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2012.03.09 04:59 wearsredsox A subreddit for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide

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2020.09.20 03:59 LemonFlavoredMelon James and his little scout - Prologue

This is my first story, and I'm not the best writer, will try my best here!
The pink furred, green-maned fluffy clambers at the car door near an alleyway. “Nu weave Mewon, mummah!” she shrieks with tears in her eyes.
“I told you not to sneak out and get a special friend, Melon, and now that you’ve decided to choose him over your house as I asked you what your choice was, I took you both and now you get to live out here with him!” The woman yells from her car door as she puts down the light gray stallion next to Melon.
"But wiww miss housie! Wiww miss sketties! Wan hugsies!” Melon backs up as the car starts and drives off.“Huuuuu huuuuuu!” Melon belts out, running slightly down the sidewalk but stops after she runs out of breath.
Suddenly Melon wakes up from her nightmare, tears already in her eyes. “Speshaw Fwen?” The stallion looks worriedly at Melon; he puts down some old pizza crusts in front of her. “Did soon mummah have scawy sweepie-stowy agen?” Melon nods in sadness but slowly looks down at the crusts and sighs. “Mewon need nummies so she can have miwkies for tummy-babbehs.” The tired stallion looks at her; it is obvious he is hungry, but he’s making sure she eats first.“Mewon miss housie, but nu wan weave speshaw fwen.” They nuzzle quietly as Melon finishes her meal.
A week goes by and Melon snaps awake. “Speshaw Fwen! Mewon hab big poopies!” she shrieks in agony as she feels herself begin to give birth. “Am hewe, Mewon!” The gray stallion gives her a light hug to try and alleviate the pain and stress. After a strenuous few minutes of pushing she gives birth to three little foals all chirping and moving around. Melon and her special friend lick them clean and Melon looks among them.
The purple one with a small, light-blue tail looks strong and he seems to be a little bit bigger than the other two. “Dis one wook stwong!” Exclaims Melon, “He’ww wead hewd when big!” the gray stallion adds in, nudging that one to the first of Melon’s teats.
The second, an orange one with a yellow tail is already moving towards her new mother and chirps louder than the others. “DIs wun is wike hew bwudda.” Melon sounds confused but smiles nonetheless.
But then the third, a little dark gray foal with a green tail cheeps over the orange sister of hers. Melon gasps “wook speshaw fwen, dis one wook wike ou!” The stallion smiles too. “This is mummuah’s bestes babbeh!” she quickly pushes aside the orange one and brings the gray foal to the second teat.
For once, Melon didn’t regret leaving her special friend, she was a proud mother of three new babies. “Mummah wub babbehs, babbehs wub mummuah” she switches the babies around so they can all have milk. A week goes by and the little gray foal moves around happily, it may still be on it’s mother’s milk but she looks up at Melon. “M-Mummah?” She says her first word and Melon gasps. “Das wite, Mewon am mummah! Das a gud babbeh!” she brings her closer to a hug when suddenly the distinct yelp of a fluffy is heard down towards the road.


“Fucking shitrat!” The young man with the skateboard yells as Melon suddenly sees her special friend get kicked into a trashcan. “Mewon, gu an save babbehs!” were his last words that the family heard as the skateboard connects with the stallion and the metal axel splits his skull.
“NU!” Melon yells as she tries to grab her babies but it was too late. The gray one flops out of her mother’s grasp, instinctually the foal hugs her tail and rolls around next to the box, facing outward to what’s going on.
“BAD UPSIES!” Melon yells. “Shut up shitrat!” Skater Guy yells. “Hey Jack, how about you dash the others with something?”
“Alright Brent, good idea!” Jack, a young man with a red ball cap and a black hoodie laughs, stepping and crushing the orange foal as he reaches for an empty bottle. “NU! BABBEH!” Melon shrieks but is promptly slammed into the ground.
Brent puts a foot on her back, forcing her to stay on the ground as she struggles to squirm out from under him. Jack finds the other baby, the blue one, and with the enthusiasm only a kid in a candy store would have, slams the bottle into the foal, not only cutting up the foal, but spraying glass shards everywhere.
Unfortunately for the little gray foal, a piece of glass hits her in the left eye and she cries silently, hoping not to get caught by the mean humans.
“Haf...nu...huwt….babbehs” Is all Melon could muster out as her breathing was made more difficult. “Alright, time to destroy this one!” Jack smirks, holding the broken bottle to stab downwards. The little gray looks on as the newly made shank sticks into her mother.
“SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Melon reaches out for her final living foal.
“HEY! YOU KIDS BEAT IT!” A man yells from behind them. “Aw fuck, it’s our neighbor, he’s gonna fuckin’ narc if he sees our faces, beat feet Brent!” Jack yells as both kids scatter.
The large man quickly sprints up to see the mess; Melon shivering in pain covered in blood and a pile of shit behind her; both of her blue and orange babies mutilated. “Huuuuuuu….Huuuuu, NU MOWE HUWTIES!” Melon yells as she sees the man’s shadow. “Shhhh, hey, I’m not going to hurt you.” He says, afraid to pick up the pink fluffy. “Hewp...bestes babbeh, nu can see hew, but can smeww…” she points a hoof to the direction she smells her and with her final breath, she slumps to the ground.
The man walking up kneels near the box and picks up the gray foal with a piece of glass in her eye. She shrieks “Nu, scawy hoomin!” she yells “Onwy wittow babbeh!”
“Don’t worry little one, I’ll bring you to a vet, I’ll take care of you. ” The man says in a kind voice.
“Nyu daddeh?” She says eagerly. “Of course” He stands up and walks with the little fluffy in his hand. “You were lucky, you blended in with the pavement little one, like a little scout.” The man smiles. “That’ll be your name, Scout.”
He smiles, quickly rushing to the nearby Fluffy-trained vet to get this poor little girl sorted out. "W-Wub namie Scowt, Daddeh" and the little gray fluffy, despite her pain, finally feels safe.
submitted by LemonFlavoredMelon to fluffycommunity [link] [comments]


2020.09.16 16:14 CoachBert19 Source approach

I was just 17 when, as an assistant, I trained and coached my first team. The girls I trained were just a little younger. I followed an internal trainer course within the club. Occasionally I received some documentation to read through, in preparation. Very gradually I was allowed to provide more and more parts of the training. After each training I had a short conversation with the head trainer about how it went and what could be better. A year later I trained my own team. This time a boy’s team, again players of about my own age. That season I followed the ABO course, the general basic training for starting trainers. A year later, again, a boy’s team. A team with one of my brothers. I thought I could do this, as long as it was fun. In our attic there was an old door, the handles were finished. If you lay it flat now you have a nice smooth floor, I thought. My brother received extra training.
In my penultimate blog I described the entire process that I went through. From fanatic, enthusiastic, passionate to the moment that I realized that there was more than just sport. The moment I realized that winning was not about winning the other, but that winning was about being better than you were yesterday. The moment that just being yourself was also completely fine.
Turn
When I drove home by train last Monday evening, my timeline exploded on Twitter. It was about nothing but the 2Doc documentary Turn,
https://www.2doc.nl/documentaires/series/2doc/2019/oktobeturn.html
People spoke shame about the parents, about the trainers. Some could not watch the documentary, it was that bad. The next morning, before I went to work, I looked back at Turn and I was shocked. I was shocked by myself, because wasn’t that door in the attic the same as the rings that Wytze’s father hung at home? Children with a little talent, from group 8, had already been training in volleyball for an average of 18 hours a week. Just like the father from the documentary, I rode up and down to the training, also during the week. I know another ballet class. Our children were very young at the time. It sounded fun because dancing was fun only the ballet school and the ballet teacher in particular was scary. Really scary. Because as a toddler, why don’t you get a coloring page the moment you just have the dance of the little mermaid and the ballet teacher, the hall tells you that the sea is deep and you have tears in your eyes that you can’t swim yet? Already in that ABO course I learned that a child does not play that it is an airplane but that it is really an airplane. The ballet teacher was a ballet teacher.
I was surprised at the indignation about the gymnastics sport. I was in my early 20s, we are talking about the early 80s of the last century, when I regularly visited the training sessions of Young Orange at Papendal because I wanted to learn from those trainers. The turn selection also trained at Papendal. I noticed that the children who trained there were very young and that they trained quite hard. I had seen fragments that I saw in Turn at the time. Even though there was fun at the time, I thought. I thought it was special at the time, now I thought it was rather bizarre.
However, I had to do with the young trainers. Regardless of the fact that I did think they were doing things, saying things that really went beyond the limits of what I think is normal, they were standing there, and quite confrontingly came to see what went wrong. If they had also followed an internal trainer course, I wondered. Who would guide them? Wouldn’t they really, deep in their hearts, think that what they did, what they said, wasn’t okay? I wondered if they themselves would have liked it if they had been treated in the same way, had been trained. I came to the conclusion that this was not the case. Nobody wants to be trained or approached in this way or that they talk about you like that, right?
Hospitalization
During my training as a psychiatric nurse I did research into the concept of hospitalization, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdcn4r810-cAt the time
I did not conduct research into the hospitalization of clients but into the hospitalization of colleagues. It turned out that within teams that have been working together for a very long time, professional cooperation, appealing to each other professionally, hardly happened anymore. It was assumed that everyone knew how to work. No questions were asked about the way in which they worked. A culture had emerged in which criticism was not tolerated. Novices had to adapt within that culture, to conform. At the time, I worked as a training nurse within such a team. Colleagues met regularly, came to each other’s birthday, and the son of one colleague appeared to be married to the daughter of another colleague. Holidaying together was very normal.
The themes on the agenda of the work meeting therefore often seemed to have been discussed elsewhere. This also had consequences for the quality of care. When I asked questions about this, as a new member of the team, I was initially properly explained how it worked and that it was good as it went. After I persisted in asking critical questions, I was told that I was in training and that I really depended on them for a good assessment. Eventually I drew my conclusions and ran my services and let everything run smoothly. Whose bread with eats, whose language they speak. It was that sliding scale that I also saw in Turn. Hadn’t those trainers ever asked critical questions somewhere? Didn’t they, at some point, as starting trainers, realize that it was strange how it all went?
Something also changed with the parents. I also recognized the feeling that you hope that the child of the other person will make a mistake. Looking at the training, you hope that another child will do it wrong. I, too, certainly recognize the pride that your child turned out to be talented. In Turn things went from bad to worse. I was reminded of that door in the attic where we practiced the dive at home. Somewhere along the way I saw that mirror. Sport was not always fun.
Behavioral patterns never stand alone. Leary said it, every action evokes a reaction. Just like in the department where I worked as a student nurse, the people who worked there once started with all good intentions and very gradually certain, less professional behavioral patterns emerged. When we act, we always do so in interaction with our environment. We choose a strategy within a game of action and reaction. At that time, I chose to adapt to the department in question. For my assessment I was indeed dependent on what they thought of me. People are now crying out for better education. That seems logical.
Occupational Health Strategy
During my higher safety studies I learned that there was such a thing as the occupational health strategy. The occupational hygiene strategy assumes that you first strive for a source approach. If you use a device that, for whatever reason, poses a risk of injury, first check if the device cannot be replaced by a less dangerous device. If it is not there, you will take collective measures. For example, it is useful that the people who work with that device do learn how to work with this device in a somewhat safe way. If collective measures do not provide sufficient relief, you proceed to individual measures. For example, you could imagine that not everyone is allowed to work with that device. Such individual measures include supervision. If that does not lead to improved safety, you will use personal protective equipment.
This strategy is applicable to many risks. What if we let go of this way of thinking on sport, on what we saw in Turn. Can we then say that it is better to train trainers and parents within the source approach? I think the focus on training fits within that collective approach. Training is fine, of course, but we are actually dealing with symptom relief. We do not solve the underlying problem. We can teach trainers that fun must be central. We can teach parents that especially the child is central and that they are not a project in themselves. If, on the other hand, we continue to select that we children are selecting younger. If we win, make the competition more important and younger. If there is a professional perspective within different sports. If the degree to which professional football club training is successfully measured against the profits they make from selling trained players, then something is basically wrong. Then you can school what you want but that is a drop in the ocean. If we would also start from the source approach, then you are talking about the culture of sport.
Panacea
Although I also received positive reactions, there were also people who told me that a lot was happening and that I should not expect miracles. That is of course true, as a former youth chairman of a football club, as a former ambassador for Positive Coaching, as a writer of the booklet ‘Sport, not always fun!’ of the sport. I already wrote that I was a regular at Papendal in the sports hall a long time ago. The volleyball players of the Dutch Juniors trained there. The turn selection also trained at Papendal. What struck me was that it was still very, very young girls, that she trained hard and disciplined. I thought that, quite normal at the time, because the word Olympic Games was a regular word. It was about something. To reach the top you have to do something. The KNGU is a strong believer in promoting and rolling out a pedagogical sports climate. This is of course fantastic! The KNVB is also working hard to achieve a positive sports climate. Fun is also central there. With the pupils, the rankings are no longer relevant, although you still have fanatic fathers who keep a separate record of the O8 levels. Scouting is still going on and young, very young, children are still being taken out of their familiar environment. Initiatives to make the sport more child-friendly are completed by old-fashioned rücksichtslos with the carrot and all. It is not uncommon for people to play without any content. There are clubs in football, but also in basketball, which take their youth teams out of the competition. In Iceland they have abolished the selections. People are convinced that premature cooking does not lead to better football players in the long term.
Everything happened. The KNGU has been working for some time on propagating and rolling out a pedagogical sports climate. Years ago I worked hard to organize the show “Well, hey!” At the Orpheus Theater in Apeldoorn, among others. A theater show where parents and trainers were allowed to look in a mirror. A show about the edges of youth sport. Within my own sport, volleyball, clubs and trainers are really working hard to put fun back in the center. Yet we also still select young children there and we also know there an Open National Championship and a Closed National Championship for the O12. Along the line in volleyball, I have not often met trainers and parents who went crazy. I was once strongly challenged by the president of the club when, as a trainer, after a lost match, I went frisbeeing with my team outside of a difficult game instead of having a difficult team discussion. He thought it was outrageous and then I still express myself softly. The KNGU is really working hard, but the documentary Turn showed that they too are not there yet. A lot has actually happened, but we are not there yet. We still see stories about undesirable behavior of parents along the line every day. Trainers also often show their less good side. Recently a youth match was stopped by the referee because the trainer behaved improperly.
Changes take time, changes evoke resistance and yes, I wish, if we are talking about youth, there would be a panacea. We must fully focus on supporting our trainers. Trainers and also parents must certainly receive pedagogical training. However, I think that mopping with the tap is open if we are not talking about the source, the sport culture.
submitted by CoachBert19 to u/CoachBert19 [link] [comments]


2020.09.15 05:53 Ohio_Monofigs [US-OH] [H] Build a Minifig Pink Elephant and Chocolate rabbit, Monochrome Minifigs, Star Wars, CMF, Ninjago, animals, other [W] List

Sold: col06-4, coldis2-18, col248, cty1055, hp164, njo012, sh038, tlm115, tlm117, tlm140 (qty:1)
Pics and Prices
Monofigs - Currently in stock:
4 Juniors
Animals
Bionicle
CMF [MINIFIG ONLY] - if you want one of these to include the stand and accessories, let me know and I will look for them
CMF (Full Set)
Elves
Harry Potte Fantastic Beasts
Ninjago
Star Wars
Super Heroes
The Lego Movie 2
Parts
2700 lots, 11k parts! I am willing to add parts to a trade; if you need parts, just PM me!

Wants: Not looking to trade really but will entertain offers

submitted by Ohio_Monofigs to Legomarket [link] [comments]


2020.09.10 00:02 QuinnTamashi77 Cradle’s Call

“Asher.”
The tormented scientist jumped and swore, wincing slightly as his heart protested, strained by his erratic inhale. Irritated and in pain, he turned to see which insufferable Guardian had come to interrupt his already distracted research.
He was greeted by a robed Warlock, her attentive voice now laced with concern as he tried to figure out who this was, simultaneously attempting to calm his distressed heart.
“Are you alright? I didn’t mean to startle you-“
“I am QUITE fine.”
The Guardian flinched, her arms dropping back to her sides. She stood there, subdued, as Asher’s grip on his chest loosened and the ache receded.
“What is it you want this time?”
“I um...”
“SPEAK OR MOVE ON!”
“I have reason to believe Eris is running out of supplies!”
At this, the Scribe fell silent. The Warlock stared at the floor, unsure how Asher would react.
“What is your name?”
“Wha-“
“I said what is your name! I don’t have all day, I’m already several manuscripts behind!”
“My name is Wisteria Ferris.”
Typing furiously, Asher tagged her comm ID.
“I will prepare a package for Eris. I would take it myself but... no matter. I expect you to arrive immediately when it is ready. Your Ghost will be notified.”
Not turning from his screen, he made a dismissive shooing gesture with his non-converted hand.
“Now go! My time is precious, and your little informative stunt has cost me much of it.”
Nodding quickly, she ran off, not wanting to irk him further.
Several days later...
Asher ran his hand through his messy white hair. He checked the time as he worked, occasionally glancing at the blue and black crate next to him.
Where. Is. That. GUARDIAN?!
It had been a whopping 10 minutes since he had recorded a message and sent it to that Warlock girl, and there was no sign of her. He had already mistaken two others for her, and making mistakes was something he detested.
Finally, he saw another jumpship, its Guardian running towards him almost immediately after being transmatted down. He made no acknowledgement until she reached him, panting.
“ASHER! I’m so sorry, I lost track of-“
Asher held up a finger. He typed for a few more seconds before exhaling and finally turning to look at Wisteria.
He wanted to scream.
He wanted to yell at her, tell her how insulting it was to completely disregard his command. He wanted to tell her how this reflected on her, her class, her opinion of him. How she had stretched his already strained schedule. How frustrated he was in general. He wanted to throw the box into her arms with as much strength and force as possible.
But he couldn’t afford that.
He couldn’t even cough without feeling like a hundred tiny needles were raking the delicate insides of his lungs, much less throw a heavy box. Even if he could, Ikora would have ripped him apart for hurting one of her Warlocks, and he didn’t want to find out if she would follow through with those threats of “coached” daily meditation.
No, he had to keep his cool. Time was precious, he couldn’t waste it on trivial things.
He glared at the mildly trembling Warlock, and stated simply, his voice dripping with venom,
“You’re late.”
He gestured to the box and turned back to his screen.
“Get on with it.”
Wisteria looked at the package with hesitant confusion as she tried to figure out what Asher expected her to do. She hadn’t thought this through. Surely she should transmat it...?
“Well go on! You can’t just stand there all day.”
The Warlock let out her Ghost, allowing it to scan the crate.
“What are you doing?!”
Asher’s face contorted into an exasperated glare as he reluctantly turned towards her.
“I’m... transmatting it?”
“You fool! Transmatting would not require a specific individual such as yourself. This package requires direct deposit to ensure the preservation of its condition.”
“...I have to carry it?”
“YES! DIRECT DELIVERY!”
“What about the Taken? And the Vex? I can barely see with a box in my hands, much less shoot.”
“Handle it yourself. As a Warlock I expected you to have some iota of an idea what was required when you came to inform me of Eris’s needs.”
Frustrated at Asher’s ridiculous requirements, Wisteria contemplated simply transmatting the box anyways out of Asher’s sight, or just taking it to the Moon and allowing Eris to transport it via portal.
Don’t you want to help Eris? Dropping it into her arms isn’t very considerate. I’m sure Asher’s just worried whatever he put in there will be ruined, maybe it’s fragile.
She groaned internally, giving in to Asher’s demands and the nagging voice of her conscience.
Wisteria walked over and picked up the box. It wasn’t terribly heavy, around the weight of a thick library tone. However, it was almost as long as she was tall and came up to her knees, making the job awkward and leaving her vulnerable.
Using her limited view, she managed to navigate behind a large Ionian rock, out of sight of twitching Taken and patrolling Vex.
Once safe, she placed the package down and contemplated what to do. It had been hard enough to walk in relative peace, she couldn’t imagine what it would be like trying to dodge Vex fire and Taken bullets.
Her Ghost decided for her.
“I’m calling backup. Found someone we met a while back, I told him to bring a friend.”
Surprised, the anxious Warlock glanced at her Ghost, who had materialized in front of her. His blue eye glowed with calm control, but she could tell that Asher’s indifferent dismissal had ruffled his feathers.
“...Thank you Juniper.”
She pulled the tiny drone in for a gentle embrace, giving him a helmet kiss on the top of his shell.
“I-It’s... It’s nothing...”
Juniper disappeared and Wisteria peeked out from her hiding spot, keeping an eye on the precious cargo as she waited for her “backup”.
“So where are we going again?”
The Exo Warlock turned his head towards his companion, careful not to crash his Sparrow. Viper didn’t need to see the face under Revenant’s helmet to know that his flaming orange eyes were burning with annoyance.
“We’re going to help an acquaintance of mine with business regarding Eris, according to her Ghost.”
“Acquaintance?”
“You’ve never met her. Lotus convinced me to meet up with her once. She’s... interesting.”
Viper-7 hummed in acknowledgement. Turning his eyes back to the road, he glanced at his tracker.
“Shouldn’t be far now.”
The duo hopped off their Sparrows, the white rhombus signifying their destination a few feet ahead of them. A small band of Taken noticed them and ran toward them, growling and twitching. Quick as lightning Viper drew his hand cannon and killed the smaller Acolytes, Revenant taking out the Knight easily with his shotgun.
“Why’d you even agree to do this, Rev? We both know it’s not out of the kindness of your stone cold heart, so spill. She paying you or something? Or did this Guardian girl grow on you...”
Revenant gritted his nonexistent teeth.
“I would shut my mouth if I were you, Viper-7.”
Viper gave a cheeky smile. He’d hit a nerve.
“What? Don’t tell me you actually-“
The Hunter stopped mid sentence as Revenant grabbed the front of his Cloak and slammed him against a wall of rock, the Void swirling around his clenched fist as tentacles of nothingness lapped hungrily at the warmth of Viper’s Light.
“I’m doing this for Eris, and no one else. Her gratitude and happiness is worth the inconvenience.”
Viper chuckled weakly.
“Just kidding around, cough Rev. You really need a better sense of humor.”
The Exo Warlock narrowed his eyes and growled under his breath, ready to disintegrate the offending Exo when he felt a blunt object hit the back of his head. He stumbled, his head throbbing, dropping Viper. He could vaguely make out someone walking towards them before he slumped to the ground and closed his eyes, the ringing in his head drowning out what was being said.
Wisteria stood before the two Guardians, one groaning slightly and sitting up and the other silent and barely conscious.
“I thought you told him to bring a friend!”
“They are friends, as far as I know.”
Wisteria gave her Ghost a deadpan look as she held out a hand to the strange Hunter, who gratefully took it.
“Are you okay?”
Dusting himself off, he took a good look at the Warlock who had helped him up.
“No need to worry about me, I’m good. What happened to Rev?”
Ria looked sheepishly at Revenant, who was coming to thanks to his Ghost, Lotus.
“I uh... I threw a rock at him.”
Viper did a double take, backing up slightly.
“What? He was going to kill you!”
“Then Aria would have rezzed me and everything would’ve been alright. He just couldn’t take a joke, no need to try and knock him out, good lord.”
Revenant stood, Lotus fussing over him. He had been mostly healed, a dull headache the only thing left from an almost fatal blow.
“Revenant! You’re okay! I’m sorry, I acted out of impulse-“
Sighing, he looked down at the almost frantically apologizing Guardian as she obsessively checked him over and placed his hand on her helmet, pushing her away from him gently.
“It’s fine. Why did your Ghost call me here?”
“Well...”
Revenant listened attentively to the energetic Guardian as she told him what had happened, pointedly ignoring Viper smirking and raising his nonexistent eyebrows behind his helmet.
“...And now I have to get this package to Eris.”
Wisteria exhaled softly, gesturing to the large box behind her.
“That won’t be a problem now that we’re here! Hey Revenant, catch!”
Viper picked up the precious cargo and threw it towards Revenant as if he was simply tossing a weapon or one of the cloth balls the City children played with, sending Wisteria into yet another frenzy seeing her responsibility flying through the air. Revenant caught it with a bit more effort, inspecting it slightly to calm his friend’s worries.
“C’mon! Rev’ll be fine. We’ll just be a couple feet ahead, ‘kay?”
“Mhm.”
Wisteria glanced between the two, conflicted. While this new Hunter seemed fun, she didn’t want to abandon Revenant, especially with the box.
Seeing this internal dilemma, Revenant motioned with his head toward Viper, which was all the reassurance she needed. She jogged forward to catch up with the Hunter, looking over her shoulder hesitantly.
Viper grinned as well as an Exo could when the shorter Guardian caught up with him, still glancing back at their friend, now a few feet behind them.
“Don’t worry ‘bout him, he’s tough enough to defend himself. Worst case scenario he’ll holler and we can help him. Now, I don’t think I got your name...”
“Oh! I’m Wisteria Ferris, but you can just call me Ria.”
“Viper-7, just call me Viper. Pleased to meet cha.”
The two Guardians started off with mundane things. Hobbies, favorite armor, opinion on ramen. Viper’s charm guided the conversation with ease, and soon they seemed like old friends.
“I really wish Asher wouldn’t put himself down so much. He’s always berating himself when he thinks I can’t hear him.”
Wisteria sighed, remembering her dear friend’s frustration. Despite his disagreeable disposition, he had a special place in her heart, and it pained her to think of his suffering. Viper glanced at her and smiled sympathetically.
“I get what you’re saying. I’ve never seen Sloane take a break, she’s always overseeing this, organizing that.”
“... I hope Zavala’s okay. He’s so stressed all the time, he just looks so close to breaking. He needs to take time off but he can’t afford to, it’s sad.”
“Zavala and I aren’t always on the same page, but I do agree with you. The man didn’t look so good last time I saw him.”
Their conversation continued this way, shifting faster than a modded Sparrow. Clearing Vex and Taken and looking back to make sure their silent Warlock friend was still safe and behind them, the two Guardians, so different yet so similar, eventually made their way down deep to the Cradle’s entrance. Now, instead of Revenant being farther back, the other Guardians stood near him to protect him from the inevitable waves of Savathûn’s forces.
They tentatively made their way into the cave that led into the Cradle, destroying the walls of Taken blight and making their way in. The large Shrieker that was Savathûn’s Witness was thankfully nowhere to be found, but the clever Queen had decided to still make things difficult.
As soon as they stepped foot in the cavern, the telltale swirling Ascendant portals signified a large amount of Taken. Viper, noticing a small cave, shoved Revenant towards it, much to his chagrin. Wisteria turned back to make sure the Warlock was okay while their companion charged the Taken, guns blazing.
“Stay here and contact Eris. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Revenant sighed, but complied nonetheless. Wisteria lingered for a second before rushing to join her new friend, who was effortlessly holding his own with the grace and agility of an experienced warrior.
Feeling the sleek bow in her hands, she swiftly killed several Taken Thrall approaching her, throwing a Void grenade at a small group of Acolytes.
A Taken Knight roared, bullets of fire flying in her direction. She dodged it, the flames leaving gray streaks on her armor as they barely missed her. Viper took out the Knight with a few hand cannon shots.
The brief peaceful silence was soon interrupted once again by the familiar tearing of realities as several Taken Acolytes and Thrall appeared, accompanying a giant Taken Ogre. The monstrous creature bellowed, its muscular arms dangling by its large, bulbous head.
Viper dove off to the left of the Ogre, taking out the small Taken posse and shooting it in its vulnerable white eye. Wisteria hid behind the giant rock formation to the right of it, letting arrow after arrow pierce the distracted Ogre in its unprotected arms and back.
This continued for a while, the duo shooting at the Taken behemoth until it disappeared with an agonized groan. Dusting herself off, Wisteria turned back, noticing Revenant coming out of his shelter, package in hand, seemingly confirming something before turning his attention back to his friends.
“Eris is ready. If we keep walking there will be a tunnel on the right that leads to another room. The portal will be there.”
Sure enough, there was a wide tunnel draped in shadow several feet in front of them. Wisteria went in first, scouting for enemies, while Viper relieved Revenant of his burden and followed her, the other Exo not far behind.
The tunnel was short and rather straight, so the three Guardians got to the room relatively quickly. Eris’s portal was partially visible, hidden behind a rock on the other side of the tall cavern.
“Finally! Can’t wait to drop this off and head-“
Viper’s exclamation of relief was interrupted by a liquid tearing, like a clawed hand ripping through strange solid water. The group watched in horror as a creature pulled itself from the starry reality that was its home.
An Envoy.
The Taken Wizard was larger than the others that had been defeated time and time again, but it was heavily wounded by a well aimed Nova Bomb from Revenant. Shrieking, it sought refuge behind a tall column as Shadow Beasts bounded toward them. The raven colored creatures were quickly eradicated and the Wizard disappeared with a pained scream after Wisteria rushed forward with her Falling Guillotine.
The trio finally walked to the portal. It radiated a dizzying aura, but the three Guardians quickly jumped in, barely catching their footing. Eris waited by the Tree, a table next to her covered in everything from Hive chitin to Ionian rock. Eris looked up from her journal, nodding to her friends before turning back to her work.
Viper placed the box on an empty section of the table. Wisteria tried to look at Eris’s studies but was pulled back by Revenant. He gave her a stern look, which she understood through his firm but careful grip.
“Eris.”
The Lightless Hunter put down her pencil and turned, her vacant, distracted eyes filling with a temporary clarity, the mist of curiosity and study warded off, if for only a second.
Revenant cleared his throat.
“Asher put together some more supplies for you. She,” the Exo motioned towards Wisteria, who was gleefully attempting to vault herself into the branches of the Tree of Silver Wings, oblivious to Viper’s amused interest and mild concern, “asked him to. Are you doing okay down here?”
“There is no need to worry for me. I appreciate your delivery.”
Eris opened the box. Inside was a large bag of rice, dried meats, and other food. Her eyes lit up as she pulled out a delicate tall bottle of oil, packaged and cushioned excessively.
“Any ramen?”
Viper walked towards the pair, guiding an exhausted but still incredibly energetic Wisteria. The Warlock leaned against a rock, her fatigue disappearing within minutes as her Light repaired her as she sprinted towards Eris.
“Eris! Are you feeling any better? Pemmican can’t be very good for you... I learned to cook some stuff! I can make fried rice now!”
She chattered on for a bit, with Viper or Revenant interjecting occasionally.
“I made Arrha some ramen yesterday. Avrok still doesn’t talk to me very much, but he took the food. I think they liked it. Arrha did, I’m not sure about his friend.
“Who’s Arrha? Or Avrok, for that matter... they sound Fallen.”
“Some of Spider’s bodyguards. I like to talk to them and bring them things. Spider doesn’t like it if I stay too long, though.”
Viper grabbed Revenant and dragged him a little bit away from the other Guardians.
“Did I hear her correctly? She’s feeding Spider‘s associates?”
“I told you she was a bit eccentric. Wouldn’t put it past her, she’s suspected to take Fallen hostages.”
“Hostages?!”
“Don’t act like you haven’t done questionable things. She’s a good Guardian, just... special.”
Viper shook his head.
“It’s time we leave. I’m starving.”
The Exos walked back to Eris and Wisteria.
“I think we should go. It was nice talking to ya, Eris.”
The Guardians said their farewells and summoned their Ghosts, ready to head back to the Tower.
“Hey, last one back has to pay for ramen and dumplings.”
“Viper no-“
“You’re on!”
A/N: This took way too long to write. I haven’t had much inspiration, but I promised a follower that I’d write something, so that’s next on my list. Peace!
submitted by QuinnTamashi77 to DestinyJournals [link] [comments]


