it?
· Does Pynchon evoke the imagery of ghosts, magic, angels, demons, telepathy and other phenomena with genuine sincerity, or are we supposed to take these as metaphors for more grounded events?
· This section is far more epic in scope than the two preceding it. Did you encounter anything cool or interesting that you think we forgot about in the discussion threads?
· What do you make of the Rocket-cartel, and what do think Their grand plan actually is?
· What was your favourite episode of this part? Also, what was your favourite Pynchon-tangent or speech?
Previous Threads:
Sections 30-33
Sections 34-37
Sections 38-40
Sections 41-45
Sections 46-48
Sections 49-53
Sections 54-57
Sections 58-61
submitted by EmpireOfChairs to ThomasPynchon [link] [comments]

2020.09.21 17:17 ZeldaTargaryen Looking for a Legend of Zelda RPer! Canon x OC and open to doubling

Hey there! Call me Zel and I'm looking for a Legend of Zelda RP.
I'm hoping to find someone to play Link and other canon characters against my OC in the world of Hyrule. I can do a few paragraphs at a time if given enough to respond to, and I can do detail.I'm hoping for something dark too, with gritty realism that would definitely be at home in aSoIaF, but just in the land of Hyrule. I would also love to add some medievalism into the world.
I have a couple of different Plots, depending on who you want to play. Preferably, I'd be looking for someone to play Link, however I am also open to a Ganondorf! If you'd like, I can also
I prefer to RP with males, under 40 who are interested in writing a good story, can write 9+ phone lines and maybe being friends OORP! If you have a tendency to ghost, please do not respond.
If you can write multi-paragraph, please please message me as I love to do such detailed RPs.
If you're interested, send me a message and I can get deeper in! Make sure to include triforce in your message so I know you've read this ;).
Name: Elysia Age: one year younger than Link and Zelda depending on how old we choose them to be Species: Hylian Allegiance: Hyrule Status: Hyrulean citizen/bastard(formerly), Princess (Currently) Appearance: Will describe in detail when I get your message. Personality: She's sweet and polite to the point of being a doormat. She will always do all she can to help others, even at detriment to herself. She's also a sweetheart, and a hopeless romantic, who fell head over heels for Link when they were children, and has pined for him ever since. She doesn't often say no to people, and she will struggle to do so, seeing it as impolite as she tried so hard to be agreeable to others due to her status. Bio: She is the bastard child of King Rhoam, whom he fathered on a whore from Castle town. Due to this, she has spent a few days at a time in the castle, being cared for there, but she always feels like she doesn't belong. She's isolated from her half-sister Zelda, the divine and beautiful heir and Rhoam's wife loathes her. When the Demon King Ganondorf returned to take over Hyrule, his men killed Zelda, Rhoam and his wife, leaving him one last chance to take over, to prevent any loyalist revolts; he would wed the king's daughter. She didn't desire him, she didn't want to, but she was dragged from her home, chained in the tower and kept there, being readied to be his bride. This is where the RP begins...
submitted by ZeldaTargaryen to WrittenRoleplay [link] [comments]

2020.09.21 14:10 MikeJesus The House Across The Street Glows at Night

Before she was the reason I don’t let my children play in the yard after sundown she was our friend.
Even though we moved out to suburbia for a calmer life, three years of interacting with people that were about as interesting as slowly drying paint was starting to take its toll on us. Yes, the house was a great investment. Yes, waking up to a life free of shitty landlords made the morning coffee taste better. Sure, the school district we had moved to would be great for our slowly toothing children. But my wife and me lived an existence about as exciting as our neighbors, which is to say not at all.
When Elizabeth moved into the house opposite ours our life blossomed.
In the morning we noticed moving trucks parked in front of the house across the street. By sundown she was standing at our doorstep with a bottle of wine. She had the dress sense of a college freshman on laundry day, yet along with her youth camp hoodie and pineapple patterned sweatpants Elizabeth rocked an expensive assortment of jewelry. Small runes studded in emerald hung from her earlobes and an intricately carved silver medallion dangled off her neck. An excited fire for conversation burned in her eyes.
