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Time Marches Ever Onward: Chapter 2

2023.06.05 12:00 LaticusLad Time Marches Ever Onward: Chapter 2

(Any sentences or phrases wrapped with brackets "[ ]" are designated as inner monologue!)
Thank you to u/SpacePaladin15 for creating this wonderful literary universe!
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Memory transcription subject: Lemva, Venlil Archeologist
Date [standardized human time]: July 13, 2165
The attendant, Harold, had told me that there would be another passenger boarding shortly several minutes ago, and since then I couldn't keep still wondering who I was going to meet.As I sat on the couch, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation that Harold had just started with the other passenger. As I heard a new voice respond to Harold’s greeting my heart started beating faster. Wait, the voice sounded familiar…
My heart rate quickened as footsteps came closer down the hallway.A man wearing a black suit and indigo tie came walking around the corner and my heart fluttered a little as I looked up at his face.
“James?” I squeaked as I said his name. I jumped up off the couch and ran toward him, throwing my arms around him and nearly knocking him over. “Lemva!”
Looking up at him, I realized what I had just done, backing off slightly embarrassed. “James! I haven’t seen you in so long, what have you been up to?”
“Looking into ancient history, studying declassified documents, bringing back ancient history, that sorta thing.” James kneeled slightly and looked at me with a wide smile, I’d missed that smile so much. He opened his mouth to speak. “I wasn’t expecting to see you on this flight. It’s very good to see you!” “It’s good to see you too! So you’re one of the others that the UN’s invitation spoke of.” “It seems that way, yeah.” He chuckled slightly.
“I see you two are getting along well! I don’t even have to introduce you.” I realized Harold had been standing there watching the interaction the whole time. I straightened myself out, even more embarrassed than before. Harold chuckled. “Alright you two, we’re going to be taking off shortly. I’ll be in the cabin along with the captain. If you need me, press these buttons.” He handed us both a device with a singular blue button labeled “call”.
The man turned around and headed through the door leading to the cockpit. Leaving us alone. We both sat on a couch. James spoke, “So, do you know anything about the job being offered?” “I was going to ask you the same thing.” “Hmm, well we’re going to be in for a long flight, may as well catch up on some things.”
Me and James had known each other since we attended MIK, and had a lot of history. We met in the college’s history club, and quickly became friends. We both had a passion for learning about things that most others had forgotten, and theorizing about what life was like in ancient times. He didn’t know it but I had a huge crush on him at the time.
We stayed in contact long after we both got our doctorates, despite the large distances between us. Eventually James suddenly stopped contacting me, I never understood why. I had worried that it was something I did, that I had pushed him away. Then, after a while, he faded from memory, only existing in the back of my mind. I needed to know why. But not now, this was too soon.
“I know I already asked what you’ve been up to since we last spoke, but still. Discovered anything new?”
“Yeah, I got my hands on some recently declassified Fed info and artifacts around 8 months back. Studied them and found out they were ancient Gojid pottery, inscriptions described some sort of fertility god? Found some other inscriptions describing the site of an ancient Gojid city on The Cradle and got in contact with a dig team to go search there. Hit the motherlode and-” He spoke so enthusiastically about his findings. Just seeing him so happy about his work made me bloom, but thankfully he didn’t notice as he kept talking, waving his hands to emphasize his words. “-trying to find a museum that has the room for all of them.”
“Wow, that’s a lot more than what I’ve been doing.” “Really? Lemva hasn’t done anything interesting lately? I find that hard to believe.” James took on an amused expression. “Yes, really. I’ve been on vacation with my family for a little while, that’s all. It had been a while since I’d seen them.”
I could see his smile visibly lessen, he shifted his eyes, seeming to be deep in thought. Had I said something wrong? “Hey, are you okay?” I asked. “Yeah, I’m fine. Your mention of family brought back some… memories.” A singular tear formed below his left eye, before he looked away. I didn’t want to push, despite his failed attempt at hiding his sadness. “Oh, we can change the subject if you want.”
He wiped his eyes and shuddered, before straightening himself out. “No, it’s ok. You should probably know anyway. It’s part of the reason I haven’t talked to you in so long.” I was hoping to get some answers but now I didn’t know if I wanted to if it was making him this upset.
“A- alright, go ahead. You can stop at any time if you want to.” “Before I start I want to say how sorry I am for ghosting you.” He closed his eyes, inhaling and exhaling deeply. A somber expression filled his face as he opened his eyes. “Okay. You know my parents right? Bill and Angene?” “Yeah?” “A couple years back, I was doing a small job for a little town on Nishtal. Not much pay but that didn’t matter. This was during the time when the anti-human movement was in full effect.”
My heart stopped, I immediately knew where this was going.
“I wasn’t worried for them cause they were on Earth. I thought they would be away from the violence because the rioters would be too scared to be among so many ‘predators.’” His voice dripped with malice as he spat out the last word. He was always treated… differently from other people. Even so long after the war, “predator” hate was still common. He kept speaking. “Clearly I was wrong, or maybe one of those fucking rioters hated us too much to care about their own safety.” I only now noticed that he had been shaking as he spoke, but he suddenly stopped. He looked defeated, on the verge of a breakdown. “They were just bringing home groceries, that’s all. They were friendly and happy and polite and all they were doing was bringing home some things for dinner. But because they had committed the SIN of being born with forward facing eyes everyone hated them.” “On the phone the next day, I was told that my parents had been stabbed to death when walking home. I had to attend their funeral several days later, and that night the police took me in to meet their murderer. It took every ounce of energy that I could muster to not turn their disgusting little face to orange mulch.”
If anyone else had looked at James’ face at that moment, they would have seen nothing but a rabid animal looking for something to rip apart, but I didn’t see that. I saw a man that just wanted his parents back, a man that wished the world didn’t hate him. James crumpled over and started sobbing violently, and without thinking I got up and gave him the biggest hug my small arms could allow. He wrapped his muscular arms around me and buried his head into my wool, his sobs shaking my whole body. I stroked the back of his head in an attempt to comfort him, and tried doing those shushing sounds that human mothers do to calm down their children but ended up making a strange sputtering sound instead. I heard the sounds of giggling interspersed with the sobbing, leading into a fit of coughing from James. He lifted his face from my shoulder and stared into my eyes, still dripping tears but starting to smile now. He rested his chin back on my shoulder, and I gladly let him.
“I’ve missed you Lemva, you have no idea just how much I’ve missed you. I’m so sorry I left so quickly, I’m so sorry.” “I’ve missed you too James, and you don’t need to apologize, I understand. Why don’t we go drink some water and get some sleep, okay?” The man on my shoulder croaked out a hoarse “Okay” before slowly pulling himself off of me. We both got up and walked into the kitchen to grab some water. James chugged down several glasses before he was satisfied. We made our way to our separate bedrooms before saying goodnight to each other and closing our doors. I pulled the warm blankets over myself and laid my head down, exhausted from the short but intense emotional interaction. As thoughts floated through my mind, I drifted off into a deep sleep.
I awoke to a familiar sensation, it felt as if I was standing in a shallow pool of oil. My eyes were met with black for as far as the eye could see, a seemingly endless floor of tar, and a distant orb of light. This sight had become less eerie and more frustrating the more times I had seen it. [Not this again…] I had been having this dream nearly every night for the past 3 weeks, ever since I had received the invitation from the UN. It was always the same. Endless void, endless black oil, a light always seeming within reach but always too far to catch. I decided to play along with the dream and walk towards the light, the faster I go through with this charade the faster I can wake up and talk to James again. My footsteps echoed into infinity as I waded through the sticky oil, the sensation was awful. I stopped and thought for a moment. [Know what? Fuck it, might as well do something different this time.] I turned around and walked away from the orb of light that had been taunting me for 3 weeks straight. As I walked, I could feel the texture beneath my paws slowly change. I looked down to notice that the tar floor I had grown accustomed to was now an endless field of silver sand. My paws were still sticky from the tar and were now covered with sand, great. As I stared down at the ground beneath me, it slowly started glowing brighter and brighter until it hurt my eyes. It was reflecting something.
I looked up to try to find the source of the light and stared in shock at the sight before me, despite the pain in my eyes. I could not turn away. [By the creator…]
Filling the darkness above me was a white dwarf, its brilliance seeming to burn away the darkness surrounding it. Burning streams of plasma buffeted sand in the distance, leaving only glass. I could feel it watching me, judging me. The air around me swirled and roared, picking up fragments of glass and flinging it against my face as I stood in awe. Clouds of silver shards swirled forever around me, scraping away my wool and flesh but I did not move. I could not turn away. The star seemed to fall toward me. I could not turn away. Instantly, the fury of the wind around me calmed, dropping mountains of the glittering sand onto the ground. The sands whispered to me, filling my mind with a single message.
“Find us. We await.”
Date [standardized human time]: July 15, 2165
I stood alongside James near the airlock, we were finally here. It had been two days since I and James had boarded the ship, and we were finally on an approach to Aafa’s spaceport. I felt excited theorizing what job the UN had for us, but couldn’t help but notice a feeling of dread in the back of my mind. Aafa was the capital of the Federation before the UN Coalition began their occupation, and as a result there would probably be more xenophobia on the streets. Hopefully we wouldn’t have to stick around long enough to see it.
“Attention passengers, we are now breaking through the atmosphere, brace yourself on a nearby hand-rail or other stationary object until further notice.”
Me and James grasped the hand-rails tightly as the ship jostled through the turbulent atmosphere, the surface outside the airlock view-port slowly grew larger and larger as we descended. A beautiful city came into view as the clouds’ obfuscation subsided. I had been to Aafa twice in my life before and every time I saw its grand cities I felt a sense of wonder. I could feel the ship level out and slow down, we were almost docked. I felt a small jolt as the landing gear gently touched down on the landing pad.
Harold’s voice came through the PA system. “Alright you two, we’ve landed. I’ll be with you shortly to show you to your escort group.” James and I looked at eachother, I could see a glint of worry in his eyes. Though whether he was worried about the reactions of Aafa’s inhabitants or worried about his first impressions with such important UN personnel, I could not tell.
I heard the cabin door open far behind us and heard Harold’s footsteps make their way toward the airlock where we stood in wait. He stepped past us and took a position at the airlock door.“Welcome to Aafa.” Harold pressed a button and the blast-door slid open with a pneumatic hiss. “Follow me.” We walked down the ramp and onto the hangar bay floor. As my eyes wandered around the large room I noticed how much better kept this spaceport, or at least this hangar, was than the port on Venlil Prime or Earth. Harold took us through a door and into the main hall for this level.
As we made our way to the nearest elevator a kolshian man walked toward us, his gait taking on a menacing feel as he drew closer. When he saw me he smirked. “You sure you wanna keep walking with these predators, little lady? You’d be a lot safer with me instead of them.” I was astounded by how blatant this man was with his opinions. I tried to respond calmly to the man but couldn’t hide my offense. “No thank you, I’m perfectly fine walking with these “predators” thank you. Speak your xenophobia to someone who cares to listen.” The kolshian’s smirk disappeared as he walked toward me faster. Harold’s arm shot out in front of me, blocking the man from getting any closer, the chipper smile he usually displayed was gone from his face. “Please leave sir, we have things to attend to.” The kolshian’s angry expression intensified. “I’m not taking orders from any damn predator.” I could see the man pulling out an object from behind his back. Before I could react, I heard a sickening crunch as Harold’s fist connected with the kolshian’s face, and the man tumbled to the ground. I heard a sound as the knife we were about to be stabbed with clattered to the ground, the tentacle he had been using to wield it clutching his bleeding face. Harold in a swift motion kicked away the knife and put the kolshian in a choke hold while a group of UN security officers rushed over. Two officers cuffed the bleeding kolshian and another walked up to Harold most likely to ask for an explanation.
Harold put back on his usual cheerful expression as he turned to speak to us.“You two head down to the first floor, your escort group and the other 2 invitees will be waiting in the main lobby, they should be pretty obvious to spot. I’ll catch up soon but I have to explain the situation with security.” I turned to look at James as we hurried to the elevator. I could tell he was angry, but he had a glint of satisfaction in his eyes, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little similar. James scrolled down the list of floors on the screen and selected the number 1. The Aafa spaceport was easily the largest structure I had ever seen, I guess there wasn’t enough room for 400 buttons. As the elevator descended, James spoke.
“Hey Lem, you ok?” “Yeah, my heart’s beating pretty fast though. Who knows what would have happened if Harold wasn’t with us.” “Yeah, did you see how fast he handled that? Guy must be a veteran or something.” The idea brought a question to the surface of my mind that I had been pondering since I first received my invitation. “Yeah… I’ve been wondering why we’ve been treated so well ever since we got aboard the ship. I mean, we’re just a couple historians, why spend so much on the ship and all the protection? What could this job possibly be?” As I spoke, James stared past the transparent wall of the elevator and into the city skyline, he seemed to be deep in thought. “Yeah I’ve been thinking about that too… I don’t think we’ll have to theorize for much longer though, just a short drive and we can ask whoever invited us.”
My attention was brought back to reality as a DING sounded from the doorway, indicating that we were at the ground floor. The doors slid open silently and revealed a veritable swarm of people walking through the main hallway loop, several people of different species squeezed into the elevator we were just in as we walked out. James and I followed the signage on the walls for several minutes and entered into the main lobby, where we could see a group of humans with a Gojid in the middle. The humans wore black suits and sunglasses, I could also barely make out earpieces and microphones hidden among their clothing. They reminded me of the secret agents in the human spy movies I enjoyed watching. They must be our escort group.
We approached the menacing humans and they turned to look at us. Before I could speak up I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see Harold catching up with us. “Sorry for leaving you alone for a bit. I’ll talk with your escorts.” Harold walked up to the closest escort and flashed a badge at them, turning around once the mysterious man nodded. The escort spoke something into his earpiece but I couldn’t quite make it out. “Well, I’d best be going to sort out matters with the captain. I’ll meet up with you later.” Harold handed us off to the mysterious entourage and walked back into the crowd.
One of the bodyguards spoke up. “Follow me and don’t stray off course, we’ll be taking you to the senate building.” As our guards escorted us to our vehicle, I spoke to the gojid accompanying us. “Hi, my name is Lemva, this is James. Are you one of the other people invited by the UN?” The gojid spoke up in a soft voice. “Yeah, though for what reason I do not know why. My name is Cayek by the way, nice to meet you. Do you mind if we get some introductions out of the way before we arrive at the senate building?” James responded first and stretched out his arm for a handshake. It took a second for Cayek to reciprocate. “Sure! As Lemva told you, my name is James. I was born on Earth and currently live on Venlil Prime. I’m a historian and got my doctorate at MIK, where I met Lemva. We’ve known each other quite a while. I like coffee and hate the ocean.” “Oh cool, I attended there too! Got my doctorate in linguistics. When did you attend?” “Sent in an application in 2140, as soon as it opened. Got accepted around a month later.” “Nice, that was around when I joined too. We must not have crossed paths often. Though your face does seem vaguely familiar.” Cayek looked at me and I began speaking. “My name’s Lemva, though I already said that. I attended MIK with James. Went there to get a doctorate in archeology. Was born on Venlil Prime and I’ve moved too many times to count, but my latest home is on Earth.”
I noticed that we had reached our ride. Our vehicle was a black limousine, it looked slightly larger than others I had seen, perhaps it was armored? One of the guards escorting us, who I could only assume was the one in charge, opened the side door and we all crawled inside. Cayek, James, and I settled in our seats and the guard closed our doors before entering through a door closer to the front to sit facing us. The guard sat unnaturally still, staring directly at us as the vehicle drew out of the underground parking area, making me feel uneasy. I looked over at James and Cayek, they seemed just as uncomfortable as I. The ride to the Senate building was silent.
I watched the buildings glide past us as we drove down Main, toward the Capitol. The large dome shaped building grew larger as we crept closer. Nervousness invaded my mind as I wondered what the task we had been chosen for was. Why did the UN spend so much to get us here? What’s with all the security? Why us? We had reached our destination. The limousine passed through several security gates and slowed to a halt at the entrance of the grand building. The guard that had been staring at us spoke, “We’ve arrived, please exit the vehicle and follow me. As you enter the building you’ll undergo several security checks to make sure you don’t have any weapons or banned items. Don’t worry, this is all standard procedure.” Two guards who had been waiting to the side of the entrance walked over to the car and opened the side doors, allowing us to crawl out. Though it had only been a 5 minute car ride, it felt like I had been stuck in that cramped vehicle for hours.
We walked toward the entrance of the titanic building, a large podium with a hologram of the Coalition logo orbiting an artistic depiction of our sector of the galaxy stood just before the doors. The first time I had gone to Aafa as a child, the podium had supported a large statue of Chief Nikonus, the president of the Federation at the time of the war. Good riddance. Our group stepped past the threshold of the senate building and submitted for the security checks that our escort had told us about. As soon as we were cleared, we were led to one of several large doors, it looked like an oversized elevator. Inside was a holographic display of the building showing us our current position, along with a small keypad to the side. I braced myself for the elevator to start ascending as our escort input some numbers into the pad but nearly fell over when it unexpectedly started moving sideways. James chuckled amusedly and I looked at him with a mock pouty face, my tail flicking in slight annoyance. Our escort tried to wipe a tiny smirk off his face as he helped me back to my feet. “We had these installed after a couple instances of people passing out trying to navigate around. Most Coalition species don’t have the amount of endurance humans do and this building is quite large.”
Several moments later the tram came to a halt and the doors slid open. The escort chaperoned us down a short hallway with a decently sized wooden door at the end. I braced myself for whoever would be behind it. Impressions were of utmost importance when meeting government officials. However, I was not prepared for who I would see as the door swung open.
Is that an Arxur?
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(This is my first major post on NatureofPredators, any criticism or advice is welcome! I want to make my stories inviting and pleasant to read! Also, please notify me if you find any formatting errors, I'm not very familiar with Reddit's formatting.)
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2023.06.05 07:07 girl_from_the_crypt Stuck on earth and looking for a job: There's more to the waitresses at my favorite diner than I thought

