Beats solo 3 ear pad replacement

I want to get new earbuds but overwhelmed a bit, so please help, much appreciated

2023.03.25 01:46 Ready-Broccoli-7383 I want to get new earbuds but overwhelmed a bit, so please help, much appreciated

Let me start off by saying I don’t really have a budget but prefer the earbuds to be under 200$.
I am an IOS user. My Airpods Pro are kinda beat up and are relatively old (I think I got them as a gift in 2021) so I need a replacement cuz their battery life sucks and the sound is not good anymore.
The things that I prioritize: good sound, battery life, comfort and a decent call quality. Extra points for water resistance
As for call quality, I know my airpods are horrible at it, but pretty sure discord vc’s would work just fine with other earbuds? Maybe? I’m not sure I’ve heard mixed things about it.
I’m mostly looking to connect my earbuds to my phone, but pc would be good too as an options
I really appreciate if you help<3
submitted by Ready-Broccoli-7383 to HeadphoneAdvice [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 01:28 teodorlojewski Opened my headphones to replace ear pads and found out JBL manufacturers forgot to peel the sticker off the adhesive tape.😬

Opened my headphones to replace ear pads and found out JBL manufacturers forgot to peel the sticker off the adhesive tape.😬
Model: E55BT
Way to go, JBL!
submitted by teodorlojewski to JBL [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 01:27 No-Contract-5266 Annoying my Cr10s

Would I be able to use the sonic pad creality offers with my Cr10s 300? My self port isn’t working any more and I can’t find a replacement board or replacement box and I just want to print things, I’ve had nothing but issues since I got it, maybe 2 or 3 weeks of actually being able to print and I’m over it but if this’ll work and get rid of my issues at the moment I’ll do it
submitted by No-Contract-5266 to CR10 [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 01:18 Soapdish_ Mcc Scuffed Hunger Games! Part 1

I put the 40 participants, four of the noxcrew members, and four games into the hunger games simulator-
I will only include the important or funny lines in this post or it may be quite a bit longer than it actually is-
lets see what happens!
The Bloodbath
As the tributes stand on their podiums, the horn sounds.
BuildMart stays at the cornucopia for resources. (That tracks)
EpicLandLord stays at the cornucopia for resources. (TNT for PKW??)
WaterBreathMan grabs a jar of fishing bait while Bekyamon gets fishing gear. (WBM Fishing?)
Rocket Spleef Rush, Gee Nelly, and Blushi work together to get as many supplies as possible. (Blushi and Gee pop off in RSR?)
KryticZuez, PeaPeeKay, Antfrost, and MrGaming share everything they gathered before running.
Sneegsnag grabs a sword.
GeminiTay breaks JojoSolos's nose for a basket of bread. (Gemini Slayyy)
Krinios breaks ConnorEatsPants's nose for a basket of bread. (oh wow these poor noses)
Rabnoo and Punz fight for a bag. Punz gives up and retreats.
TheOnionSound runs away from the Cornucopia. (He heard his onions and had to find them)
Noctis grabs a backpack, not realizing it is empty. (Thats so sad)
BadBoyHalo takes a spear from inside the cornucopia.
PeteZahHutt runs away with a lighter and some rope.
TapW grabs a backpack and retreats.
FalseSymmetry grabs a jar of fishing bait while Smajor gets fishing gear. (Why does this seem fitting for Scott?)
Noxite and Awesamdude fight for a bag. Noxite gives up and retreats. (Shoulda just used /gamemode)
Grain grabs a shovel. (Grian grabs a Shovel?)
Day 1
InTheLittleWood makes a wooden spear. (He wants the extra 30 minutes badly)
LDShadowLady searches for a water source. (I thought she hated water)
Skeppy, Skybattle, and Fwhip hunt for other tributes. (Fwhip and Skeppy skybattle pop off??)
KaraCorvus sprains her ankle while running away from Aeltumn.
Hannahxxrose and Noxite work together for the day. (Oh? Hannah wants the hacks?)
Punz tends to FalseSymmetry's wounds.
Grain attacks TapW, but he manages to escape. (OH ITS GRAIN EW foreshadowing?)
TGTTOSWAF steals from Sylvee while she isn't looking. (Sylvee throws TGTTOSWAF?)
Awesamdude receives an explosive from an unknown sponsor. (Thats scary)
EpicLandLord camouflauges himself in the bushes. (As he plans to blow up PKW)
PearlescentMoon forces Rabnoo to kill ConnorEatsPants or BadBoyHalo. He decides to kill BadBoyHalo. (Nooo poor bad)
PeteZahHutt stabs Vixella in the back with a trident. (Targeting the simmers? Smh)
Blushi tries to sleep through the entire day. (Same)
LargishBeans thinks about home.
BuildMart convinces WaterBreathMan to not kill him, only to kill him instead. (WBM throws buildmart?)
TheOnionSound shoots an arrow at Antfrost, but misses and kills PeaPeeKay instead. (Of course its Oli)
JojoSolos runs away from GeminiTay. (Gem is really targeting Jojo)
Deaths from Day 1-
Night 1
PeteZahHutt destroys Rabnoo's supplies while he is asleep. (He just wants a win dude)
Blushi destroys EpicLandLord's supplies while he is asleep. (cant blow up PKW now)
JojoSolos dies from hunger. (Thats ironic)
TGTTOSWAF passes out from exhaustion. (Same)
Grain convinces Sneegsnag to snuggle with him. (Oh?)
FalseSymmetry destroys Rocket Spleef Rush's supplies while he is asleep. (False RSR Pop off?)
LDShadowLady, Noxite, and GeminiTay discuss the games and what might happen in the morning. (Gem and Lizzie insider information?)
Tubbo tries to sing himself to sleep.
Skybattle defeats Smajor in a fight, but spares his life.
BuildMart and Aeltumn huddle for warmth.
KaraCorvus convinces Sylvee to snuggle with her.
Noctis, Skeppy, and ShubbleYT sleep in shifts.
Day 2
ConnorEatsPants questions his sanity. (Same)
GeminiTay stabs PeteZahHutt with a tree branch. (Gemini Slayyy pt 2)
Rabnoo stalks Krinios.
DrGluon picks flowers. (I want this to happen)
InTheLittleWood catches Punz off guard and kills him. (Oh)
PearlescentMoon practices her archery. (Pearl dodgebolt pop off?)
MrGaming, LDShadowLady, TGTTOSWAF, and EpicLandLord hunt for other tributes.
Fwhip runs away from Gee Nelly.
Ponk picks flowers. (He should meet Gluon)
Bekyamon overhears Rocket Spleef Rush and Smajor talking in the distance. (Scotts rigging it again)
Aeltumn picks flowers. (A trio!)
ShubbleYT chases Sylvee.
Aimsey, KaraCorvus, and LargishBeans start fighting, but KaraCorvus runs away as Aimsey kills LargishBeans. (Ok Aimsey pop off)
TheOnionSound collects fruit from a tree.
Tubbo picks flowers (I cant stop picturing these four just picking flowers during SG)
BuildMart thinks about home. (Which is..?)
Deaths from Night 1 & Day 2
Night 2
Rocket Spleef Rush stays awake all night.
Gee Nelly and DrGluon sleep in shifts.
InTheLittleWood begs for KryticZuez to kill him. He refuses, keeping InTheLittleWood alive.
Bekyamon begs for Fwhip to kill her. He refuses, keeping Bekyamon alive
Sneegsnag destroys Skeppy's supplies while he is asleep.
MrGaming destroys LDShadowLady's supplies while she is asleep. (Wow rude)
ConnorEatsPants kills Aimsey with a sickle. (Oh?)
TGTTOSWAF and Skybattle sleep in shifts.
Noxite and Smajor tell stories about themselves to each other. (Its rigged its rigged)
Krinios, KaraCorvus, and BuildMart cheerfully sing songs together.
Day 3
BuildMart, TGTTOSWAF, and Ph1LzA hunt for other tributes. (Of course phil and TGTTOS are together)
EpicLandLord cannot handle the circumstances and Self dies. (Oh.)
Antfrost sprains his ankle while running away from KryticZuez. (Zuez is a menace)
Skeppy sprains his ankle while running away from Gee Nelly. (We need an ankle doctor)
FalseSymmetry defeats Noxite in a fight, but spares his life.
MrGaming injures himself. (That Tracks)
Skybattle, Fwhip, LDShadowLady, GeminiTay, and Hannahxxrose hunt for other tributes.
Rocket Spleef Rush and RedVelvetCake work together for the day. (Velvet RSR Popoff?)
TheOnionSound sprains his ankle while running away from Grain. (Another one??)
ConnorEatsPants attacks Aeltumn, but she manages to escape. (Connor was too good and had to use only 2% of his power)
DrGluon sets an explosive off, killing Ponk, and Noctis. (Thats a way to finish off a day)
Deaths from Night 2 & Day 3
Deaths so far-
Night 3
Smajor and Skeppy run into each other and decide to truce for the night.
TGTTOSWAF tries to treat his infection. (From phil's domination? copium?)
Rabnoo ambushes LDShadowLady and kills her. (Nooo Lizzie)
ConnorEatsPants and Rocket Spleef Rush huddle for warmth.
Blushi begs for Grain to kill her. He refuses, keeping Blushi alive.
Noxite attempts to climb a tree, but falls to his death. (Just /fly cmon dude)
Sylvee kills Ph1LzA with a hatchet. (Okay then)
BuildMart defeats TapW in a fight, but spares his life.
Day 4
BuildMart discovers a river. (New buildmart map copium??)
TheOnionSound explores the arena. (Its not like hes been in mcc since mcc 1)
Fwhip practices his archery. (Dodgebolt menace?)
Krinios overhears DrGluon and ShubbleYT talking in the distance.
Smajor chases Aeltumn. (Gaslight Gatekeep Girlboss)
Antfrost stalks Blushi.
Tubbo attacks Awesamdude, but he manages to escape.
InTheLittleWood chases PearlescentMoon.
Deaths from Night 3 & Day 4
Night 4
Aeltumn questions her sanity. (Same)
TapW pushes Antfrost off a cliff during a knife fight. (Brutal)
Sneegsnag destroys Krinios's supplies while he is asleep.
Rocket Spleef Rush thinks about home.
ShubbleYT lets Blushi into her shelter. (I like that)
Tubbo and KryticZuez work together to drown Grain. (2v1 he had no chance)
Day 5
Skybattle sees smoke rising in the distance, but decides not to investigate.
Sylvee stalks Gee Nelly.
InTheLittleWood stabs KaraCorvus while her back is turned. (Wow Martin)
MrGaming tends to BuildMart's wounds. (odd.)
Rabnoo receives an explosive from an unknown sponsor. (Thats scary)
KryticZuez tries to spear fish with a trident. (Zuez trident practicing arc?)
TGTTOSWAF overhears Awesamdude and TheOnionSound talking in the distance. (It has ears?)
Fwhip diverts DrGluon's attention and runs away. (Targeting simmers smh)
PearlescentMoon receives an explosive from an unknown sponsor.
Smajor receives medical supplies from an unknown sponsor.
Deaths from Nights 4 & Day 5
Night 5
GeminiTay destroys Skeppy's supplies while he is asleep. (Gem is a menace)
TheOnionSound destroys ConnorEatsPants's supplies while he is asleep. (Geeze Oli)
Skybattle questions his sanity. (Same)
PearlescentMoon and FalseSymmetry tell stories about themselves to each other. (podcast?)
Blushi, RedVelvetCake, and TGTTOSWAF discuss the games and what might happen in the morning. (TGTTOS already knows though)
Tubbo climbs a tree to rest. (Dont fall like noxite)
Sylvee thinks about winning. (Ok sylvee girlboss)
DrGluon starts a fire. (With his flowers??)
Day 6
Skybattle receives a hatchet from an unknown sponsor. (It has Arms too?)
Skeppy chases InTheLittleWood.
GeminiTay begs for TGTTOSWAF to kill her. He refuses, keeping GeminiTay alive. (Gem your slaying dont die)
Sneegsnag, Fwhip, and Gee Nelly hunt for other tributes.
Smajor stalks DrGluon. (Scotts targeting the simmers too? smh)
Awesamdude and FalseSymmetry threaten a double self death. It fails and they die. (Oh.. oh my)
MrGaming and PearlescentMoon hunt for other tributes.
Blushi travels to higher ground.
BuildMart hunts for other tributes. (Taking them out one controversy at a time)
TheOnionSound, KryticZuez, and Aeltumn hunt for other tributes.
Tubbo defeats Krinios in a fight, but spares his life. (Tubbo we need to more action)
Hannahxxrose makes a wooden spear.
TapW falls into a frozen lake and drowns. (Oh.)
ConnorEatsPants searches for a water source. (You should as TapW he found one)
Deaths from Night 5 & Day 6
Deaths so far-
Part 2 will be linked in the comments if you want to see the winner!
submitted by Soapdish_ to MinecraftChampionship [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 00:51 Logan966 "Strange Incidents at Theater Ten"

Dear Mayor Thompson,
You'll probably stop reading, crumple up this letter, and throw it in the trash, but I implore you to keep reading. Founded in 1970, Theater Ten revived downtown, and provided a safe, fun place for the people of Burningham to enjoy. Unfortunately, over the years, the theater has transformed into a source of anguish. The disappearance of movie-goers of Theater Ten is still fresh in everyone's mind. My sister, Joan is among the twenty-three missing; she attended the screening of Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors with her boyfriend. After Joan disappeared, I couldn't eat or sleep for days. There's a hole in my heart that can't be filled; it's been five years, but it still doesn't feel real. I feel like I’ll get a phone call from Joan, or she’ll pull into my driveway with her beat-up blue station wagon and take me hiking; I miss her every day.
I understand this theater is a historic landmark, and you don't want to demolish it. You either don't understand or don't care that people feel unsafe visiting or working at the theater. Lest we forget about what happened after Theater Ten closed? Several people have survived incidents at Theater Ten, and fortunately, I’ve been able to track down several of them, including a few who were willing to report what they’ve witnessed.
1975: A customer complained the butter dispenser dispensed pus into his popcorn.
1978: A young married couple visited the theater to watch Halloween. The wife got up in the middle of the movie to use the bathroom; she was gone for an hour, and the husband got worried and searched for her. On the way to the bathroom, he brushed past a paunchy woman with swollen, crusted eyes and cheeks stained with yellow vomit. He found his wife in the bathroom
dead—Facedown in a pile of yellow bile.
1979: An employee discovered human fingers in the popcorn machine.
1980: During a sudden blackout, a little girl disappeared from the arcade. Staff discovered her locked inside one of the arcade cabinets, insisting she was sucked into the game.
1982: Several customers complained about bombastic patrons covered in bruises, scabs, and rashes, ruining their movie experience by talking during the film, chucking popcorn at them, and kicking the back of their seats. When asked to stop their obnoxious behavior, they responded by coughing on or scratching them.
1983: An employee went on their smoke break behind the theater and was found headless, cigarette in her hand still lit, body leaning against the brick wall behind her. Even stranger, guests of Theater Ten claimed Cujo cut out, and footage from behind the building played on screen. The footage was a young woman smoking, then two hands emerged from behind her and tore her head off.
1988: A group of teens broke into Theater Ten. According to the witness, this is what happened: “The auditorium smelled like stale vomit. Sores and blisters covered the other patrons. Coughing and sniffling bounced off the walls, and the audience guffawed at the static on the screen. My friends sat down, and the seats snapped shut on them as a Venus flytrap closes on a fly. I felt like I’d pass out, and I couldn’t breathe. The patrons sprang up from their seats and chased me from the theater.”
1989: Two brothers broke into Theater Ten to steal movie posters; while exploring the building, a man in a torn black usher uniform accosted them. According to the witness, this is what the usher looked like: “Yellow ooze leaked from lesions on his cheeks and sores on his lips, blood spilled down from boils on his forehead, black carbuncles were behind his ears.” The usher scratched the other brother during their escape, and he died a few days later.
The disturbing nature of these incidents proves something very wrong is happening, and Theater Ten is not safe for the general public! I’m aware that I’m not the first person to write to you concerning the theater. It’s a source of pain for so many people. Others may not have been as tactful as me. I’m sure you’ve had several letters cross your desk accusing you of accepting bribes or certain favors in exchange for reopening Theater Ten. For everybody’s sake, including your own, this theater must be destroyed!
submitted by Logan966 to creepypasta [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 00:34 there__ ULA Dragonfly - Quick Review - Backpackers Perspective

ULA Dragonfly - Quick Review - Backpackers Perspective
Coming from a background in backpacking I was most interested a day pack for day hikes ( < 15 miles ) where I only need enough space for some food, water, and layers for warmth. 5-10lbs.
Secondly, I've been traveling more and wanted bag that could sustain me for a month at a time in warmer climates. I wanted something comfortable to carry through different transit systems and that I don't feel bad about beating it up a bit when using it on day longs hikes at the destination. A bag that can be really used and carried for extended distances.
The ULA Dragonfly carries very heavy loads for it's size ( 20+ lbs ) well for short distances ( 1-2 miles of walking for me ). This means getting my stuff to what every destination is next. Once there, It's great at carrying loads of 10ish lbs all day long, either through towns and cities, or jungles and prairies.
It's deceivingly spacious and in my use can be overstuffed without busting zippers or seams. It's simple compartments work great for those of us who either use packing cubes, smaller organizational bags, or simply stuff everything in when in transit, then unpack at a homebase at your destination. No one questioned it's size as a personal item on flights and it fit under 4 different sized aircrafts seats ( see photos )
I would buy it again in a heart beat, but I would purchase the 'ultra dragonfly' for it's ability ( I believe ) to shed rain. Would love to hear experiences with it in heavy rain for an extended period.