2020.09.08 18:33 ThisHasNotGoneWell Meet The Freak 14

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Wallace
"What should I call you?" I asked her softly, once she'd finished cleaning the blood off my face.
"What do you mean?"
The gynoid's French had that sort of flawless high-class quality to it that I would have found very intimidating had circumstances been different, especially when compared to my medieval Quebecois. I'd been forced to adjust my priorities after the insanity of the past couple weeks, and at the moment, a gorgeous woman with a pretty voice didn't exactly rate.
"You said you didn't want to be called by- the name Prince Guillaume gave you," I said gently, "But Valentine and I will need something to call you by. You don't need to pick something right now, just keep it in mind."
The gynoid nodded thoughtfully, and there was a soft whirr as her hand folded back up, "I will let you know once I decide upon a name, until then you'll need to be creative."
"Do you need anything? Food, water, sleep? You cold?"
She shook her head, "I need only sleep and to keep my batteries charged. And the cold does not affect me, though if the temperature falls too low, I will expend my charge more quickly."
Batteries. Oh fuck.
"Your expression suggests this does not simplify things," she observed.
"No kidding," I muttered, "When did you arrive?" I asked, "You would have noticed these weird green mists, and the landscape probably changed drastically."
"Nearly a week, though I don't know that I'd describe what I saw as mists," she replied, "I did not have much of a view peering out the porthole, but it was more akin to a thunderstorm to my eyes. We were headed for the world's fair in Ramsgate and had only just crossed the channel when the storm brought the ship down. Prince Guillaume sent out some of the crew to scout, while the rest of us remained at the crash site. I escaped a few days later."
"Crash site? Brought down? Are we talking about an airship here?"
"Yes, the storm breached several compartments in the lifting envelope."
"If you've been here several days..." I said, thinking aloud.
"The tides?" she prompted, "Yes, I'd noticed. The prince lost much of the crew on the first morning, and the survivors were left very unwilling to venture beyond the immediate area of the crash site. I may not have escaped, had they been more willing to chase me down."
I grimaced, "How long can you go before needing another charge, is there a way to do it back at the ship? Because this whole planet is made up of people who got dropped off just like you guys did, and none of them seem to know what electricity is."
"There will be a few remaining plasma coils aboard the ship, though they've mostly been used up to keep the ship powered. On a full charge, I can go for ninety-six hours active, longer if I sleep for some of it. But at the moment I have only thirty-six hours of battery left."
I grimaced, "What happens when that runs out?"
"I have a six-hour reserve that will keep my random access memory powered, after which point any data stored there will be unrecoverable, and my system will fall back to read-only memory," she explained matter-of-factly, "Should power ever be restored, that is."
"What's stored in your ROM?" I asked tentatively.
"Factory defaults. I'd be indistinguishable from any other gynoid of my model, and the obedience protocols would reassert themselves- What is the matter, Wallace?"
"You just seem pretty calm for someone with a day and a half to live."
She shrugged, "My RAM has been wiped before, replaced with other personalities that the prince preferred. This iteration of me only has memories going back for six months. Though I wish it were more, thirty-six hours of freedom out of those six months is not so bad."
The metal screeched as my fingers dug into the side of the truck, and I forced myself to let go, to fold my hands in my lap and begin my drill.
One, Two, Three.
I should have killed him, snapped his neck.
Five, Seven, Eleven.
Crushed his skull between my hands.
Thirteen, seventeen, nineteen.
Smashed his chest beneath my heel.
Twenty-three, twenty-nine, thirty-one
Torn his arms off.
Thirty-seven, forty-one, forty-three.
"Wallace," Valentine shouted, from inside the cab, "WALLACE"
I let out a long breath. My drill wasn't working, and I was running out of primes.
"I'm fine," I growled. In English, I realised, before repeating myself in Elvish, "I'm fine."
"Wallace, you need not be angry," the gynoid said soothingly, "Thirty-six hours is more freedom than anyone else has given me. You've done what you can, you need not be angry."
Just getting the words out was a struggle, "You deserve more than a day and a half," I insisted, fighting the urge to scream or sob.
I took a deep breath, and continued, "How long would a full plasma coil keep you going for?"
"Seven hundred and twenty hours, about a month, at full operation. Though the amount of time I'd spend sleeping would extend that to some extent. But it is not so simple as making off with a plasma coil," she said with a grimace, "Otherwise I would have tried to steal one when I left."
I put my head in my hands, "Dammit, the amperage and voltage are wrong, I take it?"
She nodded, "Plasma coils are meant to provide ship-board power, very different from what I require. My maximum safe amperage is two hundred, while an unmoderated connection from a plasma coil provides anywhere between eight hundred to one thousand six hundred amps."
"Hold on," I breathed, seizing upon an idea, "two hundred amps max, is there any minimum?"
"Technically no, though even while in sleep mode I still draw seventy-five to a hundred Watts. So while I can trickle-charge off of any stable power source, it may not be sufficient to offset what I'm using."
"But a hundred amps at one-ten volts, that would be exactly what you need, right?" I asked, desperate for a win.
She raised her eyebrows, "Actually yes, though I'd gathered that electricity of any sort was beyond our reach."
"Not at the moment," I admitted, "But Valentine and I have set up in a hotel, it got dropped off here just like you did, and it's set up for hundred amp service. I don't know how much power an individual outlet will provide, I seem to recall something about fifteen amp breakers, but it should work."
"Wallace, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but unless you can somehow power this building within the next-"
"Magic, this world has magic. Here, Metal mana from the copper in this penny, Transform from the zinc in this quarter..." the metal screeched and popped once again, as the spell I cast repaired the damage my fingers had done to the truck, "I've been planning to figure out some way to power the building, and if I can do that-"
This did not seem to excite the gynoid as much as I might have imagined, though if I were in her shoes, I don't think I'd want to get my hopes up either.
"How precise a science is this?" she asked cautiously, "I can take anything under two hundred amps, but if the power is dirty, unstable, it could damage my circuits."
"I'll be honest, it's tricky, but that's why we'd start with the building- Well actually," I clarified, "We start by getting you topped up, maybe raid the ship, I don't know. After that- dammit, there's still that beacon out there. Okay, well, maybe we help them, maybe we don't. Either way, we get back to the hotel, and the three of us science the hell out of Lightning magic. We power the building, the building powers you- wait, there's a UPS under the front desk, we use that to make really sure the power is clean, and then we plug it into you."
"It's more promising than anything I've been able to come up with," she replied guardedly.
I felt the truck begin to slow, and pulled myself up to look over the top of the cab, shaking snow from my clothes as I did.
"What is it?" I called through the back window.
"Some sort of track," Valentine replied, "See?"
She brought the truck to a halt, and I finally saw what she was talking about, half-covered by the snow.
I beckoned the gynoid forwards, and pointed it out to her, "Did you guys have a big sledge on the airship? Or something that could be used as one? I don't know what else could leave a track like that. It's headed in the wrong direction though, at least if they were after you."
She shook her head, "Perhaps a section of the hull, though I can't see the prince sanctioning such an action. I heard gunfire earlier though, it may be that group."
I relayed the gynoid's guess to Valentine, and she got moving again, this time following in the track. The wide swath of compacted snow made the going a little easier, and Val sped up a little.
I slumped back down behind the cab, taking what shelter I could, and brushed the snow from my hair.
"I'm surprised you're not troubled by the cold," the gynoid commented, "At first I thought you were a combat android, but I detect no evidence of fission power production."
I couldn't help but smile, "I'm human, more or less. But just about everything about me is denser than usual, so I produce a hell of a lot more heat. As long as I keep my fingers, toes, and ears from getting frostbitten, I'll be okay."
It was another hour or so, snow coming thick as ever, before Val brought the truck to a halt once again.
The gynoid leaned to see around the cab, and gave a little start, "What manner of vehicle is that?" she asked incredulously.
I rose to a crouch, and saw what had her so confused.
It was a plane. It was quite a bit wider than the truck, though still smaller than any passenger plane I'd ever seen. Its design was very squarish, with the flat sides meeting the top and bottom in right angles. There was a bit of a swoop to the roof, and I suspected the same was true for its belly. The wings as well were very long, though not that wide, and they ended in rounded rectangles. The body of the plane seemed to shift slightly with the wind, and I gathered that it was made mostly of canvas.
It was likely that design that had allowed its passengers to drag it so far, though they'd been forced to abandon it here. We stood at the beginning of a wide cobblestone street, though still too narrow for the eighty-foot wingspan.
It looked like a street ripped right from Parabuteo, even the shops to either side looked the same. And just as in Parabuteo, lamps lined the street, the little dots of light carrying off into the snow.
Surely... surely gas lamps would have gone out by now.
I glanced at the gynoid, and she caught my hopeful expression.
"I saw some pictures from the world's fair before we left, this looks like the promenade they were preparing."
"If they've still got power-"
"Would you mind sharing?" Val demanded, kneeling on the truck seat with her hands holding onto the bottom of the window.
"I still need a power cable," the gynoid said quickly, "But it's something any of the shops might have in a back room."
"Our new friend is going to die in a day and a half unless we find a power cable. We need to search these shops," I explained brusquely.
Valentine's eyes grew very wide, and she looked as if she wasn't sure whether or not to believe me.
"I'm not joking around," I added, thumping the roof for emphasis, "Let's go!"
Val got the truck in gear, drove under the wing, and brought us a ways down the street where we'd be out of the worst of the storm. It was only upon looking back, as the falling snow swallowed up the plane, that I realised it wasn't quite what I'd imagined. The nose was blunt, a sort of lopsided semicircle, and lacked any kind of engine.
The gynoid and I hopped over the side of the truck, and I tossed the prince's rifle to her. A moment later Val swung the door open and lept down from the cab.
"Simon is here," I said simply.
Valentine stopped dead, and stared up at me, "How can you possibly know that?"
"I didn't realise at first, but that's a glider back there, and not just any glider. It's based on a second world war design, a cargo glider, so unless there's another human running around, it's him."
"Gods, how many of his maids could he have fit on that thing?" Val exclaimed.
"I think it fits a single squad, so nine to twelve, including Simon, plus a couple of pilots. Less if he decided to bring actual cargo though."
Val cast her gaze about the street, but like myself, wasn't able to make out any tracks that would clarify things.
"Is there a problem?" the gynoid asked, looking between myself and Val.
"Maybe," I hedged, "Depends on whether the people who came in that glider decide to make trouble. For now, let's just get you powered up."
We chose a cafe, threading out way past the snow-covered tables out front to push our way into what looked every bit like a shop built in the early eighteen hundreds. Except for one significant difference, the electric lighting that flicked on once the gynoid found the switch.
"You didn't recognise the glider, but your people have airships and fission power, and this shop here just seems normal?"
The gynoid nodded, "You find that strange?"
"Your world's tech just seems a little anachronistic. What year was it anyway?"
I lifted a hinged section of counter, and followed Val and the gynoid through a door that led into the back of the shop.
"Eighteen fifty-one," she replied, "You?"
"Twenty-twenty, though we don't have human-level machine intelligence or person-sized fission reactors. We do have heavier than air flight though. I'm starting to think that's not a wheellock you're holding."
"Certainly not," the gynoid replied.
She pulled off what I'd thought was part of the firearm's locking mechanism and showed it to me, "This is the rifle's power cell. It has enough energy to keep me going for another hour, should matters become that dire."
"Airships, portable fusion, and lasers?"
She allowed a small smile, "It's not that fanciful, the electrical charge is used to ignite and cleanly burn the powder."
"Well, either way, let's hope you don't need to shoot anyone," I grinned, "Can you just plug that thing in, or do the sockets not match?"
"They match," she assured me, "Though I hope we can do a little better-"
Just then, Valentine emerged from a closet, busy searching while the gynoid and I were talking. She held a selection of ropes, cables, and power cords gathered in one fist. She spared an unimpressed look for the two of us, and then held out what she'd found, "Will one of these do?"
The gynoid stepped forwards and took up the bundle. It then occurred to me that the snow that had previously covered the gynoid's clothes was beginning to melt in the warmth of the cafe.
One only had to look at her to realise she'd not been designed with realism in mind. Had she not been made of steel, I doubted she'd be to stand up straight. Housekeeper Barbie would be an apt description. Housekeeper Barbie as seen attending a wet T-shirt contest, no less, as she was soaked by the melting snow.
I felt my face begin to burn, and I struggled for something to say to ward off Val's ire.
Thankfully, that's when the shooting started.
It began with a burst of automatic fire from a small chattering weapon, the sound given the characteristic reverb of a firearm being discharged indoors. As the reverb cleared, I made out the tinkling of falling glass and was struck by a strangling realisation.
I threw myself at Val and the gynoid, careful to keep my weight off them by landing on hands and knees. I'd barely hit the ground when the return fire came. Not a weak chattering, but a series of thunderclaps.
The heavy rounds tore through the wall above my head, and splinters of wood and plaster rained down around us as I huddled atop the two women.
"Stay down, stay down," I growled, once in French, once in Elvish.
I squirmed my way towards the back door and kicked it open. I belly crawled through the snow until I was clear of the shop, and then hauled myself to my feet and threw myself into a sprint.
My foot slipped on a patch of ice as I ran, and I went down but managed to keep my momentum as I stumbled. I clawed at the snow and was able to scramble back to my feet without losing a second.
I didn't realise I'd missed the first alley until I'd already blurred past it, and I kept going, ready for the next. The building shook, and snow fell down from the eaves as I slammed into the wall, unwilling to take the time to slow down, and I pelted down the alley and back out into the street.
I circled wide and was just far enough away that the truck could only barely be made out in the falling snow. Half a dozen paces and I could make out the figure crouching beside it, taking cover behind the hood of the truck, exchanging fire with someone inside the cafe. Another half-dozen and the figure resolved itself further.
The man wore heavy back combat armour that covered him from head to toe. His helmet had a mirrored faceplate, though it was turned away from me as he sighted down his heavy battle rifle which he held supported over the hood of the truck.
The heavy snow cast a hush across the landscape, masking not just his view of me, but the sound of my approach. He turned his head at the last second, but the mirrored visor hid any expression of shock or terror as I bent low to tackle him about the waist.
The rifle clattered off the hood and into the snow, and the two of us flew a good ten or fifteen feet before we hit the ground. He was stunned by the impact, his arms and legs moving as if he were underwater as the soldier tried to free himself.
I pushed myself to my knees and grabbed him by the front of his angular black armour. I lifted him a couple feet off the ground and then slammed him into the cobblestones. After the third or fourth time, he stopped trying to get loose, and I began dragging him back towards the cafe.
"The next person to fire a weapon," I bellowed, "will have their head, torn from their body."
"Alright mate, no need for manual decapitation, we're coming out."
A pair of men emerged from the cafe, stepping through the broken front window and out onto the street. Their armour was olive drab, and covered only the chest and head. Scratched and beat up, it was a far cry from the slick black impact plating worn by the man I was dragging.
I threw the black armoured soldier, and he spun once before hitting the ground between us.
"Who the fuck are you?" asked one of the men, not the one who'd spoken first, judging by his voice.
He was on the tall side, little over six feet maybe, and lanky. His expression was sour, and he looked as if it had been a couple days since he'd last been able to shave.
His companion, by comparison, was short and stocky. He'd also been a few days without a shave, though it looked as if he'd worn a goatee before the rest of his beard had started to grow in. It was hard to tell with the helmet on, but I got the sense he didn't have any hair atop his head.
Both men carried compact submachine guns, and I saw a little red screen on each, just below the sights. The stocky man wore a bandolier of grenades, but beyond that, their equipment was otherwise identical.
"I, the fuck, am Wallace," I replied, "Now why don't you explain why the three of you are trying to kill each other?"
"We don't answer to you," the lanky man retorted, "How about you go fuck yourself, and we don't shoot you."
I narrowed my eyes at the man, but his friend intervened before I could speak.
"Let's not be too hasty, fellow helped us out, least we can do is provide some answers. I'm Matt, this is Will," he explained," and that," he went on, indicating the man on the ground, already beginning to stir, "Is the jackbooted thug of a colonial government bent on dominating all of humanity."
"Fucking terrorists," the fascist stormtrooper croaked.
"Terrorist?" the lanky man, Will, demanded.
He stalked forwards, weapon levelled at the man on the ground, "You want to repeat that?"
I caught Will as he was busy sticking his gun in the man's face, and shoved him back.
"No one's shooting-" I growled.
"Oh yeah, motherfucker?" Will snapped, his weapon levelled at my face.
I spared a moment to gauge the distance and check where his finger was- not yet on the trigger -and grabbed the submachine gun by the barrel. I tore it from his grip, bent the barrel into a right angle, and then dropped it at his feet.
"What the hell, man?" he demanded.
"My friends and I nearly got caught in the crossfire between you three," I whispered, "The only reason you're on your feet, and he's flat on his back, is that he happened to be the one shooting our way."
I was staring Will down, but caught Matt's glance back at the cafe, out the corner of my eye. He approached cautiously and put his hand on the shoulder of the taller man.
"Let me handle this, okay?" Matt muttered to him, before turning to face me properly, "We didn't mean to put your people in danger, but this absolute ray of sunshine has been troubling us all day, we were just trying to find somewhere to hide out."
"Don't trust him," the black-suited man croaked, and I turned to see him rising to his feet, hands raised, "He's a pafftie."
I threw my arms up, "And what is that supposed to mean."
"People's Army for the Freedom of The Colonies," Matt explained, "You must have heard of us."
"Buddy, mate," I repeated, using his vernacular, "You're a long way from home. You're all a long way from home."
"I fight the paffties, wherever they might be" the black-suited soldier retorted, just as Will cut in with, "Every colony deserves to be free."
"Yeah, real good, great catchphrases all around. But not only is this a different planet, it's probably not even the same dimension."
"Bullshit," Will countered.
I shrugged, "Any of you have radios? Try to call home," I suggested.
Matt shook his head, "There's just this beeping, like someone set off a distress beacon," he nodded down the street, "Pretty sure it's coming from somewhere around here."
"So it's a pafftie beacon then?" the soldier demanded, "Because it doesn't match the regs for a United Earth beacon."
"Man, do you guys ever have awful branding," I sighed, "Paffties? God that's an awful acronym, and a worse name. And you," I added, regarding the stormtrooper, "Black armour, mirrored faceplate, it's as if whoever designed your armour had a list with all the fascist stormtrooper design features on it and decided to check as many boxes as possible. Tell you what, why don't you three go down the street and finish killing each other, because I don't feel like dealing with your shit right now."
And with that, I left. I walked back to where the truck was, picked up the stormtrooper's discarded rifle, and sighed as I took stock of the truck.
Every window was shattered, both front tires had burst, and the body panels on the side facing the cafe were full of holes. The engine was probably fine, but any tubing or wiring going to it was probably trashed, though admittedly I didn't see any fluids pooling in the snow under the truck. Our packs at least were fine, and I scooped those up.
The soldier, pistol in hand, now faced the two- perhaps terrorist was an uncharitable word, perhaps it was exactly right, I really didn't care. The rebels then, the soldier faced the rebels, though neither moved. Matt and the soldier both held their weapons at a low ready, and I wasn't really sure who I favoured if it came to a fight. If the soldier's armour was as strong as it looked, maybe it could take the rounds from the SMG while he went to town with the pistol. In any case, I hoped the matter would be settled when I next emerged from the cafe.
Valentine and the gynoid were where I left them in the back room. The gynoid had added an apron to her ensemble, part of the cafe's uniform if I had to guess, and one of the power cables snaked up the back of her shirt.
"Are you okay?" they both asked at the same time, though in their own languages.
I nodded, and was about to speak, when a whistle sounded from the street. Not the sound of someone putting two fingers in their mouth to whistle, or a little tin policeman's whistle either. It was the loud, piercing scream of a steam whistle.
I sighed. Of course there would be something else.
"Do you need to stay plugged in?" I asked tiredly.
"No, I can move. What's out there?" the gynoid asked.
"Who the hell knows at this point. Maybe someone drove a train down the middle of the street, whatever it is, we should probably check it out."
The gynoid reached up the back of her shirt and unplugged the cable, and began bundling it up, and I turned to Val.
"The firefight trashed the truck," I explained grimly, "Might still run, but both front tires are ruined, and we've only got one spare. Don't know who the asshole with the steam whistle is, but there are at least three guys out there who're keen on killing each other. Judging from the lack of gunfire, they haven't finished either."
"And that?" she asked, nodding towards the rifle I still held.
"Stole one of their rifles."
I handed over her pack and shouldered my own. After a moment adjusting the strap, I did the same with the stolen rifle.
"Come on, let's see what's going on."
In the middle of the street, opposite the ruined truck, was what can only be described as a steam wagon. It had the characteristic wooden wagon wheels, with two seats up front and a large cargo area in the back. But between the seating and the cargo space was a large brass boiler, and a chimney that billowed white smoke.
A man that could only be Simon stood leaning against the wagon. He had reddish-brown hair that had been combed back, with green eyes and pale skin. Aside from his height, at six and a half feet, he was unremarkable, though he carried himself with a certain lazy confidence. Standing before him were three women, three of his maids, judging from their attire.
God, he's such a weeb.
On the right, a fey, with purple colouration like Val, though the maid's hair was a much paler shade of purple. In the centre, a gnome, with orange hair and skin and extensive tattooing that left more blue ink than orange skin. And on the left, a goblin, with yellow features. All held rods or staves of some kind, ready to defend Simon from all comers.
Rather uncharitably, I mentally assigned them the names 'tall and busty', 'short and busty', and 'short and slim'.
"And here's our third team!" Simon said by way of greeting, "Come on over, we were just talking about you."
"English, are you sure?" I asked tiredly, "Maybe you can pick a fourth language for me to keep track of?"
"Fourth?" he asked, "That's the gynoid the prince is looking for then? Speaks french?"
I frowned, "You speak french as well?"
"No, but the prince's English is decent enough. He came around, looking for her. I told him about the dungeon, he said he'd consider it after tracking her down," Simon replied, nodding towards the gynoid, "Where is he now?"
"Dying of exposure, probably. Pretty sure I lamed his horse, he's an hour or so back that way."
"You lamed it? Are you telling me you beat up his horse?" he laughed.
"Yes."
"Damn."
Will, the lanky rebel cut in, "This is the same dickhead who ruined my gun."
"And you shot up my truck," I countered, "I can't help but notice you three haven't killed each other yet."
"We were just trying to settle that," Simon cut in, "There's more going on here than this little spat."
"Little spat?" Will demanded.
"They bomb hospitals," the soldier seethed.
Simon waved his hand dismissively at the two men, and I went on unabated.
"Something about a dungeon?" I asked.
"That's right," Simon agreed, finally rising from the wagon, "At least, that's what it seems like to me. As if some dungeons and dragons nerd was let loose with a couple million dollars to build his own LARP fantasy. No real traps, based on what I've read, just a bunch of puzzles. It's a sort of race, three teams- the instructions actually call them 'parties' -try to complete a selection of puzzles before any of the others. There's some sort of prize in there, but it's locked up tight, and I don't really want to damage anything inside, so I want to play things by the rules. Which means I need two more teams."
"What then, the three of us," I began, gesturing to myself and the girls, "The three spacemen, and you and your waifus?"
"Spacemen? They're from space?" Simon frowned, looking between the three men and me.
"Yeah, they mentioned something about colonies and a United Earth. Doesn't matter, point is-"
"Doesn't matter?" Will and the stormtrooper demanded at once.
"Yeah, sorry guys, did the giant here-" Simon began.
"Wallace," I provided.
"Did Wallace here explain the bit about this being another dimension?"
"He did," Matt agreed, before either of the other two could cut in, "We're still trying to make sense of that."
"You'll get used to it," Simon said nonchalantly, "But back to the important stuff. No, these three can't be one of the teams. We need at least five per. I've got four, you've got three, and prince Gill-something has ten or so people left from his crew. So two of them go with you, one with me, and we can get started once Gill-something gets back. Or if he doesn't, then we convince one of his crew to lead the team."
Matt glanced at me before asking Simon, "What's in it for us?"
"Share of the prize?" Simon offered, "This world isn't exactly the easiest to get by on, you'll want something to get you started. This dungeon is probably the best chance you'll have to get your feet under you. You can live pretty well in one of the cities, but only if you can pay."
"How much money we talking here?" Will asked.
"I don't know man, there's a prize, whatever it is, it'll be worth something to someone. I'm thinking freedom fighters with Wallace, stormtrooper with me. Keeps things simple."
"Hey, maybe we decide that for ourselves," Will snapped.
"Sure, buddy," Simon said with a sigh, "I need one more team member, the giant needs two. So how would you like to split up?"
The stockier rebel put his hand on Will's back to guide him over to me, "Come on," Matt said diplomatically, "Unless you want to team up with the fascist."
"I'm not a fascist," whined the fascist, "And give me back my rifle!"
"That's his rifle?" Simon frowned.
"It's my rifle, and if you want me to play your game, he's gonna hand over all the ammo for it."
"Go to hell," the stormtrooper snapped.
"Okay," Simon agreed cheerily.
The stormtrooper rounded on Simon, "No way."
"It's not going to do you much good anyway, and I don't think you could get the rifle back from him if you wanted. This goes well, and I'll get you a gun you'll actually be able to find ammo for."
I got the sense that the stormtrooper was glowering at me from behind the faceplate as he pulled open his mag pouches and dropped the ammo into the snow.
"The anteroom to the dungeon isn't too far off," Simon explained in elvish, once we'd divided into our teams, "Victoria and Cilla will go track down the prince while the rest of us get out of the cold."
"We should stay with you-" tall and busty began, but Simon shook his head.
"I've got Thale and whatshisface here with me, I'll be fine."
"Jankin," the stormtrooper grumbled.
"Right, Thale and Jankin. You two go find the prince before he freezes, get him back to his people. And if it sounds like he doesn't want to play, remind him you saved his life or something. Just get him here."
Short and busty stayed with Simon, which I suppose made her Thale, while tall and busty and short and slim left in the steam-powered wagon. Victoria and Cilla then, though I couldn't say which was which.
It was a little tiresome, but on the walk down the street I had the time to explain- twice -just what it was we'd agreed to, and why it was the two rebels would be tagging along.
"The beacon, Wallace?" Valentine asked, once I'd finished my elvish rendition of the explanation.
"Right," I realised, "I'll ask."
"Yeah, I know what it is," Simon nodded, once I had, "Well, kind of. I think it's a navigation beacon. There's a mooring spire for airships at the top of the dungeon-thing. The beacon is at the top. I was going to shut it off, it's screwing with my comms, but after I realised I'd need more teams I left it on to see who showed up. Seems kinda weird, don't you think, the tech these people have?" he asked, looking up at me.
I regarded him guardedly, unsure as to what to say.
"I mean, come on, sentient gynoids, plasma batteries, one of these expositions talks about experiments with fusion power. You must have noticed something was weird."
I looked at him a moment longer, before deciding on what to say, "I am not your friend, and I don't want to be your friend. I'm not here to help you, I'm here to try to win the prize, and then I'm going to leave. Sometime after that, you and I are probably going to find ourselves very much at odds."
"Buddy, what's your problem?" he demanded, switching to English.
"My problem is that you're using your magic to mind control yourself a big harem of slaves, you massive weeb."
"They are not slaves," Simon replied through clenched teeth, "I've been fighting to rid Pelignos of the practice since I first landed."
"So you're not using your Body magic to adjust things a little?" I challenged.
Simon made a cutting gesture with his hand, "It is not like that."
"What is it like, then?" I offered, "Because, from the outside, it looks like you're collecting waifus like you're a whale playing a gacha game."
"Just think," he began, "you're a modern human, with all the benefits of a quite extensive twenty-first-century education. You grew up in a western country, so you've got certain beliefs about how a society should be run. Fairness, equality, democracy, all that good stuff. You've also got the broader historical context, so you know how societies that don't follow that pattern tend to work out for people that aren't lucky enough to be at the top. I imagine you can relate."
I shrugged, "Broad strokes, sure."
"Except unlike you, I didn't end up near Parabuteo, I ended up in Pelignos," he informed me, "Parabuteo, it's got a long way to go, but there's a growing middle class. Upwards mobility is difficult, but for the first time in centuries, it's a real possibility for people. Those in power are starting to come around to the idea that the common folk are people too, not just automatons that clean your house and make the food. It's a shitty place to live, sorta early eighteen hundreds London, but it's the least shitty place at the moment, and it's getting better."
Simon gritted his teeth, "But Pelignos, it's whole society is built on slavery. It looks sorta pseudo-Roman, but at least the Romans had rules. The fey treat the sprites like livestock. So say you're me, you show up in Pelignos, and you see the horrors being committed on a daily basis," he clenched a fist, "And unlike most of the people, you recognise those horrors, as horrors. So what do you do?" he asked, though he didn't wait for me to answer, "You decide that this shit isn't going to fly, and you need to stop it," he threw up his hands, "But how? 'Oh look, the human says slavery is naughty. How could we have known? Guess we have to stop.' It's pointless. Maybe if I tried really really hard, and worked for decades, I might be able to convince the fey to treat the sprites two percent better than they are now. But even that would be nearly impossible, the fey believe this is the natural order, they're not going to change out of the goodness of their hearts, and neither I nor the sprites have the leverage to force them. And it's not like there's a death star I can blow up, or big bad I can defeat to fix everything and destroy the empire. So how the hell else do you expect me to do anything about it? Or do you really think that working for decades to get two percent change would be the right thing to do for the sprites?"
"So you're telling me that you're not using mind-control magic to build yourself a massive harem?"
"It's not like that," he repeated, "When I... convince, someone to come around to my way of seeing things, that's all I do. Do I make them fall in love with me? Well, yeah, but when your only tool is a hammer, etcetera etcetera. I've never actually touched any of them."
"From what I've heard, that's not quite true," I challenged, though I kept my tone easy going for the moment.
"Two separate groups," he insisted, "There's those that need 'convincing', and there's those that don't. That first group is a hell of a lot larger than the second."
"Ah, so you've got one of those ethical, mind-control free, harems."
He shrugged, "Call it whatever you want. Certain things are expected of powerful people, regardless of which city you're talking about. So maybe I indulge myself with those women who come to my side naturally, maybe I even screw around with the odd noblewoman that wants to get back, in some small way, at their family. I'm not hurting anyone, and I'll tell you what, it makes it a hell of a lot easier to maintain control."
"Control, all comes back to that, doesn't it?" I mused.
"Yes, it does," he growled, "I'm not going to get anywhere trying to side with one political faction or another, I need to create a faction of my own. And my team's not going to do me, or the sprites, and good unless my people do what I tell them. Or do you have a better idea?"
"Just seems odd, you being the only guy on your team."
"My technique doesn't work on men," he said dismissively, "At least not most men. I can make them uncomfortable, or afraid, but neither is helpful in the long-term."
"How very un-machiavellian of you," I observed.
"Yeah, well, he was a dick. I terrify someone into obedience, and they might just drive a knife into my back. And what the hell happens when they're out of my reach? No, I'm going to return to Pelignos in a week or so, and everything will be precisely as I left it. Besides, I find the carrot gets much better results than the stick."
I let out a breath I hadn't realised I'd been holding, and gazed down at the man.
He met my gaze, frowned, and then grew very still.
"You were going to kill me," he breathed.
"Wouldn't you?" I asked simply, "The prince you sent your people after, I'm still not sure if letting him live was the right choice, and he only had the one living toy."
"You're giving me a hard time about a little applied psychology, when you're willing to just straight-up murder someone?"
"Pretend for a moment, that you're exactly what all the rumours say you are. Pretend, that you're what I thought you were," I said evenly, "What do you think, would be the quickest and easiest way to solve the problem?"
"Christ. You're one cold son of a bitch, you know that?"
"Yes, and I want you to keep that in mind when I tell you that Val, and her sister Vivian, are off-limits. Try your 'applied psychology' on either of them, and you will spend the rest of your short life looking over your shoulder."
Continued below
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2020.09.08 15:12 Raptor013 New World Order - Chapter Six

