Chinese food near east orange nj
Serial killer or coincidence? Bodies of six women discovered in wooded areas in and around Portland, OR since February of 2023 have investigators looking for answers.
2023.06.04 17:32 nickgash Serial killer or coincidence? Bodies of six women discovered in wooded areas in and around Portland, OR since February of 2023 have investigators looking for answers.
News agencies around Multnomah and Clark counties are beginning to publish details about six suspicious deaths that are potentially related. Here are the details of the six people that have been found (photos of the women, a map detailing the locations of the bodies, and additional information can be found in the link above):
Kristin Smith (22, Gresham) – Reported missing on December 22, her remains were found on February 19 in a wooded area in Southeast Portland’s Pleasant Valley neighborhood. Cause of death is yet to be determined.
JoAnna Speaks (32, Oregon) – On April 8, her body was found inside an abandoned barn in Ridgefield, Washington, located about 22 miles north of Portland. She died due to blunt head and neck injuries, and investigators believe her body was moved to the location after death.
Charity Lynn Perry (24) – Her body was found in a culvert near Ainsworth State Park in east Multnomah County on April 24. She was frequently seen in downtown Portland at the beginning of March. Details about her death have been withheld due to an ongoing investigation.
Unidentified woman – Another woman was found dead on April 24 near Southeast Portland’s Lents neighborhood, less than three miles from where Smith’s body was found. The woman is yet to be identified, but is believed to be of Native American or Native Alaskan descent, aged between 25 and 40.
Bridget Leann Ramsey Webster (31, Milwaukie) – Webster’s body was discovered on Harmony Road near Mill Creek in northwest Polk County on April 30. Her death is being treated as suspicious.
Ashley Real (22, Portland) – She disappeared on March 27 and was last seen leaving a fast-food restaurant in Southeast Portland. Her remains were found on May 7 in a heavily wooded area in the Eagle Creek region.
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2023.06.04 17:00 _call-me-al_ [Sun, Jun 04 2023] TL;DR — This is what you missed in the last 24 hours on Reddit
If you want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox, you can now join at this link Chinese warship nearly hits U.S. destroyer in Taiwan Strait during joint Canada-U.S. mission Comments Link Le Pen’s far right served as mouthpiece for the Kremlin, says French parliamentary report Comments Link Lecture on Holocaust in Poland canceled after far-right lawmaker storms podium Comments Link Clumps of 5,000-mile seaweed blob bring flesh-eating bacteria to Florida
Tennessee federal judge rules 'drag ban' is unconstitutional
2 young boys killed by gunfire were playing with kittens in yard, Pennsylvania officials say
Study supports the use of anti-poverty programmes such as cash transfers to improve population health. Researchers found that cash transfer programmes were associated with significant reductions in mortality among children under five years of age and women.
Escalated police stops of Black men are linguistically and psychologically distinct in their earliest moments
People with heightened sexual nostalgia tend to also have heightened sexual satisfaction, according to new research. The results indicate that the positive association between sexual nostalgia and satisfaction is particularly strong among insecurely attached individuals.
Milky Way over a Turquoise Wonderland. Credits: Petr Horálek / Institute of Physics in Opava.
Jupiter seen from the James Webb Space Telescope
NASA's Mars helicopter is somehow still flying - and playing hide-and-seek
Delegates working to end global plastics pollution agree to craft a draft treaty
Artificial Intelligence Will Entrench Global Inequality - The debate about regulating AI urgently needs input from the global south.
Experts issue a dire warning about AI and encourage limits be imposed
If your penis made a noise every time it got hard, what would you want the noise to be?
What’s something (besides your phone) that you take with you everywhere?
What will always be dirty no matter how often it's cleaned?
TIL that Steve Jobs is buried in an unmarked grave
TIL that an American POW in World War 2 was questioned about US atomic bombs after the bombing of Hiroshima. He told them he didn't know anything about that, but when they threatened to kill them, he "revealed" they had hundreds and that Tokyo and Kyoto were next.
TIL that the legs of the 630 foot 192 m) Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO had to be built with a 1/64” (0.4 mm) tolerance so that they would meet at the top. Several filmmakers documented the entire construction in hope that the legs wouldn’t meet.
[OC] The entire history of Premier League teams in one chart ⚽️📈
More than 50% of Vienna's Area is closer than 2km to a metro station [OC]
[OC] A map of when same sex marriage legalized in each US state.
Why is pita in Greece nothing like pita in the US? Am I missing something?
What can an air fryer do that an oven can’t?
Want to make queso that's dippable regardless of temperature, like the store-bought stuff? Use sodium citrate and corn starch.
[homemade] lemon curd and blueberry pancakes.
[I ate] pulpitos
[homemade] cheddar cheese biscuits
Walt Disney's Pixar Targets 'Lightyear' Execs Among 75 Job Cuts
What is one seemingly insignificant scene or character in a movie that you just can't get out of your mind?
Touched A Nerve, Jon Silent (Me), Ink and Acrylic, 2023
Pluto, Dracopuella (me), digital, 2023
Middle of nowhere, Naif(me), Pixelart, 2023
Julie Plec and More WGA Members Detail Writers Strike Negotiations, Demand Streamers to Release Ratings: ‘We’re Mad’
‘Full Monty’ Actor Reveals He Was Sacked From Disney TV Series After A Female Runner Saw Him Naked In Trailer
'House of the Dragon’ Star Olivia Cooke Is Totally Fine if You Don’t Like Alicent: ‘That’s the Beauty of What We Do’
Senator John Fetterman at Pride parade.
Reunion of the cast of The Mighty Ducks
My parents 46 year old blender still works like new
Paula Abdul fatality
Nest with a 360° view
Just lay back and relax
I’m at the NYC Macys and the escalator is made out of wood.
A small local movie theater me uses reusable metal bowls for the popcorn
Rabdomly found a TARDIS in somebody's front yard.
*Squirrel trying to fake an injury *
Man puts 10ft buggy wheels on a Tesla and drives it upside down
Never Forget what happened in China 34 years ago: Remembering the fearless Demonstrators at the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests
Thats not why you get cats
One of them is very smart
Cat carries mouse to food bowl
Potato requires belly scratches
Cute Child Comforts Adorable, Nervous, Puppy
Puppy fall asleep during the meditation session.
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2023.06.04 16:59 snapsigma Ikaria Lean Belly Juice: The Ultimate Solution for Healthy Weight Loss
Are you tired of struggling to lose belly fat? Do rigid diets and intense workouts feel overwhelming and unsustainable? Look no further—Ikaria Lean Belly Juice is here to revolutionize your weight loss journey. This remarkable powdered supplement not only aids in weight loss but also protects your body from harmful free radicals, lowers blood pressure, boosts metabolism, and suppresses cravings
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Ikaria Lean Belly Juice is a cutting-edge solution for healthy weight loss, backed by science and formulated with organic ingredients. Targeting ceramides, boosting metabolism, and supporting digestion offer a holistic approach to shedding excess weight and achieving a leaner, healthier body. With its numerous benefits and easy-to-use powdered form, Ikaria Lean Belly Juice is an excellent choice for those seeking sustainable and effective weight loss results. Read More
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2023.06.04 15:27 IMAWNIT 12-Day Trip Review and Things I learned - Long Post
Hi everyone! This forum was very helpful in the last few weeks prior to my trip. My trip was from May 22 to June 2.
This was a trip 3 years in the making and then Covid happened in 2020 and we had to cancel almost everything. Rebooked everything last year and resumed.
Our itinerary was ambitious but doable and we decided to rent a car and drive around the country/ring road with stops at the major sties that interested us. Here are the details and notable memorable things for those interested:
- We noticed about 90% of people who drive around the country go counterclockwise. When researching I wasn't sure what the reasoning was. We decided to go Clockwise and 100% would recommend it for us; given the time of year we went. For every 25+ cars we saw going the OPPOSITE direction, we had 1 on our direction. Which meant less cars to deal with for us. Having said that, we chose to do Golden Circle last and by then it was "underwhelming" as I had read and agree after going to the rest of the country.
- We rented from Blue Car rental and they were amazing. Loved the service, the car was great, pick up and drop off was a breeze and they had almost the cheapest price for us.
- AVOID GRAVEL ROADS AT ALL COSTS! Google maps base it on speed limit and most are 80km/hr but I don't think anyone does it and we ended up driving 50km/hr for most and it felt like we wasted more time. If I could find all paved roads instead and take a longer route I would recommend. SOme pothole IMO were way too large even for our car.
- We were WELL prepared for clothing; waterproof out shells, fleece inner and layers. BUT I'd suggest getting the lightest waterproof shell cause during hike I took off all layers and my "parka" was heavy. It the only waterproof shell I had. My husband had a light one and was fine.
- Never need merino wool base layers, walking sticks etc. Brought them for no reason.
- I didn't care too much about precipitation nor temperature but the WIND is the true enemy. It is insane and really determines your success. Some spots I originally thought (we can picnic with our own lunch) and that never happened. Decided early on to just eat in the car due to weather and wind.
- We brought granola bars, protein powder for breakfast, instant noodles and then just bought bread/ham/PB and Jelly at grocery stores. Food was reasonable in grocery stores and we ate most meals there. To be honest, Bonus was so hyped when I researched that in the end, I preferred Netto and bought most grocery items from Kronan. WAAAAY more selection, better quality and to be honest I barely noticed the difference in price. The real difference in price is gas stations and small town "stores" for food.
- I researched pumping gas but it was still a bit confusing at first. Getting receipts and other items is odd to me but we managed near the end
- Yellow and wind days are scary and it nearly ruined 2 days and it basically cancelled most excursions. Snafellsness was cut short due to wind and it was insane and it was our first day out of Reykjavik. It was beautiful though and Arnarstapi was my favourite of all stops even though we had a ton of places planned. We basically skipped the beaches as the weather got bad.
- Stay flexible, all of my planned stops had a "mandatory" or "optional" so I can figure what to do if thigns came up. If an excursion cancelled; we had a backup. I'd basically say minimize (unless you REALLY want to) any water-related activity; whale watching, kayaking etc because wind is a huge factor. To be honest whale watching when on my last was OK. We saw whales and dolphins but the waves were "calm" but nnot for me so after a while I was fine heading back. But I'm glad I did it.
- Favourite places: Arnarstapi, Studlagil Canyon (when I went we walked entirely from further paking lot on east side, anyone car can get to the closer parking lot to save 1hr of extra walking), Puffins in Borgarfjardarhofn, Hverir and Hverfell (impromptu hike and it was amazing), Myvatn in general was a favourite of mine, Jokulsarlon Glacier and Diamond Beach, Black Sand Beaches, the drive in North Iceland when it was all snowcaps and Gljufragui.
- Most waterfalls up north were not that impressive (Godafoss and Dettifoss) tbh. And south waterfalls somehow felt more attractions than natural wonders imo.
- When we did eat out the food quality was excellent for what it was but the prices for many things were hard to justify; so we ate out minimally. Sad to say I personally don't think Scandinavian food in general (sorry to generalize) isn't for me for long term; I really missed other flavours like spices etc.
- We loved basically all of our stays; guesthouses, hotels, apartments etc. We had a mix. Grund I Grundarfirdi for Snaefellsness was great! K16 apartments in Akureyri was excellent! Hotels down in Hofn and Kirkjubaejarklaustur were also very nice.
- 1 day max in Reykjavik is more than enough
- We had to skip a few places due to weather: hike saxholl crater, Raudfeldsgja gorge, beaches, Asbyrgi (it was between puffins or this and it was a no brainer), Seydisfjordur, Hvalnes, Vestrahorn, top side of Dyrholaey, Kvernufiss, Reykjadalu hot springs, Bruarfoss
- We went to Myvatn Hot springs and Laugarvatn Fontana. Myvatn was amazing. Laugarvatn was alright; more like a fancier local swimming pool. We did not do any other hot springs.
- Thingvellir to be honest is skippable. Wish we did the Reyjadalu instead.
- I felt the time or yeaday we went or maybe direction we headed, I expected WAY more tourists; especially southern coast. The busiest day was at Thingvellir and it was busy but not unbearable. All other places were quite quiet and pretty decent imo. Even north Iceland felt a little busier at Godafoss and Hverir vs the Southern coast.
- All in all I enjoyed my trip but felt I did what I planned to do and being sick the last few days (best not to eat mystery cold fish during a breakfast buffet) didn't help either as I spent a lot of time worrying about the restroom situation when I went. All locals and people we were met were friendly, nice, helpful and made our stay welcoming and fun. All tours and excursions we did end up doing (horseback riding in Vik, Kayaking in Stokkseyri and whale watching in Reykjavik (last minute booking since the Akureyri one was cancelled) were all well done. Oh and ice cream here is amazing! I'm glad I tried it as often as I could!
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2023.06.04 15:17 I_Am_JoKe LF Recommendations of places (shops or restaurants) that do good Vegan food
Hey all. Title is pretty self explanatory tbh. My best friend is taking a trip in the summer and will be staying near Newcastle. They're vegan and big into food, but have never been to the North East, let alone Newcastle. So I'd like to give them some places to look out for, or that we could maybe go to together. I've never really payed much attention to extra catering options in general, but I feel there's certainly a lot more for vegetarians than vegans and wouldn't know where to begin looking
If anyone has any recommendations, it would be really appreciated! Even if it's for places in the surrounding areas like Gateshead, Shields etc. Thanks!
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2023.06.04 15:11 YukiteruAmano92 Remembrance, Chapter 3 of 28
---Saturday, 11th of November, 2682 Terran Calendar---
‘Can you send me to the Forth Valley?’
‘Oh, we can try
… On an unrelated note, how’s your standard English? No problems in communicating?’
I should’ve just said ‘No, I have great
difficulty in communicating in anything but Lallans Scots!’ instead of putting on my poshest English speech register to say ‘Marjorie dearest, would
you be a lamb and pass another buttered scone… hold
the raspberry jam, it’s far
for me!’ which she told me she’d take as a ‘Yes.’
“This is an English language barracks
. If you have been directed here in error
, please make yourself known to barracks staff for reassignment
.” plays a loud, prerecorded Welsh language announcement, over speakers.
They’re fucking rubbing it in
“This is an English language barracks
. If you have been directed here in error
, please make yourself known to barracks staff for reassignment
.” it repeats in Scots Gaelic.
“Ceci est une caserne Anglophone
. Si vous avez été assigné ici par erreur
, veuillez vous faire connaître auprès du personnel de la caserne pour une réaffectation
.” it says in what I’m 90% sure is a French version of the same announcement (I can’t be certain
, though, as that’s not one of my languages).
Looking at the crowds queuing to get in makes me regret asserting that I didn’t need transport here.
‘You shouldn’t be sending someone to War
that you don’t trust to navigate themself from Galloway to Sussex!’ were my exact words.
I brushed off the recruitment officer saying that I’d be processed faster if I arrived on Military organised transport.
Well, standing here
’s not gonna get me to the front of the queue now, is it!
I walk forward to join the massive throng of people, almost all of which look to be about my age.
you feel, being an average height girl in a crowd of people!
178cm really isn’t all that much when you’ve got a not insignificant
number of +2m guys here!
Even guys who are the average 188cm can make a girl feel short when their packed too close…
I see a few
Neanderthal hunks… perhaps conscription won’t be all
When I make it to the front of the line, the guy just stares expectantly at me like I’m supposed to already
know what to do.
“Y’awright?… Err… mah nam’s Esme Reid…?” I say, hesitantly, in perfectly
“I’m sorry, would you repeat that?” he answers, looking at me like I just spoke to him in fucking Chinese!
, gracious sir! You may kindly refer to me by the name ‘Esme Reid
’!” I say, affecting my supercilious Southern English gentlewoman accent.
“Alright, Ms Reid. Please present your draft papers and identification.”
they have to ask me
to prove who I
am when they
the ones asking me
to go off and fucking die
I think about quipping that I should ask him to show me some proof that this is a legitimate Military installation sanctioned by the government of Sol… but think better
Instead, I pull out my draft papers and my holopad, quickly getting up my identification app.
The man scans the code with his own holo and spends a few seconds glancing from his screen to my face and back.
Seeming satisfied that I’m not attempting to enlist under a false identity (for whatever strange reason a person might want to do that
) he glances at my papers, says “Everything seems to be in order.” and waves a hand in front of a machine which whirs for half a second before spitting out a simple chain necklace with two little metal rectangles hanging off of it.
He hands it to me and says “This is your identification tag. Please check that the information on it is correct and, if it is, put it on and never take it off.”
I check the tag.
“You’ve got my name and birthday right…” I say, making a conscious effort to keep my speech register in that that a standard English speaker would consider acceptable “…don’t know about the regiment and serial number.”
“Those will be correct.” he says with a ‘move along’ tone.
I shrug, raise the dogtag over my head and drop it around my neck.
I walk on and he’s serving the girl behind me before I’ve even rounded the counter.
I’m ushered through the barracks, herded by the staff, until I reach a building labelled ‘Billet House 279’.
It doesn’t really look like I expected soldiers’ digs to look.
but sort of has more the look of a uni hall than anything else… though I think it’s probably a bit much
to expect that I’ll get a room to myself(!)
I follow the throng of draftees through to a wide open room, on the ground floor, that looks like it’s normally a cafeteria.
The camp attendants (who I’m guessing were in the same boat as us, not too
long ago) direct us to stand along the left, right and nearside walls, keeping the back wall and centre of the room clear.
Everyone in place, there follows a few minutes of silence broken only by people whispering to one another.
enters the room.
Dark skinned and clad in green camo clothing, her scalp is easily visible between her cornrows with nary a hair
out of place.
Her expression looks absolutely indifferent with just the slightest hint of a curled lip.