  • lightweight, simple pack. No logo, doesn't scream steal me
  • great carry system, although no hip belt ( not needed in my opinion ) does have attachment points for one
  • No issues carrying on as personal item or fitting under seats on planes
  • small enough even if overhead bin is 'full' it can be jammed into some gaps
  • holds shape when empty or under size capacity
  • bungie to lash items to the back of bag work very well and has lots of stretch
  • handy top compartment for items that need to be fetched frequently ( keys, phone, cables, wallet, battery back, etc )
  • I'm used to top loading bags for hikes -- This being more of a clamshell I was worried it would be a pain to frequently take things in and out, this has not been the case. Zips are fast and towards the top of the bag that nothing falls out when unzipped at touch when wearing
  • This kinda blew my mind -- Even when super stuffed my 13' macbook air still slide in and out without much effort. Just about every bag I've used in the past this can be an issue. I'm frequently pulling out and putting in my laptop, so this was a pleasant surprise.
  • Material is very resistant to abrasion, still looks good after heavy use - Note: it looks used, and shows dirt when you set it in mud, but no holes, fraying, etc.
  • Great support. You have questions, they have answers and are responsive

Cons ( some expected )
  • I wish the side pockets were more stretchy.
  • Not waterproof, bag had an inch of water in main compartment after a few hours of very heavy rain, top compartment stayed bone dry interestingly enough - 'ULTRA' version of this bag seems to be waterproof
  • Top handle was a pain to grab sometimes bag is laid down because it's floppy and tends to rest under the bag

  • Wish the sternum strap was not on a bungie
  • Zippers seem a touch small in size, but so far are holding up.
  • Back padding holds some water when in heavy rain
  • Shoulder straps are super stiff when new. I was very close to returning the bag because of the 'S' shaped shoulder straps hit the side of my arms when in the hanging position. I read they break in, and that is correct thankfully, but it did take some time, be patient.
  • One could argue there are better looking bags. In my option function over form, so I like the simplicity of the design, others may not

What I packed:
My total weight was around 22 lbs including the bag for a little over a week on an island 70-80 degrees. This was certainly over stuffed. Next trip I'll drop at least a third of the weight by carrying less clothing.
1] swimsuit
1] long sleeve rash shirt
2] sun hats
1] pair sun gloves
6] pairs of socks
6] boxer briefs
3] long sleeve sun shirts
5] shorts
2] pants
6] short sleeve shirts
1] pajama pants
1] pair 'dress' shoes

  • deodorant
  • electric toothbrush
  • sunglasses
  • bar soap
  • 1L collapsible water bottles
  • sunblock
  • packable backpack
  • sleep-mask
  • hydroflask

Electronics ( some not in photos )
  • 13' MacBook Air
  • battery bank
  • 6' usb-c cables6-in-1 charging cable
  • bloothtooth speaker
  • anker usb-c charger
  • MOGICS Super Bagel <- love this thing!
  • Bose QC II earbuts
  • extra cell phone
submitted by there__ to onebag [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 00:17 vpxtreme WTS Atropos, HOM, SQUID, Medford, TOPS, COLDSTEEL, various clones, and BOSE earbuds

Greetings swappers and flippers! Too much stuff again and it's time to clear out the ones I don't use. All prices are Paypal FF and shipped. Most of these I've negotiated for and so these prices are very solid for most of these items and I will pass that on to you.
YOLOS get first opportunity to PM me immediately after yolo and I expect payment within 30 mins of the YOLO.
1) $350 - Medford Praetorian Slim - Flame ano - s35vn - titanium scales 2nd owner. Carried lightly in sweats around the house. has a few minor hair scratches on the ano show side. Snail trails on the back scale. Blade is shaving sharp. Only used by me to open a few letters.
2) $135 - Kaneida Hokkaido Clone - m390 - titanium scales 2nd owner. Wanted to try out a clone of a super high end knife and they do it very good justice. No damage or scratches. Sat in the case other than to flip and play. Never disassembled.
3) $450 - HOM I Basilisk in magenta titanium channel handles with Zippy translucent purple inserts 2nd owner. Got two of these. Realized I only truly wanted one. This one has one slight ding at the bottom of the handle as shown in video from previous owner. Everything else is perfectly perfect. Tolerances on HOM knives are INSANE. Once you see how wide the channel is, and the zero play you're gonna love it. Tip and edge fully intact never used to cut anything. No handle play or blade tap. Handle bias for sure. Comes with OG box.
4) SPF $150 - Vantac Speeder original run M390 - sandwich style 2nd owner - Solid bali on bearings. I swapped the trainer out to the real blade. No damage. No play no tap as per most bearing balisongs. Slight favor to handle bias with the live blade. Comes with og box, hardware, and trainer blade.
5) $190 - Squid Industries Krake Raken Trainer 2.5 with TI hardware and Zippy balance inserts 2nd owner. Hard to let this one go. So smooth, so shiny. no damage. No play, no tap. Handle gap is a bit wider than I've seen on other krakes. The zippy inserts make it a bit heavier but balance the bias a bit towards neutral.
6) $220 - Atropos Demon Trainer Latchless - custom polished "blurple ano" professionally. 2nd owner, blurple is more of a purple, blue, green mix. No Damage, Very slight handle play. No tap. Everything freshly tightened and loctited. No pouch or hardware. My weak hands aren't strong enough to handle these to their full potential. Heavy and handle bias.
7) $240 - Atropos Demon Live N690 blade latchless - purple factory ano 2nd owner - no damage, no tap, no play. Ano has some fade on safe handle from handling. Blade never cut and is razor sharp still. Comes with Atropos pouch, security torx and some hardware. My weak hands aren't strong enough to handle these to their full potential. Heavy and handle bias present.
8) $320 - Atropos Demon Live Damascus blade Latchless crocodile handle faceting with greenish ano This is more of a beauty piece than a flipper. Better for someone who will appreciate the beauty. No play, no tap, no damage. Just pretty. Less heavy than the full handles, and is actually somewhat neutral bias. Comes with a pouch that did come from Atropos, but not branded. Also has hardware security torx and screws.
9) $100 - Clone / china bali bundle: Flytanium Lucha trainer, Falcon, and Alien - Nothing of note. Very good shape and not beat up at all. Taped and used as trainers. What you'd expect from cheapo balis. Good enough to learn and git gud at.
10) $160 - Bose Quietcomfort 2 earbuds Got these as a gift, used em slightly for a month and I just don't like em and prefer my over ear headphones. Comes with additional silicon to replace the pieces I used.
11) $150 - Sacred Spins Zirconium fidget spinner Not much to say about it other than it's beautiful, it's zirconium, and it spins. Custom made from Sacred Spins and he does some beautiful work. Comes with case and COA sticker stuff.
12) $240 - Cold Steel Tai Pan Japanese knife over 30 years old My brother gave this to me to sell. It's been sitting in the bottom of one of his drawers for 30 years and it was a wedding gift from one of his friends. Never used and razor sharp. No damage visible on the blade or handle. Leather has indentation marks consistent with bottom drawer treatment.
13) $125 - Tops Apache Dawn Rockies Edition Standard fare tops good thicc knives with no damage or use. Hefty solid boi that is begging for someone to use it.
That's enough typing. Buy something or go away now.
submitted by vpxtreme to Knife_Swap [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 00:16 BoolinHours I took a pill that gives you endless nightmares.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt anything. My life has become a constant drudgery, even special events have become dull. My son’s fourteenth birthday was a few weeks ago, but it could’ve happened yesterday, or the month before, it’s all been melding into one. I still remember though; I remember being in that moment, and I can tell you the exact details of what occurred, who was there, but I can’t for the life of me remember how it meant to me. I was simply a presence, a bystander. I think my son was happy, I hope he was.
The tasks in my life that were once a burden have become noise to me. In a way I suppose that’s a good thing. I can work my ass off all day, get treated like a dog, and I would be none the wiser. I’m not exactly sure when this happened, I used to hate my job. I guess somewhere along the way I got lobotomized in my sleep. That would explain it. At least I can provide for my son this way.
He reminds me of myself in more ways that I’d like to admit. He’s a pleasure seeker, and the friends that he’s made push these hedonistic tendencies. On his birthday he came back home absolutely plastered, and I should’ve been furious, but it didn’t affect me at. Hell I even offered him another drink. At his age I sought the same type of stimulus, the same type that I yearn for today, so in a way I am living vicariously through him. He’s a good kid though, he’s on this path but he’s not anchored to it. He refused the drink and went to bed. As a father what I did was not good, but as bystander I wish he took it. I wish he prolonged his euphoria. I wish I could see him live.
They’ve been advertising this new medication all over TV. It’s a pill that gives you constant nightmares when you sleep. It’s been all over the news actually. Some people are up in arms about, and for some folks it’s a godsend, folks like me. In my mind this seems like the stimulus I have been craving for so long, but I can’t stop thinking about my son. What happened on his birthday was a moment of weakness. I couldn’t let him know I stooped so low to get a high. Seeking the pleasures in life is one thing, but seeking fear is another. The road my son is on mirrors my own, and I don’t want him to become nullified in the same way. But at this point, he’s becoming a young man before my eyes, and I am indifferent. I need to feel something, I need to be present, not a presence.
After meeting with my doctor, I received the prescription, 30 pills for 30 days. She sternly informed me of the side effects, about how easy it is to overdose, but like all other stimuli in life, it became white noise. But at last, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could finally feel again, and I couldn’t wait to fall asleep. I waited until the lights in my son’s room went off, and after I saw that he had fallen asleep, I could begin. I sat upright on my bed and pulled out the prescription bottle from my drawer. I took another look, scanned it up and down, maybe even considering a reason not to take it. On the label was a warning sign
“Do not take two doses within a 12-hour period”.
“Good to know” I thought to myself, and I popped open the bottle, took a gulp from my glass of water, and closed my eyes.
Thirty minutes passes, and then an hour, and no effect. Worthless scam. My eyes blasted open, but when I tried to get up, my limbs were numb. I tried closing my eyes again…nothing. I tried breathing and I realized I was suffocating; I couldn’t move any part of my body whatsoever. The sweat from my forehead rolled into my open eye. I couldn’t move, but I could experience pain. As the asphyxiation engulfed me, my bedroom became blurry.
“This is it" I thought, I am about to die.
With each passing second my vision faded until finally, as I imagined would be the last moment of my life, the pain stopped. I could breathe again, and sure enough I rose from my prone position and stood up. I look around, everything is in its normal place. I take a deep breath in relief. Now that the worst was over, I got up to examine the pill bottle. The warning was no longer in English, but instead covered in strange markings.
Suddenly I was dragged down by an unbelievable force through my bedroom floor into a black abyss. There was an extremely loud sound that sounded like deep breathing and I felt as if something was watching my descent. At an instant I fell on a sandy bottom. I looked around, but it was so dark that I could only see at an arms reach. I trudged through the sand, stepping on what felt like organic material occasionally. At last, I reached a metal industrial door, like one you’d see in large freezer. On it was some type of text or message, I squinted my eyes attempting to read it. It was in that same language on the pill bottle. My eyes wander down and I notice a door handle. My heart is beating faster than when I was dying. I smile and reach for it.
My eyes tear open as if they were glued. I’m back in my room, I can breathe. I realized that I forgot to turn off my Saturday alarm. I exhale in a sense of relief when I noticed something wet underneath me. Damn I pissed my bed… Understandably, I jumped up and exclaimed upon realization. I hear footsteps coming sprinting towards my room. My son opens the door and sees me in my current state.
“Dad are you ok?”, my son said.
“Oh, yeah…I’m fine, just had a bad dream”
My son notices my soaked trousers and bed sheets.
“Are you…feeling alright?” he says.
My cheeks become bright red.
“Oh um…I just…”
My darting eyes reach the half empty water glass.
“Yeah I just spilled a bit when I was taking my medicine”
My heart froze. I didn’t hide the bottle last night. My son’s eyes meandered to the pill bottle on my dresser, and then back to mine. After what seemed like an eternity, my son perked a smile.
“I think you’re just getting old Dad”.
With that he laughed and rolled his eyes while closing the door. Silence at last. I began to laugh quietly to myself. I couldn’t believe it, but I finally felt something again. I could feel the warm embrace of the sunshine seeping through the blinds of my window.
I walk into the kitchen to find my son cooking breakfast. The sweet scent of the bacon permeates my olfactory senses. I take a moment to listen. I hear the low hum of the air conditioner, the upbeat banter of daytime television, and even ever so faintly, the songs of birds outside. I find myself grinning ear to ear. My son places a plate consisting of tater tots, eggs, and bacon in front of me.
“Someone’s chipper today”, he says.
I smile at him.
“Yeah…yeah I’m feeling good”.
My son leans against a wall and tosses a tater tot into his mouth.
“Maybe it wasn’t such a bad dream after all”, he says.
I snag a tater tot off my plate and do the same.
“Honestly I don’t remember what it was about”.
I felt at peace…or at least it appeared so. I took a bite of my breakfast, but with each chew the flavor began dissipating. I squint, the sunshine has become dull and bright. My hand begins to tremble as I feel an object in pajama pocket. I feel a compulsion to reach down. I slowly retrieve the object from my pocket. My eyes widen and my heart begins to race…it’s the prescription bottle, and the English text is replaced once again with a foreign language. I gawk at it sitting in the palm of my hand, and my lips start to form a smile.
I snap out of it and stuff the bottle back into my pocket. My son is standing behind the kitchen counter.
“Do you want any more bacon before I put it away?”.
“Uh…no thank you, I’m alright for now”
My son stares at me with a charged look.
“All right…” he says.
I quickly regain my composure.
“Son, do you have any plans tonight?”
“Yeah I think Devin’s having some people over tonight…unless you wanted to do something?”
I feign a smile.
“No, no, have fun with your friends!”
“All…right, cool…” my son says.
I jump.
“But maybe we can do something tomorrow?”
My son ponders for a moment.
“I was actually gonna go to Luka’s basketball game tomorrow. A bunch of my friends wanna support him, ya know?…”
He sees a hint of sadness in my eyes.
“But after we could figure something out!” he exclaims.
I smile.
“Yes…that sounds great!”
My son nods and walks out the kitchen door. My hand is still trembling. I look down to see that I had been gripping the bottle the whole time. I check the door; I think he’s gone. I pull the bottle out and examine it, the text has returned to normal. I exhale, I felt safe again.
I hear the door slam closed followed my son’s car screeching out the driveway. He asked if he could spend the night at Devin’s and I complied. It’s seven o’clock in the evening…perfect. I purchased a plastic mattress cover to avoid last night’s mishap, so I put it on the bed, strip naked and sit the mattress. There is a part of me that feels a slight embarrassment at my current situation, but honestly, I’ve been caught doing worse. I also purchased a water-resistant blanket, so I’m not a complete degenerate.
I pull the bottle out from the drawer. The label’s in English…great. I purposefully put the bottle into the drawer and hide it under some of the junk in there, and for good measure, I set my alarm for five in the morning, just in case my son came home early. I pop a pill into my mouth and swallow.
Immediately I am pulled down into the abyss. Darkness has now overcome my entire vision. I am moving extremely fast, much faster than last time. I swear I even feel my ears popping from the change in pressure. BAM!
I slam into the sandy bottom once more. I take a few moments to catch my breath when I notice a light in the distance. It shines an iridescent purple color, unlike I had ever seen. Immediately my feet began trudging towards it, almost automatically. I carefully amble over what seems like a sea of organic matter. I have no inclination of what exactly I’m walking on, but it is consumed most of the sand from before. As I approach the light, I see what I had been drawn to…the door from last night.
Although the door appeared the same as the night prior, it felt…different. I would even say it felt familiar…safe…welcoming. Before I could even think, my hand rose and grasped its handle. It’s difficult to explain, but it reminded me so much of her. I was grinning ear to ear once more. I began to twist the handle, and as I did so the iridescent light that guided me here shined brighter and brighter, once again bathing me in a warm embrace. I peer forward, filled with the most excitement in years, as I’m about to pull the door open.
“Mom! Dad!”
I stop. I look around for the source of the outcry.
“Mom! Dad! Help me! Please!
It’s my son.
Without a second thought I let go of the handle and begin sprinting towards him.
I face plant into the ground. Something has snagged my ankle. The iridescent light has become bright enough to illuminate the ground and…oh my goodness. Around me are what seems like thousands and decrepit bodies, all trying to claw their way out of the sand. I look down at my ankle and see a man gripping me. He has a look of desperation in his eye. I promptly kick him in the face and run off.
“Mom! Dad!”
I’m getting closer.
“Mom! Dad!”
I’m almost there.
I can see him! But he’s being engulfed by the bodies and sand below. I sprint as fast as I can when…
I scream and flail on my bed. I take a few moments to catch my breath. I glance at the source of the noise…my alarm clock. It reads 5:00 AM. It’s morning. The sun has not fully risen yet, but the warm embrace still reaches me. I glance over at the water glass and pill bottle on top of my dresser. I exhale in relief, it’s over… I throw some clothes and head to the restroom. Fortunately, I didn’t have an accident last night, so there’s no evidence there. And thankfully I made sure to hide the pill bottle last night as well.
I sprint back into my room to find the pill bottle on top of my dresser. I try to calm myself down. I must’ve forgotten again. It’s 5 am, there’s no way he’s home. He wouldn’t do that, he’s better than me. I take a deep breath and un-tense my body. Yeah, everything’s ok…
I jump at the pill bottle and count its contents.
With every number my heart races.
My heart sinks. I burst out of my bedroom and sprint to my son’s room. I slam open the door, and my fears realized. He is lying unconscious on his bed. I check his pulse, he’s alive, but his heart rate is slow, and he’s ice cold to the touch. I panic, looking for anything to help. His slow breaths act as a ticking clock as I search for a solution. I grab a phone and begin to dial 911 when I notice something. Silence.
I rush over to my son’s side. He’s stopped breathing…but his heart is still beating, then I notice something more. All along my son’s chest and arms appear to markings materializing beneath his skin, the same markings on the pill bottle. With no other options, there’s only one action I could take to save my son. I sprint back into my room, grab a pill and swallow it.
What feels like an eternity passes, but I cannot fall asleep. I try taking other sleeping pills, I try asphyxiation, I even try knocking myself out with blunt force. But to no avail, I’m trapped here in the conscious world while my son is fading away. My emotions overcome me.
“Why isn’t it working!”
“I thought you wanted to experience true fear?” a deep voice bellowed out.
I did, whatever was talking to me was right. I wanted to feel something, fear, sadness…anything. But now I’m overcome with only one emotion…rage.
“Release my son!”
“Release my son right now, I command you!”
I look around the room and spot the pill bottle.
“What if I made you a deal?”
“…Go on” the voice boomed.
“If I swallow every pill in this bottle, would you let go of my son?”.
“But he’s so fresh and ripe…what do you have to offer?”.
“I don’t…I don’t know…nothing!”
Without thinking I grab the pill bottle and swallow the lot. I collapse onto the floor and begin sobbing. I’ve done it, my son has done nothing wrong and has paid the price for my wrongdoings. But wait, I refuse to live on without him. Even if his fate is sealed, I will live on every day from now living to the fullest, in his memory. If he can’t be here to experience what life has to offer, I’ll experience it twice fold!
“Deal” the voice bellowed out.
At once I began my descent into the void, seemingly at the speed of light, but even then, I saw something ascending out of the darkness. Although my fate had been sealed, my son’s is safe. So here I find myself in a sea of now millions of the damned, smiling ear to ear.
submitted by BoolinHours to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 00:01 Phoenix_Effect So you want to hunt a Sea Serpent.....