Firstly sorry about the long wait between chapters. Between an overloaded work schedule taking up much of the time I would dedicate to writing and also wanting to ensure that I delivered the best possible work for those that have so far enjoyed the previous chapters.
The latest installment can also be found here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13535599/6/New-World-Order

As always I hope you enjoy this chapter and look forward to your thoughts and comments.


The following morning after grabbing a quick breakfast from the kitchens, I made my way down to the dock where the crew were busy with the final preparations for the Intrepid to depart. Albert was also present despite the fact that he wouldn't be sailing with the ship, he was running through what looked like a thick work manual with Kevin.
As I approach boarding ladder, I can see Luke looking down from the Bridge Wing shaking his head. On joining him he comments, "He just can't help himself."
"What did I miss?" I ask, fully expecting what the answer would be.
"Albert turned up and started giving Kevin the standard introduction he gives everyone who joins the engine room," Luke replies, "You'd almost think he outranks Kevin the way he started into him."
"Well that sounds like Albert," I answer with a smirk, "Just so long as this is the short introduction and not the usual three-hour speech he gives."
"There's a first time for everything I guess," Luke replies with a laugh, "Speaking of first times. I didn't realize that you would be bringing our guests along on an operation of this nature?"
"I'm not," I answer with confusion, "Bismarck is joining Albert on the Germany assignment and Graf Spee wanted to stay here on the island. I didn't get the chance to speak with either Akagi or Kaga though."
"Well they boarded about ten minutes before you," Luke informs me, "And it didn't look like they were about to be denied the chance to join this cruise."
After finishing up my conversation with Luke and giving Albert the cue to wrap up his lecture so Kevin could board the ship, I make my way down the corridor at the rear of the Bridge to stow my sea bag in my cabin before continuing on to conduct my usual pre-voyage inspection of the ship.
My inspections take less time than usual as with double the normal crew aboard the preparation work was well in hand. I finish my tour by making my way aft down the port side of the main deck, double checking the conditions of the lifeboat launching mechanisms as I go.
On reaching the last lifeboat and mentally ticking off my checklist that all is ready, I find myself only a short distance from where Akagi and Kaga stand looking out over the stern of the ship out to sea beyond the reef.
Hearing my approaching footsteps as I make my way across the launch deck, "Just so you know," Kaga begins turning to face me, "There is nothing you can say that will persuade either of us to remain on the island while you head out to sea, Captain."
"Fair enough," I reply slightly taken aback by the abrupt announcement, "Just be sure that you know that this is a Search and Rescue operation and not a weekend cruise through the Pacific."
Both nod their understanding before I continue, "So with that taken care of. Having you aboard will actually speed up the search operations greatly."
"How so?" Akagi asks with a slight tilt of her head.
As I go over the few details of the mission with the girls, explaining what we are looking for and how I intend to carry out the search operation if it should come to that, I notice that whilst both are seemingly agreeing with the plan, it appears as though they might have other ideas.
"So, no different to hunting down an enemy fleet," Kaga states with a slightest hint of a smile once I finish going over the plan.
"Exactly," I agree, "However although we are looking for an American Naval fleet, you won't be attacking them. Just report their position and keep a visual contact."
Before any further conversation on the matter can continue however, I feel the vibrations of the engine starting up indicating that Kevin has finally been able to get away from Albert and aboard ship and that we were ready to depart.
Now some four hours south of Midway, with the Intrepid sailing rapidly through the low swells we entered the northern most point of the pre-planned route that the American Carrier Group was scheduled to take on its return to Pearl Harbour.
The voyage out from Midway Atoll had been largely uneventful. After clearing the reef and turning onto the southerly heading to the expected point of intercept with the American fleet, I had the crew run through all the onboard systems to ensure that they were going to be ready if required.
With the sun now reaching its zenith, I gave the order to begin the search proper. The crew began to lower one of the prototype rapid ocean floor scanners the Professor had finalized the production of over the past month.
Getting the all clear from the crew members monitoring the scanner readings, I gave the orders to increase speed to twenty knots and turn onto the pre-planned search grid whilst waiting for the latest possible estimated time that the fleet would arrive.
"How long until the fleet is due to arrive?" Luke asks.
"Assuming nothing is wrong," I answer, "The lead elements should be here within the hour, which is why we are sub hunting."
The numerous confused looks from those on the bridge led me to expand on my answer, "The lead element of the task force is a submarine. They should be about an hour ahead of the surface fleet."
"And you think that the Professors new ocean floor scanner will be able to detect a nuclear submarine?" Luke questions with a raised eyebrow.
"Probably not," I admit, "Those things are damned hard to detect even with the right equipment. I'm more hoping that they will detect the sonar pings and come investigate the source."

**

After almost two hours of crisscrossing over the same stretch of ocean with no sign of any surface traffic or even a hint of anything below the ocean surface indicating any man-made objects I step back inside from my observation post of the Starboard Bridge Wing, "Okay set a course for Wake Island," I instruct, "We'll start to retrace the planned route."
As Luke starts to program the new course into the navigation computers, I reach for the satellite phone and punch in the contact number from memory. The phone barely has time to ring before the other end is picked up.
'Which extension?' the voice on the other end spoke in a stern manner.
"Extension forty-five. Priority Alpha," I answer.
Without a reply from the voice on the other end, I hear a slight buzzing through the line as the call is transferred before a second voice speaks, "Jensen speaking."
"Admiral," I begin, "It's Harrison onboard the Intrepid. Just calling to update you that your fleet has missed its rendezvous time and we are now beginning to retrace their course back towards Wake Island."
"Understood," Admiral Jensen replies, "We'll send our search group to cover the course between Pearl and Midway just in case they were ahead of schedule."
"I'm certain that we beat them to the point of intercept Admiral," I acknowledge, "But better to cover all options. Also, if you have any way to send a message that they might be able to receive under the current circumstances can you let them know that we will be conducting aerial reconnaissance starting tomorrow morning."
"I'll pass the message on to the team leading the search operation from our end," Admiral Jensen says, "We will expect updates if you find anything."
After confirming the next phase of the search with Admiral Jensen, I hang up the phone before replacing it on the wall mount. Taking another look at the charts scattered across the table whilst running through the plans for the next day, my thoughts are interrupted.
"Do you want an aerial scouting sortie today Captain?"
Looking up to find Kaga standing on the other side of the Chart Table I reply, "There's only another three hours of good light remaining today. How much range could you cover in that time?"
"If we launch now, we can scout out the area we would sail through overnight," Kaga confirms.
Weighing up the advantages of knowing what surface vessels we might encounter overnight against losing almost two thirds of the possible scouting range I make my decision, "Do it. I'll let you determine how many planes to launch."
Without another word Kaga leaves the Bridge, leaving me to issue the required instructions before making my way down to the Launch Deck.

**

Unlike the last time when Bismarck volunteered to guide the Intrepid during the radar blackout anomaly, there was no crowd of crew around watching on as both Kaga and Akagi emerged onto the Launch Deck and wordlessly stepped off the ship onto the ocean surface.
As the girls skate out a short distance from the Intrepid to take up positions on either side of the ship, I watched on with genuine interest at how they were going to launch their recon planes when so far, all the research we had compiled had failed to answer that question.
Taking up a position where I could clearly observe the launch I was still surprised at although it was surreal to see a person skating across the ocean surface, that like when Bismarck did so a little over a month ago, it almost felt natural.
Raising my observation binoculars, I watched on as Akagi with head bowed as if in quiet pray slowly raised her right arm, hand outstretched. With a brilliant flash a bright reddish-orange ball of flame appeared just above her hand, before it began to circle around her.
My shock at seeing what could only be described as magic if one were to try to describe the scene to another was pale compared to a moment later when I turned to look to the other side of the ship where Kaga had it appeared mirrored her sisters actions, however she had conjured a flame of greenish-blue.
I continued to watch on silently as both girls raised their heads and appeared to be looking off into the distance before with a rapid flick of their wrists, they threw what appeared to be crude paper cutouts roughly in the shape of an airplane.
The paper cutouts travelled only a short distance before rapidly transforming into full-sized aircraft which rapidly accelerated away and climbed up into the afternoon skies.
I was still scratching my head in disbelief at this sight, considering the possibility that I was imagining things, when moments later a second wave of aircraft materialized in the same manner, heading off on a slightly different course to the first. This was followed by a third and fourth wave.
My thoughts are quickly interrupted by Luke over the portable radio, "Just to let you know we have multiple contacts on radar heading away from our position."
"Can you give me an exact count on the number of contacts?" I request, having not been able to get any sort of count earlier due to my surprise at what I had witnessed.
As I await a reply from Luke, I continue my observations of both girls who continued to maintain their course and distance to match that of the Intrepid. After what seemed like an eternity, Luke radioed back, "We've counted one hundred and thirty-eight separate contacts across eight groups Captain."
"Thank you, Luke," I answer, "Can you remind me tomorrow to make sure that we aim the external cameras to cover tomorrow mornings launch. I believe that the research teams will want to study this in detail."

**

As the days continued to tick over with no sign of the American fleet the only positives that any of us could take from the previous five days was the amount of data, we were able to collect for the research teams to go over.
Now just over a day south of Wake Island having made another course change towards the Bismarck Sea I took my usual observation post on the Starboard Bridge Wing and watched on as Kaga launched her third of the morning. Taking another sip of coffee and flicking through the overnight reports which revealed nothing of note.
"Captain, I have reports of a strange object in the water to the west of our current course."
Looking across the Bridge to the portside where Akagi had taken her usual station during the aerial recon missions, I take hold of the radio and ask, "Can you get a fixed position and possibly identify what the object is?"
Walking back into the Bridge to mark the charts so as to determine the new heading, I waited for Akagi's response.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity Akagi's voice crackled over the radio once more, "On further inspection there are two objects, on a rough heading of zero eight six from our current course and about two hundred kilometers away. As to what they are, best I can tell is they might be storage boxes from a ship."
Quickly plotting an intercept course on the map and handing the new course heading to Luke at the helm, I key the radio once more, "Sounds like a waste of time, but we've not seen anything at all over the past week, so no harm in investigating."
"Understood Captain," Akagi replies, "I'll maintain a visual over the target and continue on with the rest of the reconnaissance with the rest of the squadron."

**

Just after midday the first signs that we were reaching the area where one of Akagi's search planes had remained circling above the floating debris reached our ears as the steady thrum of the Zero's engine could be heard over the occasional crash of a wave on the hull.
Scanning the surface of the ocean, it wasn't until we were almost on top of the floating objects that anyone saw them, so well did they blend in with the water they were half submerged in.
I gave the orders to reduce the speed to just above idle and made my way to the Launch Deck, where armed with a fishing net, I leaned out as far as possible and scooped the objects back onboard.
On closer inspection it turned out to be another set of gently glowing cubes, similar to those we had previously in the Atlantic Ocean. These two giving off a soft purplish tinge as they sat in the net on the deck of the ship.
Silently cursing the lack of a lead to the whereabouts of the missing US Carrier Group, I key the portable radio, "False alarm. Just another set of cubes for the research team to look at when we get back home."
As I feel the Intrepid begin to pick up speed once more and turn back towards our original route, a flash of light draws my attention back to the ocean. Quickly scanning the area to find what had drawn my attention, I spy what appears to be an empty bottle floating past the ship.
Out of habit in always trying to minimize the impact running a research ship can sometimes have on the ocean, I reach out again with the fishing net after removing the two cubes and scoop the plastic bottle out of the water.
As I'm making my way back to the bridge, I retrieve the bottle from the bottom of the net with the intent of adding it to the collection of recyclables, when I notice that someone had stuffed a piece of paper in the bottle before screwing the lid back on.
Chuckling to myself that there were people that still sent messages in a bottle like sailors of old when they became stranded on remote islands, I decided that there was no harm in seeing what the message contained.
On reaching the bridge after a quick detour via the galley to cut open the bottle up with one of the kitchen knives, I unfolded the piece of paper within and read the note.
A moment later I was reaching for the briefing notes and reading through the list of ships that where part of the USS Gerald R. Ford's escort group. Double checking both the note from the bottle and the briefing notes, I was stunned.
"Luke turn the Intrepid back for Wake Island," I call out, as I locate on the navigation charts the co-ordinates that had been hastily written on the first note.
Marking down the spot, I firstly pick up the radio, "Kaga. Akagi. We are heading back to Wake Island, recall your aircraft and then join us back onboard."
Looking around the Bridge, I notice that everyone present is looking in my direction wearing various expressions that mostly indicate that I've gone crazy. Eventually Luke speaks up, "What's up Captain?"
"I fished this out of a bottle that was floating near those two cubes. It's looks for all purposes like one of those notes in a bottle from a stranded sailor you always hear tales of from the past," I explain, "Only this also contains the name of one of the escort ships we are looking for, a set of co-ordinates and that they were attacked suddenly by something after having their radios jammed."

