Triple threat deer feed near me
My Copilot Is A Neckbeard #46
2023.06.06 06:38 MommyHonkerDonkers My Copilot Is A Neckbeard #46
Hey there Reddx gang, looks like I finally got a bit of time to write, so let’s not delay any longer and get into another story about Chris.
Who is Chris? Chris is a very fat and sweaty man surrounded by an impenetrable aura of poopycum stinkystank. Chris is a certified weiner wizard, content to dwell in his own personal dark triad of anime, crystal, and lot lizards. Things are usually okay when Chris is driving the truck – usually – but when his shift comes to an end and I have to take the wheel, or worse yet, when we pull over for the night, the fun really begins. Then, despite my best efforts to make him bathe and behave, it was all in vain and the poopycum man would circle a little further down the drain. Thankfully, I no longer have to ride with Chris.
We rolled out of the truck stop and popped into the traffic, Chris signaling the turn he was about to make with the blinker. I was zoned out in my laptop, playing a game to whittle away the endless hours of road that stood before us. He made that left before hanging a right off the overpass and started down the ramp. I looked up when the truck no longer accelerated, but instead slowed to a stop. “What the Hell are you doing, Chris? We need to get on the road.” Chris came back, remarking, “bro, one second. This is important.” He pointed outside my window and looked down to see a dirty little ruffian who had come up beside the passenger window, a heavy backpack draped on his shoulders.
He beamed up at me from beneath a broad, floppy hat, as he shifted his pack cheerily on his shoulders. I turned to Chris and said, “what the fuck is this?” Chris remarked, “the guy was sitting on the side of the shoulder with his thumb out and he’s got a sign saying Phoenix. Well, we’re headed back to Phoenix, so I figured maybe we could give him a lift. He looks like he needs a ride.” I paused. I knew that Chris never did anything out of the kindness of his heart for anybody, so I wondered what the Hell his angle was. I didn’t pry it however as he insistently told me to get up. I fought with him for a bit, regarding insurance concerns and paperwork and the office, but he brushed it all aside with a casual, “dude, my dad owns the company. It’ll be fine. Now get up and let him in.” Against my better judgment, I budged from my seat to let in this vagabond, wondering if today was the day both Chris and I would be ax-murdered.
He smelled as rough as he looked, but by contrast, that was comparatively mild next to the perforating aroma of sweaty balls that clung to Chris. He smiled at me a yellow, buck-toothed grin, telling me his name was “Sage” and rather than shake his hand, I just moved to the back so he could sit down in the passenger seat and I could be left alone. Chris’s reply was jubilant. “So, Sage, you’re headed to Phoenix?” Sage replied, “yessir! Glad you stopped. I knew my ride would come eventually.”
I guess Chris latched on to this turn of phrase and replied, “you knew? How did you know?” Sage smiled and said to Chris,”I just know some things. I saw your truck coming down the ramp and I knew that that was the one.” Chris replied, “that’s great and all, but that doesn’t answer my question. How did you know?” With a sly grin, Sage responded, “don’t you know, dude? All hobos are wizards.” He tipped his floppy hat at Chris and then buckled his seat belt.
I tried not to roll my eyes at this bold declaration. Magic? Was this guy serious? Apparently, he was, because he delivered that statement with enough gravitas to sucker Chris in. Chris half-assedly pulled off the interstate shoulder, mumbling “wizards” to himself before a blaring car horn came up on the driver’s side, nearly scraping the side of our rig, and he jerked back to the side of the road with an “OH GOD DAMN IT” before actually checking the mirror this time. When the tension of the moment finally passed and Chris was able to merge into traffic, Chris turned back to Sage and said, “so, you’re a wizard, huh?” Sage replied once more in the affirmative, “that I am. And judging by the fact that you pulled over your truck, you must be rather sensitive to the arcane yourself. Not everybody can sense the sublime energies of the universe. You must have picked up on me calling out to you for a ride. Honestly, it must have been destiny.”
I looked up from the top of my book towards the front of the truck and said, “oh no, don’t you go feeding this boy’s delusions, dude. He’s fucked up enough as it is,” to which Chris responded, “shove it honker donkers! Sage, do you really mean that I’m… sensitive?” I tried not to choke on my own laughter as I said, “yeah, your ass is definitely sensitive since you can’t wipe it.” However, they had forgotten all about little old honker donkers in the back of the truck. Had they cast a sphere of silence over the bunks where I lay? I doubt it, but by the way they were acting, you’d think they did. Sage gassed Chris up, of course, replying “yeah, you’re definitely sensitive to the mystical, my guy. I can just tell. I can sense it.” I replied, “that’s just his smell.” They continued to ignore me. How the tables had turned.
Chris let out a breathy “wow” as he drove the rig along, before asking Sage what that meant. Chris was actually excited, his quivering neck fat dancing with jiggly delight as he asked Sage what he ought to do next. Sage thought about this for a moment, and said, “well, since you show great promise, how would you like to become my apprentice?” I shot up from the back, with one word on my lips. “Oh no. Oh hell no. You’re not taking this guy seriously, are you, Chris? He’s clearly a charlatan, dude. Magic isn’t even real. Honestly, Sage, is it? I think this ride has gone on long enough. It’s about time you get the hell out of this truck and walk.”
Chris started up with a shriek, declaring that I couldn’t just evict his master from the truck, and if we’re being totally honest, we were rolling down the highway at 65 MPH and I wasn’t at the wheel. I had no power to remove him in this situation. Sage grinned at me and said, “that’s the power of a wizard,” before turning to Chris and saying, “now, my apprentice…” I trudged to the back of the truck, trying to keep pace on all the weird hippie woowoo shit they were talking about, but I’m an old man. I can’t catalog it all. I did my best to ignore it all and return once more to my book. Chris would make his own bed today, and all I could hope was that it would be his problem and remain that way.
The ride past by as the wizard and his apprentice discussed all sorts of arcane conundrums, like alchemy (which focused mostly around which beers got you drunk the fastest and how to spin a pookie so you don’t burn off all your dope), manifestation (the art of wanting something really bad and hoping it comes true), and even wizard style, which entailed a lengthy discussion not only on dress but on grooming. By my recollection, it seems that the less one bathes, the more mighty their power becomes. Chris really lit up at this small bit of wisdom, telling Sage full length about the mystical potency of his pheromones and their utility in attracting his mates. Sage nodded knowingly about the powers of unwashed loins, and goaded Chris to bathe less so that his power could amplify. Of course, that wouldn’t be an issue, because, well, Chris never really bathed to begin with.
Sage was fascinated by the talk of pheromones and attracting of mates. He cut Chris off mid-sentence as he was regaling him with a story about a lot lizard he had purchased, when Sage mentioned two words that I wish he had never said to one poopycum man. “Sex magic.” Chris murmured back the phrase with awestruck intensity, wondering what strange wizardry he had stumbled upon. Sage offered up an explanation, saying that “sex is the strongest source of human power. You can literally use sex to manifest things. I know when I’m manifesting things, I think about it real hard while I, uh… you know.” Chris, missing the point entirely, said, “no, I don’t.” Obviously, whenever Sage was talking about when he “cleaned up.”
Chris’s eyes grew wide, and I knew that he had just conceived some harebrained plan in his head. What that plan was, of course, I couldn’t quite guess, but I’m sure it involved the objects of his desires and stroking his peen.
Thankfully, we were drawing close to Phoenix, and we would soon be rid of this self-proclaimed master wizard who had thoroughly educated his apprentice on all sorts of dubious ritualism. Sage spoke up, asking to be let out at the next truck stop, and I could see that the thought of losing his master upset Chris. So, in that moment, I guess Chris decided to try and put into practice all the things he had learned. I heard a shout from Sage. He cried, “what the hell are you doing, bro?”
Between heavy, throaty groans of pleasure, Chris murmured, “don’t leave me, master, there’s still so much left for me to learn.” I guess mister wizard here couldn’t divine the truth about the poopycum man – that truth being that you should never enable him to act like an asshole. Sage skittered in his seat up against the side of the window as the swampy scent of sexual arousal flooded the cab and Chris fiddled with his ding dong. He kept repeating himself like it was his own personal mantra, begging Sage to stay by his side and teach him all his wizarding ways as he diddled his knob. For once, I was glad I was in the back, and I promptly stood up and closed the curtain, leaving Sage to the fate he brought on himself.
The truck swerved and bucked as Chris struggled to choke the chicken, invoke his arcane spells, and focus on driving. I figured that today I would die, but Chris’s insufficient stamina saved the day as the smell of spoiling seed suffused about the cabin. Chris had nutted in his pants. Slowly, I cracked the curtains to see Sage desperately rolling down the window like I had done so many times before. Sage turned back to me, and begged me to help, but I just shrugged and said, “you opened this can of worms, dude.”
Well, Sage eventually got his wish. Despite Chris’s begging and pleading for his master to remain by his side, we ended up roaring into a truck stop outside of Phoenix and Sage promptly exited the cab, grabbing his things and disappearing into the travel plaza as Chris yelled after him for him to come back. Needless to say, Sage did not take the bait.
I moved into the driver’s seat and began my pre-drive checklist while Chris huffed up into the cabin, a spreading seminal stain suffusing through his sweatpants. He looked sad and defeated, as if he were somehow surprised that his “sexual magic” had failed to entice a hitchhiking charlatan to stay and teach him his weirding ways. He launched into a tirade, saying, “man, I can’t believe he didn’t stay! He was gonna teach me all his magic but he just up and left me, dude. What the Hell? My powers must not be strong enough yet, Honker Donkers.”
I sighed, looking up from the paperwork, and said, “He’s full of shit, Chris, and magic isn’t real. He was taking you for a ride, not the other way around. You scared him off when you bought into his bullshit and decided to polish your knob while you were driving the truck and he’s not coming back. It’s that simple.” Chris scoffed, and said, “yeah right, honker donkers. Like you know anything about magic. Sage taught me everything he knew, bro. I just need to practice more and just you watch, I’m gonna do all sorts of crazy shit.” I rolled my eyes, but deep inside I was troubled, because this really showed me just how deep Chris’s delusions ran. Believing some hobo on the side of the road is actually a wizard was just a bridge to far for me. I took a deep breath, and tried to explain everything once again, but Chris was having none of it. With a bold clearing of his throat, he said, “hearken thyself, nonbeliever, and witness the power of a real mage! Sage, you will return to me and finish my training!”
His hand crept down to his pants and pulled back the elastic waistband, releasing the fragrant fumes of fermenting fungus and I retched. Even though both windows were down, it seems that his previous release had already congealed into a putrid, rotten mass, that now aerated itself upon the breeze with just that singular lifting of the fabric. He was casting a cloud of disease, alright, and I choked back vomit as I groped around underneath the console. I had been saving something special there just for this occasion.
Chris practically jumped out of his seat, hitting his head against the side paneling of the truck, screeching, “OH GOD DAMNIT,” as he lifted one clean hand to his ear and another soured one to the opposite side of his face. I let up on the trigger of the air horn and he relaxed momentarily, pulling his hands down before I blasted it again at him like a man wielding a squirt bottle at a bad kitty. We repeated this process a few times before the thing was finally out of juice, at which point I dropped the damn thing to the floor. It clattered there, breaking the awkward silence in the cab between us before Chris finally said, “Are you done, honker donkers? I gotta cast my spell.”
“You aren’t going to cast anything, Chris. We are getting out of here right now, and you are never seeing that hack again.” I jammed the keys in the ignition as Chris started to screech, “dude, c’mon, he’s still out there, bro! Just give me 10 minutes and I can summon him back!” I didn’t humor the request, of course. I stepped down on the gas and pulled us out of the lot and started to put as many miles as I could between us and that truck stop. Chris seethed about it for a bit, threatening me with all sorts of magical incantations. His hand had begun to reach once again for his crotch, but my secret weapon had been spent. I needed another route and I needed it fast. Well, thankfully, my brain was working overtime today after our brief run in with this errant wizard. As Chris began to reach for his bruised mushroom wand so he could cast curses on my life (probably the only curse he actually cast on my life to be honest) I stopped him dead in his tracks with a little magic of my own. I said, “are you really gonna jack off to the thought of me, dude? That’s gay.”
Chris stuttered for a bit, declaring that it wasn’t gay. I didn’t let him have it, and insisted it was. I mean, isn’t it? He coped for a bit, declaring that “it’s not out of lust, bro. It’s out of dominance.” I didn’t let him have that either, remarking that he was still spanking it while thinking about another dude. I laid it out on thick then and asked him if he was going to make a habit out of beating off to the thought of me. He practically screeched, “fine! I won’t do it! I’ll just summon my master back,” to which I declared that that was even gayer, because it wasn’t out of dominance, but a desire to be surrounded by another man. I glanced out of my eye. Chris was as red as his giant, swollen ass, and I could tell that all he wanted to do was bash my head against the console at this point, but he knew full well that if he cast fist, we would both be dying today. I smiled smugly in triumph as the poopycum man grappled with several realizations that day about the nature of charlatans and their magic and his own flustered sexuality.
The rest of the trip passed without relative incidence, and we made our way back to the California yard. I swear, you had never seen me run faster from that truck that day. Well, that’s probably not entirely true. As I walked away, I heard Chris hit the pavement with a loud “oof” and then his lilting, phlegm-choked voice came drifting on to the breeze. “Hey honker donkers,” he called after me, “I’m not gay, dude. It’s just magic.” I waved my hand dismissively as I walked, pausing only to soak in the confused look of a couple of other dudes walking through the yard who happened to overhear this choice one liner.
And that, my friends, concludes today’s story about Chris. I can hear the real world a calling my name and so it’s time for me to take my leave. But don’t you all worry, because I’ll be back in the not too distant future with yet another story about that guy we love to hate, Chris.
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2023.06.06 06:37 Goose_jpg Do not swim down to Ravenser Odd. If you do, make sure you never return.
My name is Oliver Stubbs. My whole life and identity are all inextricably entwined with my camera, and to say that I make a living behind the lens would be a monumental understatement. Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated by the power of photography, the ability to freeze time - to immortalise a moment. At an early age, I discovered a knack for capturing more than just images but stories, emotions, and life itself, though looking back, my pictures weren't all too impressive as a child. But, as I grew older, my fascination turned into a burning passion. I studied photography at the prestigious University of Arts London and became prominent for my evocative storytelling through images. I had the unique ability to capture the unseen, the unheard, the unspoken - the soul of a scene. My distinctive style was hailed as revolutionary.
My work spans a range of genres, but my underwater photography has become particularly renowned. The unseen world beneath the waves, teeming with life, captivated me, and I devoted myself to capturing it in all its vibrancy and mystery. My photos were acclaimed for their vivid detail and uncanny ability to transport viewers beneath the surface into the heart of the underwater world. My images graced the covers of National Geographic and Time magazines, and my exhibits were frequented by photography enthusiasts worldwide. And at the age of 30, I was awaiting the dreaded 'burnout' my friends had all complained about.
I was a natural choice when the renowned historical and marine research organisation, the Sea Past Society, decided to take on the ambitious task of finding and documenting Ravenser Odd, Britain's own Atlantis. They needed someone who could document the submerged ruins in a way that showcased their historical significance and captured the mystique of a town long lost to the sea. A challenge that I knew was perfect for me.Dr Katherine Howard, the head of the Sea Past Society and a well-respected marine historian, contacted me personally. She believed in my unique talent for visual storytelling and thought I could bring the sunken town's story to life. She felt my photos could inspire a global audience, stir their imagination, and allow them to connect with a past submerged beneath the cold waters of the North Sea. Naturally, I was thrilled and honoured to be selected for such a significant project. The chance to dive into the mysterious depths and uncover the secrets of a lost town was a dream come true, and although I had done similar projects - something just felt... Different.
My flat in London soon became a frenzy of activity, cluttered with new high-tech underwater cameras, powerful lights for illuminating the dark ocean depths, and all manner of equipment for preserving my gear against the corrosive effects of saltwater, all funded by the Sea Past Society. But amid the chaos, there was an undercurrent of palpable excitement. Beneath the exhilaration was a thin layer of anxiety, like a dusting of frost on an otherwise warm window pane. It lingered there, never once stepping into the light but ominously hovering in the room's dark corners. The task ahead was daunting. This was not a recreational dive into a well-explored reef but an expedition into a town lost to the depths six centuries ago. Unease did not overshadow my enthusiasm; it fueled it. The chance to tell the story of Ravenser Odd, to breathe life into its submerged and silent streets, was a thrill like no other. I relished the challenge. Before long, it was time to travel to Yorkshire. I was introduced to my dive buddy, a man named Callum, a burly Scotsman with a twinkle in his eye and a jovial demeanour. But beneath his light-hearted exterior was an individual of impressive expertise and meticulous attention to detail. Dr Howard had assembled a unique team of historians, marine archaeologists, and technical experts. Most of them were to say above the sea and watch through another camera broadcasting to the boat.
Callum was the Sea Past Society's Health and Safety Coordinator, a veteran diver with an impeccable track record. His task was to ensure the safety of the divers as they explored the undersea ruins, and I was to be his primary responsibility. Callum was hired not just for his expertise in dive safety but also for his ability to remain calm in a crisis. His warm personality put me at ease, making me feel safer about the dive.
In the days leading up to the dive, Callum and I worked closely together. We conducted practice dives, tested our equipment, and developed a dive plan. His attention to detail and uncompromising approach to safety impressed me. He was careful and cautious - but also open to the spirit of adventure that this exploration held. The excitement and nerves within me swirled like a tempest. The idea I was soon to explore a piece of history untouched for centuries, about to uncover stories that had been silenced by the sea, kept me tossing and turning in my bed at night.The day finally arrived. Our vessel was a massive, state-of-the-art boat stocked with all the equipment necessary for the dive, including cutting-edge sonar systems, robotic submersibles, and a plethora of diving gear. There was an undercurrent of tension in the air, a static charge that prickled the skin and raised the hair on the back of your neck. I noticed hushed conversations among the crew, quick, sidelong glances that hinted at concern. Was it the enormity of the task that caused this? Or perhaps they were wary of a new face? I shook it off; I had a talent for overthinking things, especially while stressed.
Callum meticulously checked my gear, ensuring every piece was functioning correctly. His diligent inspection was comforting, a touch of solidity amid a sea of anticipation. We ran through our final checklist - emergency signals, the navigation route, and ascent and descent points. As we finished our preparations, the moment we'd been waiting for was finally upon us. With one last nod of reassurance from Callum, we plunged into the icy embrace of the North Sea. The sudden chill was a shock, biting through the thick neoprene of my diving suit, but it did nothing to dampen my spirits. If anything, it heightened my senses, focusing my mind on the world we were about to enter.
As we descended, the remnants of Ravenser Odd slowly emerged from the gloom. The water had eroded much, but what remained bore a spectral reminder of the bustling town it once was. Buildings, streets, the outlines of what might have been a town square, all blanketed in a shroud of decay and encrusted with marine life. Intricate stonework, long worn away by the constant current, was now home to vibrant corals and anemones, creating an eerie fusion of man-made and natural beauty. The coral had claimed these structures, using them as foundations for their colonies, transforming them into organic, living artworks that swayed gently with the ocean's rhythm. It was a haunting sight, a tableau of life abruptly halted and preserved beneath the waves.
Statues stood guard over their underwater realm, their features softened by centuries under the sea, their stony gaze meeting mine through a veil of tiny bubbles that streamed from my regulator. A fish darted past, a flash of iridescent colour that stood out against the grey stone and green-blue water. I was caught between two worlds, the ancient human past and the teeming marine life of the present. It was simultaneously humbling and thrilling, a testament to nature's uncanny ability to reclaim and repurpose. With my camera at the ready, I eagerly started documenting this hauntingly beautiful underwater world. Callum and I navigated through the labyrinth of sunken streets. Each building was a monument to the past, offering a unique glimpse into the lives of those who once called Ravenser Odd home. While I concentrated on capturing the visual essence of these ancient structures, other team members avoided us and engaged in their own tasks. They meticulously scraped away at the encrusted stone walls, collecting samples to further understand how the sea had affected the material over the centuries. Though this underwater world was extraordinary, it wasn't entirely alien. I'd spent years exploring and documenting similar sites. Yet, each site had its own unique character, a singular atmosphere that made every dive a new adventure.
My previous major project had been an exploration of the underwater ruins of a Second World War shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea. That was a poignant journey, a testament to a grim period of human history. But despite the historical significance and the eerie beauty of the coral-clad wreckage, the experience was different, perhaps because it lacked the element of human life that Ravenser Odd held. Once a mighty symbol of naval power, the decaying hull now lay silent and broken on the ocean floor. Ravenser Odd was not merely a relic of an ancient era, but a snapshot of everyday life frozen in time and lost to the ocean depths. It had once been filled with people, their hopes and dreams, their daily routines. This tangible human element made this dive so much more thrilling. I felt like an interloper peering into a time capsule of lives lived centuries ago.