So you want to hunt a Sea Serpent.....
Alright. I realize a lot of long time players will know all of what I'm about to put down. This is for the people new to Valheim. First off, however, let's provide some evidence that I actually know what I'm talking about.
My Favorite Trophy
Alright. Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business. Sea Serpents are weird, unpredictable creatures. They have been since the very beginning of the game. They show up when you least expect it, and then you can't find one to save your life when you actively go looking for them. However, they do have certain habits, and if you know these, it will increase your chances of finding one on your terms and taking it down.
Ok, let's set down the guidelines for finding these beasties. I say guidelines because there are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding these guys. Following these guidelines will improve your chances of finding one, but not guarantee it. So, without further adieu:
#1. (Note: This is the obligatory humorous first rule. It has no official basis in fact, but every longtime Valheim player will back me up on this one).
You will ALWAYS get attacked by a Sea Serpent when you have a full load of ore on your ship.
I cannot count how many times this has happened to me. In fact, in my recent game, I was coming home in my Longship with a full load of Black Metal ore when I got attacked by two Sea Serpents at once! I took out one, and had just about finished the other off when a third one decided to join the party! I managed to take them all out, but my ship damn near got sunk. Needless to say, I had Serpent stew coming out of my ears for the next while (which is a good thing).
#2. You need a ship to hunt Sea Serpents.
I know, it sounds obvious, but you will never find these beasties close to shore. They always spawn out in the Ocean. However, they will follow you all the way to shore, which is what you want them to do when trophy hunting (more on that later).
Preferably, you hunt them in a Longship. The Longship is a stable archery platform and it can take a beating. Most importantly however, under full sail when you are 90 degrees to the wind (beam reach), or running with the wind, a Longship can outrun a Sea Serpent if things start to get dicey. If you decide to hunt them in a Karve, well...good luck. A Karve is not fast enough to outrun a Serpent, and is nowhere near as tough as the Longship. My very first encounter with a Sea Serpent in Valheim was in a Karve. What ensued was a running battle; me desperately firing flint arrows at it (all I had at the time), and it taking chunks out of my ship. Luckily for me, at the time, you could drive them off after inflicting enough damage.
Not so much anymore. They are much more persistent now.
#3. Hunt at night or when it's overcast.
Sea Serpents are not huge fans of the sun. You will very rarely see one out during a bright sunny day. It can, and does happen, but it's not the norm. When it's overcast, you chances improve, and when it's dark, they improve more. This guideline ties in with the next one.
#4. Hunt them during a storm.
Sea Serpents LOVE stormy seas. The bigger the storm, the more they love it. Most of my Sea Serpent kills have happened during a storm. Combine a stormy sea with night time, and you have an excellent chance of finding a Sea Serpent. Possibly even more than one. The best I've managed was 5 in one stormy night. Conversely, the worst time is a bright sunny day with calm seas. I don't think I've ever seen one during those conditions (your experience may vary).
Now that we've gone over the guidelines for finding them, we can now discuss how to hunt them.
The first thing you have to decide is what you want the Serpent for. Do you want it for food only? Or do you want a chance at the Trophy hanging on my wall in the above pic? Depending on what you want will determine your strategy.
Let's start with hunting for food. This is what you will want to do the most often. Sea Serpent stew is the BEST meal in the game for health, and it gives you a respectable amount of stamina as well (to be fair, I haven't seen the Mistlands meals yet, so my info may be out of date).
Hunting a Sea Serpent for food involves a running battle. You want to keep your Longship sails at half so you don't outrun your "prey". This speed also limits the opportunities the Serpent will have to take a chunk out of your ship. What usually happens is the Serpent will catch up to you and try to take a bite. However, this slows it down a bit, which gives your ship time to move out of range. This is the ideal when it is directly behind you. If it's coming in at an angle, it changes things. This can happen if the wind shifts on you, so pay attention to wind direction.
Next is your ammunition. Technically, you can use any arrow type, but it will obviously take longer with weaker arrows. The two best arrow types for Serpent Hunting are Poison and Frost. Both cause direct damage as well as DoT (damage over time). Frost are the absolute best, since they also slow the Serpent briefly, which will help stop it from taking chunks out of your ship. Best combo? The Draugur Fang bow with Frost arrows. That way you get both Poison and Frost.
Now for the fun part. How, you may ask, do I shoot at a Serpent behind my Longship when I have that great big bloody stern directly in my line of fire? Well, I'm glad you asked that, since there is nothing worse than damaging you own ship while trying to shoot at a Serpent. What you have to do is hop up on said stern piece, without jumping overboard, and then start firing. (Nobody said hunting Sea Serpents was going to be easy). See the pic below for the position I'm talking about.

Standing on the Stern
Once here, you should have a clear line of fire.
Obviously, this is easier to do with a friend. But 90% of all my Serpent kills across multiple games have been solo. This is why you have to watch the wind. If it shifts, you need to hop down quickly, adjust your course, and then hop back up and continue firing.
The last point I cannot stress enough. STAMINA, STAMINA, STAMINA!! Eat your best stamina meals, since health won't be as big of a factor in this. Keep stamina potions ready in case you need a boost. This goes double for trophy hunting.
Having got this far, at some point you will kill the Serpent. YAAAAYYYY!! So now it just remains to collect the meat. The nice thing about Sea Serpent meat is that it floats (the Trophy sinks). Which means you just have to jump into the water and collect it. Simple, right? Yup, right up until you realize you were so excited about taking the Serpent down that you forgot to check your stamina level as you leapt overboard to get it, and then drown before you can get back to your ship.
So, take a moment, collect yourself, let your stamina build (eat if necessary). Then scull your ship around (the first speed, using the tiller to move instead of sails) and sail as close to the floating pieces of meat as you can. If you sail over them, you may pick some up, but not all, so it's easier to just jump in the water to get them all. You will generally get 6 pieces of Serpent meat, although a Large Sea Serpent may net you 7 pieces.
Congratulations!! You've successfully hunted your first Serpent!!
Now that you've successfully hunted a Sea Serpent for food, we can move on to the tough job. Getting the Trophy. This is a lot of work, and again is easier to do with multiple players. But it can be done solo, and I have done so multiple times.
The first thing you need to do is to craft a Harpoon. To do that, you have to find the elusive Kraken. These gentle giants look just like a stone island out in the middle of the Ocean (your first hint that it's not an island). See pic below:

A Kraken
Once you find one, take your pick (make sure you bring it along), sail up to one of them, hop on it's back, and "mine" the barnacles you find there. This will give you something called Chitin, which you will need to craft the Harpoon. (As for all of you experienced players, SHUSH! Don't ruin the experience!)
Once you have your Harpoon, you will need to go find a Serpent. Once you do, take some pot shots at it with arrows and get it to chase your ship (again, half sail, use the occasional Frost arrow it it gets too close). You're going to want to lead it towards shore.
Once you're close to shore, this is where it gets tough. Set your course directly towards a decent spot on shore (I recommend Meadows or Black Forest. You'll have enough problems without involving the shit that can go sideways with the higher Biomes). Once the course is set, throw the Harpoon at the Serpent. If you hit, you will start dragging it behind you.
Stamina drain on this is HUGE! (Even more so now in the latest version of the game than it used to be). You'll want to time this so you're as close as possible to the shore. Make sure you've eaten your max stamina meals beforehand, and drink the Stamina potion just before your Stamina runs out. When your ship hits the shore, leap over the side and run up the bank, dragging the Serpent with you. When your stamina depletes, switch weapons and run towards the serpent to finish it off. Stay away from the head! Just hack the body. If it manages to crawl back into the water, shoot it with Frost arrows until it's dead.
Having done ALL of this is no guarantee you'll get a Trophy, but man, if you do, you'll remember it always. If you don't, then rinse and repeat the above steps. On the plus side, no matter what, you'll still get the meat, so it won't be a total loss.

Well, that's it new Vikings! I hope this guide will help you bag your first Sea Serpent!

submitted by Phoenix_Effect to valheim [link] [comments]

2023.03.25 00:01 NorthStarProject Gary William Fisk Case Update (North Star Project)

Hi. My name is Friendly Alien, and this was a case covered by a Field Analyst and friend of the North Star Project. I have no idea why AKST or any officials have not updated the information, as this was discovered in August last year... But here's an overview of what we've found and what our unnamed Field Analyst wrote while he was out there:

Crow Pass, Missing Person: Case Report

-FA, "Maketa". N.S.P. (North Star Project)
A 74-year-old Gary Fisk, Departed on the Crows' pass hike from Girdwood to Eagle river on September 21st, 2021. After a bout of Adverse weather, including snow and high winds, Fisk was never heard from again. Aircraft and mountain rescue crews were unable to locate Fisk or recover a Cadaver. This area is known for avalanches and Blizzards, as are most of the mountains surrounding the Mat-Su Valley during the winter and spring months.
Running theory:
AKST and Rescue crews were unable to locate Mr. Fisk, finding no signs and publishing minimum circumstances regarding his disappearance. However, heavy snowfall likely played a significant role. It was likely causing him to become lost or seek shelter in one of the many Abandoned mines in the area. Trained rescue crews often do not enter Dilapidated mines due to the risk of Poisonous gas, Cave-ins, and/or improperly disposed of ordinances. I and a local guide have Formed the hypothesis that Fisk departed Girdwood, and traveled an Undetermined distance. (will be estimated through interview with AKST) Mr. Fisk was unable to travel further or backtrack due to increasing weather severity, seeking shelter inside the lowest point near his position. Some period of time had passed and an avalanche/or snow had buried the trail or if sheltering in a mine entrance bracing may have failed to cause a cave-in. It is estimated Fisk is likely Deceased due to Exposure and/or starvation
Planned Field Investigation:
Beginning in August 2022, the Investigation will be conducted by Bridger Maketa, Assisted in the field by Nathaniel Caole. Time of departure/ weather conditions and Geological activity will be determined through interview With AKST, NOAA and or Family Members, then be cross-referenced to determine distance traveled. All Underground cavities in the area will be searched, for signs of Fisk, snow coverage, and/or Recent collapse within the past 2 years. If Mr Fisk is Located and ID’d, measurements will be taken of Radiation, gas levels, signs of injury and location. Outcome to be forwarded to family, And AKST.
Screenshot Of Location Of Discovery And Paths.
Investigation outcome:
Aug 18th 2022: our party Departed Girdwood at 12pm, traveling up the lower and upper trails. Multiple slide locations into thick unsearchable foliage were spotted, as well as one of two accessible mine entrances due to time constraints. There were many places to fall including a large canyon on the southern incline towards the summit, which all locations prior to the summit would make recovery unlikely/implausible. We also encountered record rainfall combined with 60mph+ as we crossed by Beaver Glacier. After the descent time had degraded the trail causing us to lose it temporarily. We decided to make camp at the bottom of the valley behind the bluff for wind protection.
Aug 19th 2022: upon departure, we were unable to progress on the lower valley, upon backtracking to enter the trail, we spotted an aluminum rod deep in the brush, No other items seen. We Completed the first river crossing with ease, with the water just above ankles. And continued down trail, checking low areas where a lost person would be attracted towards. A footbridge over a canyon had damaged railing, if someone fell they would be likely non-recoverable, another location shorty after involved a slippery ledge over the canyon. Upon entering the bushwhacking section of the trail we were hindered by a cow and calf (female Moose with calf), refusing to exit the trail in front of us while traveling through tall grass and thick foliage. In 14 miles with an additional 4 in detours we arrived upon the bank of Eagle River. We had immediately noticed water levels were far higher than typical. Much of the trail to the fjord sight was immersed in ice cold glacial water causing us to detour along the higher sections of floodplain. Upon arrival to the fjord sight, we concluded Eagle River was in-cross able. Our choice was either 15 miles of steep muddy slopes followed by a treacherous mountain climb, or to attempt to travel south to cross the headwaters of the lake. Upon choosing to travel the shorter path, the trail dissapeared replaced by rough terrain and thick foliage. We continued for two miles until we were half way around the lake. Upon then we found a piece of Grey pants on the ground, we were surprised someone had been here before us, however 50 feet the terrain was completely impassible, down to the left in an indent, our search took a eventful and solemn turn, as we spotted a bright yellow backpack. A floral water bottle was attached outside, while a lighter lay upon the ground 3 feet away. We searched the bag for ID, eventually identifying it as belonging to Gary Fisk. Being careful to not disturb evidence we left the bag and all other items in position. Noticeably the backpack had a foam pad yet no sleeping bag, a bear canister (food storage canister) had teeth marks upon it, however the yellow bag had not been opened upon discovery. We determined to visually search for a few more minutes, finding a turned over tree with a can of bear spray, which had a bite taken out of it. 20 ft left from the pant leg.
Upon departure we spotted tattered red fabric 50 feet above us on the canyon to our western side.

Photograph Of The Discover Of Fisks' ID
The weather quickly declined, resulting in many slips and falls upon our return. Water began flooding the valley, turning most trail sections into flowing streams and deep mud pits. We were determined to return to the summit cabin before dark, due to the danger of climbing at night, and our camping gea fire starting kits becoming waterlogged. We kept moving taking minimum breaks to stave off hypothermia making it 10 miles uphill before the first river crossing. Upon a short discussing we knew our only way was across, as the record flood would continue for weeks. The river had risen to waist height, moving fast enough to send boulders crashing downstream. We found a fjord sight and barely crossed, due to a single trekking pole I became completely wet, and hypothermia quickly set in causing my legs to tense and losing my ability to move.
Aug 20th 2022: We made an emergency camp, utilizing a bivy bag and wet gear. Mr Caole completed the last 2 miles to the cabin to call for help. I was inside the bivy bag unable to move for 12 hours until ANG Hilo arrived, being airlifted to Providence Anchorage with severe hypothermia.
August 21st 2022: AKST and S&R crews traveled to the sight but were unable to find any remains or the clothing we found. Only recovering the backpack and bearspray
The location of Gary Fisk’s campsite being Miles ahead of where S&R crews suspected. From the evidence found the story is assumed to be, Gary departed on September 21st 2021, traveled down to the rear of the summit as weather degraded, continuing downhill to avoid deep snow.
Upon reaching the river crossing a day behind in progress, and wet from slush and snow, Gary traveled quicker and lost the trail to the fjord sight and continued to travel south. The terrain was more and more difficult to pass before finally reaching the dead end beside the lake. Garry was fully hypothermic and had no choice but to make camp and attempt to start a fire, however, as evident from the lighter and attempted fire, he was unsuccessful due to either the loss of dexterity, or the wetness of the area. It is unknown what happened after this, though it is possible that after hypothermia led to the removal of his clothes. Upon hearing the snowmachines used by S&R crews on the eastern lake side. Gary either A: climbed up the Cliff to signal for help, Following death by exposure. Or B: gary attempted to swim across the lake, the 38 degree water immediately causing Cardiac arrest.
Second theory of the nature of presumed death is, Gary, being stalked by a bear and mauled/Buried. This theory is supported by the numerous black and brown bear population in the area, His Bear mace being located 50 feet away from the campsite, with multiple punctures to the can, indicative of large teeth. As well as the torn clothes. (as opposed to neatly removed which is more typical to hypothermia)
However It is more likely a bear was attracted to the Capsacin and removed it from the bag to chew on, and there would have been one or more cadaver remnants from a bear mauling leaving the lack of a body improbable.

NOTE: Please know that we take this seriously and do not mean any of this information to be satire.
If you have any information to share or any questions please DM this account, or comment.
submitted by NorthStarProject to RBI [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 23:57 exitinglurkmode Why can't anyone in the US beat Tesla on AWD range?

I've had a LR AWD Model3 for four years now, and I'm in the market for something different. When I bought it in 2019 I figured there'd be tons of options with competitive 300+ mile ranges when it was time to replace it, given how fast tech typically improves. Here we are in 2023, and nobody can beat the range of my 4-year-old car for a reasonable price?
Yes I know there 6-figure luxury cars with more range, but in the rough price realm of the Model 3/Y (say, $40-70k), nothing that beats them with AWD? OK, the Ioniq6 (base trim only) and the Mach-E (ext. range 91kWh battery vs. Tesla's 75kWh) come close, just equaling Tesla specs from 4 years ago, but that's about it. Was Tesla's 2019-era drivetrain/battery tech just that good that it had a 5-year+ lead on its competition? It can't all just be corner cutting on weight and low drag coefficients and ugly rim covers.
Where are the 350-mile competitors?
(Before anybody says "nobody needs more than 250 miles of range" - I do. I live in Colorado, I need heat in the winter, I drive in the mountains for long stretches without L3 infrastructure on dedicated snow tires, and carry bikes and skis on the roof. 300 miles under perfect conditions quickly becomes 200 or less in winter around here.)
submitted by exitinglurkmode to electricvehicles [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 23:54 NorthStarProject Gary William Fisk Case Update (North Star Project)

Hi. My name is Friendly Alien, and this was a case covered by a Field Analyst and friend of the North Star Project. I have no idea why AKST or any officials have not updated the information, as this was discovered in August last year... But here's an overview of what we've found and what our unnamed Field Analyst wrote while he was out there:

Crow Pass, Missing Person: Case Report

-FA, "Maketa". N.S.P. (North Star Project)
A 74-year-old Gary Fisk, Departed on the Crows' pass hike from Girdwood to Eagle river on September 21st, 2021. After a bout of Adverse weather, including snow and high winds, Fisk was never heard from again. Aircraft and mountain rescue crews were unable to locate Fisk or recover a Cadaver. This area is known for avalanches and Blizzards, as are most of the mountains surrounding the Mat-Su Valley during the winter and spring months.
Running theory:
AKST and Rescue crews were unable to locate Mr. Fisk, finding no signs and publishing minimum circumstances regarding his disappearance. However, heavy snowfall likely played a significant role. It was likely causing him to become lost or seek shelter in one of the many Abandoned mines in the area. Trained rescue crews often do not enter Dilapidated mines due to the risk of Poisonous gas, Cave-ins, and/or improperly disposed of ordinances. I and a local guide have Formed the hypothesis that Fisk departed Girdwood, and traveled an Undetermined distance. (will be estimated through interview with AKST) Mr. Fisk was unable to travel further or backtrack due to increasing weather severity, seeking shelter inside the lowest point near his position. Some period of time had passed and an avalanche/or snow had buried the trail or if sheltering in a mine entrance bracing may have failed to cause a cave-in. It is estimated Fisk is likely Deceased due to Exposure and/or starvation
Planned Field Investigation:
Beginning in August 2022, the Investigation will be conducted by Bridger Maketa, Assisted in the field by Nathaniel Caole. Time of departure/ weather conditions and Geological activity will be determined through interviews With AKST, NOAA, and/or Family Members, then be cross-referenced to determine the distance traveled. All Underground cavities in the area will be searched, for signs of Fisk, snow coverage, and/or Recent collapse within the past 2 years. If Mr. Fisk is Located and ID’d, measurements will be taken of Radiation, gas levels, signs of injury, and location. The outcome is to be forwarded to the family, And AKST.
Screenshot Of Location Of Discovery And Paths.
Investigation outcome:
Aug 18th, 2022: our party Departed Girdwood at 12 pm, traveling up the lower and upper trails. Multiple slide locations into thick unsearchable foliage were spotted, as well as one of two accessible mine entrances due to time constraints. There were many places to fall including a large canyon on the southern incline towards the summit, which all locations prior to the summit would make recovery unlikely/implausible. We also encountered record rainfall combined with 60mph+ as we crossed Beaver Glacier. After the descent time had degraded the trail causing us to lose it temporarily. We decided to make camp at the bottom of the valley behind the bluff for wind protection.
Aug 19th, 2022: upon departure, we were unable to progress on the lower valley, upon backtracking to enter the trail, we spotted an aluminum rod deep in the brush, No other items were seen. We Completed the first river crossing with ease, with the water just above our ankles. And continued down the trail, checking low areas where a lost person would be attracted towards. A footbridge over a canyon had damaged railing, if someone fell they would be likely non-recoverable, another location shortly after involved a slippery ledge over the canyon. Upon entering the bushwhacking section of the trail we were hindered by a cow and calf (female Moose with calf), refusing to exit the trail in front of us while traveling through tall grass and thick foliage. In 14 miles with an additional 4 in detours, we arrived upon the bank of Eagle River. We immediately noticed water levels were far higher than typical. Much of the trail to the fjord sight was immersed in ice-cold glacial water causing us to detour along the higher sections of the floodplain. Upon arrival at the fjord sight, we concluded Eagle River was uncrossable. Our choice was either 15 miles of steep muddy slopes followed by a treacherous mountain climb or to attempt to travel south to cross the headwaters of the lake. Upon choosing to travel the shorter path, the trail disappeared replaced by rough terrain and thick foliage. We continued for two miles until we were halfway around the lake. Upon then we found a piece of Grey pants on the ground, we were surprised someone had been there before us, however, 50 feet the terrain was completely impassible, down to the left in an indent, our search took an eventful turn, as we spotted a bright yellow backpack. A floral water bottle was attached outside, while a lighter lay on the ground 3 feet away. We searched the bag for ID, eventually identifying it as belonging to Gary Fisk. Being careful to not disturb evidence we left the bag and all other items in position. Noticeably the backpack had a foam pad yet no sleeping bag, and a bear canister (food storage canister) had teeth marks upon it, however, the yellow bag had not been opened upon discovery. We determined to visually search for a few more minutes, finding a turned-over tree with a can of bear spray, which had a bite taken out of it. 20 ft left from the pant leg.
Upon departure, we spotted tattered red fabric 50 feet above us on the canyon to our western side.
Photograph Of The Discovery Of Fisks' ID
The weather quickly declined, resulting in many slips and falls upon our return. Water began flooding the valley, turning most trail sections into flowing streams and deep mud pits. We were determined to return to the summit cabin before dark, due to the danger of climbing at night, and our camping geafire-starting kits becoming waterlogged. We kept moving taking minimum breaks to stave off hypothermia making it 10 miles uphill before the first river crossing. Upon a short discussion, we knew our only way was across, as the record flood would continue for weeks. The river had risen to waist height, moving fast enough to send boulders crashing downstream. We found a fjord sight and barely crossed, due to a single trekking pole I became completely wet, and hypothermia quickly set in causing my legs to tense and losing my ability to move.
Aug 20th, 2022: We made an emergency camp, utilizing a bivy bag and wet gear. Mr Caole completed the last 2 miles to the cabin to call for help. I was inside the bivy bag unable to move for 12 hours until ANG Hilo arrived, being airlifted to Providence Anchorage with severe hypothermia.
August 21st, 2022: AKST and S&R crews traveled to the sight but were unable to find any remains or the clothing we found. Only recovering the backpack and bear spray
The location of Gary Fisk’s campsite is Miles ahead of where S&R crews suspected. From the evidence found the story is assumed to be, Gary departed on September 21st, 2021, and traveled down to the rear of the summit as the weather degraded, continuing downhill to avoid deep snow.
Upon reaching the river crossing a day behind in progress, and wet from slush and snow, Gary traveled quicker and lost the trail to the fjord sight and continued to travel south. The terrain was more and more difficult to pass before finally reaching the dead end beside the lake. Garry was fully hypothermic and had no choice but to make camp and attempt to start a fire, however, as evident from the lighter and attempted fire, he was unsuccessful due to either the loss of dexterity or the wetness of the area. It is unknown what happened after this, though it is possible that hypothermia led to the removal of his clothes. Upon hearing about the snowmachines used by S&R crews on the eastern lakeside. Gary either A: climbed up the Cliff to signal for help, Following death by exposure. Or B: Gary attempted to swim across the lake, and the 38-degree water immediately caused Cardiac arrest.
A second theory of the nature of presumed death is, Gary, being stalked by a bear and mauled/Buried. This theory is supported by the numerous black and brown bear populations in the nearby area, his Bear mace being located 50 feet away from the campsite, with multiple punctures to the can, indicative of large teeth. As well as the torn clothes. (as opposed to neatly removed which is more typical of hypothermia)
However, It is more likely a bear was attracted to the Capsacin and removed it from the bag to chew on, and there would have been one or more cadaver remnants from a bear mauling leaving the lack of a body improbable.

NOTE: Please know that we take this seriously and do not mean any of this information to be satire.
submitted by NorthStarProject to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 23:48 cantbeatthebass (TX) Landlord charging my full price for carpet replacement due to pet stains. A bit overwhelmed, wondering if I should accept this or not.

Hey all,
Just got a $1055 bill to replace my old apartment's carpet, and I'm genuinely not sure if I'm SOL on this or if this is bad practice that I should fight. If I am then I mean, it was it is. Wee bit frazzled right now and just hoping someone can weigh in on this.
When I talked to the property manager, they said " Carpenters recommended full replacement due to heavy traffic. (We) would've prorated you if it was just that, but there were some obvious spots of pet damage, so you are on the hook for the full amount".
Info: - Dallas, TX area, 650 sqft 1bd, solo resident. Old complex of about ~200 units. I Recently moved to Denver, CO - Lived in it for 3 years. Had the dog for 2 of those 3 years. - Carpet was newly replaced before I moved in (last tenant was there over 15 years), so 3 year old carpet. - Security deposit was $150, Pet Deposit was $200. Both of those have been applied to this bill, among other small (but expected) expenses. - During the final walkthrough, property manager said "some of the carpet might have to be replaced, but you should get the prorated amount". Didn't get that in writing, sadly. Talked to them on the phone earlier today, said the company that owns the complex denied the prorated amount due to the pet stains". - They've sent me pictures of the damage, (sorry for the bad quality, that's what they sent). Pet stains were centered by a closet in the bedroom, where the dog's kennel was. - They've also provided me a copy of the invoice for the amount, with a statement saying the carpet needed to be replaced "due to heavy traffic" (again, lived there by myself for 3 years). - If it's worth considering, the property manager did say she took off a ~$250 worth of charges for other expenses, such as replacing window base boards and going over bright paint (which are expenses I know were going to happen, so I mostly believe her). She's also taking 5% off that bill since I was a "fantastic resident", which is....something I guess.
So yeah. My current thoughts are to call the company that owns the property and see if I can address this with someone there. There is undeniably pet damage, but it's concentrated in one spot, and I firmly don't believe I should be on the hook for all 650 sqft. That being said, I do fear that any small claims action could, if they don't go through, make my overall bill larger.
Any and all thoughts/bits of advice would be appreciated. I'm not lookin to raise hell here, just truly wondering if this bill is justified.
Thanks all.
submitted by cantbeatthebass to legaladvice [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 23:28 ilbumble Help me replace my ailing B&W P7 wired

So I've been using my trusty set of wired P7's since they were first released.
I love the sound and fit, but the right speaker died on me and I'm tired of having the glue leak issue with the ear pads.
Since I like their sound signature, help me find something that would be a nice replacement - I'm looking at closed back for isolation issues with both egress and ingress.
I listen to a huge amount of really heavy technical and prog metal, electronica, orchestral pieces and alternative music. I find that a very crisp clear sound with a hint of warmth to limit high frequency fatigue and a robust deep bass that is tightly controlled is a profile that I like. Detail is paramount.
I prefer wired with a replaceable cable and will be running through a Fiio Btr3.
submitted by ilbumble to HeadphoneAdvice [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 23:27 WampanEmpire Trying get away from social media

So I've become keenly aware that over the past 2 years or so I've become more sucked into social media. The problem I'm beginning to have is that 1) All of the smaller forums I would frequent are basically dead, and have been replaced with Facebook, large parts of reddit, and insta - where unlike the forums, nobody wants to have a conversation they just want to feel like they've properly brow-beat you. 2)Almost all of the good YouTube channels are essentially dead or on indefinite hiatus. Gone are the days when I could follow a insert show here fan who made their own animations or fan shorts and it wasnt usually decent stuff. Now most of that seems to be either ship related or "x is problematic" content. There are a few good ones left, but they post less and less frequently as time goes on. The commercials have also become awful on YouTube and only a few creators have moved somewhere else where you can watch their 5 minute video without having 3 ad breaks.
I feel like the internet I enjoyed being on that had some people I actually enjoyed talking to is gone. I remember some of the old forums being tight-knit and there being actual concern if someone didn't pop in and join the discussion at least once every few weeks. I cant think of any current community online that doesnt just assume you went off your rocker if you have been gone a whike. The long form videos I enjoyed have been replaced with shorts and constant commercial breaks worse than cable tv, and any heartfelt discussion of serious topics has been heavily stifled because if you actually make that content the algorithm puts you in a well and tells you to rub lotion on your skin and the followers that you had leave because they only followed you for your looks.
I have been trying to get away from social media and YouTube aside from family posts and community event pages, but where is there even anything like "old internet" now? I'd even prefer similar real life stuff, since I have been working to get out more. I wish I could have a fan page for say, an anime I like that isn't either "every post must be positive" or "if you disagree with one of out golden children you'll be banned". I miss the days when disagreeing over something stayed on the forum rather than it travelling into your dms long after the mods decided it got too heated.
submitted by WampanEmpire to nosurf [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 23:26 Internal_Prune_5108 contracting 101

Residential Contracting 101
With over 20 years of building experience, I would like to share with you my insights in navigating becoming a successful contractor. With many different avenues of the building world its key to understand what problems will arise on any given day. A man once told a saying that stuck-the 6 p’s in life- Piss Poor Preparation leads to Piss Poor Performance. Preparation builds everything in construction, without preparation the jobsite will not run correctly. The best advice I was ever given was to learn a little about every trade giving you the ability to understand trade lingo and secrets. An example would be painters use the terminology flash; this means when the sub structure bleads through the paint. Subcontractors will give the best pricing if they respect your knowledge of the industry. If the subcontractor feels they will have to hold your hand through the job they will charge an extra fee…i.e. I call it the aggravation fee. In this blog I will explain the key elements in finding success in all aspects of the industry. Contracting is a physically and emotionally demanding job which requires planning and foresight to complete projects on time within budget. Picking your customer is just as important as picking your employees or subcontractors. I have worked for some of the most demanding customers leading me to question at the end if the job was even worth it. Sleepless nights, constant changes, lack of payment, lawsuit threats, adding work that was in the contract are just a few things you could face with a tough customer. With so many moving parts at all times it is critical to be able to adapt to changes within a short time frame. Materials will come in damaged, subcontractors will be late, employees will get sick, but the deadline you set does not change. The stress can be overwhelming at times keeping your mind in a good place is key to navigating all that is thrown at you. Choosing your client picking the right jobs-Keep these questions in mind The first question to be asked is what the time frame is to start the job to see if it fits within the timeframe for your business. If the time frame doesn’t work then move on from the project or let them know when you would be available to start. If the client really wants to use, they will wait until you are available. Taking on too much work will only lead to problems. Construction is a serviced based business, staying on top of the project and client will eliminate an unhappy customer and construction issues that will be over seen. With online presence if details are missed and customer service lacks it will only be a matter of time the phone will not ring. The second question to be asked to the client is do they have a budget in mind for the project. If they answer yes this is good, follow through with what the budget is. If the budget seems low let them know, this will eliminate a tire kicker, educate them on what the price range could be. If the budget seems reasonable then continue the discussion to the next question. If they answer no let them know that you can give them an estimate to see if the project is feasible with their finical capabilities. Taking on a job that is not correctly budgeted will lead to an unsatisfied customer due to non-transparency of the construction cost. The third question to be asked is anyone else bidding on the job, if the answer is yes, understand you might just be number check for the contractor doing the job. Dig a little deeper and find out how many numbers they are getting and why. If your business model is to be competitive be completely transparent with customer, this will gain trust with them. Let them know you get what you pay for and if you they choose the lowest bid it could lead into lack of quality of work.
The fourth question I will ask is there any specific subcontractors they wanted to use. If the answer is yes then I would explain to them you only use the subcontractors you have a working relationship with. Otherwise, this could backfire as the subcontractor might not show, do subpar work, talk behind your back to the homeowner. In my experience I would stay away from using any homeowner to alleviate problems down the road. A quick conversation now can save headaches down the road. The fifth question I will ask are planning on getting the job permitted, this needs to be known it takes more time for the permitting process. Plans will have to drawn submitted and approved to the city before work can commence. The sixth question I will ask if a residential remodel is are you going to be living through the remodel if yes understand this will take more time to navigate the project due to answering questions and cleaning the house on a daily occurrence. I would recommend seeing if the customer would be willing to move into an Airbnb or friends for at least the demo portion of the project. If they do plan on living through the remodel add a couple hours a day to accommodate the extra time that will be required. The seventh question I would ask in a residential remodel is how old the house is to see if there is asbestos that would need to removed by a proper company. A home built before 1979 will most likely have some asbestos in the house, use a licensed company with proper insurance to dispose of the materials. If everything looks good to this point find out a little more about the client personality. If the client seems reasonable, I would bid the job. Unreasonable people can cause you more stress than its worth. These are some red flags I would look out for. Some jobs are not worth the money. Very demanding in the way you are going to perform your job- I.e., tell you how you are going to do your job- You’re the professional not them! Give you a hard time about your price- haggle with price you estimated- The price is the price! If they are a family with little money and you want to help them out is one thing, if they are trying to beat you down is another. Mention they have a lawyer-there is no need for them to bring up that they have a lawyer - Run for the hills as if the job goes south, you will be the one losing out! Tell you what the payment terms are. It’s your business you get paid how it works for your company. If you want to get paid every Friday, put it into your contract-If the clients do not agree move on it will save you frustrations If they talk bad about the last contractor, chances are they will talk bad about you. There is a reason why the contractor does not work for them anymore, unless he did subpar work this a red flag Clients are using an interior decorator that will purchasing all of the materials- The materials could be ordered incorrectly by the interior designer your company will not make the mark-up it deserves. Interior decorators usually add time to the job as well as act like your boss. Charging a little extra for the time and stress that it will entail is only fair. Clients want to purchase the materials- You are using your knowledge to buy the correct materials-The mark up on the materials keeps the doors open working for wages only pays the bills The husband and wife do not get along-You will become the mediator between the couple it will lead to taking sides a losing proposition- A drama free work place is always best! Dangling carrot-if you do this job the next one will be better-Only look at what there offering at the present moment, if its not a good fit do not take the job for a job down the road…Its not worth chasing a job that might not happen! The Art of the Sale First things first selling your company is all about presentation. In meeting your clients for the first time show up with a collared golf shirt tucked in, belt, nice jeans, and newer shoes. Have a truck that a clean, no dents scratches, preferably washed the day you are going into your meeting. Have a leather note pad that is clean no dirt or paint visible. Show up 5 minutes early, if you’re running a little late shoot them a text to let them know. Treat the situation as if were going on a first date, best foot forward. As you introduce yourself give them a warm greeting, letting them know you are very interested in the work. Find out a little about them, hobbies, where they lived, etc etc. You are going to be working with them on a daily basis its nice to know what makes them tick. Having a good working relationship from the start is key forming a solid relationship. As the conversation progresses find out who wears the pants in the family…ie who’s the final decision maker. If its fits the wife, chances it is…..then kindly let the husband know happy wife happy life when their in a stall mate on an issue. As your looking at the project throw in some suggestions of what you think would look good from past experiences, this will get their attention that you have knowledge and want what’s best for them. If you see ways to save them money in their project let them know, money is a large point of the sale keep that in mind. Mention that you’re not the least expensive contractor but you’re not the most expensive either. Your customer satisfaction is your number one goal which leads to more time spent on keeping them happy. One happy customer will lead to another, one unsatisfied customer leads to work in the future. Bring up the fact the finishing the job on time is key goal to your business, many contractors run several jobs at once causing the jobs to be finished way behind schedule. You must stand out as having integrity, good morals, and the ability to problem solve to get the job. The clients will be testing you to see if you’re a good fit as well. Keep in mind as you take your notes that you must not forget anything they mention as it will come back before the job is completed…i.e. we mentioned that to you before we started the job! Take pictures of the proposed area for work, that way you can use it to better right your estimate. Let them know you will give them a detailed outline of when the job will be completed letting them see how long each phase will take and correlate it with your payment schedule. Before you leave their house let them know when the estimate will be sent to them. MAKE SURE YOU HIT THAT DEADLINE! Once you sent the email over with estimate make sure you get confirmation that they received it. Wait at least 2 days before checking with them, hopefully they contact you first! If they want negotiate the price, let them know that it is the best price that you can manage, its not worth losing money before you start. I closed 80% of the work I estimated by being very transparent and friendly. If you come off with an attitude charge double what the going rates are you might only land 1 out of 10 jobs as well as getting the reputation of being expensive. Bidding the job Looking up industry standards on pricing is what I would go buy for pricing. If you google the coat of any installation there will be a cost range for everything. Looking at the cost ranging from high to low I would tend to be in the middle. Some items might be low on the internet if this is the case use your best judgment not to lose money. Closing sales is key to success and keep the doors open for business. Being in the middle on pricing is key as most customers shy away from contractors that are extremely low or high on the price range. I tend not bid out hourly as wages do not pay for retirement. Bidding is better as customers no the exact price of the cost of construction. It also keeps the job moving quicker as time and material contractors take longer to complete projects…Thus costing the client more money and valuable time they could spend in their house. Using a Contract Using a detailed estimate tied to a contract covers your butt in 99% of the time. Having a piece of mind that every aspect of the job is covered in the estimate and contract protects both your company and the client. Key terms to include in your estimate/contract are. Have a schedule on excel showing the start dates and dates of each trade this will show the customer you are organized with time lines. If not written in the detailed in the estimate the item is excluded- This ensures if its not written down its not included. TBD- To be Determined- A phrase on a line item that has yet to had final decision of products or service needed. -The pricing will follow the decisions to be finalized Give out what your written warranty will be for parts and labor this changes state to state. If the homeowner provides the product than no warranty will be given on that particular item. In the contract have a start date and end date with the verbiage subject to change due to weather, product delivery, change orders Have a progress payment schedule to ensure the client understands when funding will be expected-Including if not payment is rendered service to the project will stop. Have written terms of how change orders will be charged-cost plus 20% or a set fee Make sure in your contract that arbitration is required versus going to court- This will save lawyer fees and going to court Many contracts can be found online and each state requires different contracts
Finding leads Finding leads is easy with the right network of people. I personally do not find working for friends or family members a good fit. Relationships get strained when money is involved, causing undue stress for both parties. I have listed a couple of ways to build a network or find work using the internet. Get in contact with realtor’s- Realtors have a big client base of homeowners who need work done Contact local Architects to see if they are working with any general contractors Leave some business cards at your local materials suppliers-Doowindow/lumber-many times clients will ask salesman for a referral. Join a business networking group- BNI is one of many Join a internet website lead generation company- Houzz, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, thumbtack, Yelp run an ad on craigslist Use a marketing company to market your website-This could become costly with little results Create a Facebook business page Create a Yelp business page
Building your subcontractor base Having 2 subcontractors for every trade, gives you the flexibility of completing jobs on time if the one the subcontractors is too busy at the time you need their service. Your subcontractors are the face of your business, choose owner run companies that are professional. Check to make sure there license are up to workman’s comp, liability insurance, state license. Choosing subcontractors with lettered vans, logoed t-shirts is s key to looking professional in the clients’ eyes. In the past I have gotten a lot of subcontractors for material supply shops, stopping by jobsites, researching the internet using Yelp, Home Advisor, etc etc. Once you get one good subcontractor ask them if they know any other trades they would recommend. One good subcontractor leads to another in most cases. The key to having a good group of subcontractors is to let them know that you are there to get help them get the job done. They do work for you but without them you are nothing…keep that in mind! Make them aware a clean jobsite is required at the end of everyday to ensure the proper safety for all parties including theirs! Over the years I have referred a lot of companies work when there is only 1 trade needed. Referring work to subcontractors is a good way to get top priority when you have work that needs to be completed ASAP. Timing is everything in times of emergency having a good group of subcontractors will make your business run smoothly. Pay your subcontractors immediately after performing work, this will make them feel appreciated! A happy subcontractor is one that will gladly go the extra mile for you knowing that there not just a number to your business! Buying lunch once a week for the jobsite is always a good token of appreciation!
Supervising In supervising any jobsite its key to monitor everything from materials on hand, weather, vehicle parking (if applicable), jobsite safety, and subcontractors’ workmanship. If you hired a professional there should be little supervision in the work being performed, on rare occasions a new hire might need some mentoring to get the results completed correctly. If you see a problem with there work address it with the worker directly, no need to call his boss…. building repour with the worker letting him know you got his back goes miles down the road! Checking in on the job first in the morning to answer any questions or changes that need to be conveyed and once in the afternoon to make sure all work be completed is done per construction industry standards. A job that is run blindly will have many more issues than one that is watched over. I have seen many jobs with no site supervision, leading to subpar quality work as well as safety hazards. Its better to be like an eagle than cluck like a turkey!
Working with the City/Inspectors On permitted jobs the city and site inspector will be a large part of how smoothly the job runs. Each phase of construction has an inspection allowing for the project to continue. Make sure your subcontractors are aware that the project is inspected before starting the job. The best way to stay on his good side is to provide a clean jobsite and having the job built to the highest standards possible. When having the site inspected be courteous to the inspector asking any questions or concerns you have with the work during the job. Being completely transparent will save you aggravation of problems down the road. The more he trust you the better if you seem sneaky or rude he will make your life a living nightmare! Many inspectors will have an attitude towards you….I suggest keeping quiet and doing what ever he wants….he’s the boss no need to get in a pissing match you will not win at. How to deal with irate customer Stay calm during any argument with an irate customer. Never raise your voice or show that you are bothered by their disgruntled behavior. If the customer is trying to get more from you than agreed upon stand your ground. Worst case scenario is you walk from the job, which in the long run be more of a loss for the client. I have only run into a couple of these clients; they are unreasonable and not worth losing sleep over a few dollars. Its best to terminate the relationship as it would be my best guess that a referral from this customer would not be one you wanted anyway. If you feel it was just a miscommunication on your end, take reasonability and remedy the problem. Taking accountability for your mistake will go a far way in their eyes and on future issues that arise. Prepping the homeowner pre-construction Before starting the job, it very important to give the homeowners a warning of what will happen during the construction process.
  1. All furniture in the proposed working area must be moved- I would recommend having the clients take care of this to limit the risk of damage to their belongings.
  2. There will be dust that will be in the house up to 3 months after construction-I would recommend hiring a construction cleaning company at the end of the job even so after it is cleaned dust will be present months after words.
  3. There will be conflicts between you in the homeowner at some course of the job. - You will do your best to eliminate them as quickly as they arise-i.e. material damages, miscommunication, job delays
  4. All decisions on materials must be made before the start of the job- this will eliminate job stoppage due to materials not being on site.
  5. All materials will be on site before commencement of job-
  6. Payment structures must be made per contract otherwise job will stop until payment rendered
  7. Cars are to be moved out of the driveway- Ensures ease of loading and unloading of materials/tools
  8. Give the specific hours that workers will be present- i.e. 7-3:30
  9. Determine what areas are allowed to be used as staging for tools/materials
  10. If animals are present in the home that they put outside or in a room during the day
  11. All valuables in the house are locked in safe
  12. Ask if using client’s household bathroom is okay or to bring in Porter Potty
  13. Being transparent as possible is key to keeping a great relationship with your client!
During Construction During construction it is key to take detailed photos to eliminate any damages that were not caused by the construction process. I would also make a video to ensure all areas are included. All subcontractors should also take progress pictures to ensure if problems arise in the future, they will not be responsible for any work that they did not perform. Keep an on-going log of progress to the homeowners and share the pictures for there records. This will keep homeowners excited of the progress being made. When the house is gutted to the studs it is important to have construction photos showing where all utilities are run in the walls or sub floor. If there is a problem in the future there will photos showing all utility locations. Protect all flooring with plywood or floor protective. I also like to protect front door and tarp all areas where subcontractors are to be working. Make sure to cover any chandeliers/furniture/doorways with plastic to eliminate dust. Ask the homeowners if they have any concerns that they could think of. We’re all human and possibly a detail was missed! Post Construction Phase If the project went smoothly appreciation should be shown to the customer. Find out if the husband likes a particular type of liquor. Bring the wife a bouquet of flowers. Send a Christmas card to the family letting how much you appreciated the work. You know you have done a good job if they tell you they will refer you to their friends. The best compliment you could receive is a good referral. In Summary Try to find a knitch in the market, I found kitchens to be a great remodel projects. Bathrooms are tough as they are small, expensive with little profit margin with every trade involved. Windows/doors are also another great knitch as they can be installed quickly. There are so many different remodeling items that can be stream lined to make the selling installing process flawless. Once the core group subcontractors are in place the job almost runs itself. Every day is a learning experience with new materials or methods in construction. Keeping up with codes, materials, fluctuating labor and material cost is a job within itself. Anyone can be a contractor with the right mindset.
submitted by Internal_Prune_5108 to Contracting [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 23:05 MotherOfRain Sheen Beard Saga - Part 6