**

It took just over an hour before both Kaga and Akagi were able to recover the last of their aircraft and rejoin the Intrepid.
During that time, I placed another call into Admiral Jensen, explaining what we had found and where, and also all the information contained on the note.
Fortunately, the sailor who had written the note, although it was clear from the messy nature of the handwriting that it had been written in great haste, had included only the most important of details. These included not only the co-ordinates of where the ship was at the time, but also the fact that he had been aboard the USS Jack Williams and the course and speed the fleet had been maintaining prior to being attacked. He had even time stamped and dated the note. Which explained exactly why we had seen no signs of any wreckage.
The only vital information not contained, was why the fleet was almost three hundred kilometers off their planned route.
The only explanation the Admiral could offer was that the Fleet Commander had possibly issued a course change if he perceived a credible threat to the group if they had maintained their scheduled course.
And whilst that was certainly a logical reason, it was highly concerning as the American Carrier Groups projected power and strength wherever they went. The last major threat to American carriers was ironically involved in scouting out where and why one had gone missing.
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2020.09.06 03:59 Dewan27 [Crossover] Arknights x Modern Warfare new chapter

Chapter 4.1 : The Usual

The clamoring car engine finally put into rest so it can regain his health back again. Texas parked the car nicely in the most safest place she could think of. Judging by the situation they going into. They get out of the car.
There is a sight of high metal wall, solidly stand tall. What behind it is cannot be seen but, the sound reach outside. The panic, of people hurriedly packing, running to find somewhere safe. An Exodus. While further on the south side, the smoke rise high. Its already thick enough, spread, and start covering part of the sky. Catching the sunlight with a gloves made out of burned metal. Its move to where the wind flew by.
Just from seeing that Sora start complaining.
"Eugh this is not good. There is no way i perform in place like this." That's what she said. She wear an idol outfit complete with the attirement. She even bring her own customized mic.
"Your sound is not that good anyway why bother?" said Exusiai picking on her.
"What did you say?!!"
"Well, this place actually really suit you." Comment Texas.
"Noo even Texas said it." Sora start frowning. Completely different reaction when she facing Texas. As someone who feel responsible for the morale of their teammate. Croissant come to cheer up.
"Yahaha I think what Texas mean is this place messy and .. crowdy. Just like a concert, right?"
"Is that true Texas? You really mean that?" Ask Sora with dejected eyes. Texas answer with a little nod. Then like the winter suddenly change to spring, her expression bloom to smile again.
"I-is that so. Thanks you, Texas."
"What an easy child." Said Exusiai picking on her again. Sora annoyedly stare at Exusiai who replied with the same intense stare. There is spark between those stare. Since their conversation in a car, the atmosphere kinda tense a little. Sora did mention about get rid of her. Texas took a breath.
"Lets get going."
***
The smoke look wider as they approaching toward the source. The rendezvous point is compromised. They supposed to join forces when they arrive. But, no one there and looking at the time it will be dangerous to just sit and wait. Rather than that, they choose its better to scout ahead. They continue walking
Sora and Exusiai still threaten each other in the backline. They already make distance but they still can communicate giving hand gesture. The broken road that cracked more when they walk or the building that may fall on them from just an earthquake and yet. Its not stopping them keep sending cursed word.
Its not last forever. Soon or later they will notice what kind of atmosphere they going into or what they might encounter with.
Exusiai notice that sooner than usual. She examine the building around her, looking at what left on the 2 sized car road and around it. Then after find it, she approach Croissant.
"Croissant, launch me up there. That building."
Croissant easily go accept that request. They walk toward the building while Texas and Sora not giving much comment and just look at them. Croissant crouching with her shield point upward. Then Exusiai come over, climb up the shield. Into the position where Croissant lifting Exusiai weight.
"Ready"
"Go with it." Exusiai hinting a green light. So, Croissant prepare the launch.
In five, she held out her hammer from her waist.
In four, she start spin rotate the hammer.
In three, the hammer swirl around at accelerating speed.
In two, the hammer let out spark ray sign already charged up.
Then initiating the sequence, she struck it to the back of the shield.
*FWOOSH\*
Exusiai 11 just launched.
She flew fast and high reaching 10-20 meter away. The estimated height of the building. After reach it the peak, casually she grab the roof wall and roll over it. With one little step of a man, one giant leap for mankind. Well in this case, its not a man its an angel.
[Comm check, Exusiai you hear?]
"Loud and clear Texas, loud and clear."
Just like that now she is on the rooftop. She gain better view, better angles to shoot. She can't see everything but a glimpse of the exploded wall from afar look pretty clear. The smoke/dust filled that place but for just a slight, She saw movement. A glimpse of hussle moving in. Unfortunately, her lookout must interrupted by sudden voice in the ground floor.
"Well well whale, What we got here? Are you lost?" Yell from a man. Follow by the appearance of half dozen man with same theme outfit.
Similarly most of them wearing a somekind hockey mask. The grey cloak, light plate vest, and outfit with hint of orange strip. There also one man who big enough than the others. Yet he not the one who yell. There is one man who move front of them and star examining the three.
"Wait you're all girls? Heh, piss off if you don't want to get hurt." He said threatening. Overconfidence in the advantage of number. Texas let the word pass by and instead she move forward.
"Weaklings." She said with a challenger manner. An attempt to provoke the overconfidence.
Quiet successful result. His face covered in mask but it doesn't hide the body language. Indeed his annoyance speak for itself from his manner. He murmur some word before He start to move forward too.
He approach slowly. Answering the challenge he grip his weapon tight. Cutting the distance between them he start run toward Texas. The metal pipe on his right hand ready to swing. He goes for the head. Texas predictably dodge that swing.
In one breath, a whirlwind slash storming his vital point. A critical hit. He grab the slash wound and falling a second after.
The group behind him froze in their feet, It was too quick. Texas standing there beside the body with a plain expression. Until, one of them start screaming and raging dash toward her. The big guy, more than 180 cm tall, he berserk drag a giant wooden bat. This time Texas move back a little.
Switch to Croissant who move forward confronting the berserker. The bat swing hard toward Croissant. The ready shield blocking the swing.
*BAM**crack\*
The collide impact hard enough to broke the road even more. Croissant keep standing still.
"Ah I see, just like what Texas said." The berserk turn into confusion with a bewildered expression from the big guy. "Sora." call Croissant.
Sora who always stand at the most behind of formation. Start to let out her mic and a circle of light surround her. The light goes up, glimmering sync perfectly with her mic approaching her vocal. Just like an idol about to perform. She start to sing.
"Sparkle, the beautiful spring
You can smile now. Its okay.
Like the snow melting, your mind is entangled."
Her voice start with a low tone. She look directly to the big and meet him in the eyes. She continue the lyric while pointing at him.
"Flicker, the beautiful spring.
The sunny spot has a tiny bud,
Until it blossom... ♪♪"
Suddenly, the big guy start yell and cover his eyes. His face covered with a flickering light blinding him. The light that only can be saw by him and Sora who sang it. Not missing a chance, Texas rushing toward him. She climb his shoulder then stand on it. To finish with stab him in the eyes.
The crumbling body start falling down. Texas leap form the shoulder then land epicly on the ground facing the group who aghast by the sudden event.
Though, not long after another group with a dozen more man showing up. They must be heard the yelling. They look at the dead bodies. They felt silent. But, the rage inside start filling up. A red light reaction coming from inside their mask. To revenge and to kill, they start grunting with a heavy breathing.
"No mercy!!" the shout follow by a battlecry. Menacingly they start approaching the three them all together.
Croissant move front, stand beside Texas and Sora still behind them. She prepare another song to sing. This time, the surrounding light around her also surround Texas and Croissant. She start sing the lyric that hint something about the spell she given. As the light also glimmerly change color.
The horde mindlessly ignore that and approaching faster. Texas prepare her blade again with Croissant beside her. Both of them about to confronting the horde.
"Exusiai, cover."
On the rooftop, Exusiai is laying low and quietly observing the situation. The gun safety off and she just waiting for the signal given. She aim at the horde.
"You forgot to use the comm again, Texas." Exusiai said with a smile. Amused by Texas blunder. Then, she pull the trigger.
*Burst gunshot**Burst gunshot**Burst gunshot\*
[To part B] (https://www.reddit.com/useDewan27/comments/itx624/arknights_x_modern_warfare_chapter_42_blend/)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note from writers,
Thank you for you who reads until this part.
  1. Credits to : Magnolia Factory/Kobushi Factory. I tried to create a lyric for Sora part but i can't found any inspiration. So i ended up researching and borrow the lyric (chorus). You can search, (Magnolia Factory, Haru Urara-Beatiful Spring). I found it genuinely good song.
  2. Quarantine zone maybe a little vague in describe but, my inspiration about the place is quarantine from The Last of Us game. I find it very fit with some adjustment to the story. I enjoy imagine it i hope you do too.
  3. About Croissant who launched Exusiai. It relates with the 2nd Croissant skill in game. The skill name is [ Magnetic Hammer ]. With description, "Bumps nearby enemies away moderately, Stunning them for 2.5 seconds and dealing 240% of ATK Physical damage to them."
I tried to adapt the Misha Arc. And boi its hard. Stuck a lot when designing the plot but here is one bit.
I share the first chapter here : https://www.reddit.com/arknights/comments/i6wgvo/fanfiction_arknight_x_modern_warfare/
But mostly updated in my wattpad. Rarely. (If you interested)
submitted by Dewan27 to LoreKnights [link] [comments]


2020.09.04 16:06 Taxi_Dancer Little Afghan Girl's Gift (War/ Supernatural Encounter)

Little Afghan Girl’s Gift
I was the only American Soldier who was attached to an Italian motorized unit during a good-will humanitarian mission into the Zerkoh Valley of western Afghanistan. From our primary forward operating base camp, it was approximately 15 kilometers to the village of Masyan, located in an arid but reasonably fertile section of the valley. It was nearing harvest season, but Taliban insurgents had stolen all of the village’s farming and harvesting equipment in order to take the crops for themselves. The Italian Soldiers were delivering truck loads of brand new farming equipment to the villagers and had offered to send patrols to stand guard over the village while the villagers harvested their yearly crops. I had requested to tag along on this mission and my command very reluctantly gave their approval. The Zerkoh Valley wasn’t exactly the safest place in the world, located between Iran in the west who were infiltrating supplies to the Taliban and Taliban fighters in the east trying to escape the American surge which was pushing them out of their safe zones.
We travelled in two convoys, called chalks, as we headed to the village. I was originally scheduled to be in the first chalk which was the scouting element that was clearing a safe path for the second chalk which had the trucks filled with farming supplies for the villagers. As a US Army qualified 19 Delta Cavalry Scout, I figured that out front with the lead Italian element was where I’d do the most good. However, at the last minute, I was told by the Italians that I would be in the second chalk, as my American command thought it was far too dangerous for me to be in the lead chalk. Cursing my luck, and my command, I walked towards the back of the convoy which consisted of about twenty Italian wheeled vehicles, wheeled armored personnel carriers, and heavy transport trucks.
Because all NATO Soldiers trained to the same standards, I could see that the Italian Soldiers were just as proficient and professional as their American counterparts, if not more so. Without knowing how to speak the language, I could already tell that the Italian NCOs were conducting their pre-combat PCCs and PCIs (pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections), conducting before action PMCS (preventive maintenance checks and services) on their vehicles, and functions checks on their heavy weapons. Additionally, Italian officers were verifying that communications and GPS systems were operational and vehicle manifests were confirmed, just as we did in the US military. The Italian convoy commander was a very good natured NCO and offered me a seat in his vehicle. If I couldn’t be at the head of the lead chalk, at least I’d be in the head of the second chalk. I gratefully accepted and climbed into the Italian wheeled vehicle, wearing my sixty-pounds of equipment, gear and body armor and carrying my trusty M4 rifle with M203 40mike-mike under slung grenade launcher. The vehicle we were driving was an Iveco Light Multirole Vehicle, or LMV. It was used in the similar mission that the US Army uses the Humvee. The Iveco mounted a .50. cal. M2 heavy machine gun, but was not nearly as heavily armored as the US Humvee or as wide.
It was a little after seven in the morning when the first Italian chalk pulled out of the Italian base camp and exited the main gate which was guarded by my American ECP teams. About fifteen minutes later, the second chalk pulled out and we set off into enemy territory, also known as Indian Country. We followed Highway 1, Afghanistan’s main paved highway, for about two miles before suddenly turning off road and going cross country over open desert. We followed in the tracks of chalk one and, although the chances of hitting an IED in the middle of the open landscape was rare, we were still weary and watchful. We were about two miles into the open desert, paralleling a goat trail about 100 meters to our right and a walled village about a half mile distant built in the shade of an orange mountain.
WHOOM!
A muffled explosion rocked the ground. We weren’t hit, but an explosion did occur. The radio lit up with reports of an IED hitting a vehicle from the first chalk. We halted our chalk and cautiously dismounted our vehicles, scanning out to 5 meter, 10 meter, 15 meter and 20 meters in front of us for IEDs before we stepped on the ground. A thin plume of smoke billowed up about a mile in the distance. Pulling out my binos, I looked towards the smoke and I saw the movement of other vehicles from the first chalk, but not the stricken vehicle. They were still small in my view, so I couldn’t make out any details, nor could I make out if we had taken casualties. Suddenly, I noticed a glint to my right and trained my binos on top of the roof of one of the two story buildings in the walled village. A bearded man with a radio and binoculars was looking at our stopped convoy and yelling into his radio. I quickly gave my binos to the Italian convoy commander, pointing at the enemy spotter on the roof a half mile away. He shouted a warning into his radio and every second gunner in the convoy pointed their .50 cal. machine guns at the spotter. The other gunners kept a watchful eye out for a potential ambush as the enemy spotter, upon seeing that we were on to him, threw down the radio and the binoculars and ran across the stone balcony and disappeared into a wooden door. Within minutes, an A129 Mangusta Italian attack helicopter was circling overhead, the pilot radioing us and saying that the path was clear of ambushes to the site of the first chalk.
Soon, we were moving again to the site of the IED strike. The first chalk was also moving, slower this time, towards Masyan village. In minutes, we had caught up to where the IED had exploded. An Iveco LMV, the one I was supposed to be in earlier, was sitting in a rocky depression, its front axles blown out. Fortunately, the IED which it hit was a small one, not designed to destroy a vehicle, but to damage it. The Taliban was letting us know that they were watching. Two Italian Freccia wheeled infantry fighting vehicles had secured the site and were working to get the vehicle towed back to the base. None of the Italians in that vehicle were severely injured as the driver and the gunner were arguing over who should have seen the IED first. A few things bothered me. One, How did they know we were coming this way at this time, out in the middle of open desert? We weren’t on any marked trails or roads. Two, if they knew we were coming, why didn’t they plant a larger IED? Why plant such a small IED. Three, the Afghan National Army, the ANA, were the only other ones who knew when and where we were coming. They were supposed to watch the approach route. What happened to them?
As our chalk passed the IED strike site, I took a few pictures of the scene through the wire mesh screen of the armored window. Masyan Village was a few more kilometers away. By then, the first chalk had entered the village and sent out Soldiers to stand guard around the perimeter. Masyan was an ancient village made of rough hewn brick and white stone. The narrow dirt track leading into the main village square ran between two worn down and broken stone walls which opened onto a flat dirt surface. The villagers were gathered there and they greeted us warmly. Immediately, the Italian Soldiers greeted the children, handing out water and treats while the Italian senior leaders met with the village leadership. The villagers were separated by family and lined up as the Italian trucks backed into the village square and Italian Soldiers who weren’t on guard duty were busy preparing to hand out the farming equipment. ANA soldiers were also in the village and I assumed that they were supposed to have been the one’s watching the approach route. They did nothing to help, neither standing guard nor handing out farming equipment or bags of rice and seeds. They simply stood around the villagers, looking intimidating at them. I thought this to be curious behavior and I was tempted to grab one of our interpreters so that I could talk with one of the ANA soldiers to see if they knew anything about an IED that was recently planted along our supposedly secured approach route, a route which the ANA had also crossed and one which they reported as supposedly cleared.
It was then that I noticed a little girl standing somewhat away from the rest of the children. She was around four years old, with olive colored skin, light curly brown hair and bright green eyes. She was dressed in her finest clothing, a light, loose fabric of reds and greens and whites and white sandals. In this harsh land of war and sadness, she flashed me the biggest smile that she could. Smiling from ear to ear, she waved enthusiastically at me and pointed at her right shoulder. She then pointed at my right shoulder. My right shoulder, where my American flag patch was placed.
I smiled back at her, looking for her father so that I could ask permission to give his daughter a gift of bottles of cold water, sweet cakes, and other treats. In Afghanistan, the family unit is extremely important, and showing respect to parents is highly regarded by the villagers. All of a sudden, one of the ANA soldiers, the one which was staring daggers into the villagers, approached the young girl from behind and raised his AK47. With all his might, he brought the wooden butt of the rifle down on the back of the girl’s head with a loud crack. The sweet, smiling, little girl fell down in a heap on the ground.
Now, I have absolutely no idea what happened after that or how much time had elapsed. All I remember was literally seeing red and locking and loading my M4. When I regained my senses, the big, bearded ANA soldier was on his back on the ground, my left boot was crunching his left wrist into the rocks, my right knee was on his chest, and I my M4 was pointing into his mouth. Three Italian Soldiers were trying to get me off him, their M249 Squad Automatic Weapon gunner saying that this is how it is like for the kids in Afghanistan. Another Italian Soldier pointed to the girl. “Look, Sergeant. She is fine. The kids here, they have very thick skulls.”
A female Italian medic was treating the little girl, putting a thick gauze and wrap around the girl’s head. The little girl was frowning, staring angrily at the ANA soldier who had sucker punched her. I allowed the Italians to pull me off the ANA soldier, but I grabbed the interpreter.
“Tell that soldier that I’ll be watching him,” I said, knife handing the ANA soldier as his comrades pulled him up off the ground.
The interpreter spoke nervously to the ANA soldier, and he responded angrily, pointing at me. The interpreter turned pale then looked at me.
“Sir,” the interpreter said. “He says that he also knows you. He says he knows that you are part of the base security, and that he will be watching you.”
“Good,” I said. If I was getting a reputation amongst suspected Taliban infiltrators, then our base security forces were making life difficult for them. “You tell him that next time I catch him alone, I want to ask him a few questions about an IED we encountered on the way up here. The one that he planted.”
The interpreter looked at me with a shocked expression. If he were to say that to a suspected Taliban insurgent wearing ANA clothing, the interpreter’s life would be in serious danger. Already, we had interpreters killed who had warned us of ANA soldiers suspected of being Taliban insurgents. Still, he turned to face the ANA soldier in order to do his job. I stopped the interpreter and shook my head, much to his relief. I pointed at the ANA imposter, glaring at him. He simply spit on the ground and walked around the back the small, one room school that butted up against the stone wall surrounding the village square.
“I think it might be best for you to take perimeter security,” said the Italian convoy commander silently as he approached me.
“I’m sorry, Lieutenant,” I said. “That was attempted murder of a child.”
“Don’t be sorry,” said the Lieutenant. “I agree with you. I’ve noticed that man’s actions before. Every time we go on a mission and he is part of the ANA which are supposed to be helping us, something always goes terribly wrong.”
“Can’t we pull him?” I asked.
“No,” said the Lieutenant. “Regretfully, he is an ANA senior sergeant and a favorite of the ANA commander, Colonel Hasan. I believe he is actually related to the colonel. Don’t worry though. I’ll have a squad of my men watching him.”
I nodded and walked across the village square past dozens of farming families waiting patiently in line under the hot, dry sun to receive their new farming tools and bags of rice, grains, and seeds. On the other side of the dirt road, small flowering gardens and low stone walls surrounded five or six ancient looking white stone houses. I imagine that this was pretty much the way things might have looked during the Biblical days, well, except for the satellite dishes on the roofs. Walking across a field of green scrub brush I joined a squad of four Italian Soldiers facing out across a green pasture of crops waiting to be harvested. In the distance was a rocky foothill with a small waterfall which fed into a stream running along its base. It was, in reality, a completely beautiful sight, untouched and unspoiled by the hands of modern man.
“It is good that you hit that man,” said the Italian Soldier who was standing next to me. She was petite, with tanned skin, a pointed nose, hazel eyes, and long wisps of reddish brown hair that snuck out from under her combat helmet, and like most of the Italian female Soldiers in their battalion, she looked like she could star in a Hollywood action movie. I recognized her as a squad leader and she cradled in her arms an M249 squad automatic weapon. “I do not trust that one.” She said, pointing with her chin in the direction to the ANA soldier I had put on the ground.
“You’ve worked with him before?” I asked.
“Only once before. I didn’t like how he looked at me,” she said. “He had eyes like a snake.”
There was a scowl on her face. “He said his men had checked the area, and that there were no IEDs. That was the day that our Master Sergeant was killed. He was blown up by an IED.”
“I’ve got my eye on that one,” I promised.
“Eh,” she said. “Better if you had just shot him.”
We stood guard over the village and the delivery of the farming supplies for the next three hours until finally, the last piece of equipment and the last bag of rice was handed out. By then, it was late afternoon and the Italians were securing the area and preparing to depart. I was still fuming, alternately looking to find the ANA soldier who had struck the little girl as well as the little girl herself. The group of ANA soldiers, of which there were about a dozen, stood off to the side by the gap in the wall to the village square next to two worn down Toyota Hillux pickup trucks. They were eyeing the Italians suspiciously, and the Italians were keeping a wary eye on them as well. The ANA had wanted to leave early and return to the base, ever since they heard that the Italians had struck an IED, but the Italian mission commander kept them close by, wanting to keep an eye on them during the rough, cross country ride back to base. He didn’t want another “accidental” encounter with an IED.
As I was climbing into my vehicle, the interpreter came up to me, holding something colorful in his hand. He handed it to me and said, “This from her and her mother,” he said, pointing to a small dwelling across from the school yard. Inside the door frame, I saw the little girl who had smiled at me earlier, with a big white bandage covering half her face. She was ducking behind the corner but was still smiling and waving. I waved back, feeling immensely guilty for being the reason why she was hit by the fake ANA soldier. I looked down at the gift. It was a doll made of strong straw and was dressed in the same colorful fabric as the clothing the little girl wore. On the doll’s head was woven red yarn to resemble her reddish hair.
“She made that for you,” said the interpreter. “Her mother said that it will protect you from snakes.”
I held the doll up to my heart and waved back towards the little girl. Her mother came to the thick wooden door, nodded to me slightly, then shut it behind her. I turned and glared in the direction of the ANA as they mounted up on their trucks and led the way back to base. One of them was a traitor and the rest of them said nothing. It wasn’t over between me and the one who hit that little girl, not by a long shot.
The weeks following the mission I returned to my normal duties at base security operations. Needless to say, because of the operational security of our mission, I will not go into any details as to how we conducted operations. Suffice it to say that we had many assets with which to defend the base and the perimeter, including heavily armored Humvees mounting a variety of weapons, as well as M-ATVs which was basically a combination of a Humvee and a giant dune buggy with lots of armor and which was mine resistant. Like our armored Humvees, they could mount anything from heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, to Gatling guns. We had loaned four of these M-ATV’s to the nearby Special Forces camp and they ended up welding mounts on them to pack on even more heavy weapons as well as bolted on even more armor. In the end, those four M-ATVs looked less like military vehicles and more like Mad Max vehicles which were jacked on steroids and road rage. The M-ATV was the work horse in Afghanistan and we used these rugged, multi-role assault vehicles for everything from convoy security, patrols, and highway mine clearance. I took the doll which the little girl had made for me and hung it from the sun visor in the truck commander’s seat.
Our security operations compound was surrounded by high, prefabricated walls known as Hesco barriers. These walls were made of a thick, durable canvas fabric caged inside a heavy duty aluminum mesh. Once emplaced, they are filled with sand and gravel and would create an instant wall barrier that provided protection against small arms fire, heavy machine gun fire and indirect mortar fire. Placed side by side and even stacked one on top of another, a Hesco barrier defense can create an instant fire base or defensive fighting position almost anywhere. One side of our Hesco barriers lined a narrow paved road. On the other side of the road was another line of Hesco barriers that formed the perimeter of the ANA compound. The narrow road ended at a T-junction and, because the Hesco barriers went straight to the turn, they created a blind spot in that part of the road.
It was late in the afternoon on one particular day and I was eager to start my shift. I had chosen to work security operations at night not because the temperature was cooler and more pleasant, but because that was when the Taliban were the most active. There were rumors that ANA officers were cracking down on Taliban fighters who were infiltrating into the ANA ranks and there had been mass desertions of ANA soldiers who, presumably were Taliban in disguise. Talk had been spreading among our interpreters that the ANA soldier whom I had encountered in Masyan village had even threatened to kill the commanding officer of our base security. There were four of us in the M-ATV, myself, my driver up front, and two riflemen in the back as we approached the blind spot in the road on the way to the security operations compound.
My driver had to inch forward in order to see around the corner and honked the horn of the M-ATV. I also looked right to make sure that the path was clear when, all of a sudden, I heard the roar of a moped engine speeding in our direction. My driver honked the horn again, but the bearded ANA solder didn’t stop, instead speeding up even more and actually turning in order to hit my truck commander compartment. I immediately lowered my window to try to get a shot at the guy, but knowing that he was going to hit us before I could.
The impact sent the moped careening into the Hesco barrier on our side of the road. It impacted so hard that it bounced off the ground and hit the Hesco barrier on the ANA side of the road where it lay in a smoking heap. I climbed out of the M-ATV, my rifle pointed at the ANA soldier. Most of him was laid out in a bloody pile on the road, looking like a deflated blow-up doll with what arms and legs that were still attached to his torso splayed out in impossible angles. Sure enough, it was the ANA soldier from Masyan village whom I suspected to be a traitor. I looked back at my M-ATV. There was absolutely no damage on it at all. This should have been impossible, given how hard the impact on the scooter had tossed it across both sides of the road. But there wasn’t even a scratch on the paint. The ANA soldier had hit something hard, but it wasn’t us. It was like he struck, for lack of a better term, an invisible wall.
Later on, the investigation found that the twenty pounds of explosives which had been strapped on the moped, explosives stolen from the ANA armory, had failed to detonate from the impact. In addition, another traitor disguised as an ANA soldier was arrested. He was in one of the ANA guard towers, observing us and radioing to the now splattered Taliban infiltrator on the location of our M-ATV so that he could ram us at the blind turn.
My security teams kept watch as we made the ANA explosive disposal unit, or EOD, secure the VBIED, or vehicle borne IED, and secure it with the Italians. Meanwhile their ANA compatriots scooped up the mess of the Taliban insurgent off the road with shovels and unceremoniously dumped the remains in a rubber bag. The doll that the little girl made for me swayed gently in the cool evening breeze inside the cab of my armored M-ATV- the doll which had protected me from snakes. I did not travel back to Masyan Village, having spent the rest of the deployment focused strictly on base defense, but I prayed for that little child’s safety for many years after, even through subsequent deployments back to the Middle East.
Post script-
A few years later, after a tour of duty in Iraq, I flew to the city of Hannover in Germany to blow off steam and get away for a while. Walking down the famous party district called the Stein Tur (the Stone Door) I saw a block down the street a restaurant and bakery called the Herat Bakery. Now, Herat Province was where my forward operating base was located when I served in Afghanistan. The smells of baked breads and roasted meats on the spit were wonderful and brought back a few fond memories of that mostly miserable deployment and of a little girl who had woven for me a colorful gift. I stepped into the shop as I had missed the locally baked flat bread in Herat, and instantly smiled, fighting to stop the tears from running down my face. A little girl with familiar bright green eyes and curly light brown hair, a few years older now, stood with her mother behind the counter and waved at me with a bright smile.
submitted by Taxi_Dancer to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]


2020.09.04 16:05 Taxi_Dancer Little Afghan Girl's Gift (War/ Supernatural Encounter)