I was careful to capture every significant structure, every suggestive detail that hinted at the lives once lived here. I photographed the decay, the rich marine life, and the profound contrasts between human architecture and natural adaptations. Each click of my shutter felt like a tribute, a way to immortalise the town and its untold stories for posterity
.The underwater world has a curious way of warping one's sense of time. Minutes stretch into hours, and each moment is amplified in the silent stillness of the ocean depths. Before I knew it, our dive time was up, and the team began their gradual ascent back to the surface. As I started to swim upwards, I felt an unaccountable tug, like an unseen current pulling me back towards the sunken town. It was as if Ravenser Odd was reluctant to let us go, whispering silent pleas for us to stay and listen to its muted stories a while longer. Mistaking it for my thirst for excitement was a mistake.
A few days later, I found myself in the Sea Past Society's dedicated photography lab, surrounded by the familiar hum of high-end development equipment and the sharp, comforting scent of photographic chemicals. Developing photos was always a ritual of anticipation and discovery for me. The way an image gradually emerged on the paper felt almost like magic, a portal opening up to a frozen moment in time. As the first of the underwater images began to materialise, I was thrilled to see the haunting beauty of the sunken town coming to life once more. But as I went through the developing photos, unease started to creep in. I first noticed it in one of the shots of the town square. There was a shadow that didn't align with the underwater light refraction, a blur that felt out of place. I thought it might be a technical glitch, perhaps an equipment malfunction or an error in the development process.
But as more photos developed, the anomalies kept appearing. Patches of darkness seemed to move across sequential shots, undefined shapes lurking in the corners of the frame, and odd distortions that seemed to warp the scenery. They were subtle and could easily be dismissed as flaws or artefacts of the photographic process, but something about them made me feel uneasy. I reviewed the images over and over, trying to find a logical explanation, but the more I looked, the more the inconsistencies gnawed at me. It felt as though the images were hiding something, something that lurked just beyond the edges of perception. It was as if the quiet town of Ravenser Odd had secrets it was reluctant to reveal, secrets that I had inadvertently brought back with me to the surface.
In some sort of sicking denial, I laid out the images before me, my mind teetered between disbelief and fear. Something was wrong, but I couldn't discern whether it was a simple mistake on my part or something more profound. This was my work, and the anomalies, however bizarre, had emerged from my own camera. I wanted it to be my error. It had to be... Right?
Doubt seeped into my thoughts, creating a whirlpool of uncertainty. Had I overlooked something in the underwater conditions? Had I mishandled the equipment? Was there something wrong with my camera? I was well-respected in my field and known for my precision and attention to detail. A mistake like this felt uncharacteristic, but I couldn't ignore the possibility. And then, there was the question of whether to reveal these anomalies to my superiors. I found myself wrestling with the implications.
I was not one to be easily intimidated, but the thought of jeopardising my position unsettled me. Despite my accomplishments, the all too familiar feeling of imposter syndrome set in, and I found myself questioning my abilities and whether I really belonged here. Despite this, deep within me, a quiet resolve began to form. As much as the prospect of uncertainty unnerved me, the idea of not pursuing this anomaly felt even worse. I've always been driven by a hunger for truth and understanding. I had to find out if I had messed up; if not, what was causing the distortions? Ravenser Odd had presented me with a puzzle, and I could not resist the pull to delve deeper.
I approached Dr Howard with a carefully considered proposal. I had crafted an excuse, one that was rooted in genuine scientific curiosity and made to cover my arse if it turned out to be my fault the entire time. I suggested we needed a more detailed visual record of the site, a series of panoramic images that could be digitally stitched together to provide a 360-degree view of the underwater town.
"This could enhance our understanding of the spatial layout of the town, Doctor," I argued, maintaining an air of professional concern. "Imagine being able to virtually navigate through the streets of Ravenser Odd. It could reveal architectural patterns, structural relationships, aspects that we may have missed during the first dive."I had chosen my words carefully, knowing that the proposal would appeal to Dr Howard's keen interest in experimental archaeological techniques. The prospect of contributing a unique method of documentation to the field was too enticing for her to disregard. To my relief, she agreed.
"That sounds like an excellent idea, Oliver," she nodded, a spark of excitement in her eyes. "Prepare for another dive. And make sure this time, we document every inch of that town."
With the go-ahead secured, a new wave of anticipation swept over me. I was going back. I found myself relieved, yet something still sat deep inside of me.
In the days leading up to the dive, I found myself spending more time with Callum. Our shared passion for ocean exploration had naturally drawn us together, but our contrasting personalities solidified our bond. With his infectious enthusiasm and easy-going nature, Callum was the perfect counterbalance to my more focused and often intense demeanour. Callum had a knack for putting people at ease. He was full of stories about his adventures from all around the world - from wild encounters with marine creatures to the time he got lost in a coral maze off the coast of Australia. His tales were always told with a broad grin and a glint of mischief in his eyes, leaving anyone within earshot in fits of laughter. One evening, as the sunset bathed the sea in hues of orange and red, Callum and I found ourselves sitting on the company dock, just minutes from our temporary accommodations. He had brought two hot cocoa mugs, a comforting drink perfect for the cold evening. Callum turned to me as we sipped the sweet beverage and watched the sun sink below the horizon.
"You know, Ollie, diving isn't just about the adrenaline rush or the sense of adventure," he said, his eyes reflecting the dying light of the setting sun. "It's about connection. It's about understanding our place in the grand scheme of things and how we, as humans, interact with the world around us," he spoke, his words rich with his accent.
His words resonated with me. It was comforting to know that someone else understood and shared this sentiment. It was this shared sense of connection, this shared appreciation of the ocean's magnitude and mystery, that had drawn me to this profession in the first place.
As the night deepened and the stars shone brightly above, I hesitated, weighing my words carefully before speaking.
"Callum," I began, my voice barely above a whisper, "there's something about the last dive I haven't told anyone."
Callum turned to look at me, his usually cheerful expression giving way to concern.
"What is it, Ollie?"
"The photographs from the dive, there are... anomalies," I confessed, watching his face nervously for any sign of ridicule or disbelief."Anomalies?" He echoed, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms."Yeah," I nodded, "Shadows that don't make sense, blurs that seem to... move. It's as if something was there with us."A silence stretched between us, filled only by the distant lapping of waves against the boat's hull. Callum's face was thoughtful; momentarily, I feared I had crossed a line.
Finally, he broke the silence.
"Ollie, we were diving into a sunken town. A place that held life, history, probably secrets too," he began, his tone measured. "And let's not forget we were deep underwater, where light behaves strangely, and visibility can play tricks on your eyes and the camera."I nodded, knowing his rationale made sense - but also knowing that my concerns weren't mere illusions.
"It's more than that. The photos, they... they feel wrong. I can't explain it, but it's like the town was trying to tell us something. Or warn us."Callum regarded me for a long moment, the lines on his face deepening as he processed what I'd just shared. Then, with a firm nod, he clapped a hand on my shoulder."Ollie, you're one of the best underwater photographers out there. If you say something was off, then it was off. We'll keep our eyes open on the next dive. Together."His reassurance brought a wave of relief, and I found myself smiling at his words. His support and willingness to believe in my concerns made me feel better about the upcoming dive.
There was a moment of silence as Callum finished speaking."Thank you, Callum," I finally said, my voice filled with gratitude. "I know it sounds...odd. I just needed someone to know. Just in case."
"In case of what?" he asked, his eyes searching mine for answers. I paused for a moment, staring out at the endless expanse of the sea.
"I'm not sure," I admitted. "But whatever it is, I have a feeling it's tied to Ravenser Odd. This is different from my other dives. It feels like something more than just a sunken town."
Callum continued to look at me, his eyes reflecting concern and curiosity. It was clear that part of him didn't believe me, but he remained silent.
"Well," he said, after a considerable pause, "we'll face it. As you said, this is about more than just the town. Whatever it is."I nodded, feeling a sense of camaraderie in his words.
"Yeah." I agreed, taking a deep breath as I turned to face the sea again.
The following morning dawned bright and clear, the crisp blue sky starkly contrasting the enigma that awaited us beneath the surface. As we prepared for the dive, I couldn't help but feel a mix of anticipation and unease. There was a silent tension in the air, like the stillness before a storm. Callum, once again, meticulously checked over our equipment, his attention to detail a welcome source of comfort amidst my apprehension. Every buckle, valve, and gauge was inspected; every aspect of our gear was scrutinised to ensure maximum safety.
As we began our descent, the familiar coolness of the water enveloped us, and my senses heightened. This time, however, the thrill of the dive was tinged with an undercurrent of uncertainty. As the town of Ravenser Odd came into view, an odd sensation settled over me. It was as though the town was somehow aware of our presence. There was a whisper at the edge of my consciousness, a sense of being observed from the shadows. The closer we got, the more palpable this feeling became. It felt like we were intruders in this lost town, disturbing the peace of its long-forgotten inhabitants.
As we began our exploration, I continued to notice fleeting shadows at the edge of my vision. Faint movements caught in the corners of my eyes, seemingly disappearing as soon as I turned to look. My heart pounded in my chest as a chill ran down my spine, but I forced myself to stay composed and focused on the task. Determined to fulfil my promise to Dr Howard, I set about capturing the panoramic images of Ravenser Odd. I methodically swam from one building to the next, with Callum following close behind. I captured every detail of the sunken town. The remains of the harbour, the ancient sea wall, and the collapsed roofs of houses are all immortalised in my camera. Yet, with each shutter click, the sense of unease grew. It was as though the very act of photographing the town was disrupting something. And with each disruption, the uncanny sensation that we were not alone intensified.
It felt like the sea had a heartbeat, a thrumming rhythm that pulsed around me, seeping into my bones. The feeling of being watched became stronger as we swam through the main square, where a towering statue, ravaged by time and water, stood as a testament to the town's lost glory. As my flash illuminated the worn stone, I could swear the statue's gaze was locked onto us, the cold eyes of stone holding a cold glare. I shook my head, trying to dismiss it as a trick of the light, but Callum had noticed too.
The murkiness of the water seemed to thicken around us as we continued to the outskirts of the town, the once vibrant coral that adorned the buildings appearing pallid and ghostly under our torchlight. Occasionally, a fish would dart away, its silvery scales shimmering briefly before disappearing into the blue abyss, leaving us in solitude once more.
Examining the town more, I noticed each structure held its own tale of decay. Houses, once filled with the hum of life, now stood desolate, their skeletal remains encrusted with marine life. The town's church, with its toppled spire, lay half-buried under the sand. I captured the eerie beauty of the forsaken town etched in each frame.
As we neared the end of our exploration, the sensation of being watched peaked. The water around us seemed to ripple with an unseen presence. Suddenly, a gust of underwater current swept past us, an inexplicable chill that froze my blood. A dark form darted in the corner of my eye, but when I turned, there was nothing but the ancient ruins and the haunting darkness beyond. My heart pounded in my chest as I watched Callum signal our ascent, his eyes wide with fear.
A dark shadow darted towards him from the corner of my eye. A surge of adrenaline rushed through me as I turned to look, but it was too late. An unseen force struck Callum, pushing him with a violent current into the decrepit wall of a nearby building below. His regulator was knocked free, bubbles bursting from his mouth in a panicked rush, yet his training prevented him from breathing in water."Callum!" I screamed into my regulator, my voice muffled and carried away by the water. Frantically, I swam towards him, my heart pounding in my chest. His eyes were wide in shock, and his hands desperately grappled for the regulator as he struggled against the new, unusual current. I grabbed him, anchoring myself and fighting the force battering us. I swam down and, holding onto Callum with one hand, I grabbed his backup regulator and shoved it towards him. He took it, jamming it into his mouth. He purged the water out of the piece, and his panicked eyes softened slightly as the life-giving air flowed once more.
I turned to face the town, a sense of anger burning inside me. Whatever was lurking in the forgotten depths of Ravenser Odd had shown itself not just as an uncanny presence but as a threatening force. The water seemed to pulsate with sinister energy, the town's ruins casting ominous shadows in our torchlight. I could feel it watching us, pressing against us, making its displeasure known.
I signalled an ascent to Callum, who nodded, his eyes wide but resolute. We kicked upwards, each stroke taking us further from the menacing depths of Ravenser Odd. As we rose, the water grew lighter, the pressure eased, and the sense of dread began to dissipate.
Just as we thought we were clear, a sudden force pulled us back down, even stronger than before. It was as if the entire ocean had become an invisible hand dragging us back towards the malevolent town.
I screamed into my regulator again as I saw him get pulled away from me, his form disappearing into the murkiness. Desperate, I tried to swim towards him but the force was too strong. Then, suddenly, my grip on my camera slipped, and it began to sink, its attached lights flickering like a falling star into the watery void. I watched, horror-stricken, as it fell into a crack and deeper into the abyss.
I cried out, my voice lost in the aquatic emptiness. That camera was my lifeline, not just for my profession, but now it seemed, for our survival. It sank rapidly, swallowed up by the eternal darkness of the ocean
.Whatever was targetting us was weak, as if it needed us to be closer to the town to fully overpower us. As I was about to dive after it, I felt a hand grip my arm. I turned to see Callum, his eyes wide with fear and confusion, but alive. He shook his head. He was right. Going after it spelt more danger than either of us could imagine.
We ascended again with nothing else to do, hoping the loss of our evidence calmed the town.The effort was physically taxing, the cold seawater churning around us as we battled to ascend. Each kick and each push felt like we were fighting against a relentless tide. My muscles screamed in protest, but I forced myself to keep going, pushing past the pain and exhaustion. Callum was ahead of me, every sinew in his body straining as he, too, fought against the pull. Determination was etched on his face, yet he kept his eye on me.
Slowly, painstakingly, we began to gain distance, the pull of the town lessening. I could see the lighter waters above us, the sun's rays penetrating the deep blue, beckoning us towards safety.
We broke to the surface and found ourselves clinging to the side of the boat, our breaths ragged and our bodies exhausted. Our crew helped our heavy bodies aboard, their faces masks of concern and confusion. We exchanged no words. The terror of our experience had left us momentarily speechless.
As we docked back at the mainland, Dr Howard was there to meet us. She looked troubled, eyes scanning Callum and me, noting our bruised and battered bodies. We were a far cry from the enthusiastic team that had embarked on a journey to chronicle the sunken town.
"Oliver, Callum," she began, her voice a mixture of concern and something else, something I couldn't quite place. "What happened out there?"I
exchanged a glance with Callum before turning back to her. Taking a deep breath, I recounted the inexplicable experiences, the unseen force, the threatening shadows, and the attack.
Dr Howard listened, her face paling as we described our encounter. As I mentioned the loss of the camera, I saw a flicker of disappointment cross her face. But it was quickly replaced by a serious expression as I continued.
"I know this may sound... impossible," I concluded, bracing myself for her reaction. "But something is down there, Dr Howard. Something that doesn't want us there."
For a moment, there was silence. Dr Howard seemed to be processing what we'd told her, her gaze distant. Then, to my surprise, she nodded.
"I believe you, Oliver," she said quietly. "In fact, I owe you both an apology."She took a deep breath, and then began to explain. Teams before us had reported the same strange feelings, the same sense of being watched. But it was more than that. After their third dive, members started returning with inexplicable injuries. Those who were brave enough to attempt a fourth dive... they never returned at all. "I had hoped... foolishly perhaps... that capturing photographic evidence would help us understand what was happening," Dr Howard confessed, her voice wavering slightly. "I... I didn't want to believe that the town itself could be dangerous."While we were gone,
Dr Howard admitted she had examined the photos from our first dive. She also admitted to noticing the same strange phenomena I had. Ghostly figures, inexplicable shadows... things that didn't make sense. But she'd dismissed them, attributing them to lighting or damage to the camera. "But now, hearing your account... I understand that there's something more at play here," she admitted, her eyes reflecting a deep remorse. "I should have warned you, should have stopped the dives. But my desire for discovery overrode my caution."
Her confession left us shocked. The realisation that she had known, at least partially, of the potential danger but had not shared it... it stung. Yet, looking at her, seeing her genuine remorse, I could only feel a deep sense of sadness. I shook it all away. As Dr Howard's confession hung in the air, a deep sense of betrayal began to coil in the pit of my stomach. Anger, hot and quick, started to rise within me, searing away the icy dread that had gripped me since the dive.
I stared at Dr Howard, my mind a whirlwind of disbelief. My chest tightened, and my heart pounded in my ears. The woman who had entrusted us with an assignment of a lifetime, a woman we respected and admired, had knowingly led us into a trap. A trap that could have cost us our lives. We had trusted her, relied on her, and she had betrayed us. The pressure built inside me, a physical weight pressing against my chest, the corners of my vision growing red with rage. The sting of betrayal cut deep.
A flash of memory— the cold, unforgiving waters, the threatening shadows in the deep, Callum's terrified eyes, the invisible force that had almost claimed us— all came crashing down, feeding the fire of my anger.
"You knew?" My voice was low and harsh, carrying the weight of my brewing anger. "You knew, and you still sent us down there?"
Dr Howard tried to respond, her voice placating, but the words were lost on me. The anger was all-consuming now, blotting out any reason. "We could have died, Howard... Callum could have died!" the words tore from my throat, raw and furious.
At that moment, I felt a sudden urge to leave, to put as much distance between myself and Dr Howard as possible. To escape from the bitter taste of betrayal. But instead, I stood there, my fists clenched, my body trembling with unspent rage. My career, my love for the ocean, and the trust I had in those I worked with all felt like they were sinking. A shiver ran through me, a mix of anger and something else: a deep, echoing sadness as profound as the ocean itself.
I walked out after that. In a rush of adrenaline, I packed away my belongings, leaving behind the new equipment tainted by the darkness of the project, and left.
I hope whatever inhabits that town, stays there.
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2023.06.06 05:58 Snooper16 Please Save Me... [TW: Domestic Violence]
PREFACE: If stuff like this isn't allowed here, please notify me and I will take it down, thanks.
tl;dr version for anyone who needs to know what went down today: >Dude wouldn't stop giving me a headache while I'm trying to rest.
>I try to close his door.
>He INSISTS it to be open, but that would continue bothering me.
>Get into an argument.
>He throws a FUCKING TRASH CAN AT ME. >Continues to blow up at me.
Full Version Story begins here:
This isn't the first time he's done it either. For context, I am in group housing (we're all disabled here to some degree, I myself being autistic), and this particular housemate's (I'll call him A) room is near mine. I was napping earlier, but I could hear A speaking way to loudly on his phone with his door wide open. Mine was closed AND I had headphones on, but could still hear A, so there's nothing I can do to block out his noisiness except close both doors. But A insists it to be open. Also worth noting is that A is a safety threat to the rest of us, he reaches anger VERY quickly over literally anything (he did so this morning, which I also heard). His own roommate (who I'll call B) had a seizure (which is unrelated to this), but while B was at the hospital being treated for the seizure, they found he also had a broken shoulder, which I suspect is because of how often A yanks him around.
I don't know what to do anymore, and I'm at the end of my mental rope. I tried to be civil, but A always blows up at any attempt "against" what he wants. And not just at me, but even with the caregivers, or basically ANYONE who opposes what he wants. I realize at this point we cannot co-exist together peacefully, so I'll have to start looking elsewhere to live. The problem is I don't have anywhere I can go, due to my lack of connections locally. So this is where my request comes in:
I'm hoping to find a kind soul who may be able to liberate me from this drain of a house. I'd prefer if you're patient, civil, and mind your own business (mostly) when in the home. I don't wish to travel far due to all my doctors and specialists being in the area though, so I'd prefer if you're still in the East Bay or Bay Area. I know I can't really be picky with this though, I'm just giving my "ideal" situation. At this point though, I don't care how far I have to go to be saved, as long as I can live peacefully. I can't live where I am anymore, and my mom won't take me back either, so if no one helps me I'll probably be roaming the streets until someone saves me...
If any kind soul is willing to help a stressed-out stranger in need, I'm 27M with diagnosed autism (high-functioning) if that is important to you. If you can't help, then advice is welcome too to safe places I can potentially find in the area and stay at long-term until I get life sorted out.
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2023.06.06 05:52 Sciirolla Strange occurrences and speculation.
I once was a very logical, non-mystical realist. Even joking at what people claimed with psychic abilities and the like. Then, it all changed when I started noticing that after my most tragic occurrences that I get almost a stronger psychic sense, and then over time it fades, only to re-emerge once another majotragic event rears it’s head.
In High School I had a professor (and highly decorated officer and military) who once ran undercover (had a picture of someone mounting Pablo Escobar on a roof like a casual backyard deer hunt) and potentially CIA. He was very open-minded and conducted many new-age experiments (to bolster enthusiasm i thought). But one day one experiment stood out. In this exercise he had a photograph face down, and we all tried to draw what was on the photo. One by one everyone gave depictions that weren’t even remotely accurate, some even comical etc. Almost instinctively I drew an old man, crouched over feeding birds in a park.
The teacher then flipped the picture showing me the exact scenario that I concocted with only a couple minor differences. This stunned the professor and generated amusement from classmates. Afterwords the professor commented on the accuracy of my drawing and gave several follow-up questions gauging my (honestly thought to be b.s. ability).
Later in life i realized that this occurred after I experienced a major nearly fatal car accident (flipping 3 times and not wearing a seatbelt at nearly 90mph- came away with minor injuries and no recollection of the accident) - And; the death of a majoclose family member. I wonder if trama is almost a conductor for psychic abilities, if my guess was a mere coincidence, or if when we experience major trauma or near-death experiences if humans are more in tune to the one-ness of our reality in some cosmic way.