From the broadness and flatness of her facial features as well as her single mauve eye, she is clearly half Tshwane… though, you’d never
guess that from her stature
Female Tshwane average nearly 2m… the men
are more like 2.2m! She
shorter than me
She’s also built like a Sapiens, not the willowy thinness typical of Tshwane
I guess genetics interact in funny ways sometimes…
Based on her age, her Tshwane parent would probably have to have been one of the very first
to be cloned back!
The other eye seems to have been ripped out at some point because in its place is a bionic and there’s a patch of hypopigmented scar tissue, forming a tear shape, at the right corner.
“Recruits… Welcome to the United Terran Coalition Infantry Trainin’ Camp, Graffham… My name is Warrant Officer Simone Sands… and I’ll be your drill instructor…” says the woman, cooly, speaking in a rough sounding, London accent.
The surname ‘Sands’ probably
means her dad was the Tshwane (though not necessarily
… she might have been given her mum’s surname… or it might
be a coincidental English surname).
know why you’re here… Most of you’ve prob’ly already lost loved ones to this War… You are here to defend our right to exist
… and I can’t think of a more worthy reason to fight than that…”
I’ve decided I like this woman… She may
be English but I’ll try not to hold that
“The first thing I need to tell all of you is that, by the end of your trainin’, you will NOT
like me…” she says, as if reading my mind “…that’s OK. My job ain’t to be liked, my job ain’t to make friends… my job is to make soldiers
She casts her biological and bionic eyes around the room, letting her words hang in the air.
… that I said ‘soldiers
’… This ain’t Full Metal Jacket. This ain
the 20th Century. There’ll be
no Pvt Piles
here!… I ain
aimin’ to destroy
your minds or your individuality. I ain
goin’ to physic’ly and psychologic’ly abuse you into becomin’ robots or killers
… I am makin’ you into soldiers
… Regardless… this process will not
be easy! In fact, it may well
be the hardest thing you ever do
!… As the face of this process, you will
come to hate and resent me for it!… I hope
for it! The more you hate me the more-DO YOU HAVE SOMETHIN
’ TO SAY
Everyone in the room is startled by the authoritative woman breaking herself off to shout angrily at someone on the other side of the room.
“STEP FORWARD AND SPEAK SO EVERYONE CAN HEAR YOU
The boy that steps forward is tall, bulky and muscular with a handsome
, half Neanderthal face… just
Then he has to go and ruin
it by opening his mouth.
“I was just saying… that I find it somewhat difficult to take you seriously as a commanding officer… You just seem a little bit… little
.” says the boy in the poshest, smarmiest
English drawl I’ve ever
The woman does not shout, she does not scream, she doesn’t snarl or even purse her lips!
She just nods, as if considering his words, then asks “What’s your name
“Rupert Forest.” responds the boy, proudly.
“And, how tall are you, Pvt Forest?” responds the woman, unimpressed
“195cm.” he answers.
“And, what’s your mass
?” she asks.
“I see, I see… So, by your
logic… you’d make a better drill sergeant than me, would you? You’re 25cm taller and 35kg heavier, afterall!”
He smirks “I wouldn’t presume to say so, Ma’am…” in a way that definitely suggests that he thinks he would
She seems to consider that for some moments before answering “Alright then, fight
me for it!”
“I’m sorry…?” responds the poshboy.
“You heard me… Clearly
, you got no
respect for skill and experience but it seems like you must respect power
… so fight
me for it! You win, you
get to train this lot, I
win, you never
question my authority again!”
Is this woman mad
be a soldier but this boy she just challenged is a half Neanderthal giant
She’s gonna lose
I do not
want to be drilled by some snotty, privileged English brat
who got here at the same time as I did and just couldn’t keep his fucking mouth shut!
Then again, I don’t really want to be drilled by a woman so delusional that she felt the best way to squash insubordination was to challenge a man she has no hope
of beating, either!
The guy is clearly salivating
over the power that’s just been slapped on the table in front of him as he answers “I accept your terms
, Ms Sands…” with faux magnanimity.
There’s no way they’d let a Private run drills, is there? When he wins, someone just needs to go and complain and they’ll give us another (less stupid
) drill sergeant… right
He strips off his jacket to reveal a pair of thick, muscular arms that (in spite of his repulsive personality) are a thrilling
He has to go and ruin it by flexing and posing, clearly revelling
in the room’s worth of gasps he got when he revealed his arms… He obviously likes being the centre of attention.
“Done?” asks Sands, drily.
“If you still want to do
this…” he says, smugly “…you could
just concede defeat and I’m sure
no one would hold it against you!”
Her lip curls as she answers “But… if I did that, no one would learn
nothin’, now would
He shrugs before launching himself at her without waiting for her to give the word to begin.
She whirls out of the way and he snatches at her, unsuccessfully, as his momentum carries him past.
:…” she shouts while snapping into the space behind him and kicking out his knee “…size does not determine victory
, strength does not determine victory
…” levelling another powerful kick between his shoulderblades to bring him to the ground.
She backs off, allowing him to scramble to his feet and turn to face her, hunched in readiness and scowling.
“…Pvt Forest here looked at me with contempt on account of my small size and
, though he didn
’t say so
’d guess that my rough accent
, my lack of a graduate epithet and my lack of a penis also played a roll in his judgin
’ me as less than
!… He thought he could beat me
, he probably still DOES
, ’causa that
, he didn
’t respect my ability to lead
Forest makes another lunge for the smaller woman, misses and is punished for it by being knocked back to the floor.
I’m agog as I watch this little woman… there’s no other word but toy
with the giant
“…but victory does not care how big you are
, how strong you are
, how classy or educated you are or what
**’**s in your pants or panties
She dodges around his arm and pins his chest to the floor with her knee.
“Discipline and trainin
’ determine victory
!… Things that I have and Pvt Forest LACKS
!… Things that ALL of you will acquire
, over the next 8 months
!!!” she turns her head down to the mountain of man she’s pinning to the floor “Concede
The man shakes his head, trying in vain to leverage himself up.
“Alright then… Lesson 2
: When faced with a resistant individual
, compliance can be effectively enforced by the expedient of lockin
’ their joints to induce PAIN
She grabs his thick arms by the wrists and pulls them backwards in a way they are not
meant to bend!
’t make me send you to the Medical Officer
’d be inconvenient for BOTH of us if your pride makes you miss your first week of trainin
’ while your arms heal
He holds out for two more seconds before screaming “I concede
! I CONCEDE
She releases him and stands back up.
your feet, Soldier…” she growls down at him.
He stands back up, his face beet
“Are you ever
goin’ to question my fitness to instruct again, Private?” she glares up at the humiliated giant.
“No.” he answers, gracelessly.
…?” she says as if waiting for something else.
Forest looks as confused as I am about what she’s expecting.
!” she snarls.
“Good, we’ll work
on your attitude, movin’ forward. Now, get
back in line!”
The humiliated man picks up his civvy jacket and returns to the place he was called out from.
“Now, I don’t think I need to prattle on anymore about how you’re gonna hate me by the end of our time together, do I?… I think Pvt Forest helped me prove that point quite well
, so I’ll move on… You will sleep in this
buildin’, six to a room. Your rooms will be gender segregated. If you wish for a place to be… intimate
with people of the opposite gender, you may request use of one of the conjugal rooms… I suggest
you do the same if you want to be intimate with a same
gender partner but that
between you and your roommates
! You will eat in this room at 0700hrs, 1200hrs and 1800hrs. Diet’ry requirements will be accommodated but, bare in mind, this ain’t your mummies’ and daddies’ kitchen
! ‘This food is forbidden by my religion/personal ethics’ is a diet’ry requirement. ‘I am allergic to this food’ is a diet’ry requirement! ‘I don’t like
food tastes’ is not
(!)… In the mornin’s, you will be receivin’ lessons in lecture theatres, workshops and the like…”
… just what I
wanted after leaving school
classrooms(!)” I mutter to myself.
Her head instantly wheels to me with unnerving precision.
“Someone else with somethin
’d like to say
!?” she says, locking eyes with me, terrifyingly.
, Ms Sands!” I answer, instantly.
’m not your bloody schoolteacher girl
Everyone laughs. Even Pvt Forest, like he wasn’t just humiliated himself
, 2 minutes ago!
“Ma’am… err… Ma
!!!” I say, doing my best to emulate the tone I’ve seen soldiers use in films.
She rolls her eye (it’s difficult to tell if the bionic rolls too) and says “Better
… What’s your name
, the Private
’s name is Esme Reid
“Do you remember me tellin’ you this ain
Full Metal Jacket?… You don’t need to scream
when you talk to me, you don
need to refer to yourself in third person and one
‘Ma’am’, when you’re done speakin’, is enough
She points to her single, mauve eye, then to me and says “I’ll have my eye
on you, Reid!”
Somehow, her tone sends a chill up my spine but I do my best not to show it.
She turns away and I release a silent sigh of relief.
“As I was sayin’… In your lectures you will learn the ins and outs of military theory; tactics, strategies, logistics etc. You will learn as much as we can tell you about the nature of the species we are fightin’; their capabilities, tendencies, political organisations and known weaknesses… bear
in mind that First Contact weren’t much more than 4 years ago and we’ve been at War for almost all the intervenin’ time, so a lot of what we teach you will be little more than guesswork and hearsay from prisoners we’ve interrogated… The mornin’s’ll also be where you learn the particulars of the equipment you’ll be expected to be proficient with in the field. This includes firearms, plasmaweaponry and durasteel armour, as well as the tech you’ll likely encounter from the opposite side; kinetic pulse weapons, laser weapons, field emitters etc… I strongly
suggest that no
one allows word to get back to me that they’re not takin’ these classes seriously!… A stupid soldier is a dead
She glares around the room, her eyes resting on me four a quarter of a second.
“…In the afternoons and evenin’s, you’ll be doing PT… that’s ‘Physical Trainin
’’… soon to be every one
of your two least
favourite words in the English Language(!) “
I notice a wry smirk twist the mouths of a few of the camp attendants.
“In PT you will be drilled in agility, endurance, close quarters combat and coordinated marching… Five times over the comin’ 8 months, you and your trainin’ partner will be dropped into a remote bit of wilderness, somewhere on Earth, for five day practical survival experience. You will be given a beacon, to summon retrieval, but these are only to be used in cases of actual threat to life or bodily integrity
… not because you’re feelin’ miserable
She takes a second to pause for breath.
“You get an allowance of 12 days off, over your time here… that’s two
a month… These are subject to my
approval and I may deny them for any
reason, including no
reason… so don
piss me off!… You may not
take more than 2 consecutive days leave at a time! Certain classes are mandatory
and leave will not
be approved on days they occur. If your allowance is spent, no more leave will be approved, barring a real
emergency!… Now, for today, you are going to line up to have your maps and room keys downloaded onto your holos when your name is called, then
you are going to have your bodies scanned for your armour measurements… at that point everyone with no uterus has the rest of the day free to settle in… If you have
a uterus, you’ll need to report to medical to get your cycle paused! This is, I’m afraid, non
optional… You are not prohibited from engaging in relations with your fellow recruits but you cannot
be a soldier while you’re able to get pregnant. Attempts to circumvent this requirement in any
way will land you in the Stockade!… After your cycle pause has been given, you’ll also have the rest of the day to settle in… Enjoy
it! It’ll be the most downtime you get for a while
!… Finally… I believe we have a 17 year old with us here… Pvt Taylor?”
A few people put their hands up, most looking confused.
Taylor! The 17
year old?” she says, exasperated.
All but one of those with their hands up put them down.
The one remaining Pvt Taylor with his hand in the air has pale skin, black hair, brown eyes and a sharp featured face wearing a dour expression.
He stands even taller than Forest… Nearly 2m tall!
Though he’s not quite
as heavily built, he’s certainly a good
looking piece of boycandy!
…” says Sands, her mouth breaking into a smile for the first time I’ve seen “…couldn’t wait
to go off to War, could you(?)”
He mutters something but, while I can hear the power and deepness of his voice, I can’t make out a word he says.
“You’ll have to speak up
, Taylor! Nobody’ll be able to hear you if you mumble.” points out Sands.
“I said I had some personal circumstances that made this the most sensible course of action for me, Ma’am.” says the tall, dark haired man, looking over her head rather than down at her and speaking in a grim monotone. He definitely loses boycandy points for the poshness of his accent, unfortunately…
“I see… I won’t pry into that
but… you didn’t think of Officer Training? That
the route that most
people take when volunteering ahead of their conscription.”
He shakes his head “I thought of it and decided against it, Ma’am.”
“Oh? Why’s that, Pvt Taylor?”
“I didn’t believe I would make
a good officer, Ma’am.” he answers simply.
She laughs “I wish every soldier could be as introspective, Taylor! I like you
!… Unfortunately, bein’ a minor does mean that you can’t be put in a room with others… Sooo
, that means you get a room to yourself… for the moment. Might sound
cushy but before anyone else gets too
jealous, bare in mind that privacy is the only
advantage! His room will be a sixth the size of yours so its basic’ly a broomcupboard
… the dis
advantage will be severely
reduced opportunity to socialise!… If that doesn’t sound doable, you can leave and come back when you turn 18, Taylor.”
“It’s acceptable, Ma’am.” he says without hesitating.
Yeah… it’s official… I don
I rub the spot on my arm where the serum was thunked into me about 15 minutes ago.
Like with everything else
about conscription, I get
it… I understand the point
But seeing the sense doesn’t mean I have to like
It’s not like I want
to get pregnant (getting a nine month reprieve from service would be a fairly
shitty reason for me to bring a child
into the world) but it does feel like one last slap in the face to my personal autonomy
that I’ve just had a cycle pause fucking mandated
upon my body by the government!
As I draw near, door 1512 detects the key downloaded on my holo and unlocks
I open it and am greeted by a blonde girl, smiling broadly and instantly identifiable as brimming
with ADHD energy.
there! My name’s Charlotte, it’s lovely
to meet you!” says the girl, wrapping me in a hug without asking if I’m OK with that.
Her accent makes me wonder if everyone
I meet here is going to be a posh toff
She makes three of three
of my fellow draftees!
“A pleasure, Charlotte… the name’s Esme…” I say, speaking Scottish accented standard English and gingerly patting her back.
“Oh, you’re Scottish
…?” she says pulling herself off me with an expression that suggests meeting a Scottish person is just the most wonderful
thing she could have imagined
“…My great grandmother was from Edinburgh, where are you
“Stranraer.” I answer.
She frowns “I don’t know it, I’m sorry
“I won’t hold it against you… Southwestern tip of Scotland? Where it nearly touches Ireland and the Man Peninsula?… ’Bout two and a half million people?”
! I don’t think I’ve ever met
someone from a village
before!” she says, seeming entirely oblivious to how that might
be taken as an insult.
“Yeah… I guess it’s not
“Well…” she wraps me back in the hug and continues “…we’re the first ones to the room and that has
to mean we’re going to be best
“I’m afraid my best friend’s name is Tamsin… the position is not
open.” I say, firmly setting a boundary.
“I meant best bootcamp
friends, silly!” she says, as if that should have gone without saying.
“Alright… I guess that positions open… but you’ve not got the job yet
(!)” I quip, warming up a little to the ball of posh English energy.
She pulls back and beams at me “Alright then, for my first
act as best bootcamp friend candidate, let me show you the view!… That
should earn me some points!”
She says, leading me into the room that’s so small it makes me doubt that that goody-two-shoes 17 year old can possibly
have one a sixth
She leads me to the window and spends a few moments making sure I’m positioned just right before she draws back the curtain.
The view is
quite breathtaking… rolling hills of snow blanketed mammoth steppe, lit by evening sun, with barely any of the sprawling military camp visible.
Though, you can
see one of the tallest structures ever built by Humanity… the Sussex Space elevator… several times the Earth’s own diameter, the ‘top’, if you can even call
it that, is a fifth of the way from here to Luna! …And… in 8 months, I’m going to be riding it, all the way up, to get on a troop transport.
“Look! See! There’s a herd of aurochs over on that hill! You know this place used to be a national park, before even Unification or the Reset! It’s called the South Downs! My mum told me we had family from here… obviously I never met any of them because they would have left hundreds
of years ago!…”
The bubbly girl talks and talks and… just keeps
talking… but I don’t particularly mind.
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2023.06.04 14:59 Danklyy The second Rayne administration: my headcanon for a second term in office (Chapter 1, part 2)
This is my headcanon for the events following Suzerain as the game played out in my (communist) playthrough:
Disclaimer 1: This obviously includes many spoilers from the game.
Disclaimer 2: This story is written with storytelling and lore at the forefront, not necessarily gameplay accuracy.
Disclaimer 3: This is only the first chapter (and backstory) of this headcanon story/fanfic/whatever you want to call it. I want to write more, but would like to see what people in the Suzerain community think about the writing so far and if they’d like to see more of it. :)
(Part 1 is on my page if you cannot find it elsewhere)
Chapter 1: Inauguration Day (Continuation) Serge had always been one for praise as long as Anton had known him, but it seemed to be out of sheer admiration and trust, unlike the usual political suck-up. It was definitely appreciated praise, but somewhat uncomfortable in a way, as Anton wasn’t used to such high praise from politicians, and was a little afraid all the compliments would bloat his ego. Though he rarely vocally disagreed with Serge’s remarks, as a president shouldn’t appear doubtful of their abilities. That was one of the many rules Anton had learned to follow as a president. He didn’t like it, yet it had still become almost second nature to him by now, something that also concerned him quite a bit.