Little Afghan Girl’s Gift
I was the only American Soldier who was attached to an Italian motorized unit during a good-will humanitarian mission into the Zerkoh Valley of western Afghanistan. From our primary forward operating base camp, it was approximately 15 kilometers to the village of Masyan, located in an arid but reasonably fertile section of the valley. It was nearing harvest season, but Taliban insurgents had stolen all of the village’s farming and harvesting equipment in order to take the crops for themselves. The Italian Soldiers were delivering truck loads of brand new farming equipment to the villagers and had offered to send patrols to stand guard over the village while the villagers harvested their yearly crops. I had requested to tag along on this mission and my command very reluctantly gave their approval. The Zerkoh Valley wasn’t exactly the safest place in the world, located between Iran in the west who were infiltrating supplies to the Taliban and Taliban fighters in the east trying to escape the American surge which was pushing them out of their safe zones.
We travelled in two convoys, called chalks, as we headed to the village. I was originally scheduled to be in the first chalk which was the scouting element that was clearing a safe path for the second chalk which had the trucks filled with farming supplies for the villagers. As a US Army qualified 19 Delta Cavalry Scout, I figured that out front with the lead Italian element was where I’d do the most good. However, at the last minute, I was told by the Italians that I would be in the second chalk, as my American command thought it was far too dangerous for me to be in the lead chalk. Cursing my luck, and my command, I walked towards the back of the convoy which consisted of about twenty Italian wheeled vehicles, wheeled armored personnel carriers, and heavy transport trucks.
Because all NATO Soldiers trained to the same standards, I could see that the Italian Soldiers were just as proficient and professional as their American counterparts, if not more so. Without knowing how to speak the language, I could already tell that the Italian NCOs were conducting their pre-combat PCCs and PCIs (pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections), conducting before action PMCS (preventive maintenance checks and services) on their vehicles, and functions checks on their heavy weapons. Additionally, Italian officers were verifying that communications and GPS systems were operational and vehicle manifests were confirmed, just as we did in the US military. The Italian convoy commander was a very good natured NCO and offered me a seat in his vehicle. If I couldn’t be at the head of the lead chalk, at least I’d be in the head of the second chalk. I gratefully accepted and climbed into the Italian wheeled vehicle, wearing my sixty-pounds of equipment, gear and body armor and carrying my trusty M4 rifle with M203 40mike-mike under slung grenade launcher. The vehicle we were driving was an Iveco Light Multirole Vehicle, or LMV. It was used in the similar mission that the US Army uses the Humvee. The Iveco mounted a .50. cal. M2 heavy machine gun, but was not nearly as heavily armored as the US Humvee or as wide.
It was a little after seven in the morning when the first Italian chalk pulled out of the Italian base camp and exited the main gate which was guarded by my American ECP teams. About fifteen minutes later, the second chalk pulled out and we set off into enemy territory, also known as Indian Country. We followed Highway 1, Afghanistan’s main paved highway, for about two miles before suddenly turning off road and going cross country over open desert. We followed in the tracks of chalk one and, although the chances of hitting an IED in the middle of the open landscape was rare, we were still weary and watchful. We were about two miles into the open desert, paralleling a goat trail about 100 meters to our right and a walled village about a half mile distant built in the shade of an orange mountain.
WHOOM!
A muffled explosion rocked the ground. We weren’t hit, but an explosion did occur. The radio lit up with reports of an IED hitting a vehicle from the first chalk. We halted our chalk and cautiously dismounted our vehicles, scanning out to 5 meter, 10 meter, 15 meter and 20 meters in front of us for IEDs before we stepped on the ground. A thin plume of smoke billowed up about a mile in the distance. Pulling out my binos, I looked towards the smoke and I saw the movement of other vehicles from the first chalk, but not the stricken vehicle. They were still small in my view, so I couldn’t make out any details, nor could I make out if we had taken casualties. Suddenly, I noticed a glint to my right and trained my binos on top of the roof of one of the two story buildings in the walled village. A bearded man with a radio and binoculars was looking at our stopped convoy and yelling into his radio. I quickly gave my binos to the Italian convoy commander, pointing at the enemy spotter on the roof a half mile away. He shouted a warning into his radio and every second gunner in the convoy pointed their .50 cal. machine guns at the spotter. The other gunners kept a watchful eye out for a potential ambush as the enemy spotter, upon seeing that we were on to him, threw down the radio and the binoculars and ran across the stone balcony and disappeared into a wooden door. Within minutes, an A129 Mangusta Italian attack helicopter was circling overhead, the pilot radioing us and saying that the path was clear of ambushes to the site of the first chalk.
Soon, we were moving again to the site of the IED strike. The first chalk was also moving, slower this time, towards Masyan village. In minutes, we had caught up to where the IED had exploded. An Iveco LMV, the one I was supposed to be in earlier, was sitting in a rocky depression, its front axles blown out. Fortunately, the IED which it hit was a small one, not designed to destroy a vehicle, but to damage it. The Taliban was letting us know that they were watching. Two Italian Freccia wheeled infantry fighting vehicles had secured the site and were working to get the vehicle towed back to the base. None of the Italians in that vehicle were severely injured as the driver and the gunner were arguing over who should have seen the IED first. A few things bothered me. One, How did they know we were coming this way at this time, out in the middle of open desert? We weren’t on any marked trails or roads. Two, if they knew we were coming, why didn’t they plant a larger IED? Why plant such a small IED. Three, the Afghan National Army, the ANA, were the only other ones who knew when and where we were coming. They were supposed to watch the approach route. What happened to them?
As our chalk passed the IED strike site, I took a few pictures of the scene through the wire mesh screen of the armored window. Masyan Village was a few more kilometers away. By then, the first chalk had entered the village and sent out Soldiers to stand guard around the perimeter. Masyan was an ancient village made of rough hewn brick and white stone. The narrow dirt track leading into the main village square ran between two worn down and broken stone walls which opened onto a flat dirt surface. The villagers were gathered there and they greeted us warmly. Immediately, the Italian Soldiers greeted the children, handing out water and treats while the Italian senior leaders met with the village leadership. The villagers were separated by family and lined up as the Italian trucks backed into the village square and Italian Soldiers who weren’t on guard duty were busy preparing to hand out the farming equipment. ANA soldiers were also in the village and I assumed that they were supposed to have been the one’s watching the approach route. They did nothing to help, neither standing guard nor handing out farming equipment or bags of rice and seeds. They simply stood around the villagers, looking intimidating at them. I thought this to be curious behavior and I was tempted to grab one of our interpreters so that I could talk with one of the ANA soldiers to see if they knew anything about an IED that was recently planted along our supposedly secured approach route, a route which the ANA had also crossed and one which they reported as supposedly cleared.
It was then that I noticed a little girl standing somewhat away from the rest of the children. She was around four years old, with olive colored skin, light curly brown hair and bright green eyes. She was dressed in her finest clothing, a light, loose fabric of reds and greens and whites and white sandals. In this harsh land of war and sadness, she flashed me the biggest smile that she could. Smiling from ear to ear, she waved enthusiastically at me and pointed at her right shoulder. She then pointed at my right shoulder. My right shoulder, where my American flag patch was placed.
I smiled back at her, looking for her father so that I could ask permission to give his daughter a gift of bottles of cold water, sweet cakes, and other treats. In Afghanistan, the family unit is extremely important, and showing respect to parents is highly regarded by the villagers. All of a sudden, one of the ANA soldiers, the one which was staring daggers into the villagers, approached the young girl from behind and raised his AK47. With all his might, he brought the wooden butt of the rifle down on the back of the girl’s head with a loud crack. The sweet, smiling, little girl fell down in a heap on the ground.
Now, I have absolutely no idea what happened after that or how much time had elapsed. All I remember was literally seeing red and locking and loading my M4. When I regained my senses, the big, bearded ANA soldier was on his back on the ground, my left boot was crunching his left wrist into the rocks, my right knee was on his chest, and I my M4 was pointing into his mouth. Three Italian Soldiers were trying to get me off him, their M249 Squad Automatic Weapon gunner saying that this is how it is like for the kids in Afghanistan. Another Italian Soldier pointed to the girl. “Look, Sergeant. She is fine. The kids here, they have very thick skulls.”
A female Italian medic was treating the little girl, putting a thick gauze and wrap around the girl’s head. The little girl was frowning, staring angrily at the ANA soldier who had sucker punched her. I allowed the Italians to pull me off the ANA soldier, but I grabbed the interpreter.
“Tell that soldier that I’ll be watching him,” I said, knife handing the ANA soldier as his comrades pulled him up off the ground.
The interpreter spoke nervously to the ANA soldier, and he responded angrily, pointing at me. The interpreter turned pale then looked at me.
“Sir,” the interpreter said. “He says that he also knows you. He says he knows that you are part of the base security, and that he will be watching you.”
“Good,” I said. If I was getting a reputation amongst suspected Taliban infiltrators, then our base security forces were making life difficult for them. “You tell him that next time I catch him alone, I want to ask him a few questions about an IED we encountered on the way up here. The one that he planted.”
The interpreter looked at me with a shocked expression. If he were to say that to a suspected Taliban insurgent wearing ANA clothing, the interpreter’s life would be in serious danger. Already, we had interpreters killed who had warned us of ANA soldiers suspected of being Taliban insurgents. Still, he turned to face the ANA soldier in order to do his job. I stopped the interpreter and shook my head, much to his relief. I pointed at the ANA imposter, glaring at him. He simply spit on the ground and walked around the back the small, one room school that butted up against the stone wall surrounding the village square.
“I think it might be best for you to take perimeter security,” said the Italian convoy commander silently as he approached me.
“I’m sorry, Lieutenant,” I said. “That was attempted murder of a child.”
“Don’t be sorry,” said the Lieutenant. “I agree with you. I’ve noticed that man’s actions before. Every time we go on a mission and he is part of the ANA which are supposed to be helping us, something always goes terribly wrong.”
“Can’t we pull him?” I asked.
“No,” said the Lieutenant. “Regretfully, he is an ANA senior sergeant and a favorite of the ANA commander, Colonel Hasan. I believe he is actually related to the colonel. Don’t worry though. I’ll have a squad of my men watching him.”
I nodded and walked across the village square past dozens of farming families waiting patiently in line under the hot, dry sun to receive their new farming tools and bags of rice, grains, and seeds. On the other side of the dirt road, small flowering gardens and low stone walls surrounded five or six ancient looking white stone houses. I imagine that this was pretty much the way things might have looked during the Biblical days, well, except for the satellite dishes on the roofs. Walking across a field of green scrub brush I joined a squad of four Italian Soldiers facing out across a green pasture of crops waiting to be harvested. In the distance was a rocky foothill with a small waterfall which fed into a stream running along its base. It was, in reality, a completely beautiful sight, untouched and unspoiled by the hands of modern man.
“It is good that you hit that man,” said the Italian Soldier who was standing next to me. She was petite, with tanned skin, a pointed nose, hazel eyes, and long wisps of reddish brown hair that snuck out from under her combat helmet, and like most of the Italian female Soldiers in their battalion, she looked like she could star in a Hollywood action movie. I recognized her as a squad leader and she cradled in her arms an M249 squad automatic weapon. “I do not trust that one.” She said, pointing with her chin in the direction to the ANA soldier I had put on the ground.
“You’ve worked with him before?” I asked.
“Only once before. I didn’t like how he looked at me,” she said. “He had eyes like a snake.”
There was a scowl on her face. “He said his men had checked the area, and that there were no IEDs. That was the day that our Master Sergeant was killed. He was blown up by an IED.”
“I’ve got my eye on that one,” I promised.
“Eh,” she said. “Better if you had just shot him.”
We stood guard over the village and the delivery of the farming supplies for the next three hours until finally, the last piece of equipment and the last bag of rice was handed out. By then, it was late afternoon and the Italians were securing the area and preparing to depart. I was still fuming, alternately looking to find the ANA soldier who had struck the little girl as well as the little girl herself. The group of ANA soldiers, of which there were about a dozen, stood off to the side by the gap in the wall to the village square next to two worn down Toyota Hillux pickup trucks. They were eyeing the Italians suspiciously, and the Italians were keeping a wary eye on them as well. The ANA had wanted to leave early and return to the base, ever since they heard that the Italians had struck an IED, but the Italian mission commander kept them close by, wanting to keep an eye on them during the rough, cross country ride back to base. He didn’t want another “accidental” encounter with an IED.
As I was climbing into my vehicle, the interpreter came up to me, holding something colorful in his hand. He handed it to me and said, “This from her and her mother,” he said, pointing to a small dwelling across from the school yard. Inside the door frame, I saw the little girl who had smiled at me earlier, with a big white bandage covering half her face. She was ducking behind the corner but was still smiling and waving. I waved back, feeling immensely guilty for being the reason why she was hit by the fake ANA soldier. I looked down at the gift. It was a doll made of strong straw and was dressed in the same colorful fabric as the clothing the little girl wore. On the doll’s head was woven red yarn to resemble her reddish hair.
“She made that for you,” said the interpreter. “Her mother said that it will protect you from snakes.”
I held the doll up to my heart and waved back towards the little girl. Her mother came to the thick wooden door, nodded to me slightly, then shut it behind her. I turned and glared in the direction of the ANA as they mounted up on their trucks and led the way back to base. One of them was a traitor and the rest of them said nothing. It wasn’t over between me and the one who hit that little girl, not by a long shot.
The weeks following the mission I returned to my normal duties at base security operations. Needless to say, because of the operational security of our mission, I will not go into any details as to how we conducted operations. Suffice it to say that we had many assets with which to defend the base and the perimeter, including heavily armored Humvees mounting a variety of weapons, as well as M-ATVs which was basically a combination of a Humvee and a giant dune buggy with lots of armor and which was mine resistant. Like our armored Humvees, they could mount anything from heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, to Gatling guns. We had loaned four of these M-ATV’s to the nearby Special Forces camp and they ended up welding mounts on them to pack on even more heavy weapons as well as bolted on even more armor. In the end, those four M-ATVs looked less like military vehicles and more like Mad Max vehicles which were jacked on steroids and road rage. The M-ATV was the work horse in Afghanistan and we used these rugged, multi-role assault vehicles for everything from convoy security, patrols, and highway mine clearance. I took the doll which the little girl had made for me and hung it from the sun visor in the truck commander’s seat.
Our security operations compound was surrounded by high, prefabricated walls known as Hesco barriers. These walls were made of a thick, durable canvas fabric caged inside a heavy duty aluminum mesh. Once emplaced, they are filled with sand and gravel and would create an instant wall barrier that provided protection against small arms fire, heavy machine gun fire and indirect mortar fire. Placed side by side and even stacked one on top of another, a Hesco barrier defense can create an instant fire base or defensive fighting position almost anywhere. One side of our Hesco barriers lined a narrow paved road. On the other side of the road was another line of Hesco barriers that formed the perimeter of the ANA compound. The narrow road ended at a T-junction and, because the Hesco barriers went straight to the turn, they created a blind spot in that part of the road.
It was late in the afternoon on one particular day and I was eager to start my shift. I had chosen to work security operations at night not because the temperature was cooler and more pleasant, but because that was when the Taliban were the most active. There were rumors that ANA officers were cracking down on Taliban fighters who were infiltrating into the ANA ranks and there had been mass desertions of ANA soldiers who, presumably were Taliban in disguise. Talk had been spreading among our interpreters that the ANA soldier whom I had encountered in Masyan village had even threatened to kill the commanding officer of our base security. There were four of us in the M-ATV, myself, my driver up front, and two riflemen in the back as we approached the blind spot in the road on the way to the security operations compound.
My driver had to inch forward in order to see around the corner and honked the horn of the M-ATV. I also looked right to make sure that the path was clear when, all of a sudden, I heard the roar of a moped engine speeding in our direction. My driver honked the horn again, but the bearded ANA solder didn’t stop, instead speeding up even more and actually turning in order to hit my truck commander compartment. I immediately lowered my window to try to get a shot at the guy, but knowing that he was going to hit us before I could.
The impact sent the moped careening into the Hesco barrier on our side of the road. It impacted so hard that it bounced off the ground and hit the Hesco barrier on the ANA side of the road where it lay in a smoking heap. I climbed out of the M-ATV, my rifle pointed at the ANA soldier. Most of him was laid out in a bloody pile on the road, looking like a deflated blow-up doll with what arms and legs that were still attached to his torso splayed out in impossible angles. Sure enough, it was the ANA soldier from Masyan village whom I suspected to be a traitor. I looked back at my M-ATV. There was absolutely no damage on it at all. This should have been impossible, given how hard the impact on the scooter had tossed it across both sides of the road. But there wasn’t even a scratch on the paint. The ANA soldier had hit something hard, but it wasn’t us. It was like he struck, for lack of a better term, an invisible wall.
Later on, the investigation found that the twenty pounds of explosives which had been strapped on the moped, explosives stolen from the ANA armory, had failed to detonate from the impact. In addition, another traitor disguised as an ANA soldier was arrested. He was in one of the ANA guard towers, observing us and radioing to the now splattered Taliban infiltrator on the location of our M-ATV so that he could ram us at the blind turn.
My security teams kept watch as we made the ANA explosive disposal unit, or EOD, secure the VBIED, or vehicle borne IED, and secure it with the Italians. Meanwhile their ANA compatriots scooped up the mess of the Taliban insurgent off the road with shovels and unceremoniously dumped the remains in a rubber bag. The doll that the little girl made for me swayed gently in the cool evening breeze inside the cab of my armored M-ATV- the doll which had protected me from snakes. I did not travel back to Masyan Village, having spent the rest of the deployment focused strictly on base defense, but I prayed for that little child’s safety for many years after, even through subsequent deployments back to the Middle East.
Post script-
A few years later, after a tour of duty in Iraq, I flew to the city of Hannover in Germany to blow off steam and get away for a while. Walking down the famous party district called the Stein Tur (the Stone Door) I saw a block down the street a restaurant and bakery called the Herat Bakery. Now, Herat Province was where my forward operating base was located when I served in Afghanistan. The smells of baked breads and roasted meats on the spit were wonderful and brought back a few fond memories of that mostly miserable deployment and of a little girl who had woven for me a colorful gift. I stepped into the shop as I had missed the locally baked flat bread in Herat, and instantly smiled, fighting to stop the tears from running down my face. A little girl with familiar bright green eyes and curly light brown hair, a few years older now, stood with her mother behind the counter and waved at me with a bright smile.
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2020.09.03 20:44 Edwardthecrazyman Sample of Eves

The room smelled of sweat, ash, and thick dew. Adam sat upon his bed and stroked the knotty rope clasped in his hands over his lap. The single room apartment was small and dark with only bits of morning light coming in through the blinded window adjacent the bed. The carpeted area that segmented the area where his ‘bedroom’ sat was stained and short. While he contemplated what he intended to do next, his eyes strayed over the yellowy walls and exposed piping that made up the ceiling. A bucket sat in the corner, catching a drip, drip, drip from the molded black spot above it.
Thick swollen skin rested underneath Adam’s eyes. The young man shifted and watched the dust particles drift and swim in the air, highlighted by the beams of light coming through his window. It was calming, almost. The surreal nature of what Adam intended to do was not lost on him. To be entirely fair, he’d never thought he was such a melodramatic fellow. The thick pipe running the length of his ceiling drew his attention and he wondered, not for the first time, whether the thing would support the weight of a full-grown person.
A wobbly looking folding chair was positioned in front of his knees. He sat the rope next to him on the bed and stood, shifting the chair further from the bed, hoping to align the chair with the overhead pipe. Not many people would look for him. His family was either dead or dead to him. He’d not heard from any of his past friends for more than months. It would probably be sometime next month before his gaunt, fidgety land lady smelled his corpse hanging inside of the room she rented to the strange loner. What a cliché that would be and what a cliché it is for him to know it was so ad infinitum. It reminded him of the intro of every crime show. The Who’s song played in his head and he chuckled at his own misfortune.
Adam wanted to scream into his pillow and weep out every single sorrowful song in his heart, but there had been enough of that. He was all cried out. His eyes were perpetually dry. So, he let out a sound approximating sadness and lifted the rope from his bed, lifting his feet up and planting them on the chair, then tossed the rope around the pipe. There’d been a time during his contemplation when he wondered whether he should play himself out with some sad song on a loop from the dusty radio sitting on his dresser but had decided against it. What would he have played anyway? Something gothic? Maybe something funnier like a Temptations track. That’d surely mess with his land lady when she would inevitably find him. He could picture it in his head:
The door to his small abode rattles as she presses the key in and swings the door inward. The sound of “My Girl” on repeat, rebounds off the walls. She screams and never forgets what song was playing.
The absurdity caught him a snigger, but his mouth corners quickly turned downward as he prepared for what was to come next. His eyes were glazed and dreamy as he slipped the rope around his neck and tightened the noose. Adam focused on the scent of the room, the daylight spilling in, the dust motes dancing like little fighter pilots attempting to machine gun each other from the air.
He wobbled to the left.
Wobbled to the right.
Cha-cha.
Just as he was readying to kick the chair from beneath his feet, a loud rapping came upon the door to his apartment. Adam jerked his attention to the door and nearly flew off the chair, his face one of pure surprise. The rope tightened around his neck and his shoes slipped along the metal surface of the folding chair’s seat. He grabbed the rope above his head and steadied himself, gasping and gagging as the rope tightened around his throat. After sputtering and going red in the face, he loosened the noose from around his neck and let it dangle in the open air in front of him.
Another knock-knock on the door.
Who’s there? Wondered Adam miserably.
What a joke that had been. He’d known he was going to kill himself and yet at the very notion of having a visitor, he chickened out. But he wasn’t chickening out. He would go and see who was at the door then go about his business. He silently promised himself that he would die that day.
Adam moved across the single room like a ghostly slow specter, sure that the person on the other side of the door was gone. Of course they would be. It wasn’t exactly the norm for him to have people come by and check on him. Adam held the doorknob in his hand and waited. And waited. And waited. He looked back over his shoulder, watching the rope dangle from the pipe listlessly. It almost seemed to call to him in its lazy gentle sway.
The sharp knock came again, and he felt the door shake in his hand as the sound reverberated through the metal. Adam jumped at this and unlocked the door, swinging it inward. He guffawed at the person standing there to meet him in the filthy apartment hallway. It was a little girl with a beret and sash. Upon the sash were an innumerable number of patches and pins fighting for dominance. Behind her was a red plastic open-top wagon. Her pigtails bobbed as she cocked her head up at him.
“Hello,” she said timidly. The little girl pulled a clipboard in front of her face and read through the prewritten lines. “W-would you like to buy cookies to help fund my troop’s trip to Washington?”
The wide eyed, disheveled, and greasy skinned man stared down at her, unblinking. “Washington?”
“Ye-Yes sir. We’ve almost hit our goal, but if we don’t hit our goal then none of us can go. If you purchase a box of cookies, you’d put us one step closer to making our dream a reality!” The little girl’s voice came out quick and stuttering. She was red in the cheeks. “I-If you decide to purchase more than five boxes of cookies, we have a tier list of rewards. M-my favorite is the coffee mug.”
“Coffee mug?” Adam was in a dream. He was stupefied at the situation before him. His shoulders were pinched into sharp peaks as he stared down at her. “You don’t look like someone who would drink coffee to me!” His voice was deranged, and he chuckled to himself, although the laugh came out in a far more maniacal manner than he’d ever intended. I must look insane. Of course, he did. Quite insane.
“N-no sir. My mom says I’m too young to drink coffee.”
Adam nodded sympathetically. “I hear that, kid. I sure do.”
“Would you like any coo-
“Do you know what monsters are?”
The little girl glanced down to the floor and traced the hem of her skirt, awkwardly bobbing back and forth on the balls of her feet.
“Do. You. Know. What. Monsters. Are?”
She nodded.
“Do you know what a monster looks like?”
The little girl looked around quizzically, as if studying the molding on the door frame.
Adam jumped off the ground a few inches and threw his arms into the air, arching them well over his head, and belted out a loud growl.
The girl shook, screamed, pivoted, and tripped over the handle of her plastic wagon, sending the papers on her clipboard flying into the air. She scrambled to her feet and disappeared down the hallway and around the corner. Adam smiled to himself and looked at the mess before him, then lifted the pull handle of the wagon and yanked it into his apartment, wheeling it onto the linoleum floor of his kitchenette. He locked his door and laughed to himself.
The smile began to fade as he looked back to his hanging rope. A sigh escaped him. Why am I like this? He took wide dramatic steps across the floor until he met the carpet and flopped on his unframed bed. It was time once again. He was going to do it. He was going to do it. He was going to do it. It’s not that hard, you know. It would be easy enough if he could close his eyes and have the whole world taken from him, but it would never work that way. He wondered how many people before him took their own life. What was it like for them? Did they go back and forth? Did they pace about it? Did they do it without even thinking about the repercussions? Adam remembered reading somewhere that committing suicide was nearly always a spur of the moment sort of thing, but he’d been thinking about it for a long time. He would be struck with waves of overwhelming nausea. The sickness in his head would seep into his body and send him into a full-on physical spiral of self-deprecation and hate.
His pillow smelled like BO and he grimaced at this as he was sure that he smelled the same. Adam rifled through the mess of sheets around him and found his deck of smokes, popping one into his mouth and lighting it, puffing, and watching the smoke drift into the exposed ceiling. His entire body ached, and his eyes were heavy. He was just so damned tired all the time. How was it that everyone else always seemed to have no problem dealing with this whole life thing? Was it just him? Well, he knew it wasn’t just him. He’d tried therapy in a group before, but never told the truth; perhaps if he had he could have gotten the help he truly needed. Did he even want the kind of help he needed? What was it about him that always forced him to cut his legs out from under him?
Adam flicked the ashes from the tip of his burning cigarette off the bed and onto the carpet; it wasn’t like he needed to worry about self-maintenance anyway. He was going to kill himself after all.
The whole world seemed trivial and unimportant. His stomach turned over. He’d been walking through his own life like an automaton. Eat, sleep, defecate, repeat. The only time he ever really felt happy was when he would bury his head away under a blanket and sleep. There, in dreams or blackness, he wasn’t himself.
He choked as the orange filter began to burn. He rose into a sitting position, coughing, and running the fiery end of the cigarette along the yellowy wall, leaving a few long black streaks upon it. Adam flicked the butt across the room, watching it bounce along the carpeted floor until it came to rest at the foot of his closet-sized bathroom door. The wagon sitting next to the kitchen counter gave him a giggle as he remembered the image of the little girl shrieking and falling over.
The chair still stood in its spot, waiting for him, calling to him. He moved from the bed and gripped the rope in his right hand, feeling the coarse texture of the line and swallowing hard. It’s time, He thought.
Then came another knock on the door. This time it was thicker, as though someone were pounding against the door with the side of their fist instead of their knuckles. He stared at the door and then back at the hanging rope in his hand. He sighed and resolved to let whoever was on the other side of the door just knock away to their heart’s content. He was done with excuses and distractions. It was going to be now or never. Adam began to pull his leg up to step onto the chair’s seat as a voice from the other side of the apartment door called out.
“Hey, I know you’re in there! I’m pretty sure I can hear you moving around.”
At first, Adam didn’t recognize the voice coming from the other side. His mind raced. Who could that be? It was so familiar. Then something clicked in his mind. It was Randy. He’d not seen Randy in ages. What could possibly bring him by?
Not so long ago, Adam and Randy were an inseparable duo, getting into all sorts of shenanigans. They would graffiti the library entrance and run just as sirens began to blare in the distance. They would smoke dope and watch South Park. They would drink until they were both well into a blind screaming match. And then they would both wake up to swelling wounds all over their faces. It was a strange relationship, without a doubt, but one that Adam had once cherished as much as someone like him could. As friends often do, they drifted. Randy worked long hours after receiving a job at the furniture factory and Adam stopped calling. Something inside of Adam pulled at his delicate heart strings and forced out a reply.
“Who is it?”
“Goddammit! You know who it is.” Shouted Randy from the hallway. Adam watched the doorknob jostle.
“What do you want?” Adam was all too aware of the fact that he had rounded the chair and was tentatively approaching the locked door.
“I figured I’d check on you. I tried calling, but I guess your phone’s off or something.” That was true. Adam turned his phone off when he was positive that he was going to kill himself. Fewer distractions that way.
Adam reached his hand out and flicked the lock sideways, then twisted the knob, letting the door swing in slowly. Randy filled the doorway with his broad quarterback shoulders and round goateed face. Randy looked downward at Adam as he probably had a good half a foot on him. The larger man’s face lit up and then the sparkle in his eye faded as he peered into Adam’s room then back at Adam. I’m sure I look like shit.
“You look like shit, man.” Said Randy.
“It’s good to see you too.” Said Adam, raising his eyebrows at him.
Randy pushed his trucker cap back on his head, revealing the sandy hair that clung to his forehead. “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” said Randy, shaking his head, “You doing alright?”
“Can I be honest with you?” asked Adam.
Randy waited.
“I have never been better in my entire fucking life.” Adam followed this up with a half smirk. He could feel his shoulders relaxing as he fell into the sarcastic routine he often played with Randy.
“Aren’t you going to’ invite an old friend in?”
Adam realized he’d been blocking the doorway and shifted to let Randy enter his piddly apartment. As Randy stepped in and Adam closed the door behind him, he let out a long whistle, and approached the hanging rope near the bed. Randy batted the rope to and fro like a tired cat.
“Seems you’re in a pickle.” Said Randy.
“I guess you could say that.” Adam continued. “What exactly does being ‘in a pickle’ mean?”
Randy shrugged and grinned while picking up the folding chair and moving it to the linoleum so that he could sit in it like a hip teacher. “Guess it’s worse than being in a cucumber.”
“That’s dumb.”
“Never said it wasn’t.”
Adam moved to the kitchenette and leaned against the counter with his lower back, crossing his arms. “What brings you here on such a beautiful day?”
“Can’t a guy just check up on an old friend?”
“You say that, but I’m not so sure we’re friends anymore.” Adam smiled wryly at the sitting man.
“That’s out right offensive, you know.” Randy leered at him then put his hand over his heart to mock offense. There was an unmistakable crease in the outside corners of his eyes. He averted his attention to the wagon of girl-scout cookies sitting on the floor. “Got a bit of a sweet tooth, eh?”
“I guess you could say that.”
Randy craned over and lifted a bright green box from the packages, ripping the top off, and slid a plastic wrapped sleeve of minty cookies out into his hand. He absently nibbled at one and then pointed the cookie at Adam, “You need to get out more.”
“I get out enough.” He knew it was a lie. The only times he ever left the apartment was to buy smokes or work his overnight clerk job at the Citgo down the street.
“Look at you.” Randy motioned at Adam. “You’re wasting away over there. You’ve got these cookies here and you look like you’re waiting for the Allies to rescue you from Auschwitz.”
He knew Randy was right, but what was the reason to eat? Nothing brought him any real joy. Everything tasted as good as sand and Adam had long given up on eating for pleasure. He would simply wait until his body was shaky and his head was light until he would heat up a frozen burrito or pack of ramen in the sad microwave on the counter. The devices walls were caked in a layer of unknown greases and so it was that everything he removed from the metal box tasted like some weird amalgamation of everything he’d made over the past year.
“Sometimes I forget to eat.”
Randy shrugged. “I guess, man.”
Adam’s attention focused back to the hanging rope in the room. Try as he might, he couldn’t stop himself from glancing over at it every few seconds. Randy seemed to notice this and shot him a funny look.
“What were you planning on doing with that?” asked Randy.
“I don’t know. I didn’t really like the flow of the room before. Figured it should brighten things up. My interior decorator thought it was swell.”
“There’s easier ways to do it, I’ve heard.” Said Randy.
“Do what?”
“Guns are pretty quick and painless. You could always down a bunch of pills. If the pills work, it’s supposed to just knock you right out.” Randy snapped his fingers and gulped down another minty cookie. “Of course, if your body rejects them, you end up in a pile of your own vomit or so I hear.” He looked Adam up and down. “Though given the smell of the place and the way you look, I’d guess that wouldn’t be something that’d bother you.”
“Eh, fuck you.” Adam shifted in his position against the counter. “How’s work been?”
Randy chewed slowly. “It’s alright. It’s work.” He stood quickly, tossing the half-eaten sleeve of cookies onto the counter and slapped his hands together, rubbing the crumbs away. “It’s time we got your lily-white ass some sun. C’mon” He turned away and started for the door but turned to look back when he realized Adam wasn’t following him. “C’mon” he repeated.
Adam sighed and put up a finger. “Let me shower first.”
Randy waited in the kitchenette while Adam crept into the closet sized bathroom and bathed. As the water rushed down Adam’s body, he watched the soap bubbles rush to the drain and disappear. After he felt he’d reached all the crevices of his thin body, he toweled off and put his clothes back on. Before exiting, he played with his face in the fogged mirror, pulling his mouth out into a smile, and pushing his face cheeks into strange positions. After a few light slaps across his own face, he left the room.
Randy was on the bed, toying with the radio. When he looked up at Adam he grinned, “You really got to’ get a TV or something.”
“Or something.”
“Look atcha’! Like a million bucks!”
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2020.08.31 16:13 JoshuaLudwig19 [SF] Science Fiction/ [HR] Horror The 5th Horseman I - The Dreamcatcher (Pt. 1)