"Picture-perfect Sheen"

Ahoy, cringe crew! Sorry it took so long to get this part out. For a while, the world has had me feeling like a pair of leggings your mother, in her infinite wisdom, bought for you, two sizes too small. Because it is perfectly reasonable to assume that your rear end remains as flat as a declined credit card all the way from your mid-teens to your late 20s. In other words, I was stretched too thin. My mind and body are both grateful for the rest I got, but I can’t let those cringe muscles atrophy any longer! Let’s do a small warm up and a few stretches with the familiar…

Sheen Beard: Since our theme this time around seems to be exercise, it’s impossible to not liken Sheen to a dumbbell. Besides the obvious connection between the aforementioned doodad’s name and Sheen Beard’s glaring lack of perceivable intelligence, Sheen’s also very heavy to carry through the game of life. Unlike the dumbbell however, he takes up an unreasonable amount of storage space, is a health hazard to anyone in the near vicinity, even when he isn’t dropped on someone’s foot, and drools on himself.
Peach: Sheen Beard’s baby daughter and the only reason I put up with Sheen’s presence in my life. She’s like that scoop of ice cream that motivates you to do one more sit up, after your muscles are ready to quit on you.
Mora: That’d be me, your Op. A pair of arm floats, meant for children, being used by far too many grown up people at once. Blub…blub… blu-

Are we ready? Aaaand lift!

So, I had spent some of my Christmas budget on buying little Peach some much needed, casual clothing, because her delusion decomposed dad would rather provide his toddler with diamonds than the daily essentials. I know the dresses got worn, because they were present in a couple of photos Sheen spammed me with during his “I am going to be a professional photographer” phase. His prized subject of course, was his daughter. “Aww that’s so sweet”, you might think and I would agree with you, except he-… You know what? I think we need to ease into the cringe here. It has been a while after all, and nobody should kickoff with a full sprint on a treadmill. Easy does it, from mildly annoying to frankly disturbing.
Many first-time parents go a bit “look at my baby/isn’t my offspring just amazing” crazy. They’ll send photos and videos to their friends and family, gushing over how little Timmy managed to not eat more than half a crayon today and what a genius he is proving to be. The rest of us may not be quite as charmed, but that’s fine. I am happy when a child is getting love and positive attention from their kinship. Sheen Beard however, had this annoying habit of sending me myriads of pictures without a single word attached to them. Then he would get all indignant when my mind reading skills were out of commission, and I failed to guess their “obvious” context. Truth be told, Sheen still holds onto this habit, like a junk food addict holds onto the belief that the single wilted piece of lettuce between his latest Big Mac, counts as a salad.
I think that Sheen’s insistence over that others should know what he means or thinks, without so much as a half passable attempt at communication, may be connected to his inability to partake in reality. He’s like a child, before it develops the ability to comprehend that other people are separate entities, and that their feelings and knowledge are not derived from his oily orifices. Not to mention that we continue to exist, and carry out our lives beyond his immediate field of perception. This could also go onto explain, why in the past 10+ years, he has been comically incapable of grasping the fact that our geographical locations place us on nearly opposite time zones. No matter how many times I remind him of this, he cannot seem to retain the information for longer than a day. Perhaps, if we were to dissect Sheen Beard’s head, we’d find a lone gold fish, swimming upside down in a rhinestone encrusted fishbowl that’s half full of cheap beer.
Speaking of fish, Sheen (of course) kept constantly angling for compliments on his almost artistic photography. He went over the usual phase of using black and white filter, but then revolutionized the medium by allowing random pieces of the picture to remain colorized. Let me tell you, the photo manipulation executed clearly matched the effort he put into his personal hygiene. After I realized that his main reason for sharing the photos was not to gush about his daughter, but to get praise for his “skills”, I changed gears. Instead of calling the photos themselves nice, I firmly stuck to saying things like “Peach looks happy. That’s good” or “She seems to grow so quickly” and refused to acknowledge his attempts at baiting me into imparting undue praise onto him. Unsurprisingly, this cut back the number of photos I received in the future, which I cannot claim to have left me too crestfallen.
Now the disturbing bits... Despite of being denied the right to turn Peach into a child model, Sheen Beard created an Instagram for her. I hold a distaste towards social media like this, and so never visited the page. Whiff (Peach’s legbeardy mother) forced Sheen to shut it down, after finding out about its existence. We could discuss the sheer stupidity of exposing your child to all kinds of stalkers and creeps by displaying them online. I have read about maybe a dozen cases, where the child abductors found their victim’s pictures on social media and locked-on. It’s truly terrifying to think about. What makes it worse is when I went to check Sheen’s current social media for the purposes of this story, I found out that he’s kept at taking photos of his daughter. No, taking photos of your daughter isn’t bad on its own, but quite a few of them are swimming suit photos. These are posed pictures, not ones where she’s just Peach playing on the beach. They’re not explicit mind you (if they were, I’d have hunted down Whiff’s contact info, sent every last one of them to her, and told her to contact the courts), but they did make me feel a little fearful on Peach’s behalf. It’s frustrating to see that after years of trying my hardest to get Sheen to form some semblance of rationale, he is still completely comfortable as a self-made moron.

Alright, you have been waiting for this long enough. Sheen’s short rapper career! During the previous parts, you have observed Sheen Beard engaging in a multitude of pursuits, in both business and most recently “art”. You know how those exploits went. Please, adjust your expectations accordingly.
I first heard about Sheen’s song writing aspirations, when he was still with Rose. He mentioned in passing about his dabblings in poetry and the written word in general. Not once did he attempt to share one of his works with me however, and I wasn’t foolish enough to expose my eyes to them out of my own initiative. So alas, I hold no knowledge of their merits or lack thereof.
A few years down the line, after Whiff left him, Sheen told me that he had been channeling his feelings about the break-up into music and shared with me some super-secret information. He had managed to land a recording contract with a local label! I congratulated him, surprised by the sudden development in his life, but also glad he might have found a healthy outlet for his emotions.
Sheen then hit me with another surprise. As he knew that I work with my voice, he wanted to offer me a chance to sing backup vocals for him. I admit, I was a little intrigued and even flattered. Work experience is incredibly valuable, and adding something like that into my portfolio could help me find better gigs in the future. I had never heard Sheen sing a single note before, but I supposed that him having vocal talent wasn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.
I did have some concerns over the lyrics Sheen may have written though. The source of his inspiration being a very nasty breakup with someone I still considered a friend could result in some discomfort. To not get caught in an awkward position, I asked him to send me some of his songs to listen to, before I’d commit to anything. I also noted to him that I wasn’t so sure the recording label would be happy with vocals that weren’t recorded under their studio conditions. Sheen went on a tangent promising me that he’d get me a part for sure! I thanked him for his generosity, but said I still needed to hear his work first. He promised to send me a demo soon.
Weeks passed. I asked for the demo a couple more times and each time was given some random excuse about him not having the demo on him at the moment. I wasn’t too surprised. Sheen had never been the reliable type and him not following through was in line with his character. Besides, for months our communication had mostly consisted of me listening to his bottomless complaints about his constant custody drama with Whiff. The formerly engaged, now estranged couple were taking jab after jab at each other. Each trying to drag the other’s already questionable reputation through a mud wrestling pit. I didn’t expect Sheen to have ample time for musical pursuits in the midst of their battles, so I stopped thinking about Sheen’s promises, and slowly grew numb to the incessant drama. Then one day, my inbox let out a familiar “blob”. It was Sheen Beard.
Sheen: Hey Mora! Can I ask you for a musical opinion?
Mora: Sure
Was Sheen finally ready to share the demo with me? Due to knowing the creature I was dealing with, I decidedly did not get my hopes up. I waited for his music related question for a while, but it never came.
Two days passed, before I heard another “blob”
Sheen: Sorry things got wild. I had an emergency hearing. I had false child abduction charges against me. Whiff tried to go for full custody and deny me visitation. She also made me take down Peach’s Instagram and denied acting and modeling from her through the court!
Mora: I see. So, a normal Friday then?
Sheen: lol I got four songs and my album cover done
Sheen posts a picture of himself and Whiff kissing outdoors and a photo of Peach blended into the background sky. The picture has been put through a filter to make it look hand drawn.
Sheen: I will send you the demo when I get home
I looked at the picture with a dull expression and rubbed my temples. Here we go again…
Mora: You do know that you cannot use that picture for your album, right?
Sheen: Yes I can
Mora: It’s kind of illegal. Unless you have Whiff’s permission, you cannot use a picture of her.
Sheen: Why is that? There is no frontal view, no identification. Persons and photo is owned by me.
Now, I have no clue what he meant by the last sentence’s “persons”. To be honest, the entirety of the last message is barely comprehensible to me even now. On that day, I was not in the mood for such nonsense, and simply tapped the table before me impatiently… with my face. Whiff’s full profile was perfectly visible in the image. Sheen wouldn’t listen to me though. Whiff and I hadn’t spoken in months. The record label (assuming there even was one and they had SOME professionalism) would have to take this one..
Mora: I recognize her, but I won’t butt in more. Not my problem.
Sheen: But is it nice?
I routinely dodged Sheen’s plea for compliments on a picture, but replaced it with encouragement to share the demo. I was morbidly curious to see what kind of a musical mess he had created.
Mora: I hope you won’t get in trouble. I’m sure the demo is great. I’ll take a moment with it tomorrow.
Sheen: Still in rough sketch. Gotta actually record. I got the beat and the lyrics for 3 songs and lyrics for 1 more.
Hadn’t he promised to send me the demo just moments before? And didn’t he claim last time that he had finished 4 whole songs? Now there was only a “rough sketch” and nothing had even been recorded? Would calling him out on this inconsistency yield anything that wouldn’t make me want to reach through the computer screen and slam Sheen’s face into his keyboard? My gut told me no.
I never did end up hearing Sheen rap and sadly that means, neither will you. He did send me some eye-roll-inducing videos where he lip-synched to random songs, but that only counts for a bad visual performance. Maybe it is better this way. His voice does sound like a nasally goat learned English when he speaks, so perhaps the legend of his capabilities as a vocalist is best left unsung.
Haaaah, it’s good to be back writing again. I believe we have material for maybe 3 more parts of Sheen Saga. I have already written most of part 8. It’s going to be a rough one for me to get through, so I got a head start on it. Fortunately, we’ll get to enjoy part 7’s SheenanigansTM before that. Next time: What Sheen can buy.

Until then, rest your muscles.

- MotherOfRain
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2023.03.24 22:53 blackbirrrd [USA-NY][H] Several Hori Split Pad Pro controller sets, Razer Kishi Controllers, 1TB SSD, Finalmouse Starlight Pro TenZ Medium, PowerA Nintendo Switch Controllers, PlayStation 3 (backwards compatible, but won't boot), Razer Viper Mini, Intel i7-5820K [W] PayPal

Howdy, hoping to do a massive clean out and get a lot of these out of here. I've got little space remaining lol.
Item Description Price Available?
Hori Split Pad Pro - 11 Pairs! 11 Pairs of the Hori Split Pad Pro for the Nintendo Switch. Two red, two blue, and the remainder is black. All are tested and fully functional and cleaned to the best of my ability. (10 Pairs remaining!) $14 + Shipping Yes
Hori Split Pad Pro Pokemon Arceus Edition Awesome looking controller, however, the rear of one the controllers is black, rather than the original blue. The original blue shell was shattered and I was only able to source a black replacement. $17 + Shipping SOLD
Razer Kishi Mobile Controller All of these are the USB-C version, sorry iPhone folk! Also have quite the handful of these available. $16 + Shipping Yes
Intel i7-5820K This has been around for a while. I don't have an HEDT board to go with it which is probably why it never got used. I see these don't have much value nowadays, but hopefully someone finds it useful! $20 + Shipping Yes
Inland Platinum 1TB HDD Works great, drive is formatted of course. $35 + Shipping Yes
Finalmouse Starlight Pro TenZ Medium Mouse Sealed! I cannot tell what the value of this mouse is supposed to be, I see new units going for as much as $250? Yet open box units are going for a mere $170ish. This one here is brand new and sealed. $200 + Shipping Yes
Razer Viper Mini Mouse Again, no need for more mice for me lmao. Also sealed! $25 + Shipping Yes
PowerA Nintendo Switch Enhanced Wireless Controller Another controller that simply never got used. To my surprised, the wired ones were more popular for multiplayer with friends. $20 + Shipping Yes
PowerA Nintendo Switch Wired Controller (Black) A decent controller. $10 + Shipping Yes
PowerA Nintendo Switch Wired Controller (Super Mario) A decent controller, but Mushroom Kingdom flavored. $12 + Shipping Yes
PlayStation 3 Took a gamble on a lot of "untested" PS3 units and to my surprise, two of the three worked great. This one here, however, does not, which sucks since this is one of the backwards compatible units. 4 USB ports, CF/SD/Memstick card readers, this is the best PS3. Hopefully some console fixer with energy and time can bring this machine back to life and put it to good use. The system receives power, but hitting the power button gives a green light, then a yellow light one second later, then a blinking red light one second after the yellow. I remember blinking reds being a hardware failure, and unfortuantely I do not have the time nor skill to diagnose it. That said, this thing holds it's value stupidly well, and for good reason. $50 + Shipping Yes
Just a heads up that the earliest these would be shipped out is next Tuesday.
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2023.03.24 22:47 FiauraTanks Nature of Predators - Nemo Me Impune Lacessit - Chapter 4 (FanFic)

Back First Next
Memory Transcription: Sub-Chief Hilis, Harvester Squadron #72, Tilfish Homeworld
Date [standardized human time]: December 3, 2136
Hilis snarled as he shouted in frustration, “What do you mean the gunships are down? How many humans are there?”
“We aren’t sure! They keep just appearing everywhere! Something else is shooting down the gunsh—” The transmission was interrupted by a massive explosion that sent Hilis covering his ears in the darkened ship. The feedback across the speaker overwhelming any living creature's sense of hearing for a few moments.
“Guard Zweilous, report! Report now!”
“They… they just blew themselves up, the entire side of the road is gone for at least fifty meters, all of warband 7 just… pieces.” Zewilous was clearly stunned, in shock from what Hilis could tell. Even apex predators of the betterment could suddenly fear shock and fear.
“Pull yourself together! Where are the other warbands?”
“Warbands one through eight are gone.”
“What!? That is nearly one thousand of us! You cannot be serious?”
Zewilous howled then went silent as the radio only produced static. “Zweilous answer me! Answer me now!”
He looked out on his view point at the formation of bombers in front of him. Another orbital bomber closed on their position, making a run and launching four bombardment bombs.