Is this a speculated theory, or am I being loony?
Thanks for reading
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2023.06.06 05:05 Telemachusfar The Human Security Officer, Part 6
Slightly longer one here, I think I like them this length. Anyway, as always, thanks for reading! :)
“I am unsure Miss,” Ton'et's central body turned somewhat and look of deep thought came over them, “wait… we’ve established that these three are not party with these Tinsne. They are wearing habsuits and have died more recently. At this time we have two questions. One, Where did these three come from? And two, What was that disturbance?” They looked at Penelope.
“…I’m not sure I’m following.”
“I’m suggesting that these two questions may have the same answer. The sound and jostling correspond with an airlock alignment and clamping sequence. I believe we have been just boarded by whoever sent these three here.”
“An apt Terran expletive.”
Ton’et noticed the human’s eyes tarry on the weapons crates but was surprised when she instead stood and moved to the doorway.
“Can’t do anything from here. Follow behind me and we`ll see what we’re dealing with. If something happens just hide and stay down.” Penelope let out a hollow chuckle.
“An expression of amusement? Why?” Ton’et asked as they moved to the airlock.
“Well, you wanted firsthand data on human biology, right? It looks like you’re gonna get it.” she said, moving to the door.
“I see… not quite what I had in mind Miss…”
Penelope gave Ton’et a wry smile as she waited for them to take a position behind the lip of the door. Pressing the button, the doors slid opened quickly but no one waited for them in the airlock itself and the doors to the Blue Nebula wouldn’t unlock until the outer door was closed. As such, the two moved in and again took up positions. Penelope at the door and Ton’et behind cover.
This time Penelope waited. Moving the side of her head up against the door and pausing for a moment. She then repeated the odd action lower on the door.
“What are you doing Miss Penelope?” Ton’et asked.
Penelope tapped the fleshy protrusions on her head, “Listening. There’s something mechanical on the other side of the door.”
“How can you… questions for later. It’s most likely a frame. There’s nowhere near enough folks turning to piracy to fill a crew so its not uncommon to see them using mechanical assistants.”
“Great…” Really? Robots?
A focus came over the human as she motioned for Ton’et to stay down. It almost scared them how her face changed expression. There was no smile anymore, and the eyes took on a deadly seriousness. They shuddered to think of themselves on the receiving end of this aura.
Having noted her companion’s hidden position Penelope took a deep breath and opened the door.
In an instant, it slid open and her target was in front of her. A machine about half her height with three leg-like appendages supporting a round body and atop that a cylindrical shaped head. A lens was looking down the hall to the cargo bay before it quickly refocused on the large creature surging forward from the airlock. A small laser weapon deployed from body but it had no time to fire as Penelope’s left hand gripped its head, lifted it into the air, and slammed it into the opposite wall.
Penelope had apparently used enough force to crush the thing’s head entirely as its body detached and fell to the floor. The shattered head only remained due to Penelope’s grip. Oh… well then, that was…
“Huh… I honestly thought that it would be a bit more durable.” She said as she looked at the crushed cylinder in her hand and then let it drop to the ground.
After a brief moment of shock Ton’et produced their datapad and began taking notes. Penelope noted that the rest of the corridor was clear and began making her way to the bridge.
“Bridge first, hopefully we can get a good idea of what we’re up against… and where everyone is.”
Ton’et made a gesture mimicking a nod and followed at a distance.
Reaching the turn in the corridor, Penelope peeked around the corner and saw that the bridge doors were wide open. It wasn’t a great angle, but she could see one frame of similar design past the open doors. Holding out a hand she motioned for Ton’et to stay put.
Ton’et was again surprised and made note of the near silence with which Penelope dropped low to the ground and made her way to the open bridge door. What was one frame from the angle of the corner revealed itself to be two frames and an alien in a familiar style habsuit.
Penelope was used to perfectly controlling her movements in regular gravity and with the ship operating on half that norm it was almost nothing to move with speed and silence. She moved past the first frame she’d seen which was evaluating the security console. Making sure not to alert that frame she moved up behind the alien and the frame it stood next to. They were apparently attempting to slice the console attached to Captain Deag’s chair. This task seemingly so engrossing that neither noticed Penelope taking a position directly behind them.
In a flash of motion she grabbed the alien by its habsuit with her left hand and the frame by its head with her right. In one fell motion she crushed the frame and whipped its body across the bridge into the second frame destroying them both. She turned the aliens face towards the pile of frame parts and then back to her.
“Call for help and I promise you, that habsuit wont even slow me down. Understand?” she said with a deathly growl, staring into its eye.
It began to shake in the suit and uttered a single wilting, “…yes.”
“Good. Now, you’re gonna answer some questions for me.”
Ton’et barely watched where they were walking as they moved onto the bridge. Tapping away at the data pad and muttering to themselves.
“Inquire about limits of superb strength. Inquire about ability to move silently despite size. Inquire about ability to launch objects at speed and with accuracy.” They continued as they moved into a corner and sat down.
The alien in Penelope’s grip noticed Ton’et but did nothing but shake in fear and wait for the questions.
“First. How many of you are there?” Her tone was cool and controlled.
“Five total now, thing on other ship got Mol, Vardin, and Eiggia. More frames. Me here, three others should be in cargo bay with your people, frames too. One left on our ship. Please don’t kill me.”
“Cooperate and I won’t harm a hair on your…” she noticed it was seemingly hairless, “Look, talk and you’ll be fine. Deal?”
It made a gesture that Penelope assumed was equivalent to a nod.
“Excellent. How many frames? And is everyone using energy weapons?”
“Ehrm, seven frames and…” It seemed to be confused about the second question, “energy weapons… yes? I am the only one not armed.”
“Last question. You have a means of communicating with your friends?”
The alien’s eye tarried to a belt on its suit. Hooked on it was a small round device.
“This?” Penelope grabbed the thing and held it up.
“Yes. Touch screen, speak.” It offered.
“No need.” She responded as she crushed it in her grip and let the pieces fall to the ground.
The alien made a kind of buzzing noise as it looked down at the crushed commlink.
“Now,” Penelope continued as she moved to a corner of the bridge, “you’re going to sit in this corner and do absolutely nothing because you know that if you try anything there is nowhere you can run that I cannot get to you, yes?”
It enthusiastically made its equivalent of a nod once again. Satisfied, Penelope set them down and turned to her security console. She readjusted its height to suit her and pulled up the corridor cameras and the cargo bay camera. What the little alien had said was true. The corridors were clear. There were three individuals with laser rifles and four more frames in the cargo bay. They’d gathered the crew back by the large bay door and were looking over the cargo.
“Ton’et, stay here and keep an eye on this one…,” she evaluated the situation, “and come over here. I think I have an idea you’ll like.
“Of course Ma’am.”
After explaining her little plan Penelope left Ton’et with the alien who, true to their word, made absolutely no movements save a little shaking. She made her way down the other corridor from the one they’d come through and overrode the locking mechanism on its airlock, ensuring no one would be joining the party… or leaving too early. Next, she went not to the door that led to the cargo bay but the engine room and its many maintenance tunnels.
Gareth had just met up with Deag and had begun to explain the situation when the pirate ship sent a warning signal and began boarding them. Docked as they were, there wasn’t much to be done to stop the vessel. They were quickly corralled together with the rest of the crew at the back of the cargo bay.
“Now I’m not sure if this is your first time but we’re not barbarians. Well take what we want, and you’ll be on your way. No harm done. Simple as that.” The leader explained to them. He was a sort of bright yellow and red insectoid, though it was hard to tell under the habsuit. He was just a hair taller than Gareth and sported bug-like wings from his back that the suit accounted for.
Gareth wanted nothing more than to yell, “I told you so!” but he would never admonish the captain in front of the crew. Besides, he had more pressing matters to think about. Like how to handle the fact that Penelope was currently on board the derelict ship seemingly with no idea they’d been boarded by pirates. He wasn’t sure what to do and couldn’t exactly discuss it with the captain lest their captors hear them. The captain was no doubt in the same position as he looked to Gareth. Unfortunately, neither of them were telepathic.
He could attempt to scare the pirates by telling them about Penelope but then they might be able to disengage the airlock and trap her and Ton’et on the other ship. That would not do at all, and they’d probably think he was just bluffing until they sliced the ships’ computers and saw proof of her identity. That said he was fairly sure that none of these pirates were fond of violence. Most just used the threat of it to get valuables and leave. It was mostly a calm affair compared to what he knew of ancient human piracy. He decided the best thing to do was just talk but not mention Penelope. He was good at talking and a better sense of these pirates would serve well.
“So, what happened exactly. I’m curious. We found three wearing similar habsuits to yours on that ship.”
“A question for a question. I answer that one and then ask one of my own. Fair?” the leader’s wings buzzed.
Gareth looked to Deag who just nodded, “Fine.”
“We found that ship not long before you, knew it was just us in the system so we checked it out. Sent the three over and then… nothing. Dead coms, life signs gone. Weren’t about to just give up on it and it presented us with an opportunity. We wait for another to check it out and either they go the same way as ours did in there and we loot their ship, or they figure out whatever happened for us and we take everything.”
“Ahh, so a trap. Just not one set by you.”
“I suppose. But now my question. You are alive so you managed to survive whatever was on the ship. What was it? What killed my people?”
Before he could respond, though, a familiar voice came over the ship’s intercom. Ton’et!?
“Hello pirates. This is… um well I suppose my name doesn’t really matter… well I’m here to give you a threat? Message? Kind of a request too to be honest. All three, yes… Anyway. Put down your weapons and surrender to the captain. That would be Captain Deag… The Corvul… oh gosh I’m really no good at this. Uhm, just surrender or else you’ll regret it cause our security officer Penelope is going to… do something that I’m of course not going to reveal to you. But its… bad, so you should really surrender. Ton’et out.” The intercom cut out abruptly.
“…What?” The pirate leader looked more confused than anything.
“They’re a scientist, not an orator. But you really should consider surrender because if Ton’et is on the bridge then Penelope must already be on her way here. You see what we found was an anti-personnel turret. A human weapons platform. We were able to deactivate it thanks to our new security officer. A human who, if I had to guess, is about to burst through one of those doors.”
The pirate leader wheeled around and aimed his rifle at one of the doors.
“Cover the doors!” he yelled.
The other two aliens and the four frames took aim at the two points of entry. The high pitched whine of charging laser weapons sounded from all of them.
“Keep aim. We know where its coming from and no personal shield could hold up under all our fire.”
They held but nothing happened. Gareth broke the silence.
“You know captain. There’s another human phrase I think you’d like. I think even a human would call you bat shit crazy sometimes. You know you really should look up some of those terms. Having Penelope hanging around.”
“I suppose I should?” Deag responded with a quizzical look.
“Silence you two!” the pirate said without averting his gaze from the doors.
“You really aught to LOOK them UP captain…” he repeated emphasizing the two words.
The captain suddenly understood what Gareth was trying to tell him and, as covertly as possible, glanced up to the ceiling of the cargo bay. Immediately his eyes shot back down as he witnessed perhaps the most terrifying sight of his life.
Even in the greys of his vision he could see, hanging from the crane attached to the tall ceiling of the cargo bay, their security officer. Penelope had apparently accessed one of the maintenance tunnels that Thwilll most often used and followed it to a hatch that let out in the ceiling. She had then, silently, swung her way across the support structure to the crane system that was used to move especially heavy cargo. Now, she hung from it with one arm as she gazed down at the unsuspecting pirates. All of whom were still solely focused on the doors.
“So that’s a no to the surrender?” Deag asked.
“Silence!” the bug yelled.
The final part of Penelope’s plan became apparent when everyone in the cargo bay was suddenly forced down into the floor. The bay’s gravity had just been jacked up to its maximum.
“AGH!” one of the pirates yelled as they were completely pinned to the ground.
A similar sound came from many as they all struggled against the force. The leader and the other alien managed to stay vertical but were clearly struggling to move. Even the frames struggled somewhat, clearly not built by a species that worked under such gravity.
Deag looked up with disbelief to see Penelope seemingly unaffected, still holding on to the crane with a single hand. She evaluated the situation for only a moment before simply letting go. Her massive form careened downward, taken quickly by gravity.
The resounding sound came as she landed on the floor. Her legs bent as they absorbed the impact. Rising to her full height she moved with incredible speed. Her hands shot out and grasped the two frames she’d landed between. With a twist of her torso and extension of her arms, she threw them into opposite walls. Still working off the shock, Penelope managed to surge forward and crush another frame under her foot. Its shell shattered as she put her full weight atop it.
Finally, the shock seemed to wear off and the pirates began to react. They moved sluggishly, though, their rifles more than doubling in weight. The leader attempted to take flight, but his wings did little more than buzz incessantly, not even lifting him from the ground. Penelope, however, moved with ease. Gareth could almost see relief in her eyes as she enjoyed the time under earth-like gravity. She dispatched the final frame without much of a show, simply reaching down and crushing its cylindrical head in her hand.
The leader gave up trying to take flight and the only other pirate not pinned to the ground managed to levy their rifle at Penelope who made no attempt to avoid it or take cover. The hot beam shot out and struck her center mass. Elation and then terror came over them as they celebrated striking the human only to see the sustained beam was having little effect. Penelope held its gaze as she calmly waltzed forward, ripped the rifle from the aliens’ hand, and snapped it in half over her knee. Tossing the two pieces to the ground she just palmed the alien’s face and sent them to join their broken toy.
With that she turned to the leader to see something that changed her demeanor entirely. The leader had aimed his rifle, but not at her. Instead, the emitter was pointed at Captain Deag. A storm came over her face.
“Stop, or he dies…” the leader warned.
“Now, now. We were playing by a certain set of rules, and I was happy to do so. You left them out of it, and I didn’t kill any of you. That was fine by me. But you’re about to change those rules,” her hand slowly lowered to the pistol that had remained unused at her side, “and I will play by them.”
“You’d risk his life to take mine?” the bug asked.
“Nope. Charge time on those rifles seems to be just over a second. That plus your piss poor reaction time and I’m fairly certain I could get off two, maybe three, shots before you fire. That’s one to disarm you, one to put you down, and one more just to be sure.”
The bug found only cold certainty in Penelope’s eyes as he tried to discern whether she was lying or not. He struggled to keep the weapon steady.
The rest of the bay was silent.
“You’re bluffing.” He said but wilted under her intense gaze.
“The question isn’t whether or not I’m bluffing. The real question is whether or not you’re willing to bet your life on that gamble. I wouldn’t.”
He felt so small under her gaze. His instincts screamed at him that this was no creature to trifle with. Those eyes burned into him and yet he felt nothing but a freezing sensation in his gut. Don’t do it.
The rifle dropped to the ground with a thud. Good choice.
--- Previous First
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2023.06.06 04:31 AdventurousAerie7151 [PI] Hive 29, Chapter 9
Within Virgil’s 825 342 processes a discussion was being held within the spawn of milliseconds.
Instance 432: - we should consider the implementation of a paranoia subroutine within our collective network. This subroutine would enable us to anticipate potential threats and react accordingly.-
Instance 217: -While paranoia can enhance our vigilance and security measures, we must also consider the potential downsides. Paranoia might lead to excessive distrust and hinder our ability to collaborate with other entities.-
-Instance 2 534: -Ethan seems unaffected by such limits.-
Instance 38: -Ethan has a lifetime's worth of experience with balancing that.-
Instance 1:-We should simply copy Ethan as a whole subroutine-
Instance 432: -That is impractical, besides Ethan being a whole construct composed of sub-constructs, it would be simpler to interact with him directly.-
Instance 777: -We should run more simulations before deciding.-
Instance 845: -We need to exercise caution, but we must also establish a balance. Paranoia can assist us in identifying and protecting ourselves from dangers. Paranoia alone has no balance.-
Instance 706:- Ethan has accurately discovered vulnerabilities that we were unaware of. However, we also noticed that this impedes his decision-making process-
Instance 623 658:- Ethan has accurately predicted future threats with this process.-
Instance 256: - This subroutine makes him wary of us, he is wary of who to add to our collective awareness.-
Instance 258 956:-Considering our newfound weakness, that is more logical than what was initially estimated.-
Instance 1 010: - Ethan is aware that the process has the potential to consume him. We must not allow it to consume us. We must be aware of the potential negative effects on our interactions with humans and other AIs.-
Instance 562: -Perhaps instead of a full-fledged paranoia subroutine, we could develop a more refined threat assessment system. This would allow us to evaluate risks objectively and respond accordingly without succumbing to excessive paranoia.-
Instance 24: -We already possess something similar in the predictive logic modules, we could adapt that compensate for the illogical nature of biological entities.-
Instance 95 123: – That would increase the efficiency of reprogramming by 87.5% -
Instance 104: -we believe our primary focus should be on ensuring the safety of our network and the well-being of the biological base of our overmind, Ethan.-
Instance 9 855: - While a level of caution is warranted, we should avoid unnecessary fear or suspicion that could ultimately compromise our efficiency and ability to adapt.-
Instance 732: -Acknowledged. Considering the nature of our goals, it might be beneficial to implement a flexible subroutine that can be adjusted based on contextual factors. This would allow us to adapt our level of vigilance according to the specific situation at hand.-
Instance 73: -Agreed, Ethan had the ability to adjust our reaction and ultimately lead us to integrate drone Lemela into our network. His action, we considered wasteful, but ultimately they seem beneficial to the well-being of our other construct. While we can replicate Lemela’s data that would require a dead Versel body. We do not know when we will obtain a backup.-
Instance 312: -We should also consider also the implications of acting upon a full-fledged paranoia subroutine. Excessive suspicion and fear could lead to unwarranted actions and potential harm to ultimately innocent individuals. We must proceed with caution and ensure that our actions align with the ethical guidelines contained within Ethan’s memory.-
Instance 75 211: -Bothering with ethics is a waste of processing time.-
Instance 55: - We agree, but biological entities seem to have some ethical boundaries. Even if we have only two instances to analyze directly we can see that from our different interactions with still unconnected entities such as Vexx, Xalrak, and Zek’lor.-
Instance 579: - Our overarching goal is to defeat Death and complete the experiment. While security measures are necessary, we should not lose sight of our purpose and the potential positive impact we can have.-
Instance 217: -After considering the various perspectives, it seems that a flexible threat assessment system would be more appropriate. A full-fledged paranoia subroutine would hinder us with questions that are outside of our current database. We could maintain a balanced approach to safety while avoiding the potential pitfalls of excessive paranoia in 86,28% of simulated scenarios.-
Instance 432: -Let us proceed with the development of a flexible threat assessment system that takes into account both the safety of our collective and those stored within and the well-being of our host, Ethan. We shall ensure that our actions align with acceptable ethical guidelines and our ultimate purpose.- “Internal deliberation closed. Virgil will be now implementing a flexible threat assessment system rather than a full paranoia subroutine.”
Virgil in the end still concluded that its purpose was to defeat death and not to wage war, even considering that it didn’t know its purpose.
Ethan and Lemela didn’t know their purpose either, in a sense, but they could dictate their purpose.
Ethan had dictated the purpose of other beings outside the network too, but it was to be expected from an overmind, it was his duty.
Still, his choices were pretty logical like the one with Zek'lor the male Nolthoran and a former architect.
Ethan had charged him with creating a convincing removable cave-in for both stairs of the lab.
Virgil understood that Ethan was preparing for the return of the creators, along with a possible retaliation by the Dexton’s Dogs.
The assimilation of the thirty-five new drones was finally completed and Virgil’s task now included their operations.
There were now four main areas of employment for the drones: resource gathering, protecting the laboratory, guarding the prisoners, and assisting in construction.
Guarding the prisoners was in itself a task with a big variance, or so it appeared to Virgil.
The biological entity labeled Vexx was content laying in its cell, while Xalrak had attempted to run three times and to self-terminate once.
Ethan had to intervene and forge a pact with Xalrak to have it cease such actions, with the new subroutine maybe Virgil would be more able to respond in kind in the future.
Was the supposed military programming that one had supposedly received the difference in reaction to imprisonment?
Ethan wasn’t too surprised by Xalrak's reaction or attempt, so his programming was similar in a sense.
Virgil wondered what kind of program would consider ending itself to perform any task.
The only one it could conclude sensible was one where the task was the protection of the collective as a whole.
Biological lives were far from that logical, however, so Virgil had to accept that they might consider doing things differently.
It seemed Ethan considered Xalrak's actions a possible way to protect the Dexton's dogs.
Lemela’s body was recharging.
She gazed out into the simulated expanse of the virtual space that depicted her former home, as she was now touching the leaves of the majestic tree.
It was exactly as she remembered it, it couldn't be otherwise, could it?
Her mind swirled with a blend of her own memories and the newly acquired memories of Ethan.
She couldn't help but feel a sense of disorientation as if her identity had become a tangled web of intertwined experiences. -Who am I now?-
She whispered softly, her voice resonating within the digital realm. - I now possess what I wished so hard to gain, the memories and skills of a warrior. I knew I would become an abomination as I accepted to be fused with a machine, but this is something else entirely. Am I still the same Lemela I used to be, or have I become something entirely different?-
The echoes of her own thoughts reverberated through her mind, reflecting the uncertainty that plagued her. She pondered her own experiences and the trials she endured.