“Thank you for your trust in me Serge. It truly means a lot.” Serge smiled through the rear-view mirror once more before replying “Thank you Mr. President for setting such a great example for the people of this nation.” Anton knew it would be impossible to beat Serge in a humility contest, so he conceded with his usual reply “You are too kind, Serge.” Before long they were off, and it didn’t take them as long as they’d thought to get back to the hill of pride, as the traffic had wound down along with the day. As the car headed up the long and winding road that led to the maroon palace through capitol park Anton noticed the palace gates were open and the driveway was filled with journalists, as opposed to the politicians and oligarchs usually present at the previous inauguration events. As Serge entered the car into the driveway, the journalists made way for the car to park next to the small row of black sedans and limos that had brought the rest of the night’s dinner guests to the palace.
Serge quickly stopped the engine and exited the car to open Anton’s door. As he did so, Anton was met with the now familiar camera flashes and the sounds of journalists speaking over each other to the point of near incomprehension. “Mr. President” started a young woman in a sharp azure pantsuit, holding a microphone up to the President’s lips. “There have been a lot of concerns voiced by the opposition after you used the phrase ‘Sordish Revolution’ at your rally. Is the opposition correct that this is an indication of political violence being endorsed by the presidency?” Anton noticed the ‘Lachaven Times’ label on the woman’s microphone before replying to her question. “No. Revolution does not mean violence. Revolution means that this country has problems, and we need radical and rapid change to address those issues.”
“Mr. President, one more question. This revolution outburst, as well as your administration’s close association with communism and United Contana, has brought fear to the hearts of many business owners in Sordland. Do you plan to completely nationalise our nation’s economy, and will business owners be compensated for the loss of the fruits of their labour? Anton briefly chuckled before opening his mouth to reply. Before he could do so however, he saw a hand cover the woman’s microphone. “The President will not be answering any more questions as of now.” Ranye looked left and saw his newly appointed Vice President, Lucian, looking as stern as ever. He took his other hand on Anton’s back, leading him away from the flock of journalists, into the maroon palace.
As they moved inside, there were still a large amount of journalists, although not as many as there were outside. These journalists however, knew better than to try and approach the President, as Lucian’s glare was warning enough. “It’s good to have you here Mr. President. We’ve already set up everything in the dining room upstairs, both for the dinner itself and the televising of the event. Your wife insisted on waiting on you in your office. It would be good for the press to be able to get pictures of you two together, so I would advise you to go get her so you can welcome the dinner guests together.” Anton now noticed his Vice President was wearing a tuxedo, as were many of the male journalists and camera crew. “Knowing you, there is already a tuxedo in my office as well.” Lucian nodded. “Thank you. I’ll go get ready.”
As the President and Vice President separated, it did not take long before Anton found himself in conversation again, while on his way to his office. This time with the director of the Sordish Radio and Television Supreme Council that Anton had founded during his first administration. In fact this was Anton’s first time meeting the director of the council, as Lucian was the one who appointed him. “Mr. President, it’s an honour to meet you. Damien Ves, at your service.” The stocky and wide man grabbed Anton’s hand and shook it. “It’s a pleasure to finally be able to meet with you Mr. Ves. Lucian told me you’d be in charge of today’s broadcast.” Anton began to increase his pace, which Damien attempted to duplicate. “Yes, it's all very exciting. It will be like you’re having dinner with the entire country! This new technology is amazing!”
“Yes, truly amazing. If you’ll excuse me I have to go get ready. It was nice meeting you.” Anton entered his office and closed the door with a sigh. Before being able to look around the room, he was ambushed by a hug from his daughter Deana. “Papa! You’re finally here!” Anton looked down at his daughter, who looked tired from the eventful day. “How did you like the rally sweetheart?” asked Anton as he got down on one knee to be eye-level with Deana. “There were so many people! Mama talked to so many of them. She talked a lot about exploitation. What is exploitation Papa?”
Before Anton could think of how he was going to explain that to his daughter, Monica came up behind her and picked her up. “Alright, let your papa at least get inside properly before you start asking him harder questions than the journalists outside.” Anton followed his wife into the room as she plopped down Deana on the couch. Only then was he able to see how beautiful his wife looked in her elegant scarlet dress. The only thing he could fathom doing was kissing her, and as he did, she pulled away. “Later. Now you have to get ready. It’s nearly seven.” Before going to the bathroom in his office to change, Anton took a last look at his wife as she started doing Deana’s hair. “You look absolutely gorgeous, honey.” Monica gave her husband a warm smile and a wink back as a reply.
Anton entered the office bathroom, where a tuxedo hung from the door on a hanger. It looked old, yet well-maintained. Its white bowtie and waistcoat, coupled with a long tailcoat reminded Anton of the similar suits worn by the wealthiest students during his time at university in the 1920s. As he put on the tuxedo and started adjusting it, he found a note in the left-hand pocket on the tailcoat.
It read “Anton, as you read this, getting ready for the start of your next term, know that the people of Sordland have reaffirmed their trust in you, and it is your duty to not let them down. This suit belonged to my father, and he used it for events just like the one you’re about to go to all the time when he was president. When he fell, Sordland became cursed with two despots, who ignored the cries of the weak. I believe that you have the power to break that curse, as evident by your first term. I believe that you are the only one who might be able to stop this curse now. But only if you keep true to yourself and your ideals, don’t let the world of politics suck you in too much. Don’t forget that you are where you are to serve the people. Not the powerful, but the weak. Good luck my old student and good friend. -Deivid Wisci.”
Anton had very fond memories of his mentor Deivid Wisci, both as his professor, and as his minister of foreign affairs. The day he retired was a sad day for Sordland. Although he definitely deserved a retirement, after all the good he had done, Anton thought to himself. He put the note back in his pocket and adjusted his bowtie for the final time. Before leaving the bathroom however, he remembered to take the pocket watch he was gifted by Serge from the breast-pocket of his usual attire. He placed it in the breast-pocket of his new tailcoat, slicked back his jet black hair, and headed out of the bathroom. “Ready?” Monica and Deana were sitting on the couch patiently waiting. “Yes, let’s go.” Anton reached out his hand to escort Monica out. As she put her hand into his, he kissed her hand before the pair proceeded out of the office along with Deana.
The Rayne family made their way into the maroon palace’s dining room, where the camera crew had already started filming. Anton and his family took their place in the lounge area that decorated the backdrop for the dining table, where the Rayne cabinet slowly started to assemble to be welcomed by Anton and Monica. First was Lucian who, to nobody’s surprise, came alone. He came up to Anton and shook his hand, followed by that of Monica’s, while Deana tried to hide slightly behind her mother. Lucian took his seat in the lounge, making sure to sit as close to Anton as he could.
He was soon followed by the equally lonesome minister of defence, Iosef Lancea. Unlike nearly every man present in the maroon palace however, Iosef came in his regular military attire, as opposed to a tuxedo, or even a regular suit. Although Anton was unsure, he might’ve added a few medals to his uniform for the occasion. He saluted the President and First Lady, to which Anton replied with an adequate, but not nearly as impressive salute. He took his seat next to Lucian, and they started the obligatory small-talk that was expected of them as dinner guests.
At last came the minister of agriculture, Gus Manger, who was accompanied by his wife and son. They walked up to the President’s family, where Gus proceeded to shake Monica’s hand, while his wife greeted Anton. They then switched places, and Anton welcomed Gus and his family to the palace, and to the dinner. Gus then took his seat beside Iosef, promptly followed by his wife and son. Anton didn’t know much about Gus’ family, however his son somewhat reminded him of Franc, albeit a few years younger. The boy didn’t seem that excited to be here, understandably enough. It seemed as though Monica had noticed the same thing, as she faintly pulled on her husband’s arm, gesturing to him to lead everyone to their seats at the table.
As he was about to do just that, the doors to the eastern wing of the room swung open one more time. It was Ciara. She was wearing an off-white dress, surprisingly similar in shade to the bathrobe she’d worn earlier today, though obviously much more classy. Monica gave Anton’s hand a slight squeeze as she noticed her friend. Anton looked towards a smiling Monica, and gave her a grin back. “You managed to get her to rejoin your cabinet?” Anton smiled even wider “It was a hard task, but I think you had a lot to do with it.” Ciara walked up to Monica and shook her hand, bowing slightly as she did it. She turned to Anton and shook his hand, though not with as much vigour as with Monica. “Mr. President.” “Ms. Walda. Welcome.”
When the rest of the guests noticed Ciara, Iosef flung up out of his seat, looking positively resentful. “What is she doing here? Didn’t you resign you-” Lucian quickly got out of his seat and put his hand on Iosef’s shoulder, or at least as far as he could get to the shoulder of the colossal man. Iosef turned his head sharply and scowled at Lucian, prompting him to remove his hand and gesture to Damien, who was behind the camera, making sure our conversation was out of range for the camera to pick up on. Iosef turned to Anton “Mr. President, with all due respect, did you really invite this woman back to your cabinet after her treacherous resignation?!” Anton had noticed the tension between Iosef and Ciara the few times they’d been in the same room together, and it was clear they were good at pressing each other’s buttons, intentionally or not. Iosef must’ve been glad when she resigned. For her to come back unannounced must’ve been seen as a big middle finger to not just Iosef, but Lucian as well, as Anton hadn’t discussed it with him either. But Lucian, unlike Iosef, knew how to act like a politician, and wouldn’t risk his career for a televised outburst.
“Iosef, with all due respect, I am your superior. We need people in our cabinet, and may I remind you that this event is currently being televised.” Anton stared at Iosef in a way he’d never done before. It was actually quite satisfying for Anton to be able to speak to Iosef like that, as he had real experience on how Iosef treated his subordinates from his time in the army. Iosef mumbled something before speaking up “Of course Mr. President. I am sorry.” Anton could actually see Iosef’s eye visibly twitch as he mouthed that last part. “Good, then we’ll be seated. Follow me everyone, right this way.” President Rayne led the dinner guests towards the table, where Deana and Gus’ son were seated first, followed by Ciara, Monica and Gus’ wife, the two latter of whom were seated by their husbands respectively. After which the rest of the cabinet, along with Anton took their seats.
The camera panned to look directly at Anton, who would deliver his post-inauguration speech to the nation. “Brothers and sisters, today has been a great day, not just for myself, not just for the USP, but for our nation. You have reaffirmed your support for me as your President, as a conduit for the will of the people. In doing so you have reaffirmed your trust in our nation, our collective passion to make the lives of others better. Because that is what a nation is. A nation is a band of people who share a home, and who are passionate enough to help each other and push each other forward to greater things. It is a sentiment to collectivism and what we can accomplish when we band together and fight for each other, with compassion and solidarity. That is what we are, we are brothers and sisters. No matter if you are a sord or blud, man or woman, eight or eighty. If you live in Sordland, your neighbours are your brothers and sisters, together you hold this nation on your backs through your trust and your belief that together we can make the world a better place. United we stand, divided we fall. A Morgna wes core, vectern sis da!”
The camera panned away from Anton’s face but continued filming the dining table. Everyone seated applauded Anton’s speech. He raised his wine glass, which had already been filled prior to everyone being seated. “I’d also like to raise a toast. To Bernard Circas. We sit here, on the four year anniversary of the tragic end of his great life. His words moved millions, and continue to move millions more after his death. He inspired love, compassion and hope. He dreamed of a better Sordland, one where we were free of exploitation and united in proletarian solidarity.” There were mixed reactions across the table, but mainly looks of disagreement. Anton continued nonetheless. “Bernard was killed for his beliefs. After a long investigation the main culprits are finally behind bars, but this does not solve the deeper issue. Fascism. The scourge that kept Bernard’s dream from being realised is what killed him, and he will have died in vain if we do not take that threat seriously, and do what we can to rid this country of the fascism that wants to tear it apart. It was only Bernard who would have the words to give us the hope we need, but while he is gone, his spirit remains, and it remains to give us the willpower we need to do what we can to make sure nothing like what happened four years ago ever happens again. To Bernard, our only strength is the will to survive.”
After Anton finished he took a sip of his bitter wine and sat the glass back down, followed by everyone else. Iosef mumbled something again, but as Anton briefly looked towards Damien, it looked like the speech, and following toast, had been a hit with him and the rest of the camera crew. “Well said Mr. President '' said Lucian, before taking another sip of his wine. A moment later, the chef, a tall and lanky young man, came out followed by servers bearing plates of food. “For the first course we have prepared…” The next few hours flew by as Anton was bored senseless by the conversations, or lack thereof, between the “strictly-work-talk” Vice President, traditionalist minister of defence, radical minister of education, and anrican capitalist minister of agriculture. After hours of dull conversation and several courses, all representing a different region of Sordland, the dinner was finally over and the broadcast finished off with a speech from the first lady. Anton felt bad, being too tired to properly listen to Monica’s speech, although it seemed to have a similar effect on the guests as Anton’s speech did. As the applause following her speech died down, the broadcast was shut off, and nearly everyone in the room let out a sigh of relief, including Anton and Monica.
Anton stood up, and was followed by the rest of the table. The presidential couple bid farewell to their guests as nearly everyone left. As Anton, Monica and Deana were getting ready to go change and head home, Anton was approached by Damien who wanted to have a few words before leaving.
“It was a wonderful broadcast Mr. President!” he said with a fake enthusiasm. Damien knew the basics of political intrigue, but had yet to grasp the subtle art of lying convincingly. Anton simply replied “Thank you, Mr. Ves, you did very well yourself managing the production.'' Unlike Damien, Anton bore no attempt to show his lack of interest in the conversation, as he slowly started making his way out of the dining room area of the palace. “Thank you Mr. President, you honour me!.” he nervously paused for few seconds before continuing “Mr. President, would you please consider having a meeting with me later this week.” “Whenever you have the time!” blurted out the nervous, and now slightly sweaty, man. “I’d be glad to have a meeting with you Damien. In fact I was planning on having one with you anyway, to discuss the goals and strategies of the commission going forward.” Anton again started walking a bit faster, trying to get out of the conversations with the hippo-like man. “How does tuesday 9:30 sound?” Damien struggled to keep up with the President, making him sweat even more profusely as he panted out a reply “Wonderful! Great! Thank you Mr.Presdi..Ray..” He stopped for a second to catch his breath “Thank you Mr. President!” he shouted down the hallway as the President hurried back into his office.
“Why do such social events seem to drain me more than dull meetings about infrastructure development?” joked Anton as he walked into his office to greet his wife. “It wasn’t that bad, I had quite the interesting conversation with Ciara and Erica.” Anton looked confused for a moment before Monica elaborated. “Gus’ wife. Erica Manger.” She sat down on the couch next to a half asleep Deana. “Ah! And what did she have to say?” inquired Anton, loosening his bowtie as he said it. “She was surprisingly supportive of our participation in politics, considering she’s from Anrica, like Gus.” Anton sat next to his wife, wrapping his arm around her before answering. “Well not everyone in Anrica is exactly Curtan Leste. You know he’s been losing a lot of support in the city ever since his stunt in Benfi, interrupting your speech like that.” Monica looked out the window to the view of capitol park. “Still, even with the waning influence of the old guard, both him and Gloria Tory have become increasingly popular with the conservatives now that Soll, Graff, Hawker and the like are all in prison. They are still a real threat, now with even more concentrated support.” Anton stood up and walked over to the window, now looking at dusk settling over the park as well. “I know.” he paused for a second. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
The couple stood there for a few minutes in silence, enjoying a peaceful moment together while contemplating the future. After a while, however, they decided they best head home for the day. They went into the office bathroom to get changed again. After doing so, Anton took his sleeping daughter in his arms and the three of them exited the maroon palace. They had stayed there so long that all the journalists had gotten tired of waiting for them and gone home. The courtyard of the palace was all but empty, aside from a few guards, and of course, the Rayne family’s loyal driver. Serge opened the backseat door for the family to get in the car, where they were able to relax for the long drive home in the quiet of the night.
The new Valgslandian presidential car was slowly making its way towards the presidential residence built during the Alphonso presidency. It was a modern home, inspired by the works of some Arcasian architects. While Anton certainly disagreed with Alphonso about a lot, and despised Arcasia, he had to admit it was a pretty nice home. As he sat in the car he dreamt about getting home and being able to jump into bed after such a long day, and from the looks of it, Monica was thinking about the same thing.
They were driving past a newly built secondary school, Circas Secondary, that was built as part of Anton and Ciara’s education program during the first term. Anton’s mind drifted from the architecture of his own home to the architecture of this school, and was suddenly filled with pride, being able to see the material results of his work as president. He was admiring the building’s large gymnasium when suddenly the white walls of the pristine building turned a fiery orange hue, followed by a loud “BANG!”. Before they could comprehend what had happened the car had been flipped on its head and the glass from the windows shattered. Deana immediately woke up in panic and started crying. Anton was able to get to her quickly, and shield her and Monica. They sat there together in the wreck of the car for what felt like minutes, not being able to move out of pure shock, before they heard a series of coughs followed by the voice of their driver “Anton, Monica, Deana. Are you okay?!” Anton managed to muster a response despite his distress. “I think so Serge. How about you?”
As he felt a hand grab him by the collar of his coat, Serge replied “Don’t worry about me, we need to get out of here!” Before Anton could respond he felt his collar tighten around his neck as he was slowly dragged out of the car wreck along with his wife and daughter. When they were all out of the car Anton opened his eyes to find he was lying on the pavement, looking up at Serge who was examining the family for any serious injuries. He then heard the sound of sirens in the distance, and noticed the night looked very bright. He looked to his right and saw the cause of this brightness, the school was on fire. At least what was left of the school. There was rubble everywhere, it had been blown to pieces. He looked back up at Serge, with the starry night sky behind him. Hints of flashing red and blue lights began to appear as Anton’s eyes began to shut and the night became darker. The previously clear voice of his driver became muffled, as he heard cars approaching and the sound of doors being shut. Before passing out, he felt someone lift him up and put his body onto something soft, followed by the sound of doors being shut again.