Something happened tonight. Something always seems to be happening these days, but this time, it was particularly confusing.
Some days don't even feel real anymore.
After my last post, I did as my savior human had advised me. I called Mary Markov and relayed to her what Jewel had told me. She promised to send agents to the warehouse right away, and late that same night, she reached out to me once again with news of an arrest having been made. Despite this small success, we both knew that this meant outright war. The Collective would know who had given them away, and the possibility of me joining their ranks peacefully would be off the table. The question remaining was when they would make good on their threat. Nettie Peterson's house is being guarded by covert Agency personnel, and mine and Eli's apartments are under watch, too. I'm glad Mary Markov is doing what she can to protect them, but I never doubted that complications would arise eventually.
Just not quite so soon.
The day started off fine. My best friend, still being relatively used to having agents around, doesn't seem to mind the aforementioned changes. The van inconspicuously parked outside her house didn't bother her in the least as she went about her morning routine. I helped her throw together something nourishing for breakfast, then watched her doing her makeup. She likes to keep her lips glossy and often applies lime green eyeshadow paired with a pear-colored line and, on special days, the occasional rhinestone. She looks like a garden fairy. When I told her that today, she treated me to a bright smile and a pat on the cheek.
She went off to look after her larvae, leaving me to roam her house alone. I spent some time inspecting the many drawings she keeps framed on the high wall in the living room. She always brings new ones home from work—gifts from the kindergarteners. They're not very artistically skilled, but they do produce interesting work. Nettie hangs them all up on the special wall, even the really bad ones. I watched TV for a couple hours, then read until Nettie came home.
It was getting dark out when she realized she needed tampons. She said she could get by on what she had until the morning, but no longer. I told her to stay put and that I'd run and get some for her, which is why I went on that fateful evening walk. I gave a quick nod to the agent leaning against the van outside as I started heading down the street, backpack slung over my shoulder. I made it to the convenience store five minutes before closing time, giving the annoyed cashier an apologetic look as she rang me up. Outside, the nightly blackness had settled over the rooftops, and I took in a deep breath, letting the fresh air flood my body.
All was well as I began to march back in the direction of Nettie's home. Until I heard a motorcycle revving.
I instantly froze up. There was no one immediately in sight. I tried to soothe my fevered mind. There was no reason to be so on edge. A lot of town residents owned motorcycles, or at least I assumed they did. This reaction was a testament to my own waning sanity, no doubt. I shuddered, making an effort to shake the thought. There was a nervous tension in my step as I continued on my way. The engine noises faded off into the distance after a while, and I concluded that I was indeed becoming a bit paranoid.
Step by step, I carried myself towards my goal. Nettie Peterson's street wasn't anywhere in sight yet, but I would probably be at her door in around ten minutes tops. I had walked the distance between her house and the store often enough to estimate. I considered putting my earbuds in and listening to some music as a distraction, but I was afraid of what I might end up missing if I took away my sense of hearing. I began to chew on the inside of my cheek.
There was not a soul out except for me. This wasn't uncommon considering the size of our town, but given the circumstances, it still served to elevate my heart rate. I repeatedly tried and failed to calm myself. Eventually, I couldn't help it anymore. I took off running. And then it happened—someone stepped out from a sidestreet right ahead of me and we collided. Large hands flew to my shoulders, long fingers harshly digging into them. I didn't need to look up at the other person to recognize them. I sensed the same musky smell that had lingered around my room for hours after their last visit; warm, sweet and impossible to ignore. I could suddenly hear every single beat of my heart reverberating between my ears. Dread seemed to dribble down my bone-dry throat, pooling in my stomach like cold water.
I slowly lifted my head, knowing exactly who was about to stare back at me.
Jewel's eyes were incredibly wide. Their brows were trembling in manic, barely restrained fury, their lower lip quivered and, to my complete bewilderment, tears were freely rolling down their cheeks. They solidified the moment the skin contact was lost, turning into shimmering stones of green, blue and violet. I reached out and caught one before it could hit the ground. It was bright pink, and I found myself captivated by its beauty.
"So, can I… keep this?" I asked, tilting my head at the cultist.
Their chest was rising and falling heavily, and I shrank back a little when I took note of their nostrils flaring. "You are so dead," they uttered in a low, husky growl.
"I take it you got news of the Agency's involvement?"
Jewel once more closed the distance between us. They leaned down, their gemstone tears bouncing off my chest as they fell. "You spiteful little bitch. You'd rather try to ruin a good cause than forgive me and work together?"
"You can't be this delusional."
"Don't tell me what I can and cannot do!" they snapped, their voice rising to an eerily high pitch. They paused, looking briefly confused by what they'd said before the wrathful expression twisted their features again.
"What now? Are you seriously going to attack me out in the open like this?"
"Oh." Jewel drew themself up, squaring their muscled shoulders. "Oh, I'll manage."
Their outline before me started to blur, becoming fuzzy and indistinct. I blinked, then reached up to rub my eyes. They weren't becoming any clearer, though. Frowning, I took several steps back, squinting at the spot where the cultist had just been standing. The cultist was quickly turning into a faint, paling swirl of colors, losing shape before at last disappearing completely.
I was speechless, my pulse racing as beads of sweat ran down the side of my face. I couldn't believe it. Had all of this been some sort of hallucination? I raised a hand to my feverishly hot forehead. I was losing my mind. That had to be it. My gaze dropped to the gray asphalt and my breath caught in my throat when I spotted the colorful stones lying at my feet. Fuck.
A soft laugh rang out beside my ear, a draft of moist, warm air grazing my cheek.
I instinctively swung at the emptiness beside me, my clenched fist connecting with nothing. No.
"Come back here," I whined, flinching at the unmasked fear in my own voice. A sharp pain flared up in my ankle as my feet were swiped out from under me. I let out a squeak as I fell onto my open palms, managing to shield my head from the impact just in time. The rough ground scraped my hands and knees as I hurriedly pushed myself up, a few stray pebbles drawing blood. Despite my panic, my mind was clear enough to understand that I was in a precarious position. I couldn't just whip out my tentacles—not here where anyone could see me. It would for sure result in hysteria. People could start straight-up shooting at me. I'd end up looking like a monstrosity on a rampage, especially with Jewel having gone invisible. As it were, I only had one option, and that was to run.
I didn't waste another second. There was no way I was leading this murder cultist back to Nettie, but I had to find somewhere with other people, anywhere…
Aimlessly charging ahead, I tried to bring more distance between myself and the disembodied footsteps ringing out from behind me. Before long however, it was becoming hard to tell how far away they truly were. The sound seemed to flit from side to side, reaching my ears from constantly changing directions. The asshole was messing with my head.
Soon enough, my lungs were on fire. My sides were stinging; breathing became harder. I inwardly cursed my useless short legs. Still, I didn't slow down; I didn't dare to. I was growing increasingly desperate. Where was I supposed to go? I couldn't think of any places still open. And then, cutting through the darkness, a flickering neon sign offered the answer to all of my questions. Tom's Diner. With hope renewing my spirits, I picked up my pace once more. Rhonda was just in the process of moving the big menu sign inside for the night. I came to a skittering halt mere inches in front of her, helplessly grabbing onto her apron before she could close the door behind her.
She spun around to face me with knotted brows. "Evangeline?"
"Help me," I wheezed. "Let me in, quick!"
Rhonda, though still visibly perplexed, sprang into action, dragging me inside along with her. I slammed the door shut, throwing my entire weight against it. An unseen force clashed against it from outside, making the entire storefront shudder. The waitress nearly dropped her sign. "What in the—"
"They're after me," I choked out. "You can't see them, but they're right outside!"
"Oh." Her expression cleared up. "Say no more, say no more." She reached into her apron pocket, rummaging around while mumbling to herself. "I'm picking up what you're putting down…" She produced a bright red marker. "Allow me." Swiftly stepping up to me, she raised the felt tip to my forehead, proceeding to draw something onto my skin with smooth, efficient accuracy. An incoherent whisper slipped from her lips, words in a language I had never heard before. Finally, she pulled back. "Turn around, try if you can see them now. The door locks automatically, by the way."
I hesitantly shifted my weight back onto my feet, releasing the door and turning to look out into the night. I let out a gasp, staggering back when I found the contorted visage of the cultist pressed up against the glass. Jewel's eyes were still rimmed with shimmering tears, their mouth twisted in a grimace of murderous rage. They frowned in confusion when they realized that my gaze was once more trained on them. It didn't take long until they started pounding on the windowpane again.
"Hey! You stop that," Rhonda shouted, stabbing a finger in their direction. "I just cleaned that today! Oh hell… Hailey!" she called over her shoulder. "We have a problem; come help."
Another waitress came rushing out of the back room. Glancing between us and the pacing cultist outside had her huff out a sigh. "I see," she said icily. Determinedly striding towards the door, she lifted her voice, beginning to recite a verse or rhyme of some sort. It all sounded like gibberish to me. My head was spinning, my mind running wild, unable to keep track of what was happening around me. My skull suddenly felt prickly from the inside, my whole body seemingly turning weightless. My vision fell away as my eyes rolled back and my knees gave out from beneath me. I had lost consciousness before I hit the floor.
I don't believe I was out for very long, despite my exhausted body embracing the cold slumber. A voice tugged on the edge of my hearing, gently guiding me towards wakefulness. I had been moved onto a slightly softer, more comfortable surface. I arduously craned my neck up to overlook my surroundings. I was lying on one of the padded benches next to the stationary tables. Crouching beneath it in order to sit close to me was a very familiar figure.
"Hey, Sunshine." Frankie Preston straightened up as far as he could without hitting his head. "Sorry I wasn't there to catch you when you fainted. Too bad. It could have been our movie-moment."
I smiled at him. Then I jolted upright, nearly kicking Frankie under the table as I planted my feet on the floor to train my eyes on Rhonda. She was leaning against the partition wall of the booth, typing away on her phone. "You," I uttered. "You and that other lady did some kind of… witchcraft-thing."
She glanced up briefly. "Oh. That was nothing, really. Forget about it."
Fran poked his head out from between my legs. "What's this about witchcraft?"
Rhonda shrugged. "Hailey and I just performed some basic spells to get rid of your little wife's stalker."
"Could you please not—nevermind that; what are you even talking about?" Fran's voice was dripping with bewilderment.
The older woman raised a brow at him. "Honey, we're… we're witches. You did know that, right?"
"Right?" Rhonda repeated, once again not receiving a response.
"I don't think he did," I supplied helpfully.
"You're kidding me." Rhonda stared at the blonde with her mouth agape. "How could you not have known? You lived with us for almost two years!"
He still gave no answer.
"Honey, you saw everything! You saw my herbs…" Her voice faltered in disbelief. "And the ceremonial daggers… The charms around the doors!"
He shrugged.
"You played with Mae-Lynn's casting crystals for a whole afternoon? You were in the room when Paloma made her sacrifice for Loki's favor? You literally watched all six of us at our bonfire dance during the blood moon!"
"I thought that was just another crunchy mom thing."
"Crunchy mom thing?" she echoed, her chest rising at the affront. Jabbing a finger at my forehead, she added, "And how would you have accounted for that?"
"That little drawing? I thought Eva had gotten herself tattooed." Frankie glanced between Rhonda and me in confusion.
"It's a magic symbol, for crying out loud; it's a protection against forces messing with her perception!" the waitress explained in audible exasperation. "And who would get their forehead inked?"
"Eva might. You gotta admit she has peculiar fashion tastes," Frankie argued.
I couldn't help but chime in. "Why do people keep saying that?"
Rhonda threw her hands up in defeat.
I cleared my throat. "You're saying that all the ladies working here have supernatural abilities?"
"Like I just told you." She rubbed her temples with both hands. "And I'm sorry you fainted. It had to do with Hailey—her magic is great for defending against dark influences. The spell she cast was to scare off your attacker, but it seems to have affected you, too."
"I don't consider myself a dark influence."
"Well, you are an interdimensional being," Rhonda replied. "Not normally mankind's best friend. But I know you're a good kid. Don't worry."
"Thank you very much for helping me," I said softly, staring at my hands as I folded them in my lap. "I apologize for the inconvenience."
"It's cool."
"So, the six of you all together are probably really powerful?" I inquired, an idea faintly taking shape in my mind.
"You could say that," Rhonda answered, not without a hint of pride.
"Is there any way I could get your input on a problem I've been having?"
"I suppose," she said slowly. "We'll hear you out, sure, but that's about all the promises I'll make for now, okay?"
"Yes, perfect."
"Alright. I'll talk to the girls and we'll be in touch." She zipped up her jacket, shoving her phone into her pocket. "Goodnight, you two."
With that, she left us sitting in the empty diner. Frankie still looked rather puzzled. Shaking his head, he turned to give me a droll smile. "How embarrassing. I normally pride myself on being perceptive. People are strange though, aren't they?" He sat down beside me on the bench, shuffling closer. "You ran into trouble again? With the cultist?"
I didn't really want to relay the entirety of what I'd learned from Jewel to him—somehow, I didn't think Frankie would be opposed to someone bringing by the end of the world. It would be best to keep that particular piece of information stored away for a while longer. Instead, I asked a completely different, if not wholly unrelated question. "The other day, you told me about feeling destructive and grimy. Where is that coming from?"
"Sunshine, I know I've danced around this for long enough. I can tell you, but you look miserable right now. I'd much rather have you in better spirits first." He placed a tentative hand on my back. "Anything I can do to cheer you up?"
I started chewing on my lower lip, not meeting his gaze.
"You're thinking about kissing me again, aren't you?" Frankie asked, having apparently learned how to read minds.
"We don't have to. I do not care."
"That nearly crossed the line between accommodating and insulting. Look, I want to. You just caught me off guard the last time." He pulled a wet string from his chewing gum. I waited in silence for him to continue. "I'm honestly surprised you're still up to it. I know I'm a piece of shit."
"You're not—"
"I am. And what's more, you should know that kissing is as far as things are gonna get between us. I don't do the sex-thing. That's nothing to do with how much I like you or anything. I just don't do that." He had removed his gum from his mouth completely, instead fumbling around with it like play doh. "If that cancels out the whole liking-me-extravaganza, then it's best we cleared that up beforehand." He turned to face me. "What's that look for?"
I was beaming at him with more conviction that I had found the most perfect being than ever. "This works out beautifully," I told him.
"Are you sure? You're not just saying this?"
"If you don't take my word for it, I wouldn't know how else to prove it."
"I believe you! I'm glad, I really am, I'm just kinda stunned." He straightened up. "I want to kiss you even more now."
A quiet squeak came from somewhere in my throat. "I can hear my pulse," I remarked.
"Yeah, me too." He grinned, propping his chin in his palm. "Excited?"
"You know that." Feeling I had to share more, I added, "This is the first time for me. That doesn't change anything, does it?"
Fran's brows rose a great deal. "Huh."
"Is that bad?"
"No! But seriously, is this gonna be your first kiss?" He gestured at our surroundings. "A dingy little diner after hours? Not very romantic, is it?"
"That's fine," I assured him.
"Nope. We can do better." He got off the bench, drawing himself up to his full height (which wasn't very impressive either). "It doesn't have to be a big deal, but it should be nice. You're getting a good first kiss. I'll think of something. Don't worry, I won't go over the top."
I couldn't help but smile at that. Letting him pull me to my feet, I briefly went in for a hug. I nearly jumped when he turned his head and pressed his lips to my cheek. "That doesn't count." He held onto my hand as he let go. "So… how would you feel about hypothetically burning a building together?"
2: deadbeat roommate
3: creepy crush
4: relocation
5: beach concert
6: First date
7: Temp work
8: roommate talk
9: a dismal worldview
10: warehouse
11: staircase
12: explanation
13: hurt
14: hospital
15: ocean
16: diner
17: government work
18: something in the caves
19: shopping cart
20: olms and Jewels
21: long hair
22: recruitment
submitted by girl_from_the_crypt to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 06:53 buttcrackrockthrower (WTS) Eberlestock, Catoma, Karrimor, SilencerCo, Garmin, Altama, Olight, free gifts $30-700

Timestamp https://imgur.com/a/Z6AQDhI
Listen up sluts, these are the rules:
-prices are negotiable, but zero flair must do asking price (no offers from newbies, pay your dues)
-due to the bulky nature of many of these items, shipping costs are not included. Send your zip code in your initial message and I'll get you a quote (I use pirateship)
-ppff, Venmo, or cashapp accepted
-bundles encouraged, extra discounts and cheaper shipping for bundles
-be nice or I'll cry
Ok let's dive in. 1. Eberlestock Fac Trac. Dry earth color way with an upgraded coyote padded hip belt. No original hip belt or rain fly included. Seen one day hike, shows purely cosmetic signs of use. To be specific, there's some water spots on the bottom of the bag and one of the carry handles has a little fuzz from where I was experimenting with onewrap. $200
  1. Eberlestock RMEF. Very similar pack to the fac Trac, but it has an external frame, a built in rifle scabbard, and meat straps. Never fielded but might show some bumps/scuffs from storage. $175
  2. Catoma burrow LTE. Box is a pretty messed up but the tent is in perfect condition. I bought this as a backup to my other one in case I needed parts but I never did so this is unused and complete. $70
  3. Karrimor sabre side pockets. Pair. Coyote. Brand new with tags. Fits PLCE type bags. $40 shipped
  4. Karrimor Predator large utility pocket. Grey. $20 shipped. Brand new with tags
6. sico asr flash hider, 1/2x28 .224 caliber. Lightly used, but never rocket sett. No Shims or rocksett included. $70 shipped
  1. Garmin instinct solar tactical. Brand new in box, I charged it once and connected the bluetooth to my phone, decided it wasn't for me. $200 shipped
  2. Altama maritime mids in mcb. Probably 4/10 condition, wore them a few times. Size 12. These run super tight so definitely size up if you want them. $30 or free if you buy over $300
  3. Olight warrior X tan. Includes picatinny rail mount and magnetic pressure switch. Slightly used. Too bulky to pocket carry and no longer needed as a wml, so you get this for $80 shipped.
  4. Primos trigger stick gen 3 Jim Shockey edition Tall. Comes with both qd attachments (gun rest and threaded post) and a molle scabbard that I cut the shoulder strap off. Used a couple times at the flat range for glass but never shot off of. $90 buy this and get a cvlife sling stud bipod free.
  5. Surplus MSS partially complete. Decent condition but definitely used. Includes woodland bivy, black intermediate bag, grey patrol bag, but not the original stuff sack. I'll include an alps mountaineering stuff sack. $100
  6. Sba3 coyote. Used, free with any purchase
  7. Prescription inserts for Wiley X saber glasses. May fit other Wiley x frames, idk. Has my old prescription of -2.5 left -1.5 right, 70 PD. Free to anyone, just pay shipping.
  8. Clapped out Turkish Alice pack with all the good mods. $75
  9. Camelback backpack, idk much about it but it's pretty beat up. Bigger than a 3 day pack with hella pockets. Make an offer, I just need this gone and it's too nice to throw away.
I'm rushing to post this so my timestamp is still valid. More pics on request for serious buyers, I may add pics to the album
submitted by buttcrackrockthrower to GunAccessoriesForSale [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 23:30 khoafraelich789 Driven: 2023 Chevrolet Colorado Proves Mid-Size Trucks Don’t Have To Suck

Driven: 2023 Chevrolet Colorado Proves Mid-Size Trucks Don’t Have To Suck

The redesigned Colorado combines a good ride with a nicer interior as well as an all-new turbo engine

Trucks are as American as apple pie, but most of the attention has been focused on the full-size segment. It’s been that way for decades, but smaller trucks have finally stepped into the spotlight.