That will end this righ— This thoughts were interrupted to sheer horror as the bombs all exploded barely out of their launch ports.

The bombers were only annihilated instantly by their own munitions when interceptor rounds from the planet slammed into them and set them off. The wingmate of the bomber hit by a pair of orbital railgun shots that punched its shields then its core, sending the entire formation of five support bombers to be committed to the void. As the bright green, orange, and yellow faded to reveal stardust left in it's wake. “What what? How are those guns doing that?”
“I don’t know, some sort of new human weapon, it can intercept our bombs as soon as we launch. That is the tenth bomber unit that we sent there only for it to be turned into ash.”
Hilis growled as he looked down at his computer read out, he pushed a button and he could see through Zewilous’s eye implant. He was staring into the woods at a human, a female. The predator moved with supernatural speed, shoving some sort of weapon into the mouth of one of the hunter and it turned his head into a pink mist. She fired the weapon again then threw it at an Arxur pulling a pistol and firing it.
In a blur, several more Arxur fell around her as they closed in. One stabbed her and he thought, Damn, at least she is done for. Only to watch on in absolute dread for the first time in his life. He felt real horror as the human willed itself to stab the attacker. By his own knowledge of their anatomy, her heart should be pierced and she should be dying yet she spurred on to kill two more before falling onto the ground. He heard her words, the kill count and whatever that language he could not understand.
Then he saw the grenade and shouted into the radio as the screen went black, “Get away! Get away now!" His transmission was too late and the remainder of that hunter group were blown apart by a pair of human fragmentation devices.
"By the Betterment what are these humans? Someone down there will report to me! What is going on?” Hilis was beyond furious at how these humans had handled his hunters with such ease. They did not break when charged. They did not falter when pressed. They were not a prey species and their tactics were failing them.
Finally another Arxur called back, “This is Spearmate Juxxis, We… we have killed them.” “How many were there? One hundred? A thousand?”
Juxxis’s voice faltered and sounded terrified, “We… think…. Nine?” Hilis dropped the transmitter and stared out into the void, dumbstruck. “We aren’t sure how many blew themselves up in that blast but, we only have nine long arms and can only account for maybe thirteen individual scents.”
Hilis stared in disbelief at what he was hearing, yet he had just seen a single human slay seven of his kin in a frenzy and she would have kept going if she hadn’t been stabbed in the back. “What is that they keep saying?”
Juxxis hesitated, “We don't know." Sensing the anger on the other end of the channel Juxxis quickly spoke, "We have one, still breathing. What should we do?”
Hilis snarled, relieved they at least had one captive. “Interrogate it! Get every drop of information you can before it dies. Find out where those guns are and what they are! They keep slaughtering us up here every single time we go to drop bombs on them and be done with it."
He considered his tactics and the moment, then decided to cut some losses. "I am not sending anymore bombers until the human fleet is cleared and those ground guns are silenced. You are ordered to gather all our ground forces and head towards the guns, silence them. You are promoted to Sub-Hunter, do not disappoint me.”
Hilis threw the radio aside and looked to his own Sub-Hunter on the ship, “Everyone we have, send them down, we must make sure there are not more of those humans.”
Memory Transcription: Corporal Williams, Black Watch, 4th Company, A Platoon
Date [standardized human time]: December 3, 2136
The Arxur stood over the bleeding human, his shoulder and arm were ripped open. His breathing was labored and the Arxur raised his hand to strike his blackened eye again, “Stop, no need for that; I’ll talk. Not like it matters.” Williams managed through his ragged breathes. He was barely alive and he knew it. He had hoped he would bleed out before they got to his machine gun nest but no such luck.
Williams spat his blood onto his Arxur attacker who snarled and barred his fangs, ready to sink into his flesh, “Cease you idiot!” Juxxis called, the frustration in his voice not lost upon Williams. “Can’t you see that is what he wants?”
Williams looked up, disappointed his ploy hadn’t worked. He wanted to die so he couldn't be made to reveal anything to these reptiles. The Arxur that called his torturer to stop walked up to him. His hands were bound by heavy metal cuffs that reminded him of medieval irons. The Arxur had placed a collar around his neck with two long metal rods to keep control of him.
He was on his knees and found the collar chaffing as the smelly breath of the Arxur washed over his nose. “You could use a breath mint, ya know that? Maybe chew some gum?” Williams gave a glare of deviance, hoping it would spur this Arxur to give just enough pain to put him into shock with the blood loss.
The Axur smiled and his tail swished in irritation, “Funny, human. Tell me, leaf-licker, where is the rest of your unit? How many are you? Where are the Tilfish from that city down the road?”
Williams felt a sense of pride rise up in him. The bodies that littered the forest, the roads, all of it, you could not look more than a few meters before seeing another Arxur corpse. They had accounted for themselves so very well. He wasn’t sure how many they had taken but the number was staggering even to him. “Answer me! How many are you?”
Williams laughed, every Arxur around him recoiled as he laughed heartily, “We were all.”
Juxxis mind reeled at this human, bound, defeated, bleeding to death, laughing at him. Laughing at his question and the answer made even less sense. “There are what, five hundred of you? A thousand?”
Williams laughed more and fell back as a coughing fit took him for a moment. Those holding the metal collar prevented him from falling over. His injuries and the angle of his body making him choke. Juxxis realized his captive was choking on his own blood and lunged forward, hitting him in the sternum to stop him form dying. A chunk of half-congealed blood spat from Williams onto Juxxis's face for his efforts.

Juxxis snarled and pushed his heel against Williams chest, adding to his discomfort without pushing him into much more pain. He was getting fed up and Williams knew it, he just had to keep goading him into ending his suffering. “This is no laughing matter you stupid monkey. Now answer the question before I gut you like the cattle you are and make you watch me eat you alive!”
Williams smirked to himself at the threat; his ploy was working. In his final moments he would betray no one and that was what counted right now. He knew the moment he went down it was a death sentence, no need to give his enemies any ammunition in the process.
Williams took a moment to make peace with his deity and say a pray. Then he looked up at the Axur with defiance in his eyes. “We were all, the ten of us you see here. Yes we stopped all of you cold and fought you to the last bullet. That’s all that were here.” Williams made sure to spit onto Juxxis's face after he finished speaking, going to make sure his venomous words came with a ring of truth to them in addition to never looking away from Juxxis's eyes. He stared into them with a fury that demanded Juxxis give him a chance and he would make sure to take one more Arxur with him.
Juxxis stared down at the human and then looked up at the Axur around him, he could not allow such defiance to the Dominion to stand. He had just been promoted and now everyone was looking to seize that promotion for themselves if he did not act with proper aggression. He clicked his teeth, “Dinner time!” He called out and the Axur pounced.
Williams would only still be breathing for less than a minute. He could already barely see and keep his eyes open and felt his strength fading fast. What shocked the Arxur was he did not scream once even as they gutted him and ate him alive. He instead died smiling at their frustration. This was the part that unnerved the Axur the most about the entire encounter, their one prisoner, died smiling.
Memory Transcription: Corporal Celand, Black Watch, 4th Company, A Platoon
Date [standardized human time]: December 3, 2136
Cleland ran with the intensity of a marathon sprinter. She was having to drag the Tilfish after the first thirty meters and now she turned as the sound of battle had faded into the distance. The Tilfish was panting, her thorax inflating rapidly as they doubled over for breath.
Cleland was barely even breathing hard yet she understood the difference in anatomy. Tilfish were insectoids, they couldn’t sweat to cool off and clearly weren’t made for marathon running. Tia’s appearance still made her skin crawl, but she had to suppress the arachnophobia as she was given this charge.
“Listen, I get you are a sprint herbivore-creature and don’t have my endurance and you really creep me out too.” “Then leave me, predator! At least the Arxur will get a kick from my suffering.” Tia yelled at Cleland who quickly fought down her disgust and shoved her hand against the insectoid mouth.
“Keep it down, or you’re going to get us both killed.” Cleland fought the goosebumps along her arm, the way the hair stood on end, the flight instinct that told her to absolutely flee from here. The uncontrolled tunnel vision she bore down onto Tia. Her body and heart beating more rapidly with touching the insectoid and adrenaline rushing through her.
“Alright, listen, I have… I have arachnophobia. Okay? Fear of insects, particularly eight legged ones.” Speaking was enough to make Cleland calm down slightly. Just slightly. “But my orders are to get you back alive and the only way that is happening is if I carry you.”
Cleland reached into her pack and pulled out a heavy winter blanket, completely unsuited for the environment they were in but it would do the job. “Now listen, in order for me to do that, I’m going to have to put this between us or I’m going to seize up okay? I know the fear is illogical and awful but that is what makes it a phobia.” Tia was listening intently, her full attention on Cleland as she spoke. The Tilfish never considered that humans could have irrational fears like they had an irrational fear of predators much less that humans could be afraid of Tilfish themselves. “Is this, fear common among humans?”
“No, it’s well, it is complicated okay? Mental health is weird.” Cleland spoke covering herself in the blanket and turning around to position herself down on one knee ready to rise up and run. “Now, get on top of me but be careful to not actually touch my skin okay? If I freak out, we are both going to die.”
Awkwardly, Tai slowly positioned herself for a piggyback ride and once she was secure she gave a soft tap to Cleland's helmet, “I am ready.”
Cleland had slung her rifle across her waist and finished tying it off against her belt as she starting sprinting with the rifle secured against her hip and side. They were moving now, running at qualification speed for a trooper. Tia was surprisingly light for Cleland even with her pack and gear, the ammo she had emptied, magazines and grenades as well as leaving all her personal explosives meant that Tai was only adding 40 kilograms spread across Clelands strong shoulders, arms and back as the two ran forward.
Several minutes passed before Cleland’s radio squawked twice and she paused, looking around. Two more squawks and she heard the initial radio being turned on nearby. Tia also picked up on it and pointed in a direction. Cleland ran forward to find Hanover and Jellio. “Oh thank fuck, I thought we were the only ones to get away.”
Hanover helped Tia down as he spoke, putting her next to Jellio as the three exhausted ones all laid on the ground panting. Cleland doubled over panting as Tia and Jellio both laid down onto their lower bodies doing the same.
“How…. much… further….” Cleland managed to ragged breathes, the question on everyone’s mind.
“We moved over ten clicks from our outpost, engaged the enemy, and then moved about five back, we should be in radio range shortly, maybe we can radio the situation in and get some mortar support.” Hanover offered, taking out a map of the area and checking his compass. Primitive as map finding may be, in this case, without a GPS system or fleet comm, they had to move by dead recocking and survival training.
“Maybe if we get close enough we can radio for them to bring a vehicle for us?” Jellio suggested with a voice of hopefulness and optimism.
Hanover and Cleland both shook their heads and chuckled despite their fatigue. “Nope.”
Jellio looked disheartened and turned away from Cleland’s nope to Tia for an explanation. Tia shrugged. Hanover reached over and put a firm but gentle grip onto Jellio’s shoulder. “Listen, that caldera has one way in and out after we destroyed all the secondary paths in and trails were blown. The one way in likely has enough explosives, mines, barbed wire, and napalm in it to destroy a city. No, our only way now is to make our way around to the ocean side, which is probably boobytrapped too but at least the Arxur aren’t going to assault from ocean side.”
Jellio’s antenna dropped down and Tia chitted in distress, “That will take two days! The Arxur will find us by then!”
Hanover shook his head, “Not if we camouflage ourselves, cover our tracks and scent, as well as make sure we keep moving away from the sounds of gunfire. So while we are on the way, you are both getting advanced survival and escape/evade training.”
Hanover starting picking up several sticks with leaves still on them to start making footprint booms as well as looking around the forested area for something smelly to apply to their bodies.
Memory Transcription: Captain Neil Campbell, United Nations ‘Black Watch’ Company #4
Date [standardized human time]: December 3, 2136
Neil was standing in front of an assault shuttle currently unloading supplies, with ten Americans helping get stuff off. “I thought you were here to insist we evacuate. What’s all this stuff, leftenant?”
The American second lieutenant noticed the British pronunciation of his rank and turned his head towards Captain Campbell, recognizing him as the commanding officer of the area he had been told about. He gentle set down the crate of orbital interceptor ammo and turned with a sharp salute. “Lieutenant Williams, 3rd armored cavalry. Command knew you wouldn’t accept evac after talking to Mactovish so we volunteered and drew straws for who would fit.” Campbell nodded for Williams to go on, “We cramped everything we could on two shuttles, shuttle two didn’t make it. So that leaves me in charge of the unit, which I report to you now. We have one more anti-orbital interceptor gun getting you up to five. Two dozen stinger-mark 7’s.” Campbell made a note of the personal anti-air light missiles. “Ammo for all your guns, sams, anti-orbital interceptors, and ground to orbital cannon. We also brought a special surprise for the scalies.”
Campbell stepped around the side of the shuttle he had met the Lieutenant on to look inside. He was stunned, inside were two modified Eisenhower IFVs and a Cheetah Main Battle Tank. “Armour? Aren’t they a little vulnerable here?”
Williams let out a laugh and smirked while the vehicle crews continued to unload gear as Sims kept motioning where to take it and who to move what. “Sorry for the laugh, but only if the enemy holds orbital superiority. Right now it’s contested, and we have heavy anti-orbital bombardment and anti-air assets. We noticed on The Cradle that the Arxur distinctly lack anti-armor weapons or heavy armor of their own.”
Campbell could see where this is going, “What are the modifications? Also Americans on a German tank? I get the IFV choice but…”
Williams nodded, “Four months ago, the Cheetah won the combat trial to be the UN tank due to its ruggedness and lack of need for heavy logistics. We agreed to adopt it if we could modify it with our own MGs and use smoothbore instead of rifled. So we switched out the MG2000s for M2A7’s, added an M2A7 for someone who can ride in the back turret balance basket, and called it a day. The Eisenhowers were adopted as frontline IFVs. These are special modified since the assault on Earth.”
Campbell nodded and motioned for him to continue as he moved to help unload crates of ammo and make room to get the vehicles off the transport. “What modifications?”
Williams grinned, “Anti-Plasma layers that cause the heat to distribute across the armor so even railguns that use plasma will have difficulties causing any damage much less penetration. We also added shields and changed out the plasma railguns for good ole fashion solid tungsten. The IFVs have had their Anti-Tank missiles replaced with medium Anti-Air SAMs and a light radar. They also were all equipped with interceptors for AT missiles or slower shells like artillery, the techs say it can even intercept a sabot but I haven’t seen that yet.”
Campbell grinned, “Leave it to Americans, you Yanks do know this is a last stand, you took a one way trip.”
All ten of the Americans stopped and nodded, then resumed their work without another word.
After all the unloading was done, they covered the armour in camouflage nets, adding nature foliage to shield them from being seen, setting up the Cheetah’s front armour and main gun towards the pass while the two Eisenhowers put their autocannons into a crossfire with a distance of two kilometers between them and the tank in between.
Zim ran towards Campbell, stopping when they were out of breath holding up a handwritten series of notes from the communication tent. Campbell started reading.
Recon in Force Squad no longer responding. Estimating they have been fighting for nearly a full hour. BC communications indicate they suffered a lot dead and are in total confusion. BC also indicates they believe the actual force they encountered to be in the hundreds, not a mere ten. There are still two BW's and our volunteers unaccounted for. Rest of the squad presumed KIA. Unsure who should be considered MIA.
Campbell nodded, wadded up the note and swallowed it. Zim grimaced and gave a gagging expression as Campbell forced the note down his throat. “Sorry you had to see that, only way to make sure the communication doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Thank you Zim, back to your post.”
Zim darted off, no salute, just happy to get away from the space Campbell occupied as Campbell took in stride towards his command vehicle grabbing the radio, “All units, all units, to your fortification positions. Any work not done is to be left undone, as much as it pains us to leave a job unfinished. BC is closing. We have no more time.” As Campbell spoke two missiles fired from the sam sites they had setup, one distant explosion indicated the missile interception but the second one exploded followed by an immediate louder detonation. The gunship had been shot down as the ground vibrated very subtly from the crashing impact.
Two long steel cylinders rotated around with two others. They were nearly four meters tall attached to a large ammuntion bin and sensor suite as well as a generator to provide power. The clang of pulling tungsten rounds into position. There was a charge of electricity in the air before the three barrels began to whirl and unleash.
The orbital interceptors fired with a ring in the air and the taste of metal soaked the world around any humans nearby. Solid slug railguns, small portable by a rover but able to fire a slug straight up, nearly eighty-one kilometers. The two surface to space radar systems found incoming anti-matter bombs as soon as they were launched and there were small flashes in the afternoon sky, like mini-suns as round after round stopped any chance of a simple orbital bombardment ending their outpost turned castle. Several Arxur ships were also severely damaged having their own bombs go off right next to them.
The interceptors fired again again, at nearly two hundred rounds a minute, they could destroy bombs as soon as they were detected, missiles too, from any ship in orbit. The Arxur were paying a heavy price and would never understand why. SAMs kept firing, the anti-air missiles finding fighters and gunships to slam into and send them tumbling into the forest or the ocean or onto the Arxur’s own ground forces.
Further adding confusion their heavy anti-ship missiles flung out and hit Arxur transports coming to the ground, sending them on a one way trip to be smacked by a planet. Campbell knew they had limited ammunition but the Arxur did not know that and with the assault shuttle that got through, the Arxur would know they would have more supplies. No if the Arxur wanted to silence these guns and stop this opposition, they would have to take the caldera by ground forces.
Campbell had the assault shuttle moved and landed in front of the only entrance to the cave the civilians were evacuated into. There an explosion rippled through their camp, not sealing the cave but ensuring the shuttle debris covered the entrance and the hole beyond did not look like a cave without moving a significant amount of twisted metal, instead it looked like an impact crater where the shuttle would have crashed.
Engineers rushed to put out the fire and ensure that the cave wouldn't heat up as well as clean air would continue to flow down inside.
Campbell got to his command rover and prepared himself, watching his gunner get on top and prep the MG to go. All his preparations he could do were done, now the waiting began.
submitted by FiauraTanks to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 22:33 iici What controller to buy? A simple guide.