To be continued.
submitted by Danklyy
to suzerain [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 14:08 finchto 130FPS gun
Hey everyone, I needed to vent, I have a story and a question at the end, so let me know what you think. When I was a kid we were poor, and I never got anything. It was always cheapest pencil holder, cheapest school bag, bread with margarine for breakfast, never went on any school trip, never anything. I didn't even know it was normal to get lunch money from your parents, I'm still a little surprised whenever I hear 'lunch money' as an adult. We had food at home you see. My birthday/christmas presents were socks and cheap plastic toys, except I got one video game, throughout my entire childhood, as a birthday present, after incessant begging, doing chores and homework etc. all year, just to illustrate.
So, when I was around 13 yearsold, my buddies got into airsoft. You know, cheap chinese shotguns, playing in the apartment complex, getting chased away by city street cleaners and shouted at by grandmas leaning out of windows... We had one derelict building nearby in the forest where people played airsoft every weekend without fail. I would convince my dad to buy the cheap spring guns whenever we stopped at the china town market for vegetables, they were usually 20-25$, but my dad was buddy buddy with the sellers, and he'd talk them down to 13-15$, or they'd say 20$ but with one of those a big plastic bottles of shitty BBs where like 10% of them had a visible seam protruding through the middle. My parents said the real airsoft guns that I really wanted were too expensive. I did all I could to convince them how it's a sport, that I'll make new friends and that I'll get a workout... and they finally relented, I believe it was for good grades. I knew they would not buy me anything this expensive ever again, so when they told me the budget, I picked the only AEG that fit in it: a tokyo marui m4 made for children. I think it was the "M4A1 Boys edition" with a silly orange cap which is not required here in the EU. Anyway, the day came and we went to a shop to buy it. Except, when I said what I came to buy the shopkeeper immediately said the gun is not worth it, that it's a pea shooter, that I'll be quote "unhappy with it" and to buy a chinese aep instead. I knew also from the other airsoft players, that even these chinese electric guns broke often, and it was hard or not worth it to repair them. I also knew that TM is a quality brand, and that I don't care about range, I just wanted to have fun running around with my friends. We were only playing CQB essentially anyway. I said I wanted it anyway, but the shopkeeper said that I need BBs too which don't fit in the budget with the marui gun. I said I have tonnes of BBs at home (from the cheap chinese guns, plus I could just walk around for 1 minute around the apartment complex and find 30 bbs on the ground), but nobody listened to me. In the end, my dad was convinced by him, and he bought the cheapest AEP they had, a glock that was labelled as '"decoration only" meaning they didn't accept essentially any warranty returns on it if it got any use. My dad did notice I didn't like the choice, so he tried to appease me by saying that if I don't like it we can just return it. But I knew that if I wanted to return it, it'd be weeks before my dad would have time to go there again, and he'd be annoyed that he has to take me there just because I don't like it, and I didn't trust the seller would even honor the return policy given the "decoration only" warning. I pretended to be happy for the rest of the ride home.
I actually got excited when I tried it for the first time. It had metal parts, I've never held an airsoft gun with metal parts in my hands before. And then I shot it for the first time, and it felt so powerful to me. Of course, my mother was scared for me getting hurt after seeing how much damage the gun did to the furniture... and the sounds it made... And how fast it fired... anyway she forced my dad to buy me a bloody one piece full suit for skiing, and didn't allow me to leave to play airsoft without it. The suit cost more than the gun... and I had fun playing airsoft for a few weeks, but of course the guys at the field hated me, because the full suit was so god damn thick I couldn't feel their shots at all. So I grew to hate the suit quickly, and stopped going because of the comments I got accusing me of cheating. Also I didn't really know the guys there and even though my buddies always promised to go that weekend with me they never showed up. They were all older, smoked and drank beer and made crude jokes, I didn't like them when we were not playing is what I'm saying. My parents also bought me some super durable worker's safety sunglasses. I had a cheap pair of clear goggles which came with one of the 10$ chinese spring pistols, I used those instead at first, but they broke the first game they got hit a few times! So I had to wear the sunglasses my parents bought, which sucked because they were too dark, and also they somehow pinched my head or something which would make my vision go blurry over time, like what happens when you wake up having slept the wrong way, squishing your eyeballs. So I stopped going to the field, and buddies stopped playing in the apartment block, all for different reasons, one got his guns taken away for bad behaviour, one broke his gun, one moved away, and the rest mostly just lost interest because there was one guy which always showed up with his expensive shotgun and obliterated everyone. So I just shot paper at home from time to time dreaming of how one day I'll go back without the stupid ski suit. I'd even go there just to watch how the guys played, thinking I'll learn how to play and not get shot in the first minute of each round.
Of course, about 7 months later, the gun broke. I didn't even finish the bag of 2000 BBs, actually I don't think I got even halfway through. I tried to fix it, it had small jams or malfunctions before, and I was always able to fix those. After all, I had loads of experience fixing the spring loaded cheap chinese guns. But no, this time it broke completely, I think I remember one of the gears inside broke in half? Anyway of course my parents told me "I broke it" and that they won't pay for fixing it beacuse "I broke it". Even though I told them "it's a cheap chinese gun they break all the time and I wanted the tokyo marui which doesn't break and I didn't care about range!" It still gets my blood boiling just remembering. I tried to fix it for months, I remember tearfully throwing it out because it hurt too much knowing I'll never play again. The memory is still sitting with me clearly. It felt so completely unfair as a kid. I think I might have trauma from that... Anyway, 16 years later I'm getting into airsoft again, but something made me remember this story, so I tried to find the gun and I think I found it, as I wrote before it was probably the Tokyo Marui M4A1 Boys edition. It's hard to find any information about it, but I did find that it tested 130FPS or 40m/s. So my question is, what do you think, was the guy at the counter right to recommend the shitty chinese gun, or should I have made a fuss about it. I tried looking around, and I can't find a single shop specialising in airsoft which sells a gun below 200FPS. But it should've been plenty for a kid playing airsoft inside, right?
submitted by finchto
to airsoft [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 13:19 saintsweatshirt [RF] A Man of Some Renown
The Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, fifth class, is the highest rank a Ukrainian foreign national can achieve. Its newest inductee is back home in Florida and has been in the shower so long he’s lost track of time. His feel for the present moment will return in about thirty seconds when the hot water runs out. His hair has been both shampooed and conditioned. His body throughly soaped. It’s the shower’s warm solitude he cannot leave. There is plenty to do today; an interview at a radio station at eleven, lunch with his sponsor, an early dinner at his mom’s pastor’s. All of them want to know more about his experience overseas, they want to know how the war is progressing, they want to hear how he went from Highland Hills High School to war hero. What they don’t want to hear, what David does not want to hear, is how cold his new found notoriety makes him feel. Before can explore his melancholy any further, the hot water goes. The steam rising above the shower clears as a lukewarm solution rinses the remaining soap and warmth off David’s body. He remembers taking similarly cold showers in Ukraine, and how happy he was to have them. It’s shocking how clean a man can get with a half full bucket of water and a couple of towels.
“Ah look at Abie! Clean enough for a Russian bitch.” says Bone in his thick provincial accent. Words David can’t remember Bone actually saying or they only sound like something he would say. Sitting around waiting for mechanics, waiting on orders, waiting on food, waiting on the Russians to start shooting, David didn’t know war could be so boring. The only thing Bone said he liked more than killing Russians was fucking them. The rest of the guys in the platoon knew Bone was probably lying, but he was their instructor, and they were the international volunteers, so he was never questioned. He was the only person in their platoon who spoke Russian and Ukrainian and English. One guy, this kid from Belgium, called Bone a cunt after failing to pull the pen on a grenade during a training exercise, and Bone gave it to him.
“What is this? You do not have to pull pens in Belgium? Or do you like to give your enemies the grenade so they can throw it back?” said Bone. He then effeminately ran around the kid saying, “Here Mr. German. Take my grenade. They are loud and I am afraid.” Bone comes back to his real voice. “Killing Russians is no different than driving a truck. It is your job. Don’t think. Don’t be like this Belgian. Pull the pin. Kill Russians.” The Belgian kid said something to Bone but no one knew what it was because no one spoke French. This didn’t stop Bone from hitting him in the face so hard it broke his nose. The kid quit later that day, and Bone got written up which David told him is like a kid being put in timeout during a house invasion.
“What is this time out?” Bone asked.
The water is cold so David gets out. In the kitchen his mother goes over the day’s itinerary again, just to be thorough she adds.
“Do you know where you are going David? No, sorry. Do you know where you are going Abie?” she asks as David grabs a breakfast banana.
“You know parking can be difficult downtown. Be sure to take quarters for the meter.”
“And be sure to be yourself. I hope they are nice to you. You know how the media likes to spin things these days. I don’t think they are too liberal but don’t let them put words in your mouth. If they ask you something you don’t want to answer, you just say ‘No comment'. You just tell your story. You are a hero. And then you’ll meet with Fred, and then dinner at Pastor's. Be there at four. If it’s ok with you I’m going to bring the medal. Pastor will want to see it. He’s a big fan of Zelensky.”
“Ok. Enough doting. That’s all you’re getting out to me today. Are you excited? Isn’t this exciting? News Radio 950 is doing a story about you. They want to hear about their local war hero…and that’s you. Give me a hug and get going before you are late.”
In his car, David listens to Domination by Pantera at full volume. The heavy riffs, screaming and terrifying drums raise his spirit. Bone used to play it all the time. David hasn’t prepared anything for save his memory of his time in Ukraine. Perhaps Bone is giving an interview somewhere? You didn’t do anything wrong, he tells himself as he opens the station’s door. Inside he finds an attractive, young woman named Sara who has been emailing him for the past several weeks.
“Nice to officially meet. Right this way.”
David does his best not to stare at her as she leads him through corridor of offices and hallways.
“She looks nice. Go into an office with her.” says Bone.
“We’ve all been looking forward to having a more in-depth conversation with you. Our programming producer, who is also named David, will be asking you most of the questions. But I begged him to let me ask some too, so you might say I will also be interviewing you. I hope that’s ok?”
Sara’s blonde hair folds into a neat part on the left side of her head. David pictures her styling it in her bathroom, in a bathrobe. It’s been a while since he has smelled perfume. He found a bottle in an abandoned apartment in Zaporizhzhia and kept it. It had some Chinese lettering he couldn’t read, but it smelt nice. Some of the guys teased him when they found it saying he was going to attract Russian because he smelt like an Asian. Sara’s perfume smells expensive and French. She introduces him to David the producer and the three of them find three seats on the end of a conference room table. Sara sits on the same side as David. After introductions, David starts the interview by saying even though he is not sure exactly when the piece will air, he is certain it will before the end of the month. He then adds something about how David is a hero for doing what he did.
“So tell us how you found yourself in Ukraine?”
“Well it was pretty easy really. I went online and volunteered for the IVB, that was the name of my unit, the International Volunteer Brigade. I don’t think I talked to a real person until I booked my flight to Poland. It was mostly just forms I was filling out online. So yeah it was pretty easy. So I landed in Krakow and my recruiter picked me up. I stayed in a hotel for a few days while we waited on a couple more guys to show up. One was from Spain, another from Portugal. The Portuguese guy never showed, or if he did he didn’t come with us. I guess he could have volunteered with another outfit. I guess that’s the thing about the war I didn’t really expect. We were always just kinda losing people. And I don’t mean they were killed, although a lot of them were. I mean guys would just be with you one minute and gone the next. And then you’d find them a week later and I go, ‘Where have you been?’ ‘Oh I’ve been in Dnipro’ or ‘Oh I got picked up by the Regs.’ It was crazy. The only place where that didn’t happen was the front.”
“Who do you mean by ‘the Regs?’” asks David.
“The regular army. The Ukrainians. The good guys we were there to help. Sometimes they would be short a man so they’d just nab one of the volunteers. That was a bad gig. The Ukrainians wanted their most motivated guys fighting in the worst places. I only had to do it a couple of times, but…it was not something I did and wanted to do again. ”
David rubs his hand over his arm. He can’t smell the hot blonde anymore, only trench dirt and gun oil. The soil of Donetsk had a deep brown color to it he always enjoyed. Even with snipers supposedly in the area, digging was one of his favorite jobs. The earth smelled vibrant, full of worms and nitrogen and reminded him of his granddad, coming in from a day of field work, his jeans and boots caked in a rich layer of his land.
“So tell us what is it like being a hometown celebrity?” asks Sara. “You’re from here so people already know you, but what’s it like now? I mean now, gosh, everyone i know has been talking about this kid from Highland who won a medal from Zelensky. Did you get to bring it by the way? You were on the national news. It was NBC, but still…”
A bouquet of scents and questions. David looks across the room and sees Bone sitting with a heavy slouch in a chair at the other end of the conference table. He looks rough; still alive but not by much. He sits holding his side, his chin on his chest.
“It’s neat I guess. I walk down the street and people call my name. I take lots of pictures with people. Everyone is really nice. I felt like I was kinda a wallflower before.It’s something I think lots of people think about experiencing. I know I did, I just never thought it would be for this.”
“What did you want to be when you were a boy?” asks Sara.
“I don’t know. The normal stuff; doctor, fireman, my Dad was in sales, so not that. I think about it a lot. I think mostly I just wanted to be good. I didn’t like getting into trouble.”
“Oh my gosh, I was the exact same.” says Sara. Then durning her boss she adds “David, I don’t know if you knew this about me and this David, but we actually went to Highland High at the same time. I was a senior when you would have been a freshman, but I swear I remember you. I thought you were cute.”
“Don’t be trying to steal my assistant Dave. Can I call you Dave?”
Bone perks up and tells them to call him Abie
“Ok so let’s get back on track. You’re over there, you’re fighting Russians, you’re helping the Ukrainians, can you tell us, what was that like?”
“What is war like?”
“Yeah the war, but you’re doing a good thing. You volunteered to help an oppressed people, to fight against tyranny, something I think our listeners think our government should have done a long time ago. But while our President sits on his ass, you bravely go do the thing that needs be done. God it must have been exhilarating, but I don’t know, I don’t want to put words in your mouth.”
Bone lays his head back on the desk and says something David can’t quite make out but thinks he knows what his commander is saying.
“What?” asks David.
“It’s a Ukrainian word I learned while over there. It means purpose, but more than just doing a job, it’s your calling. It’s a word the priests with the beards use a lot. Everyday I knew exactly what was expected of me and what I could expect from everyone around me. I had clarity for the first time in my life. I felt like I could see for miles in every direction, like sitting on the roof watching all the cars going by.”
Bone stands up out of his chair and walks out of the office.
“Even when I was scared I knew that was to be expected. And when I was tired, I knew that too was to be expected. And when I was hungry, and wet, and cold, and angry enough to kill. I knew that too was to be expected because war is a cauldron. Everything gets boiled into a singularity. It’s terrifying but also pretty damn motivating. What sucks is that I can already feel everything starting to get cloudy again.”
Leaning his belly against the table, David leans in to ask his next question as if he does not want to be heard.
“Did you, you know…and this will be off the record…did you kill anyone else?”
Sara places her empty hand on the table, an offering for David to hold should his answer prove too much. But David knows the answer is not too much for his has thought of little else.
“Nope. Just the one.”
After another few minutes of hearing how brave he has been, how proud his family must be and how grateful the station is to have him come in, the interview is over. The producer shakes David’s hand and Sara walks him out. She mentions that friends of her’s are going to a new bar in the Depot and suggests David should come too. He says he can come but it will be late because he has dinner plans. “That’s ok. I’ll be there pretty late.”
Only a few blocks from the radio station, David pulls into a Waffle House parking lot. There is condensation on the windows of the building and cigarette butts near the door. Nothing here breathes well, David notes. Inside he finds his old sponsor sitting at booth by himself. David sees Fred before Fred sees him and for a moment considers leaving. However, he sees Bone sits in the corner of the restaurant, smiling and looking to flirt with a chubby waitress with grown sons.
“How the hell are you Abie?” says Fred. No turning back now.
“Sober for today.”
The pair order eggs, toast and bacon. The cook makes each of them a waffle on the house after recognizing David. He finishes his plate before Fred can finish a piece of toast. Meals happen quick on the battlefield and David can’t seem to slow himself down long to enjoy his food. Bone is no longer in the corner. David sees him moving around the room; following an old lady into the restroom. He comes out with a grotesque look on his face. “That little woman took the biggest shit I’ve ever seen! Abie, come and look at it. It won’t flush. Call in a drone strike. We are going to have to pull back!”
“So” says Fred, “Mr. War Hero, how are you really? You’ve got recognition, a war recommendation, you’re doing interviews, you still got your sobriety. Life seems to be going well, but…”
“How I am really?” When he was in NA Fred could always sniff out if he was high. As his sponsor that was his job, but David never liked it. I know you say you’re fine, but how are your really. Effective, but crude. Fred taps his finger to the tip of his nose. Bingo kid. David looks around the room for Bone but doesn’t find him.
“I’m good man. Things are going well. Everyone always asks me how I’m doing, but I’m really fine. I honestly don’t feel much different than when I left. Same shit different day you know? Girls come up to me now, so that’s different I guess. So…yeah…things are good. Still sober. No real temptation to go back down that road. Been working the Steps since I got back. Doing the work. I didn’t even think about getting high when I was over there. I’m serious. Not once. I’ve got a therapist that I’m seeing. She’s really smart. And I get to see her for free. It’s part of some rehabilitation program from the federal government. I’m moving out of my Mom’s soon. I found an apartment through the church she goes to. There is a guy there who owns a bunch of places and he hooked me up with a really nice place for really cheap. He gave us a really good deal on it. The same guy said I could come work for him too when I felt I was ready. He has a real estate business and said he is always looking for new realtors. With my story, he told me, he thinks I could to really well.”
Bone sits in the booth next to Fred. His face his clean, empty. Without blinking, moving or saying anything he stares at David; human mirror he is unsure is alive or dead, in a Waffle House in Florida or an expensive dirty tank in Ukraine.