The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz revived the long dormant compact segment, while 2023 is shaping up to be the year of the mid-size truck thanks to new entries from Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, and Toyota. That’s a ton of new blood and we haven’t even mentioned the Jeep Gladiator and Nissan Frontier, which are still relatively fresh.

We’re kicking the year off with the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado, which features a fantastic new design, an upgraded interior, and an all-new turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. However, the biggest news might be value as the truck starts at $29,200 and you can get one with four-wheel drive, adaptive cruise control, a bed liner, and a ton of safety features for under $37,000.

A Sporty And Stylish Design

While there’s a lot going on, there’s no better place to start than styling because designers knocked it out of the park. The model has “big truck energy” and sports an all-new design that echoes the Silverado. However, this is no scaled down copy as the Colorado has a more youthful and athletic appearance, which combines sharp lines with subtle curves.

The resulting design is great and the Colorado is arguably better looking than its larger counterpart. That’s high praise and each trim has a slightly different aesthetic. The entry-level WT is the most basic of the bunch as it sports black components and 17-inch steel wheels. This look is shared with the all-new Colorado Trail Boss, which builds on the WT but adopts a 2-inch (51 mm) lift, a wider front track, and 18-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch all-terrain tires.

The Colorado LT is more traditional as it wears body-color components and 17-inch aluminum wheels, while the Z71 combines creature comforts with moderate amounts of off-road capability.

The news isn’t all good as the Colorado is offered exclusively in a crew cab configuration with a 5’ 2” bed. This is a bit of a disappointment as the outgoing model offered extended and crew cab configurations as well as a larger 6’2” bed.

That being said, the redesigned Colorado has a few tricks up its sleeve and one of the most interesting ideas is a lockable, watertight compartment that is integrated into the tailgate. With the tailgate down, you push two levers aside to gain access to a compartment that measures 45 inches (1,143 mm) wide and 4 inches (102 mm) deep. It can be a bit tricky to open, but there’s a decent amount of space and owners could easily stash tow straps and other off-road equipment there.

While the compartment is a little gimmicky, it’s hard to argue with eight standard tie-downs, integrated motorcycle tire grooves, and an available 110-volt power outlet in the bed. The tailgate can also be positioned midway down to aid in transporting longer items, while a dampened EZ-lift and lower tailgate is also available.

An Interior That Doesn’t Scream Cheap

Mid-size trucks are far more affordable than their larger counterparts and this cut-rate pricing is often reflected in the interior. However, the Colorado bucks this trend as drivers will find a significantly improved cabin with better equipment.

The changes are immediately apparent as driver sit behind a chunky steering wheel and find themselves looking at an all-new 8-inch digital instrument cluster. It comes standard and features an assortment of informative displays including an off-road focused setup, which shows pitch and roll as well as the steering angle and current transfer case setting.

Speaking of screens, there’s an 11.3-inch infotainment system with Google integration as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It’s a massive improvement over the old 7- and 8-inch displays, and the system is fast, responsive, and largely intuitive. That being said, we did experience a few hiccups including an instance where music was blasting at startup and the system initially refused to respond to attempts to lower the volume or mute.

Putting the screens aside, the cabin sports a modern design with classy switchgear, gloss black trim, and metallic accents. The amenities vary by trim and things are pretty basic in the WT and Trail Boss. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but the models eschew a lot of the bright work, padding, and details that make higher-end variants look and feel special. It’s also worth mentioning that, regardless of which trim you get, black plastic is abound and it’s of the hard variety.

Despite being a rough and tumble pickup, the Colorado can dust off its cowboy boots for a night on the town. In particular, the model can be equipped with two-tone heated and ventilated leather front seats as well as a heated steering wheel. While it’s not as fancy as the upcoming GMC Canyon Denali, it’s pretty darn nice for a mid-size truck.

Speaking of the seats, the front chairs are perfectly comfortable and spacious while also offering a good amount of support. Furthermore, the entry-level WT doesn’t cheapen out too much, although a front center console is an optional extra.

The rear seats are less impressive as they’re not terribly spacious. While there’s a good amount of headroom, legroom is limited as occupants will find a mere 34.7 inches (881 mm) of space and that’s 1.1 inches (28 mm) less than last year’s crew cab pickup. The experience reminded me of the compact Maverick and Santa Cruz, which actually have more rear seat legroom on paper. That being said, the seats seem to be competitive for the segment, although not as generous as those found in the Gladiator.

A Turbo Four With V8 Levels Of Torque

The streamlining continues under the hood as the Colorado’s engine lineup shrinks from three to one. As a result, every single model is equipped with a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder.

The engine has been powering the Silverado for years and it’s available in three different outputs. The entry-level variant produces 237 hp (177 kW / 240 PS) and 259 lb-ft (351 Nm) of torque, which is a sizable improvement over the old 2.5-liter four-cylinder that developed 200 hp (149 kW / 203 PS) and 191 lb-ft (258 Nm).

The entry-level engine comes standard in the WT and LT, and offers respectable performance. There’s plenty of power for cruising around town, although we wished for a little extra oomph when it came to merging onto the highway.

The mid-level engine comes standard in the Trail Boss and Z71, where it produces 310 hp (231 kW / 314 PS) and 390 lb-ft (528 Nm) of torque. Customers can also opt for a high-output version that develops 310 hp (231 kW / 314 PS) and 430 lb-ft (582 Nm) of torque. The latter figure is insane as the engine has more torque than the 5.0-liter V8 in the Ford F-150. It also bests the Silverado’s 5.3-liter V8 by 47 lb-ft (64 Nm), despite having half the number of cylinders.

The high-output engine comes standard in the range-topping Colorado ZR2, but Trail Boss and Z71 customers can order a high-output calibration for an additional $395. That seems pretty reasonable as it delivers an extra 40 lb-ft (54 Nm) of torque, which will be appreciated if you tow on a regular basis.

While the base engine is fine, the upgraded versions transform the truck from good to great. As you’d expect, responsiveness improves significantly and there’s plenty of power throughout the band. Chevrolet hasn’t released detailed performance specifications, but officials we spoke to said all three versions of the engine enable the truck to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in less than seven seconds.

Speaking of the engine, it seems relatively refined and engineers told us it was “designed like a diesel.” As a result, it sports a rigid cylinder block casting, a fully forged bottom end, and a stiff crankshaft – among other things. While that’s just scratching the surface, the engine has been subjected to countless torture tests and was designed to withstand years of heavy use.

The engine is connected to a capable eight-speed automatic transmission, which worked well on- and off-road as shifts were perfectly timed and well executed. Rear-wheel drive comes standard on the WT and LT, but the rest of the lineup has four-wheel drive.

EPA ratings haven’t been released, but the Colorado has an engine start/stop system and active fuel management technology. As a result, we can expect the truck to surpass the Silverado’s rating of 19 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. It’s also worth mentioning that all of the engines run on regular gasoline, even the high-output variant.

A Capable Truck That Doesn’t Ride Rough

One of the most surprising things about the 2023 Colorado is how well it drives. Body-on-frame trucks aren’t typically known for their refinement, but Chevy’s entry exceeded our expectations.

While the ride can get a little bumpy on rough roads, it’s not uncomfortable and can best be described as truck-like. However, those incidents were few and far between as things settle down significantly on smooth roads and the Colorado proved to be a comfortable highway cruiser, despite having a solid rear axle and leaf springs.

The good news doesn’t end there as handling is good for a body-on-frame pickup. Cornering was secure and predictable without any hints of drama until the truck was pushed hard. The experience can also be somewhat entertaining on the right road, although you’ll want to keep your expectations in check.

Given this is a truck, it’s not surprising to learn the steering is a little heavy and slow. We didn’t have any problems with the heft, but we wish the truck offered a sport mode with a more direct response as traversing twisty mountain roads required an almost comical amount of turning.

Speaking of driving modes, the Colorado offers Normal, Tow/Haul, Off-Road, Terrain, and Baja settings. Terrain mode might be the most notable as it was designed for low-speed rock crawling and it enables you to travel at a leisurely pace with subtle throttle responses.

The truck also offers a cool off-road performance display as well as up to 10 different camera views including underneath the truck. Speaking of off-road goodies, the Z71 and Trail Boss come standard with a limited-slip differential and hill descent control. The Trail Boss is also notable for featuring the aforementioned lift and wider stance.

Back on pavement, wind noise can be pronounced at highway speed, but otherwise the truck is fairly quiet. The model also sports an impressive amount of standard safety equipment including Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and IntelliBeam automatic high-beams.

Customers looking for more safety tech will find an assortment of affordable packages that offer Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Park Assist, and Rear-Cross Traffic Braking. They’re joined by Blind Zone Steering Assist, Rear Pedestrian Alert, and an HD Surround Vision system.

Colorado owners like to tow and most versions of the truck have a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lbs (3,493 kg). This bests the Frontier, Ranger, and Tacoma while also matching the mightiest Gladiator.

Sticking with towing, customers can get a package that adds a receiver as well as an automatic locking rear differential, an integrated trailer brake controller, and a trailering app on the infotainment system. We’d also be remiss to mention the truck has a maximum payload capacity of up to 1,684 lbs (764 kg).

Mid-Size No Longer Means Half As Good

Mid-size trucks have often felt like half-hearted efforts, but that’s clearly not the case with the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado. Designers and engineers poured blood, sweat, and tears into the model and the end result is truly impressive as it looks great, drives well, and features an impressive new engine.

On top of that, the Colorado boasts a significantly improved interior, more upscale equipment, and a new Trail Boss trim that should appeal to off-roaders on a budget. Speaking of which, Chevy managed to keep pricing affordable and this means you can get a nice truck for around $42,000.

While there are a few tradeoffs, the Colorado is a solid pickup and the one to beat. Of course, there’s no shortage of challengers on the horizon and we’ll learn more about them in the coming months.

Source: carscoops
submitted by khoafraelich789 to CarInformationNews [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 22:17 Laptoplelo How to Choose a Good Laptop Bag: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to protecting and carrying your valuable laptop, a high-quality laptop bag is an essential accessory. With numerous options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to select the right one that suits your needs. In this guide, we will help you navigate through the process of choosing a good laptop bag, ensuring both style and functionality. Read on to make an informed decision and safeguard your laptop investment.
Determine Your Laptop Size
Before embarking on the quest for the perfect laptop bag, it's crucial to know the dimensions of your laptop. Measure the width, height, and depth of your laptop to ensure a proper fit. Laptop bags are typically designed to accommodate specific screen sizes, so selecting the right size will prevent unnecessary movements and potential damage to your device.
Consider the Bag Type
Laptop bags come in various types, each with its unique features and advantages. Consider the following options:
a) Backpacks: Ideal for those who need to carry their laptops for extended periods or travel frequently. Backpacks distribute the weight evenly and often offer extra compartments for accessories.
b) Messenger Bags: A popular choice for professionals, messenger bags feature a single shoulder strap and a spacious main compartment. They are versatile and provide easy access to your laptop.
c) Briefcases: Offering a professional and sleek appearance, briefcases are perfect for business settings. They typically have a sturdy structure, multiple compartments, and a top handle for easy carrying.
Evaluate the Bag's Protection
The primary purpose of a laptop bag is to protect your device from bumps, scratches, and impacts. Consider the following protective features:
a) Padding: Look for a bag with ample padding or a dedicated laptop compartment that provides cushioning on all sides.
b) Water Resistance: To safeguard your laptop from unexpected spills or rain, opt for a bag made from water-resistant materials or one with a built-in waterproof cover.
c) Reinforced Construction: Ensure the bag is well-constructed with durable materials, sturdy zippers, and reinforced stitching to withstand daily wear and tear.
Assess Storage and Organization
Apart from accommodating your laptop, a good laptop bag should have sufficient storage for accessories and other essentials. Look for the following features:
a) Compartments: Multiple compartments and pockets will help you organize your belongings, such as chargers, cables, pens, notebooks, and personal items.
b) Laptop Sleeve: In addition to the main compartment, a dedicated laptop sleeve provides extra protection and prevents your laptop from coming into direct contact with other items.
c) Accessibility: Consider how easily you can access your laptop and belongings. Quick-access pockets or side openings can be convenient for frequently used items.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Since you'll likely be carrying your laptop bag for extended periods, it's essential to prioritize comfort and ergonomics. Look for the following features:
a) Adjustable Straps: Ensure the bag has adjustable straps to achieve a comfortable fit and distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders.
b) Padded Back Panel: A bag with a padded back panel provides additional comfort and prevents pressure points, particularly for backpacks.
c) Weight Distribution: Opt for a bag with good weight distribution to avoid strain on one side of your body.
By considering factors such as laptop size, bag type, protection, storage, and comfort, you can select the perfect laptop bag that meets your needs. Visit LaptopLelo for a wide range of laptop bags in Pakistan designed to provide both style and functionality, ensuring your laptop stays safe and secure wherever you go.
submitted by Laptoplelo to u/Laptoplelo [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 22:17 Laptoplelo Your Go-to Source for Waterproof Laptop Bags

In an era where laptops are indispensable for work, study, and entertainment, protecting these valuable devices from water damage has become increasingly important. A waterproof laptop bag offers the ultimate solution, ensuring your laptop stays safe and secure even in wet and unpredictable conditions. Laptop Lelo, a trusted online platform, offers an extensive range of waterproof laptop bags designed to provide maximum protection. In this article, we will explore the benefits of waterproof laptop bags and delve into the offerings provided by Laptop Lelo.
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Shielding Against Water Damage accidental spills, rainy weather, and other moisture-related incidents pose a significant threat to laptops. A waterproof laptop bag offers reliable protection, keeping your device dry and safeguarding it against potential damage.
Durability and Longevity
Waterproof bags are crafted from high-quality materials, ensuring they can withstand the rigors of daily use. They offer enhanced durability and longevity, ensuring your laptop remains safe and secure for an extended period.
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Travel-Friendly Companion
Whether you're a frequent traveler or simply on the go, a waterproof laptop bag is a reliable companion. It offers peace of mind, knowing your laptop is well-protected during your commute, travels, or daily routines.
Key Features of Laptop Lelo Waterproof Laptop Bags
Water-Resistant Materials: Laptop Lelo's waterproof bags are crafted from high-quality materials like nylon, polyester, or PVC, which are specifically chosen for their water-repelling properties.
Secure Sealed Zippers: The bags feature sealed zippers designed to prevent water from seeping into the compartments. Laptop Lelo ensures that these zippers are built to withstand water exposure, providing an additional layer of protection.
Padded Compartments
Laptop Lelo's waterproof laptop bags come equipped with cushioned compartments. These provide excellent shock absorption, safeguarding your laptop from accidental bumps or drops.
Ample Storage Space
The bags offer spacious compartments to accommodate not only your laptop but also other essential accessories such as chargers, cables, notebooks, and documents. They provide organized storage options for convenient travel and easy access to your belongings.
Ergonomic Design
Laptop Lelo waterproof laptop bags in Pakistan feature adjustable straps and handles to ensure comfortable and personalized carrying options. You can choose to sling it over your shoulder or carry it by hand, adapting to your preference and needs.
Your Trusted Destination for Waterproof Laptop Bags
Extensive Product Range laptop Lelo offers a wide selection of waterproof laptop bags, catering to various laptop sizes, styles, and customer preferences. You can choose the perfect bag that meets your specific requirements and matches your personal style.
Quality Assurance
Laptop Lelo prioritizes quality, ensuring that all products meet stringent standards. The waterproof laptop bags are meticulously crafted to provide reliable and long-lasting protection for your laptop.
Customer Reviews and Ratings
Laptop Lelo website features genuine customer reviews and ratings, allowing you to make an informed decision based on the experiences of other users. This helps you choose the right waterproof laptop bag that aligns with your expectations.
Competitive Pricing
Laptop Lelo offers competitive prices, ensuring that you get excellent value for your investment. The website provides affordable options without compromising on quality.
Easy and Secure Online Shopping
Laptop Lelo offers a user-friendly online shopping experience. With secure payment options and efficient delivery services, purchasing your waterproof laptop bag is convenient and hassle-free.
submitted by Laptoplelo to u/Laptoplelo [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 21:20 ham-solomi (WTS)(NJ) Spiritus, GMR, Crye, Random Gear Bits, AXL, Misc Gear