I constantly see posts asking: "What controller should i get? What controller is the best?" So from someone who's been using controller for probably 20 years at this point, I thought id make a quick rundown of the controllers i used over the years and maybe it can help someone out with their decision. Keep in mind this is mainly Xbox controllers, I have little to no knowledge in PS controllers so if anyone has any insight on those controllers please give your thoughts.
PowerA Series Controllers These Controllers can range from anywhere of 30$ to $120 depending on the version you get. I used both of these versions so I'll list my experience with them.
The $30 version is pretty much about what you'd expect a $30 controller to do. Break easily and give out within a month or so which it did. It's not a main controller, It's something you pick up while you wait for next paycheck to get a better one. I had one for about 4 weeks and then the sticks went, When i would turn left it would look down and when i would turn right it would look up. It was completely unusable.
The $100 version is something i picked up on a whim while at Walmart a few months ago. It comes with 4 paddles, Trigger stops and a swappable faceplate with some extra sticks (one concave and one taller than the default) At the beginning i kept flicking the paddles off by accident but after a few weeks of using the controller it was a solid pickup for the price honestly. I've been using it for about 4-5 months at this point and i haven't had many issues with it besides that. Not to mention when i picked it up, it came with a 2 year warranty which is needed for these type of controllers. The only 'issues' that the controller has is that it only has a 3.5mm jack so you can't use Mixamps if you're a console player and it's wired only.
Elite Controller (Elite series 2) The elite series controller was a controller i picked up during a sale a few years back for around $130 and it was my introduction back into paddles (because i had a scuf but ill get to that) It honestly lasted a very long time given that they're known for breaking after extended use but honestly besides some stick drift i used it for nearly a year before giving it to a family member. It has paddles in a comfortable spot, Trigger stops and one of my favorite Dpads on a controller. The issue with the series 2 is that it was a pretty heavy controller, After a few hours of use i found myself putting my hands on the table. But with the release of their newest Elite series 2 core, it looks a bit lighter and a LOT cheaper compared to the Elite series 2 ($170 to $109 at walmart.) Another common issue with these controllers was the rubber grips would tear after a few months but people would just glue it back on.
Scuf Controller Scuf left a bad taste in my mouth a few years back but i'm going to go into this completely unbiased(He lied as naturally as he breathed). I bought it as a gift for myself and completely customized it down to the rubber finish on the top. It's a pretty nice looking controller, Hell it better have, it cost me nearly $270. At the time the version i bought was scuf infinity. It came with paddles and swappable sticks which you could just unscrew off which was a nice touch, Not to mention i removed the rumble pads so it was extremely light. Now the downsides. I wasn't very used to paddles so i rarely pressed them, I was into Overwatch at the time so in that game you're constantly pressing LB/RB which were the first things to die on the controller. After that the extended right stick had such a bad drift that i found myself fighting it half of the game. After that i finally got used to using one of the paddles and the one i used to jump was completely unresponsive. So how long did i have the controller, 6 months? 8 months? No, 2 months.. So okay, I'll just send it in and get it repaired. Well about that, The version i had was apparently 'outdated' so even with a warranty, they couldn't fix it because "they don't carry the parts to repair the infinity controllers" which at that point i didn't even attempt to argue with them, I tried looking up some companies that repaired them but nothing came up only their site unfortunately. The controller at the time came with a magnet that you NEEDED to swap buttons over. Not to mention you couldn't bind all of your buttons to a paddle, Things like Left stick click, And i'm pretty sure LB/RB so you had to swap a lot of things around in settings just to get it all working. It also didn't have a togglable trigger stop. You either had it or you didn't. Which was a issue if you planned on playing other games like racing sims, You couldn't go at full acceleration on this controller but for shooters it was okay. This was a few years back but in my experience i would NEVER buy another scuf controller. You're pretty much paying for a pretty faceplate and the name.
Default Controller + Strike pack Well, It's a controller with paddles so it counts for something. If you aren't familiar with strike packs (which if you aren't i'm surprised) its an attachment that goes under the controller that adds 2 paddles on the bottom of it and for about $30 which if you have a controller laying around isn't a bad pickup. The "issue" with strike packs is that it's a notorious cheating device. Because on the surface its just paddles but it has modifications that has things like no recoil, rapid fire (on single fire weapons) and more. I don't condone nor recommend anyone to get it for the mods but the paddles are a nice touch and if the controller goes bad, you only need to buy a new controller rather than replace the entire thing.
submitted by iici to apexuniversity [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 22:13 I_Like_Sonic_06 Should I buy Sonic Origins now that there's a plus version?

When Sonic Origins was announced and released, there were many reasons that made me not buy the game like:
- It's a collection of games that I've already played and beat in mega drive (sonic 1) and in the mobile version (sonic 1, 2 CD and Sonic 3&K with an emulator), Sonic Origins was nothing more and nothing less than the mobile port of this games for consoles, what's the point of buying?
- The price was another reason, because, why should I spend money on a collection of games that I can have on my cell phone for free? (You need internet to play in mobile, so it's not really free, but whatever)
- There were also no new characters, the system of playing with Tails in Sonic 1, and CD already had on the mobile version, playing with Knuckles in Sonic 1 and 2 also had on the mobile version (that he didn't have it on cd either in the mobile version or on consoles ), there was nothing new that surprised me ( except for the cutscenes, the rings that replace lives and the challenges stages)
- The songs from Sonic 3 were the main point of not wanting to buy, I know it's a copyright issue, but still, the top 3 songs from Sonic 3, so I decided not to buy it anyway

But now with Sonic Origins Plus, it will almost wipe out all the problems and reasons that kept me from buying it.
- There will be new games, which I honestly want to know what it's like to play Sonic Master Sistem 1 and 2, Chaos and Triple Trouble
- There will be Knuckles playable on Sonic CD, which I always wondered why he didn't appear, but now he will be there
- and the main point, will have the playable Amy, after many years, and will be classic Amy, that was the thing that amazed me the most in the trailer.

So what do you guys think? should i buy the game or not?
submitted by I_Like_Sonic_06 to SonicTheHedgehog [link] [comments]

2023.03.24 21:53 EldritchEggoWaffle WARDEN OF THE WEAVER - PART 62: "A HARSH WORLD; HOPE EVEN IN DARKNESS"