“But then I think, do I really wanna use my story to sell real estate? Some douchebag buys an apartment I’m selling him because I killed a Russian general. That’s not why I went over there. And who would even ask me to that? They don’t know what it was like. They make it seem like going over there was no big deal, that killing generals is something that happens all the time, or that the war is going well. Really man, I got so lucky with that shot. I’ve had trained snipers tell me they probably couldn’t hit a target at that range. But I did. I did that and I know I could never do it again. Even if I could, I don’t know if I’d want to. I didn’t know that guy. I mean I now know a bunch of stuff about him, but it’s only what I’ve been told. They told me that he supported Putin from the beginning and that a lot of the war planning was his idea. Ok. If you say so Bone. But I looked this guy up, he has a wikipedia page, and a wife, and kids, probably grandkids. I don’t know if his family is proud of him or not, but I know they will never see him again. And then just the charade of it all. So I got to meet the Ukrainian War Minister, Zelensky’s right hand man. Still not worth it. There’s just nothing noble or romantic about it. It’s all just a cold, black hole that runs on death and killing and for some reason you have to look at it…at least I do. I suppose I thought at some point I would see something. Never did though.”
Bone breaks his stare and cracks a smile.
“And for who, for what Fred? What is going to happen when all of this is over other than the same thing that happens after every war. A cabal of erudite assholes are going to meet in an overly secure room in the Netherlands and draw a new line in between Ukraine and Russia which is exactly what those same assholes did seventy years ago, and seventy years before that, and in seventy years we’ll do the same thing all over again. Wash, rinse and repeat. That line makes about as much sense as the first day of Spring. Sure, there is an official first day of Spring, March 20th or whatever, but we all know that there was some really warm days before the 20th and there is going to be some real cold days afterwards. But the 20th is the official day. It doesn’t make Spring happen. It just kinda helps sense out of a blurry situation. It wasn’t two days after getting there I realized the whole thing is so complicated. Half the regs were guys who had either lived in Russia at some point, gone to school there mostly, or had family living there. It felt like trying to break up a fight at a family reunion, only everyone is holding ARs as they argue about whether or not the 20th is the first day of Spring. The conflict goes back so far you can’t make out the start. And the profiteering my god, that’s what really gets me. Just like that asshole who wants to use the war to sell real estate, all the arms manufacturers who are pouring guns and bullets and tanks into Ukraine, propping this war machine so they can win another government contract. It’s sick. The people running those companies have the first available seat in hell. And Putin too. He started this whole mess. First him, then a nice row of CEOs and shareholders, that’s who I want to in hell. And there is never talk of any alternative. None. Not even a whisper. Just two sides trying to exhaust the other for a better seat at the bargaining table.”
Bone gets up to leave, but not before stretching his back, revealing a large, dark red stain in his uniform, just above his waist line.
“So here I am in all my hometown glory.” says David, “The renown Prince of the Order of the Ukrainian Shit-Show.”
There is a wet spot on David’s pants which he is not sure how it got there. He looks at Bone who is already out the door and running down the street. It’s ok, David thinks to himself, I know where he is going. ———————————————— At the 7-11 next to Waffle House David buys two tall boys and two shots of Jack. He pours the whiskey into the cans and kills the second one as he pulls into Pastor’s driveway where several Mercedes, Teslas and BMWs are parked. David clears his throat, spits into the bushes and unwraps a stick of gum. He enters the house after two hard knocks.
“Oh I think that is him.” David hears his mom say after shutting the large, dark front door. She comes around the corner of the corridor to tell him he is late and to take his shoes off.
“But my socks don’t match.”
“Well take those off too! Pastor just put down new carpet.”
“Ah well, since there is new carpet involved. Let’s not walk on the new carpet.”
The rest of the dinner party comes around the corridor in their socks. Each of them personally thanks David for coming and for his service. The men shake his hand. The women all give him hugs. By the end of introductions David has met two bankers, two retirees, and handful of housewives, as well as two more pastors and their wives. Bone is the last to shake his hand. He tells Abie he smells like old lady perfume. Elenor, Pastor’s wife, takes David’s arm, sliding her’s underneath his, leading him into their recently renovated kitchen. The rest of the group follows.
“Well dinner is almost ready. As we wait, why don’t you tell us about Ukraine.”
“Leave him alone Ellie,” says Pastor, “maybe he’s tired of talking about it.”
“I don’t mind.” says Abie. “I don’t mind telling people about blowing some Russian guy’s head off.”
“It’s ok Mom. Yeah so I saw this column of tanks approaching our trench, which ran parallel to this road running west outta Horlivka. I don’t think they knew it was there, or if they did know, they sure as shit didn’t know we were in it, which was weird because we’d been trading fire with them all day. We were all scared shitless. It was only me and Jizzy and Bone. Right Bone? Oh yeah, it wasn’t Jizz it was that kid from Croatia. The one who fucking just ran off one day. I don’t remember his name. Anyways, Bone tells us to all be real still, play like we are dead. So this entire tank column passes by us. Takes for fucking ever. Couldn’t have been more than an hour, but it felt like ten. Finally it starts to let up you know, the last tank passes. So Bone takes the radio and tries to find a spot to call it in. As he is doing that I see the last tank, which was what Bone, about four hundred yards from us? Anyway, he comes to a stop, and out pops the unluckiest son of bitch in the whole war. The General gets out to take a piss, I take aim, figuring I’ll just scare him. And yeah. Bam. Headshot. He didn’t feel a thing; killed him with his dick in his hand. Speaking of which…if you will excuse me.”
“The bathroom is back down the hallway, first door on your left.” says Pastor.
“Is it a full bath?” ask Abie.
No one looks him in the eye, no one except Bone and Pastor. The bathroom has been redone in the same tile as the kitchen. David takes off his clothes, turns the steel knob in the shower to red, sits one floor and waits for the water to get warm.
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2023.06.04 11:19 Tigrannes On this day in History, June 4
| || | submitted by Tigrannes to Historycord [link] [comments]
TODAY IN HISTORY June 4 Early Modern World
1411 – King Charles VI granted a monopoly for the ripening of Roquefort cheese to the people of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon as they had been doing for centuries.
1561 – The steeple of St Paul's, the medieval cathedral of London, is destroyed in a fire caused by lightning and is never rebuilt.
1615 – Siege of Osaka: Forces under Tokugawa Ieyasu take Osaka Castle in Japan.
1745 – Battle of Hohenfriedberg: Frederick the Great's Prussian army decisively defeated an Austrian army under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine during the War of the Austrian Succession.
1760 – Great Upheaval: New England planters arrive to claim land in Nova Scotia, Canada, taken from the Acadians. Revolutionary Age
1783 – The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrate their montgolfière (hot air balloon).
1784 – Élisabeth Thible becomes the first woman to fly in an untethered hot air balloon. Her flight covers four kilometres (2.5 mi) in 45 minutes, and reached 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) altitude (estimated).
1792 – Captain George Vancouver claims Puget Sound for the Kingdom of Great Britain.
1802 – King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicates his throne in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.
1812 – Following Louisiana's admittance as a U.S. state, the Louisiana Territory is renamed the Missouri Territory.
1825 – General Lafayette, a French officer in the American Revolutionary War, speaks at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo, during his visit to the United States.
1855 – Major Henry C. Wayne departs New York aboard the USS Supply to procure camels to establish the U.S. Camel Corps.
1859 – Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeat the Austrian army.
1862 – American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuate Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.
1876 – An express train called the Transcontinental Express arrives in San Francisco, via the First transcontinental railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.
1878 – Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire cedes Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retains nominal title.
1896 – Henry Ford completes the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile, and gives it a successful test run.
1912 – Massachusetts becomes the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.
1913 – Emily Davison, a suffragist, runs out in front of King George V's horse at The Derby. She is trampled, never regains consciousness, and dies four days later. World Wars
1916 – World War I: Russia opens the Brusilov Offensive with an artillery barrage of Austro-Hungarian lines in Galicia.
1917 – The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall receive the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receives the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope receives the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.
1919 – Women's rights: The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees suffrage to women, and sends it to the U.S. states for ratification.
1919 – Leon Trotsky bans the Planned Fourth Regional Congress of Peasants, Workers and Insurgents.
1920 – Hungary loses 71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon is signed in Paris.
1928 – The President of the Republic of China, Zhang Zuolin, is assassinated by Japanese agents.
1932 – Marmaduke Grove and other Chilean military officers lead a coup d'état establishing the short-lived Socialist Republic of Chile.
1939 – The Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 German Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, in the United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps.
1940 – World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ends: the British Armed Forces completes evacuation of 338,000 troops from Dunkirk in France. To rally the morale of the country, Winston Churchill delivers, only to the House of Commons, his famous "We shall fight on the beaches" speech.
1942 – World War II: The Battle of Midway begins. The Japanese Admiral Chūichi Nagumo orders a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
1942 – World War II: Gustaf Mannerheim, the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army, is granted the title of Marshal of Finland by the government on his 75th birthday. On the same day, Adolf Hitler arrives in Finland for a surprise visit to meet Mannerheim.
1943 – A military coup in Argentina ousts Ramón Castillo.
1944 – World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captures the German Kriegsmarine submarine U-505: The first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.
1944 – World War II: The United States Fifth Army captures Rome, although much of the German Fourteenth Army is able to withdraw to the north. Cold War
1961 – Cold War: In the Vienna summit, the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev sparks the Berlin Crisis by threatening to sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany and ending American, British and French access to East Berlin.
1967 – Seventy-two people are killed when a Canadair C-4 Argonaut crashes at Stockport in England.
1970 – Tonga gains independence from the British Empire.
1975 – The Governor of California Jerry Brown signs the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act into law, the first law in the United States giving farmworkers collective bargaining rights.
1977 – JVC introduces its VHS videotape at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago. It will eventually prevail against Sony's rival Betamax system in a format war to become the predominant home video medium.
1979 – Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings takes power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo is overthrown.
1983 – Gordon Kahl, who killed two US Marshals in Medina, North Dakota on February 13, is killed in a shootout in Smithville, Arkansas, along with a local sheriff, after a four-month manhunt.
1986 – Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.
1988 – Three cars on a train carrying hexogen to Kazakhstan explode in Arzamas, Gorky Oblast, USSR, killing 91 and injuring about 1,500.
1989 – In the 1989 Iranian Supreme Leader election, Ali Khamenei is elected as the new Supreme Leader of Iran after the death and funeral of Ruhollah Khomeini.
1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests are suppressed in Beijing by the People's Liberation Army, with between 241 and 10,000 dead (an unofficial estimate).
1989 – Solidarity's victory in the 1989 Polish legislative election, the first election since the Communist Polish United Workers Party abandoned its monopoly of power. It sparks off the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe.
1989 – Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, kills 575 as two trains passing each other throw sparks near a leaky pipeline. Modern World
1996 – The first flight of Ariane 5 explodes after roughly 37 seconds. It was a Cluster mission.
1998 – Terry Nichols is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.
2005 – The Civic Forum of the Romanians of Covasna, Harghita and Mureș is founded.
2010 – Falcon 9 Flight 1 is the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40. Featured
1989: The Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, China, reach their peak as Chinese troops and riot police are deployed to suppress the pro-democracy movement.
The Tiananmen Square protests, known in Chinese as the June Fourth Incident were student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, during 1989. Troops armed with assault rifles and accompanied by tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military's advance into Tiananmen Square. The protests started on 15 April and were forcibly suppressed on 4 June when the government sent the People's Liberation Army to occupy parts of central Beijing. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.
2023.06.04 07:17 the_ugh_life Looking to move from PNW, but need to be near major airport
I’ve had some decision paralysis about where to move. I (single 36m) currently live in Seattle and I feel it’s time to move on. I’ve tried the social scene in Seattle for 10 years and while I made friends, it just doesn’t feel like home and I’ve been aching for a change. I’d like to move someplace where meeting people/ dating is easier and less outdoor focused.
My new job is fully remote, but requires a lot of travel and so I need to be near a major airport with direct flights. I also have family in NJ/NY metro so would prefer a shorter flight to east coast (so likely no west coast options). I’d like to also live in a townhouse or actual house with actual space(even a small outdoor space works), I’ve always lived in apartments. I also want a safer place to live, Seattle has gotten rough since I came here especially with property crime.
I’ve been leaning towards Frisco/Plano and have been leaning there given proximity to DFW and cost of living is good, plus affordable newly built houses. I’m a bit worried about the dating scene there, especially for mid 30s (but I think that will be a struggle anywhere). I also looked at Denver and MSP but I wonder if they are too “close” to Seattle? Chicago also looked nice, but the safety seems iffy and don’t think I can get a house in city. Any other places I should be considering that could fit?
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2023.06.04 06:38 lunarwarrior12 Forward facing..optics?? A NOP and transformers crossover chapter 9
Memory transcript subject: crejic gojid civilian Date [standardized human time] September 29th 2136
I felt some pretty severe embarrassment as my stomach growled in front of Tailhitch and alkia, but I couldn’t help it. I hadn’t eaten since before I had met Tailhitch and he, presumably, accidentally nicked my ear when he shot the arxur that was going to take me, I supposed I couldn’t really complain about losing a small part of my right ear compared to losing my freedom and life.
Said robot sighed and opened the door for alkia to crawl out, surprisingly quickly might I add, which made me wonder what had her so flustered? I crawled out after her and untied her hands. She avoided looking at me as I did so and her cheeks were a deep shade of blue, odd.
Once we were a few feet away Tailhitch transformed from the human vehicle to his tall boxy robot form. It had only just occurred to me how little roundness there was to him. The only round parts I could see were the tires on his elbows and knees and the one on the weird flapping part around his waist and hips, as well as the tip of his antenna. Not even his eyes were round but rather they were octagonal.
Despite the trust I felt towards him it still freaked me out a bit every time I saw him do it. Maybe it was the inherent strangeness of watching a vehicle become something that walked, maybe it was the noise that accompanied the transformation, I didn’t know. But Alkia's wide eyed expression was absolutely hilarious and I nearly burst out laughing. Was that how I had looked? Great protector I was glad Tailhitch had been the only one to see it.
Tailhitch closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his mask before looking at us again. “Alright I forgot that since you guys are organic, you need to eat. So, what do you eat exactly? And where can we hopefully find some?”
Looking outside from our hiding spot I saw a grocery store that I had visited several times in the past. Pointing at it I spoke up “I think that store over there might have some stuff we can eat.”
Moving surprisingly quietly for something of his size Tailhitch made his way over to me and looked at the store for a few seconds before nodding. “Alright you two go in there and grab as much as you can, be quick and be quiet about it. I’ll keep watch like I did with the map. Alkia I am going to trust you and let you have your flamethrower back ok?” She nodded as the top part of his chest opened by folding down. While he was reaching into his chest to grab her flamethrower I saw a strange symbol shaped like a face.
“Hey Tailhitch what’s that symbol mean?” I pointed up at it and tilted my head a bit. His head turned to me before he spoke “Oh this? This is the autobot insignia, all autobots have it somewhere on their body. The Decepticons have their own insignia as well that they have on their bodies in case you were wondering.”
He closed the top part of his chest and gave it a few pats as alkia put her flamethrower on. With that we snuck out of our hiding spot and dashed to the nearby building. Soon after Tailhitch followed behind, continuing to remain amazingly quiet for his size.
Not that being quiet would do him much good considering he was 17 feet tall and was blue black and grey with faintly glowing eyes the same shade of orange as venlil blood. As alkia and I made our way inside the building I heard his arm transform. It was a small difference but I could tell when it was his arms changing and when it was his whole body. His arms transforming produced a higher pitched noise and it was a bit shorter compared to the vehicle to walking form transformation.
I smiled when I heard it. Those sounds his body made during transformations gave me a sense of comfort despite how alien they sounded. To me they meant that I had a large powerful guardian watching my back.
While we rooted around for some food I looked over at alkia who seemed to be doing her best to not look at me. The silence was getting to me so I decided to try and break a bit of the tension between us and cleared my throat.
“So uh alkia” she jumped a little bit and looked over at me as she put a tuber in a basket she had found. Protector what was with her? “What uh, what do you think of Tailhitch now? Still think he’s a big scary untrustworthy monster?”
This made her shake her head a bit and her shoulders seemed to sag as though she was tensed up and nervous but all the tension was suddenly released, “honestly crejic? I’m not sure what to think of him. Every instinct I have tells me to run or try and burn him, but…after what we heard last night? I just feel bad for him and I’m still trying to wrap my head around how he can still function as well as he is. He mentioned getting therapy but…would electric shocks even work on something like him?”
The mention of electricity made me quirk an eyebrow at her “considering how harshly he reacted to the idea of predator disease and his disdain for exterminators, I’m wondering if he has a different idea of what therapy entails”
Alkia tilted her head confused “How did he react?”
I snorted as I tossed a ruined fruit to the side “with extreme disdain and disgust. According to him, predator disease isn’t real and is just a way to get rid of quote-unquote problematic people who the government might not like. As for exterminators? He thinks the job is horrible and stupid and shouldn’t exist, he wasn’t exactly fond of you when we first found you burning an arxur to death.”
She looked away seemingly upset by that, had his story affected her that much? “Oh..well maybe we should ask him about his therapy when we go back outside” I nodded in affirmation at this and looked at the basket of food I had gathered from around the destroyed store.