Reupload - updated Imgur with what sold & added some new items at the end. - https://imgur.com/a/7GpDKHk
Spiritus Systems LE Green Goblin halloween Patch Set - $50 Limited Edition from like 2 years ago. Green goblin with 2 smaller pumpkin patches that go with it. Look brand new - never worn just displayed on my patch wall a bit.
Replica (RGW) Surefire 7.62 M40 Suppressor & muzzle - $60 Unsure if I just can't fihure out the latching mechanism but I believe it funstions as it should. Used it just for the muzzle device on my sr25 becuase it looked sick.
Maple Leaf Crazy Jet (180mm) - $25 Basically brand new, never even installed in a gun. Purchased for a project that never came to fruition.
Spiritus Systems Blacked Out Wolf Patch - $40 Brand new - they only do these in limited quantity for Black Friday. I have 2 so this is up for sale.
Spiritus Systems Unicorn LMG Patch - $50 Another limited edition patch, don't really know the value on this but its cool.. may just keep it for my GF but if someone wants it for fiddy its yours.
RogueWorx Limited Loki (1/5) Splatter SSB - $125 1 of 5 in existence. Grabbed it for my underlever build but sold that before finishing it. Been holding onto it on the chance that I build another KC02 but I don't see it happening (at least for an SSB usage). Comes witht he springs and set screws. Price reflects rarity and my on-the-fence of selling it.
Generic M4 9" outer barrel - $35 Mounted but never fielded. No marks or signs of wear on it. Nice for a mk18 build
Petac Repro IFAk for belt kit - $20 Ranger Green Color. went a different route with my belt kit.
Zohan Ear Protection - $20 Functional and good for a helmet usage. Headband was removed.
Full Spiritus MK4 Chest Rig setup - $145 Fat Straps, Back Strap, MK4, Dangler Sack, + either 3 bank M4 or 4 bank smg insert included (you tell me which you want. Used a little and broken in but not abused or fraying.
Chest Rig wings - $25 each Nice to store your radio or some spare mags on the side of your rig plus a hook for your gloves. One right hand and one left hand.
GMR Mag Inserts - $50 each one is for JPC and one is generic larger. I can confirm sizes if you need. Nice pieces of kit from the GMR boys. I just don't really use them all that much.
GMR Kydex Banger Holders - $25 each Nice if you run nades. I dont find myself using them and don't run tan kit very often. my loss your gain.
BFG Ten speed dual mag pouch - $35 Tan, used, believe this is a piece of Ronin (GMR) kit.
LowPro Tan Helmet Scrim Cover - $30 Don't use tan on my helmets or any of my gear really.
MC Kydex M4 Pouch with molle clips - $25 Almost brand new, mounted once and worn around the house but no signs of wear, great piece of kydex gear for a belt setup.
Haley Strategic 7.62 Mag Pouch - $30 used on my belt, just didnt like how it fit with my kit. really nice construction and great retention for airsoft mags (GBB & AEG)
Stock TM Hicapa Slide - $40 Did your stock slide break and you just want another stock one to replace it instead of some fancy ass colorful slide? This is your listing! shoot me an offer, just feels bad throwing it away instead of sending to a good home.
Viking Tactics RAZE 2Piece belt setup - $50 brand new belt, like my gucci AXL belt more. This is a great beginner belt. Large size in black. comes with inner & outer belt
AXL Advanced Eclipse Belt - $130 Eclipse belt unused in grey in size L/XL with syzygy gen 1 inner belt as well as Raptor Buckle. Ranger green came in stock and I realize this was way too big for me. let me know any questions - may have some pouches I can throw in with it.
MC Black dump pouch - $15 unknown brand. really like this but grew out of my MC Black phase.
Condor OD Green Hydro Pack - $20 Nice piece of kit for low profile hydration carriage. comes with straps to use as a standalone backpack too.
Spiritus Back Panel GP Pouch - $40 Just the pouch that goes at the top of the back panel. accidentally ordered black instead of green like 2 years ago. this thing is new in bag. someone buy it please.
Ikea Chest Rig - $75 Don't really know if i want to sell this but throwing it up here for the price I'd let it go for. Has HSP kydex inserts for mag retention. really cool and mega scav cred.
Sunshine Custom Works Hand Warmer (choco chip) - $75 dangler function for the bottom of your chest rig. Great piece of kit with a little pouch for a hand warmer for winter months. I know we're past needing these but get ready for next year!
GMR Choco Chip Helmet Scrim Choco Chip - $75 Nice build quality, has choco ship velcro area that attaches to helmet or boonie with black scrim netting that hangs around your face.
Tokyo Marui G17 - $145 Basically stock, relatively used. Got scammed on this a bit ago and took forever to source the parts to get this working again through my local shop. This functions and comes with 1 action army magazine.
Crye G3 Tiger Stripe Combat Top - 2X Reg - $200 Basically new, worn once or twice. Fantastic condition with no signs of wear.
Crye G3 Tiger Stripe Field Pants - 40 Reg - $450 Same as the top. Lost a bunch of weight so none of this fits anymore.
Spiritus Systems Elastic Cummerbund - Size 2 - $70 Great condition
Spiritus LV119 Build - Size XL - $500 XL Plate Bags, XL Back Panel Adapter, Back Panel Core, Back Panel GP Flap, AXL Equinox Size L/XL, Tri-Fold Shoulder Pads, 556 Placard. Whole kit has seen only a few range uses and has virtually no salt or wear on it. AXL Equinox is brand new.
If my prices are wack let me know and I can adjust accordingly, but keep in mind price includes shipping fees. Generally expect me to ship on a Saturday but may be able to get something out during a weekday depending on work schedule.
submitted by ham-solomi to airsoftmarket [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 20:52 ham-solomi [WTS] EPS Carry, Crye Desert Tiger, AXL, Spiritus Systems

Timestamp: https://imgur.com/a/ZlN2NqH
What's up gamers - bunch of kit that's been sitting around + some stuff that doesn't fit any more due to lifting heavy objects.
Spiritus Systems MK4 Chest Rig Setup - $140 Fat Straps, Back Strap, Dangler Sack, MK4 rig, will include either an SMG or Triple M4 pouch whichever you prefer
Sunshine Custom Works Hand Warmer - $50 Keep the fingies warm come fall/winter time with this sicko piece of kit. Has a small pouch for a hand warmer to go in as well. Choco Chip for gucci cred
Holosun EPS Carry 6moa red (non MRS) - $310 Unboxed and unbagged but basically brand new. Mounted once and realized I didn't like the carry sized window as much as I thought. Never wired.
Im no longer a fatty so below is gear that no longer fits me!
Crye G3 Tiger Stripe Combat Shirt - 2X Reg - $200 Worn once and washed, no cuts our tears and in near mint condition.
Crye G3 Tiger Stripe Field Pants - 40 Reg - $450 Same as combat shirt, phenomenal condition with no visible wear.
Spiritus Elastic Cummerbund Ranger Green - Size 2 - $70 Basically new. Worn once or twice until I got the AXL equinox.
VTac Raze Gun Belt Black - Size L - $50 Comes with basic velcro inner belt. Nice construction, this si in great condition. Regular Cobra Buckle
AXL Eclipse Grey w/ Syzygy 1.0 - Size XL (38-40) - $140 Bought this and it was almost immediately too big for me. Nice amount of adjustment but now even the size L is a little too big too. Only wore the Syzygy a couple times for casual use. Belt has seen almost no use. Comes with Raptor Buckle
Spiritus Systems LV119 Full build Ranger Green - Size XL - $500 XL Plate Bags, XL Back Panel Adapter, Back Panel Core, Back Panel GP Flap, AXL Equinox Size L/XL, Tri-Fold Shoulder Pads, 556 Placard. Whole kit has seen only a few range uses and has virtually no salt or wear on it. AXL Equinox is brand new.
Thanks for looking!
submitted by ham-solomi to GunAccessoriesForSale [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 18:57 Seamoose_Art NoP 2177: Violence [9]

Credit for the original story goes to u/spacepaladin15.
[First] [Previous] [Next]
Memory transcript subject: Trish, Venlil civilian
Date [Standardized Human Time]: February 30th, 2177
Location: Lower sprawl of City 23, Venlil Prime
The blankets haphazardly twisted around Trish felt like steel chains. The Terran grandfather clock on the wall dutifully marked each second of her prison sentence. Her eyes hurt from exhaustion, and it was all she could do to keep herself from lashing her tail hard enough to fracture it in frustration.
Several long, pointless hours had come and gone as she sat, self-immobilized with blankets in an attempt to sleep. But sleep did not come. There was a sick feeling of apprehension balled up in her stomach, a cold weight in her soul which silently sentenced her to sleeplessness.
Her instinct, that feeling of a frigid vice around her waist, could usually be counted on as a guiding star that commanded her to act decisively. Right now, it was commanding her to stay awake and alert even as the hours dragged by. Out of respect for its “wishes”, she had abstained from taking any sleep-inducing medication, but her meager patience was quickly waning. Simply sitting there in silence was nothing short of torturous.
The thought of how exactly they’d feed the Arxur still hung over her head like a guillotine, the evening’s furious debate having brought them little closer to a solution. Acquiring any organ-cloning tech would be a nightmare, not to mention the steep cost of life incurred from stealing rare medical equipment. There wasn’t exactly an abundance of wildlife for it to hunt. Maybe some DIY-biomedical tampering could expand its diet, but accidentally condemning it to an agonizing death was far more likely.
Perhaps their fixer had some advice to share. There were only a couple ways she could’ve gotten her hands on a fertilized Arxur egg, and her constant insistence on keeping hidden in every way pointed towards one obvious possibility. How exactly an Arxur had survived the fall of Wriss and stayed clear of the Federation’s all-seeing eye for so long, Trish couldn’t even begin to guess. But if it was possible for her, it would be possible for them, and she might have useful advice for keeping the hatchling fed that she garnered from personal experience.
That said, she couldn’t be blunt in her questioning. If their encryption was broken, they were most likely dead either way, but better to be cautious anyway. Most likely, this abundance of caution was how someone actively fleeing the Federation had to operate in all aspects of life.
Something in Trish’s chest protested. To hell with caution. She wanted to see their reptilian sponsor face-to-face, even digitally. Look her in the eye. If she was right, at least; if this was truly her own offspring she was entrusting them with. It would be hell to set up, and a completely pointless risk for both of them, but some things couldn’t be justified with—
A sudden crack of thunder tore through her thoughts, a rough noise which echoed from the bar above. She further entombed herself in blankets for comfort, letting the warm weight…
Not thunder. A gunshot. Someone had fired a gun upstairs.
Trish was out of bed and shaking someone else awake before her thoughts could catch up and form a plan of action. With her mind still reeling, instinct had taken hold, dragging her by the pit of her stomach to act. It issued clear, firm commands which she followed unthinkingly while her own conscious mind couldn’t keep pace.
Act quickly. Get everyone awake, and get them to the fire escape at the end of the hallway. It didn’t much matter if their assailants found the entrance to the Den or not; flames would start pouring down the stairs any second. They wouldn’t have time to gather belongings. Except her pad; if they found her pad, there’d be no escaping them even if they got away. Grab it. The fire would cleanse the rest of their tracks well enough to not be worth spending extra time.
Tressa was already up and alert, pistol drawn and taking aim at the door while crouched behind a couch in the living room as cover. Besides him sat the backpack, with the egg and incubator still inside. James stumbled out of his bedroom, being dragged out by a jet-black Venlil two thirds his size with such force that Trish was slightly worried she might hurt something in his arm.
When he saw the bag, he tore himself from her grasp and ran to the living room. After slinging the backpack over his shoulder, he rushed back to the hallway with Tressa in tow. Sasha was slipping her flame jacket over loose sleeping clothing, still blinking sleep out of her eyes. She didn’t see Burai anywhere; apparently, he’d slept straight through the noise. Trish was halfway to his room when she remembered that he hadn’t gone to sleep at all. He was upstairs, cleaning the bar.

He was upstairs, where the gunshot had echoed from.
Trish’s mind screamed in protest, but her body kept moving down the hall toward the fire escape. They were out of time. They needed to run. She tore open the fire escape hatch with force, praying that their assailants didn’t have the neighboring alley locked down too. The ladder swung down, missing her snout by a hair. Her limbs moved with a frantic, manic power, dragging her to the surface and forcing her down the street. Somewhere in the back of her head, she felt a pang of thankfulness that she didn’t feel fire on her back as she ran.

They stopped running by the time Trish was out of breath. She’d never been too fit even for a Venlil, and her endurance was meaningless compared to their human companions. However, in the dense decaying maze of the sprawl, even a few city blocks was plenty to lose anyone chasing. They gathered in the relative privacy of a burned supermarket, breathing heavily through cloth masks to block out the ash that poured from the walls in unrestored buildings.
Nobody spoke a word. There was nothing to say.
In better times, Trish might’ve broken down into tears, but right now adrenaline forced her into a sharp focus. They were still being hunted. Their options were slim, and growing slimmer every second of inaction.
“Tressa, did you bring your pistol?”
The words came out as choked and barely audible beneath the suffocating cloth that protected her lungs, but it was enough to break the silence. The rest of them jolted out of their stupor, minds visibly refocusing to tackle the problem at hand.
“...Yeah, but it won’t be enough to fight them off. I heard multiple sets of boots up there. If these are exterminators, it’s probably a squad of five. I can’t take that many with just a handgun.”
“It doesn’t matter either way. Kill them, and they’ll just send more. We need to run.”
“And run where, exactly?” James coughed a few times and readjusted his mask before continuing. “There’s nowhere the Federation doesn’t have eyes. Nowhere on Venlil Prime, at least, and we’d have better luck standing our ground than trying to board a ship offworld.”
“...a ship?”
“Yeah, walking into a spaceport is just asking to be— Trish?”
“...there’s a ship… there’s a wrecked UN ship on the dark side of Venlil Prime. It’s not too far from here, but far enough that nobody would ever bother checking out there. I’ve been inside it a couple times. There’s still working lights.”
Tressa muttered to himself, considering their prospects. “Working lights… imagine I could get heat working too. It probably has enough water onboard to last until we can dig a well. I… I could maybe even clone meat if they had Zurulian medical tech. You think we’d be safe there?”
“I don’t think there’s anywhere else to go.”
“And you never thought to tell us about this before now?
“It never came up.”
James paced nervously, kicking up plumes of dust. It hung in the air for a brief moment, swirling dramatically in the cold light of a fluorescent lamp, before resettling as he leaned against the wall. “So you want to drag us to the dark side of Venlil Prime… Jesus, Trish. I thought there was a reason nobody bothered settling out there. Or at least a reason they didn’t scavenge those wrecks. Hell, even people like us avoid it.”
“There are settlements on the edge, and scavengers comb the darkness up to about a paw’s travel out. But no light means no farming, scarce power, and unyielding cold. Unless you just happened to find an abandoned ship with backup power still burning, it’s a death sentence. The Federation won’t look for us there.”
“...and you ’just happened’ to find one, huh?”
“A friend of mine— no, I’ll tell you about it later. We need to get moving now.”
Sasha sat up, brushing a layer of grime off her jacket. “We need to go back for Beast. No way we can make the journey out without her. Unless you think you can hotwire something, Tressa..?”
“Not a chance. Then again, our chances of retaking Beast seem pretty slim too. Do you have a plan for doing this, or is your ‘plan’ to throw me at them and hope I have more bullets than they have flamer fuel?”
“No. We’ll all go together, and try not to pick a fight we can’t win. Slip in, grab Beast, get out.”
“That’s not a plan, and you know it. That’s wishful thinking. If your best plan is ‘walk in and hope they don’t see us’, then we’re walking to our deaths.”
“If you have a better idea, let’s hear it. Until then, walk faster. The longer we’re gone, the more likely they’ll burn our escape to slag before we return.”
Tressa grumbled, but failed to make any coherent objection as he rose to his feet. He checked his pistol over, making sure ash hadn’t wormed its way into anything vital before slipping it back under his coat as the group stepped out into the street.
It was a common work claw, so the more ruined areas of the sprawl were near-empty. The only sign that people lived here in any capacity were the streetlights and a distant hum of life from more central streets and walkways. Not that their little entourage would draw much attention anyway; out here, ragtag herds of misfits were about as common as the burned-out buildings that permeated the land.
Their little ragtag herd of misfits wouldn’t hardly be missed if they went up in flames. Not by anyone important, that is; a few regulars at the Tipped Quill might be disappointed and some exterminator officer’s spreadsheet would need updating. The world would continue on without them. The world was going to continue on without them. Tressa was right; they were marching to their deaths.
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submitted by Seamoose_Art to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 18:00 strngdr Help a newbie

I'm a newbie learning some CSS. I have issue in 2 points. I have created a general layout as a logo in center top, a navigation bar under the logo (sticky), and charts under the navigation bar. Issues are:
1- Charts need to float, but since the logo and nav. bar also floating, all elements floating together.
2-At least I manage to float charts after first one, when I scroll down page nav. bar dissappear in lower side.



submitted by strngdr to csshelp [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 17:40 Vaughen1919 Chronicles of Defiance: Part 5, Demand

The Dogma Armored Fighting Vehicle raced through the desolate landscape of Cepcis six. Rodney continued to grin madly as he drove like a madman, he had long since drowned out the complaints of the others. He began laughing as he saw a hill fast approaching.
"Who's ready for some airtime!?" He shouted over the interior comms.
The only thing he heard from the others was a garbled mix of 'NO, DON'T YOU DARE, and What does he mean.' before they soared over the hill. As they started to come down, he hit the emergency thrusters to slow their descent so no one would be seriously hurt. Once they hit the ground he began laughing maniacally.
After about ten or so minutes they had finally reached the general area where the power source was coming from. But oddly enough the scanners were now struggling to read anything.
"Alright, eyes peeled, something is screwing the sensors, and it sure as hell ain't pirates." he said, his voice now devoid of joy.
Trala's feathers tried to stand but were stopped by her environmental suite, something about the captain's sudden change in demeanor unsettled her and she could tell that she wasn't the only one. Kasto and Sergios looked to each other before ensuring that their weapons were ready. The vehicle slowed down, and she could hear the turret begin to move around.
The vehicle shook as the distinctive sound and impact of a medium energy cannon rang out.
"ENGAGING PISSANTS!" Cried Takashima.
Trala felt herself vibrate slightly as the human began to return fire. Then she lurched to her right, they were going in reverse now.
Trala felt the vehicle spin around as more energy cannon bolts flew past, while the human cannon continued to fire repetitiously.
"Sir, I can't get through to the FOB." said Alex's radio operator.
Before Alex could reply, the doors to the reactor opened with a hiss. He turned, expecting to see a reactor, but only saw a battalion sized element of coalition troops. The first few energy bolts flew past.
"OPEN FIRE!" Alex shouted as he blew a hole into one of the coalition's soldiers. "BACK TO THE FOB!"
Third platoon began bounding back to the FOB. The squads took turns providing covering fire as they made their way back.
"I can't get through to the FOB." Seta's RO declared, just before a bolt of energy slammed into Seta's shoulder.
"CONTACT, LIGHT THEM UP!" She shouted as more energy bolts flew out of the Storage Bay.
Seta threw an ionized smoke grenade inside and got back up. Once there was a sufficient amount of smoke there was a sufficient amount of smoke preventing the enemy from firing their weapons, she motioned for her troops to follow her. Second Platoon began rushing back to the FOB.
Calvin paced on the command tower as Keyla worked her magic on the terminal.
"Chief, there is nothing on this terminal, or anywhere." Keyla stated confused.
Before Calvin could respond he caught a red glimmer in the corner of his eye. He turned his head to see a red flair in the distance. His eyes widened as he saw more flashes bellow the flare moving closer.
"BACK TO THE FOB, MOVE!" He ordered.
The squad packed up and began moving down the shaft, Calvin grabbed his flare gun and shot a red flare of his own out of a broken window. As he went to turn around however, he caught a glimpse of something moving below. He glanced at the movement and saw an All-terrain Heavy Tank aiming a cannon up at him.
He ran towards the shaft, leaping onto his cable and sliding down.
The Command Center blew apart above him, snapping his cable. He pushed off of the wall down towards the lift door, landing with a roll as flaming debris landed behind him. The others helped him up.
"Let me guess, a trap?" Beau asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yeah, we need to move before that heavy tank can cut us off, it was outside the hangar." Calvin declared.
The platoon began running back, as they neared the hangar the distinctive sound of a coalition hover tank was absent. They entered the Hangar indenting to run straight through.
A large blue explosion erupted in front of them, knocking several marines down, injuring them. They injured were grabbed and dragged back into cover as coalition infantry began to fill the hangar, cutting them off.
O'Neil waited in the FOB for status updates from the other platoons, something didn't feel right about the situation. His head shot up when the sound of gun and energy fire filled the station.
"GET READY EVERYONE!" He shouted, grabbing his carbine.
The FOB quickly filled with motion as the crew and marines of the 'Defiance' prepared for a fight. Third platoon burst into the room followed by bolts of energy, then Second platoon entered. He turned, expecting to see Calvin and First platoon, but seeing nothing.
"First squad with me, we need to get First platoon." HE ordered calmly moving towards the hall that Calvin had gone down.
Griggs watched as the two red flares fell from the sky, followed by the command center exploding. Not a moment later the landing pad was surrounded by bolts of energy. His security personnel immediately returned fire while taking cover.
"Well shit, can never have an easy mission." He stated annoyed, firing his own red flare into the sky. "Hopefully they ain't hitting us in space."
Irine stared at the readings in slight dismay. Three red flares, they were being attacked on multiple fronts by coalition forces.
"Miss Irene, we have three coalition ships entering the system." The ships AI, Amie, called out. "Two Frigates and a Heavy Cruiser."
Irine groaned and activated the ships intercom. "All hands to your battle stations, I say again, All hands to your battle stations. Angel Squadron, prepare to deploy and provide cover for the away team."
Irine took direct control of the ship and turned it to face the incoming fleet. She found it annoying that they decided to send three ships to try and destroy the most advanced warship in the galaxy. She gave a small and sadistic smile as all of the ship's weapons trained on the hostile fleet.
"Incoming transmission" Amie stated.
"Put it through." Irene replied.
The screen came activated. showing a Quaratik, like the prisoner Trala. "Surrender, you are outnumbered." he stated confidently.
Irene barked out a harsh laugh. "You should have brought more ships, but if you want to throw more lives away then go ahead." She cut the transmission and licked her lips.
Grinak took cover with the other volunteers from his crew as coalition troops began firing into the FOB, trying to enter the room.
"Sir, now is our chance, we can escape." said one of the volunteers.
Grinak grimaced, 'I guess we're all traitors now.' he thought, watching the fight ensue. He felt his heart clench as he watched a crewman of the defiance get hit three times, falling clutching his burned side. The sound of battle was quickly drowned out by the cries of the injured human.
"OH GOD, MEDIC!" the human cried out. "IT BURNS, MAMA!"
Grinak broke cover and bolted straight for the injured human. His crew watched in confusion as he grabbed and picked up the injured human, carrying him back to his cover, he gingerly set him down. Grinak looked back to see a medic pinned down and unable to reach the wounded.
"I will repay my debt tenfold." He whispered before diving for the injured crewman's weapon.
He grasped the weapon in his claws and glanced at the other humans, watching how they used it properly. He mimicked their movements and began firing the weapon back at the coalition troops.
"SIR WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" demanded one of his crew.
A moment later the others leapt into action, some grabbing weapons from injured humans, while the rest helped drag the injured into better cover.
O'Neil moved down the hall with his squad before stopping at the hangar, noticing the large amount of enemy fire that was keeping Calvin and First platoon pinned.
"Well, it's just another one of THOSE missions today isn't it." He said exasperated.