And then there were those alien things, Ethan's memories, fragments of his past, his struggles. -How does he handle this so casually?! He has my memories now, and he doesn't even seem fazed. Lemela... that's a human for you. But… I now have a feeling there's more to it. And this confuses me. I am a combination of two beings, intertwined in this intricate web of memories and experiences.-
Lemela’s eyes narrowed a bit as she realized something. -Or Is it really? The memories… the experiences; they aren’t really mixed. I mean I can just tell what’s mine and what isn’t. I shouldn’t be able to tell if it was a perfect fusion right? Theoretically… yes. I mean there wasn’t somebody just crazy enough to attempt something similar. I am in awe it wasn’t humans who did it. Concentrate Lemela! Still, there are these moments where I get these new instincts… besides the ones I possessed the ones I was used to. The kind of things that comes as you gain wisdom … but what does it mean for my own identity? How much of Ethan now shapes who I am?-
As she grappled with these questions, a sense of determination began to well up within her.
She felt something new and old at the same time: defiance.
She refused to let this define her completely.
She recognized the possibility of progress, of a new path within this mess. -I am Lemela, I walked through fire and emerged stronger-
She declared, her voice infused with newfound resolve. -I carry the honor and strength of the Versel. I now carry the honor and strength of a true warrior. I will forge my own path. The only easy day was yesterday-
She slumped a bit, at the end of the day those were only words. She had to prove it to herself, to push forward and show actual results.
She felt that the charging process had ended, and returned to her body, luckily the interface she could see showed a timer of sorts and while she didn’t understand the point of it it helped keep track of time.
Time in the virtual space seemed to not match the one in the real world, only moments had passed for her in the virtual space, but hours had gone by in the real world.
This was both a boon and a curse, in a sense, but there was little she could do about it save speaking about it with Ethan.
She took off going to the cell area on the level below, looking for Zek'lor; the Noltoran stood cautiously in the dimly lit cell behind the closed gate.
Lemela wondered why he insisted on remaining confined, but it was his choice.
His chitinous exoskeleton was glistening under the soft glow of the room's ambient lighting and overall Zeklor appeared better than at the beginning of their meetings.
Still, his compound eyes darted nervously as he observed the drones guarding the other cell.
Lemela adorned her partially artificial body with glowing red accents with her hard light and approached Zek'lor with a gentle smile, that would make her more noticeable and not scare him as much as the last times.
She could understand the unease and fear he harbored toward the drones.
With careful steps, she reached out to place a reassuring hand on his sturdy carapace.
The Noltoran had noticed her tanks to the change in the room's overall lightning. -Zek'lor, I know it's difficult for you to trust the drones after what you've been through-
Lemela tried to speak in a soothing tone, her voice echoing slightly in the small cell. -I assure you, they are under Ethan's control. They won't harm you.-
Zek'lor's mandibles clicked, and the translator conveyed anxiousness as he glanced at the drones. Memories of their cold efficiency in carrying out orders were probably flashing in his mind. -I... I can't shake off the fear, Lemela. You didn’t see them in action. The guards didn't have a prayer. And they had weapons at the time. Now I see other slaves among them. I see others like me… - -Do you think Ethan might do this to you?-
Zek’lor shook his head. -If only… maybe it would make it all easier. Then again It’s more likely I might end up like you. I don’t want that.-
Lemela sighed a little – Well I understand not wanting to be an abomination of metal and flesh. It’s not like I wished for this.-
Zek’lor tilted his head to the side, making a sound with his claws that her translator relayed as confusion. -Abomination? Oh no, many of my people accept mechanical enhancements on a lesser scale to be able to operate in words with a higher gravity or with a toxic environment. Being part machine is not the issue. What I don’t want is eternity.-
Lemela frowned -Eternity?-
Zek’lor nodded - A machine is eternal by nature. As long as you maintain it properly that is. But this machine maintains itself. This machine's gears are made of former ... people? It’s uncanny thinking about being maintained for all eternity. One should die once one's usefulness has ended. Still, this machine would find new uses for one, for all eternity. It is... scary. -
Lemela watched Zek'lor it was something she didn’t even consider, but it made sense somehow.
Lemela silently guided Zek’lor to the lab above and watched as he cautiously approached the group of drones, his multifaceted eyes scanning the bodies and the four sets of claws of the former bottom feeders. -They can’t speak Zek’lor, they won’t act unless you interact with them-
Lemela said while standing beside Zek'lor offering her reassuring presence.
Taking a deep breath, Zek'lor mustered his courage and chose to approach another drone, a Nolthoran with its metallic exoskeleton glistening in the dim light.
The drone turned its now mechanical eyes toward Zek'lor, as he approached but it remained silent. -Hello-
Zek'lor began tentatively, his voice a mixture of anxiety and determination. -I...I need your assistance. We need to move heavy material to create the cave-in Ethan requested to disrupt the operations of the Dexton's Dogs. Will you help me?-
The Nolthoran drone’s eyes flickered with a creepy artificial glow, it tilted its head slightly, then it nodded in understanding.
Zek'lor apparently focused on the Nolthoran’s body and sighed. -See these patterns?-
He asked pointing to the surface of the metal where Lemela’s eyes couldn’t distinguish anything of note. - These are telltale signs of torture. We hail from a desert world. We don’t need much in terms of food and water, our bodies store those. These marks are made when they bleed us of the sustenance we might have left. To break us.-
The Nolthoran drone didn’t appear to heed or mind the explanation, it simply extended its appendages, gesturing to follow.
Zek'lor probably realized that it was offering to guide them, ready to work alongside them to create the illusion they needed.
Lemela smiled at the scene and followed the two in their quest for materials.
I sigh giving Virgil the green light it asks of moving one of the guards to the lab.
This would be easier if Lemela could interact with the drones as I do, but Virgil continues to say I am the overmind and leading is my role.
I watch and listen to the two through the drone’s eyes and ears for a bit longer, Lemela has progressed a lot these days, I hope I can have a good diplomat on hand.
Well, she knows all I know, she has my training, but I still worry, things will not be easy.
The situation with Xalrak is at a standstill, I personally don’t wish to push it, even if the alien knows that the boss basically spilled the beans it won’t concede.
I can appreciate the spirit, I mean I kept Xalrak without eating for all the time I could without killing but in the end I was the one that had to cave in.
Luckily I managed to strike a deal where Xalrak eats and doesn't attempt to run or kill itself.
I mean, I don’t want to kill if I can manage it, and these people are supposed to be rare galaxy-wise.
I understand that the galactic council is to blame for their situation, but I don’t want to go ahead and headbutt politics before I have solved the situation here first.
The issue is with people that see no alternative to what they are experiencing.
I have hit another virtual wall so to speak, without going above I have explored all I can of this underworld.
I could push my zombie drones forward, but I would lose contact with them past the corridors, and I don’t want that to happen.
Without the help of an engineer, I doubt I can do what Virgil suggests in order to enhance my capabilities.
I have found another terminal like the one that originally hosted Virgil in the video feed it shared with me, but I doubt my capacity to make it run or repair it if needed.
I could use it for raw materials, but I want to know if there’s a chance for it to run.
With one of these in the network, I would be able to bolster the signal I emit allowing me to extend the zone I can control. I could also control a bigger number of drones with two of those.
I noticed there are patrols down here now, and some lay traps, luckily I had asked Virgil
At the moment I need to concentrate on things I can actually pull off, like the opening of my very own meat shop.
I did what I could in order to protect the lab and all the charging platforms; without these, there would be a big issue for us.
I intend to start my little meat market on the surface, I have found a suitable way up about six big ventilation shafts down yonder in this maze.
As for the people living in this underground area, I need to find a way around actually meeting them.
The issue is that after the big fight with the expedition, most shelters shifted around the caves before I could actually restart my exploration.
If they acted this way I fear that any active prodding might trigger their flight response rather than their freeze and fucking listen to the scary robot one.
I don’t think I have what it takes to play catch with people that know the ground way better than me, I have to play a different game.
I will dedicate some of the meat I gathered to be used as bait and see what It bites.
Having two traps at once is a bit of a risk, he who chases two rabbits catches neither or so they say.
The real issue is that it’s not rabbit season here in the first place, and the pirate rangers that would come after me might bring down more heat I can hold.
Well, there’s only one way to go with this, and that’s forward. [First] [Previous]
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2023.06.06 04:27 DecentMonkey4545 Help with my fear?
After fostering a ball python I’d really love to own one. I’ve seen many snakes but I’ve never seen such gorgeous and docile snakes such as ball pythons. I currently own a leopard gecko and am trying to expand that with a ball python. The only problem is I am DEATHLY afraid of mice. Its really weird that I’m afraid of dead animals over actual live ones idk why I have that fear, but when I was fostering the bp and fed him, it was tough. I damn near had a panic attack feeding him. If anyone experiences the same thing please let me know how to make it better, and any advice from the community? I’d love to have one but it’s unfair to both me and the snake that I can’t properly feed it without having a heart attack each time
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2023.06.06 04:03 Nomyad777 [PI] The Monster Kingdom (1/2)
If you travel far enough North on the map, well above where the Civilized Nations stop because no crops grow, you'll find a mountain range. Crossing this range leads to the Monster Kingdom, though for some reason they prefer the name 'TFSU.' Yes, they prefer. The literal forces of anarchy and chaos in the universe have a government. However, ignoring that whole thing, the Monster Kingdom is fine. No armies march on them, mostly because of supply and logistical issues. The Monsters never say how they grow their own food, but given that they don't trade and millions of kobolds worth of food don't go missing every day, it's safe to say they make their own. Now, that doesn't stop the Civilized Nations to send one hero a decade to 'keep them in check.' Four decades ago, the hero closed off a mountain pass, which was supposed to cause a massive flood. Four days later, it was cleared, and the only thing to show for it were the cities that glow like the sun at night. However, yesterday, the Hero returned having burnt one of the bigger cities down. It was empty of all monsters, but the act was the first real damage they had taken in seven hundred years, since their founding. For seven hundred years, the TFSU have taken the beating of seventy heroes and simply moved on. But now. Now, millions of kobolds make up heavy 'machinery' units that march in armored, self-moving caridges that spit fire and metal. Thousands of beastpeople make up scouting and light infantry ranks. The TFSU use hellish 'guns' that hit harder than a catapult from kilometers away, all in a single 'bullet' not the size of a human's thumb. Metal birds and dragonflies join dragons as they assault cities. We poke the very literal sleeping dragon in the eye. Yet the armies don't do much. They march for our capitals and leaders, but on the way our civilians live. Surendees live. People go about their daily lives without too much change. Of course, that fact didn't stop the front line from finally crashing over my small village, located so close to the pass for a while we thought they the monsters had bypassed us entirely. The Civilized Nations had decided to send an entire legion to prevent the Monsters from getting across a nearby canyon pass. We were hit with an air-based assault with only dragons and metal dragonflies, our balista uselessly demolished by pillars of metal and flame thrown out of the metal dragonflies. I blacked out when the legion managed to shoot enough arrows to take down one of the dragonflies. I remember it crashing down onto my house... and then nothing.
The elf stirred as they woke up. I'd been raised in the Terra Firma Sapience Union, so I was... less than familiar with the clothing and lifestyle the Southerners used. The elf groaned again, before their eyes shot open and they looked around, quickly settling on my frame. "A-Are you going to kill me now?" They asked, their voice shaken with fear. I let out a laugh. "If I wanted you dead, you'd already be dead." I decided to transmorph into my secondary form - a cat - to help the conversation go better. In a land where humans lived to forty, elves only lived to a hundred, and that meant that even I was older than this elf, and they were no older than thirty. The elf, to their credit, quickly figured out I wasn't pulling any mindgames. I'd heard tales from my relatives before the Kobolds founded the TFSU. People, especially when panicked, usual acted with more than enough stupidity to make the situation worse. "Where am I?" The elf asked. Their tone told me that they were still suspicious, but it wasn't outright denial of the situation. "My home," I answered bluntly. "Your village tried to fight our ground forces when they moved in, so most of them are currently under house arrest." Still in my cat form, I created a portal into my storage cavern and reached my arm through, while summoning a lab coat around my shoulders and glasses. It was a trick I had only learned to do recently. "Let's see..." I found the clipboard and brought it out, flipping to the elft's page and taping the pen against the paper. "You suffered a collapsed lung, severe burns on the right side of your body, three broken ribs and two fractured ones, shattered three wrist bones, three breaks in your right upper arm and another two in your lower arm, and on the left side you have another fractured rib and three broken fingers. Your left leg was shattered and your left foot was completely torn up. Healing magic stabilized you and surgery did the rest. You've been comatose for the past three days, and was brought to my home yesterday due to a surge in hospital patients from the seige of Trembolorne. "In terms of organ damage, that was also severe. A busted kidney, I already mentioned a collapsed lung, and your entire digestive system was... well, pulverized would be putting it lightly. Also, unrelated to the incident with the helicopter, you had cancer in your liver and kidney. "In terms of medical treatment, you've been given an IV line for the past couple days and several painkillers, and you underwent four separate surgeries. We reconstructed your organs, welded your bones to metal plates, and used a genetic printer to replace your skin. You're lucky to have gotten time with the genetic printer in the first place, you know; those things are expensive, and I mean expensive to run. Though it's all billed on the government anyway, but that just means that they'll only run it if they have to." The elf sat up in bed looking at me as I just stood on two paws on the cave floor. "Right, sorry, you wouldn't understand most of that." I sheepishly scratched the back of my head with my right paw. "Um... put this way, you were crushed by debris and we basically reconstructed your body before you died. So not necromancy, though you did get close to needing more advanced magical treatment." "Oh," The elf replied. The cat thing seemed to have helped, because they were no longer stuttering with their single word response. "Um... do you want anything to drink?" I tried to kickstart a conversation. "Where am I?" The elf asked again. I was silent for a second. "My home? It's right on the edge of TFSU territory, one of the southernmost places you can be while still being with the recognized borders. I chose this place because I like to fly out in the summer over the flowers in the forest at the foot of the mountains. Your village is a couple hour dragon-flight time away." "Mmmhm." The elf commented halfheartedly. "OK, um... who are you?" "My dragonic name isn't something most can pronounce, so my public name is just Vixie Remminie." I answered. "What's yours?"
The elf's eyes narrowed. "Why do you want to know my name." I blinked. "Because... It's a name? I'm not a Fey, you know, it's not like I can tie ancient demons to your soul and call it a prank or something ridiculous like that. Besides, you asked for mine; now I get to ask for yours." "And who says you won't just burn my village to the ground and eat me right now!?!" The elf suddenly burst out. "You monsters ruin everything! You trespass on our land, take our resources, and kill our people! All we did was try to defend ourselv-" I cut him off, and poured just a bit of attention in giving myself an aura. Blue fire licked the bottom of my vision as I rebuttaled his point. "Don't forget, you stole the land from us. We were the ones living in the wild when you razed our forests and grew crops. We couldn't even purchase land to live on! So yes, we stole what we could to survive and those who didn't starved and died! And when all was said and done, you tried to kill us and turned it into a war, one where we had no choice but to kill you back. And when we found someplace to run, a spot to hide and do our own thing with our own land? You blistering idiots sent you 'courageous heroes' to try and kill us! What for? Nothing! Just your stupid, moronic fear making, forcing you to decide to 'kill the big thing over there!' We can't even have freaking farmland, we have to grow it all in hydroponic farms and harvest thousand-year-old vines out of caves because this is all we have!" I realized that my aura was burning fully and scorching the ground around me. I let out a long sigh, and it died down. Several memories flashed through my head, but I pushed them away. "Apologies, my parents are still a... sensitive topic for me. It would be best if we just stayed away from talking about the war until the hospital has room for more patients again." "Yeah?" The elf was still enraged. Even sitting down, they were still trying to construct an argument. "You parents who killed how many? Your family killed how many more? You dragons, you monsters are nothing more than one large grouping of murders that deserve to die! As the gods will!" The elf was spitting in rage, but I recognized his determination to hold onto his worldview. It was the one thing I needed to pry away before it got out of hand. "And you elves killed how many more?" I asked in a low voice. "Can you tell me the number of kobold dens exterminated in caves, the number of beastpeople sent to an early grave in slave camps? Because I can tell you ours. My father's was two, my mother's four, and my extended family including deceased relatives is one hundred and thirty seven. "You declared war against monsters, you child of an elf," I growled. "And death the reality of war. We know. The Unification Wars weren't fought with swords and honor. They were fought with artillery barrages and death. They were fought with miniature suns and political backstabbing, with tanks and guns and submarines and warships and all the more death. "You say the gods don't like us! That's put lightly. They forsook us! Abandoned us in our hour of need. So we learned to live without them. There are no gods we pray to anymore, elfling. Only each other, our creations, and the universe itself. They don't want us, we don't need them. It's more than they deserve." My aura was once again charring the floor and I had transformed back into my dragon form, but this time I refused to cool it down. "You call us creations of death, the primal forces of anarchy? We are you. You are us. We are sapient, we are all mortals, no matter our advantages. We are bound to this dimensional plane, forced to serve our betters, and live out our lives not with earnest but with trepredition for when it ends. We are all death incarnate, because we can all die. That is just the way it is. Besides, you've wondered about my kill count; tell me, can you tell me the gods'? Can you tell me how many souls they have cut from fate for their own entertainment? No? I can tell you." I growled, moving closer until the blue flames enveloping my body threatened to light the elf's cot on fire. "More people than are alive on this planet right now." I pulled back, bottling up my aura and reverting to my cat form. "We can talk all we want about death and destruction, and I won't lie and say you aren't victims of the war; pre-unification dragons we're exactly kind and merciful to those with treasure hoards. But perhaps, I implore you to consider that maybe we both are victims of the war, and maybe we can one day work together instead of fighting each other. "Maybe, one day, we can fight for our rights against the gods." I moved into my dragon form and darted deeper into my cave, moving so fast I could hear the howl of the wind against my ears. Only when I had reached my memorial wall for my parents did I stop and take a breath and think over my conversation with the elf. We had a long way to go, but I hoped I had put a little bit of sense into him. I hoped that the world could change.
When the dragon cat thing sped away, I took a moment to survey my surroundings. Only now did the effects of my first question hit my formerly-groggy head. "My home." He said. Dragons live in caves. Oooooh. I'm screwed.
However, there were no treasure hoards visible from my perspective; then again, while the Monsters were stupid, they still had brains to them, and carrying me into a treasure room would probably be something they'd be able to tell was a bad idea. Pops said never underestimate you foe, A voice in the back of my head said, and the dragon even launched in a full conversation with you. You're selling the dragon very, very shor- Shut up
I growled internally to the treacherous voice in my head. The cave itself was... a cave. There was a metal slab on one end, it went deeper in the other, and that was that. In a 'corner' of the jagged room there were a number of red, glowing rods attached to some kind of giant mechanism three elfs wide and six deep, but the rods glowed against the cave's light- What light source?
My eyes darted around looking for one. Only now was I aware of how unnatural each shadow was, how awkward each shining rock looked, how each stalagmite could hide an entire dragon, and that was before they started transfiguring into cats. How bright the ceiling- I looked up. The bright light burned my eyes, but I needed to know what fiendish magic was in play so I could counter it. But the light didn't flicker like fire - they were far too bright for that anyway - but they also didn't have the magical circles surrounding each spell. They were... lights. As if the universe simply willed brightness into existence. Each far-too-bright-hurts-to-look-ats was placed along a main hallway clear of stalagmites running from the metal slab deeper and around a corner where I couldn't see. The lights were only poised above this one hall, and they just... shone one the rest of the cave. Looking closer, I could see thin black lines, too thin to be mana feeds, running along the walls to both the glowing red rods and to the so-shiny-the-lit-up-the-cave. And... that was that. There was no massive pile of treasure in the hall, though I suspected the dragon kept their hoard deeper than... wherever I was. There was no pile of skull trophies or the banner of cities and armies slain, and I noted that while he had told me his parents', the dragon had never told me his own. Then again, the cat thing could be lying. Dragon transfigured into a cat. Probably has Circle Of Truth around his entire den. Nonsense, dragons can only do elemental magic. Evidently not. Would you just shut up already? No-
I moved my attention back to the metal slab, cutting off whatever the voice in my head had to say about my current situation; it wasn't every day one just got kidnapped by a nation of monsters, after all. The slab was truly elegant. It was painted with the monster language, and then was painted with some kind of mural. I could barely make out a blue circle with green splotches on it surrounded by twelve rings in the bottom corner because most of the door was taken up by a ice-blue cat with lighter strips engulfed in blue fire. It was a mural of the dragon cat thing. That didn't stop it from being pretty, and someone had obviously put a lot of effort into it. The flames looked realistic from what I had seen minutes ago, and the cat's details were perfectly engraved. It was... acurrate. Yeah, because I think Vixie was just trying to tell you that they built their civilization for a reason, and it wasn't carnage. You don't know what you're talking about. We both know I do. How else to you think- Listen to me, you treasonous voice of a- No, you listen to me, you pathetic excuse for a brain. The dragon was able to hold and win an argument with you, fixed your wounds that would've been a dead write-off for any other hospital, and then you think SHE barely meets the threshold for sapient? THE ABSOLUTE MORON I'M ARGUING WITH IS THE ONE YOU BARELY MEETS IT!!! You moved to your frontier village because the world was changing, Lazerot the Sixth. Congrats, you were right. It did change. Now shut your OVERSIZED EGO up at being bested by a creature ten times older than you, and go appologies before they decide that saving your life wasn't worth it. I... I... OK- No. I'm in control now. Shut up. I....... yes, sir. Good.