Wings worked against wind, as the squad continued their aerial sprint.
In spite of their best efforts, they couldn't close the distance soon enough. They were still much too far from the city to gain any new insight into the attack--too far away to do anything, too far away to even know much of anything.
High Knight Von and Sergeant One-Wing led their respective squads onward, roaring through the air over the high grasses. Locust Spire was just on the edge of the horizon now. Within view, but still out of reach. Already, Von could feel that something was very wrong in the great Jikkellian settlement. Nagging dread in the pit of her gut gnawed at her as she drove forward. For a while, the wind carried with it the smell of smoke and ash. However, now those scents had dissipated, almost as if the wind had suddenly changed directions. The orange-red glow of flame had settled over the city like a corona, when the grand Spire of jade jutting up from the city's skyline first became visible. Now, the glow had softened to the point it may have no longer have been there at all.
And the Spire itself--the city's namesake, and jewel of Jikkellia--did not seem quite right. Von couldn't quite say why, but it seemed somehow... different; wrong; changed in some way.
What was going on? Was this what Lord Vellnoth was trying to tell them?
Come to think of it... what HAD Lord Vellnoth told them? Aside from ordering them to release the Amphibian and the suspected terrorist, there really hadn't been much information relayed, had there?
Von found it strange. She could hardly recall what the Gardener In Green had said, at all. She would've assumed something as life altering as speaking directly to the God of all Jikk would have left a greater impression on her. She'd assumed it would have inspired her mind, rekindled her soul. As it was, the event had hardly done more than leave her confused, feeling like a lost hatchling who'd just been introduced to something they didn't understand; some concept or experience they needed an adult to explain.
Her mind quickly turned from looking inward, to gazing out at the grasses stretched before her. Just ahead. There was movement.
Von glanced over to her right at One-Wing, but the frown on his face told her he'd already noticed the same thing she had.
High Knight Von drew her sword. Like clockwork, every Knight and Spire Watch behind her followed suit, drawing their own weapons. One-Wing was the last to unsheath his blade. He'd only just readied it when the sound and heatwave of an explosion broke out behind them.
The entire rear flank was taken out in a single strike. The remains of those soldiers caught in the blast were sent hurtling to the ground like small blackened meteorites.
"Post-Six!" Von called out.
The soldiers followed their orders--and their training--falling into a new, defensive position. Or, at least, they began to take up the Post-Six formation. They were interrupted partway through by a second explosion.
Where the fuck were the blasts coming from?
More body parts and scorched remains rained down to the landscape below.
"Ground!" One-Wing bellowed.
What was left of their rapidly thinning squad dropped altitude, coming down for a quick landing.
Von frantically scanned the surrounding grasses as she came to a landing with the others. She saw no one. There was no cover, and it was midday. There wasn't anywhere to hide, yet she still didn't see a single soul.
"No one move," said a commanding voice behind her.
Every head swiveled around, to face the assailant.
Von saw one, then three, then six seperate figures appear behind the soldiers. From the corners of her vision, more appeared. She could hear others, by the sound of their bootfalls and the clanking of their armor.
High Knight Von and her entire squad were completely surrounded.
The figures were Nerthran; mothmen of the Jagged Fields Kingdom. A lot of them. Von counted at least fifty, if not more. Ordinarily, Nerthran wore silver robes of fine silk, as part of their customs. These particular mothmen were wearing their robes, but had opted to don silver chainmail overtop the garments--or, in some cases, even steel plate. They wielded exotic-looking weapons. Crecent-shaped waraxes and ornate katanas; elaborately crafted claymores and thrusting blades shaped like wedges of pie. Even their more familiar arms--their longswords, daggers, and polearms--had been crafted in a way that would have intrigued even the greatest Jikkelian blacksmiths. Yet, of all the weaponry these mothfolk wielded, none stood out more than that of the one who'd stepped forward to call out.
The mothman called out a second time, shouting a single word: "Hold!" He held his unique weapon in both hands, gripping it at the center. It was a cold black color; as cold and black as a Lich's heart. It was as long as the mothman was tall. He held it at a tilt so that it crossed his body diagonally, like a large dark strike-through on a warning symbol. It was shaped like a staff. At both ends, it split off into two prongs like a serpent's tongue.
Now, Von began taking notice of the emblems on the breastplates, gauntlets, and bracers of the foes before her. They showed a symbol; a streak of silver running through a pair of moth wings, crossed by two blades. Her mind searched for meaning. After a moment, recognition finally set in.
Stonewing Pillar Mercenary Band.
They were ruthless criminals and sellswords, well-known in Jagged Fields but infamous even in Jikkellia. She'd never dealt with them personally, but she'd learned about them while undergoing the political and diplomacy training required to reach the rank of High Knight.
Bad news. That's what they were.
Von raised her sword. "You're interfering in official business!" This hardly encapsulated the scope of their crime (especially after launching a direct attack) but it was all she could think to say in the moment.
The mothman smiled. "Actually, you're all about to assist us with our business."
One-Wing scoffed at this. "What makes you think we'd do that?"
His smile broadened. "What makes you think you have a choice?"
They had a single goal now: reach the statue before the worms reached the surface...
Quijj took the lead. Councilor Lemma informed him she had wings of her own and therefore did not require his assistance when it came to flight (and also that if he continued treating her like a stack of lumber he needed to carry around, she was going to smack him silly). Quijj did not argue. The Councilor flew right behind him. And right behind her--bringing up the rear--was Flower-Seed. It was not a position he was particularly fond of--what with the worms on the loose and all--but he certainly wouldn't have wanted to be in front, either. Last wasn't as good as being in the middle, but of course, Flower-Seed was a gentlemen and Lemma was one of the city's honored leaders. So, back of the pack it was for ol' Flower-Seed.
They rushed up through the narrow hole in the cavern tunnel with a furious speed that would have made even a hive of Hellflies envious. The tunnel ended at an old well that had fallen into disrepair. In actuality, it had never really been used as a well to begin with. The 'fallen into disrepair' part--as the Councilor had explained--was just a story the Jikk of the city had always told one another. It was the sort of story that had been told so many times, for so many years, no one really questioned it or gave it a second thought. The truth of it was the Council of Three in Days Now Gone had decided to build a false well to cover the hidden entrance to the old city. It was sort of an emergency entrance, should one ever be needed.
If only those Jikk of the distant past had known their secret tunnel would not be used as an emergency entrance, but rather, an emergency exit. If they had known this, then perhaps Quijj, Flower-Seed, and Councilor Lemma could have avoided the problem they currently faced; *the fact that those same long-dead Jikk of yesteryear had elected to board up the false well so as to keep any hapless citizens or curious younglings from inadvertently stumbling upon their secret drop shaft to the old ruins.
Quijj had grunted something about this not being an issue when the Councilor broke the news of this "minor problem." Flower-Seed was fairly certain the old tavern keeper would have grunted the same grunt of reassurance, no matter what the Councilor had said. Quijj was painting himself more and more as the kind of Jikk who would take a sledgehammer to a door, if his key didn't fit. Grunting all the while.
When they reached the end of the shaft, Flower-Seed already knew what would come next. His hunch was confirmed when Quijj cautioned them to cover their ears. Flower-Seed now saw what would follow quite clearly in his mind. And how had he not seen this coming? Of course the crazy old bastard was going to blast his way out. Because of course he was.
Quijj was a valuable ally to have at a time like this, but once the smoke cleared, Flower-Seed hoped he would never again find himself in any dire situations with Quijj again, anytime soon.
Or ever again, if it could be helped.
When this was all over, if he made it out alive, Flower-Seed decided he was going to curl up on a nice warm cot by a hearth someplace, and sleep for about four straight Sun Cycles. Maybe even five. Six, while he was at it. Why not? He would certainly have earned it, if he managed to survive all of this chaos and bedlam.
There was a brilliant flash of white and orange; a roaring, echoing BOOOOM which ripped through the entire shaft. A loud crashing, splintering sound rose from above. Heat and a gust of hot air hit Flower-Seed in the face.
Then, they were shooting straight up into the air, no longer inside the shaft. The midday sky was above them again, fresh air in their lungs and the city stretched out all around them. The three of them came to a landing on a patch of scraggly blue kaynarr grass. The scattered stone and wood shrapnel that had once pretended to be a well lay scattered about, near the place where they'd made their exit. All that was left of the false well was a dark round hole and a broken ring of stone no higher than Flower-Seed's shin. There were black iron gates closing in a section of scrubby looking Debbler trees. The backs of several houses ran along the gate on one side. On the opposite side, a large warehouse loomed over the trio of . They were standing in a fenced-in raindrop shaped lot that had clearly been set aside for the sole purpose of secluding the well. The droplet shape of the lot came to a soft point between two houses, where a narrow gap had been left. The three of them wordlessly made for the opening.
The Councilor took the lead now. As soon as they'd made it to the other side of the row of houses, she took to wing. Quijj and Flower-Seed did likewise. They flew over the streets and walkways of a rundown residential neighborhood. Flower-Seed saw only a small handful of citizens. They were huddled together in small groups, hugging one another or saying silent prayers.
"What did I miss?" Councilor Lemma asked, looking around. "Is the attack over? And... where in Vellnoth's Name did all these vines come from?"
Flower-Seed tried to answer, but couldn't. He wasn't sure he had an answer. His vision had told him of the threats below ground, but hadn't filled him in on everything above the surface. What he and Quijj had witnessed with the Drill Flies seemed too miraculous to retell.
Quijj grunted. "A savior."
"A savior?" Lemma asked uncertainly.
Flower-Seed nodded. They were flying side by side now. "Yeah." He smiled to himself. It felt good to smile. Even after all the devastation and death, the fact that there had been a savior...
He didn't have the words for it.
They cut across the city, reaching the Cobbler's District in what felt like seconds.
"There's the statue," said the Councilor.
They landed just before the carved jade depiction of the Jikk hero of legend: Kylo the Great. This statue was identical to the one that had been in Lo Syy Tett, in Proeliator Plaza. There was another in front of the City of the Wandering Moon, as well as a fourth statue in Irogon Nath. Or, at least that's what Flower-Seed had been taught as a youngling at the Learning Hall. Kylo the Great had been one of the founders of Lo Syy Tett and Locust Spire. A true hero of all Jikkellia. Or so it was said.
Councilor Lemma hurried over to the back of the statue. There was a crevice just large enough for her hand. She stuck the Y of her fingers into the opening. Her face took on a look of deep concentration. After a moment, a panel was revealed in the base of the statue. There were gears, dials, and a single lever.
"Who would have thought," Flower-Seed mused.
The Councilor got to work. She began turning the gears and dials. Her hands became a blur for a moment as she input the secret sequence. Finally, she pulled the lever. Beneath the statue, there was a sound like gravel spilling from a wheelbarrow. Then, there was only silence for a moment.
Slowly, the statue began to rise several inches from the ground. When it stopped, the panel snapped back into place.
"It's done," said the Counilor, breathing a sigh of relief. "I just hope we weren't too late." There was a sadness in her eyes however.
Flower-Seed offered a sympathetic expression. "A bit overwhelming isn't it?"
Lemma waved a dismissive hand. "No, it's just... the Advisors. I just hope they made it out."
"There was no choice," Quijj said firmly.
"Yeah," Flower-Seed agreed. "We had to seal it off. Otherwise, who knows how fast those things might've spread."
The Councilor nodded. "I know. I know. Still... E'Shesh. She tried to protect me. When they were going to place me under arrest. She stood in front of the knights."
They all fell silent.
After a few moments, the three of them began to glance around at one another. A knowing look crept across all three of their faces. In unison, Councilor Lemma, Quijj, and Flower-Seed all whispered: "The Jailer."
Quijj nodded, giving one of his usual grunts. "Uhh huh." His expression had darkened. The look in his eyes was downright frigid.
Flower-Seed shook his head. "I don't know why, but ever since we were down in the ruins... it's been as if a curtain was lifted, from inside my mind."
Councilor Lemma nodded. "I know exactly what you mean. A part of me was fully aware of The Jailer and his deeds in Lo Syy Tett. Yet... it was almost like... I wouldn't quite call it a trance--I wasn't under any spell, or hypnosis, at least not as best as I can tell--but rather... it's as if I held a kind of complacency toward everything. I can see now how truly horrendous that Jikk is. Him, and what he's been doing. But... he must have had some way of making all of us intentionally ignore the problem."
"Mind Mother," said Quijj. "That'd do it."
Flower-Seed eyed the tavern keeper. "Mind Mother? Are those things even real?"
"Oh, they're quite real," said Lemma. "And if that's the case, it would actually explain a lot. From what little I understand of them, those creatures secrete a psychic enzyme that lulls the minds of those around it. The longer it occupies an area--so long as it's well-fed and undisturbed--the wider its field of influence. The Jailer must have somehow compelled a Mind Mother to do his bidding, and influence the minds of Jikkellians in a way that would further his terrible cause."
Flower-Seed considered this. "But if we're about to realize we were being influenced now... does that mean this Mind Mother is dead?"
"Tough to say," said Quijj.
"Indeed," said Lemma.
Quijj grunted in what might have been alarm, or perhaps frustration. He was gazing up at the sky.
"What is it?" Flower-Seed asked. But he already knew. He saw it too now. "What is that?"
His mind was overtaken with yet another vision. He saw the entrance to the underground ruins, as it was being sealed off. Just before the large stone slab blocked the passageway leading down into the City Before The City, five Jikk leapt through the rapidly shrinkly gap and onto the street. Breathless, they collapsed to the stonework.
A fraction of a second later, something else followed in their wake. It did not land, nor did it collapse onto the street as the Jikk had. Instead, it shot upwards into the air. The stone slab closed what remained of the opening.
But it was already too late.
One of the Jikk lying in the street began to scream. Flower-Seed saw that Temporary Councilor E'Shesh had indeed made it out of the ruins before the entrance closed. She was lying on her back, looking up at the sky with a look of pure terror plastered across her face.
The thing that emerged from the opening ignored the Jikk, however. It continued to climb through the air, until it was high above the vine-covered rooftops and city streets below. It rose higher still, before slowing. It hung there in the sky for several seconds, before rocketing away. It was headed toward a confrontation. Flower-Seed could not quite discern the nature of this confrontation, only that it would decide the fates of a great many.
And somehow, the outsiders were involved. Specifically, the outsider who had served as Locust Spire's unexpected savior.
Flower-Seed only caught a brief glimpse of the thing in his mind's eye, but that had been enough to fill him with a deep, almost existential feeling of dread.
The worms. They had fused together to form a single being. High Knight Pyx's plate armor. The thing was using it.
A giant parasitic worm-thing in platemail. It was coming for the outsider. And there was no stopping it...
The vision broke away. Flower-Seed found himself on his knees with dark green blood dripping from his eyes and mouth. The vision had been too much for him. Whatever had altered his curse--whatever force, whether it be supernatural, or simply the blow he'd taken to the head at the front gates--it had amplified it to a magnitude Flower-Seed could not handle. The previous vision had nearly caused him to black out. This one had almost ruptured his brain. He wasn't sure how many more of these "visions" he could take. The next one might very well kill him.
He slapped his palms down on the sidewalk, gasping for air.
"Are you alright?" Councilor Lemma asked.
Flower-Seed shook his head.
"What is it?" Quijj asked with much urgency. "Vision again? Did you see a mothman?"
Flower-Seed shook his head again, then promptly coughed up a thick glob of blood onto the stonework. He tried to stand, but his legs were much too weak.
Quijj hurried over and hooked an arm around Flower-Seed, helping him up. "Easy now," he whispered.
"Worms," Flower-Seed said, almost choking on the word. "Worm man. Man made of worms. Headed for the outsider." He took a deep breath, and that seemed to help. Not much, but a little.
Quijj eased him into a sitting position, before releasing him. He drew his strange weapon, examining it a moment before turning to the Councilor. "Can you tend to him?"
"Where do you think you're going?" she said in a tone of reproach. Her hands were on her hips. She gave the tavern keeper a look that reminded Flower-Seed of the way his mother used to look at him as a youngling, on evenings when he'd been out causing trouble with his friends.
"To stop it," Quijj said matter-of-factly. He turned back toward the sky, using his weapon to point at a dark, fast moving dot in the distance. The worm-thing. It was traveling at a tremendous rate of speed, trailing away from the city.
"Alright. In that case, I'm coming with you," said the Councilor.
Quijj grunted in disapproval.
"Don't give me that. I'm the High Councilor, afterall. I have a sworn duty."
"I'm coming too," Flower-Seed said, struggling to his feet.
"You can't," Lemma said. "You aren't well."
"I'll be fine. C'mon. Besides... you can't just leave me here on the sidewalk by myself."
Quijj eyed them both a moment, before slowly nodding. "Fine. Just keep behind me."
"Don't tell me what to do," said the Councilor smiling warmly. "I swore to serve and protect my city. That includes every last citizen."
"Humff," Quijj grunted.
Lemma regarded Flower-Seed with some concern. "Can you fly?"
"I think so."
"Alright. Then let's be off."
Quijj nodded, grunting again for what may have been the hundredth time.
The changes still hadn't fully set in.
He scarsely resembled his former self. His body was similar to that of a Jikk's, but his wings were like those of a giant moth. And his body, his wings, his entire form was entirely comprised of vines and sunflowers.
Doka was still getting accustomed to his new form. He was still getting accustomed to a lot of things. Ever since the outsiders first arrived in Lo Syy Tett, Doka had gone through a transformation even his new body could not fully represent. Which was saying quite a lot, considering his new form was the direct physical manifestation of the personal and metaphysical journey he'd undergone. He had died for Gods' sake!
He had died.
He'd died, but there had been no White Staircase. He hadn't seen the face of his creator. He'd seen only darkness, before his soul took up residency inside the Moon Moth.
So much of what he'd believed his entire life had been a lie. It made him wonder what else might also be a lie. What even was the truth? Did such a thing exist?
He had DIED!
His mind kept shouting the words over and over like a chant, as if reminding him of this fact might spark some greater intuition, or reveal some hidden meaning. It did not. The reminder only compounded his confusion with a whole lot of noise echoing inside his own head.
He had died.
This was a fact he was still grappling with, even now. Really, it had only been his body that had died. His spirit, soul, and mind had remained. He was now in a kind of life after afterlife. It was beyond strange, in a way that caused his brain to ache if he thought about it too long.
What a journey it had been since the duel with the Frog.
Doka had been granted revelation and realization, one after the other, in a constant barrage of perspective-shifting events. He'd been shaken to his very core--changed in the most fundamental sense of the word. He'd become someone completely different. Yet, at the heart of it all, he was still him. He was still Doka. Just a far more enlightened, less xenophobic and ignorant Doka.
However, this enlightenment also allowed him to see the problem; a problem that had not yet come up, but would have to be addressed sooner, rather than later.
The problem was, he'd been granted revelation and realization, without any real reflection. He'd been transformed, but hadn't yet had even a single spare moment to contemplate the meaning of it all. He was experiencing the effects, without fully understanding the causes. He'd been changed without stopping to consider the ramifications of so much change, on so many fundamental levels.
These things troubled him, but they were Deep Troubles of the Long Term. There were other, more urgent troubles to deal with in the meantime.
Doka and the soft shell soared over the open grasses; a flower-moth-grasshopper-hybrid and a curtain of shimmering blue. Doka looked down at the sheet of water below him. David was stretched out like one great flat square, casting no shadow as he passed over the land.
"What's wrong, bud?" asked the soft shell, taking notice of Doka's gaze. "You alright?"
Doka stilled his thoughts. "I want you to listen to me, Soft Shell. There's going to be trouble up ahead."
"Uh, yeah. I know. That's why we're coming to the rescue, remember? Don't tell me you're getting nervous?"
It was still a bit strange to hear the human's familiar voice coming from the shimmering polygon of liquid. Of course, the two of them had encountered far stranger things than this, on their journey. Particularly in the Sands. Doka had an idea that if not for some doing on the part of the cloaked figure, both his and the soft shell's minds would have been permanently shattered by the experience.
Doka said, "I don't mean once we reach the woods. There is an ambush waiting for us, well before then. A group of mercenaries."
The human was silent a moment. "I can't detect anything like that. Are you sure?"
"Aye. I'm certain of it. They're concealing themselves from your Energies ability to discern their plot. I am able to see it because of my connection with things that lie beyond the mortal world."
"Alright, well... we'll just have to take them out quickly, so we can hurry up and save Artie and the others."
"No," Doka said firmly. "I want you to continue on without me."
"What? But why? It doesn't make any sense to split up. We'll be able to deal with them faster if there are two of us."
Doka shook his head. "You don't understand. They are the ones who attacked Locust Spire. This is personal for me. You can't be stalled in reaching the woods. Your mission is far too important."
"Is that their big plan? To keep me fighting them, just to delay us getting to Artie?"
"That isn't their intention, but that will be the result of their actions, regardless. They have another reason for wanting to defeat you and I."
"Okay? Well don't leave me hangin. What's the reason?"
"Retaliation for stopping their attack on Locust Spire, for one. These mercenaries will try and destroy anyone who stands in the way of their goals. They wish to sew chaos and confusion. Anarchy. They don't want us undoing any more of what they have done, or what they plan to do. I can sense a dark plot. They're working with agents of Pharoah Dowlmad."
"I don't know that name, but I get some pretty fuckin' evil views from it, for sure."
"That would be an accurate assessment. The leader of these mercenaries wishes to leave the valley. There is something beyond the God Shelves he seeks, which will grant him unyielding power. Even I cannot discern his full intentions, but these are the things I have been able to determine."
"I see. Well, I still don't understand why you have to try and solo these guys. Let me help you knock 'em around. We can--"
"No," Doka said firmly. "This really is something I must do on my own. Please try and respect my wishes."
Doka could almost feel the human's mind turning, formulating further protest. Then, it was as if the soft shell finally came to a conclusion. Perhaps, he finally understood that this meant something to Doka--that this was important; a meaningful step on the path to redemption.
At last, the soft shell relented. "Alright, alright. Fine. But if you get into any trouble... if it's more than you can handle, or you--"
"I know how I call out to you," Doka said.
The human sighed. "Okay. Then I guess we'll split up. Um... where exactly is this ambush happening, anyhow?"
"Start traveling northward. Your mind will tell you when to correct your course again. That won't delay your arrival any. You would have had to travel North for a ways,, once you reached the woods. You're just doing it a bit sooner than necessary."
"Alright. Will do. Just... be careful, Doka. Okay? Seriously."
"And you as well, soft shell," Doka said. "Gods willing, I will see you again soon."
Deskant was well-versed in the power names held in the In-Between. This was why he'd worked so hard to become a Named Enforcer of the Stonewing Pillar Mercenary Band, on top of his other titles and stations. Most of the mercs in evidence were only foot soldiers, or Prospects. Leader Rave hadn't wanted all of his best warriors away from Home Base, afterall. The Stonewings were far greater in number and power than they'd ever let on to nonmembers. In their line of work, it was always best to hide your hand. You didn't want your rivals (or even your allies) knowing your full capabilities. Which was exactly why Deskant was joined on his current mission by the lower ranking members and memers-in-training, mostly. However, this was not the case with all of the mercs here in the open grasses. There was Angus the Arsonist, Vizloth the Philter, Gondin the Foul Ozmon the Worm-Wielder, Ujak the Unhinged.
Then, of course, there was him. Deskant the Demolisher. This was a moniker he had earned after many years climbing and clawing his way up the ranks of the band. He now filled the role of Chief Communicator, as well as being Rave's Right Hand when they were away from Home Base (even if that title actually belonged to Xider, whenever Xider wasn't around--like now--Deskant was the one who stepped up).
Rave had dubbed him the Demolisher because that was exactly what he did. He demolished things; people, places, anything and everything in his path.
"Just cooperate and everything will be fine," Deskant said.
The she-Jikk in the plate armor only glared at him.
"Yeah, I don't like those worms either, but they're effective." He waved his hand toward the infected Jikk soldiers. "We'll remove the parasites and we won't release anymore on your city, so long as you keep doing exactly as we say."
Ozmon the Worm-Wielder stepped forward, clutching his strange club--a dark, polished thing which which looked more like two long, slender serpents twisted around a stick than an actual club--and nodded. "All be righted, once we've finished here."
The she-Jikk said, "We shouldn't be negotiating with the likes of you."
Deskant laughed. "Good thing this isn't a negotiation. It's a hostage situation. If you hadn't noticed." His eyes scanned the row of infected Jikk. Half their number were currently inhabited by parasites. The other half were standing behind the she-Jikk and the one who'd identified himself as their Sergeant. "Now, remember... when you see the outsider, you flag him down. That's all you have to do. Leave the rest to us."
"Uh, 'Skant?" Angus said uncertainly.
"Yeah? What is it?"
"They're almost here. I can smell 'em."
Deskant smiled again. This was just too easy. "Alright. Everyone out of sight. Time to do what we do best, fellas."
There was a collective cheer from the other mercs. The lot of them moved into position.
Zruu--Tri-Hook leader and newly appointed Chief of the Clawhook Bandits in the wake of Chief Xovvo's murder--felt the entire world shift with such remarkable suddenness, that for a moment, he was certain he'd lost his grip on reality. One moment, Zruu had been seated in the bridge of the Black Pyramid beside his fellow Tri-Hook members, Coldcradle and Fann. The next thing the new Bandit Chief knew, he was plopping down hard on his ass in a field of knee-high emerald green grass. He'd been watching a formation of Gliders appear through the viewing window of the bridge. Sky Pirates, he had no doubt. He'd been mentally scrambling for a course of action. His mind had of course first turned to the Pyramid's weapons system. However, just as he was about to suggest this to Coldcradle and Fann, all of a sudden, it was as if his chair had been pulled out from under him--and everything else around him ripped away, right along with it.
"What the FUCK?" Coldcradle bellowed.
Zruu saw his two companions in the grass, just a few short meters away. Fann was there beside Coldcradle, looking furious but saying nothing.
Zruu's eyes burned with rage. "My thoughts exactly." He looked up to the sky. The Pirates. They were up there in the Glider Pods. There were also small Gyff craft as well. Collectively, there were four dozen of the bastards. The Sky Pirates made up three seperate V patterns, while the Walking Stick Men flew in a straight row side-by-side. Together, they made what looked like three arrows and line segment. And there, in the patch of sky between them, was the place where the Black Pyramid had been. The place where Zruu himself had been, on the bridge of the Pyramid.
But the Pyramid was gone. And now, Zruu was down here on the ground.
It made no fucking sense.
"Uh, Chief?" Coldcradle said warily.
Zruu took his eyes away from the sky and leveled his gaze at the other Bandit. "What?"
Coldcradle pointed at something lying in the grass a few feet to his left.
Zruu cocked his head to one side. Then, he was back up on his feet in an instant. "Is that who I think it is?"
But he already knew it was. There, motionless on the ground, was the Vakk Onillcoth had sent as honorary reinforcement. Lequell's body was covered in so much blood, it barely looked like a body. Really, it looked more like a slab of meat glazed in strawberry jam. Zruu had never seen tickman blood before. He was mildly surprised to know it wasn't green, or yellow like many Insectoids. It was a deep maroon, much like his own blood.
Lequell's head was cleaner than the rest of him. Probably because his head had been separated from his body. It was sitting face up a few paces from his bloodied corpse. His lifeless eyes stared up at the sun. They'd gone a dull gray color, instead of their usual black.
Zruu had seen more dead bodies than he could ever recount. Seeing one more now meant about as much as any of the others had. He felt nothing for the Vakk he'd barely known. If anything, he considered him weak for dying so easily. And so soon before their mission was complete.
Zruu raised his boot and punted Lequell's head through the air. It shot up at an arc, before disappearing in the high grass. He turned to the other Bandits. *"What the fuck do we do now? How the fuck did we lose the fucking Pyramid?"
He kicked Lequell's body hard enough to splatter some of the blood, painting several blade of grass burgundy.
"Ziilkdamnit! Now I've got blood on my boot." He turned his foot sideways and attempted to rub the drying fluids off onto the dirt. This mostly worked, but there remained a streak of the stuff he couldn't quite wipe away. "Ziilkdamnit," he cursed again.
"Was it the Pirates?" Coldcradle asked.
Zruu glanced up at the sky. The Pirates had broken their formations and were now flying in a disorganized swarm. They were headed east. They didn't seem to have any interest in the three Bandits down on the ground far below them, from what Zruu could tell. "My gut says no. I think those Sky Pirates and Gyff are just as confused as we are. I have no fucking clue what just happened, but I can tell you one thing... we're gonna get Chief Xovvo's Pyramid back. I don't give a shit what it takes. If it costs all three of us our lives. We're gonna get that damned thing back."
"A Pharoah had to be involved," Coldcradle said. "They're the only ones who could pull something like this off."
Fann nodded his agreement. "That bitch Camaria, most likely."
"I don't give a shit," Zruu said. "Pharoah or no Pharoah. We're getting it back." He locked eyes with Coldcradle, then with Fann, before looking off toward the horizon. "But first... we're gonna keep heading where we were headed. We're gonna deal with the she-ant before we do anything else. We don't have the Pyramid now, but we won't need it. I'll kill her with my bare hands if I have to."
Coldcradle said, "Then let's get to it. Let's hunt that bitch down. For the Chief."
Zruu and Fann voiced a howl of agreement. "For Chief Xovvo!" they said together.
The three members of the Tri-Hook took to wing. The only thing on any of their minds was murder...
"What's the matter?" Flower-Seed asked. His tone was that of someone trying to hide the fact they were in a great deal of pain.
Councilor Lemma studied his face closely. The two of them were flying side-by-side over the city, with Quijj just up ahead. The elderly tavern keeper insisted on taking the lead, it seemed. It was just as well. Lemma had wanted to stay back with Flower-Seed to make sure he was alright. He definitely wasn't alright, but wouldn't admit it.
As much as Flower-Seed's condition concerned her, it was the scene down below--down on the city streets--that concerned Lemma the most. She turned back to the group of younglings she'd spotted.
She and Flower-Seed had a bird's eye view of what remained of Elgganath Parkway in the eastern part of Locust Spire. Just as they'd flown past one of the only large structures that hadn't been reduced to rubble here, they'd caught Lemma's eye almost immediately. There were close to three dozen in all. Younglings no older than adolescents. Some of them were sitting on the sidewalk with their heads between their legs. Some of them were embracing one another. Many of them were simply standing in place, looking up and down the street as if they had no idea what to do, or where to go. Several of them were huddled together, speaking in frightened voices.
Lemma slowed her acceleration to a crawl. Seeing this, after a moment, Flower-Seed did the same.
Quijj craned his neck to look back at them. "You alright?"
Lemma nodded. "Yes." And after a moment's contemplation, she added: "You can go on without me."
Flower-Seed opened his mouth to say something. Then he saw the younglings. He looked from the group below, then back to Lemma. Understanding dawned on his face. He slowly nodded. "Go on without me, as well." After taking a brief moment just as Lemma had, he said (somewhat hesitantly), "If you can manage on your own, that is."
Quijj nodded in response, giving them a grunt of aye, before flying onward.
Lemma and Flower-Seed hung there in the air, and watched Quijj disappear behind a row of vine-covered warehouses. Lemma sighed, turning to Flower-Seed. "The city just suffered a horrible tragedy. They need their leader."
Flower-Seed nodded. "I know."
"Especially the youth. They look completely lost. Without hope. The fire and the explosions are over, but now they need guidance to know how to pick up the pieces."
"I know," Flower-Seed repeated, punctuating the words with a gentle smile. "Well... what do ya say we get down there? See how many we can reunite with their parents."
Lemma returned his smile. "I just hope most of their parents are still alive."
Flower-Seed looked away. "Yeah." He shook his head. "Gods. What a harsh world this is."
"It is. But as long as I'm around, there will always be hope left. That's what they need to see. The Jikk of this city. They need to see the light of hope still shines upon them. Even in darkness. There is always hope."
Doka could sense the terrible power radiating off the figures just ahead. There was a Fragment User in their midst. As well as multiple masters of the Old Arts and Dark Channels.
And there was something even greater. He could feel it, like a vibration inside his brain.
As he drew closer, he saw the Jikk he was supposed to see, and the mothmen he wasn't. One of the mercs was utilizing a Cyphering technique to hide their presence. Doka could only see them through his connection with the Realms beyond life, beyond mortals.
Doka flew faster, closer, closing in on them.
One of the Jikk--a she-Jikk High Knight named Von, Doka saw--held up her arms and began waving at him. She was trying to flag him down. Doka had no doubt, this was what she'd been instructed to do. The Jikk weren't apart of this. They were only pawns, used by the mercs.
Doka dove down, came to a landing.
In his new form, he could speak to more than just the soft shell. He called out to the High Knight. "It's alright. I know you've done all you could."
The High Knight and the other Jikk stared back at him, stonefaced. Doka could see beneath their expressionless faces; could see through them. He could feel their desperation, their shame.
That was when the mercs sprang their trap...
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