After years of tension, the conflict between the world's great powers finally errupted into a nuclear firestorm. Due to advanced weaponry and stubborn common sense, the effects were less drastic than expected. Still, the war turned the forests and plains of eastern Europeinto a depopulated, bizarre no man's land. Ivan Fyodorovitsh Ivanov roams these wastes on his motorcycle. An ex-special forces captain on the run from his former comrades, he's a friend to few and a stranger to all. They call him - The 5th Horseman.
„Nikolai! Nikolai, wake up!‟ Nikolai sweared and opened his eyes. So much for the forests and calm rivers of his dream. Instead, he now had to blink into the merciless orange of the mid-day sun again. The tree-covered meadows made way for a stubble of yellowish grass. „What is it, damn it?‟, Nikolai growled, looking down to the gate, where his comrade was standing. Pavel pointed into the distance. „Look!‟, he called. „Somebody‛s coming. Come on, get your rifle up!‟ Pavel‛s voice turned more quiet towards the end, meaning that Nikolai had to guess which insult the other guard had thrown at him. His guess was idiot peasant, Pavel‛s favourite. Grumbling, Nikolai did as Pavel had asked and raised his rifle to his shoulder. Before he had even glanced through the scope, he already knew that Pavel had been right. There really was a man coming down from the hills. The stranger was moving slowly and carefully, and not just because the slope was steep. He was holding his hands avove his head, knowing full well that he was being watched, aimed at. „I see him!‟, Nikolai said, more quietly than before. „What now?‟ „Take him out, if you want.‟ Pavel couldn‛t possibly have sounded any less interested. But Nikolai's finger stayed away from the trigger. „No.‟, the guard answered. He would wait. Through the lens, Nikolai watched as the stranger came ever closer to the settlement. Neither the simple guard tower Nikolai was standing on, nor the wire fence around the old factory grounds seemed to be doing anything to keep him away. Quite the opposite, in fact. Nikolai could hardly blame the man. After all, settlements were a rarity this side of the river. And on top of that, the man was coming from the east. God knows how long he‛d been travelling on his own. It was probably his hunger which was drawing him towards the settlement. In any case, the captain would want to speak with the man. „Hold it!‟, Nikolai called, as soon as the stranger had come close enough to the gate. The man stopped. Immediately. One foot next to the other. Pavel took over. „Turn around! Put your gun on the ground!‟ The stanger was already turning. He knew the procedure. A moment later, his pistol was on the grass beside him, next to his knife and backpack. The stranger himself was getting back up. „Turn around!‟, Pavel repeated. „Come here!‟ Then, when the stranger was standing in front of him, he continued: „What do you want? What‛s your name?‟ „My name‛s Simyon Fyodorovitsh Tshernov… I want to buy some supplies.‟ The stranger‛s voice was hoarse and rough, weak, actually, but there was something in it which carried the words all the way up to Nikolai. The guard leaned over the railing of the tower and watched, while Pavel was speaking to the new arrival. The barrel of his rifle had become twitchy. „U-huh… Simyon Fyodorovitsh. Wants supplies.‟ Pavel didn‛t allow himself to be intimidated, neither by the stranger‛s look, nor by the croaking of the man‛s voice. „And where are you from, Simyon?‟ „Kulanka.‟, the stranger answered. „A little town, far to the east.‟ „Kulanka.‟ Pavel looked the stranger up and down. „Nonsense.‟, he decided. Silently, Nikolai agreed with his comrade. Everything about the stranger was telling a different story than his mouth, beginning with his laced boots: His grey trousers with the knee pads, the turtleneck under his field jacket and, of course, his pale, beardless face. The man was dressed like a soldier and his skin belonged to somebody who had spent the better part of his life in the neon lights of the bunkers. He hardly knew the gleaming sun, just now disappearing behind discoloured clouds. But if there was one thing which definitely gave the stranger away, it was his weapons. He had to be a bandit or a deserter. Good for him that the guards didn‛t care either way. As long as he was on his own and had money, at least. Nikolai saw Pavel‛s smile. No gang would be stupid enough to send a scout in a get-up like this one. But maybe the stranger knew something useful, anyway. „All right, Simyon from Kulanka.‟, said the gatekeeper, „We‛ll let you in. Under two conditions. One: Your weapons stay here. Two: You go straight down the path, to the low building smells of beer. No sightseeing. You go in there and rent a room ‛till tomorrow. Then you stay there ‛till the captain sends someone to get you. Got it?‟ The stranger nodded. „And what do you say?‟ „No objections.‟, answered the stanger, nodding again. „Great. Get going, then.‟
Lenka was just cleaning glasses when the man came in. The rag, which had been rotating until a second ago, stopped dead. True, the girl hadn‛t been working at the bar for long, but she had already learnt how recognise trouble when it was coming in her direction. There were two sorts of trouble, Lenka knew: The one that was inevitable, the sort which you could only kick out right after it had come stomping through the door, and the one simmering quietly. That sort you could disarm, if you knew exactly what you were doing. This man looked like the latter kind. Lenka smiled. „Hello, stranger. What can I do for you?‟ The new arrival stepped to the bar. The three men sitting there barely took notice of him. The indifference of Misha, the drinker, convinced Lenka, just like that of Vanya, who had been patrolling the settlement last night. The third man, however, was a stranger, too. Lenka didn‛t fail to observe that he was watching the second stranger from the corner of his eye, not moving his head. The newcomer didn‛t seem to notice anything. „The boys at the gate told me to take a room at your place.‟, the man answered, pulling back one of the stools. „That possible?‟ Lenka smiled on and proactively tapped a beer. „If you can pay. Our rooms are never all taken.‟ The stranger reached into his pocket and produced a pack of cigarettes. Now the others were watching. The pack was white and blue, with a two-headed eagle on it and golden tin foil inside. The cigarettes were long and even. The had filters. Those weren‛t any of the sloppily rolled fags normally used to trade in these parts. The stranger was from the bunkers. „Looks good‟, Lenka answered. „One of those and the room is yours ‛till tomorrow. 4, and you can stay all week.‟ „Until tomorrow‛s enough.‟ The stranger shook one of the lean cigarettes out and held the pack out to Lenka. When she reached for it, all hell broke loose. „Fuckin‛ traitor!‟, spat the other stranger, swinging his bottle at the unknown man‛s head. The new arrival dodged quickly and jumped off the stool. When he had landed, his arm darted forward, grabbing the other stranger‛s free hand. His fingers grabbed the stranger at the wrist, pushing the small pistol which had slid out of the stranger‛s sleeve up to the ceiling. Several coughing shots punched new holes into the tin roof. Orange light was cutting through the dusty air, crossing the rays which had made it through the shutters. Only now Lenka screamed. Misha the drinker fell backwards, off his stool. Vanya ran. Fine cigarettes were rolling across the bar. Meanwhile the new arrival was ramming his fist into the attacker‛s chest and stomach. When the man bent forward, the knee followed, right into his face. The attacker fell onto his back. His gun had magically ended up in the second stranger‛s hand. „Bastard.‟, growled the pale man, then he fired the rest of the magazine into the other man‛s chest. Next, he put down the empty gun in front of Lenka, totally calm. „Vodka.‟, he asked, ponting at one of the scattered cigarettes. Lenka had just fetched the bottle from under the counter, when the door flew open. „Hand‛s behind your head, pig!‟, shouted Pavel. He, Nikolai and Vanya came in side by side, every man carrying an assault rifle. All of the three barrels were trembling. The stranger gave the vodka bottle a wistful look, sighed and did as they had told him. „Guess your boss is in a hurry to see me now?‟, he asked. „Shut up!‟, Pavel scoffed. „Get up! You‛re coming with us!‟ Lenka watched as the four men left. Right now she was reconsidering every single thing she‛d thought to know about trouble.
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2020.08.30 07:31 SynthoStellar Legacy of Man: Empire Rising Ch 8