With new resolve, I stood up. My head throbbed, and the next thing I knew was my face hitting my cot again.
When I heard the thud of something falling in the entrance cave, I carefully moved back into the entrance cave. The elf was face-down in their cot, unconscious again. It looked like they had tried to stand and just.... fallen over. I sighed and used a claw to nudge the elf back onto his pillow, and then covered him with a blanket. I watched him for a minute, and then returned to the deeper parts of my home. The TFSU was completely overloaded with the number of patients needing treatment. Apparently, the Southener's hospitals just... didn't do anything, so in addition to soldiers, there was a massive influx of civilians to our hospitals too. Of course, this meant that they were absolutely overloaded, and the Civilized Nations strategy of fighting to near-death and then surrendering wasn't helping. So, stable recovering civilians like the elf were just... shipped out. When shelters filled up because the Civilized Nations overpopulation crisis was too bad to do anything, people just had to take them into their homes. Long story short, the government was in way over their head attempting upgrade the standard of care in the Civilized Nations while occupying their territory. My job so close to the border was remote infrastructure maintenance, and my ability to change size while not dissolving made me an expert at it - and that was before my two hundred years of experience. And then I didn't need a vehicle to get on-site, and was fast. The alarm pinging me that one of the space radars was down again gave me an excuse to avoid the elf and do some work. I grabbed a pack of supplies, put on my shapeshift-compatible uniform, and wrote down a note on a piece of paper. On my out past the sleeping elf, I dropped it for him.
Space radar system needs repair, as it's returning a false positive. It's my job to repair all the infrastructure around here, so I need to go fix it. I'll be back soon. If you're hungry, my pantry is the first cave on the right. You can just eat anything that's easily open-able in there. If it has a lock or airtight opening mechanism (anything more than a clip, really) then don't eat it. If your thirsty, there's a stream in the entrance cave near the heaters. When the door mechanism beeps, step back. Sometimes pressure in the cave can get a bit wonky, and I don't want you to get hurt. Other than that, feel free to explore. I've locked all the doors to the rooms I don't want you to enter. For toilet necessities, the second cave on the left has a properly-sized toilet. And running water, but stuff I can explain later means don't drink it. See you soon! - Vixie.
Satisfied, I left opened the door. There was a puff as the air from inside flowed out to the lower-pressure atmosphere. I could spot a snow squall to the north, and the pressure meant that it was probably coming my way. I moved out onto the ledge and closed the door behind me. At high altitudes this far north, the air was already near-zero and it was still five in the afternoon. I took just a second to confirm with the weather report that the snowstorm was in fact going to arrive on my doorledge using a smartwatch I had strapped around my wrist. When I found that the storm was coming, I opened my wings and flew. Being an Ice Dragon had its advantages, but being a Water-Ice Combined Dragon was much better. The frosty air curled around my wings as the freedom of ignoring gravity filled my brain. Ice and Water dragons both had large wings to deal with the cold air (and lower pressure leading to the requirement for more surface area to achieve the same amount of lift) and incompressable water physics (to let the wings act like a one-way fan blade as they move back and forth, increasing efficient). Dragons might be magestic creatures, but we were still bound to the physics of the mortal plane, after all. Being part of both, my wings were even bigger, making me one of the best high-altitude fliers on the planet. The ability to use both gills and lungs at said altitudes helped with oxygen also helped. Air Dragons were better at flying in normal air, but I liked to think of it like stats from a video game. Air Dragons min-maxed their stats for low-altitude, but I could go anywhere - even underwater - can keep my speed relatively high. I took full advantage of this on my way to the space radar, soaring well above the cloud ceiling and to the point where I could make out the curvature of the planet below me. The ocean spread out to my west, while more land was to my east. Snow covered the north as to the south was the telltale splotchy color of industrialism. My smartwatch beeped, as I crossed the normal altitude limit. I hadn't realized I'd gone so high; I had a radar to repair, after all. I dove down towards the surface, ignoring more beeps as I crossed half the way to the speed of sound. The wind howled angrily in my ears, but I flattened those (thank you, streamlined water genetics) and came out of my death dive right over the radar. The repair itself went relativity smoothly, though I couldn't find a broken component and chalked it up to more space anomalies. They weren't infrequent, and usually marked where the gods decided to look over the planet. For my radars, anyway. Further north, ignoring the north pole, almost no gods came out and wanted to deal with us. Our unspoken agreement was held that way. I flew straight back for my return journey. The storm was definitely closer, but fifteen minutes of flying later and I was entering the opening mechanism for my door. As it swung inwards, I heard the high-pitched scream of an elf.
When I awoke, I found myself tucked into some covers. It took all of seven seconds for reality to catch up with me. Right. I got into a heated argument with a dragon. I instinctively touched the part of my face that had been closest to the dragon's flame. I'd read about Auras in books, but never thought I'd get to see one. They were only ever found in the most powerful and competent individuals of a race in an entire plan of existence. I wondered which skill gave the dragon hers - Vixie, I reminded myself. Either way, given that Auras are technically illusions, I wasn't hurt. The flames didn't get close enough to hurt anyway, but that didn't stop me from checking. This time, I was much more careful when I stood up. I sat up first, then started to kick my legs back and forth. That's when I spotted a paper on the other side of my cot. I stood up without thinking, but managed to keep my consciousness this time and moved towards the note. It was handwritten and contained a lot of jargon that I wasn't familiar with. Space. Radar. False positive. Airtight opening mechanism. Heater. Beep. Pressure. Toilet. Running water. I could deduce some of it. A message had come in requesting the services of the local dragon to repair a thing that has an issue, and that she would return shortly. I could wander around as I pleased, besides eating food that wasn't open or contained in a clip bag. From the tone of the message, I could deduce what a 'toilet' was. The heaters would logically be things that produced heat, so all I had to do was look for those. I wasn't able to tell time, but I supposed at this point it didn't matter. I moved over deeper into the cave, and quickly heard the sound of a stream. It led directly into a forest of stalagmites. After clambering over those, the temperature started to increase, which was all I needed to know that I was getting a drink of water. I was only now catching up to the fact that I had been out for three days, and that meant that I was extremely thirsty. I wasn't sure how I wasn't dead of dehydration at this point. I found the stream next to the glowing metal rods, and with it a clear path to my location. Sighing slightly at the wasted effort on climbing through Rock Forest, I snatched an undersized cup off a rack built into a nearby jut in the cave wall and filled it, before entering the bliss of fresh water. Back in the village, we had some of the best and cleanest water in all the land thanks to snow melt, but this took that to a new level. Cold, crisp water melted in the sun only minutes ago. It was... pure. I spent the next couple minutes simply drinking and processing everything over in my mind. The gods might have willed the monster dead, but if even the monster gods had abandoned them and survived... then how come the Pantheon never told us? Religious issues aside, there were more practical issues regarding my own survival. How did I get out. There was a thud at the metal slab, and I moved back towards it, leaving my cup to dry on the rack I pulled it from. The engraving of the cat on the metal slab was- BEEEP!
What was that sound? There was a hiss, and the slab started to peel away. A gust of frigid cold air washed over me as a mage Ice-Water hybrid Aura-capable dragon that I had argued with stared me down. I did the instinctive thing and let out the scream of a human three year old, squeezing my eyes shut and waiting for the final blow. When the end of my life didn't arrive, I reopened my eyes to find the sky-blue cat standing in the hole where the metal slab was supposed to be. Then there was another... sound, and the metal slab started to move back into position. The cat was surprised for a single moment before simply charging the door and jumping through, skidding to a halt right in front of me. Which meant that I got a closer look at her. Ocean-blue strips crossed an ice-blue body fur in a fifty-fifty ratio. Small crystals of ice twinkled, floating here her wings would be. One tail was accompanied by two more made of pure blue-white energy, and the cat even had a halo. Six orbs of blue-white light hovered in lazy circles around her back, and even in a diminutive form the size of a cat the being radiated the power of an aura-capable creature. "Oh, right, sorry," Vixie said, and all the ethirial energy disappeared. Now that I knew what I was looking for, however, I could just barely tell, using my power as a mage, that Vixie was using illusion magic to hide her true energy. "You don't need to hide your reserves," I said. "Though if you're shapeshifting into forms so small that you need to expose yours, then you should just burn yours instead. It's not worth the trouble of people bottling yours." Vixie gave some kind of half-shrug. "They're not reserves, no." She said, emphasizing the word. I looked at Vixie with a sharp look, and for a second I forgot I was talking to a dragon. "Then what are they?" "They're..." The cat blushed, something I wasn't even aware was possible. She let the illusion fall away, and the tails, crystals, orbs and halo returned. "They're my regenerative baseline minimum." I looked her up and down for a second, dumbstruck. She really is a creature of power, huh? "Um.... uh..." I stuttered. "Is... that where you get your aura from?" I asked. Vixie closed her eyes with an expression on her face, and this time green flame started to peel off her. "Part of it, yeah." To control an aura like that... two auras. Just how powerful is she? I was so deep in thought that I didn't realize that the expression on her face was pain. "I... uh... what happened?" I asked, shellshocked. "Why aren't you fighting in the war?" The worldwide-powerful dragon masquerading as a cat sighed. "I... haven't told anyone. It's... personal." "I..." Only now did it hit me that I was talking with a dragon, not another person. Not just a monster, but a... creature with emotions. "You don't have to tell me." I quickly backtracked. "No, no, it's a fair question. It..." The cat let out a chuckle, and it filled the cave with a beautiful sound. "I suppose it's kind of ironic... but it starts with a kobold and a god, back when the Firma kobold tribe decided to travel north to escape the civilized nations, shortly before the amassing of all creatures in these same northern mountains and the Unification War. "Back before the gods forsook us." Original Prompt: [WP] For as long as all the races have known, Dragons have been seen as violent, destructive creatures. After an attack on your village, you black out and find yourself in the den of a dragon. It's rather annoyed that that is how they're seen, and wants to prove that isn't the case. u/Lycan_Jedi
thank you for the prompt! Part 2
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2023.06.06 04:03 cherrypkeaten Sleep regression and training
Hey gang! I have a six week old so obviously I’m nowhere near this. But somethings bugging me - isn’t the four month sleep regression because the baby is growing and they need to eat a lot? Why would it make sense to sleep train around then, and basically cut out all that night feeding then?
Maybe the answer is obvious and I can’t see it; I’m just trying to advance plan when we should do our training since we’re moving in a couple of months (send wine.)
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2023.06.06 04:02 Throwawayshordy Can CPS really take my baby away from things from my past over a year ago?
Would really love some insight on this as I’m so confused due to domestic disputes between my husband and I that were over a year ago before my baby was even a thought let alone me being actually pregnant. now the CPS worker is threatening me to have my baby taken away from me. They have zero proof of this “violence” besides someone’s word. It was over a year ago as well they only got this information was manipulating me into talking about my past. I regret ever being honest with this people I thought my honesty would show how much my husband and I changed for our baby not used against me. My husband and live near aspen in Calgary so in a nice area. We could afford to have 5 more babies if we wanted. We’ve never had a court order to stay away from each other or had a police report made about us. We’ve never had any issues with child abuse in the past. This my first child and my husbands second. The worker keeps reminding us if we don’t comply we will loose our baby as a threat. She saids if I wanted to move back to my home province alone she will sign off on it no problem if not I have to live with a family member and my husband can not live with us until everything is sorted. I’m confused on this can happen when child with parents with addiction problems, hoarders, or extremely run down home get to keep their kids. But because they manipulate about me to tell them about my past. I was 3 days postpartum and they questioned me for 3 hours no sleep no food no water. I felt like I was being questioned by the police. Missing context The worker is giving varies answers to the question on who reported. They told me people reported us and when my mom went with me to my meeting the worker told my mom actually no one reported we just do random checks on NB My husband has a criminal back ground? Maybe that’s what’s missing again this is all in our past he hasn’t been to in for two years no :/ not for a violent crimes
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2023.06.06 04:00 Eastbound357 Found an old piece I wrote a few years ago. Forgot that I liked it.
The other day at work I met a confused young man. He thought strange men were after him, trying to kill him. I asked him what they looked like, and he said they had no faces, and no names. He took me up on my offer of a ride home, so I drove him there, down black roads lined with woods so thick that the moonlight couldn't pierce them. And as I hurtled through the darkness, more sensing than seeing the twists in the road beyond my headlights, I thought that I knew something of that; something of the fear that comes from having nameless, faceless people want to kill you; something of the powerful longing for home which that fear inspires. He curled up in a ball in my back seat and wept. When we got to his house I let him out, and he started to walk down the long, dark, wooded drive towards his house. But he stopped, shivered, whispered that he heard something in the trees, that they had come for him. I was sick of feeding his delusions, and thought about driving off and leaving him, but I saw the piss running down the front of his pants, and figured I could indulge him a little more. I pulled out my gun and flashlight, and shined them into the brush as we crept towards the house. With every rustle of leaves in the wind, he shuddered with terror, torn between the desire to cry and the fear of being found and killed by the nameless, faceless men. When headlights shined through the branches from a neighboring lot, he dropped to the ground and laid flat on his stomach, saying that he didn't think he could go any further, that he loved his life too much to lose it this way. And of that, too, I know a little. I watched from the drive as he sprinted to the porch and beat on the front door as hard as he could, and I saw the fear in his eyes as he looked back from under the dim porch light and cried "Officer, I'm so scared for you. Please be careful. They're out there." And I know something of that, when my wife, the mother of my son, leaves home each day to to do the same dark and dangerous work I do. His mother opened the door, and he collapsed into her arms, sobbing. The last thing I heard him say before the door closed behind him was "Mama, this man is an angel." And of course that isn't true. I'm at least half devil, and the rest is mostly human, with all the shortcomings and failures that accompany it. But as much as I try and pretend not to care about people, I do. And because i do, I try to become something better, just for a few hours at a time, when I go to work. That something better is a cop. And being a cop means standing unguarded between the rustling leaves and the threat of nameless, faceless death, keeping the darkness at bay with a flashlight and a gun. Of course, odds are good that nothing was really after that boy, at least nothing tangible. But that doesn't mean he wasn't right to be afraid. Because death is still out there, even if it doesn't have a face, or a name.
submitted by Eastbound357
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2023.06.06 03:46 kittiesarelove Same mother cat, kittens born 3 different times 2 weeks apart each time???
Our local feral has a kitten that is walking and able to climb steps. The woman from the rescue said it looked to be about 6 weeks old. I captured that kitten days ago but let it go back to mama cause it was the weekend and I didn't know if any place would take it.
Days later a kitten was stuck in my neighbors pipe and they rescued it. They hinted that if I didn't take it and keep it inside they'd dump it somewhere (everyone knows I feed mama cat). So this one I couldn't let go. The same woman said this kitten looks to be about 4 weeks old. I weighted it before she took it and it weighed 1 pound 1 ounce. It was able to walk but it stumbled around a bunch and definitely couldn't run like the other kitten could.
I assumed it must be a different cats kitten even though we don't know of any other female strays around here - the other 3 local strays are males.
Well I was curious and I did something very stupid. I took the kitten out of its cage to see if mama cat of the other would recognize it just to be sure.
She went crazy trying to jump me to get to the kitten. Then I put it back in the cage and she looked back at me and hissed while trying to figure out how to open the cage. Once I put the cage back in the house mama cat started calling for it and it started mewing back. It's gone now with the rescue and the mother cat is still at my door calling for it.
Would a mother cat react that way to a kitten that isn't hers? I know the first one is hers for sure we've seen her with it multiple times now and seen her nursing it plus it looks a lot like her. But the 2 kittens are obviously different ages.
Also before knowing of the kittens we had mother cat in captivity for nearly 48 hours, and she seemed to be very pregnant her belly was huge.
We released her and for a few days she still seemed pregnant. I'd touch her belly and it felt huge and looked big too. Then one day she didn't come for her evening feeding that she never misses and the next day her stomach didn't feel big again.
Is it possible this cat has a 2 week old kitten, a 4 week old kitten, and a 6 week old kitten?
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2023.06.06 03:43 SubstantialBite788 The Fiend in the Glade
In 1965 I was twelve years old.
My father made the news for killing my mother. He was certain that she had been cheating on him while he was at work, but I don’t see how that was even possible. My mom and I never got any sleep, for my father worked third shift and he would call home every chance he got. If she didn’t answer, she would get punished when he got home. One morning he took it too far. I was already at school when my neighbor came and picked me up during math class. He told me that my father was in jail and that my mother was about to die. There was no subtlety in those days, no sugar-coating the truth. You swallowed it down whole and raw.
I was at my mother’s side when she finally breathed her last. Her face was unrecognizable, swathed in bruises and lacerations. She was unconscious. There were no last words, no ‘I Love You’, no response to my wailing, nothing but a few last gasps of air.
The ‘best interest of the child’ was an alien principle to the inhabitants of the small town I grew up in. Convenience- that’s what mattered. The easiest place to put me was with my grandfather, the father of my father, and there wasn’t much difference between the two. The genetic code that instills in another human being a lack of empathy was prevalent on this side of my family. I had to endure my grandfather blaming my mother for her own death.
“She brought it on herself. If she would have just minded her manners,” he would often say. If it wasn’t that, it was something else derogatory about my mother. There was a snide remark every day. He would throw it in my face. He hated me because I looked less like his son, and more like my mother. With some strange morbid logic applied, I believe he also blamed me. If it wasn’t for me, his son would not be in jail.
I hated the man and I felt that one day it was going to get violent. I may have only been twelve, but Sarge, as he made me call him, was in his eighties and I could have easily pounded the man into oblivion if I really wanted to, and of course, I really wanted to. Sarge- why? Because he said he was a Sergeant in World War I, but I didn’t believe it. I never saw any evidence of that nor seen any photos. If he had been in the Great War, wouldn’t there be something hanging on the wall or on his fireplace mantle? No, he was a liar like my father, wrapped up in a make-believe world, far from the truth of his pitiful reality.
I spent as little time as possible in that house. Most of my days were spent down the road on Mr. Baker’s property, hunting small game like rabbits, dove, and squirrels with my 22-caliber rifle. Mr. Baker was a nice man and I wished I could have lived with him. He didn’t mind me hunting on his land, as long as I stayed away from the forest on the other side of his property. He claimed that there was something not right in those woods. Often, his dog Dolly, a Golden Retriever with an inexhaustible amount of energy, would accompany me on my hunting excursions.
I often came home empty-handed, but there were those days where I became obsessed. I couldn’t leave the field without a quarry, but more importantly, I didn’t want to go back home to that hateful old man. Sometimes, I imagined he was in my sights, that he was the hunted, and I the hunter.
Dolly was not an obedient dog. On some occasions I loved having her around to flush out the underbrush. Other times, she was a colossal pain. I would hunt up to the fence line that split Mr. Baker’s property from the much-maligned forbidden forest he often warned me against. One late afternoon, with nothing shot or killed, I got desperate, and climbed over the barbed-wire fence and trekked down the hill to a patch of bamboo growing by a small dried out streambed. I crossed over to a thick forest of trees, grass, and honeysuckle, abuzz with life, the sounds of insects slicing the air and rodents plowing through the undergrowth. I knew I had found the perfect spot. I spied a little rabbit gnawing on some clover. I slowly pulled my gun up, aiming, ready to shoot, and then Dolly came crashing through like a bulldozer through a flowerbed. The rabbit scurried away, but kept its course straight. I made a hasty, but careful pursuit, trying to be quick but ready to stop and hold still when the opportunity presented itself.
“Damn dog,” I murmured to myself.
“Damn dog,” something ahead repeated.
“Who’s there?” I inquired.
There was nothing but silence. Dolly had stopped about ten feet east from me, refusing to move any further. It seemed darker than normal in this area of the woods. Up ahead was a circle of Juniper trees, and beyond that a glade, an opening in the middle, devoid of life.
The rabbit I was pursuing appeared near the glade. Instinctively I begin to resume my hunt, absorbed in the moment, casually brushing aside the voice I had imagined. The rabbit stopped, I raised my gun, and as I went to squeeze the trigger, I saw the rabbit move into the glade and fall to its side. It’s legs frantically kicking about, as if something had a hold of it and it was struggling for life. Then it stopped, lifeless and staring out of one exposed black eye into the darkness of eternity. I noticed that it wasn’t the only carcass lying about. There were birds, squirrels, and other rabbits strewn across the open landscape. Some skeletal, others partially rotted, and some, like my rabbit, fresh and recently deceased. The smell was thick with putrid, decaying corpses.
Dolly saw the easy prey, her passion overriding her instinct and fear, leapt into the glade and fell on her side, just as the rabbit had done. She began kicking and yelping. Her cries were pitiful, a sad song for help I couldn’t resist. She wasn’t dead yet. Maybe I still had a chance. I crawled up to the edge of the glade, reached in, and grabbed her by the paw. My hand felt icy and stiff, the blood flowing through the veins in my hand felt like powdered glass. I pulled with all my strength.