She was the type of eccentric that we didn’t want to raise kids around back in the city.
She was the type of eccentric that we so sorely missed in suburbia.
Linda put the kids to bed, I pulled some chairs out on the porch and we opened up Elizabeth’s bottle of red. Soon enough I was fetching another bottle of wine out of the house and looking for something that could double as an ash-tray for our chatty house guest. The more we drank the less me and my wife felt like Mom and Dad, as we swapped eerie stories with our new neighbor bits and pieces of our past started to reemerge. We were still Greg and Linda, functioning adults, but we were also the same Greg and Linda who ate way too many mushrooms at a Russian psy-trance festival less than a decade ago.
After we finished the second bottle of wine I grabbed a couple of beers out of the garage and fished out some weed I had stashed away for a rainy day. In an effort to be eco-friendly the street lamps in our neighborhood never stayed on past midnight. We drank until the only thing cutting through the darkness was the porch light and the night sky.
Halfway through the joint Linda started falling asleep. She excused herself and went to bed. I would have followed my wife, but it felt like a shame to waste half a joint. I bid her goodnight and hoped she would still be up by the time I would get to the bedroom.
“Ever notice anything weird ever happen with my house?” Elizabeth broke the stoned silence we were indulging in. “Like, flashing lights, strange sounds in the middle of the night, spooky stuff.”
The neighborhood was a dark silhouette of repeating architecture, a sky chaotically littered with stars shined above us. I was way too stoned to understand her question.
She passed me the joint. I shook my head.
“Can I let you in on a little secret Greg?” She asked.
“I’ll have to run that by my wife,” I replied.
“Oh, you can tell her, she’s cool,” Elizabeth replied quickly, “Just, I don’t know, if you do end up talking to the neighbors maybe don’t mention it. You guys get it, you’ve spent time around artists. Don’t know if the rest of the neighborhood would be so understanding.”
Thoughts of my cool wife lying in bed upstairs were tugging at my brain but Elizabeth’s hushed tone stirred my interest.
“Alright, as long as it’s not a murder or something then your secret is safe with me and Linda.”
She passed me the joint again. I shook my head again.
“I mean, the secret is concerning murders, multiple murders actually.” She let her words ring out for dramatic effect, enough to send a shiver of discomfort down my spine. “I didn’t kill anyone, but like, four homicides happened in my house,” she added with another puff of smoke.
The shadowy outline of her home looked no different than any of the other houses on the street. “Really?” I asked.
“Yep. 1954, 1982, 1984, 1988. Murder suicides, each one of them.”
“Sounds like the 80s were rough.” I found myself saying.
Elizabeth smiled. “When my pare- When I bought this house I did a bit of research. Murder houses go for cheaper, plus, I figured a murder house could have an interesting vibe for my art.”
I consumed the new information. It was nice to be speaking to someone who wasn’t aggressively boring, but the conversation was getting into the spirit of the 4AM bar-chat that makes hangovers more punishing. I yawned and started to get off my chair. If I didn’t join my wife soon Elizabeth would ramble my ear off about something that was way too eccentric for my tastes.
“Do you believe in places having souls Greg?” she asked before I could make my escape. Linda was always good at leaving parties before the pretentious psychobabble reared its head.
“Nope,” I said, trying to give off a vibe Elizabeth wasn’t catching.
“Well, I do. I think that whatever happens in a specific corner of the world stays with that specific corner of the world for a long time. Ever walked down an old lover’s lane? Or, like, an old battlefield? There’s energy in those places. You can feel it in the air, you walk where others have once walked and feel past lives lived, lost, experienced. The history that tales of human tragedy and love and pain and – oh my god I’m rambling.” She handed me the joint. “Sorry, I haven’t had a proper drink since I came back from Vietnam. Didn’t mean to get all artsy on you.”
“It’s fine, I’m used to it.”
“I can tell,” she said, getting up, “Anywho, if you ever see something eerie going on with the house please do give me a heads up. I think I could really work the spirit of the house into my art.”
“Yeah, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out,” I said, knowing that I wasn’t going to.