Continued in comments
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2023.06.04 05:14 Soundwave815 LOST: Circle Season 4 Announcement Trailer
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2023.06.04 04:49 Sweaty-Ad8900 Day 3 (Part 2)
I just remembered this now but I left something out of day 2 that I forgot about. I found some weird white shrooms and didn’t know what they were. I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to eat them seeing as how nothing else other than me dwells within this small area. I decided the best way to eat the shrooms, would be to cook them into brownies. I read the instructions on the back of my brownie mix box and preheated the oven to 450 degrees and put the mix in. Once it was done, I cut the brownie pie into several dozen pieces and ate one. What happened next I can’t recall, but I was told that I called the police and did some stuff that would be better left unspoken. When I came to, I realized where I was and continued my journey. Back to the present, I decided to journey far into the east to reach unexplored territory in hopes that I find something new. But first, I needed food. So, while exploring around the outside of the tower, I found a new section that I can’t really do anything with. It is just an indent in the outside of the tower, but too high to jump off as I will die due to fall damage. There, I found a new plant. The only problem was that it looked a little suspicious. It was colored red, dangling from the ceiling, and had around three bulbs in it. I explored the next area after that, which was a dead end, and decided to travel back through to look a little more. After I saw that plant tilt toward my general direction, I moped out of there so hard, you wouldn’t be able to catch up to my speed even if you hired professional tag players. I had already learned my lesson from day 2, do not mess around with weird plants that can move on their own. After that little horror stunt, I decided to continue my exploration again. I died around two times I think by some lizards and finally managed to reach the end of the explored territory. All I had to do was enter into the entrance on the right wall by climbing up a narrow hole in the ground to reach it. All of a sudden, the scene became chaotic. There was what seemed to be a bright orange or yellow scavenger blocking the entrance and a green lizard underground in an area where one can climb through a bunch of narrow holes to get anywhere onscreen. I waited until the lizard was distracted and went into a narrow hole and climbed my way through into a section where the lizard didn’t notice me. After the lizard passed back through, I was able to quickly run past it into a narrow hole. I found out from personal experience that, while they can climb up a narrow hole, they are really slow and tend to fall all the way back down often. Once I was starting to make my way up the hole, a massive bird appeared and scared the weird scavenger into running away, only, it didn’t escape into the entrance to go to the next area. Instead it went down into the hole I was trying to climb out of. The hole I was in had only two directions; up and down. Up is where a scavenger is blocking the entrance and down is where a lizard is trying to eat me. I had no choice but to cuddle up against the scavenger in hopes that it would die to the bird and get dragged away or something. I knew it was risky, but the only other option would be me getting within charging distance of the green lizard. This was an extremely stressful situation that was, unfortunately, cut short because the bird somehow managed to kill Borge me and the scavenger in one attack. I assume it breathed that miasma at us, the same miasma I see it breathe every time it first comes into view. That is where I left the game at for now. I plan on making a day 4 tomorrow, stay tuned!
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2023.06.04 04:22 JoshAsdvgi The Long Journey
| || | submitted by JoshAsdvgi to Native_Stories [link] [comments]
The Long Journey
Long, long ago, the ancestors of the Stockbridge Indians lived far to the west of their present home.
One day, as they looked across the water to the east, they saw an island in the sea.
With their canoes, they travelled to this island.
It was large, with many plants and animals which they could use for food, and a small number of people moved to the island and built their homes there.
Living there, their population increased.
After living on the island for many years, they saw another island to the east in the water. They visited this island, and found it better than the island which they called home.
They abandoned the first island for the second and moved there.
Some time later, the first island sank beneath the waters and disappeared.
Having established themselves on the second island, they later saw other islands farther beyond, and over the course of time moved their villages to these other islands.
Whenever they moved to the new islands, the ones they had inhabited previously sank out of sight.
Moving continually for many centuries, they established themselves on the North American mainland.
By this time, the ancestors of the Stockbridge were quite numerous, and they spread further throughout the land.
Other tribes lived near them, including one which built villages fortified with stockades of poles and banks of earth.
These people also built mounds to bury their dead.
The relationship between the Stockbridge and these moundbuilding people was friendly.
As they lived in peace, another group of people attacked and fought them, destroying the villages of the moundbuilders and killing their people.
The Stockbridge continued to life in peace, and remained where they had long dwelled until the Whites came.
2023.06.04 04:20 reject_sensi-versity Rutgers vs. Pomona
For PreMed Track (Major: Molecular Bio)
Pomona - Very high med school acceptance (85%) w/ grade inflation + accessibility to their pre-health resources - Ability to explore the 5Cs - Has the prestige (in terms of grad school). Next to major city (LA) - Love the liberal arts feel— I am not overwhelmed, I get to know my professors, and I can learn to love learning
Cons - Not sure if Pomona is known to be good with appealing financial aid. - $36k a year ?!!?!?????!? - Location is beautiful but it’s in a quaint old-person town (which is also kind of a pro) - Transportation is limited, cost of living is high
Rutgers Pros - If I were to be the TOP premed student at Rutgers, I would have the same chances as anyone for med school - Probably lots of volunteering considering how close its university hospital is - East coast and NY-NJ-PA tristate is good, better than West Coast for jobs (will go back for med school) - Cheaper ($8k/year) - Better accessibility to food (it’s a college town with common-name stores + restaurants) - Traditional feel - Most important: I graduate nearly debt-free
Cons: - Too large 💀, I feel like I’ll miss catching the bus to class all the time - NJ is depressing - Student body isn’t a great fit for me - Asbestos in the dorms, SA assault cancels Orientation Week, Professor Strike— Reputation is….. scary. - More competition with other people for access to resources, less time with professors -Some have told me their premed advisors discourage some med school applicants - Might burn out easily then consider switch
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2023.06.04 04:08 OP-RandomBystander My Parents Don't Know I Have A Boyfriend
I (21F) have been dating my boyfriend (28M) for two years and my parents don't know that I've been dating somebody this entire time. I'm not happy about it. My boyfriend definitely isn't happy about it. I've been wanting to tell them for the past two years since the first day I met this amazing guy, but the only reason why I haven't told them is due to fear, which I know is incredibly selfish. I know this makes me a horrible person, and Worst Daughter of the Year. It's been eating me up inside, and my boyfriend thinks that it's starting to get ridiculous that it's been TWO YEARS and he still hasn't met my parents. Especially since I've met his family many times and they now think of me as part of their family. I promised my boyfriend that I will introduce him to my parents later this month, but I'm terrified of the hell it will inevitably unleash.
I feel like I now have to explain why I'm so scared, but I know it doesn't truly excuse the fact that I am a horrible person. My current boyfriend is my second boyfriend, and my last boyfriend. He is also white. While my parents are not necessarily openly racist against white people, they definitely do not want their children dating/marrying any white people. This has been pounded into my head by my parents since I was ten years old. Really, they are against me dating/marrying any other race than Chinese.
For context, when I was dating my first boyfriend (who was white), I was very open to my parents about when we decided to start dating, how we met (we were coworkers), where we were meeting up for dates, what time I would be back home (usually by 8pm the latest), etc. I thought that by being honest, I could trust them in return.
My first boyfriend was a good guy, I definitely liked him, but that didn't prevent my parents from being absolutely horrible to me every single day we were together. At first, they would passively-aggressively make comments during meals that would get on my nerves, but I held my tongue. When that didn't work, they started outright insulting how he looks and saying hateful things about him in general, such as saying he looked ugly and that he only loved me for how I looked and that he's a creep for not dating someone from "his own kind". I would ask them if they wanted to meet him in person so that they can get to know him personally and see that he's a good person, but they would vehemently refuse. They said, "Why should I get to know him if he's not going to marry you?"
That's when it became clear to me that my parents weren't going to give their blessing of our relationship, even though our relationship was only in its early stages. And so, I stopped trying to swallow down their verbal abuse and every time they talked badly about my boyfriend I would stick up for him. I would point out that they wouldn't know what a happy relationship looked like because both of them are so miserable with each other (my parents had nearly gotten divorced three times, but stayed together only for my siblings and I). Obviously, this only made things worse and they turned their verbal abuse towards me. They threatened to kick me out, disown me, tried to guilt trip me, etc. It got so bad that I became suicidal (again). I would've left, if my boyfriend had a place of his own, but he didn't. He still lived with his parents too, and I wasn't going to ask his parents (whom I only met ONCE) to take me in. So I was forced to break up with my first boyfriend. I cried so much over the phone. Luckily, he understood and he was very kind about it, assuring me over the phone that he knew it wasn't my fault that I wanted to end our relationship. He even urged me to get mental health help (which I did eventually). All in all, our relationship lasted less than a month because of my parents. We hadn't even kissed at that point, because we were still in the phase where you're learning more about each other and doing coffee dates and small things like that. If you had talked to my parents, you'd think I was sleeping with him every single night or planning our wedding.
I don't know why I was surprised by how they reacted, but it hurt nevertheless.
A few months after the whole fiasco with my Ex, I decided to start going on dates again. At the time I was just dating for the heck of it. I didn't have any friends at the time, since most of my high school friends had moved out-of-state, so I was lonely. I wasn't planning on hopping into a serious relationship any time soon. To answer the question I know some readers might be wondering, NO, I did not have casual sex. I think most of the guys were lonely too and they just wanted to grab lunch/dinner, grab coffee, go bowling, etc. They were usually guys who more shallow people wouldn't date, either because they weren't ripped, didn't have any sexy tattoos, or were too short. All of the guys I went on a date with understood that it was only a 1 time thing and that I wasn't going to kiss them or have sex with them. We always split 50/50 for food, so that it was fair. A lot of them were happy to treat our date like a "practice date" for when they ended up meeting a girl they planned on seriously dating, and I was happy to give them advice after the date before we parted ways and went no-contact.
In a way, it helped me get over the pain I felt from breaking up with my Ex, knowing that there was always the opportunity to find love again. It gave me something to hope for, even when some days the world felt empty and grey.
Then I met my current boyfriend.
At this point I was getting used to the routine: swipe right, send them a friendly text introducing myself, ask where and when they would like to meet up, ask them what we would be doing on the date, and set my ground rules for the date.
However, I had such a great time with my boyfriend that I couldn't imagine not seeing him again. During the short 3 hours I got to know him over lunch, it felt like my world was full of color again. He had so many ridiculous funny stories to tell! I laughed and laughed and laughed. I remember thinking, "Geez, when was the last time I laughed this hard or smiled this much?"
I knew I definitely had to go on another date with him, so I asked. And we did. This time we went to the beach, which apparently made his family FLIP OUT because he supposedly hated going to the beach because of the sand sticking to his skin. After that, his family wanted to "meet the girl who got [boyfriend's name] to go to the beach". And so, everything kind of snowballed from there. I met his family and they were wonderful and so welcoming. My boyfriend and I went on a few more dates.
Eventually, at around five months, my boyfriend began to wonder when he was going to meet my family, and my stomach sank, because I thought that after I explained everything, he would run for the hills. But I was wrong. He told me that he understood. He told me to take my time until I felt comfortable enough to tell my parents about him. At around the 1 year mark, his family was horrified to learn that we have been dating without my parents' blessing, until I explained the gist of why, which still left out a lot of the more horrible details. Basically, I just briefly explained that my parents were kind of racist, but that I love [boyfriend's name] too much to let him go. They understood and mostly left it alone. Although sometimes they would hint that they think it would be really nice to have both of our families celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving together under one roof.
But now it's been two years and my boyfriend has told me that he doesn't feel right letting this go on without my parents knowing. He also has expressed that he hates feeling like my dirty little secret. He also has his own condo, so he's offered that if my parents do end up kicking me out and disowning me, I can just move in with him. It makes me feel a little better, but the main problem is that I still love my parents too. Despite everything.
His family has also been super supportive. And my friends have been supportive of our relationship. Everyone else can see that my boyfriend and I have a strong relationship. Even my younger brothers.
Yes, my two younger brothers (17M & 15M) know about my boyfriend, and they really like him. Especially my 17 year old younger brother, who is autistic. My autistic younger brother practically idolizes my boyfriend, because he actually listens when my brother talks about one of his interests. If you've never been around an autistic person, here's something you should know. Autistic people love to talk about their interests, sometimes for hours at a time. Most people would just tune out my autistic brother when he starts talking for longer than 15 minutes. It doesn't help that he also happens to have a really bad stutter. However, my boyfriend is more than happy to talk with him for HOURS, which is something even I don't have the patience for. My other younger brother will occasionally chime in, which is surprising since he usually likes to just stay glued to his phone.
My love for my boyfriend grows every time I see him interact with my autistic younger brother, because I was afraid that they would not get along. Or worse, my boyfriend would dump me out of the fear that any children we have may also show signs of being on the spectrum (in my culture, people like my brother are outcasts). I feel blessed to have such an amazing partner.
Which brings us back to the main dilemma. No matter what, I am not leaving my boyfriend. He has not given up on the love we share, despite all of my warnings. So I'm going to stand my ground, because it's the least he deserves.
Sorry for the long post. I'm still unsure of how I'm going to go about this, but I know that this cannot go on any further. Moral of the story for any parents out there who are reading this: do not do this to your children. You. will. fuck. them. up. Trust your children and they will trust you in return with the major things going on in their lives. Like who they are dating.
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2023.06.04 03:13 venusianangel00 British chinese takeaway style restaurants in the Hague/leiden area??
I’m curious to know if the hague or areas near by have a chinese restaurant that does similar food to what you see in a British chinese takeaway video😭 I am going to miss this food so much here and hope there will be some when I move
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to TheHague [link] [comments]
2023.06.04 02:11 Dr_Gingerballs The Sneaky Long: Why VIX is broken, the market is going up, and the bear market isn't over
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I've been involved in a number of discussions with folks who follow the market and are confused by what is happening. And who wouldn't be confused? Half the country says inflation is rapidly declining, while the other half says it's rising. Half say public companies are crushing earnings estimates, while the other half says earnings are abysmal. Hell, we can't even get a straight narrative out of the Federal Reserve Board Members, where half of them think rates are high enough, and the other thinks they need to hike more. Everyone speaks about the future in bizarre neutered language so as not to accidentally scare people, leaving us with word salads filled with "skip not pause", "immaculate disinflation", and whatever the hell JPOW says during his press conferences when he's trying to avoid saying the word recession.
The bulls and the bears have been locked in a battle of narratives for the entire year of 2023, where bank failures, sticky core (but declining headline) inflation numbers, and a tight labor market were lobbed back and forth as the SPX danced around 4200. The 4200 level on the S&P 500 is symbolic. It was the point at which JPOW emerged from Jackson's Hole to smite the bulls in August of 2022 in an effort to tighten liquidity and control inflation. We have been dancing around 4200 for two years now. It has become the "no man's land" between the trenches in this colossal financial war.
And on Thursday and Friday June 2nd 2023, the bulls decisively crossed 4200 in a full frontal attack, smiting the bears and declaring fiscal victory. The bears cried wolf too many times, inflation is solved, the economy is rocking, and now the bulls just took the bears' lunch money and gave them swirlies in the girls bathroom.
However, I'm going to lay out a case--based on data and market mechanics--to say not only that the battle isn't over, but that the bulls are being loaded up with the fattest bag in 3 years. The Macro Situation
To make my case, I have to start with some macroeconomics surrounding inflation. I think it's well accepted that the Federal Reserve--taking lessons from the inflation batter in the 1970's--considers entrenched inflation to be more dangerous to our economy than a recession. Indeed, JPOW has said this many times in his FOMC pressers. Tightening too little is worse than tightening too much. Although it appears that the media has a bias toward pushing the "inflation cooling" narrative, implying the Fed will pause or even begin cutting rates this year, I would like to quickly dispel this myth.
First, wages. The Federal Reserve of Atlanta wage growth tracker
shows that wages are sticky at 6% YoY. This is consistent with the stubbornly tight unemployment rate, which has essentially been flat near 3.5% throughout the inflation saga (albeit the most recent data came in at 3.7% but it may be noise).
Second, inflation. There are many measures and certainly people like to choose the flavor that confirms their bias. Let's look at the PCE inflation that the Fed has signaled they are weighing heavily. Headline PCE rose in April from 4.2% to 4.4% YoY. Core PCE, which excludes food and energy, has been flat since December of 2022 at essentially 4.6%. When you dig down into the details, it's hard to deny that a lot of the high inflation from last year was driven by high energy prices, and vise versa this year. Without the tailwind of low energy prices, our core inflation would likely be even higher. Regardless, inflation is at best sticky, and at worst slowly rising again. No bueno.
Third, corporate financials. Although the labor market is strong, the megacap tech companies that are currently holding up the markets are struggling financially, although they have done well hiding that fact. Revenues are down 10-20% (or more!) YoY for many of these companies, and their margins are shrinking. They are currently attempting to hide some of this by repurchasing shares to boost EPS, issuing bonds to stay liquid (META issued 40 year bonds YIKES!), etc. You know, all the tricks that can be played. Banks are still sitting on a load of underwater bonds and bills that creates a significant liquidity risk and caused 4 US banks to fail. They are currently being propped up with liquidity from the Federal Reserve, but for a steep fee. What narrative do all of these struggling companies have in common? So long as rates don't stay high for too long, we can smooth out the bumps with accounting tricks, layoffs, haircuts, etc. It comes as no surprise then that the financial media posts some eye-rolling levels of spin to try and push the Fed pause story. Almost as if they can will it into existence just by saying it enough times (If you say Volcker in your mirror three times he magically appears and refinances your mortgage rate to 20%). Everyone needs the rates to go down. Now. If we don't start getting pauses or skips or cuts or whatever, all of those happy, rosy Q3 and Q4 earnings projections are going directly in the toilet (we are all looking at you NVIDIA).
Although all the bears cried wolf dozens of times in 2022, given this macro backdrop, it doesn't appear possible for the Fed to pause or cut rates this year, and will likely have to go to 5.5-6.0% rates or even higher to successfully tamp down inflation. Yes, this will crush corporate financials and likely cause a recession. We are dangerously close to being in a recession already. The bull argument to 2023 is that inflation is cooling and labor remains strong, so rates can come down and save everyone. Unfortunately, the data does not support the cooling inflation narrative. Although I once was hopeful a soft landing was possible, I have since changed my view to be that our own irrational exuberance demands a hard landing, as nothing else will rip our credit cards out of our hands. In the face of increased aggregate demand, someone has to hold the inflation bag.