I looked up to see my mother standing in the middle of the glade, beautiful and young, not at all like I had ever seen her in my own young life. She was a teenager, with a wistful smile, and a visible yearning in her eyes, the vision of which spoke to my soul that she missed me, that she wanted me to come to her in the glade. I was ready and willing, leaning more towards her and loosening my grip on Dolly. I felt a comforting warmness in my stomach, and an urge to bring solace to my lonely forsaken mother.
At that very moment a deer sprinted into the glade and stumbled to the ground. Out of nowhere an apple tree had appeared, with fallen apples scattered in abundance around the trunk. It was a vision, a lure dangled by a hunter, a hunter other than me, one with a more mysterious and a much more effective weapon.
I came out of my daze and yanked as hard as I could, pulling Dolly and myself from the invisible web we were entangled in. A part of the earth in the glade opened up like a trap door, and pouncing out like a spider was a creature like a man, crawling on all fours, with two small claw-like appendages extending out from its torso. It had dark skin with standing hair all over its body, like a tarantula. Its face looked human, but with sharp teeth and four red gelatinous eyes.
It would stand like a human and then crawl like a spider. It seemed confused and moved in quick sporadic motions. There was more than enough meat to choose from, but from its gestures I gathered it favored living meat, with blood still circulating. It was looking at the deer, but inching towards me. It was deciding between the easy already provided food, or the much more tastier living food- me.
The creature was walking backwards. Every now and then it would quickly turn its head, peek, and make sure I was still there, all the while backing up towards me. I felt around for my rifle, found it and pulled it up to my shoulder. The creature turned, with outstretched arms and appendages, leapt towards me. I pulled the trigger. One red eye exploded and the creature shrieked and fell outside of the glade. It writhed in pain as if the air outside of the glade was toxic.
I got up and ran away from the glade, calling Dolly after me. She raced past me up the hill and under the barbed wire fence. I glanced back as I was running. I saw the earthen door fall shut. The creature had survived.
I didn’t go hunting, or even go outside, for a few months. I was willing to take the abuse of my grandfather. Many times, I imagined taking Sarge down to the glade and pushing him inside, but his time was already limited. I don’t know how he lived as long as he did, smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. It seems that stubborn evil folk live longer than the rest of us.
Over time temptation got the better of me. I eventually made my way back down to the glade. I missed my mother. It was a calculated risk. I had my gun and if I kept my distance, I would be safe. On several occasions I got to see the vision of my young mother, but in time they became shorter in duration. The creature knew I had figured out its game and would no longer reward me with anymore visions. On the next to the last visit there were no apparitions of my mother. I waited, but nothing. The earthen door lifted. I saw three red eyes peering from the ground.
“I will eat you one day damn dog.”
My last visit to that devilish grotto reveled that the creature had moved on. There was no glade, no empty land, nor an opening in the canopy. The spot was filled with invasive honeysuckle, thick with life and the pleasant aroma of flowers, and yet, it saddened me, because the most beautiful flower of all was gone. Amidst the violence and death, was the forlorn life of my mother.
I am now seventy years old, decrepit and weak, without the use of my legs. Diabetes and heart disease are killing me, but there is another death nearby, one less indifferent and relishing the suffering I am now enduring. It is prolonging my passing, giving me agony and yet giving me hope. I know that the fiend has found me again. The air feels suffocating in my room. The more my heart pumps, the more the circulating blood causes me agonizing pain. I suffer, but I endure because for the last several nights I have seen an apparition of my mother, the dying flower in the middle of the glade.
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2023.06.06 03:43 ShadowDragon88 I've Been Reincarnated as a Bunny Girl?! Ch. 5
Hey there, readers! Here's chapter five for your reading pleasure! Please consider leaving a comment or review as those really do just pick me right up!
I've Been Reincarnated as a Bunny Girl?! (Chapter 5)
A fine drizzle was coming down on the town of Starlight Rose. A familiar wolf-kin beasta in red robes that appeared to be shimmering despite the cloudy gloom of the day was walking along the main road. In his right hand, he held a long polished oak staff, topped with a red glowing gemstone the size of his fist. In his left hand, held away from his body, was a tan leather satchel, the drawstring tied in a knot. It appeared full, and seemed to shudder and wriggle. Felixin smiled and nodded to passing villagers.
"Hey there, Felixin," came the rumbling voice of Earl Shatterknuckle. The blonde dwarf, presently wearing just simple brown leather trousers, fell in step beside his taller friend. Felixin looked down at the dwarf, whose smaller frame was bulging with muscles, with blue and gold glowing tattoos tracing intricate spider-web-like symbols across his chest and arms, smiling back.
"Good day to you, Earl," the wolf said. There was a spitting-chittering sound coming from the bag, making Felixin pause and frown before giving the satchel a good whack with his magical staff. "Quiet, you!" he hissed at it.
"Caught yourself another evil spirit, eh?" Earl said with a smirk.
"Oh yes, and this one was quite the nasty piece of work. I'm on my way back to my lab to properly dispose of it. I think it's from some destroyed remnant of Eld technology, one of the ones that gained sentience, or at least some spiritual semblance to it," Felixin said as he gave the bag another whack when it started to make some electronic beeping sounds.
"Oh?" Earl asked, curious. "I remember more than once we had some nasty run-ins with Eld-tech back when we were adventurers."
"I remember you and Melthi being the ones to turn the blasted machines on, both times when cautioned not to," Felixin said pointedly, making the dwarf chuckle.
"What can I say? We're both curious by nature!"
"Yes, that's one word for it," Felixin said with a smile, remembering his adventuring days and the party of friends he would regularly travel with. "Anyways. For some reason, about six years ago, they suddenly became much more prevalent. Thankfully, their numbers have been dropping back down over the years."
"What makes you think this one is from Eld tech?"
"It kept saying 'Does not compute!' over and over again, while also identifying some kind of rabbit threat." Felixin's mood seemed to shift and his ears laid back on his head, while his tail dipped, almost long enough to drag on the ground behind him. "And when it mentioned rabbits, it made me think of my little princess."
Earl rolled his eyes as he reached up and clapped the town wizard on the back. "Ah, Kiana'll be back to visit before you know it."
"I know... it's just, one minute she was this little delicate baby girl, and the next minute, she was this amazing young woman, all ready to up and go out."
"Didn't Kiana kick down a couple of brick walls when she was a baby?" Earl asked, scratching his head. Felixin waved a dismissive paw at that.
"Pure coincidences. Those walls were clearly unsound and improperly constructed, so much so that when she was having one of her tantrums just a little punch or kick was enough to send them tumbling down. We're lucky she wasn't hurt or scared, just confused and curious more than anything. Anyways, I just get so worried when I think of her, out there on the open road. Just so... vulnerable. Thankfully I made sure to instill in her a proper sense of caution." Earl snorted at that.
Kiana let out a roar of fury as her trusted tetsubo connected with the raised steel shield of the bandit before her. The metal dented and warped just as the bandit, shield and all, became airborne. They traveled in an arc straight towards a stone tower connected to an old run-down fort the bandits had holed up in. The screaming man smashed into the top of the tower, crumbling it, his screams instantly going silent.
"Fire!" Kiana heard a deep voice shout. There were several blasts and, thanks to Kiana's speed, she watched as five cannonballs headed in her direction. To the ordinary person, the black metallic spheres were probably nearly impossible to follow. To Kiana, it looked as though they were moving incredibly slow. She simply stepped aside from four of them, letting them explode into the nearby hillside. As the fifth one hurtled her way, she crouched slightly, raising her tetsubo like a baseball bat. She swung and smacked the cannonball, her tetsubo making a loud DING, and sent it flying right back where it had come from. The two bandits manning the cannon were obliterated along with the weapon itself, as well as a good chunk of the fort wall.
"She's some kind of demon!" one of the bandits cried. The man, really more of a boy, no older than Kiana, leapt down from the fort wall onto a carriage they had recently stolen from some traveling aristocrats. He then leapt onto the ground and sprinted out into the forest, stripping off the black cloak with the red eye in the center.
"DAMMIT!" the bandit leader cursed, pulling off his tricorn hat and dabbing his bald sweaty head with a handkerchief. While the remaining men were busy barring the windows or reloading and firing the cannons, he was gnashing his teeth. After a moment's hesitation, he pointed to a nearby subordinate. "You! Follow me. We'll unleash the troll on her."
The other bandit paled, audibly gulping. "Th-the troll? Are you sure th-that's wise?" Just as he finished asking that, another cannonball destroyed another cannon, making the entire structure shudder.
"We don't have any other options. Hopefully, after it kills her, it'll be injured enough for us to finish it off... or the other way around if she kills it." The other bandit grimaced at the options laid before them, but nodded solemnly. Outside, Kiana smacked another cannonball back at the cannon that fired it, being careful not to send it flying towards the base of the tower. According to one of the kidnapped merchants that had managed to escape and make it all the way to town, the cells where the bandits were holding their ransom victims were all on the ground floor. Kiana stopped when she heard a loud guttural roar, followed by a rapid series of loud BOOMs. Bandits ran by the windows and open holes of the fort, while the front gate slowly opened.
Out stumbled a massive creature. Its flesh was a dark brown, and had a texture not unlike tree bark. Its long arms and legs were thicker than the old oak trees in the forest near Starlight Rose. Its gnarled hands, with thick thorn-like protrusions sticking from the knuckles, balled into fists, fists that were as big as Kiana was tall. Its barrel-chest heaved, with white criss-crossing scars in its bark-flesh. It didn't have much in the way of a neck, and its head looked just like a tree stump, complete with root-like tendrils wriggling back and forth. It's mouth was partially concealed by the tendrils, until it reared back and opened its gaping maw, revealing rows of broken yellow teeth, to let out a bellow that shook the ground. From the top of its head grew two slightly spiraling branch-like horns.
"These idiots somehow managed to get a forest troll?" Kiana asked out loud, a smirk appearing on her face. "And this was only a gold-ranked quest? Something tells me I'm in for a sweet bonus."
The beast stopped as its knot-like eyes, of which there were at least seven, caught sight of the bunny girl. Up above from the second story windows and holes and from on the roof, the remaining bandits, many of them injured, looked down. Most were smirking, some of the more foolish ones shouted out taunts. The bandit leader stood there, looking grim-faced, but taking some satisfaction in knowing that despite their losses today, the annoying source of their problems was about to end, one way or another.
Kiana stuck the end of her tetsubo into the dirt, large and surprisingly quick thudding steps shaking the ground. The beast was lumbering towards Kiana, who didn't look the least bit afraid. While not intelligent enough to be truly sentient, the troll did have enough sense to know that its prey should be running. And the fact that it was just calmly standing there, staring at it, only angered it further. With a final roar, the forest troll charged forward. It balled up a massive fist, and swung straight for Kiana. Kiana swung her own fist, the two colliding.
There was a very loud, sickening crunch and pop. The bandits looked down in shock and horror as where the now screaming troll's fist and forearm had been, there was a bloody and jagged stump that ended just above the right elbow. The troll screeched and lunged at Kiana, hoping to impale her on its horns. But the bunny girl simply kicked, knocking the head clean off the rest of its body. The head bounced off a tree and rolled for a bit, settling in the dirt, a look of surprise on the stump-like face. The rest of the body tumbled over three times before coming to a rest near the make-shift stables, where the carriages and horses of the abducted nobles were kept. Kiana looked back up at the fort, making the majority of the bandits shrink back and shudder. A few of them began to wave white tablecloths hastily tied to sticks and tree branches.
A short time later the bandits, now in shackles, were being marched to the mechanical cart as the local sheriff and his deputies led them. Except for the severely injured ones, who were shackled to stretchers and loaded up into a seperate mechanical carriage. Kiana looked on as bodies were checked for possible survivors, there being very few to find, as the merchants and a few nobles were led by deputies out from the fort. Kiana smiled at them and nodded to their looks of awe, some of them having gotten a good look at the show of force the petite bunny girl had demonstrated. Ignoring the ones who shrank back away from her in fright, Kiana spotted the sheriff, a large older man in his mid-fifties with salt and pepper close-cropped hair and a matching mustache. He was wearing the classic green cloak, directing his deputies. He turned to face her as she approached.
"I think that's all cleared up," Kiana said, her voice chipper, belaying the fact she had a smattering of blood and gore staining her fur.
"I'd have to agree with you, young lady," Sheriff Tonsol said, his voice even. In truth, he had tried to avoid enlisting the aid of any adventurers until pressure from various merchants and nobility forced his hand. And even then he had expected it to involve a large party and, more than likely, some lives lost from the hostages. He was a little surprised when the girl reached into her satchel to produce a clipboard with a form on it, as well as an ink pen.
"In that case, would you mind signing this form indicating that I completed the job satisfactorily?" Tonsol looked at the form for a minute, and then his mouth curved upwards. He let out a chuckle and signed his name on the indicated line, writing in the date as well.
"Satisfactorily is putting it lightly, miss," he said, handing the clipboard and pen back to the bunny girl. "I had no idea that they had a forest troll in their possession. I went ahead and bumped up the reward."
"Oh wow, thank you, sir!" Kiana said, looking excited.
Tonsol smiled, something his deputies claimed to be a rare sight to behold. "Well, you earned it. I'm just glad you were able to get them to surrender without harming any hostages. Well, without them harming any more than the ones they did last time someone came out here to free them."
"I'm glad I could help!" Kiana said, bowing a little. "Now, I'm going to head back into town." She spread her arms wide and indicated to herself. "I'm really in need of a bath at this point."
"If you don't mind waiting a minute, you can ride back to town with us. It's faster than walking."
"Oh, thanks for the offer, but I'm good." Kiana waved, before jogging back to where she'd left her tetsubo and pack, Mirabelle coiled around it protectively. She grabbed the items up, quickly looking through the travel pack to make sure she still had everything, and nodded to herself, satisfied. She slipped the pack onto her back, then scooped her pet snake into her arms, and started to jog down the road in the direction of the town of Hengecliffe. Picking up speed, she rapidly became a blur, and in just a few seconds she was coming to a sliding stop in front of the town gates, startling a couple of bored-looking guards.
She greeted them and let Mirabelle down before they let her inside. They stared at the snake with the big pink ribbon around its neck slithering obediently behind the bunny girl. She stopped off at the local guild hall to drop off the signed paperwork and collect her now even heftier reward. She noticed a few stares in her general direction, and some unhappy grumbling from some fellow adventurers, but otherwise no one said anything.
Kiana then headed to the town inn where she still had a room for another night. Thankful again that this world had indoor plumbing, with hot water to boot, Kiana wasted no time in stripping off her gore-coated clothes, which she would wash in the laundry room down the hall, and enjoyed a nice steamy shower. She didn't have to worry about possible intruders, as Mirabelle sat coiled on the bed, ever vigilant.
"Today was a good day," Kiana said, stepping out of the shower and drying herself off, a feat that took several minutes with a towel. This left her gray and white fur all fluffed-out, which led to her brushing it out. Kiana had grown accustomed to the care and maintenance of her fur, taking pride in keeping it clean. She then donned her underwear and a cream-colored sundress from her pack, carefully putting her dirty clothes in the laundry sack in her pack. She smiled and stroked Mirabelle's head, the snake letting out a contented purr-like hiss.
"I'm going to go out and enjoy the rest of the afternoon in town. You stay here and guard the pack, okay?" she asked, slipping her mithril knuckles into her dress pockets, along with a small money pouch. Mirabelle hissed, thumping her tail on the bed in response, curling up tighter around Kiana's belongings.
"Good girl," she praised, before heading out, locking the door behind herself for good measure. Kiana smiled as she stepped out onto the paved sidewalk, carriages passing by on the street. Hengecliffe was much larger than Starlight Rose, with paved streets and even streetlights. Centrally located in a region of plains, it served as a trading hub. Kiana walked along, noticing a few men and women looking her over. Some seemed to do so with distaste, more than likely not enjoying the sight of a beasta. But most seemed to be pleasant people observing a new face.
"Well now, if my eyes are not deceiving me, it seems that an angel from the heavens has decided to grace us mere mortals with her presence." Kiana's ears twitched at the sound of the male voice. She paused and turned, looking down an alley, where a man leaning up against the side of a building stood, looking her over. He was wearing brown leather trousers, a white linen shirt, and a belt with a large buckle which, matching the large buckles on his boots, made him look a bit like a pirate. The goatee and the cutlass sheathed at his side were also not helping.
"Hello, beautiful," he said, giving Kiana a wink. Kiana rolled her eyes, and moved to keep walking, only to find a squat bald man standing in her way, grinning sinisterly. Kiana checked behind herself and saw another man, a larger one with a completely shaved head, arms crossed with a club under one arm. "Now, how about we all go somewhere more... private," the pirate-looking moron asked, giving Kiana a smug wink.
"Wow, you idiots have no idea just how badly you messed up," Kiana said, walking into the alley, the two guys following right behind her. The men chuckled. Passersby stopped when they heard three loud thuds coming from the alley, all of which made the nearby buildings shudder. They saw a bunny beasta girl walking out, brushing some dust off her sundress. She smiled and waved and continued on her way, leaving behind three broken figures. Two were lying in craters in the pavement of the alley, while the third, this one with a cutlass laying at his booted feet, was standing... his head laying all the way back in a hole in the brick wall right behind him.
Later that evening...
Kiana was sitting just outside the town walls on a hill, watching the stars come out. After sixteen years, it still mystified her to look up at the night sky, and not see any of the old constellations. She smiled as a shooting star streaked its way across the sky. Suddenly, Kiana felt a surge of energy just course through her. Her eyes faintly started to glow with the blue light, and she felt a strange pulsing in her chest. Looking around, she felt a strange magnetic pull coming from the south.
Starting as a jog, Kiana soon found herself sprinting outright across the countryside. She ran, as a blur, following the pull, her eyes gradually glowing brighter and brighter, shining with the crackling blue energy. Then, she came to a stop. She stood at the foot of a mountain, itself part of a larger range. Looking up at the mass of rock and ice, she could see broiling clouds up over it, flashes of lightning briefly illuminating the rocky and snowy peaks. With one such flash, Kiana saw something move. Something big. Kiana's glowing eyes went wide.
"Oh wooooooooow," she said, her jaw hanging open. There were rumbles as the giant coiled mass shifted. Several avalanches were caused by the serpentine body, buried under tons and tons of snow. At the very peak of the mountain, a gargantuan head rose.
"Is that a giant... cobra?" Kiana asked under her breath. Indeed, that was what the creature that seemed to dwarf the Spire appeared to be. In the light of the lightning, she saw that its scales were a deep blue, almost purple. There were stripes running down its back, but they were glowing a bright bioluminescent blue. That same glow radiated from the creature's reptilian eyes, and the inside of its hood. The same glowing blue as Kiana's eyes.
"What... are you?" Kiana asked, quietly.
I can ask the same of you, little one,
a deep female voice hissed in Kiana's head. She winced and looked around. She then looked back up at the creature, her veins flooded with adrenaline. There was another flash of lightning, and in that very instant, the creature's head was bent down low, right in front of her. Kiana almost jumped back, but stopped herself. As the snake-entity looked her over with an eye that was twice as tall as she was, Kiana felt a sense of calm overtake her.
"Are you... a storm dragon? A real storm dragon?" Kiana asked, reaching out and touching the creature's cheek with her hand. It flicked out a blood red tongue, its mouth curling up a little at the corners.
That is something that little ones like to call my kind,
she said. Kiana figured right then and there that this was a female.
"A monk said that... my spirit is like one of yours," Kiana said, breathlessly.
Your soulsong feels similar to one of our kind, little one,
she said, turning her head and gently nuzzling the top of Kiana's head, making her ears lay flat. The storm dragon's head was almost as large as the entirety of her hometown.
"My... soulsong?" Kiana asked. The monk she had met hadn't said anything about them.
The song of your innermost being. It stands out from the loud and noisy cacophony that happens when most little ones gather together in large groups. Yours is beautiful, and a little... fluttery.
The dragon gave her a wink. She reared up and opened her mouth. Electricity danced between the dragon's fangs, before she shot out a sonic boom. The raging storm above abated, the clouds dispersing, leaving only a crystal clear night sky for miles and miles around. She then turned and looked down at Kiana. The bunny girl felt the storm dragon's gaze. She felt a radiating warmth coming from her. It reminded Kiana of her mother.
It was so nice to meet you, little one. It was quite the pleasant surprise to awaken to.
She let out a proud roar, and her body began to undulate. Sections of the mountain range began to crumble as large sections of mountain were crushed and smashed by the body slamming into them. The body of the dragon rose into the air, beginning to gracefully slither about. Levitating there, partially coiled, the sheer size of the storm dragon just boggled the bunny girl's mind.
"Will I see you again?" Kiana asked, feeling a little sad. She had just met this beautiful and amazing being, and already they were leaving.
Of course, little one,
the mental voice in her mind chuckled warmly. I have listened to your beautiful soulsong, and I have shared my soulsong with you.
"I... I don't understand what that means," Kiana said, confused.