https://www.reddit.com/HFY/comments/1335ek4/chronicles_of_the_defiance/ (First)
https://www.reddit.com/HFY/comments/13gy1ve/chronicles_of_defiance_part_4_supply/ (Previous)
submitted by Vaughen1919 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 10:18 katejo708 Mastering Technical Analysis in Forex Trading at ForexWick

Are you ready to take your forex trading skills to the next level? Do you want to make more accurate predictions, spot profitable opportunities, and maximize your profits? Look no further! At ForexWick, we specialize in teaching traders the art of technical analysis, a powerful tool that can revolutionize your trading game. In this article, we will delve into the world of technical analysis and show you how to harness its potential in your forex trading journey.

Understanding Technical Analysis

Before diving into the intricacies of technical analysis, let's first understand its essence. Technical analysis is a method of evaluating financial markets by analyzing historical price and volume data. It focuses on studying price patterns, chart formations, and various technical indicators to predict future price movements. Unlike fundamental analysis, which examines economic factors and news events, technical analysis solely relies on historical price data.

The Basics of Technical Analysis

To master technical analysis, it's crucial to grasp the fundamental concepts and tools. Here are the key elements of technical analysis:

1. Candlestick Charts

Candlestick charts are the most widely used chart type in technical analysis. They provide valuable information about price action within a specific time period. Each candlestick represents the open, close, high, and low prices of a trading session. By observing candlestick patterns and formations, traders can gain insights into market sentiment and potential trend reversals.

2. Support and Resistance Levels

Support and resistance levels are key price levels where buying or selling pressure is expected to be significant. Support acts as a floor, preventing prices from falling further, while resistance acts as a ceiling, limiting price movements to the upside. Identifying these levels helps traders make informed decisions regarding entry and exit points.

3. Trend Analysis

Trend analysis involves identifying the direction of the market's primary movement. Traders look for upward (bullish) or downward (bearish) trends to determine the overall market sentiment. Trend lines, moving averages, and trend indicators such as the Average Directional Index (ADX) are commonly used tools for trend analysis.

4. Chart Patterns

Chart patterns are recognizable formations that indicate potential trend reversals or continuations. Patterns like head and shoulders, double tops, and triangles provide valuable insights into market psychology and can help traders anticipate future price movements. It's essential to learn and understand various chart patterns to make accurate predictions.

5. Technical Indicators

Technical indicators are mathematical calculations based on historical price data. They help traders confirm trends, identify overbought or oversold conditions, and generate buy or sell signals. Popular indicators include the Relative Strength Index (RSI), Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), and Bollinger Bands.

Mastering Technical Analysis Strategies

Now that we've covered the basics, let's explore some effective strategies to master technical analysis in forex trading:

1. Multiple Time Frame Analysis

Multiple time frame analysis involves examining price charts across different time frames. By observing the big picture on higher time frames and zooming in to lower time frames for precise entries, traders can gain a comprehensive understanding of market trends and improve their timing.

2. Moving Average Crossovers

Moving average crossovers are popular entry and exit signals in technical analysis. Traders monitor the interaction between different moving averages to identify potential trend changes. A bullish crossover occurs when a shorter-term moving average crosses above a longer-term moving average, signaling a buy opportunity. Conversely, a bearish crossover indicates a potential sell signal.

3. Fibonacci Retracement

Fibonacci retracement is a tool used to identify potential support and resistance levels based on the Fibonacci sequence. Traders plot Fibonacci levels on a price chart to determine areas where price retracements may occur. These levels can act as potential entry or exit points, aligning with other technical analysis signals.

4. Breakout Trading

Breakout trading involves identifying key support or resistance levels and entering trades when the price breaks through these levels with conviction. Traders wait for confirmation of the breakout with increased volume or candlestick patterns before entering positions. Breakout trading can yield significant profits during volatile market conditions.

5. Risk Management

Effective risk management is crucial when applying technical analysis strategies. Traders must set stop-loss orders to limit potential losses and determine appropriate position sizes based on their risk tolerance. By implementing proper risk management techniques, traders can protect their capital and optimize their trading results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I solely rely on technical analysis for my forex trading decisions?

While technical analysis provides valuable insights, it's recommended to combine it with fundamental analysis. Fundamental factors, such as economic indicators and geopolitical events, can significantly impact currency movements. Integrating both approaches can enhance your trading decisions.

2. How can I learn technical analysis effectively?

To master technical analysis, it's essential to study chart patterns, indicators, and trading strategies. Joining educational programs, attending webinars, and practicing with demo accounts can accelerate your learning process. Additionally, dedicating time to analyze historical price data and observe real-time market movements can sharpen your skills.

3. Which indicators are the most reliable?

The reliability of indicators varies depending on market conditions and personal trading preferences. It's advisable to experiment with different indicators and determine which ones align with your trading style. Remember, no indicator is infallible, and combining multiple indicators can provide more robust signals.

4. How can I avoid common pitfalls in technical analysis?

Common pitfalls in technical analysis include overtrading, relying on a single indicator, and failing to adapt to changing market conditions. It's crucial to maintain discipline, diversify your analysis, and continuously update your knowledge to avoid these pitfalls.

5. Is technical analysis suitable for all traders?

Traders of all experience levels can apply technical analysis. However, beginners should focus on understanding the basics and gradually expand their knowledge. Practice, patience, and continuous learning are key to mastering technical analysis.

6. How can I stay updated with the latest technical analysis trends?

To stay updated, follow reputable financial news sources, join online trading communities, and participate in educational programs. Engaging with experienced traders and analyzing real-time market data can provide valuable insights into emerging technical analysis trends.


Technical analysis is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance your forex trading skills. By mastering the art of analyzing price charts, identifying trends, and interpreting technical indicators, you can make more informed trading decisions and increase your profitability. Remember, mastering technical analysis requires dedication, practice, and continuous learning. Join ForexWick today and embark on a journey towards becoming a proficient technical analyst.
submitted by katejo708 to forexsignalsservices [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 04:53 De-pressedStudent Some bra science from someone who fits lingerie for a living :)

I just came on here to share some nuggets of wisdom about bras in general, if one of you find you learned something new then my job is done:)
To start with, I work in a high end lingerie store where we shape TO your body, not the other way around. Lingerie has the absolute power to transform how you feel on the daily as it’s the one thing that no uniform and no individual could control. Only YOU know what’s underneath (unless not, in that case im happy for you) and that’s special! I like to teach clients how they could wear special “fancy” pieces that they previously thought only existed for those special occasions on the daily. Quality of each piece matters, and personally find that European quality is just so much more than north American offers (cries in Canada). Once you figure out your size, you could mix around lingerie in your everyday wardrobe as statement pieces, sneaky peekaboos that could look so sophisticated when done right (ex: having a fancy lacy strap peaking through a blouse, having the top of the lacy cup peeking through in a cami, etc).
On top of this: I’ve met so many people who were mistreated at lingerie stores previously. You should not ever feel pushed into buying anything. You should not be ridiculed, shamed and ignored. Only YOU know what’s comfortable for you at the end of the day: and that’s okay. If you come to me and I fit you and you say you don’t like the true band size fit, and prefer loose because of ___, I will just warn you that you will not get as much support as you COULD, but will encourage you to stick with what you already know. If you’re sensitive to lace *good quality lace girl, not the la senza grit 4000 shred your lats by midnight. I will never show you lacey stuff. If you prefer to go in alone with no associate in the store to help you, I have tips on the bottom:)
Also a disclaimer: bra fitting is a freaking science to say the least, and that’s exactly why people like me exist! Since starting work I haven’t seen two pairs of breasts that are alike. Everyone is unique, everyone has at least a little difference in volume from left to right, and everyone has different preferences for bras.
I work hard everyday to break the stereotype of coming home and taking off that itchy piece of torture we wear daily for 8+ hours in our lives. I see so many people come in saying they’re a 36C and they want a bra that FITS but surprise surprise they come out a 32G…
It could also be a very intimate and powerful piece of beautiful art that we wear for ourselves. Everyone deserves to be comfortable and feel beautiful in something like a bra.
Now onto the fun stuff, I’m gonna walk you through how to size yourself as best as you can :
Once you calculated your bra size with the calculator (which is correct for so many people (if measured according to instructions), however, some may feel more comfortable in sister sizing(see below))
To start with, there are two “main” types of bras: lined and unlined (padded/unpadded). I will not use any sort of “push up” or bra that has extra padding to give the breasts any sort of “oomph”. When working, I prefer to size customers with unlined as that is when I can visually see if the sizing works because the padding hides any extra space that you’re not filling in that specific size. So to start with, i’m gonna have you grab any style unlined bra in the store to try on, along with two sister sizes in the same colour and style:
I will be using european sizing from here on out, so a DDD is just an F (D, DD=E, etc)
Fun fact: 2 bras of the same style but different colours usually fit DIFFERENT. I know all of the product that we offer, so I know which collections and which things fit and how they fit and who they work well with. You do not need this, just remember that every bra fits different even in the same size. The difference between the sizing is super minimal, but for comfort purposes you have to try on a lot. Just because a red bra made of super tight thick material doesn’t let you breathe in a 32H doesn’t mean that a lacy soft bra will as well.
Fun fact: Sister sizes technically have around the same volume as each other but the shape of the wire is different. In every cup going up (A,B,C) the wire kind of concaves more outward so there’s more volume depending on the “root” of the breasts. And sometimes the band fits better if your in between sizes:)
Now into the changing room!
the bra wire should sit comfortably under your boob hugging the shape. The end of the wire is supposed to be angles towards your armpit, not stabbing the breast tissue. - Visual : Now stand with relaxed shoulders and assess the size -> Is your boob inside the cup? There should be no “muffin top”. I’m trying to describe this as best as i can but i’m crying at this description i’m sorry😂* Now with a relaxed straight back (don’t hunch shoulders), lean over. If there’s a big gap it’s not your size move on.
Now repeat this with a sister size. Doesn’t matter if this one feels perfect, TRY it out some find these way more comfortable.
Now onto finding a GOOD quality bra that could outlast you:
also a very important one: Is it flattering? There are different types of styles of bras : demi cup, full cup, plunge, etc etc
I want you to try on at least a few before deciding what you don’t like. So many people don’t imagine wearing something when on display but change their minds when it’s on them.
Good quality bras that could last DECADES are in the 90-200 range. La senza and VS are following the big price ranges slowly but their quality is nowhere as good as something that Simone Pirele or Huit offers.
Fun fact: Red and any colour with red hues closer to your skin tone (read: beige lighter than your skin tone DOESNT work) will cover better under white tshirts than white.
If your bra is truly your size you should not feel it at the end of the workday * as in pain after wearing it, we still feel materials on our body.
Now random tips:
For bigger sizing stick to thicker straps. You need the support and the thin straps will dig in and make you die inside.
If you have sloped shoulders don’t go for bras that have wideset straps because they’ll keep sliding off
Hand wash! Hand wash! Hand wash! I just soak mine in a gentle detergent that is for soaking specifically and air dry
Demi cups are supper flattering on smaller sizes
Look at the stitching and quality of the material of the bra, learn to judge it: actual band material, if it feels high quality, if the lace is soft, etc etc. The felt on the back of the wire doesn’t count as “quality”. It should be soft but it’s never perfect, there’s some string strangers, etc.
I’ll edit if I remember anything important to add but my fried brain is retired after a long day :)
Edit: added some more tips
Suggestions for larger cup sizing i’ve seen in the comments : Elomi, Cat, Samanta
Also going to pin https://brashopdirectory.com/search/ Thank you to the redditor who created this, its fantastic!
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2023.06.04 03:37 British_Tea_Company Respect: Cato Sicarius (Warhammer 40k)

‘I only want…’ said Nehebkau, ‘to save my people.’
Sicarius looked down on the necron without mercy. ‘So do I,’ he said, splitting Nehebkau’s head in half.

Cato Sicarius

Cato Sicarius is the former Captain of the Ultramarines 2nd Company and the current commander of the Ultramarines Honour Guard. Beginning his career since his youth, Cato was raised among the noble families of the planet Talassar, his upbringing involving much martial training which quickly saw his induction into the Ultramarines Chapter. Initially, Cato proved to be an arrogant, pompous and callous leader who sought only for his personal glory. It was only after the Damocles campaign which involved a near-mutiny after his callous treatment of his squad and other sergeants that saw him eventually evolving into a more capable and levelled leader, though this didn't quite stymie his immense ego.
It was then at the Damnos Campaign where Cato was nearly slain against the Necron Overlord the Undying in which he began exhibiting a more humble and humane outlook. He would eventually avenge himself against the Undying during a recapture of the planet but never forgot the lessons learned from his earlier failures in life. Present for the resurrection of his Primarch: Roboute Guilliman, he was subsequently promoted(?) into being the head of the Ultramarines Victrix Guard following being missing in the warp for an extended period of time.
Author's Note: Cato Sicarius is a sergeant during the events of "Blades of Damocles" and likely is wearing an inferior pattern of armor as well as being overall less experienced. Cato Sicarius as of "Master of the Watch" is explicitly not wearing his usual armor. Cato does not have any other equipment changes expressly stated following his change in role within the Ultramarines.









The Talassarian Tempest Blade is labelled as TTB.


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2023.06.04 03:13 Rattie_Queen I can't find the right size binder

I've already sent in a message to GC2B for a size recommendation but I'm not sure how long that will take. On their sizing chart my chest falls under 3XL but my shoulders are a M! I don't want to go with a 3XL because I know for a fact that will be too big for me. Any others solved similar issues to mine?
submitted by Rattie_Queen to ftm [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 01:51 SneekTip [WTS] Battle belt, Clicky cap, BAD lever, .22 drum, Ape cheek riser, Handstops, Rhino mount, Romeo1 Pro mounts & more

Timestamp: https://imgur.com/a/joqYFLX
Alps Outdoorz Commander X frame and detachable 4000 cu in pack bag. If you've been designated radio man against your will, then this is for you! Excellent frame system for packing meat out or hauling unwieldy loads (ie Setting up that cache in a remote location).
Only fielded a couple times. In great shape. Perfect for hunting elk, or any multi day hunts. Adjustable torso length. Large hip belt pockets. Hip belt holster attachment straps. Bow/ rifle pocket. Rain fly. Padded spotting scope pocket. Missing little front detachable pack Feel free to ask any questions.
$200 and I'll cover shipping. conus.
Aero 9.3" R-One keymod. Includes all hardware, no barrel nut wrench $70
Ape Defense .7" cheek riser, new $35
Sig Sauer 34mm scope mount, brand new $50
Condor LCS Cobra padded battle belt. This is the version with the legit AustriAlpin Cobra buckle. This is the medium/large size.
Of note, I am a 36 waist, and this will adjust from a size 34 up to 38 waist, despite what the manufacturer's size chart states. $50
Black Dog Machine AR22 50 round drum with CMMG charging handle. Both items brand new in package. $80
Blackhawk stock mounted mag pouch $14 or $8 add on
KVP .625 barrel dimple jig. Used once. $30
USGA bayonet mount, new $18
NVG Bikini cover, like new $14
Sigg Romeo1 Pro MOS plate $30
Sig Romeo1 Pro pic mount w/ riser & screws $50
Krydex inner belt, medium (sz 32-36ish) $15
Magpul BAD lever $20
Modlite clicky tailcap $20
3-D printed M-LOK hand stop/angled grips $10 each, 15 for both
Odin works extended mag release button $10 or $5 add on
Blackhawk speed clip molle attachment sticks $10
SMG and pistol mag pouches $10 each or $5 add on. Or $10 for both?
I think that's everything? We can work out some deals for multiple items. PayPal friends & family. NO NOTES!
submitted by SneekTip to GunAccessoriesForSale [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 01:33 thanape1ro Merch sizing help?