Over the next couple of months Elizabeth became a regular visitor at our house. She had zero interest in holding our son and would squirm in discomfort whenever our daughter tried talking to her, but what Elizabeth lacked in child skills she made up for in storytelling finesse. Every week or two she would drop by our porch and we would drink and smoke and talk the night away.
She told us about weird hiking trips she took during her gap year, the motorcycle trip through Afghanistan that her and an ex boyfriend took together, and a variety of other drug hazed tales of exotic lands. Linda and me also found ourselves reminiscing about a more carefree time of our relationships. Those nights always brought a spark of excitement into our routine lives.
But every drunken night had a topic of discussion that made my eyes roll back in my head.
Every time that Elizabeth came over she wanted to talk about the ‘Murder House’. Elizabeth was in love with the name, she was in love with the idea of being surrounded by ghosts of murderers and victims. She was in love with talking about it. I hated that part of the night.
Back then I didn’t believe in ghosts. I just presumed that anything she said about floors creaking when she was home alone or the lights in the kitchen mysteriously turning on in the middle of the night was a flight of her eccentric imagination. I thought she was making stuff up.
Yet Elizabeth’s rants about hearing voices crying through the halls and sensing the energy of the family that was chopped apart by a crazy man with an axe in 1984 were simply sour punctuation on a dwindling night. As soon as she would start talking about spirits Linda and me would yawn and start talking about breakfast.
As unhinged as her rants would get, Elizabeth was very self-aware. She was just fascinated by the whole ghostly aura of her home. Once she would catch herself ranting she would stop, remind us to keep an eye out on the house, and bid us a good night.
I never really paid attention to her rants, I just took Elizabeth’s obsession as a personality quirk that I could handle in weekly bursts. I never considered there might actually be something up with the house.
But one horrible moment changed that.
It was a dark school night. Linda and me had gone overboard with bedtime stories and ended up reading our kids seven chapters of Harry Potter. We were doing voices, milking dramatic pauses, really driving the story home, but we got so into producing our little parental audiobook that we didn’t notice our children had already passed out two chapters ago.
Linda fell asleep quickly that night. I wanted to get some rest too, even attempted counting sheep, but there was something scratching at the back of my chest. It took me a while to admit it to myself, but eventually I accepted that my constant bumming of cigarettes from Elizabeth had developed a nicotine habit in my lungs.
I went outside for a cigarette.
The street lamps were long dark, only silhouettes of suburbia and the night sky remained. From the dim light of my porch I blew puffs of guilty smoke into the abyss and enjoyed the stillness of the night.
A creaking groan cut through that stillness.
A sound of strained wood, a wholly inhuman product, but as the noise crawled into the night I could hear a soft voice beneath it.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to do this…” Elizabeth whispered out of the dark, “The house, the murder house, it’s making me do this…”
Another wooden strain, but this one was answered by a burst of light. Every window in the house lit up, bringing forth a haggard looking Elizabeth. She was standing at the edge of her front lawn wearing an oversized t-shirt and basketball shorts, her shaking hands pressed behind her back.
“I’m sorry Greg, it’s the murder house, the murder house is making me do this.” Her teeth were chattering. She was barefoot and terrified.
I opened my mouth to say something but my voice got caught in the back of my throat. The light coming from the house took on a fiery quality and burst out into the night with blinding force.
“I’m sorry. The murder house is doing this.” She said, taking a handgun out of the back of her shorts. The nuzzle shook, for a second she aimed the weapon in my direction but then, as if fighting a force inside of her, she pulled the gun back. She placed it in her mouth.
There was another flash of light.
I didn’t tell anyone exactly what happened that night. Elizabeth shooting herself on the front lawn was enough of a shock to begin with. The other details made me doubt my sanity enough to keep them to myself.
Linda had some background in mental health from a couple of certification courses she took back in university. To deal with the trauma of losing her friend to what she thought was suicide, my wife took on a part-time placement in a crisis hotline. I dealt with the shock of Elizabeth’s passing in a less productive fashion. I started smoking.