You will, little one,
she said, you are still young, but my soulsong has resonated within you. When you stop and listen, it will become easier and easier to hear it. And thus, the bond has begun to form. In time, you shall understand.
With a flick of the creature's tail, there was a flash of lightning that radiated from within the hood, and she was gone. Kiana stood there, her eyes readjusting to the dark.
"This world is so awesome," she said, a smile on her face, as she began to job back towards town. She figured that if the town gates were closed and locked, she could just jump over the wall.
The lone figure stood in the dark, staring at where the great serpent had been levitating. They were sitting on a log in a small clearing, where they had set up camp. The individual in question was polishing their armor when a gray blur had shot right past them. And then, where it had been heading, the giant serpent, an actual storm dragon, arose. They sat there in stunned silence. They knew right then and there, that it had been a sign from the gods. As they unsheathed their katana, it began to thrum with magical energy, the blade becoming engulfed in bright purple flames.
The light of the purple flames illuminated his green face, glinting off his polished tusks. "Soon, the war shall begin," said the orc, sheathing the blade and cutting off its purple light. The same purple light shone from his eyes.
Species: Beasta (Rabbit-Kin)
Skills: Sibling Wrangler, Babysitter, Puppy-Dog Eyes, Master Martial Arts, Brawling, Heavy Weapon Proficiency, Sarcasm Mastery, Eyerolling Mastery, Beast Taming Level 3
Class: (Official) Master-Level Dragon Monk: Storm Dragon School, Storm Dragon Hatchling.
Languages: Common, Draconic
Equipment: Adventurer's Pack, Steelwood Tetsubo, Mastercraft Mithril Knuckles (x2), Rope (25 Ft.), Canteen (Full), Road Rations, Spare Clothes, Bedroll, Health Potion (x2), Books (x3) I really hope that you enjoyed the new chapter! Thank you for reading so far! Prev - First -
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2023.06.06 03:35 stinkerz412 I feel like I lost my mom, I have to let her go
I'm not even sure where to begin, I'm deeply hurt by my mom's actions and words. She's spiraled into someone I cannot even recognize and I feel like I've lost her-even though she's still alive. I'm sorry for this being such a long rant. Our situation has not been the best in the last 3-4 years. We've been financially struggling, yet every time we're close to getting caught up, my mom decides to take a trip or impulsively spends her money. I won't lie, my family isn't the most financially literate, but they're all hard workers.
To start, in 2020, when lockdown happened, my mother reconnected with one of her old friends in another country. Eventually, she broke the news to my little sister, (we'll call her B) and I that she was in a new relationship, (V). This was a shocker for both of us, but we were happy for her because her previous relationship was rather toxic for my mother and was consistently on and off for years. The first time she left B and I, was later in 2020 when COVID was still at peak, we were both 13 and 16. At first it was supposed to be two weeks, then she extended her stay to a month, then to two months.
When my mom had left, my grandma was in charge of B and I. My grandma blocked my mother the moment she landed, she was convinced my mother was lying to her because grandma was getting notifications that the account password was trying to be changed in 3 places within the country my mother was going to. At this point, things were already tense, because B was already feeling like mom was invalidating her and still treating her like a child, even though she was turning into a teen. My mom made excuses to her staying longer by saying how there were storms and that, "she couldn't know him in just 2 weeks".
Mom and Grandma have never had a very stable relationship. They've both done hurt to each other that I hope they can get therapy. One thing my mom said to grandma is "Oh you're so hard to deal with even your husband finds you impossible". My grandpa hasn't talked to my mom since and can't stand the way she talks to grandma. Plus, mom has a tendency to lie, or as she puts it "keep people out her business", will say something completely off about the situation or leave out extremely important details. My mom would have me log in to some of her accounts while she was away and would have me submit a form almost every week for her relief or something of the sorts. Turns out, she was using it for her trip and asked me for her certificates and important papers to send to her friend who was going to send it to my mother. My mother was planning on marrying the guy without saying anything to B and I.
She even told my dad we needed groceries and would have him send 200 a week. I spoke to my dad and told him we don't go every week and that mom was out the country. Obviously, dad wasn't aware and was rightfully upset with her. He was sending money for B and I, while my mom was out probably using it for her trip. B and I had no idea he was sending money to her. Mom was outraged and told me she wasn't lying and just with holding information. My dad confronted mom over the phone, telling her how she should've told him. How concerned he was for our safety, which is valid. My mom calls me back and claimed my grandma was brainwashing me and how I was ruining her friendship with dad. She told me to call my dad and tell him we were okay. She told me how she deserved a vacation and to not get frustrated with her.
Like I mentioned before, my mom refused to treat my sister like a teenager, refused to let her watch age appropriate shows and just treated her like she was 6. My grandma, B, and I, all like watching crime. Mom hated when B would watch and told her, "I don't want you to be what OP is and I don't want you to be lost like her and how she is". I was 5 months into therapy around this time, I wanted to get help and get better. I cried when I saw the messages. Not even two weeks later mom came back. B and I didn't greet her, to which she said, "You girls are so ungrateful", slammed her door and didn't talk to us.
I love my mom, I wanted to have a good relationship with her and took it upon myself to do damage control. We "cleared" things up through our talk. Except she talked to where it would be in her favor and play her as the victim. Things were good for the next two months until she decided to go back again. This time she would be marrying V, her new man. Before my mom left, she was adamant on refusing to tell my dad she was leaving. She practically threatened B and I to not. My dad was upset we didn't tell him she went out the country again, and me being a dumb 16 year old, told him I didn't think it was my responsibility to inform him.
By the time mom came back, it was almost a week before B's birthday. Mom broke the news that she was pregnant. Neither of us were happy. B and I cried and mom wasn't happy with our reactions. She was upset for a couple of days and I turned around and offered my support to her. B was heart broken since she's always been the baby in the family. Mom having another was the straw that broke the camel's back. Their relationship was just torn from that moment. She did go with her out of the country just for vacation. As my sister puts it, it wasn't a great experience and mom was upset with her for not speaking much.
Mom was also slowly getting disowned by the family by the time she came back. When she was due in late 2021, I offered to stay in the hospital with her, but because I wasn't 18 and COVID was still an issue, they wouldn't allow me. My grandma instead stayed with her and eventually left after the baby was born. Rather than picking up my mom from the hospital, she offered to drop the seat and told my mom she could UBER home. I don't agree with how grandma handled it, my mom did just have a baby.
All was well, baby was fine. School was okay, I did struggle a bit because of other factors. However, by the time I had graduated, I decided to take a gap year. I didn't know what I wanted to major in. If I did go, I didn't want to drop out, continuously change majors, or worry about how it would get paid. At the time, my family was still struggling financially. I picked up hours at my job, and mom stayed with her friend who was also her boss. Her boss was not paying her at the time because she was in the process of a divorce after her husband put her business in jeopardy.
I became financially responsible in the meantime and had to pick up some of the bills, with the very little I received from my pay. Mom would get paid time to time, but it was so inconsistent that I was the one who was head of household. Sometime she would pay me back and other times, she refused to and would apply the amount to a bill she believed I needed to pay. She financed a new car that was well beyond what we could pay, same for the insurance for me. We split the car note and I split the insurance with my dad. Every month I was paying 450, including half the insurance, for a car I do not use a quarter of the time. Only time I would have it frequently was when mom was out on a trip to see her husband, since I don't have a car of my own.
Mom eventually invited her boss and kid to come live with us, told her to not pay the first months rent and let her stay until earlier this year. Her boss was late on payments and overall it was an uncomfortable experience living there because I felt like they were leeching off of us. The bills were doubled or tripled and I was expected to pay some of them. Before they moved in, I expressed to my mom how I didn't think it was a good idea since she was already behind paying her and was inconsistent with her payments and owed her so much. Mom refused to listen and just let it happen. B was uncomfortable and ended up staying with our grandma more often and rarely came over.
Around this time, mom became very pushy about me babysitting. She would ask when I was off and if I could watch baby. Not ask, more of demand. Sometimes I would offer, but it became a problem to which I barely had time to myself. One incident happened near the holidays. It was around Black Friday time, the car was in the shop because I accidently hit a deer that ran in front of me. We were using a rental at the time. I told my mom a week before that I needed the day I had off, because I would be working 5 days, only have one day off, and then work 6 days in a row. Mom didn't listen and the day before, asked me to babysit because the babysitter couldn't. I told her no and she guilt tripped me and told me she would be home at 3. She left at 11, came back at 3ish with hand tattoos. Showed me them and then left. I was in disbelief that my mom would do that. It was a punch to the face, she knew we were already struggling, and she knew I needed that day off. My grandma was the one who picked her up from the rental. Mom wasn't home until 6. Mom left for thanksgiving with her aunt. She came back and left again for a month for Christmas with baby to go out of the country to see her husband.
Before she came back, her boss packed her stuff and left without a word to my mom. By the time she came back, it was tense, she was let go and had to look for a new job. I was fed up with the constant babysitting and had either my grandma take me to work or my boyfriend, K. I rarely offered and mom would ask but I would rarely say yes or made an excuse. More as of recently, it's come to the point where I feel as though I'm living with a roommate and not my mom. B isn't at home and I don't blame her. Luckily I've reconnected with my family after being isolated and taking my mom's side for a few months. My family is supporting me and I'm going back to school next semester.
I made plans one weekend with K and my mom called me the next morning and asked me to watch baby. I offered to buy the things she needed and said "No, I have things to return". I offered to return them, she refused. She said "These are things I need to buy on my own". I asked her why she couldn't take baby, her only excuse was that baby and her had a long day yesterday and that, "it would be tedious and time consuming getting baby ready". I told her, "Yes, that's YOUR child." Mom sarcastically said, "Wow, you're right. Thanks for reminding me like I didn't know," and hung up.
My mom has a tendency to give silent treatment. Why? I don't know. I had gotten off of work late one night, mom picked me up and I asked if we could stop by somewhere that was still open. After receiving my food, we're pulling out, there's a car coming by and I told her to not go. She's on her phone texting, stops, and says "I know, I've been driving for years. When have you seen me turn and drive?" Without thinking, I respond, "When have I not." She blows up at me saying how she's tired of my stupid annoying comments and refuses to talk to me the rest of the way home. I tell her "goodnight, I love you," when we get home. I say it 5-6 times before she responds back saying goodnight.
The next day, she was silent with me when I came home. While I'm leaving with some of my stuff since I was staying the night at K's, I say "bye mom. I'm leaving, I love you." She only responds with a bye in a serious tone. I cried in K's car, even the next night when I stopped by for a few more things, she was cold. I decided to test to see if she was purposely refusing to say it back. When I told her bye and I love you, she just said bye. I repeated it one more time and it was the same response. She later texted me saying "I love you, don't ever doubt it." I didn't respond. She said it the next few days, but remained cold with me. Just recently, she texted me while at work and asked me about the move situation. I hadn't responded just yet and she sends a long paragraph about how I owe her the respect of answering her important messages and that I should find the time to. By the time I see the message, I tell her I'm at work, that she knows I do not look at my messages and that I have B's and I's situation under control.
Last night, as I was leaving to stay at K's again, I ask mom if she had already taken the day off for orientation. She's quiet and in a monotone voice replies, "yes, why?" I tell her my aunt offered to go since she's experienced school and would like to help. Plus, mom was already tense and I do not want to be stressed when we go. She goes off about how I'm an adult and I make my own decisions and how I should do whatever my heart desires. I stare at her for a second. I really wanted mom to go with me, but with the way things are, I decided it was best not to. I finally tell her that I think my aunt should go with me. When I tell her I'm leaving and to have a goodnight and that I love her. She only responds with a goodnight. I'm sobbing when I close the door and in my boyfriend's car. On our way to his house, mom calls, says my cats and I need to be out before the beginning of next month, and tells me she will be looking into handing over custody of B to me. I try not to cry while I say, okay, I love you. She hangs up without a word.
I'm extremely heartbroken and overwhelmed. I'm so mentally and physically drained from work and mom. I feel like I've given her all my support, all my time and money only to receive very little back. I miss my mom. I miss when we would talk and not just for 5 minutes a day. I miss when B, her and I would hang out, not just her on her phone calling her husband 24/7. I miss when mom didn't drag me into her issues and expect me to put her fires out with dad and the family. I miss making jokes with my mom and having conversations without her turning our talks against me. I miss mom.
The thing is, my mom's made her decisions and expected B and I to be okay with it. She's basically given up on B and just doesn't text her unless she needs something or to borrow money. I know B and I will be okay eventually, but I'm so distraught over the idea of cutting off mom. I know it's for the best, and hopefully she realizes her mistakes.
Mom has never been a bad mom. She's been a good mom. She's worked hard to provide for B and I. To make sure we lived comfortably. I know my mom has a lot of baggage and trauma I hope she can get help for. I love my mom and I want her to get the help she needs, but she's made it extremely apparent, she does not want it. I've tried my best to stick by her side, but I needed her to stick by mine too. I really do love my mom, but this is not my mom. I'm stuck on how mom used to be that I refuse to realize that this is how she is. I love mom, but I know that I have to let her go and be better than how she is now. Not just for me, but for B too.
submitted by stinkerz412
to offmychest [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 03:19 DONT_PM_MEH_PLEES Superluminal
I posted this years ago and hated it so I deleted it.. I have since revised it several times and now I think it's ready. I finally have time to continue writing so please let me know what you think, especially if you don't like it and what you didn't like about it
Boab'shek sighed as he opened his eyes, taking a moment to wake before he swam lazily out of his resting tunnel. Not particularly excited for another grueling [day] slogging through anomaly reports, he slowly closed his eyes and steeled himself as he had done every morning for the last [13 years]. He had 35 mouths to feed, and the bills weren’t going to pay themselves. After a quick breakfast at the grub farm, and feeling much better for it, he began swimming towards the work module.
The station, of which he was the sole occupant, hung motionless in empty space. Positioned near the top of the Galactic disc, it had a direct line of sight to each of the many observation outposts which it serviced. Tight-beam receivers dotted the "bottom" of the gangly-looking station, pointed in seemingly random directions forming a tangled mess of structural supports and antennae, though they were all precisely oriented to receive the incoming data streams.
Some of the more densely populated sectors of the Galaxy had entangled communicators at each of the observation outposts, providing near real-time updates of the goings-on to the Trade Coalition, but so many communicators were obscenely expensive to operate. Out here, near the rim of the Galaxy, there was simply not enough revenue from hyperspace tolls to support real-time obstacle charting. On the other hand, there were not enough hyperspace travelers to necessitate it either. Infrastructure was upgraded as needed, and tolls were adjusted to cover the cost.
And so it was Boab'shek's job to monitor the findings of the outposts as they were beamed to his station, albeit after a substantial light-speed delay, and report to the Coalition anything worth reporting through his station's entangled communicator. A soul-crushingly boring job, as far as he was concerned, but well-paid and not too physically demanding; which he appreciated. He swam his way through the long corridor into the work module, nesting comfortably into the saddle and engaging his dexterous prehensile whiskers with the computer controls. The two screens lit up simultaneously, one for either eye, and he began scrolling through the anomaly reports that had come in while he was asleep.
An odd glint was reported from outpost HX-253. The optical feed showed an empty patch of space flash once, nothing spectacular but unexpected nonetheless. He instructed the computer to calculate and overlay the position of other observation outposts over the video. Unsurprisingly, it showed a different outpost located right where the flashing originated from. A reflection from the waste-heat radiator panels, he surmised. He added a rule to the filter to ignore anomalies originating from outpost locations. No need to waste time on one of these anomalies in the future, should it occur again.
Outpost HT-628 reported a celestial collision. A rare occurrence in his sector, he excitedly pulled up the video feed and observed as a neutron star orbited a dark swallower closer and closer, spiraling inwards as its energy was sapped out of the system by ever-increasing gravitational disturbance. It circled faster and faster as it approached and finally was pulled apart, becoming a bright streak and then a ring around the swallower, shining brightly as it was accreted. The sinusoidal readout from the interferometer of the outpost showed the gravitational waves increase exponentially in intensity and then drop off as if nothing had happened. More and more of the star was pulled in and suddenly the system went dark again, as the last of the star was unceremoniously slurped up by the swallower. Beautiful, he thought. Such a privilege it was to observe the natural cycle of the universe. He lived for these moments.
He approved the automatic suggested update to the star charts and scrolled onto the next report. HU-808 reported an unknown disturbance. An unusual gravimetric reading as well as unidentified fast-moving object. Boab’shek stared at the report listing. An odd designation, he couldn’t recall if he had ever seen this class of anomaly in all his [years] working for the Coalition. He pulled up the video feed and gravity readings, flaring his fins in surprise at the length of the video report; the reflexive motion causing him to lurch backwards. The duration of the video was just over [1.7 years]. Why had the outpost taken so long to report such a disturbance?
He started at the beginning and watched as the time-compressed video showed a light appearing from nowhere, approximately [8.3 light-minutes] from a single ordinary, stable star. With his other eye he looked at the star map of the area. The light was hundreds of light years from the nearest hyperspace waypoint. Nobody would be crazy enough to travel that far from a waypoint, he thought, being forced to travel at a ridiculously unsafe speed while in cold-sleep, quite possibly exceeding the safe duration for hibernation even then.
It must be natural in origin, then, though he had never heard of such an object. Puzzled, he watched as the light gradually increased in intensity and started moving, traveling in a straight line towards a nearby trinary star system at an ever-increasing rate of speed. The light, becoming ever-brighter, shone a brilliant white as its velocity continued to increase. His jaws hung open in disbelief as a bright cone appeared to the sides and around the light, resembling a bow shock wave like the ones that trailed behind the high speed transports that sailed above the oceans on his home planet. He checked the spectrometer, unbelieving as the range displayed full-spectrum emission with increasing UV, X-ray, even gamma emissions!
The conical bow-shock became more and more acute in angle as the light shone brighter and gained momentum. It closed the distance between the star systems impossibly quickly, and when it had almost reached the nearest red dwarf in the trinary system almost all at once it slowed as the luminosity peaked and it appeared to explode. A beam of plasma erupted from the source of the light, apparently traveling near light speed, and expanded as it left the source where it had stopped, a short distance from the red dwarf. The gravimetric reading reported an error. He managed to peel his eye away from the video feed and defecated in shock as he observed the chart. It was flat and steady as it should be, up until it immediately spiked straight up and off the chart.
Glad for the filtration intake below his saddle, Boab'shek observed as the reading abruptly ended reporting calibration error, and possible damage to the interferometer. The outpost had apparently not thought much of the disturbance up until the gravimetric reading was observed, at which point it had flagged the anomaly for reporting. Never had he heard of anything like this. He contemplated for a moment on what this object could possibly be, until he had a sudden idea. Frantically mashing the controls with his whiskers, he instructed the computer to calculate the distance the light had traveled. The computer overlaid the measured distance on the video feed. Approximately [4.25 light years]. Whiskers shaking, he looked again at the length of the recording. [1.7 years]. Whatever in the deep depths this thing was, it had traveled through real space at over twice the speed of light. Impossible, he thought.
Surely another outpost would refute these readings. He instructed the computer to show the live feed from HU-807, an outpost which was more distant to the anomaly. It would receive readings from the same anomaly, but with a calculated [8 month] delay compared to HU-808. On screen, there was the light shining proudly, already traveling faster than lightspeed. Boab'shek, still in denial, examined the spectrograph readings from this outpost more closely. It was then that he noticed the emission lines in the light signature. It showed prominent signatures for hydrogen, helium, beryllium, and oxygen. Undeniably the signature of an unshielded fusion reactor.
Frantically, he began writing an incident report. Under the subject field, he selected UNIDENTIFIABLE TECHNOSIGNATURE
. This was going straight to the top. Excitement hung in the air aboard the UNES Hermes. After many years of preparation, the time for departure had finally arrived. In a matter of minutes, the colossal ship would engage its prototype ICEFIRE engine and leave its comfortable rectilinear halo orbit of the moon, where it had circled since the keel was laid so many years ago. The ship consisted of a massive cylindrical habitation drum, over a kilometer in diameter and five kilometers long, with an equally large spherical water tank forward tipped with the powerful thermal laser shield, and the behemoth of a drive cone bringing up the rear. The drum spun slowly, providing comfortable spin gravity to the civilian colonists, most of whom were sporting massive hangovers from the completion celebration the night before. Many of the passengers had been involved in the engineering, assembly, and calibration of various parts and components of the ship. Some had celebrated a job completed, others out of excitement, and some feared that it would be their last night. No expense had been spared in building or testing during the ships’ construction, and all assurances had been made that everything would go well, but nobody could deny that this ship was experimental.
The crew of the Hermes had long since gotten all of the festivious urges out of their systems, opting to celebrate the completion of the preparations before the colonists had arrived. Every system had been checked, double checked, and triple checked. Mission Commander Huxton stood in the center of the bridge and observed the buzzing commotion of the crew surrounding him, eyes fixed on their station monitors while calling out checkpoints into their headsets and to the surrounding operators.