Genlosers! I need some help - I really want to get the varsity bomber, but the sizing chart makes all of the sizes seem like they’d be huge on me. Could anyone in the women’s adult small/youth EX size range give some info on which size you got, and how it fits? Thanks!
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2023.06.04 01:02 Oradainer Celestial Empire - Chapter 1


Victor turned around for one more look at what had been his childhood home. It was a three bedroom apartment on the four hundred thirty third floor in the Manchester district of the hive city New Avalon. It did at least have one window facing the outside of the hive, which made it an instant selling point.For which he was glad, it was part of his new inheritance from his parents who had recently died in the latest rounds of terrorist bombings against Canary Corps headquarters, which they both were middle management.
His military leave was coming to an end, his amassed two week respite was only due to his twenty years of service in the imperial guard. As a Captain and veteran of the Emperors many campaigns, he could pull rank when needed.
In five short years he would be able to retire a full citizen. Something his father scoffed at, but that was nothing new, his father scoffed at anything he had ever done. His everything ached, as he turned his back on his former home and made his way towards the transmat pad. Selling the apartment and consolidating his assets weren’t the only thing he was doing on Terra.
He spent those two weeks getting augments that would have been out of reach to a lowly Captain of the Imperial guard. Gene-mods were common throughout the Empire, but there were gene-mods, and then there were gene-mods. His were now top of the line, far beyond the mil-spec given to him in officer school. That, combined with his new dimensional storage add-on allowed him to purchase and store massive amounts of goods for his upcoming retirement.
Some things you could only get on Holy Terra, a nano-forge capable of making anything you have a SBC to construct could be found on most technological worlds. A nano-foundry to make the nanites the nano-forge uses can only be purchased on select worlds of the Empire.
But SBCs can only be found on Terra, and are heavily restricted. But some connections in Imperial Guard logistics pointed him to some people who might have some SBCs that may or may not be considered illegal to own. That combined with raw materials, a habitat module, weapons, food, mining drones, security drones, and forge spiders now filled his dimensional storage.
“Next!” Shouted a bored looking transmat officer in front of Victor. To which he sighed and presented his Imperial Guard ID and his permissions to be transported to Andosious Prime. The officer looked him over in his Imperial Guard Armor, a bit battle worn, but impeccably maintained. It felt much lighter with the upgrades, which was the point. Two hundred kilos of light power armor is still heavy even with the minor gene-mods of the guard. Now he barely felt it as he stood before the officer.
“No baggage Captain Cane?” He asked looking down at this console.Victor kept his face emotionless, something driven into him by officer training. “The guard provides me with all I need officer. No baggage today.” He lied through his teeth.
The officer nodded, that was the proper response, “Thank you for your service Captain, next stop, Andosious Prime!” He said with a flourish as he pressed a button on his panel.The universe went white, time fell away, then he felt like he was falling. This wasn’t what normally happened on a transmat. Suddenly the world came back into focus, blue sky followed by a green forest followed by a brown ground coming up fast.
His mental commands screamed through the interface nodes imbedded all over his body into the scout armor. Retro-rockets fired as he made a hard landing in the clearing of a forest. Two weeks earlier something like that would have hurt bad, if not caused serious injury. Now it just added to his aches.
He looked around, his heads-up display noting the fauna, surprisingly it came back as all Terra based equivalents. Well, they would have been if most of them didn’t say EXTINCT beside their classification in red.
“Captain Cane to Guard unit 117154, please respond.” The hud responded with something he had never seen before. NO SIGNAL.
“What the hell?” He asked himself. He had never been without a signal. “Computer, run diagnostics, maybe the transmat damaged something.” He watched as the diagnostic finished running, no errors, no signal.
He looked up, the sun would be going down in a few hours, he could use the celestial navigation software in his armor to find his location anywhere in the galaxy. Emperor above, he hoped the transmat hadn’t put him on a Xeno world.
He activated his jump pack to launch himself up for a better view of the land. About a thousand meters up he saw smoke coming from a medium sized village… maybe? He could work with that, maybe he was in a non-technological world of the Empire, even those had outposts to get a signal out from.
The jump pack’s capacitors would need to recharge before he could use it again. Nothing to do but start walking towards the village. With any luck he would reach it before nightfall, from there he’d get some answers.
He did not get to the village before nightfall. The terrain made going slow, the ground was soft and muddy, the forest was densely packed with oak trees and rocks. He had to use his jump pack to clear a particularly deep gully and it was slowly recharging.
As he looked down on the village he remembered his navigation software, he looked up to the sky and let the computer gather data. Location confirmed, Holy Terra, New Avalon, District 334.He sighed and looked back down to the village, “Either my suit is borked, or I’m back in the distant past.” He muttered. His armors’ limited AI printed something new on his hud. CONSTELLATIONS OUT OF SYNC BY 4271 YEARS.
Victor froze at the revelation. All the physics classes he took in his youth stated going back in time was impossible, something about paradoxes prevented it. “Computer, do you have any information on transmat failures?” The AI showed it was indexing before coming back with an answer, LOST MATTER IN TRANSMAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN PUSHED PAST THE FINITE CURVE OF THE UNIVERSE. NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE.
Victor sat on a tree stump taking in the information. “Well, I’m not in the Empire anymore, even if the computer thinks I am. Nothing to do but head down to the village.” He pushed up from the stump and made his way in the dark towards the oddly ancient eastern looking village.
There was a road leading into the village, a sign stood crookedly at the crossroads, his AI translated it as Wuzhen, with other arrows pointing to Tongxian, Jiaxing, Huzhou, and Wujiang. “Computer, what language is this?” IT IS A DIALECT OF ANCIENT CHINESE, ADJUSTING GENE-MODS TO FOR TRANSLATION.
His vocal cords did that weird thing that happened whenever the AI needed to translate from Terran to another language or dialect. How the gene-mods did it was beyond his pay grade, but everyone always complimented him on his accent, so apparently the technology was sound.
He saw figures up ahead with a ox and wagon. His enhanced vision showed him about what he expected, peasants bringing their wares to town for sale. That was, until he saw the woman had goats eyes. The man had goats horns curling from his forehead but in all other aspects looked Human.
“Emperor above, what is going on?” He thought to himself as he decided he may not want to walk into town in green and black scout armor. He reached into dimensional storage and found a large trench coat that would fit over his armor. He pulled it out and put it on, then sent a mental command to retract his helmet as it whooshed back into the backpack portion of his armor.
As he walked up to the gates he was met with a solitary guard, this man had human features but a monkey’s tail. “Hurry up and get in, we’re about to close the gate house.” Victor pointed a thumb backwards, “There are two people behind me on a wagon coming.” The monkey guard yelled out as Victor stepped into the village past the walls.
“Hurry up you dumb turtles, instinctive are on the prowl and won’t think twice about making a meal of the lot of you!” The guard yelled. This seemed to put some fire under them, as they cracked their whip on the ox yelling for it to move. He sub-vocalized to his AI, “Does the term instinctual in reference to ancient china mean anything?”
The computer spoke back in his inner ear, CHINESE MYSTICISM STATES PRACTICERS OF INSTINCTIVE CULTIVATION BECAME ANIMAL LIKE AND OFTEN CANNIBALISTIC. Victor looked around at the village, seeing the sign for what must be an inn, he made his way across the street narrowly avoiding a steaming pile of horse manure.
The inn was bustling, barmaids with cats ears or pigs snouts served drinks and food to tables and people seemed to huddle close to the strange hearth like fireplace of the inn. It wasn’t like any fireplace he had ever seen. He sub-vocalized the question to his AI and it responded with the word “KANG”.
He found a chair near the front of the inn, far away from the kang and watched the locals. It appeared that coinage was copper discs. He turned his head from the inn and ducked down to bring his helmet back up, “Computer, replicate those discs in the nano-forge from copper ingots, have them ready for me to pull out of dimensional storage, we’ll need currency.”
His helmet slid back into his backpack and he raised his head and turned around just as a barmaid noticed he had no food or drink. “We have veil or pork, beer or wine. What can I get you?” Victor kept his face neutral, something that would have been impossible before his training with the Guard, she looked Xeno after all, the snout was all that was out of place on an otherwise attractive woman.
“I’ll have the veil and wine. Also, who do I see about a room?” He asked.
The boar-kin woman turned her head towards the bar, “Old man Huang would be the one to check with, don’t know if we have any open tonight. We have a lot of refugees from Huzhou after all.”
Victor raised an eyebrow, usually refugees meant something bad, “Refugees you say? I’m new to these parts, what happened?”
The barmaid snorted, which was ironic considering she was a boar-kin. “You must be new, Huzhou was raised to the ground by the instinctives, the Empress has sent a small contingency of the sect of the Iron Paw to defend Wuzhen, as we are a central transport hub.” The barmaid then looked over to a table of women in much more elaborate dress than the commoners, each with a jade talisman on their wrist.
Without another word she brought more drinks to their table, on it stacked plate after plate, bowl after bowl of food. After setting down the drinks she bowed until her snout almost touched the table before hastily retreating from their prescence.
Victor’s AI chimed in his ear that fabrication was complete and he reached under the table to access his dimensional storage, grabbing two handfuls of copper coins he put them in his trench coat pockets. He noted that although the inn was crowded, everyone else avoided the table with the sect women. It was almost as if others had moved their tables and chairs away, as if there were danger near them. The women didn’t look especially tough, they were armed with swords, but mostly dressed in robes of fine silk, no armor to be found.
He also noted they all had traits of tiger in them. Some had tails, some had the ears, some had the eyes. He supposed that was why they were called the Iron Paw sect, not very creative, but he doubted he could do better.
The barmaid came back with a plate of veil, steamed vegetables, and a large cup of wine. As she sat it down she said quietly, “Stop staring at the cultivators, do not draw their notice or they will decide they need make an example of an upstart mortal.”
Victor kept his face stoney as he accepted the meal and looked elsewhere while he ate. The food was quite good although he didn’t like the turnips. The wine was made from rice, and quite strong. He was about to wave the barmaid back over when a bell started ringing. Everyone in the inn froze, well all but the cultivators.
They pushed their plates to the center of the table, stood as one, and marched out of the inn. As they reached the door conversations started up. With Victor’s enhanced hearing he heard variations of ‘They must have spotted instinctuals’, or ‘I hope the iron paw is as fierce as they are rumored to be.’
Victor stood up, asked the barmaid for the tab, placed some copper on the table and raised his collar as he walked out of the inn. He noticed none of the other patrons followed him out, if anything they huddled away from the door. Seeing no-one was around he jumped using the armors powerful servo motors to propel him onto the roof of a two-story store. He almost didn’t clear the roof, landing with a slight thud and breaking roofing tiles as he made his way to the peek of the roof.
He watched as the women of the sect bounced almost weightlessly off of the rooftops reaching the guard tower at the east gate. Bringing his helmet back up his hud instantly targeted over 30 creatures rushing the east gate at monstrous speed. 160 KM/HR, ETA 45 SECONDS his AI helpfully informed him.The creatures were vaguely humanoid, they resembled ware-wolves, and ran on all fours. He watched as the cultivators drew their weapons as one, the human guards dropped from the wall and grabbed long pike-like weapons.
WAR MODE ENGAGED, EVASIVE ACTION REQUIRED fired through his ears as his armor spun from a crouching position and narrowly avoided a sword that stabbed through the ceramic tile of the roof to nearly the hilt. Before him stood a woman with the ears of a tiger in a blue silk dress.
His AI relinquished emergency control of the armor back to Victor as she spoke. “You are fast for a male. Surrender to this Mei, and I will make sure your execution is quick.” Victor cocked his head to the side before partially raising a hand. The bolter pistol appeared in his hand from dimensional storage as he pulled the trigger.
Mei’s eyes were round as the roof beneath her feet vanished in a hail of ceramic and wood, a noise as if a volcano had exploded right next to her severely stunned her more sensitive cultivator ears as she fell through to the second floor. Victor turned to the east wall in time to see a mass of bodies, all female it appeared, as he had never seen ware-wolves with breasts, leap the ten meters or so to the top of the wall. Howls pierced the night air as some were impaled on swords, others lashed out with razor sharp claws tearing into members of the Iron Paw sect.
It was obvious they would not hold that position. If they didn’t retreat they would all be lost, some of the smarter or luckier of the sect began to tactically retreat, fending off claws and teeth with their swords. Victor turned and saw the highest structure in town, a bell tower that stood about five stories high. That must have been where the warning came from, he could get a better vantage point from there.
Suddenly he heard a growl and the woman he had unceremoniously dropped through the roof jumped through the opening and landed as if gravity held no sway over her. “You have made a grave mistake instinctual, for this Mei will end you this…”
She didn’t get to finish her sentence as she watched the black armored figure with a strange brown robe suddenly launch himself on wings of fire from the roof to the top of the bell tower.
“Mei, Mei! Where are you, we are being overrun!” She heard from the east wall as her sect sisters were back pedaling as the mass of instinctuals climbed over both their own dead and her sisters. She turned away from the strange male and leaped from rooftop to rooftop to aid her sisters in battle.
She landed next to Xiang, who now had a gash across her cheek from combat, “There is someone else here, a male!” She shouted as she drove her sword into one of the wolf-kin that came too close. It howled in pain and retreated, but she knew it was not a fatal blow.
Xiang parried a high swipe of a claw and with a spin kick sent the instinctual she was fighting flying backwards only for it to catch itself with its claws and grind to a crouching halt. “Who? We are in the backlands of the Empire, and why would they send a male, he would surely be courting death against foes such as these!”
Mei blocked a razor sharp claw with the blunt edge of her sword before parrying backwards, “It doesn’t matter, our orders are to protect this town at all costs, don’t let them push us into a blind ally or somewhere we can’t defend ourselves.”
Victor watched as the tiger ladies tried desperately to fend off the ware-wolf ladies. It was not going well for the tigers, it seemed that although the instinctuals didn’t use weapons, they were faster, bigger, stronger, and meaner on average. His hud counted six cultivators down, two of which were being eaten by the ware-wolf women, the remaining five were being pushed towards center square.
What they couldn’t see was a group of four cultivators coming up on their flank from the south. It seems that even though these sect ladies seem haughty at best, they are the closest thing to the good guys in this fight. Victor cursed as he reached into his dimensional storage, a mark 8 flamer wrapped itself lovingly around his scout armor, as his hands wrapped around the handle and nozzle.
He leaped from the bell tower, shattering roofing tiles and bricks as he dropped the five stories to the ground before firing the retro-rockets in his boots, hitting the ground behind the Iron Paw sect before pouring withering fire from the flamer into the four instinctualists rushing from the south. They howled in agony as napalm lapped at their fur and burned them as they wallowed on the dirt road of the town square trying to quench the fire.
Victor turned around as the women of the Iron Paw were forced back to his position, which worked out fine, now they weren’t in the way. He poured burning liquid napalm into the ranks of the instinctuals. Those that could turned on claws and ran, those that didn’t burned in the street.
He turned around and ordered his helmet to retract, the four standing sisters of the Iron Paw leaped a step back bringing up their battered swords. He allowed his flamer to dissolve back into this dimensional storage. “Stand down ladies, the threat is over.” If anything this made them bring their swords up more.
Mei was the first to find her voice, “You are obviously a master of fire to dispatch so many of the betrayers instinctuals. Who sent you?”
Victor’s face remained impassive, this was new information, the instinctuals betrayed the Empire in some way. “No one sent me, I was in the area, and you apparently needed aid.” Let them decide with that what they will.
Mei slowly lowered her sword, before starting to laugh without much mirth, “In our darkest hour a hidden master appears and saves us from death. You would think we were part of a play or poets story.” The other women lowered what was left of their weapons as well.
Xiang looked Victor up and down, “I have never heard of male becoming a cultivator of war, that is usually the domain of females. I have also never seen clothing or armor like you wear, are you from the Empire?”
Victor sighed, well, here goes. “I am not from the Empire, I am from a far away land called Terra, and at the moment, I am merely passing through.”
The smaller one known as Li spoke up, “One does not simply pass through the Celestial Empire! The wall has stood for millennia untold, only the Immortal Empress remembers when it was built. How did you cross it?”
Victor only shrugged, “Who said I crossed the wall?” As he turned around and walked to the inn he only recently left. The crowd of people parted as he walked in.
Xiang turned to Mei, “He is a foreigner wandering our land, Shihan must be informed of his presence and bring it before the court.”
Mei nodded her head turning to the final woman left standing, “Hua, travel to Wujiang, let our sisters know what has transpired here and have a message sent back to the Imperial Palace about this newcomer and what we should do.”
Li spoke, “Should we not attempt to capture him ourselves? After all, a male cultivator is a rarity indeed.”
Mei looked over to the smaller Li, “He burned down instinctuals with what appeared to be the forgotten Concept of Fire, for that was the Sixth Level Yang Fire, something we females who cultivate yin are incapable of. No, we would court death trying to capture a hidden master of his power. Did any of you even feel his Chi?” They all shook their heads.
Mei continued, “Then he is hiding his true power from us. When I first saw him leap from the ground to the rooftop I thought him a spy for the instinctuals. When I tried to attack he moved with a speed even I could not match. When I threatened him he simply ignored me, and throughout that I never once felt his Chi. This is a male we must be careful around sisters, now go Hua.”
Victor watched as the people in the inn parted before him. He noticed many of them bowing as though he were part of the Imperial family of Terra. He reached the bar where the innkeeper, what was his name again? HUANG his AI chimed in.
“Huang, I require lodgings for the night. Do you have a room available?”
The Ox-Kin bowed so low as to touch the bar, “This lowly one will gladly provide you with a room hidden master.” He raised his head and waved the boar-kin barmaid over to him in a frenzy, “Chun, find the hidden master a room.”
Chun rushed over and bowed before Victor, “Please follow me hidden master?”
“Victor, my name is Victor Cane. Please, lead the way Chun.”
As he followed Chun upstairs to an empty room Victor closed and locked the door, if they want to think he is a hidden master then let them. In the meantime he needed sleep. He reached one more time into his dimensional storage and pulled four small security drones and paired them to his armor’s AI.
One flew out the open window to watch from outside, one crawled under the door to watch the inn, the other two sat inside the room.
Once he felt all was secured he settled into the not so great bed and closed his helmet. He’d worry about everything else tomorrow.
submitted by Oradainer to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 20:44 lutherwriteshorror After a class reunion we knocked over a headstone. It was a terrible mistake.