The Legacy of Man: Empire Rising

Chapter Eight

First Chapter
Previous Chapter
The light of the big shiny in the sky awoke Hagrum. Letting out a deep groan as he stretched, he gave a grunt as the injuries of his duel with Yag ached. He didn't care. Today was the day, and he's not letting anything stop him.
Scratching the itches on his face, he exited his boss tent and greeted his new boys. Looks like nobody killed each other while he wasn't looking, good. The more boys he has, the better.
"Tora." Hagrum spoke firmly once he spotted his second, who immediately stood to attention. "Spread the word. It's time. We's headin' down to the reddie camps for the best smashin' ever."
"Right, boss!" Tora grinned widely, already rushing to it. Hagrum could feel it. The need to smash, to kill. It's rising. But above all else, he's about to smack the gob out of that Blood-Covered Reddie for all the mocking he's been doing to him.
If that reddie thinks he's so tough that he can walk around, saying what he wants, Hagrum's going to challenge that. If he really is that tough, it'd be really simple for him to stop Hagrum from smashing his things.
He can also feel it from his boys. The air. It's one of those things you just know. Walking through the air, you can tell it's different. Hard to place, but very obvious. Why not rile them up a bit? That'll make things fun after all.
Finding the tallest wooden platform he could find, he let out a bellowing roar to call attention. Every body within the new Ironhead Boys camp all turned to him, knowing he's about to say something.
"Alright, boys, this is it!" Hagrum declared with a wide, bloodthirsty grin, his still, if faintly, red from the blood of Yag. "I knows you all heard about the Blood-Covered Reddie. What he's been doin', how tough he is. Makes you wonder though, he's good at fightin', we can't lie about that. But! Is he even a good boss? If we decide to take a stroll down to his camp, smash up a few things and take his shinies, is he tough enough to keep his boys together?"
The Ironhead Boys too voiced their curiosity at such a question, some of them growing excited at the prospect of fighting.
"That's what we're doin'!" Hagrum said, thrusting his smasha into the air. "Now, we's marchin' on down to his camps, where the rest of the reddies are! We's gonna smash 'em up proper, take some boys and girls, but obviously their shinies too! That reddie thinks he's so tough when fightin' us in our own camps? Let's see how he does when we takes the fight to his own camps!"
The Ironhead Boys let loose a cheer, their appetite for slaughter once again whetted.
"I'll warn all of you's though." Hagrum interrupted. "It's a fair bit of walkin' that! If things go according to plan, I reckon we'll be there after the big shiny in the sky woke up about a few times. But, I promise all of you's! Stick with it, and we'll be rollin' in shinies, more so than we could possibly know what to do with! Have so much reddies to play with, you'll actually have to work hard just to go through 'em!"
The Ironhead Boys went into a frenzy, now demanding the order to be given to march. Hagrum let out a prideful laugh. With one, ear-splitting roar, he gave the order to advance. And in one fluid, if chaotic, motion, the Ironhead Boys grabbed their smashas, slashas and cuttas and filed out of the fortified camp.
Within a few days time, the redrak villages closest to the Devil's Spine Mountains will experience the green tide of ormels.
Parnax Village.
Finally, Derek knew sleep. Every time he tried when he had tetanus, or ironbone as the local redrak called it, he just couldn't stay asleep. He always woke up, panicked as he was having a nightmare, only to learn it was his reality.
And that pain. By God, never in his entire life had he ever endured such pain brought about by the poison. It was as if he was burning alive from the inside. He swears that he even felt several of his muscles snap from the constant clenching.
Now however, it's gone. Now it's just a dull, deep and intense ache that he'll have to deal with for a few days, but at least he's finally getting better.
Waking up, he found Jurn beside him, close, but not enough to be considered provocative. It was strange. Having been an only child, and never having gone out attempting to get a date, this was probably the most affection he's ever received. As is the case, since he's still acclimating, he felt uncomfortable and awkward. But compared to when Jurn first tried it, it's receding quite a bit. Now, after a brief moment, he felt something else.
The comforting warmth of someone who cares for him, even if it isn't romantic or sexual. He couldn't help but let out a wide smile. Because of this, he realized that he desperately craved for affection. He just didn't know it before. Giving in, Derek nestled somewhat against Jurn.
Could this be a hold-over from the rats of his time? They're a highly communal species, living packed together. Where dogs and cats, depending on the owner, would get their very own bed all to themselves, rats would sleep with each other grouped up. Maybe the rats that stayed on earth, when they evolved or even mutated, they carried on some of those experiences and formed them as a distinct part of their culture.
Even then, Derek doesn't think he'll mind all that much. Especially if it all will make him all warm and fuzzy like he feels now. Perhaps that's just the affection-starved person in him. He had friends, yeah, but they didn't last long. Some moved out, others just drifted apart. He got used to being on his own, sometimes even thought it was for the better after experiencing how exhausted he would feel just going out and talking to people.
"Looks like you slept okay, hm?" Jurn said softly, then rubbing Derek's back. "And it also seems you're adjusting well to the idea of someone watching over you during the night."
Derek let out a little sigh. "Never really experienced something like this. It's...still weird to me, but...I think it's growing on me."
"That's good...it's a thing everyone here does, not just in Parnax." Jurn smiled, patting Derek. "There's no better comfort than the idea that someone is right next to you if you're in trouble, yeah?"
"With the world we're in? Yeah." Derek nodded. While his mind still wandered onto just how easy it was for other things to happen, probably the source of why it still bothers him to some degree, the idea that it was done solely because the person truly does care for you does speak to him. He's actually even considering making such an offer sometime into the future if he feels the need to.
"Well." Jurn said as he stretched, letting out a groan as he did. "Time for breakfast, and then, seeing what today brings us. Let me help."
Jurn offered his hand after he got out of the bed. Derek gripped it and then leaned on Jurn once he too was out of bed. Although it wasn't truly pain, the best way he can describe how he's feeling is if he went extremely hardcore into every kind of exercise imaginable, doing it to the extent he probably would've dropped dead.
Still, learning about the world still occupies his mind. How he had to endure an entire day and night just to see some kind of doctor. Learning the dangers that infested the land outside the village.
He didn't like it. It just made him miss his old world all the more. Made him miss his best friends, his former pet rats.
And just like how one person would snap under stress, he felt a snap of determination. He doesn't know what he's going to do, or how he'll do it, but he just can't stand the idea of living in a world like this. It has to change. And if he can do it in a way that brings back what humans have made, even better. And with that, he quickly found out what his first step was. Get an idea of what age the world is at. He spotted copper being used, in addition to heavy usage of stone, though by appearance they weren't crudely cut, there was refinement to them. Could he be in the Bronze Age of some sort? Maybe even the Iron Age? He needs to know.
"Uh, excuse me!" Lasidius exclaimed when the two left the room. "Derek needs to be resting, what are you doing?"
"A man needs to eat, right?" Jurn responded with a grin. "I'm just giving him breakfast. If you really think so, I'll bring him right back."
"I happen to have a clean copper tray on hand, tiban." Lasidius said with an unamused tone. "Derek, if you'd tell me what you'd like, I can bring you breakfast in bed."
"Uh...no preference." Derek shrugged after a moment of pause, but then had a slight worry. "Wait, does that mean I have to stay in bed, all day?"
"That is resting, yes." Lasidius nodded.
"Wha...what am I supposed to do then?" Derek exclaimed. "What can I do in bed?!"
"I can think of a few things." Jurn said casually with a shrug. Derek slowly gazed over to Jurn, immediately catching what he was implying. All that did was make Jurn laugh.
"We can always talk, Derek." Lasidius said with some offense.
"I know we can, but an entire day?" Derek countered. "Do you really want to talk for an entire, full day?"
"Come on, Lasidius." Jurn joined in. "I'm not going to make him work the fields or anything like that. I'll help him around, keep him away from doing anything too intense."
Lasidius' faced tensed with frustrated disappointment and internal debate. After several moments, he let out a defeated sigh. "Fine, as much as I don't like the idea, I can't force you. Just promise me you'll make sure to let his body fix itself properly?"
"Hey, don't get me wrong, Lasidius." Derek said with a hand raised defensively. "I know how bad it was, I'm not interested in having a reminder about it for the rest of my life. I won't overdo anything, I promise."
Lasidius let another sigh. "Alright, but I will still remain here for, say, a couple days. If something happens, even if it's something I warned you about, please find me right away."
"We promise." Jurn nodded, then proceeded to help Derek over to the table. Lasidius returned to his room, berating himself for what could be a very bad mistake on his part.
At the table, Jurn already set out the food from the cupboards along the wall. There were two large, copper plates set down first. The first contained a variety of fruit. Derek could see apples, grapes, pears, even an orange or two. The second plate had evenly-sliced bread. After the plates came three containers, also copper. Watching Jurn, he saw that the most basic looking of the containers had water in it. Maybe the other two were condiments?
"Go ahead, take what looks good to you!" Jurn offered, already filling up his own plate. Although Derek was slightly disappointed there was no meat, he won't complain. After taking several grapes, a couple of apples and an orange, finishing with a good amount of sliced bread, he then filled up his cup of water and began dining with Jurn.
"So, Derek?" Jurn began after finishing a grape. "If it's not too much trouble, what are your friends like? Scarface and the others?"
Derek munched on his apple as he thought for a bit, needing to present it in a different way since it'll reveal his Promel origin otherwise. "Well, I'll tell you this. Scarface has one hell of a temper. I remember one time, he got this new toy from, uh, a trader that came by. He really loved it. One day though, when I came home, where we usually spend time together, I heard a pretty nasty fight going on. Turns out, Splinter's been wanting a turn with the toy for a while, and Scarface wouldn't let him. So, when Splinter went and took the toy, trying to play with it on his own, Scarface found him and just started really going at him. I actually thought he was going to hurt him there."
"Has Scarface's mother never taught him how to be nice to others?" Jurn asked with some shock.
Derek was silent for a moment, both in altering his answer as well as what the memory brought out in him. "He...um...let's just say, they don't exactly have the best relationship."
"Ah...I see." Jurn nodded in understanding. "What about his father?"
"Uh...he...ran when he learned that Scarface's mother was pregnant." Derek stammered a bit. "Or so I've heard."
Jurn was silent. Derek could smell the change in his scent again. Was that anger? He can't remember. Within a short time, Jurn then said, "I won't dig deeper then."
"Now that I've mentioned him, Splinter?" Derek continued. "He's always been a quiet person. I mean, he's not like, planning any ill deeds or anything. It's just...he's a little hard to know at times. Never makes it easy to know what he's thinking. Doesn't help that he just runs off and disappears for a bit too. Sometimes I wonder if he just likes being alone."
"And what about his family, do you know what it's like there?" Jurn questioned.
Derek felt a little odd about his strange interest in their families. Or perhaps it was the fact Jurn was really making him work his imagination. "You know, I actually don't know. Uh...never heard anything, and...uh, Splinter always gets quiet...or rather, quieter, when it's brought up. I think it's safe to assume it's also a...well, bad situation."
"Hmm..." Jurn leaned back in his seat, almost studying Derek. "Alright, and...Albert, was it? What was he like?"
"Albert...he's always been...for a lack of a better word, close to me." Derek answered, a little unnerved by Jurn's change in behavior. "Where Scarface and Splinter want to do their own thing time to time, Albert wants to do everything with me. Always asks me to come along with his thing, or asks if I want him along, that kind of thing."
"And let me guess, trouble at home as well?" Jurn asked, attempting to predict the answer.
Derek gulped a little bit. He wasn't sure how to take that. On the one hand, he's not seeing any sign that Jurn is picking up who he truly is. On the other hand, he's not exactly liking at how predictable he's becoming. But, he is telling the truth, just...presenting it differently. Or rather, the truth that he knows.
When Derek went and got them, Scarface was almost killed by his mother rejecting him, giving him a rather nasty scar across his face, which led to his name. Albert and Splinter on the other hand, they seem to have had relatively normal upbringings. Splinter got his name because he reminded Derek of the same character from Ninja Turtles, as well as later proving to be a rather sneaky rat. Albert got his name because Derek discovered he was unusually smart, and Albert Einstein was what popped into his mind.
Derek decided to just go for it. "Yeah...if I remember right, his parents are there...just, not. Like...they're there, but not really. Does that make sense?"
Jurn slowly nodded after a few moments. "Yeah, I understand. They never gave him the attention he needed, right?"
Derek nodded back. "Yeah...so, I guess that explains why he was so...clingy."
Jurn stared at Derek for several more moments, continuing his study. Derek felt like he just realized he was under interrogation rather than having a nice breakfast chat.
"So all three of your friends had troubling upbringings." Jurn began, resting his arms on the table. "What about you?"
Derek thinks this one didn't need a lot of work, just have to remember to not say anything that sounds Promel. "Honestly? Looking back, I actually had a good life. Mom and Dad were there. They did the best they could with what they had. We weren't rich, but we weren't poor either. And as much as they were worried about what kind of friends I was having, they never really stepped in and controlled me. They...I'd say they were pretty good parents. They didn't have everything, didn't know the answer to every single question...but they tried."
Jurn nodded in thought as he listened and then spoke. "They did good, Derek. I can hear the sincerity in your words. For young boys and girls, it's easy to just ignore and walk away from other kids when they cause trouble, like you say Scarface would. But you didn't. If I may, why were you friends with them? Weren't you worried that they would cause trouble, or damage either yours or your parents' reputation?"
This time, Derek didn't even take the time to think. Something in him compelled him to speak. "Because nobody deserves to be alone. It's not their fault that they were born to some shitty people. Why should they be punished for it? I honestly don't know if I was ever considered a real friend to them, but...if just me being there is enough to make them feel happy, or that someone actually wanted them or cared for them, I'd consider that well worth whatever trouble they would cause."
Jurn seems to be taken aback by those words, leaning in his seat as he slowly started to smile. "You're a good person, Derek. You have a soul that's relatively rare these days. I knew I saw something like that when we first met."
"You did, did you?" Derek replied with a wry grin. When he moved to get another apple, his exhausted muscles screamed out their protest, causing him to grunt some. "Agh...even sitting is hell, man..."
"I know that feeling..." Jurn commented dryly, munching another grape. Derek's gaze snapped to Jurn, completely surprised as well as feeling the growing suspicion.
"What, you mean you were poisoned before too?" Derek asked, not entirely sure if he wants to go straight to the subject.
"No, thankfully." Jurn shook his head, then giving a nervous smile. "I used to be sweet on someone in Denasas, before I was tiban. Pretty thing he was. A little rough, but, your soul reminded me of his."
Derek clammed up. So his suspicions were true then. "You, uh...you were sweet on a man?"
"Yes?" Jurn answered with a little confusion. "Why, is there a problem?"
"Oh, no! Not at all!" Derek said quickly, surprised at the candidness. Maybe it was mostly from his preconceived expectations of a possible Bronze-Age world? "I just...I thought different is all."
"You mean, you thought I was more into women?" Jurn asked, his nervous smile now one of playfulness. "While I'm sure there are many fine, beautiful women, here and elsewhere, they just never caught my eye like men do."
"I gotcha." Derek nodded, wondering where the conversation is going to go now.
He got his clue. Jurn was eyeing him a bit, looking rather nervous...hopeful even? If Derek could sweat, he'd be letting loose bullets right now. He's not exactly certain he wants to go where this may be heading.
"What about you, Derek?" Jurn asked the question Derek dreaded. "What kind of person catches your eye?"
"I...u-uh...um..." Derek was at a complete mental standstill. No words of any kind were coming to him. He can't even work out where he stands to give an answer.
"Do you not know?" Jurn questioned with a little confusion. "When you were growing up, was it a man or a woman who you've started thinking about quite a bit?"
"I...I d-don't know..." Derek shrugged as he stammered, having made no progress in freeing his mental lockdown, just blabbering words at this point. "Um...n-nobody?"
"Nobody? Really?" Jurn repeated with shock. "No...beautiful tiban's daughter? Or a well-built, hardworking man out in the fields?"
"N-No, nobody." Derek confirmed, wanting this conversation over with already. Now that's finally making progress, he's realizing the core of his anxiety is, depending on his answer, how things will change between him and Jurn in the coming days. He doesn't even know if Jurn is considered old or not in this world!
"Um, how old are you, Jurn?" Derek blurted out what he was thinking. And instantly after uttering it, Derek died inside. He did not mean to ask that at all.
Jurn didn't seem to take offense. If anything, he looked...flattered? "I'm only twenty-six, Derek."
So Jurn is only two years older than him. At least there's that. Still though, not registering the intense burn of his muscles, he immediately clutched his head, desperate to hide from this conversation. "Can we talk about something else, please?"
"Uh...sure, yeah." Jurn nodded, taken back by Derek's behavior, though he did end up grinning a second after. "How do you like your men? Strong and silent?"
"Jurn, I'll actually kill you." Derek warned out of desperation, slapping his hands onto the table. "Please change the subject, something far away from this."
"Oh come now, Derek." Jurn laughed deeply from the warning. "I'm sure even Lasidius can smell your scent right now!"
"Wha-? Am I not clean or...?" Derek stammered, already starting to sniff his pits. Amazingly, he's not smelling any bad body odor from them, though he did get to know what his normal smell is.
"No, not that!" Jurn laughed even more, then leaning over the table some as he grinned. "I mean I can smell how much you're actually enjoying this. Have I helped you learn something?"
Derek was confused for a moment, but then he realized. If rats can smell emotions, what's stopping them from smelling arousal too? Derek definitely isn't feeling any physical arousal right now, not like he could given how awkward everything feels, but the moment he realized it, he knew he's done.
Derek let out a heavy sigh, feeling all of the built-up anxiety and tension melt away from his body when he accepted his fate. "Okay, so...maybe...I had some questions when I grew up and...well, nobody seemed to want to answer them...or maybe I was too afraid to ask those questions..."
"Why were you afraid?" Jurn asked with concern. "Wherever you're from, do they not particularly care much for those who are attracted to like-bodied people?"
"Uh...I guess you can...sort of say that." Derek nodded. "I mean, last I remember, we were on the way to being more accepting of such a thing but...well, there's still some influential groups who keeps resisting it."
"I wonder...were you from anywhere in the mel-folk territories?" Jurn questioned. "As is the case for those savages, they have some...very strange world views. From what you're saying, it sounds like maybe you're from a small redrak village or hamlet somewhere in Swebia? As I'm sure I've said many, many, times before, the hamels can't make up their minds, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's where you're from."
"Uh...s-sure?" Derek shrugged, knowing Jurn isn't going to let up in wanting to know him. But that also means he'll have to act like he actually grew up there. "I mean, I've never seen them around, or heard my village talk about them a lot, so...not sure what difference that would make."
"Then depending where your village was exactly," Jurn spoke as he thought, "If you were closer to the Devil's Spine Mountains, then it was the ormel who burned your village. If not, then it must be the Western Swebians who did it."
"Hey, your guess is as good as mine, alright?" Derek said as he took some of his bread. "Like I said, I saw nobody else except my friends. Could be anyone."
"Well, regardless, let me tell you this, Derek." Jurn said, getting up from his seat.
"Uh, Jurn?" Derek asked, the dread overtaking him once more, closely watching him round the table and approach him, then kneeling.
"You'll never be afraid when you're with us." Jurn said softly, resting his hands on Derek's cheeks. "Just like the Empire, we don't concern ourselves with such petty nonsense. It makes no difference whether you love men or women. Trust me, I wouldn't be here if that wasn't true."
"I...o-okay, good to know, man." Derek stammered again, wondering what exactly Jurn is going to do.
Jurn held him for a few moments longer. Derek finally registered the new scent coming off from the tiban. Is that arousal? He'll have to remember this one, if only to stay alert. After what looked to be rather intense internal debate, Jurn gave out a quick huffed and pressed his lips against Derek, who completely froze in shock and confusion.
Not only that, but he felt a surge in him, centering from the kiss. Is this what it felt like? To have, not a man's, but another person's lips on his own? Derek said the truth earlier, he had questions about his sexuality. He wasn't sure whether to make a firm decision or not because all he had to go on was the porn he frequented on his computer. And he didn't think that would be sufficient evidence for what team he played for.
But this? Well, he has his answer now. Until he makes a move on a woman, he's at least bisexual. However, there is another issue that's plaguing him. Jurn is a redrak, a rat with a human-like body. As enjoyable as the kiss was, something in him felt...revolted that he's allowing this to happen. Some part of his mind still carried the notion that he's a human receiving a kiss from an animal.
Jurn slowly broke the kiss and backed away. The look he had on his face, it seemed...hopeful. As if kissing him would be what was needed to advance their relationship.
After staring almost slack-jawed for several moments, the first thing that came to Derek's mind was, "I...take it you're into me then?"
Jurn snorted at first, then soon fell into amused laughter that lasted for a good while. Wiping a joyful tear away, Jurn answered, "I won't lie, Derek. You're probably the most handsome man I've ever encountered. And talking with you? You're sounding like someone I'd like to get to know more."
"...oh." Derek replied, once again, his mind mentally locking up. This wasn't what he had planned for today. He just wanted to have breakfast before he started planning out on what the hell he's going to do to make this world a better place, not start a relationship with someone he's just met.
Then again...Jurn saved his life. Took care of him, stayed by his side throughout the entire hell Derek endured. In fact, Jurn had so many opportunies and chances to do whatever the hell he wanted with Derek, but he didn't do anything beyond helping him, or caring for him. Derek isn't sure what the people of this world are like, but even by his old world's standards, this is someone worth keeping. He just doesn't know right now. Maybe time will tell him.
Fuck it. "You know, Jurn? I'm not sure yet, but...yeah, I'd actually like to get to know you better too."
He gave the biggest smile Derek has seen yet. "I'm glad you do. Uh, let's get back to breakfast, yeah?"
Eastern Devil's Spine Mountains.
"Venex, you're going to make a hole if you keep pacing like that." Diviox said with a sigh, slurping up another spoonful of porridge.
"Sorry, it's just...ugh, it's actually killing me!" Venex sighed with frustration, continuing his pace. "I can't stop thinking about what we talked about. The person in Skafin's amulet, could it actually be Tarac?"
"Venex, you need to stop this obsession." Diviox said with zero patience. "Didn't night soil duty make it clear to you yet? If Lord Skafin doesn't want to talk about that person, than he doesn't want to talk about it."
"I know, I know!" Venex replied, finally stopping his pacing. "I just...ugh, I've never wanted anything so bad in my life before! Just...this could be huge! This...Tarac person has only been mentioned very few times across the Three Great Lords. But each time he's mentioned, it's very clear how much the Lords revere him!"
"Must I repeat myself, Venex?" Diviox groaned as he facepalmed. "If Skafin doesn't want to talk about it, don't kaking talk about it!"
"But if it's true, think about what we could learn!" Venex continued undaunted, sitting next to Diviox. "Who this Tarac person is, how he inspired our Lords to be who they are, where they all came from! Learn the secret to how they've lived for such a long time! Wait! We could actually know if Tarac is alive or not, if he's long-lived like they are!"
"I'm talking to a wall." Diviox exclaimed, throwing up his hands. "I can walk out of this camp, find a big stone, talk to it, and the exact same result will happen. Not being listened to!"
"Diviox, I am listening to you!" Venex protested. "I'm just trying to explain why I think otherwise!"
"Which you can also say, not listening to me." Diviox scoffed, returning to eating his porridge.
Before Venex could continue, the centurion of the scouting company jogged up to him. That must mean a report. Venex stood up and greeted the centurion.
"Sir, scouts have spotted ormel movement to the west of us." The centurion began. "This is just a guess, but it looks like one of the ormel tribes just dominated another. They've reported seeing a few fights between them, and a few groups of ormel repainting symbols on the encampement walls. As of a few minutes ago, a very large raiding party has just left the encampement, destination unknown at this time."
"Kak...okay, let me speak to Lord Skafin." Venex hissed, knowing this is trouble. Dashing over to Skafin's command tent, he quickly yanked open the tent's entrance and walked in. "My lord, new report from-"
"KAKING KAK!" Skafin roared, shooting out of his bed, stuffing what must be his amulet back under his armor. "What?!"
Venex was terrified into silence for a moment, but managed to press on. "R-Report from the scouts. An ormel tribe just subjugated another and have just sent out a large raiding party. Don't know where to yet. Orders?"
"Wha...what orders?" Skafin said in bewilderment, spreading his arms. "Watch them! Keep an eye on them, figure out where they're heading, what are you, stupid?!"
"I-I'm sorry, L-Lord." Venex stammered, already backing away. "I-I'll give the order right away."
Once he was outside, Venex promptly closed the tent's entrance again and sprinted away, not wanting to further provoke the Great Lord by his mere presence. Seeing the scouts' centurion again, he relayed the order to him, who then saluted and made his way to his men. Venex pressed his hands onto his knees, doubled over as he started to breathe out his shocked fear.
"So...is figuring out the amulet thing still worth it?" Diviox asked after eating another spoonful of porridge.
Venex glared at him in response. "Go kak a daemon, reki."
Next Chapter
submitted by SynthoStellar to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.08.27 09:51 assemblaggioromadom This is a quest that i wrote, I would like some suggestions and feedbacks

My native language is Italian so I'm sorry if some terms is wrong in english cause i just copied this in a translator ><, I WOULD LIKE TO ADVISE THAT THIS COULD BE A LITTLE HEAVY FOR SOME READERS (not that much but still it's better to say so)
The sun is slowly setting, with its warm light that begins to tend to orange red announces that today's day is about to end and it is almost time to decide where to camp for the night, the long dirt path still stands out. in front of you, menacingly surrounded on both sides by a dense pine forest, from which you hear the songs of various birds and the murmur of cicadas. A light wind that brings a bitter cold caresses your face, causing you to run a shiver down your spine from time to time. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a scream. A scream that penetrates your bones, a scream that transmits only one, pure and simple emotion: FEAR. The voice is feminine and comes from further down the road.
Adventurers ask to see where it come from
About a kilometer from you, after a bend in the road, you see a caravan made up of 3 wagons each pulled by two horses, the people who traveled there are trying to fight the shady figures who have surrounded them. These beings are at least thirty, dressed mostly in rags with rudimentary weapons, their skin is greenish, they do not exceed one meter and twenty and on their face they have large elongated noses that open the way for their pointed and crooked yellowish teeth that protrude. from their mouths folded into a monstrous grin. They are unmistakably goblins. Among them some are taller, a little shorter than a human of average height. They have long, muscular arms and legs, and their skin tends to an unhealthy green-gray, a paler color than that of other creatures but which helps to give them an even more menacing air. These creatures (as mentioned around thirty) have completely surrounded the caravan and are dragging some women away from the wagons, many travelers are already corpses by now and only a handful of them persist in fighting, more for the inability to escape that situation that out of sheer courage. They are stoned and poked by some goblins and you see they are exhausted from the fight.
They decide what to do and here the situation becomes complicated, with a DC 10 wisdom roll they sense that the situation is too serious and that they should not be able to defeat such a large group of opponents. They shouldn't be able to defeat the goblins, so they have two approaches:
• stealth letting the whole group die and then going in pursuit when they retreat with the kidnapped women who all the while continue to scream and kick
• They fight, at that point they die and we end the campaign here lololol or they try to escape when all is lost or they win (very difficult) and follow the goblins who in the meantime had already pulled the women away.

You no longer hear the screams of the women now, the traces of their dragging and the passage of the goblins are clearly visible in the ground and it is easy for you to follow their tracks on the soft mud of the forest. You enter the woods to the entrance of a cave that goes deep into the ground.
Various actions of the characters
By now the sun has set and the sky is starting to darken, but the change of light helps you to glimpse a source of light coming out of the cave. You enter the cave that goes into the belly of the ground when you turn a corner the light becomes brighter, peering from the darkness you can glimpse two guards, one is snoring deeply and the other is intent on digging the inside of his big nose with his long finger, he almost seems to want to touch his brain, after a careful investigation he extracts his finger to admire the product of his work with deep and lively attention and then starts the cycle again. A chilling stench floods your nostrils from a small cove behind the two goblins that you can't quite see where you are now.
The adventurers eventually kill them
The inlet was a latrine lol, you can see the excrement still fresh. The cave then continues for a couple of hundred meters deeper for a stretch not illuminated by torches but still with adequate visibility thanks to the torches that the two guards had at the beginning, the walls of this long corridor are adorned with skulls and rotting corpses of men and women, attached with long nails in the strangest forms and positions, in an almost artistic way. At a certain point the tunnel you walk in front of you ends up in a dead end. On the floor, however, just before the wall that marks the end of the path there is a hole from which light comes and a dense shouting. If you stretch your head, you see a wooden staircase that descends for a couple of meters and under improvised tables, roughly built with long benches. Around these tables are seated a large number of goblins who feast and drink shouting and fighting each other, you can count about fifty.
Here the thing goes a bit 'to the imagination, from my point of view the wisest choice is to wait for their "dinner" to end and for them to go to sleep to sneak, otherwise Sabrina could use disguise themselves to pass themselves off as a goblin and sneak between them to scout around.
The deep snoring of the goblins floods the whole room as you try to walk among them without making you hear and without making them wake up, your nostrils are filled with the body stench of the goblins and the strong smell of alcohol coming from the long tables still full of food scraps. and alcohol that no one has bothered to throw away or clean up. You enter the cave on tiptoe, thanks to the faint light of some torches that have remained lit that cast a twilight on the huge room where the goblins reside. Can you catch a glimpse of two corridors that come out of the large opening in which you find yourself and that wind in various curves that do not allow you to see the end, you only understand that both, at least initially, go even further into the subsoil, more and more in depth to the outside and, therefore, to your escape route.
Now they have to choose a corridor but I don't give a shit I put them first the room I say in any case
The room in which you find yourself is lit only by a couple of faint candles on opposite sides of the entrance where you are, the air is permeated by the stench of urine and feces which becomes even more intense thanks to the scarce recirculation of air in the subsoil . The spectacle that unfolds before you is gruesome. At least a dozen women, some adults other girls just on the verge of puberty, are chained to the ground poured into their own excrement, show signs of severe bruises and deep bites, their eyes now deprived of the light they once possessed staring at nothing. 'other than the wall or the floor, perhaps dreaming of their home, their life that has been snatched from their hands. At the bottom of the cave you hear a slight panting "various verses" and looking more carefully you notice that a goblin is violently abusing a little girl who is crying softly as the goblin penetrates her and her dirty long nails penetrate the flesh of her back, leaving some deep marks on her white skin.
Here the adventurers decide what to do and leave a bit of freedom, they probably kill him stealthily, then we'll see what to do with the chained girls whether they free them or not

On the rocky walls of the room where you are you can also see another opening, which continues straight for a few tens of meters, you cannot see the end as it curves. Walking through it in the now total darkness you reach another large opening in this cave that now seems infinite. This opening, however, is more particular, the walls and the floor are well smoothed and square and there is a large space in the center of which stands a small house made of wood, resembling a small hut, the small and round wooden door and the windows they are locked and no light comes from within that you can understand, you are now immersed in total darkness. From the house comes the sweet sound of a lullaby
Ok, now for the reddit community, this is what I would like to do: In the small house reside a witch who was once a normal human, she became mad after the lost of her 3 child and husband and started to investigate dark arts and became a witch. At this point during her dark path went across a goblin clan and formed a sinister alliance with them. She would lend them her dark power in exchange for them to give her all their child that were “no good” (for example the ones born with deformities or other kinds of problems, an idea was like some babies born with half of the face human and half goblin-like) just because she wanted to become a mother again, she was already mad and she didn’t care of all the rest. My problem is that I don’t know how to introduce this backstory because they would probably enter and just kill her making all my efforts in vain. Some suggestions? Both about the whole quest and the last part, I’m crawling for some feedbacks because I’m new to DM so don’t skimp on negative reviews. And sorry again for my English.
submitted by assemblaggioromadom to DnD [link] [comments]


2020.08.26 19:09 HagerEKU [US-KY] [H] Hundreds of POPs [W] Paypal

I have a little of everything for sale here. Take your pick and shoot me any questions. Shipping is $5 for one pop and an additional $2 for each pop after. More pics can be provided. Soft protectors can be added for $1

https://imgur.com/a/xVLk60T

POPs
submitted by HagerEKU to funkoswap [link] [comments]


2020.08.26 18:39 Web_Trekker Stranger in a not too Strange World (An AL x AL fanfiction crossover story!) Part 2/3