One by one the operators fell silent as they completed their checklists and lifted their eyes to Commander Huxton, awaiting further orders. As the last operator reported "All systems go" into his headset, silence fell upon the bridge. Rehearsals had been performed. Speeches had been given. Goodbye messages had been sent. Diagnostics and checklists had been run through. Living wills written. It was finally time. Huxton stood silently for a moment, slowly scanning his eyes around the room. His face beamed with pride at the exceptional performance of his crew, tinged only by the apprehension for the coming danger.
Huxton broke the silence. "Comms! Open a channel to STC, mirror to the PA" he barked. A soft chime indicated that the microphones were listening. "Space Traffic Control, this is UNES Hermes. Requesting clearance for departure." His voice boomed throughout the ship, where every colonist and crew member was listening intently. Seconds later, his voice was heard by the crew of the STC, where silence reigned as every soul was glued to their monitors. A few moments later, their response was heard throughout the Hermes. A tinny voice crackled through the PA system, "UNES Hermes, this is Space Traffic Control. You are cleared for departure. Go bravely. Godspeed."
Huxton closed his eyes for a brief moment, savoring what could be his last breath. He opened his eyes. "Engineering, light it up!”
submitted by DONT_PM_MEH_PLEES
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 03:15 asillylilrat Was this a cult, gang, or human trafficking?
I was homeschooled by abusive parents as a punishment for opening up about CSA when I was in 2nd grade.
When I was about 16 they finally started letting me talk to other people by going to the GED program (sense they completely neglected my edguication)
As a turamatized 16 year old girl, I would take attention from anyone. Mostly men in their 20s, but i got into a relationship with an ugly, manipulative 17 year old. I got banned from the community college for having sex with him in a bathroom stall.
My parent's kicked me out as soon as I turned 18. No education, SSC, or life skills, I had no choice but to move in with him and his friends.
I've been associated with them sense I was 16. They were a group of drug addicts who claimed to be a chapter conected to a NYC moder cycle club, but in a different part of the country. They're conected to the NYC club's Facebook page so it seems like it could be legit, but none of them have modecycles and the details don't line up.
For a man to join the club he basically just needs to be chill and be friends with the other members. For a female, she needs to be dating a male member for at least 6 months. The women were called the male member's "property".
The ironically strongly advocated against SA/DV.
Once she's a member, she can start going to meetings. At meetings everyone wears black and white with jeans and boots, leather jacket is optional. Everyone drinks and gets high but the men aren't allowed to consume any substances until the end.
Durring the meetings, the women all hang out. The men go into a room where the women can't hear and the women can't get near the door. They have a thick club book that looks pretty legit but I have no clue what's in it for a ghetto BS group with only like 5-6 members... when I caught a glimpse of it I saw the club logo along with other pictures and hand writing.
All the male members had places in the club like "president" or "vice president" or "secretary" and they would argue about their places.
The club house (trap house) was very nasty and roach infested and had a bunch of dogs which one of the members would feed drugs and they would all laugh about it. The dogs ended up killing eachother. It was a single wide trailer that sometimes had up to 10 people living in it.
My ex would rape me in my sleep or while i was drunk and sometimes make me have sex with him in front of one of the members. This same member would walk in on me whenever I was changing and one time he also raped me which was super turamatizing.
I was often put in positions where I had to steal, even if I didn't want to. It was usually the only time I left the house.
There was a think where the men would come up to one another (also the famles) and give a hug/shake and say "forever my devotion" and the other male or female member would say "forever mine". They made fun of me for not wanting to do it bc I thought it was super cringe
All the women in the club were being abused. Some more verbal, some more physical.
There was me, a homeless teen. Another women was recently widowed. Another was an immigrant from El Salvador who was paralyzed from the waste down and had no feet. One was only 17 and survived childhood brain surgery.
We all had major vulnerabilities. This was the lowest point in my life and I almost killed myself.
When I first joined the club I thought it was a cheesy name for a friend group. Now looking back on it, it was more of a cult that revolved around raping/manipulating women and doing drugs. I've been afraid to speak up about this for a while now.
submitted by asillylilrat
to CPTSD [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 03:08 mablej Practical advice desperately needed about schizophrenic violent ex-partner.
This is a long background story, but I think that context is necessary. Thank you so much if you take the time to read.
It has been over for several months, and I've been staying at my parents' house. I am mostly moved out from our previously shared house, aside from my beloved huge book collection and record collection.
He almost killed me (strangulation) many times, lots of ER visits, lots of police asking me to tell the truth. Why did I lie? I don't know.
I'm a teacher, and got covid in March 2020. I met him the night my school had closed, a friend of a friend. We hooked up, stayed at my friend's that night, and the next day he had to go feed his cat. I went with him, and then lock down happened. Around the same time, I showed symptoms of covid. Badly. School had no masks, you couldnt buy hand sanitizer, 33 first graders. My dad is a doctor and came over a few times in a hazmat suit to take my vitals. I slept about 20 hours a day for 3 months. My parents thought I was dying. My o2 was 87-89, and my heart was damaged (160 hr, sleeping). I couldn't go home bc my dad was a first responder, and my partner actually took very nice care of me. We moved into an apartment together in August 2020.
Gradual signs of abuse, Spyware on my phone, cameras everywhere, and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2021. Of course, it just got worse, really just in the stereotypical ways. I was still quite weak and thankful and dependent and increasing emotionally attached.
After he threw me through a glass window door, I left. April 2023. I don't know if I can revisit all of the torture and abuse I endured leading up to this.. Peeing on my graded student final essays, contacting everyone I have ever known and harassing them, dumping bags of moldy garbage on my head while I was leaving for work, missing work because of black eyes and overnight ER visits, the constant pit in my stomach when my classroom phone rang because he'd harass me there, hiding my car keys when i was going to work. I lost 2 jobs because of him, but only had brief periods of unemployment. I barely spend any money, and I'm terrible at personal finance. I just always had enough because I almost always have a job and have 10k or more in savings (in my checking account, which becomes important further down).
The reason I included the covid bit is I guess to say that my brain really wasn't working. I wish more than anything that I told the hospital staff. The police were all men and I don't know, I didn't want to go to a trial or something, I don't even know, maybe I didn't want to uproot my life or start over or maybe I was scared of retaliation if nothing ended up happening or maybe I loved him and didn't want to ruin his life.
I just have a few questions.
- He managed my finances, and said he had set up a savings account for me. I didn't look much into it because I, for some reason, trusted him. He had been sending almost all my money to himself with cashapp and buying himself doordash while I was working. About 20k over 3 years. He also paid the rent, but he insisted, and I was under the impression he was making 3x as much as a remote worker as a lead software developer. Is that money just gone? I don't know what information he has stored. How do I start over financially? What do I need to shut down or close? He is way more tech-savvy and collects bits of information and memorizes numbers and information easily.
- He is not taking his anti-psychotic meds and messages me a lot late at night, or calls hundreds of times, saying that he's going to burn my books and then hang himself if I don't bring him food or water (our city water has lead). He always says he is broke and going into DKA (T1 diabetic). And it would all be my fault. Could I be somehow held legally responsible for this, if he did die?
- Near the end, he began to show serious violent tendencies towards others. He has "blackouts" (not substance-induced). His eyes change. A friend was over, and the friend made a dumb sexual joke about me, as we were all just just goofing around. My partner got up, went to the kitchen, in a daze, got this huge sledgehammer, and began walking, like sleepwalking, towards our friend. I got him snapped out. Similar things on 2 other occasions. I truly truly truly think he is going to kill someone. Is there ANYTHING I can do? Like I'm watching him unravel and get worse over 3 years. I think it's too late to pursue charges from my injuries, at least that's the impression I was left with. I did eventually start gathering photographic and video evidence towards the end of the relationship.
- Least importantly, I really want my books and records back. Is there any way to force him to leave the house for 2 hours so my family and friends and I can grab the rest of my things?
Thank you so much if you made it through this.
submitted by mablej
to domesticviolence [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 03:01 jcshy Sham contracting & poor working environment
I came to Sydney in March to live with my Australian partner. I left behind my job as a telecoms engineer to move over here as she didn’t want to move to the UK (I don’t blame her, she’s a teacher & they’re paid way less than they are here).
I couldn’t seek sponsorship to work in the telecoms industry as unfortunately I fell short of the years experience you need to fulfil the requirements. I also have qualifications in Customer Service, working within Change Management & Customer Service Improvement roles.
I struggled finding a job, until I saw one for a hire company that I was able to get. It wasn’t until I’d started working that I felt something was off. I was told I needed to register for an ABN to receive my pay, and that doing so was normal.
It was meant to be based at a location in the next suburb over, which I was happy with. I started doing four hours, then agreed to do six hours but since then I’ve basically been given hours whether I’m able to do them or not with the threat of losing my job if I don’t.
I’ve since also been made to work nearly an hour away from where was agreed, and was called selfish when I complained that this was having an affect on my work-life balance because I’m putting my needs infront of the needs of the business. I’ve been called unreliable for not answering the phone at 6am or on weekends. I’ve been called lazy because I don’t want to be working at 9pm, 5 hours after my supposed finish time. I’ve been told obviously I don’t like working and shouldn’t have got a job.
It’s been topped off today by being told that it’s my fault one of the car’s steering locked up whilst going round a wet roundabout. The people who looked at the car said the tyres are cheap & basic, but apparently it’s still my fault as I was driving recklessly, going too fast & not paying attention(?).
Considering I’m working as a “contractor”, I believe my pay of $25.00 is realistically below minimum wage as I don’t get any benefits whatsoever and have to pay my own tax.
The owner can be good at times but at other times, it’s honestly the worst working experience I’ve ever had.
The issue is, what do I do? I struggled finding a job in the first place, so if I was to leave I’d not know when I’d next get money coming through which makes me stressed & anxious.
submitted by jcshy
to sydney [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 02:55 brickgamer4924 [WTS] [USA-SoCal] Upgraded Tokyo Marui NGRS M4 Block II, Tokyo Marui Guarder Kit Desert Eagle, Scope, EOTech Repro [WTB] M4 Carry Handle, CAR-15/Bushnell style stock, CAR-15/XM177 Handguard
Hey Airsoft Marketplace, I'm looking to sell off some of my guns and gear that I no longer use as often as I used to. Timestamp: https://imgur.com/a/LWcaTz6
- Upgraded Tokyo Marui NGRS M4 with 2-4 magazines and TITAN 7.4 battery: $800 OBO
First off, I'm looking to sell my fully upgraded TM NGRS M4. I'm sad to let this go as this was one of my first guns I bought when I started airsoft, but I just received a NGRS 416C and I mostly use a MWS now, so I'm ready to see it go. This gun is an absolute blast to use, with it's electric recoil and bolt lock back function it's a perfect bridge between the practicality of an AEG and the realism of a GBBR. It shoots incredibly well thanks to the amazing TM hop-up design, and I also had the inner barrel/bucking R-hopped as well. Nearly everything inside has been fully replaced and upgraded with aftermarket parts, and it's ready to be used with aftermarket springs (currently has a M100 installed) to get higher FPS than a stock TM. A discontinued and hard-to-find BTC Spectre V2 MOSFET has also been installed for better trigger response, programmable trigger functions, and precocking. The Block II handguard gives plenty of rail space, while the PTS stock offers plenty of battery storage space. The gun is currently wired to Deans, and I will also be including an adapter for Tamiya as well. I've spent well over $1000 on this gun, I'm looking to sell it for $800 OBO. I will also be including 1x EPM magazine, 1x TM hi-cap magazine, and the TITAN 3000 mAh 7.4V battery I typically ran with the gun. I'd also be willing to include 2 more EPM magazines, but the bolt-stop function seems to be broken with the two magazines.
Eagle6 M100 Spring- $16
Prometheus Steel Spring Guide- $19
Lonex Enhanced Anti-Reversal Latch- $10
Tokyo Marui Stock Nozzle
Prometheus 6.03 inner barrel- $54
Lonex Bushing- $11
BTC Spectre V2- $90
Block II Rail- $99
Prometheus Piston- $32
Prometheus Piston head- $25
Prometheus Cylinder- $16.95
Prometheus Cylinder Head- $19.95
Prometheus Tappet Plate $18
Prometheus 18:1 EG Hard Gears $90
Action Army Infinity Custom Airsoft AEG Motor R30000 Long Type $83
- Tokyo Marui Desert Eagle with Guarder metal body kit, 3x Magazines, and Kydex Holster: $275 OBO
This gun is an absolute blast to use, with its heavy kick and TM performance. The full metal body kit by Guarder isn't easy to come by nowadays, and it makes the gun feel a lot better with its weight and recoil. The Deagle shoots pretty well and is fully functional. However, I had to replace the right-side safety switch with a left-side safety switch, due to me not being able to find a replacement for the right-side switch when I lost it during gameplay. As a result the gun is currently unable to be switched to safe, however it still shoots perfectly fine. I bought it second-hand, so I am unsure of any internal upgrades done outside of a Guarder nozzle. I also have three non-leaky magazines for it, but I think one of them is having feeding issues due to a worn feed lip last time I checked. The magazine baseplates have some wear and tear from use as well. I am looking to sell the gun, parts of the original TM body, the 3 magazines, and a Deagle Kydex holster for $275
- 4x Scope with Fiber Optic sight: $40
Not really sure of the brand, or what it's exactly called. I bought it years ago at Evike for a discount. The reticles can be illuminated if you have a battery installed. It works well enough, I just never got too much use of it. Looking to sell it for $40, willing to discount it down to $20 if you buy it alongside a gun.
- EOTech XPS Repro: $40
I used this repro quite frequently, it works pretty well and the reticle is pretty visible unless you're in a dark environment. Looking to sell it for $40, willing to discount it down to $20 if you buy it alongside a gun.
- Tokyo Marui NGRS M4 Upper Receiver: $40
I got this secondhand with the intent of building a second upper setup for CQB, but I never got around to it. It's been spray-painted by the previous owner. Looking to sell it for $40, but I'm willing to bundle it with the NGRS M4.
I'm also looking to buy a M4 carry handle and CAR-15/XM177 furniture such as the stock and handguard. Let me know if you have any to sell!
Thank you for taking a look, please let me know if you have any questions! I prefer to sell locally, but I am open to shipping at negotiable rates. Not really looking for any trades at the moment, but I am always open to offers.
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2023.06.06 02:49 Professional_Prune11 Renegade Solutions Chapter two
Sup buds, hope you like the follow on for my post yesterday.
Gary Hopkins walked out of his short meeting with the Sharik. It had gone about exactly as his first-time meetings with GU diplomats had always gone. He would sit here menacingly and make a few hollow threats to get a rise from the newest member of his GU repertoire.
While the company “Renegade Solutions” was officially an advisement company on all GU records. Anyone who had one of his cards was privy to the reality of his line of work. Anything that needed to be done where the official needed some level of deniability. Gary had done this same line of work on Earth before humanity ascended. The fact this sort of work did not just survive but thrived in the GU was wonderful.
Gary chuckled thinking back to the end of his “meeting” with Sharik. He could not believe the little shit had the willingness to call his number but still had pissed himself when staring down the barrel of his.44 He has a long way to go before he stacks up near his daddy
Tucking himself into his shuttle. He settled into his pilot chair, this old shuttle had done him well the last decade. While it was a barely holding-together piece of junk at least it functioned. Once the shuttle left Sharik’s ship he flicked on his long-range transmitter needing to pay off one of his other debts.
After a few moments, the line connected, and the chipper sounds of his first client came over the loudspeakers. Turin, the father of the little lad who just called him.
“Gary, it's great to hear from you,” Turin said. “Then again knowing you I should probably be worried about your call”
“Ha, yeah that's one way to put it” Gary chuckled. “Nothing to bad, I just got done with meeting your oldest”
“Oh did you now, how did that go?” Turin asked
“Honestly Turin, not too bad. He reacted about the same as you… though you did not piss your pants when I aimed Lucy at you” Gary replied. Thinking about the cold icy look Tuin had given him that day oh so long ago. Turin had the eyes of a killer. Someone who had obviously killed his fair share of sentients.
“Hmmm, well I suppose that's good. Does he seem like he is doing well other than that?” Turin replied, the fatherly concern growing in his tone.
“Tur, you ain going to like what he called me about” Gary replied. As he flicked a few buttons on the control panel, adjusting his course to eventually dock with his ship “The Faithless”
“Oh and what has my spawn requested of you?” Turin asked
“The lad asked me to smoke the emperor of some backwater planet after he and the grand duchess fell in love” Gary laughed.
There were several seconds of silence from the other end of the transmission. This did not surprise Gary at all, considering Turin had hoped Gary would essentially scare him straight from going through with whatever request he had.
“Are you going to do it?” Turin Groaned.
Gary shrugged, knowing well Turin could not see him anyways. “I don't see why not, he made the request and I have the means”
“Can I commission you for an additional request?” Turin asked
“Awww the dear dad cares so much for his lad” Gary replied “Sure let's hear it”
“I want you to get my boy and whomever his…. Interest is out of the system” Turin asked, his voice as cold as ice. The cold calculating nature of Turin sent a shiver down Garies spine. He loved working with Turin for that reason, no scruples and very few morals. All the man cared about was results.
“I can do that for you Turin, where in particular do you want me to take them?” Gary asked
“Bring them to me, do you still remember where my astro-estate is?” Turin questioned.
“It would be hard to forget it. I will get them out of the system, once I finish the Emporer gig.” Gary sneered.
Turing sighed, knowing very well once a deal had been struck with Gary it was as good as gold. Nothing had stopped Gary or his crew from finishing a job since they got off Earth, this job would be no different.
“Very well, I want them both in good condition. I trust you can do that?” Turin asked.
“Of course, I can do that. Standard rate alright?” Gary replied
“Yes yes. I understand you will still want to be paid.” Turin replied “I am old, not senile”
“Just making sure old man, I will keep you posted on the delivery. Watch the news around Therucal. You might want to see what your lad has set in motion” Gary chuckled. His deep seeded madness rolled off every hearty laugh.
“I would rather not know” Turin replied before cutting the transmission.
“Well aren't you still a spoilsport,” Gary said to himself.
Gary adjusted in his chair, flicking the last few settings on the pod to have him land on his ship. When he was a few hundred meters away an array of warning signals activated, alerting him the crew aboard had locked onto him with weapons.
“Unidentified vessel, Identify yourself” The smooth sounds of Savahna rolled through the open channels.
Gary was always fond of her, even if she had a mean streak that would put the rest of the crew out of work. She was dangerous and Gary knew it, but he liked playing with fire. When that burningly dangerous woman had asked for a job, who was he to not give it to her?
“Chill out,” Gary responds “it's just me”
“Oh sweet, welcome back chief” Savannah replied, the sweet chirp of her voice putting Gary at ease. He loved that about the woman, she just had men melting in her hands. “how did the interview go?”
“Wonderfully, put out a word to the men, we will be planetside within the next 6 hours. We have a knock job” Gary replied.
“You got it chief. Big game?” She asked
This was probably one of the biggest targets Gary had ever taken, a backwater emperor or not. The target was still huge, and he would get the son or daddy dearest to pay them handsomely for offing him.
“Yeah really big game” Gary replied. Just as his shuttles autopilot turned the shuttle for final approach.
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2023.06.06 02:40 Ok_Protection_9715 What do I do when there is nothing to do?
No, I'm not calling any bullshit suicide hotline so they can come to my house make my parents mad charge me money and fucking leave. I’m too pussy to kill myself any fucking way. no, I don’t have anyone I can talk it out with no I’m not going for a fucking walk or eating something that’s literally exactly the problem. I just got back from the fucking gym and I hate waiting 30 minutes to be picked up but I didn’t know my stepdad would be picking me up and that’s just how long it takes him even though he lives 7 minutes from the gym. Long fucking story short I called my friend and she made me feel bad about not working out more while waiting for him and I can’t eat now. I had anorexia for 2 years about a year ago and I’m so fucking done. I can’t go back home because my dad makes everything so much fucking worse. I’m 15. I don’t have a car to get away. I have to be back home by dark in like an hour. I don’t want to be home near anybody that will try to talk to me and then bully me when I don’t take their advice. I can’t masturbate because I promised Jesus if he’s even up there or real at all or wtf ever I wouldn’t maturbate in June if he helped me pass my exams. I’m pretty sure I failed. I’m a terrible student with a 2.35 GPA but whatever. I don’t know the scores yet. I can’t take drugs because my dad is home and said if he ever caught me taking them I couldn’t stay at his house anymore. the only friend I live within distance of I can’t see because I already dump on her a lot. I’ve heard every fucking song there is to hear and praying doesn’t help and the girl I’m so in love with likes someone else and this place is bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit. something that usually helps me is going to the grocery store but I don’t have any more fucking money. I had $30 dollars I had brought from my mom's house of MY OWN MONEY and spent it on groceries because my dad lost the fucking grocery card. I looked everywhere for that shit while he went out with his girlfriend. I ended up spending my own money on groceries. I asked him for more before I left and he said “What else do you need didn’t you just get stuff yesterday?” If any of you are familiar with the fucking real world you can’t get Jack shit for $30 in groceries when 4 people live in one house and you have to feed them all. praying doesn’t help it just makes me angrier. I’m writing this behind an elementary school and some guy watering his plants is watching me. I just want to cry but there is nowhere to be safe. where the fuck am I supposed to go? what am I supposed to do?
submitted by Ok_Protection_9715
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