Every night, after the lights of the neighborhood would die down, I would stand outside and smoke with my eyes focused on that cursed house.
At first I didn’t notice anything, it was as if whatever I saw the night of Elizabeth’s death was a shock induced terror dream, but as the nights went on and my focus on the dark building sharpened I could see inklings of the supernatural.
The faintest of lights would burn in the rooms if you would stare out into the night for long enough. Suggestions of barely visible silhouettes could be seen moving around behind the pulled curtains. The visions were one thing, but what truly terrified me, what made me purchase a baseball bat for our porch, were the sounds. Every couple of nights, if the air was still and I listened closely enough I could hear it.
A faint echo of a gunshot would cut through the calm night. Sometimes among the quiet ripples of sounds there were also whispered screams and the crackling of wood being split, but it was the echo gunshot that truly gripped my mind. I recognized the sound far too well.
For a couple of weeks I considered suggesting a move to Linda, or at least telling her about the details Elizabeth’s death, but as the weeks of observing the house turned into months I gave up on the idea.
The house across the street made me uncomfortable, there was definitely something wrong with it, but it seemed to keep its terror to itself. Instead of throwing away the investment we had made I simply consigned myself to keeping an eye on the house with a baseball bat and a cigarette. As long as my family would stay away from the house our mortgage and lives would presumably be safe.
For years I watched the house and nothing changed.
Then, one day, we got a knock on the door.
“Hello!” a friendly face with a backpack stood on my porch, “Me and my boyfriend are backpacking throughout the country and we were wondering whether we could camp out in your back yard. Promise we won’t leave a mess!”
A memory of Elizabeth telling us about how she traveled the country with a tent and some friends roared to life with the intensity of a portable pressure cooker. I was about to say yes and honor the memory of our dead neighbor, but then I saw the backpacker’s “boyfriend”.
“Is that… your boyfriend?” I asked. Linda peeked her head out of the door, saw the man limping down the street and shot me a concerned look.
The guy looked to be a hundred. A stringy mess of white hair covered a roughly shaven face that looked back at us with tired dark eyes. Even though it was jacket weather outside, the man stood on the street shirtless, revealing the strange tribal tattoos on his saggy skin.
“That’s him!” the backpacker said as we looked at the jagged skeleton man. “He might look old but he’s very full of life.”
“What’s the wood for?” Linda asked.
Behind him, the old man was dragging a pile of sloppily chopped wood on a sled.
“Oh that’s just some driftwood we carry around. My boyfriend is a shaman, sometimes he forces spirits out of places,” she said. “But don’t worry, we aren’t going to be making any fires on your front lawn, we’re just looking for a place to set up our tent for the night,” she quickly added with a nervous chuckle.
“Definitely not.” Linda said in a tone that could sharpen steel.
“Yeah,” I added.
The backpacker shrugged good-heartedly. “Ah well, do you guys know if any of the other neighbors would be willing to let us camp out?”
I knew of one neighbor who would have definitely let them set up a tent if she wasn’t dead.
“No. Goodbye.” Linda slammed the door. The years since Elizabeth’s passing had turned her bitter. Watching the shaman drag his sled of wood over to our neighbors made me think about how sometimes we get bitter for a reason. The guy looked like something out of a dungeon. We were way too old to be letting hundred-year-old hippies sleep on our front lawn.
The thoughts of those protruding ribs, those weird tattoos and empty eyes, they made the craving for nicotine announce itself with more force than usual that night. I was out on the porch smoking one cigarette after another, trying to get that strange face out of my mind. That’s when I heard him.
Out from the darkness came a groan. A human groan.
I tried to convince myself I was just hearing a particularly loud neighbor going through a medical emergency but another strained groan made the fact that there was someone across the street undeniable.
A match flared out of the darkness. The old man’s face glowed into existence. Even from the distance of my porch I could see his mad expression. He groaned again, and threw the match to the ground. A bright flash erupted. Elizabeth’s front lawn lit up with a bonfire. The shaman’s wood burnt bright.