You might be thinking: "alright Mr. smarty pants, if we are on the brink of recession then why are people piling money into the equity markets?!?!" Well read on... The Sneaky Long
Most people think of the stock market as simply a place to invest in businesses, provide them capital, and be rewarded by the growth of that business. In reality, most of the activity on the stock market has nothing to do with this goal, but is instead aimed at allowing large entities to manipulate prices to serve their interests at the expense of "dumb money." After all, what do micro-second high frequency trading, options, ETFs, dark pools, naked shorting, etc have to do with giving money to businesses to grow? You could certainly make a case for many of these things in niche applications. But are options a niche application, for example, when an estimated $1-3T worth of equivalent shares are traded each day with 0 day to expiration options (keeping in mind the total market cap of the US equity market is $40T)?
In reality, most of the stock market was not built to ease corporate capital raising endeavors, but to allow the largest investors to move extremely large amounts of shares with dramatically exploding or crushing the price of stock
. When you buy or sell a few shares, you can easily purchase them at about the current price of the stock. But what if you want to buy 1M shares? If you put in a market order for 1M shares, the stock price could explode 10x or more during the time it takes you to purchase the first share and the last. You'd probably get more than one trading halt in the process. The same thing happens to the downside when you want to sell a 5-20% stake in a company. Now what if you wanted to unload 5-20% of the whole market?
This would simply result in a market crash, and you would get pennies on the dollar for your shares. Even bleeding the position out over months could provide enough downward pressure to trigger a mass selloff anyway. So how the f*** do you actually get rid of those shares?
The answer to this is: options, ETFs, dark pools, etc! These market instruments provide "liquidity." Put simply, liquidity is trading volume. The more trading volume that is occuring at a given price, the more you can buy or sell at that price without changing it. More trading = more liquidity. This is actually the primary purpose of retail investors for institutions, and why a quarter of our lives are reliant on participating in this system. You are liquidity. Your pension, 401k (which is probably all ETFs, not by accident), and your personal trading account. This infrastructure to link you to the market is for the sole purpose of accumulating the bags that institutions slowly amass over time.
So how might institutions use these tools to sell equities without crashing the market, say, in a macroeconomic environment where a crash is likely coming? Wouldn't it be great if you could sell the top, wait for the crash, and buy the bottom? Yes! And I'm proposing that is what is occurring now, and likely what occurs before every market crash (except volmageddon
. you could tell that was a surprise to the big boys because they changed the rules of the market to prevent it from happening again). Currently, it appears that the strategy relies heavily on index options, primarily on the SPX. To understand how we need to describe some market mechanics. The Option to Take your Money
the primary mechanism is market maker hedging. A market maker is an entity that has promised to take the other side of every trade for an instrument in an effort to provide liquidity. So if I want to sell an option, I don't need to find a buyer, I just sell it to the market maker. He will either find a buyer and net out the trade on his books that way, or he will hedge that position. If I sell the market maker a put option, the market maker is now short the underlying. The market maker just wants to make money on transactions, he doesn't want to take on directional risk. To hedge that short risk, they will buy shares (or futures in the case of index options) to stay "delta neutral." Staying neutral is complicated, but market makers are constantly trading throughout the day as options are traded and prices move to maintain this delta neutrality. As a result, a large amount of volume flow in the market is just hedging. If someone were to buy and sell enough options, then eventually the price of the underlying would be controlled by options and not conventional trading. The nice thing is that options give you leverage, effectively allowing you to dictate lots of trading volume without putting up enormous sums of money.
Do you see where this is headed? What if I could sell options to a market maker, and force them to take the other side of the trade? Then I could slowly over time unload a lot of shares without dropping the price. Then at the end of the process, just let the remaining sold options expire, releasing the market maker from his purgatory of perpetual buying, and then allowing the market to plummet in the absence of any remaining large buyers in the market. This is one of the reasons you see a market rally just before a market crash, coupled with the dynamic that longs have to recall their shares to sell them, squeezing out all shorts before a drop.
Okay, this sounds like a crazy conspiracy. What evidence do you have that this is actually occurring? tHe VIx iS brOkEN
Anyone who follows the markets probably remembers the trading community up in arms since about December of 2022 about how the VIX was broken. The VIX is thought of by a lot of people as a "fear gauge" as it typically inverses SPX price. In December, that dynamic changed, and indeed the melt up in late December through January was highlighted by a rise in VIX. So what was going on?
What the VIX actually measures is market demand for options
, more or less. the implied volatility, or expected future volatility, of an options contract is essentially just the knob the market maker can turn to change the price of an option. And depending on demand, they do. If a lot of people want to buy calls, just jack up OTM IV to capture those sweet, sweet premiums, then crank it down at the top of the pump and pay back pennies on the dollar.
To highlight this effect, let's compare the current SPX options chain to the SPX chain back at the height of August. We were around similar prices, had similar total delta on the SPX chain, meaning the effective weight of the options chains were similar, and were similarly in the middle of a large move upward. The big difference between now and then? VIX. In August, the VIX was around 20. Now? It has been pushed down to 14.5. If VIX is simply a fear gauge, this would imply that there is much less fear in the market now than back in August. But hold on! This can't be right, because VIX was only about 20 just a few weeks after the bank failures in March. There's no way there was less fear in the market in March than at the height of the peak in August. So what is going on? More options are sold now than they were back in August. Figuring out which options are bought or sold is very difficult; the CBOE doesn't release that information. But there are tricks you can play to "guess" and we have done some work on these guesses that coincide quite well with price action.
So lets look at the change in market maker delta risk between the peak of August and today. The x-axis has the SPX strikes. The blue data corresponds to the left y-axis and represents the total change in delta at that strike in $B from open options. Positive delta implies bought calls or sold puts. Negative delta implies sold calls or bought puts. The dotted red line is the price as of close on friday. The orange line and right y-axis show the total aggregate amount of delta the market maker has to hedge as a function of spot price. It's perfectly balanced where it crosses zero (delta neutral). Change in delta the MM must hedge from August 2022 peak to June 2, 2023.
So what is going on here? A massive amount of positive delta was added to the chain. From 3850 up to about 4200. So either these must be bought calls or sold puts that are now on the chain that weren't there before. A closer analysis shows that these are largely sold puts, consistent with the theory that sold puts are propping up the market currently. A large majority of these started flowing in after the march bank failures, precisely at the time when you would expect fearful participants to not make bullish bets. Keep in mind, these puts are far out of the money, so each contract contributes a small amount of delta to the chain. There is a massive excess of sold puts on the chain that weren't there in August. This delta adds up to trillions of dollars worth of positive hedge positions on the index. Note, however, that the delta around 4300 isn't that much different than it was in August of 2022.
Typically, index options are used to hedge underlying long positions on the index. Most puts are bought from market makers to hedge a long portfolio against downside. So if we were actually in the beginnings of a new bull market, you would expect the market to be pushing new highs on the back of long positions (and the associated long put hedge). Instead we see a bunch of short puts. Alternatively, we don't see all that many fewer sold calls above us than in the past. If market participants were bullish, they would certainly want to remove their sold calls (although the short puts have done a good job the last few months squeezing out short calls periodically, something that occurred last week).
If this is a bull market, where are all of the bulls? Perhaps pumping tech megacaps by raising price targets to objectively absurd price targets, while providing a tailwind with sold puts, is just a way for the big boys to sell us their shares before it all comes tumbling down.
They'll be ready at the bottom to buy them back.
2023.06.04 01:02 Oradainer Celestial Empire - Chapter 1
Victor turned around for one more look at what had been his childhood home. It was a three bedroom apartment on the four hundred thirty third floor in the Manchester district of the hive city New Avalon. It did at least have one window facing the outside of the hive, which made it an instant selling point.For which he was glad, it was part of his new inheritance from his parents who had recently died in the latest rounds of terrorist bombings against Canary Corps headquarters, which they both were middle management.
His military leave was coming to an end, his amassed two week respite was only due to his twenty years of service in the imperial guard. As a Captain and veteran of the Emperors many campaigns, he could pull rank when needed.
In five short years he would be able to retire a full citizen. Something his father scoffed at, but that was nothing new, his father scoffed at anything he had ever done. His everything ached, as he turned his back on his former home and made his way towards the transmat pad. Selling the apartment and consolidating his assets weren’t the only thing he was doing on Terra.
He spent those two weeks getting augments that would have been out of reach to a lowly Captain of the Imperial guard. Gene-mods were common throughout the Empire, but there were gene-mods, and then there were gene-mods. His were now top of the line, far beyond the mil-spec given to him in officer school. That, combined with his new dimensional storage add-on allowed him to purchase and store massive amounts of goods for his upcoming retirement.
Some things you could only get on Holy Terra, a nano-forge capable of making anything you have a SBC to construct could be found on most technological worlds. A nano-foundry to make the nanites the nano-forge uses can only be purchased on select worlds of the Empire.
But SBCs can only be found on Terra, and are heavily restricted. But some connections in Imperial Guard logistics pointed him to some people who might have some SBCs that may or may not be considered illegal to own. That combined with raw materials, a habitat module, weapons, food, mining drones, security drones, and forge spiders now filled his dimensional storage.
“Next!” Shouted a bored looking transmat officer in front of Victor. To which he sighed and presented his Imperial Guard ID and his permissions to be transported to Andosious Prime. The officer looked him over in his Imperial Guard Armor, a bit battle worn, but impeccably maintained. It felt much lighter with the upgrades, which was the point. Two hundred kilos of light power armor is still heavy even with the minor gene-mods of the guard. Now he barely felt it as he stood before the officer.
“No baggage Captain Cane?” He asked looking down at this console.Victor kept his face emotionless, something driven into him by officer training. “The guard provides me with all I need officer. No baggage today.” He lied through his teeth.
The officer nodded, that was the proper response, “Thank you for your service Captain, next stop, Andosious Prime!” He said with a flourish as he pressed a button on his panel.The universe went white, time fell away, then he felt like he was falling. This wasn’t what normally happened on a transmat. Suddenly the world came back into focus, blue sky followed by a green forest followed by a brown ground coming up fast.
His mental commands screamed through the interface nodes imbedded all over his body into the scout armor. Retro-rockets fired as he made a hard landing in the clearing of a forest. Two weeks earlier something like that would have hurt bad, if not caused serious injury. Now it just added to his aches.
He looked around, his heads-up display noting the fauna, surprisingly it came back as all Terra based equivalents. Well, they would have been if most of them didn’t say EXTINCT beside their classification in red.
“Captain Cane to Guard unit 117154, please respond.” The hud responded with something he had never seen before. NO SIGNAL.
“What the hell?” He asked himself. He had never been without a signal. “Computer, run diagnostics, maybe the transmat damaged something.” He watched as the diagnostic finished running, no errors, no signal.
He looked up, the sun would be going down in a few hours, he could use the celestial navigation software in his armor to find his location anywhere in the galaxy. Emperor above, he hoped the transmat hadn’t put him on a Xeno world.
He activated his jump pack to launch himself up for a better view of the land. About a thousand meters up he saw smoke coming from a medium sized village… maybe? He could work with that, maybe he was in a non-technological world of the Empire, even those had outposts to get a signal out from.
The jump pack’s capacitors would need to recharge before he could use it again. Nothing to do but start walking towards the village. With any luck he would reach it before nightfall, from there he’d get some answers.
He did not get to the village before nightfall. The terrain made going slow, the ground was soft and muddy, the forest was densely packed with oak trees and rocks. He had to use his jump pack to clear a particularly deep gully and it was slowly recharging.
As he looked down on the village he remembered his navigation software, he looked up to the sky and let the computer gather data. Location confirmed, Holy Terra, New Avalon, District 334.He sighed and looked back down to the village, “Either my suit is borked, or I’m back in the distant past.” He muttered. His armors’ limited AI printed something new on his hud. CONSTELLATIONS OUT OF SYNC BY 4271 YEARS.
Victor froze at the revelation. All the physics classes he took in his youth stated going back in time was impossible, something about paradoxes prevented it. “Computer, do you have any information on transmat failures?” The AI showed it was indexing before coming back with an answer, LOST MATTER IN TRANSMAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN PUSHED PAST THE FINITE CURVE OF THE UNIVERSE. NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE.
Victor sat on a tree stump taking in the information. “Well, I’m not in the Empire anymore, even if the computer thinks I am. Nothing to do but head down to the village.” He pushed up from the stump and made his way in the dark towards the oddly ancient eastern looking village.
There was a road leading into the village, a sign stood crookedly at the crossroads, his AI translated it as Wuzhen, with other arrows pointing to Tongxian, Jiaxing, Huzhou, and Wujiang. “Computer, what language is this?” IT IS A DIALECT OF ANCIENT CHINESE, ADJUSTING GENE-MODS TO FOR TRANSLATION.
His vocal cords did that weird thing that happened whenever the AI needed to translate from Terran to another language or dialect. How the gene-mods did it was beyond his pay grade, but everyone always complimented him on his accent, so apparently the technology was sound.
He saw figures up ahead with a ox and wagon. His enhanced vision showed him about what he expected, peasants bringing their wares to town for sale. That was, until he saw the woman had goats eyes. The man had goats horns curling from his forehead but in all other aspects looked Human.
“Emperor above, what is going on?” He thought to himself as he decided he may not want to walk into town in green and black scout armor. He reached into dimensional storage and found a large trench coat that would fit over his armor. He pulled it out and put it on, then sent a mental command to retract his helmet as it whooshed back into the backpack portion of his armor.
As he walked up to the gates he was met with a solitary guard, this man had human features but a monkey’s tail. “Hurry up and get in, we’re about to close the gate house.” Victor pointed a thumb backwards, “There are two people behind me on a wagon coming.” The monkey guard yelled out as Victor stepped into the village past the walls.
“Hurry up you dumb turtles, instinctive are on the prowl and won’t think twice about making a meal of the lot of you!” The guard yelled. This seemed to put some fire under them, as they cracked their whip on the ox yelling for it to move. He sub-vocalized to his AI, “Does the term instinctual in reference to ancient china mean anything?”
The computer spoke back in his inner ear, CHINESE MYSTICISM STATES PRACTICERS OF INSTINCTIVE CULTIVATION BECAME ANIMAL LIKE AND OFTEN CANNIBALISTIC. Victor looked around at the village, seeing the sign for what must be an inn, he made his way across the street narrowly avoiding a steaming pile of horse manure.
The inn was bustling, barmaids with cats ears or pigs snouts served drinks and food to tables and people seemed to huddle close to the strange hearth like fireplace of the inn. It wasn’t like any fireplace he had ever seen. He sub-vocalized the question to his AI and it responded with the word “KANG”.
He found a chair near the front of the inn, far away from the kang and watched the locals. It appeared that coinage was copper discs. He turned his head from the inn and ducked down to bring his helmet back up, “Computer, replicate those discs in the nano-forge from copper ingots, have them ready for me to pull out of dimensional storage, we’ll need currency.”
His helmet slid back into his backpack and he raised his head and turned around just as a barmaid noticed he had no food or drink. “We have veil or pork, beer or wine. What can I get you?” Victor kept his face neutral, something that would have been impossible before his training with the Guard, she looked Xeno after all, the snout was all that was out of place on an otherwise attractive woman.
“I’ll have the veil and wine. Also, who do I see about a room?” He asked.
The boar-kin woman turned her head towards the bar, “Old man Huang would be the one to check with, don’t know if we have any open tonight. We have a lot of refugees from Huzhou after all.”
Victor raised an eyebrow, usually refugees meant something bad, “Refugees you say? I’m new to these parts, what happened?”
The barmaid snorted, which was ironic considering she was a boar-kin. “You must be new, Huzhou was raised to the ground by the instinctives, the Empress has sent a small contingency of the sect of the Iron Paw to defend Wuzhen, as we are a central transport hub.” The barmaid then looked over to a table of women in much more elaborate dress than the commoners, each with a jade talisman on their wrist.
Without another word she brought more drinks to their table, on it stacked plate after plate, bowl after bowl of food. After setting down the drinks she bowed until her snout almost touched the table before hastily retreating from their prescence.
Victor’s AI chimed in his ear that fabrication was complete and he reached under the table to access his dimensional storage, grabbing two handfuls of copper coins he put them in his trench coat pockets. He noted that although the inn was crowded, everyone else avoided the table with the sect women. It was almost as if others had moved their tables and chairs away, as if there were danger near them. The women didn’t look especially tough, they were armed with swords, but mostly dressed in robes of fine silk, no armor to be found.
He also noted they all had traits of tiger in them. Some had tails, some had the ears, some had the eyes. He supposed that was why they were called the Iron Paw sect, not very creative, but he doubted he could do better.
The barmaid came back with a plate of veil, steamed vegetables, and a large cup of wine. As she sat it down she said quietly, “Stop staring at the cultivators, do not draw their notice or they will decide they need make an example of an upstart mortal.”
Victor kept his face stoney as he accepted the meal and looked elsewhere while he ate. The food was quite good although he didn’t like the turnips. The wine was made from rice, and quite strong. He was about to wave the barmaid back over when a bell started ringing. Everyone in the inn froze, well all but the cultivators.
They pushed their plates to the center of the table, stood as one, and marched out of the inn. As they reached the door conversations started up. With Victor’s enhanced hearing he heard variations of ‘They must have spotted instinctuals’, or ‘I hope the iron paw is as fierce as they are rumored to be.’