A heavy mist settled on the cemetery, just as it always had when we were children. Thwack! I ran straight into another headstone and fell into the mud, breathless. Scrambling to my feet, I looked behind me, hoping that whatever was chasing me had gone off somewhere else.
It was a mistake to come back to Endeavor for my 25 year reunion. I swore I’d never step foot in this town again, with its three block main street where everyone was either a drunk, an abuser, or a holier-than-the saints-themselves wannabe street preacher, or some combination of all of the above.
How the hell do I get out of this cemetery?
I’d gotten drunk, but not so drunk that I shouldn’t have been able to find my way out, even in this heavy mist. It descended as soon as we kicked over Mr. Grantz’ headstone, that old, blustering asshole. He deserved some sort of retribution after the shit he put kids through for decades in this town. He was Mister Evangelical himself, somehow granted the right to stuff his convoluted ideologies on us in the place of an actual science education.
After we turned a bit tipsy Derrick, Anne, Roger, and I decided to leave the bar that was hosting the reunion to stagger out to the cemetery one last time — pay homage to our old midnight refuge. What better way to relive our inglorious days?
Damn! I hit my knee on another headstone. I just wanted out, an escape from this hellhole. “I’ll go home and never bother this place again!” I shouted into the mist.
Derrick played football — still as skinny and probably at least half as fast as that knobby-elbowed teenager who was practically chased out of town for not scoring a winning touchdown to get us to state. Anne was the girl we were all in love with. She stayed in town and teaches history, or I'm sure as much actual history as she can get away with uttering aloud. Roger couldn’t do anything right, but could still get away with anything by his smile.
On June nights like this we’d always go hang out late at night drinking non-age-appropriate beverages at the Endeavor cemetery. It was about a half-mile walk on the train tracks from “town.” We’d all sneak out with our flashlights and walk there, sometimes solo, sometimes in pairs, and even then it sort of creeped me out to go it alone, walking on that path of lonesome steel between the walls of tall grass that swayed in the wind.
My alcohol tolerance had gone way down since I grew up and life stopped being about partying. Otherwise I would have been way too inhibited to let those old friends pry me back to the cemetery. Whose idea was this? It was Roger's ideas wasn't it?
The only good idea he had in his entire life is that we needed to get out of Endeavor.
Was I running in circles or something? I limped in a direction I believed had to be the way out. Tipsy, sure, but there’s no way I was drunk enough that I couldn’t find my way out of a small town cemetery.
In high school Roger has been spared, but the rest of us had been Mr. Grantz’ personal classroom punching bags, all because our families didn’t go to church, or didn’t go enough for Mr. Grantz’ liking. My heathen mother even had the gall to speak the word “evolution” in public once, so as far as the church folk were concerned (meaning nearly everyone) my family needed to be chased out of town.
Congratulations. Endeavor wasn't a paradise. It was a graveyard of aspiration.
So yeah, we stomped to the cemetery in the delirium of getting drunk together one last time in Endeavor after spending half our lives away from each other.
Derrick is the one who stumbled onto Mr. Grantz’ headstone. “Whoa!? That psychopath finally died. Hallelujah!” he yelled.
“Derrick!” Anne said, “I know you had your differences but that’s no reason to celebrate his passing. He was a human being.” She must have made her peace with the people of this town years ago. The rest of us did our real growing up once we got outside.
“Differences? Do you remember when I missed that touchdown, how it was because my family was unclean? He was the one who kept telling people we needed to go back to the old ways and they should burn me on a pyre for it. It was one bad play against a team of kids who were twice our size.” Derrick caught the wind in his throat, “It would be hard for me to mourn someone who wanted to kill a kid over a touchdown.”
“I gotta piss,” Roger said, smirking.
“No,” Anne said.
“See, even Roger wants to get this guy, and he wasn’t even one of Mr. Grantz’ targets.”
As they argued I swayed in the wind getting angrier and angrier remembering that old blowhard. Once, when I was having trouble sleeping, I fell to sleep on my desk in the middle of his science class, and he dropped a bowling ball on my desk to wake me up and “teach me a lesson.” It slid off the desk and landed on my foot breaking some small bones that never healed well and still bother me to this day.
“Let’s tip it over,” I said.
They all looked at me wide eyed, then grins spread over Derrick and Roger’s faces, devious in the moonlight.
“Hell yeah!” they agreed.
“You’re all going to hell for this,” Anne said, trying to stop them. But we were all already kicking at the marble headstone, trying to get it to budge from the Earth. My foot throbbed in that old familiar way, but this was worth it.
“Are you being serious, Anne? Are you a believer now? Don’t tell me this town got to you,” Derrick said.
“‘Got to me?’If that’s what you call growing up and getting over my youthful rebellious phase, then yes. Earl Grantz was a town hero. He only wanted the best for the people here and I can’t just let you desecrate his grave.”
Roger blocked Anne from stopping us while Derrick and I kept kicking the headstone. Hard and heavy, the thing didn’t want to budge. I got on its level and tried pushing it with my shoulder while Derrick kept kicking it.
After a minute I fell to the ground to rest.
Anne looked at me, “If you’re having a heart attack you deserve it. You don’t even know what will happen if you manage to knock that thing down. You don’t know what they’ll do.”
“Oh come on, I’m going to be out of this town for the rest of my life in about six hours. There’s nothing the community of Endeavor will be able to do to me ever again.”
“We’ll see about that,” she said.
I got back up and resumed kicking with Derrick who hadn’t stopped for a second. In fact, it was like he was getting stronger and stronger, maybe remembering more of Mr. Granz’ vitriolic outbursts. I could still see the old man with his white beard and loud, sharp face barrelling down at me for any perceived sleight.
“It’s starting to give,” Derrick said.
Then all at once, with one last kick the headstone cracked at its base and thudded over into the damp grass.
“Whoa, we did it.” Derrick took a step back.
We all stood there for a moment, struck by a kind of awe. That old man who had made things so hard for us in high school, he was really dead. He was dead in the ground and could never yell at us or throw bowling balls at us or set the entire town against us ever again. He was being eaten by worms. A sad meal. We’d survived him and this town.
I guess Anne was struck by a different kind of awe. Probably she was surprised at the audacity of her old friends, drunk and stupid in the cemetery. Whatever her feelings were, by the time I turned to look for her she’d already disappeared into the night.
We had a good laugh, the three of us, reunited for this taste of revenge. The headstone lay there in the barely tended grass and I thought of how pointless his attacks on us had been, the harassment, the ostracization, the constant preaching and withholding of an actual education — we were all doing fine to spite him. Derrick worked as head of sales at a sportswear company, I was the top non-profit tax whiz in my city, Roger had one of those vague program manager positions at an even more vague start-up gone big, and we all had families waiting for us at home. "Here lies a failure in life and death" is what the headstone should have read.
That’s when we heard it, a placeless whispering descended onto the cemetery.
It was as if the wind was made of barely audible voices, speaking in rolling anger that went on and on. And with it a dark mist fell on us.
“What the —” Roger said.
“It’s just the mist playing tricks on us, an auditory illusion,” Derrick said.
But up the back of my spine a tingling sensation had already started to warn me that something insidious was happening. Even when we were children, we’d joked about how the mist in the cemetery felt unnatural, but now it came on twice as quickly and it was twice as thick. I could barely see the others. “We should start making it back to our cars," I said.
"I don't remember the fog ever being this bad," Derrick said.
"We had actual flashlights with us. That might have made a difference," I offered. We only had the flashlights on our phones, and as the moments passed the mist deepened until they were nearly useless.
"Climate change," Roger said.
"Don't tell that one to Mr. Grantz," I said.
Laughing, Derrick stumbled on a small divet in the ground, rolling onto his back. I think he saw something then. I can’t say for sure, but as I looked down at him, my mind still blurred by the alcohol, I saw a serious fear drawn over his eyes, stifling his laughter. For a moment his lip quivered before he let out a scream that was swallowed by the thick country air. A column of mist poured into his mouth. It might have been the shock, but I thought in the mist I saw a torrent of pale hands forcing their way down his throat.
Derrick’s body convulsed. He shook harder and harder until the attack ceased and he sank, limp, into the ground.
“Help!” Roger screamed as he was pulled into the mist by something I couldn’t see.
I didn’t wait a moment longer. I didn’t try to stay and help my friends or check to see if Derrick was still alive. I bolted. Whatever that was in the mist, if I could put some distance between myself and it, maybe I could get out of this cemetery, follow the traintracks back to town, get back into my Honda Civic and drive away from this godforsaken town.
The mumbling whispers grew louder behind me, but I didn’t dare look. I’d give anything just to make it out of this cemetery. This was a stupid night. I never should have come back, but I wasn’t going to let this drunken mistake leave my children to grow up without a father.
Sorry Derrick, I thought. Sorry Roger. And, what in the hell happened to Anne? What was it she said, we didn’t know what they’ll do? Is that what’s happening now?
I ran until my lungs burned, bumping into headstones left and right. This place wasn’t a labyrinth. How was it that I hadn’t gotten out of it by now? The cemetery couldn’t be bigger than a couple few city blocks. Hardly anyone lived in Endeavor to begin with. It didn’t take much space to house their dead. How many of these people have been completely forgotten to time by now? How many of them were succeeded only by children like me, children who they chased out of town. How many of them had bigoted, evil hearts like Mr. Grantz?
My knee smacked on something hard, another headstone, and I cried out. I could hardly move anymore from all the bruises I’d just taken. But I limp-ran in desperation, my hurt leg skidding on the ground. The mist was close behind me. I could feel it wet on the back of my neck, but I knew I only needed to make it a little further.
An exposed tree root caught my foot and I tumbled to the ground, my head knocking against something hard. I frantically crawled back toward my feet but I kept falling back down. I wasn’t seeing straight. Why is this happening to me? I swore I’d never come back.
It was Anne that reached out to us all. She’d wanted to bring the old gang back together for the reunion. Over half the class had stayed in town after graduation, but the rest of us had left Endeavor, and from what I gathered none of us spared a look back. Why didn’t we ever think of how that would have felt for Anne? She didn’t have the same agency as the rest of us. Heck, her parents had threatened to pull her from school and homeschool her in their traditional way. Of course she ended up like this. We were her lifeline.
Damn it!
Every time I tried to get up I twisted some other muscle and collapsed back to the ground. I’d never put my body through something like this before, especially after the age of forty. I’d already been dreading the day-long hangover I saw in my future as we left the bar, but at this rate I’d be lucky to be able to walk — that is, if I even got out of this cemetery alive.
Anne had gone to the trouble of mailing us each nice, handwritten letters on stationary inviting us to the reunion. She wanted everyone to get together. It was incredibly thoughtful of her. Apparently she’d worked with all the others to make sure everyone else who’d abandoned Endeavor had an invitation. Of course, not everyone came, but most of the class made it.
We met at Freddy’s, an old country dive we’d never been able to get into before. In Endeavor everybody knows everybody, so there’s no sneaking into bars with a fake id.
I’d been in city dives, but Freddy’s was something else. It reminded me more of a barn where bats would live in the rafters than a bar — a big open space with tables strung about here and there, a pool table near the corner, dust counting the years on the floor. Just my guess, but I don’t think the owner knows what the flooring is made of, that’s how often it looked like it’d been cleaned. Still, it was nice coming back and seeing this part of Endeavor we’d always wondered about.
The folks that stayed in town welcomed us back in, but it was obvious there was a sort of familiarity and camaraderie among them that the rest of us would never have again — the kind of camaraderie that comes from spending forty years with the same small group of people, of having small town secrets and knowing all the things in a human life that can go unsaid.
It was Anne’s idea to go to the cemetery, wasn’t it?
She could tell we were all a bit uncomfortable and wanted to catch up more privately. As always, she was the sensitive person who could tell what we were all feeling and gave us direction. There was a time when I was young when I thought I’d grow up to marry her — funny to think of it now, that I pictured my life in Endeavor, of scraping out an existence in this place that now seemed so desolate, an isolated island away from everything that truly mattered to me. I’m sure Derrick and Roger felt like that too. Did Anne think about us like that? In her imagination, had she pictured the future with each of us, trying us on like coats, only to be abandoned in the end.
The mist had gotten so deep I couldn’t see where I was going, though I’d slowed to a crawl. My hand felt something cold and hard on the ground. I pulled myself close and I saw the inscription, “Here lies Earl Grantz.” After all that running I was back at Mr. Grantz’ headstone where I’d started.
I lifted myself to my feet and noticed two long shapes beside me on the ground. Derrick and Roger. My heart dropped. Something had dragged them back.
A cold hand grabbed onto my hair and pulled my head back. The mist poured into my open mouth like a thousand frozen beads of pain. I tried to scream, but it kept pouring into me as I collapsed to the damp dirt on my already bruised and skinned knees. Stop! Please, I can’t take any more! I wanted to beg. It kept going until I lost consciousness.
I awakened to the sun already high in the sky, my whole body throbbing with pain. Derrick was nudging me with his foot.
“Good,” he gasped, “we’re all alive then.”
“What? What just happened?” I asked.
He stood above me with Roger. Alive. Somehow after the events of last night we’d made it to the morning in the land of the living. I didn’t orphan my kids.
“I saw the mist get you, both of you. I ran, but I couldn’t escape the cemetery,” I said.
“All I know is that I’m getting out of here and I’m not looking back,” Roger said.
“I’m with ya.” Derrick helped me up to my feet.
Neither of them was as outwardly hurt as I knew I was. I could feel every scrape and bruise down to my bones, not to mention the hangover. “What about Anne?” I asked.
“No sign of her.”
Before we limped back to town I pulled out my cellphone to see the worried messages from my wife. She assumed I’d only gotten drunk and let my phone die. I sent her a selfie of my swollen face and said that last night hadn’t gone as planned, but I was on my way home — desperate to get out of godforsaken Endeavor — and would explain everything to her. How could I explain this? I can’t even explain it to myself.
I told the others about the events of last night after I’d lost them, and they nodded, listening. None of us had anything resembling a logical explanation.
My phone dinged with a message. “I’m glad you’re safe! I was so worried. But are you using some sort of filter? Your eyes are green in this picture.”
submitted by lutherwriteshorror to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 20:13 vivaelteclado [WTS] LiteAF Ultra Curve 20L M (16.4 oz/466 g), Garcia Backpacker's Cache Bear Canister (43.8 oz/1240 g), S2S Nano Pyramid Net (3.2 oz/92 g), Nemo Fillo Elite Pillow (2.8 oz/78 g)

Miniature gear closet cleanout here. Just getting rid of a few things that are lightly used or not really used anymore. Free CONUS shipping on all items except the bear canister. Let me know if you have any questions.

SOLD 1. LifeAF Ultra Curve 20L, medium size (19-20.5" torso), black Ultra, 16.4 oz/466 g, $195 shipped. SOLD
2nd owner of this pack and my first Ultra fabric pack, but lightly used with light signs of wear and no real damage. When you spec this out on the website with the included accessories (shoulder pockets, bottom pocket, back pad shock cord), it comes out to $285, but this is 2022 vintage so it doesn't have the 2023 LiteAF updates. Also including an extra sternum strap. It occupies a weird space in my kit in that it's a bit too large and featured for a day pack but too small for multi-day trips. However, it might work for your needs. The thick shoulder straps and the curve shape are the real deal.
2. Garcia Backpacker's Cache Bear Canister, 10L, 43.8 oz/1240 g. $35+shipping.
So this is an oldie but goodie. At one time, I think this was the backpacker's choice for bear canisters, but times have changed. It's still a decently lightweight can for 10L of capacity, but it really can't beat the BV series in terms of capacity to weight ratio. I got this at a REI Garage sale over a decade ago and barely used it since I moved back east. Not sure what a good price for this is, just want to move it quickly for somebody that needs a decent bear can. Have to ask for shipping because it will be over 3 lbs. to ship.
SOLD 3. Sea to Summit Nano Pyramid Net with Insect Shield, Single size, 3.2 oz/92 g (including stuff sack), $30 shipped. SOLD
Got this a couple years ago but never really used it, so condition is still great. Was hoping to use it for short trips as a minimalist shelter but I prefer to just use a proper shelter most of the time. I think this bug net is more suited for someone more adventurous than myself.
SOLD 4. Nemo Fillo Elite pillow, Sapphire Stripe, 15x11x3 inches, 2.8 oz/78 g, $25 shipped. SOLD
This is used condition, so it does have signs of wear, but I have washed the cover and the pillow stays inflated. Full disclosure, in true ultralight style, I cut out the internal stuff sack to save a few grams and it has the old-style Nemo valve. I originally got this because it has a lower inflated height than most pillows, but found I need about an extra inch and settled upon a Sea to Summit pillow. I think this is great pillow for those that prefer a lower height backpacking pillow.
submitted by vivaelteclado to ULgeartrade [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 17:15 milfydonna [FS] [USA] [Worldwide] Dr1es [email protected] N0ten, B*V, D1ESEL, VC@, [email protected], L*V Necklaces, Viv1enne Westw0od, And3rsson B3ll, WOOYOUNGM1, RHUD3, Suprem3 Bags

Vouched seller. Venmo & Paypal F&F Only. I've sold over 3000 items on here in the past three years.
Price includes shipping within the US. Worldwide shipping available starting at $9.49 for Canada and $11.99 for the rest of the world.
Items paid will be shipped next business day
Timestamp and tagged photo: https://imgur.com/a/MHkPBUf


Dr1es [email protected] N0ten Pocket Half Zip Sweater
$49 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Size 50/Large, Used
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/0OZk8eZ
Made by Crushy. About 23.5 inches pit to pit. Smooth Zippers

Diese1 J-Blink Nylon Biker Jacket
$69 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Size S, Brand New with tags
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/1WzJGEF
Made by Sixi, best rep of this jacket. Most popular Diesel jacket under the new designer. About 22.5 inches pit to pit. Cropped fit. Its better to wear as a slim fitting jacket.

B0ttega Venet@ Green Graffiti Tee
$old SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Size Large, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/nf9Bv2X
About 23 inches pit to pit and 29 inches length

V1vienne W3stwood Two Layer Wool Flared Trousers
$old SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Size 42, Fits size 31-32 waist, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/cu6EEF6
Made by Turn On My Own. Best quality rep. Fully branded with custom tags. Fits size 31-32 waist.

And3rsson B3ll Double Knee Pants
$39 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Size M, Fits size 31-32 waist, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/jLYRASS
Suede patch for the double knee. Relaxed fit. Fully branded with custom tags. Fits size 31-32 waist.

W00YOUNGMI Flared Pants
$49 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Size 46, Used, Worn twice
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/kQCIAJ3
Made by Deeds. Fits size 30 waist for me. Adjustable flare with straps on the bottom. Fully branded with custom tags. Much better than the Holyshit batch.