I balanced the cigarette between my lips, one hand was trying to unlock my phone and the other was gripping the baseball bat. The man groaned again, louder, but this time the groan dragged, dipped and turned into a note. The shaman started throat singing and dancing in the light of the fire.
It wasn’t until his decrepit body started bouncing around with energy that I noticed that he was stark naked. For a moment I considered how cruel of a mistress gravity is, then I considered dialing the police, but before I could make my way to the phone app something else grabbed my attention. All the lights in Elizabeth’s house were on, a crowd of silhouettes stood behind the curtains.
The old man kept on dancing around the fire. With each moment his steps grew more frantic, with every bounce of his withered body his song grew louder. But soon it was drowned out.
The sound of groaning wood, the screams, the gunshots that I have heard so many nights before, they were back. But they were no longer memories of noise floating on the night wind, no, the sounds were deafening enough to overpower the shaman’s singing.
Yet he persevered. The throaty tone which the old man was producing kept on growing louder regardless of the resistance that it was getting, his eyes bulged with effort but the timber of his song remained calculated. His body started to match the motion of the flames, as they grasped at oxygen the man threw himself from side to side, crashing down into the lawn only to bounce back up for another jump.
I watched with fascination, trying to remind myself that I should call the police on the nude arsonist in my dead neighbor’s front yard, but then my attention was grappled away once more. The silhouettes behind the curtains, they started to bob their heads. The figures were starting to dance along with the shaman. As they danced the sharp sounds of gunshots and suffering eased until there were none at all. The old man’s song took control of the night.
The door of the murder house burst open and a procession of shadows made their way out towards the fire. Even as they danced closer to the light no discernable features presented themselves, the figures were simply dark outlines of human bodies. They surrounded the fire and danced along with the shaman, but they didn’t dance for long. After making a couple of rounds around the bonfire, they started to jump into the flames.
Each of the shadow folk’s arrival into the fire was followed by a burst of light and a high-pitched yelp that would punctuate the shaman’s throat song. They all jumped in one by one without hesitation, almost as if they had spent all of eternity waiting to set themselves on fire. Yet the final shadow hesitated. The silhouette on the other side of the road faced my direction. She waved.
I let go of the baseball bat and waved back.
When her figure hit the fire the neighborhood was enveloped in another powerful burst of light and the shaman’s shriek reached a pitch that dragged into the night like a stopping freight train. As the screech reached its final breath the nude shaman laid down by the fire, let out a tired groan and promptly fell into snore filled sleep.
I put away my phone. This man was not dangerous. I wasn’t going to call the cops. My moral decision to leave the shaman to his mysterious ways made my stomach warm for a little while, but my neighbors were considerably less accepting of nude eccentrics than I was. A police station worth of cruisers arrived, yelled at the old naked man, tazered him and chucked him off to the station.
The man was probably being charged for a series of crimes, but as I stood there in the cool fall wind, looking at the silhouettes of identical homes, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he didn’t do something good. The house across the street seemed to be at peace. It never glowed again.
A couple months later my son decided to hide my pack of cigarettes because they’re apparently bad for my health and he doesn’t want me to die. He hid them inside of his toy box, so they weren’t too hard to find, but I played along for a couple of weeks. I let him keep my pack of smokes next to his race cars as long as he didn’t mind me bumming one by the time his bed-time story was finished. It’s not like I smoked heavily – just a single cigarette to occupy me while I looked out at Elizabeth’s house.
After the insane man’s bonfire the ‘Murder House’ had just become a regular two-story on a block of two-stories. Even though the shaman’s life was probably filled with court cases and chaos, the result of his work was utter tranquility.
I started rationing the cigarettes when I got down to my last ten. Once I got to my last five, I made my smoking a bi-monthly activity. There’s a pack with a single cigarette left in my son’s toy box and I’m pretty sure it’ll stay there until I start getting worried about him smoking it. My lungs no longer make demands and the house across the street doesn’t require my attention anymore.
I just hope that whatever the shaman did is a permanent solution to the problem of the ‘Murder House’. I also hope that wherever Elizabeth is, she’s happy and surrounded by people who like having four in the morning eccentric conversations about spirits.
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