Victor stood up, asked the barmaid for the tab, placed some copper on the table and raised his collar as he walked out of the inn. He noticed none of the other patrons followed him out, if anything they huddled away from the door. Seeing no-one was around he jumped using the armors powerful servo motors to propel him onto the roof of a two-story store. He almost didn’t clear the roof, landing with a slight thud and breaking roofing tiles as he made his way to the peek of the roof.
He watched as the women of the sect bounced almost weightlessly off of the rooftops reaching the guard tower at the east gate. Bringing his helmet back up his hud instantly targeted over 30 creatures rushing the east gate at monstrous speed. 160 KM/HR, ETA 45 SECONDS his AI helpfully informed him.The creatures were vaguely humanoid, they resembled ware-wolves, and ran on all fours. He watched as the cultivators drew their weapons as one, the human guards dropped from the wall and grabbed long pike-like weapons.
WAR MODE ENGAGED, EVASIVE ACTION REQUIRED fired through his ears as his armor spun from a crouching position and narrowly avoided a sword that stabbed through the ceramic tile of the roof to nearly the hilt. Before him stood a woman with the ears of a tiger in a blue silk dress.
His AI relinquished emergency control of the armor back to Victor as she spoke. “You are fast for a male. Surrender to this Mei, and I will make sure your execution is quick.” Victor cocked his head to the side before partially raising a hand. The bolter pistol appeared in his hand from dimensional storage as he pulled the trigger.
Mei’s eyes were round as the roof beneath her feet vanished in a hail of ceramic and wood, a noise as if a volcano had exploded right next to her severely stunned her more sensitive cultivator ears as she fell through to the second floor. Victor turned to the east wall in time to see a mass of bodies, all female it appeared, as he had never seen ware-wolves with breasts, leap the ten meters or so to the top of the wall. Howls pierced the night air as some were impaled on swords, others lashed out with razor sharp claws tearing into members of the Iron Paw sect.
It was obvious they would not hold that position. If they didn’t retreat they would all be lost, some of the smarter or luckier of the sect began to tactically retreat, fending off claws and teeth with their swords. Victor turned and saw the highest structure in town, a bell tower that stood about five stories high. That must have been where the warning came from, he could get a better vantage point from there.
Suddenly he heard a growl and the woman he had unceremoniously dropped through the roof jumped through the opening and landed as if gravity held no sway over her. “You have made a grave mistake instinctual, for this Mei will end you this…”
She didn’t get to finish her sentence as she watched the black armored figure with a strange brown robe suddenly launch himself on wings of fire from the roof to the top of the bell tower.
“Mei, Mei! Where are you, we are being overrun!” She heard from the east wall as her sect sisters were back pedaling as the mass of instinctuals climbed over both their own dead and her sisters. She turned away from the strange male and leaped from rooftop to rooftop to aid her sisters in battle.
She landed next to Xiang, who now had a gash across her cheek from combat, “There is someone else here, a male!” She shouted as she drove her sword into one of the wolf-kin that came too close. It howled in pain and retreated, but she knew it was not a fatal blow.
Xiang parried a high swipe of a claw and with a spin kick sent the instinctual she was fighting flying backwards only for it to catch itself with its claws and grind to a crouching halt. “Who? We are in the backlands of the Empire, and why would they send a male, he would surely be courting death against foes such as these!”
Mei blocked a razor sharp claw with the blunt edge of her sword before parrying backwards, “It doesn’t matter, our orders are to protect this town at all costs, don’t let them push us into a blind ally or somewhere we can’t defend ourselves.”
Victor watched as the tiger ladies tried desperately to fend off the ware-wolf ladies. It was not going well for the tigers, it seemed that although the instinctuals didn’t use weapons, they were faster, bigger, stronger, and meaner on average. His hud counted six cultivators down, two of which were being eaten by the ware-wolf women, the remaining five were being pushed towards center square.
What they couldn’t see was a group of four cultivators coming up on their flank from the south. It seems that even though these sect ladies seem haughty at best, they are the closest thing to the good guys in this fight. Victor cursed as he reached into his dimensional storage, a mark 8 flamer wrapped itself lovingly around his scout armor, as his hands wrapped around the handle and nozzle.
He leaped from the bell tower, shattering roofing tiles and bricks as he dropped the five stories to the ground before firing the retro-rockets in his boots, hitting the ground behind the Iron Paw sect before pouring withering fire from the flamer into the four instinctualists rushing from the south. They howled in agony as napalm lapped at their fur and burned them as they wallowed on the dirt road of the town square trying to quench the fire.
Victor turned around as the women of the Iron Paw were forced back to his position, which worked out fine, now they weren’t in the way. He poured burning liquid napalm into the ranks of the instinctuals. Those that could turned on claws and ran, those that didn’t burned in the street.
He turned around and ordered his helmet to retract, the four standing sisters of the Iron Paw leaped a step back bringing up their battered swords. He allowed his flamer to dissolve back into this dimensional storage. “Stand down ladies, the threat is over.” If anything this made them bring their swords up more.
Mei was the first to find her voice, “You are obviously a master of fire to dispatch so many of the betrayers instinctuals. Who sent you?”
Victor’s face remained impassive, this was new information, the instinctuals betrayed the Empire in some way. “No one sent me, I was in the area, and you apparently needed aid.” Let them decide with that what they will.
Mei slowly lowered her sword, before starting to laugh without much mirth, “In our darkest hour a hidden master appears and saves us from death. You would think we were part of a play or poets story.” The other women lowered what was left of their weapons as well.
Xiang looked Victor up and down, “I have never heard of male becoming a cultivator of war, that is usually the domain of females. I have also never seen clothing or armor like you wear, are you from the Empire?”
Victor sighed, well, here goes. “I am not from the Empire, I am from a far away land called Terra, and at the moment, I am merely passing through.”
The smaller one known as Li spoke up, “One does not simply pass through the Celestial Empire! The wall has stood for millennia untold, only the Immortal Empress remembers when it was built. How did you cross it?”
Victor only shrugged, “Who said I crossed the wall?” As he turned around and walked to the inn he only recently left. The crowd of people parted as he walked in.
Xiang turned to Mei, “He is a foreigner wandering our land, Shihan must be informed of his presence and bring it before the court.”
Mei nodded her head turning to the final woman left standing, “Hua, travel to Wujiang, let our sisters know what has transpired here and have a message sent back to the Imperial Palace about this newcomer and what we should do.”
Li spoke, “Should we not attempt to capture him ourselves? After all, a male cultivator is a rarity indeed.”
Mei looked over to the smaller Li, “He burned down instinctuals with what appeared to be the forgotten Concept of Fire, for that was the Sixth Level Yang Fire, something we females who cultivate yin are incapable of. No, we would court death trying to capture a hidden master of his power. Did any of you even feel his Chi?” They all shook their heads.
Mei continued, “Then he is hiding his true power from us. When I first saw him leap from the ground to the rooftop I thought him a spy for the instinctuals. When I tried to attack he moved with a speed even I could not match. When I threatened him he simply ignored me, and throughout that I never once felt his Chi. This is a male we must be careful around sisters, now go Hua.”
Victor watched as the people in the inn parted before him. He noticed many of them bowing as though he were part of the Imperial family of Terra. He reached the bar where the innkeeper, what was his name again? HUANG his AI chimed in.
“Huang, I require lodgings for the night. Do you have a room available?”
The Ox-Kin bowed so low as to touch the bar, “This lowly one will gladly provide you with a room hidden master.” He raised his head and waved the boar-kin barmaid over to him in a frenzy, “Chun, find the hidden master a room.”
Chun rushed over and bowed before Victor, “Please follow me hidden master?”
“Victor, my name is Victor Cane. Please, lead the way Chun.”
As he followed Chun upstairs to an empty room Victor closed and locked the door, if they want to think he is a hidden master then let them. In the meantime he needed sleep. He reached one more time into his dimensional storage and pulled four small security drones and paired them to his armor’s AI.
One flew out the open window to watch from outside, one crawled under the door to watch the inn, the other two sat inside the room.
Once he felt all was secured he settled into the not so great bed and closed his helmet. He’d worry about everything else tomorrow.
submitted by Oradainer
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2023.06.04 00:30 dialabitch Fascinating Birds in Iceland Other Than Puffins (Long Post!)
| || | submitted by dialabitch to VisitingIceland [link] [comments]
Seeing the Atlantic Puffin is at the top the list for most summer tourists to Iceland. But while you’re there, take the opportunity to see some other amazing birds that you might never see in your home country. I’ve tried to focus on birds that you will see incidentally on the average spring-summer Ring Road trip without having to specifically seek them out, especially if Puffin habitats are already on your itinerary.
I’m by no means an expert, and would love to hear of any other favorites, facts, and birding tips I didn’t mention here -- and let me know if I got anything wrong.
Richard Bartz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Eurasian Oystercatcher / Tjaldur Fun facts
: Oystercatchers probe in the mud for shellfish and use their long flat bill to pry them open. They protect their nests similar to fellow shorebirds Killdeer
by faking a broken wing to lure predators away. Look for
: Long orange bill, red eyes, dark pink legs, black top half and white lower half Listen for
: squeaky dog toy sound Where to see them
: beaches, mudflats, fields
Andreas Trepte, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons Whimbrel / Spói Fun facts:
The whimbrels of Iceland migrate from West Africa. We saw whimbrel chicks darting everywhere at a place we stayed near Selfoss. I’m having trouble finding confirmation of this now but I heard them referred to as “the sound of summer” in Iceland. Their song is everywhere and evokes the sound of a teakettle or oatmeal boiling. Look for:
Long beak that curves downward, brown and white feathers, dark stripe on top of head, dark eyeline. Listen for:
Rising whistle transitioning to a sustained trill Where to see them:
fields, mud flats, shorelines, flying and sitting on roofs and pilings
R. Altenkamp, Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Raven / Hrafn Fun facts:
Ravens mate for life. They have a long history in Icelandic folklore and appear in the sagas. They live year-round in Iceland. Look for:
Big black bird with a thick black bill Listen for:
Deep croaky caw Where to see them:
Ekaterina Chernetsova (Papchinskaya) from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Arctic Tern / Kría Fun facts:
Arctic terns migrate incredible distances annually, all the way to and from from Antarctica. They live in colonies and will dive-bomb you if you approach their nests on the ground. Their chicks often wander onto the roads in Iceland and tern roadkill is an unfortunately common sight, so drive slowly and carefully when you see a colony inland. Look for:
Black on top of the head to below the eye and back of the neck, pale gray body, red beak and short red legs. Listen for:
Shrill squeaky squawks Where to see them:
Shorelines, beaches, open areas near water inland
A male eider duck at Great Car by Walter Baxter, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Female Common Eider, Ken Billington, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Common Eider / Æður Fun facts:
Eider ducks are the cashmere of ducks! Several farms in Iceland harvest the down that the ducks use to line their nests. It is an extremely labor intensive process
which is reflected in the high cost of the heirloom pillows and duvets made of Eider Down. Look for:
Long sloping bill. Females are reddish-brown with black barring and males have very slick black-and-white colorblocking. Listen for: Males make a very human sounding “woo”
, and instant mood-lifter that sounds like they just heard some juicy gossip or have been presented with a delicious piece of cake. Females have a purring quack. Where to see them:
Shorelines along fjords, lakes, and lagoons
Åsa Berndtsson, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons Golden Plover / Lóa Fun facts:
Famous harbinger of spring in Iceland. Their arrival (usually in March) makes the news every year. Look for:
Black belly, S-shaped white band, tweedy gold-black-white on top - Looks like they are wearing a fur cloak. Where to see them:
Heathlands, fields, lawns - even in Reykjavik
Ómar Runólfsson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Gyrfalcon / Fálki Fun facts:
Iceland’s national animal and national bird. You will not find Gyrfalcons listed on eBird
as their eggs are vulnerable to theft for the falcon trade. If you see a Gyrfalcon, please don’t mention the precise location on the internet, and take steps to delete location data from any photos you post. Look for:
vulture-sized, dark gray-and-white to brown-and-white spotted bird of prey Where to see them:
Lake Myvatn and Northeast, Westfjords
Common Murre, Ron Knight from Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Thick-Billed Murre, Greg Thomson/USFWS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Razorbill, Chme82, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Black Guillemot, Brette Soucie of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Common Murre / Langvía Thick-billed Murre aka Brünnichs Guillemot / Stuttnefja Razorbill / Álka Black Guillemot / Teista Fun facts:
You can’t see the extinct Great Auk other than its commemorative statue on the Reykjanes Peninsula
, but you can see these four close relatives of both the Great Auk and the Atlantic Puffin. I couldn’t pick just one! Look for:
Flying, black-and-white, penguin-like seabirds. Common Murres:
all-black heads and some have a thin white line around the eye resembling spectacles Thick-billed Murres:
white on bottom, including neck; black on top Razorbills:
bills are similar to Puffin bills in shape Black Guillemots:
striking red mouths and legs were apparently not an inspiration for Louboutin Heels
, but who’s to say? Listen for:
Honking squawks except for Black Guillemots which emit a high pitched squeak Where to see them:
Sea cliffs, rocky shorelines
Jan Frode Haugseth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Rock Ptarmigan / Rjúpa Fun facts:
These are the favorite meal of Gyrfalcons and are also popular game birds for humans. They are found all over the arctic. Look for:
In summer, breeding males are brown above with a red eyebrow, with a white belly and feathery legs. The breeding female looks similar but with more variegated/stripey browns and blacks. In winter, they are both white all over. (The male in the photo is between the winter and summer plumage). Listen for:
Ominous croaking Where to see them:
Dry, rocky areas
Hobbyfotowiki, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons White Wagtail / Maríuerla Fun facts:
Since Iceland doesn’t have many trees, so it doesn’t have many tree-dwelling passerines (perching birds), either. One of the more distinctive ones is the White Wagtail, which is also common around Europe and Asia. Look for:
Small gray and white songbird with a black cap and bib, constantly bobbing its tail. Listen for:
Warbling tweets Where to see them:
Bonus Birding Info!
- Merlin Bird ID. This is a free mobile app. When you download it, you’ll be prompted to create an account and download your local bird pack. You may want to download the bird pack for Iceland before your trip. This is an amazing app that allows you to ID birds by entering its characteristics, recording the song around you, or snapping a photo.
- eBird. Like Merlin, this app is from Cornell Lab of Ornithology and has revolutionized birding. It generates checklists based on your location. For beginner use, the most useful feature is the Explore tab that shows you birding hotspots around you and what people have seen there recently. The search function also allows you to search by bird and it will show you where it’s been spotted in recent days (except for threatened and sensitive species, like the Gyrfalcon).
- Binoculars. You can get very good entry level binoculars for birding for less than $200 US. If they won’t be useful to you long-term, you can always sell them later. Binoculars are also available from camping equipment rental shops.
Further reading: Overview of Birding in Iceland by Fatbirder Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Iceland Birding Iceland Facebook Group
2023.06.04 00:16 MrGoblinKing7 Strom Maw - Game Setting Idea
I had this idea when I was DMing, and now that I have taken a break from that, I knew this idea was still too good not to share. I hope you enjoy it.
The Setting of Sorm Maw
In ancient times, this land was once called the Cradle. A lush paradise bordered on the north and south by two large mountain ranges, the only easy ways in being the two valleys on the east and west. This land was once home to such a diverse ecosystem that it was commonly believed that all life sprang from this one place.
The first the build cities in this land were the Humans, and their cities were built around the greatest agricultural centers in the world, believed to have supplied most of the exported foods for all the old kingdoms. But this first kingdom of Humanity would not last, and no one remembered what madness convinced the kings of old to open the Gates of Fire. But be it for riches, power, or immortality, a great volcano formed at the center of the land, and from it spewed the great armies of the elemental plain of fire Efreeti kings ruled the now burning lands, the land once known as the Cradle, was now the Burning Maw.
For five hundred years, the elemental plain of fire tainted the land, making it nearly impossible for the now enslaved Humans and what few free tribes to bearly hold onto life. The last bastion of resistance was the Dwarven Kingdom which dwelt in the southern mountain range. But even then, it was rare for Humans to escape their Fire Sultans to this last safe place, and the price for freedom was almost as high as staying in bonds. The land was such a cursed place for life that Hobgoblin fortresses being built in the northern range and sending raiding parties south was more a break from the tedium than a true threat.
Then the dragons came, two Ancient Blue Dragons, a mated couple, would invade the northern mountains. With a massive Kobold army, conquering it before sending an assault into the Burning Maw, the war would be long, but in the end, the Fire Gates would be closed, and the great volcano died, along with most to all elementals in the domain. The two then conducted a great ritual, and above their new lair formed the Ever Storm, and with it came the rains. The desert would become a savana, and life would begin to return. With the Kobolds and Hobgoblins in their armies, the two Dragons would subjugate the surviving Humans and build a new kingdom. And with every passing Draconic generation and with new lairs established, The Burning Maw would now become the Kingdom of Strom Maw.
The Kingdom of Strom Maw would be an oddly united realm. The casts separated into the three main tires of civilization. The Military, the Sorseror Nobility, and the Crafts Guilds, each being the only groups that could be said to have rights under the Dragons and for whom life is relatively well.
But something is going on, the next generation of Dragons is of age to take their armies and establish new extensions to the realm, but the armies have not marched. Some believe that the last of the Founding Dragons is close to death, and the young are simply waiting for the inevitable civil war to start. Will the Kingdom survive such a conflict? Will the Ever Strom vanish if too many Dragons die, turning the land back into a waist land? Are there any heroes in this dimension who could intervene in the conflict and save the innocents who will inevitably get crushed in the coming chaos? Or will, after two thousand years of grim stability, will Storm Maw be destroyed and become a dead place?
Sorry if this is not ok for this sub. I just felt like writing this down somewhere. If there are any questions about the setting, I will eagerly answer them.
submitted by MrGoblinKing7
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