RHUD3 Flight Jacket
$59 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Size Medium, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/xGXjJpw
Fully branded with custom tags. Slightly oversized fit.


VC@ [email protected] C1eef & Arpe1s Alhambra Black/Gold Bracelet
$45 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Gold, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/fCIjDEl
Quantity Available - 2
Worn by many male celebrities recently as they are unisex bracelets now. Approximately 7.5 inches from end to end. Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green.

VC@ [email protected] C1eef & Arpe1s Alhambra Silver Lasered Bracelet
$45 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Silver, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/vmdf9Kl
Quantity Available - 2 1
Worn by many male celebrities recently as they are unisex bracelets now. Approximately 7.5 inches from end to end. Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green

VC@ [email protected] C1eef & Arpe1s Alhambra Gold Lasered Bracelet
$45 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Silver, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/wQAQlGG
Quantity Available - 3
Worn by many male celebrities recently as they are unisex bracelets now. Approximately 7.5 inches from end to end. Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green

L*V x N1go Duck Necklace
$45 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Silver, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/m41FFcT
Quantity Available - 4
Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green. Adjustable length. The ring in the middle can be taken off the necklace.

L*V Tiger Pendant Necklace
$39 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Silver, Brand New
Quantity Available - 1
From Louis Vuitton X Nigo collection. Perfect for the year of the tiger this year. Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green. Adjustable length.

L*V Monogram Dogtag Silver Necklace
$39 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Silver, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/BzHQvGu
Quantity Available - 1
Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green. Adjustable length. The ring in the middle can be taken off the necklace.

[email protected] Love Ring Silver
$29 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Silver US size 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Silver, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/dBqbbHM
Quantity Available - 8 7
Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green. Please refer to the size chart at the end of the album if you are unsure about your sizing. Only whole sizes are available.

[email protected] Love Ring Gold
$29 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Gold US size 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Gold, Brand New
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/dBqbbHM
Quantity Available - 9
Properly branded with engraving on the inside. Made with stainless steel and wont tarnish or turn green. Please refer to the size chart at the end of the album if you are unsure about your sizing. Only whole sizes are available.


Suprem3 SS19 Black Duffle Bag
$59 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Black, Brand New with Tags.
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/JmK9fC4
Quantity Available - 2 1
Approximately 21x13x10 inches. Perfect duffle to go on a trip for the weekend. UTX hardware and YKK zips.

Suprem3 SS17 Black Backpack
$55 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Black, Brand New with Tags.
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/S5oGxlE
Quantity Available - 3 2 1
Approximate dimensions: 19x11x7 inches. Fits up to 15/16 inch Macbook Pro in laptop compartment. Would fit everything you need for work/school, even for day trips. UTX hardware and YKK zips.

Suprem3 SS18 Black Shoulder Bag
$29 SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Black, Brand New with Tags.
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/ytHovds
Quantity Available - 2
Can be worn as bum bag or waist bag. Adjustable strap length. UTX hardware and YKK zips.

Supr3me SS18 Beige Waist Bag
$old SHIPPED WITHIN THE US, Beige, Brand New with Tags.
Photos: https://imgur.com/a/TjFoA60
Quantity Available - 1
Can be worn as bum bag or waist bag. Adjustable strap length. UTX hardware and YKK zips.
submitted by milfydonna to FashionRepsBST [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 15:12 ScribblingFox98 The Survivor Becomes a Dungeon (Chapter 78)

Vitmori POV
Well, that fight went about as well as I expected. Between the slight disconnect of having to think about how to move and command my new body and facing a warrior experienced in combat against other beings of this world, I knew I didn't really stand a chance. However, it was an excellent opportunity to figure out how people in this world fight. After Reonim dismissed himself, I was approached by a few people; Trisha and Sylvia were the two I immediately recognized, though, after a couple of moments, the names of the remaining two came to mind, that being Miriam and Isaak. I offered a smile at their approach as my hands came up to the black cloth that Historietta wrapped around me; I had only barely noticed it was starting to unravel and fall off due to it being ripped apart after Reonim cut me in half. "Hey there, what's going on?" I ask, with a healthy amount of curiosity in my voice as they draw closer.
Miriam was the first to speak up, even if it looked like Sylvia was about to speak as well, though she patiently held her tongue and listened as Miriam pat my arm in an encouraging manner. "You did very well out there, Vitmori; I feel you performed valiantly against a superior opponent, though I'm certain that with time, you'll be able to reach Reonim's level." She enthused cheerfully before looking me over.
I was a little surprised by her opening. Had I really performed so poorly that I needed my spirits lifted like that? Well, I can't sense any ill intent from her, in fact, she sounds rather genuine, even if the expressions of those around her betrayed that they felt she made a faux pas. After a moment, I decided to just match her energy and smile a little more. "Well, thank you for your kind words; I shall do my best to get the hang of my new body, maybe I'll figure out how to make use of my mana heart while I'm at it." I said before looking among the group as a whole and continuing. "Was there anything else?"
Sylvia piped up at that as she stepped forward beside Miriam. "Vitmori, if you would allow us to borrow you for a little bit, we'd like to take your measurements so we can get started on making your clothes and armor." She explained, Miriam offering a nod of confirmation at that.
Trisha spoke out as she stepped out from behind Miriam and offered a bit of a smile. "And I was hoping to talk a little shop, figure out what sort of weapons you're looking for, and maybe we can go see that forge you've prepared for me." She explained, sounding somewhat hopeful near the end.
I couldn't help but smile a bit and nod. "Very well, feel free to take your measurements." I said as I looked between Sylvia and Miriam, though I looked over to Isaak as he stood close by. "Can I help you with anything?" I offer since he seemed to be waiting so patiently.
Isaak was vaguely surprised when I addressed him, and after he took a moment to look between the others, he shrugged and then looked back at me. "I'm just here because I don't have anything better to do." He said simply as he nodded at his own words.
I wasn't sure what to make of that, my head tilting ever so slightly at his words before Miriam grabbed at my arm. "Come on, let's get you inside." She said excitedly, leading me into the longhouse and sitting me on one of the benches along the tables. "Wait right here, I've got to go get my things." She said cheerfully enough as she stepped away, Sylvia following after to grab her own things.
"So..." Isaak started to say, trailing off as he seemed to need another moment to gather his thoughts. "When was the first time you killed someone?" He asked, earning him a smack against the back of his head as Trisha frowned at Isaak.
"You just sat down; who starts a conversation like that?" She admonished before looking at me while shaking her head. "Sorry about him, I think he has a bad case of foot in mouth." She explained apologetically to me before staring daggers at Isaak.
I couldn't help but offer a kind smile as I lean back against the table behind me. "It's fine; I don't mind." I offer in response before looking at Isaak and looking him over. He definitely looks like some kind of warrior between the well-cared-for sword on his hip and the unique set of hide armor that he wore. "Why do you ask? Have you killed anything or anyone before?" I decided to start with regard to Isaak's question.
Isaak averted his gaze, and I can feel a sense of embarrassment coming from him, though about what, I'm not sure yet. "Not really no, I haven't gotten the chance. I was just a guard recruit before this, a few weeks fresh out of my apprenticeship, and assigned my own set of city guard armor." He explained, staring at his hands as he wrung them together.
I reached out, gently patting his shoulder, and gave him a little shake before pulling away. "I don't know what sort of expectations you were raised on in this world, but there's nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to having never killed anyone or anything before. The act of taking a life is a weighty one, and it should never be taken lightly." I explained as I watched him closely.
Isaak nods intently, and I could see he had a lot on his mind; though before he could continue, Miriam returned with her tools, followed closely behind Sylvia as the duo set their things down on the table behind me. "Alright Vitmori, would you mind taking off that wrap, it's too thick to even think about measuring over." She explained politely as she procured a roll of measuring tape.
I bobbed my head in response. "Sure, no problem." I replied as I stood before shrugging off the ruined black fabric. As it fell to the ground, I heard an 'Eep' sound coming from Miriam, though Sylvia let out an impressed whistle. I could feel their eyes wandering my back and shoulders, and watched as the four of them looked at my chest and stomach, their eyes tracing the recreation of the injuries I sustained up until my late thirties. "Sorry if they're disturbing to look at, medical professionals were few and far between, and dangers were plentiful. I often had to treat my own wounds in the field and they were never pretty." I explained with a dry chuckle as I rubbed the back of my head. "Hell, these aren't even all of them, Reyvyre recreated my body while I was in my prime, I still have a couple decades of wear and tear not present here." I mused, hoping to lighten the mood. Though looking over at Miriam, that didn't really seem to help.
"Wow." Was all that came from Trisha as she took a seat beside Isaak.
Miriam just reached out and gently placed a hand on my shoulder, I could feel the unfiltered compassion coming from her as she looked up into my eyes. "You've sure been through a lot, haven't you?"
That... Damn... I wasn't expecting that. It's a good thing I'm just wood right now, I have a feeling that some tears might have escaped if I was flesh and blood. I'm able to contain myself well enough as I reach around and gently pat Miriam's hand before pulling back. "Yeah, but I think I'm in a better place now." I offer in response. I have a feeling that she might not entirely believe me, but she didn't push the topic as she started measuring my arms while Sylvia went about measuring my legs and feet. While that happened, I decided to look back over at Isaak and offered a bit of a smile. "Let's continue our talk later if you don't mind." I offer, it's clear the guy is after something and I don't want to outright ignore him.
This earned Isaak a curious look from Miriam, though Isaak just averts his gaze and nods. "S-sure, alright, later." He replied almost sheepishly.
After a few moments of silence, Trisha spoke up while staring at one of the scars along my back. "So... Vitmori. I've got some big questions for you." She said as she stood and walked around in front of me to make eye contact while making sure to stay out of Miriam and Sylvia's way as they measure my chest and hips.
Meeting her gaze, I offer a smile and nod. "Sure, and I might have some big answers." I reply with amusement.
This managed to wrangle a small smile from Trisha before she continued with her thought process. "What sort of weapons do you want me to make for you?" She asked as she held her gaze.
Weapons eh? Right, now that it has come down to it, what do I want? I trained with all sorts of weapons during my youth, but what should I use now? My mind does wander to the fancy-looking bow next to the elf corpse in Lictdren's chamber, as well as the red spear embedded in the ceiling, but those would just draw too much attention. I also shouldn't limit myself to the gimmick and improvised weapons that I had to rely on more often than not, I had a professional blacksmith with a fully stocked forge and all the supplies I could procure for her now. "I want a shortsword, a dagger, a set of ten throwing knives, a spear, and a bow with thirty arrows that have barbed tips." I listed out before offering a bit of a smile. "I'll let you decide on what to use to make them, but don't use that mithril stuff, I don't want to attract too much attention."
Rather than look intimidated by the size of my order, I could swear that she had a fire of excitement in her eyes. "Yes sir, while I may need help making the bow and arrows, I should be able to handle making the arrowheads just fine. I'll be able to manage everything else myself though, no problem." She exclaimed as she flashed a toothy grin and a thumbs up, though, after a moment, she had a curious look on her face as she looked me over. "How do you plan on carrying all of that?" She asked, slightly tilting her head as she stroked her chin.
I chuckled softly as Miriam measured my neck while Sylvia took precise measurements of my hand. "I have a magic storage place where I can keep it all, remember how I pulled all that stone from nowhere?" I offer as an example, and after a moment she understands and nods intently.
Sylvia spoke up as she finished committing my measurements to memory. "Your armor will be simple, yet practical as you obviously don't have any gooey bits you need to protect, but you need to at least look the part." She explained with a hint of amusement while looking me over. "Since you like to be light on your feet, I'll get you set up with some leather boots, pauldrons, bracers, and gloves. You won't look particularly impressive, though I have a feeling you wouldn't care about that." She listed out before nodding to herself with satisfaction.
I returned her nod with a bob of my head. "Sounds good to me, just let Legosi know how many hides you need for the leather, he'll have his pack bring you the materials as long as you let them have the meat." I offer as Miriam pulls away, finishing up with her own measurements.
'"Do you have any preference for the clothes?" Miriam asked as she glanced over at me before stepping away to put the measuring tape away.
I think about that for a moment before speaking up. "I don't have any preferences about the colors of my tops or bottoms, all I ask is that they're all made with long sleeves." I explained though I consider something else as I glance over at her. "I would like a brown cloak if it isn't too much trouble."
She flashes a bit of a smile and nodded intently. "Of course Vitmori, I'll get right on it." She said cheerfully, moving to leave with Sylvia as they grabbed their equipment. Isaak moved to leave as well, heading outside, though he was soon intercepted by one of the drakewardens and dragged off somewhere.
I took a moment to collect what remained of the black fabric that I wrapped around my body, tearing a hole in the middle of one of the bigger pieces before pulling it on like a poncho. "There we go, at least I won't be exposed." I mused cheerfully to Trisha, earning a bit of a smile from her as she nodded. I could tell she was clearly excited to go see her new workspace. After a moment to consider it, I decided I should make her first day in my service to be really special, though at the same time, I wanted to be alone with my thoughts for a little while as I looked over at her again. "Go get Reyvyre, Rita, and Hephtio, I'm going to go on ahead and wait for you."
This earned a curious look from her, but she nodded and went to step away. "Sure thing boss." She replied as she walked off.
With Trisha on her way, I start heading up my mountain and go over how the fight went in my head. From what I can tell, Reonim managed to circulate his mana around his body, it flowed and pulsed with his heartbeat, much like his own blood. While I don't have blood, I did appear to have some sort of veins circulating a minimal amount of my mana, which was what appeared to keep my body functional and mobile. I had to consider what Reonim told me about this 'barkskin' and 'stoneskin' defense, based on what I saw, it seemed Reonim had to actively will the defenses to take effect; actually hitting Reonim with my stone blade confirmed that there was something at work that reduced the impact of my strike.
Reviewing the battle some more, it was clear that Reonim had also used a form of mana to cause some kind of whirlwind to spin around his greatsword. The effects of the wind were rather potent, as they were enough to knock me off my feet even without direct contact. It probably didn't help that I'm not as heavy as I used to be, but that is not something I mind all too much; after all, a lighter body means lighter steps. Reonim had a decent mana capacity, though it was nowhere near the extent of Reyvyre or even Rita, it was considerable as far as I can tell without refining the mana in his mana heart into mana rings. From the looks of it, mana hearts and mana rings serve two different functions which appear to be complimentary to each other. Mana hearts serve to improve the physical capabilities in someone's body, spreading the mana around in order to be used in various ways, and with enough skill and know-how, they're able to extend the mana out into a weapon, shield, armor, or even their own skin. Even minor magic can be used as long as someone has a mana heart established, that is if what Hephtio told me was accurate when he and Trisha fended off one of those feral goat horses with bursts of fire breath.
As for the specifics of mana rings, I'm still not too sure, I'll need to talk to Reyvyre and Rita about it. But it seems the more rings you have, the more complicated the magic you are able to use. I have a feeling it is like the difference between using a lighter to illuminate a room to using either a torch or a flashlight to illuminate the room. Using a torch or a flashlight are both valid escalations from using a lighter, they're two completely different methods that achieve similar but overtly different effects.
Before I knew it, I had been sitting on the steps leading up to the entrance of the smithy while watching the horizon. It was nothing but trees as far as the eye could see and it was beautiful. The forests around most settlements back home had been gutted for the wood and fuel over the years, conservation wasn't really considered necessary since the world had already ended as far as my generation was concerned. Aside from that, there was usually enough to go around when the supply lines weren't being interrupted by raiders or the communities outside of the alliances. The only things we needed to keep scavenging for were the non-renewable goods and equipment like the stuff at that warehouse. Things that weren't easily sourced, even if we were making excellent progress with mass 3D printing. Though all that's moot for me now.
My musings of my old life came to an end as I spotted Hephtio excitedly leading Rita, Reyvyre and Trisha up along the steps of my mountain. Hephtio was the first to reach me, lunging onto my legs as I scooped him up and brought him around to my shoulder. "Glad you all found your way up alright, sorry to wake you Reyvyre." I mentioned apologetically at the sight of the elven woman.
Reyvyre yawned, shrugging but flashing a smile. "It's alright, you wouldn't have woken me for nothing after all."
Rita looked around curiously, not having been to this part of my mountain yet.
I looked over at Trisha and waved her over. "Come along, your forge awaits." I said cheerfully as we all headed up the rest of the way.
Within a few minutes, I led the group down the magically illuminated tunnel and into the forge room. Trisha, for her part, was ecstatic as she moved from one end of the room to the other before hopping around with a grin on her face before going over to Hephtio and scooping up the cat. "Hephtio! The fires of the forge await!" She exclaimed, Hephtio mrowling with delight as he wiggled about excitedly.
I couldn't help but grin at how excited she was, but I cleared my throat and spoke up. "Before you get started, we have a bit of business to attend to."
Trisha looked fairly surprised but nodded as she clutched Hephtio close. "Oh, sure boss, what's up?"
"Do you have a last name?" I ask curiously.
Trisha looked taken aback by my apparently random question. "Umm… No? Are… Are you offering?"
I chuckled a bit at her reaction before nodding. "Yeah, among other things. I would like to form a bond with you if you're interested, I'll grant you a last name and a title. These two things will grant you a considerable amount of power and allow you to communicate with all my nonverbal beasts." I explain, gesturing to Hephtio as Trisha glanced down at the red cat and looked rather thoughtful.
"I… Hmm…" Trisha starts to say, lifting Hephtio up and looking him in the eyes. Hephtio offered a feline smile and gently pressed his paw against her cheek. Trisha chuckled a bit before bringing him back down to her chest and looking over at me again. "I'll do it, thank you."
I nod intently and looked over at Rita and Reyvyre. "Do you mind coming over, Trisha has a mana heart but no mana ring; and I have a feeling that she's gonna need some help forming her first ring."
Reyvyre and Rita share a glance before nodding as they approach, the two women placing their hands against Trisha's back. Trisha looked rather confused at the mention of mana rings and gulped with anxiety, though she remained still.
After another moment of considering what I want to say, I approach Trisha and look down into her eyes before placing my hand on her shoulder. "I welcome you into my service, I grant you the title of Arsonist and bestow the last name Vulcan. May you grow and become your best self as we go together in the future." At that, two doses or mana start flowing into her, strangely enough it doesn't flow from my avatar, and is instead flowing down from the core above as Trisha jolts and shudders from the rush of mana. Thankfully both Rita and Reyvyre set to work and quickly stabilized the teen blacksmith, her mana heart growing and pulsing dramatically when a ring starts to spiral and swirl around it.
Trisha panted heavily, clutching her chest and shuddering, looking between Rita and Reyvyre before looking over to me and flashing a wild grin. "W-what a rush! Say… What's an Arsonist?"
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