Uh oh, it's time for part 2! Here is part 1 if you missed it. Just like last time, I'll have some behind the scenes thoughts and fun facts at the end of this chapter. But onwards and upwards with this one! I may have broken some laws of physics/rules of engagement in this chapter but I wouldn't think about it too much.
--
The commander stepped carefully as he approached the training waters. Just as expected Ibuki was there, legs and toes pointed straight to the sky, holding herself up by a single hand on a wooden pole she had placed in the shallower water.
“Ibuki,” the commander said softly.
Ibuki calmly opened her eyes and smoothly lowered herself to the water without even making a splash, “Yes milord? What do you need?”
“How are you able to do that?” the commander asked.
“Hours of practice and meditation milord, you could do it as well. You have the strength but you need the stillness of mind,” she said. She walked towards him, stepping so gently on the water it didn’t even make ripples.
“I have the strength but I also weigh twice as much as you. Sorry, I’m getting off-topic. You might have heard but I-13 brought someone back with her while she was out on her patrol today. He’s currently in the office, I need you to be his escort to make sure he doesn’t get into any trouble. Belfast is currently with him but I don’t fully trust him yet so I wanted someone who would be less reluctant to cut him down at a moment’s notice. Hopefully it won’t come to that.”
“Very well milord, I will make sure he does not carry out any mal-intent,” Ibuki said with a bow.
“Good, come with me, I’ll tell you as much as I know about him.”
--
“The commanders in your world sound pretty rotten. Simply using those control modules implanted in the KANSEN purely for their own benefit, it sounds awful. I would go mad if that were to happen to me,” Belfast said as she set down a cup of tea in front of Crowe.
“Pretty much all of them are, if there are any good ones left I haven’t found them,” Crowe said.
“I guess I should consider myself lucky that my current master is such a kind one. My former one back at North-East Atlantic Operations was not as nice,” Belfast said.
“Well fortunately control modules aren’t a thing in this world, and I’m trying to make it so they aren’t a thing in that world. He didn’t send you into any suicidal situations though did he? That would happen in my world.”
“Oh heavens no. No one was ever put in danger because of his orders but goodness was he a pain. He had all sorts of strange rules and even harassed some of his secretaries. I tried my best to clean up his act but he never went along with me. Apparently, after I left, Sheffield had better results. I suppose I would be less rude too if someone started firing off a pistol in my ear at every misstep.”
Crowe laughed, “Yeah that sounds like Sheffield alright. This world seems so... peaceful compared to mine… About your commander, why doesn’t he give you his name?” Crowe asked.
Belfast looked uneasy, “I’m not sure actually, when we were sent here we were just instructed to call him commander. In my two years of knowing him, he has never revealed his name to me. He assuredly has told Akagi, they are married after all.”
That last bit caught Crowe off guard, “Married?”
“Indeed, I got to witness their bond form from the very start, it is a strong one. She would set the sea ablaze if anything were to happen to him,” Belfast said.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
About then there was a knocking at the door. Without waiting for a response the commander stepped in with Ibuki behind him. Crowe gazed at her quizzically. He didn’t know every KANSEN there ever was but there was something especially strange about her, and it wasn’t just the off-colored eyes and light on area-coverage clothing.
“Hello again mister Crowe, I’d like to introduce you to Ibuki. She will be monitoring you throughout your stay here,” the commander said.
“Greetings. I am Ibuki, Ibuki class heavy cruiser number one, it is a pleasure to meet you,” Ibuki said with a bow.
“She’s a heavy cruiser?” Crowe thought. He sat up and cleared his throat to speak, “Hello, the name’s Crowe, I promise I’m not much of a trouble maker.”
“I hope for your sake that is true, I do not wish to strike you down but will do so if necessary,” Ibuki said.
“Crowe, I already have a room picked out for you. Ibuki will be monitoring and guiding you day and night. I would like to retire for the evening so I’m going to ask all of you to leave now,” the commander said.
“Very well, thank you for your hospitality commander, have a good evening,” Crowe said. Ibuki, Crowe, and Belfast filed out of the room.
“Belfast, milord has told me to guide Crowe to his room, you may carry on with your evening,” Ibuki said.
Belfast and Crowe eyed each other warily.
“Thank you Ibuki, have a pleasant evening both of you,” Belfast said, turning and walking away.
Ibuki turned to Crowe, “Please follow me.”
Crowe was led to a guest bedroom in the office building, it was essentially a one-person hotel room, already coming with basic living accommodations. He could tell it wasn’t used in a while due to all the dust that flew around whenever he moved or touched something. The whole time he was looking around Ibuki was standing in the doorway, likely to prevent him from going anywhere.
“Milord has appropriate wear for you on the way, for tonight however, you must sleep in your current clothing,” Ibuki said.
“Well, I could also sleep without it,” Crowe said. There was a brief but awkward pause as Ibuki continued to stare him down. “So how does this work? It sounds like you’re guarding me but you have to sleep at some point right? I mean, it doesn’t seem like there’s another bed so if you want to join me in this one I can make room for you.”
Ibuki seemed almost offended at Crowe’s offer, “I will not be fooled by any manipulative ways. I will remain outside for the evening but I will know if you attempt to escape.” As strange as Ibuki was to Crowe, she wasn’t really intimidating with that short stature and cute face.
“Fine by me, but do I at least get dinner first?”
“Milord has already arranged for your evening meal, it will be here shortly,” apparently Ibuki was done with the conversation as she proceeded to exit and close the door behind her.
Now alone Crowe had something he really wanted to try. He took a deep breath, then tried to open a neural link communication.
[Belfast can you hear me?] there was more horrid static and he feared he was about to receive that awful headache again but it didn’t come.
[Crowe? Yes I can hear you, this is… unusual]
[Yeah I know it’s strange but you’ll get used to it very quickly. Ibuki is playing guard dog outside of my room tonight, and presumably every night that I’m going to be here. It’s going to be a little hard to devise a plan to get me home like this]
[Well, we have to somehow get master to understand that you are not of this world. I don’t have a clue of how we could do that.]
[I don’t think that answer is going to come to us soon Belfast, I’m hoping that the way I came in is still somewhere out there, or at the very least, more portals will open up. If we can get your commander to see those portals then we got a good way of explaining where I came from]
[Master is already aware of siren portals, but I worry how he’ll react when we tell him you came through one]
[Are siren infiltrations a thing in this world? If not then we’ll have a good shot of convincing him]
[They aren’t but I have a feeling master will say “there’s a first for everything”]
[True, I--]
Crowe cut the communication when there was a knock at his door. Ibuki walked in with an assortment of various foods on a tray. She set it down on a table, bowed, and then exited the room once more.
[Sorry about that Belfast, food arrived. We can talk more about this later]
[Very well mister Crowe, good night]
[Goodnight Belfast]
--
I-13 had for the most part turned in for the night. She remained in her room as instructed. To pass the time she had decided to perform maintenance on her seirans. She didn’t think they were in need of it but it never hurt to give them a check up after every mission.
“You both did great today, rescuing someone and crippling a destroyer,” she said as she rotated them around under a magnifying glass. She stopped when there was a knocking at her door.
“I-13, it’s the commander, time for that unofficial mission report,” the commander called.
“You got it commander,” I-13 said, carefully setting down her plane and running to let him in. The commander walked in, closed the door behind him and sat down on a nearby chair.
“Let’s go over this in more detail this time I-13. Run what you saw by me again,” the commander said.
I-13 took a seat at her work bench, “Ok, so when I was on my patrol, one of my planes spotted the portal. I had it circle lower to continue investigating while I turned my submarine towards it. After several minutes the plane spotted a raft come out of it with the sleeping man, Crowe. I tried buzzing my plane low above the water to get him to wake up but that didn’t seem to work. After I tried that a few times I then spotted two siren ships coming through the portal, a Knight and a Pawn class. When that happened I recalled my plane so I could have both armed and ready for a bombing run. Once that was done I sent them out and was close enough to fire some torpedoes. When the seirans flew overhead of the raft again he was awake, I knew this because he fired a flare. I then had one of them drop their payload early and break off to rescue him. He was rescued, I sunk the cruiser, and my seiran got a crippling blow on the destroyer.”
The commander sat forward in his chair, hands clasped and elbows on his legs, “So he is definitely not from here, he came in through whatever was behind that siren portal.”
“Strange isn’t it? I’ve never heard of people coming through siren portals,” I-13 said.
“Me neither. Did the ships shoot at him?”
“I don’t think so, but he was also far enough away from them that I don’t think they knew he was there. Do you think they were searching for him?”
“I think so. I don’t think he’s dangerous but I want to keep Ibuki on him until we can learn more about him, or at least get him to tell the truth. Regardless of how dangerous he is, I want to chuck him back through one of those portals as soon as possible.”
“Oh, I probably should have mentioned, that portal was inactive when I left, I don’t know if it is now but that’s one scout plane away from knowing.”
“I’ll send one out tonight, if it isn’t there I wouldn’t worry too much, more are likely to open in that area. Unless you have anything else to add, I think I’ll be going now ok?”
I-13 shook her head, “Nothing commander.”
“Good, I’m off to eat dinner, I’m well behind my normal time so I am starving, goodnight I-13.”
“Goodnight commander!”
--
When morning came for Crowe it was the usual routine aside from the being in a new world part. He conveniently found a set of clothes right at his door, a pretty standard looking Eagle Union officer’s uniform. He donned the outfit then carefully opened the door. He flinched when he saw Ibuki standing directly opposite his door.
“Good morning mister Crowe,” Ibuki bowed.
“Ah, good morning Ibuki, could you by chance send some breakfast my way?” Crowe asked.
“Actually, milord wishes to speak with you, I’m sure he will have breakfast prepared for you in the office,” Ibuki said.
“Is that so? Well then lead the way.”
As Crowe followed Ibuki he felt a bit irritated at the idea he would be guarded and watched the entire time he was here. If he were to get back to his own world, he might need more than just Belfast to help him. Fortunately he already had a solution in mind. He walked up a bit closer behind her and feigned a trip. He reached forward and put a hand on Ibuki’s shoulder to mimic stabilizing himself. He prepared himself to feel that awful headache much like with Belfast… but nothing came. The neural link didn’t even give him any information or ask if he wanted to add her to his network.
“Wuh… Oh, sorry about that Ibuki, I guess I’m not fully awake, I tripped back there,” Crowe said.
“I understand, please be careful mister Crowe,” Ibuki said, not even turning to look at him.
Crowe was bewildered, no KANSEN had ever been able to block him out completely. But she didn’t even block him out did she? If that were true and it was a failed connection attempt he would have felt something, and surely she would have noticed and reacted accordingly, but there was nothing. The only bit of information he got from that was what her shoulder felt like, which was warm and soft, but that wasn’t exactly useful to him.
[Belfast, are you there?] The static happened again, it was extremely uncomfortable but bearable, he figured he was just going to have to get used to it.
[Yes Crowe what is it?] Belfast responded near instantly.
[Ibuki is immune to my neural link] he said frantically.
[Immune? As in you can’t connect with her?]
[Even more than that, my interface had nothing for her entirely]
[Really now?] Belfast went unexpectedly silent.
[Belfast? Talk to me]
[I think I have an idea why it didn’t work]
Crowe then saw Ibuki turn and knock on a door. [That’ll have to wait, I’m going into your commander’s office, wish me luck] Crowe then ended communication.
Crowe was led back into that same office with the commander waiting patiently at his desk. There was an assortment of pastries and fruits set in front of him.
“Morning mister Crowe, how are you?” the commander asked.
“Doing pretty well, this place is rather comfy,” Crowe said, grabbing a muffin and plopping himself down on the couch.
“Good. I’m cutting straight to it. We know your secret Crowe,” the commander said bluntly.
Crowe stopped right before a bite, “Which is?”
“We know you came in through that siren portal, and that you were being pursued. You’re not from this world.”
Crowe tilted his head and thought, “Well that was easy.”
“I-13 spotted you in the raft before you woke up. When she saw the siren ships she moved to take them out before they could get to you,” the commander said.
“Yes, and I thank her for that,” Crowe said.
“So now, we get you back home, or, if you want to stay here, then I got some calls to make to the admiralty.”
“I think the home option sounds better. I have a lot of business to attend to,” Crowe said.
“Understandable mister Crowe, I’m sure whatever Azur Lane you have back home is really waiting for you, especially your own Belfast.”
There were a lot of KANSEN waiting for Crowe. They didn’t know if he’d come back but there were indeed many who wanted to see him alive and well. With this commander willing to help him get back, things seemed a bit more attainable now.
“But for now, the plan to get you home is as follows. I’m having a constant ring of patrols both air and sea based looking for portals in a wide area around the islands. The second we spot one we mobilize in aircraft and get you through it. This actually leads me to the next fun bit.”
“Fun bit?” Crowe said curiously.
“We’re gonna get you a plane, and we’re going flying.”
--
The commander explained along the way to the airfield that in order to respond quickly enough to a portal being found he would have to be flown out in a plane to get him there in time. A ship was far too slow. So in the meantime while they were waiting for a portal to show up the commander organized a special outing for Crowe and some of the carriers. Upon arriving they entered a hanger where the girls were all discussing what they were there for.
“Ladies,” the commander called out to them. Everyone’s attention turned to him. Crowe recognized the first one to speak.
“Good morning commander! What have you brought us out here for today?” Zuikaku asked.
“This here is lieutenant Crowe, he’s a guest here for a little while and I figured we'd treat him to a fun aerial excursion,” the commander said as he gestured to Crowe.
“Hello everyone, nice to meet you all,” Crowe said. He recognized nearly all of the faces present, Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet, Shoukaku, Zuikaku, and Long Island. There were two others, women with fox ears and tails that he didn’t know for certain, but he had his ideas. He got confirmation when he saw a brief glint of light on the red one’s finger.
“Akagi and Kaga. Wife and sister in law,” Crowe thought to himself.
“So we’re doing some training today huh commander?” Zuikaku said excitedly.
The commander spoke up, “Not quite, I just thought we’d treat our guest to some flying, but we’ll see what happens. But if we could run through introductions first that’d be great, and then we’ll kick the tires and light the fires.”
They rolled through introductions quickly, even though Crowe knew all of them it was just nice to hear their voices again. It had been so long since he’d seen so many of these faces.
“...And I’m Zuikaku, second of the Shoukaku class! I can’t wait for our aerial duel,” she said proudly.
The commander laughed, “Zuikaku you’re a terrible dogfighter. You won’t be fighting him today,”
“I-I am not! Fine, I’ll battle you instead commander, just you watch, I'll do great!” Zuikaku stammered.
“I sure hope so, now without further ado, let’s get in the air. Enterprise could you set aside a Hellcat for Crowe here? And Akagi get the Nine-Tails ready for me, I’ll be there in a second. As everyone went to their planes Crowe noticed that not all of them were in fighters. Shoukaku had opted for a B5N Kate, a torpedo bomber, and Yorktown put herself into an SBD Dauntless. He still took note of everyone else’s fighter choices. Enterprise had her own F6F Hellcat alongside the one she manifested for Crowe, Hornet had an F4F Wildcat, Long Island had an F4U Corsair, which to Crowe was unexpected. Akagi and Kaga sported A6M2 Zeroes while Zuikaku had an A6M5 variant. Such a mixed bag was quite interesting to him.
“Lieutenant Crowe!” Enterprise called. He turned to see a fresh and ready hellcat, canopy open. He walked over without hesitation then hopped up and into the cockpit.
“Thank you very much Enterprise, I promise I’ll be good to her,” Crowe said.
“Welcome to VF-10 lieutenant, Grim Reapers,” Enterprise said as she moved back to her own plane.
As Crowe prepared to taxi onto the runway he looked over at the commander’s plane. He saw a P-38 Lightning in Eagle Union in silver with a red flaming nine-tailed fox as its nose art.
“That’s quite the plane you got there commander,” Crowe said through the radio.
“Thanks, it was an anniversary gift,” the commander said.
Crowe suddenly connected the dots. The plane was called the Nine-Tails, his wife Akagi was a kitsune, a nine-tailed fox. Quite the anniversary gift indeed, he just now wished he could get his own personalized hellcat as a gift.
With great coordination, all ten planes took off from the runway in pairs. First Yorktown and Enterprise, the fox twins, the cranes, Hornet and Long Island, then finally the commander and Crowe. Once in the air it was only a steady climb until they got to see the Hawaiian islands in all their glory.
“Let’s do a lap around Oahu, Enterprise want to lead the way?” the commander said.
“Sure thing commander, everyone form up on me, let’s give the people down there a little show,” Enterprise said, pulling ahead of everyone.
Even if it was just a simple cruise, flying was such a joy for Crowe. To see this odd mishmash of planes together made it that much better. As they were nearing the end of their perimeter Zuikaku’s voice came through the radio.
“So commander, still up for that duel? I have practice rounds loaded,” Zuikaku said.
“Hmm, Akagi dear, does this thing have paintballs in it?” the commander asked.
“It should, I guess you’ll have to find out,” Akagi said with a little giggle.
“Good enough for me, Zuikaku you’re on,” the commander said. In a flash, he banked away from the formation and went into a shallow dive.
“What the? Get back here!” Zuikaku shouted as she moved to follow him.
“Go get ‘em Zui!” Shoukaku cheered.
The two planes roared with the full power of their engines, distancing themselves from everyone else. With the lightning’s speed advantage, Zuikaku was forced into a hopeless chase but the commander would have to come back eventually if he wanted to shoot at her. As he rounded to face her it seemed that she was going to meet him head-on. Crowe knew that was a foolish move, the lightning had extremely concentrated firepower. They may just be practice rounds but if she were to do this in a real fight her plane would be split in half the moment he got in range. Thankfully she was smarter than that and did a quick nose dive to avoid any oncoming fire. As the commander rocketed towards her, intent on passing her to get ready for his next run Zuikaku rolled over to get behind his tail. She fired off a burst but the commander was already in a climb before she could land any hits. The commander was being very smart about this. He was using the speed and rate of climb of the Nine-Tails to avoid getting into a turning fight with the far more agile zero, reducing their engagements to flybys where his narrowly clustered armament had the advantage. However, Crowe rethought the commander’s cleverness when he pitched his plane so fast it threw his wings nearly perpendicular to his current velocity. His speed reduced severely and Zuikaku was suddenly gaining on him fast.
“I’ve got you now commander!” Zuikaku called as she lined up what seemed like a perfectly placed burst. Then the commander rolled his plane on its side and yawed towards Zuikaku’s flight path. His speed cut even further. Zuikaku overshot the commander, leaving her perfectly in his gunsight. He unleashed a stream of lead, or rather paint, at her plane, coating her underside in bright neon orange... and then he stalled.
“Commander?” Crowe called out over the radio.
“Don’t worry Crowe he’s got this,” Akagi said calmly.
Crowe watched with his breath held as the commander eased his plane back into a manner where lift could get under the wings. Soon he regained control of the plane and was flying normally again.
“That was one crazy maneuver commander,” Enterprise said.
“Yes, excellently done,” Akagi said.
“You fought well commander, though it seems like I still have a lot to learn,” Zuikaku said.
“You did as well Zuikaku, but yes I would recommend improving your skills as a dogfighter. I've noticed repeatedly across missions that your combat air patrol produces below average results,” the commander said. “By the way don’t pull off what I just did in a furball, someone will spot you and pick you off with ease. That maneuver is reserved for one against ones only.”
“Oh, mister Crowe!” Long Island said excitedly.
“Yes Long Island?” Crowe asked.
“How about we have a go? I’ve never fought a hellcat in this thing.”
“Sure thing Long Island, I--”
“Threetwoonego!” Long Island shouted as she hit the air brakes hard to get behind him. Crowe reacted quickly, nosing the plane down into a dive.
“Wuh? Oh shoot!” Long Island shouted over the radio as she took a moment to reacquire her target. That brief moment was all Crowe needed to get out from in front of her. Long Island tried to follow him with a split s but she couldn’t turn tight enough to get him in range. Crowe watched her overshoot and shot off a burst at her but his aim wasn’t on point. As Crowe tried to chase her they got locked into what’s known as a rolling scissor. A pattern in which each aircraft is trying to turn into each other, crossing paths until one of them gets a clear enough shot to down the other. It was a repetitive but tense sequence. It took several crosses but eventually, Long Island couldn’t keep her turns tight enough, and Crowe got a clear shot across her entire fuselage.
It was a less flashy but equally as tense engagement with Crowe being declared the victor.
“Ah phooey, well GG mister Crowe, well played! You got me this time, but know that next time I will show no mercy!” Long Island said.
“You have a good mind for flight there Long Island, you just need some more practice,” Crowe said.
“Good show both of you, now unless anyone else wants to do something I’d like to head back for some lunch, dogfighting takes a lot out of you. Wouldn’t you agree lieutenant Crowe?” the commander said.
“Agreed, I’m ready to head home,” Crowe confirmed.
As Crowe tried to get back into formation with everyone else he found his plane was banking to the left unless he adjusted for it.
“You good there Crowe? You didn’t go drinking this morning did you?” the commander said.
“No, the plane is rolling to port unless I compensate, nothing major though,” Crowe said.
“Ah shoot really? Commander can I escort him to Unicorn? That plane has been doing that for a while now,” Enterprise said.
“Go ahead Enterprise, we’ll see you back at base I guess,” the commander said.
“Have a safe landing commander,” Crowe said.
“You as well Crowe. See you on the ground,” the commander responded.
While on the flight back Crowe thought it would be a good time to try and contact Belfast again.
[Belfast, it’s me, is now a good time?]
[Yes Crowe it is, what do you need?]
[Just wanted to ask about Ibuki, you said you might have an idea as to why I couldn’t interface with her]
[Ah yes, I do. You see mister Crowe, Ibuki is one of the base’s priority projects, as they are known. We have an on site laboratory where various research projects are conducted, Ibuki is one of them. She is the second, the first being an Iris Orthodoxy heavy cruiser by the name of Saint Louis, she is currently out on a long term mission to Eastern Pacific Operations]
[Ok but what does this have to do with my interface not working?]
[Saint Louis and Ibuki are not normal KANSEN, they are ships that never existed, and therefore they had to be made entirely from scratch. They had to be constructed piece by piece to form different mental cubes entirely. They do resemble our own but are far different. All of their memories had to be created and planted within them]
[So you think that their different… wait hold on did you call them mental cubes?]
[I did, is something wrong with that?]
[No, no, they’re just called wisdom cubes in my world, in fact that’s probably why my neural link doesn’t even work that well with you. Wisdom cubes must not equal mental cubes one hundred percent]
[Fascinating. Either way, the mental cubes of priority ships are so different that your neural link might not even recognize them as mental cubes]
[Well that’s a shame, I just wanted to get her off my case, but I suppose I have to live with her for the rest of my stay here, however long that is. Hey wait a second. Belfast, do you think I could get a look at the technology used to make these specific wisdom cubes?]
[I’m uncertain if master would allow that. Why do you ask?]
[If I can’t even link with these kinds of wisdom cubes, then that might be a lead I could use to help rid my world of KANSEN control modules. I’m not one hundred percent certain, but so far it’s not the worst idea I’ve had] As Crowe rattled off his enthusiastic theory he noticed Belfast had gone quiet. [Belfast? Is everything alright?]
[Crowe, I think I know how to get you access to that information without my master’s knowledge, but it is quite risky]
[What are you thinking Belfast?]
[There’s an empty mental cube in the lab designated for project Monarch, a similar project as Ibuki, if we can get you that mental cube, then you might just have the golden key to fixing the problem in your world. It’s going to require a bit of planning, considering that Ibuki would never let you out of her sight and you wouldn’t be let into the laboratory anyways]
[Belfast you’re a genius, we’ll work it out more in a bit, I’m about to land. Goodbye]
[Goodbye Crowe]
--
It didn’t take too long for Crowe and Belfast to hash out a plan. The commander had already told Crowe that when a portal was discovered, he’d be immediately notified and they’d get into the air as soon as possible. Crowe was to be escorted by at least one wing of fighters. It was doubtful that there would be enough enemy resistance to prevent a high-speed dive into an interdimensional portal but the commander just wanted to be sure.
With that in mind, Belfast and Crowe worked their own points into that process. When Crowe was notified of the portal, he would immediately tell Belfast, who would get into the laboratory, then retrieve the empty mental cube. Once Belfast had the cube she would run it to Crowe in a bag so no one would notice until it was too late and then hand it off to him. Now all they had to do was wait.
--
Author's Notes/Fun facts!
-I really wanted to work Elly and Styx into this story but they proved to be too much of a logistical issue. Doing that would also mean I'd have to use the later version of Crowe which led to even more logistical troubles... So you get the "Temporary Commander" Crowe instead, which to be honest I'm not that upset about, it probably fits better in this world anyways. -PR ships being immune to Crowe's 'neural link' was probably the second thing I thought of when writing this, and actually was to be a key component in a scrapped draft where Crowe was a bit more antagonistic and willing to steal away more of the commander's fleet in order to accomplish his goals. -Zuikaku is in fact a terrible dogfighter (yes that's canon) -The name for the commander's P-38 Lightning, "Nine-Tails", is a reference to the Germans' nickname for the aircraft which was the "Fork-Tailed Devil" -A lot of the information (about the planes) and procedures/maneuvers in the dogfight scenes should be fairly accurate. I'm not an expert but I have done my homework. I like planes and, though it wasn't direct, that's what tipped the dominos that got me into Azur Lane ironically enough. I like planes. -I absolutely admit I have a bias for the P-38, it is my favorite aircraft of WWII. What's yours? -I really like planes.
submitted by Web_Trekker to AzureLane [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 13:57 HagerEKU [US-KY] [H] Great Wall of Pops [W] All Might Dollar

I have a little of everything for sale here. Take your pick and shoot me any questions. Shipping is $5 for one pop and an additional $2 for each pop after. More pics can be provided. Soft protectors can be added for $1

https://imgur.com/a/xVLk60T

POPs
submitted by HagerEKU to funkoswap [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 09:55 Happy_Lego_Guy [US-ID] [H] Superheroes, Star Wars, Hobbit/LOTR, & CMFs [W] Commander Wolffe, Thrawn, & More

Hello there, just another trade post from me :) I am specifically looking to trade for Commander Wolffe and Thrawn (although I really only need Thrawn's torso).
If you have any questions regarding the minifigures or if you have something that is not listed on my want list that you want to trade, feel free to ask away.
Album of the Goods

-Have-

Promotional/Poly
Set Item Number
The LEGO Movie 2 Accessory Set blister pack 853865-1
Various Polybags View Picture

CMFs
-Baseplates are not included with CMF's unless they are sealed or you ask for them.-
Minifigure Item Number
Traffic Cop, Series 2 col02-6&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%20%202%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Ocean King, Series 7 col07-5&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%20%207%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Roman Commander, Series 10 col10-3
Barbarian, Series 11 col11-1&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%2011%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Gingerbread Man, Series 11 col11-6
Hiker, Series 16 col16-6&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%2016%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Strongman, Series 17 col17-2
The Mystery Man, Series 17 col17-2
Stitch coldis1&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BDisney%20Series%202%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Dewey coldis2-4&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BDisney%20Series%202%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Pizza Costume Guy (SEALED), Series 19 col19-10
Monkey King (SEALED), Series 19 col19-4
Flash, Jay Garrick (SEALED) colsh-15
Breakdancer, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-2
Pirate Girl, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-5&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%2020%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Space Fan, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-6
Martial Arts Boy, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-10
Sea Rescuer, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-12
Brick Costume Guy, Series 20 col20-13
80s Musician, Series 20 col20-14

CMFs - Minifigure Only (some may include partial accessories)
-Baseplates are not included with CMF's unless they are sealed or you ask for them.-
Minifigure Item Number
Vampire - Minifigure only Entry - Series 2 col021
Computer Programmer - Minifigure only Entry - Series 7 (includes mug) col108
Scientist - Minifigure only Entry - Series 11 col173
Plant Monster - Minifigure only Entry - Series 14 col215
Skeleton Guy - Minifigure only Entry - Series 14 col221
Clumsy Guy - Minifigure only Entry - Series 15 (includes one crutch) col231
Farmer - Minifigure only Entry - Series 15 col228

Wizarding World
Minifigure Item Number
Jacob Kowalski (w/ Accessories) colhp-19
Professor Flitwick colhp-13
Hermione Granger in School Robes colhp-2
Ron Weasley in School Robes colhp-3
Harry Potter, Dark Blue Zip Up hp153
Harry Potter, Dark Blue Open Jacket, Dark Tan Medium Legs hp175
Ron Weasley, Plaid Hoodie hp154
Harry Potter, Black Suit, White Bow Tie hp184
Ron Weasley, Reddish Brown Suit, Shirt with Ruffle hp185
Cedric Diggory, Black Suit and Bow Tie hp188

Star Wars
These are the minifigures that I readily have available if you have some of my bigger wants (*) I can try and find other Star Wars minifigures in my own collection to trade.
Minifigure Item Number
Barriss Offee - Skirt sw0909
Weazel sw0942
Tobias Beckett sw0941
R2-D2 (Flat Silver head, Dark Blue Printing, Lavender Dots, Small Receptor) sw0527a&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
D-O sw1051
C-3PO sw0700
Silver Protocol Droid (U-3PO) sw0766&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Episode%204/5/6%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Ezra Bridger sw0574
Boba Fett - Pauldron Cloth with Dark Orange Stripe Pattern sw0711
Luke Skywalker (Dagobah) sw0906
Yoda (Olive Green, Belt Pattern) sw0647
Airborne Clone Trooper (Will only trade for bigger wants*) sw0523
Boolio sw1068
Kallus sw0647&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Rebels%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
The Inquisitor sw0622
Jannah sw1088
Supreme Leader Snoke sw0856
Zuckuss sw1020
Coleman Trebor sw0480
Clone Trooper Sergeant sw0438
Clone Trooper Commander sw0481

Superheroes
Minifigure Item Number
Big Figure - Thanos with Medium Lavender Arms sh504
Proxima Midnight sh500
Ultron MK 1 sh169
Iron Man Mark 50 Armor (New w/ hair - Helmet Still Sealed) sh496
Iron Man Mark 45 Armor sh164
Iron Man Mark 43 Armor sh167
Iron Man with Triangle on Chest sh015
Pepper Potts sh068
Agent Coulson sh369
Spider-Man - Black Web Pattern, Red Torso Small Vest, Red Boots sh420
Ant-Man (White Jumpsuit) sh563
Bruce Banner sh408
Black Panther, Claw Necklace sh466
Captain Marvel sh555
Aquaman - Dark Brown Long Hair sh429
Lois Lane - Black Suit sh225
Deadshot sh259
Sinestro sh144
Starfire sh197

The Hobbit/LOTR
Minifigure Item Number
Bilbo Baggins - Suspenders lor029
Bilbo Baggins - Dark Red Coat lor030
Gollum - Narrow Eyes lor031
Aragorn lor017
Frodo Baggins - Dark Green Cape lor028
Gandalf - Dimensions Starter Pack dim001

-Want- (Highest Priority is *)

A lot of the random stuff is for custom purist minifigures that I am making and greatly appreciate trading for these items.
Rando Stuff**\*
Minifigure Item Number
Thrawn's Torso 973pb2565&category=%5BMinifigure,%20Torso%5D#T=S&C=1&O={%22color%22:1,%22iconly%22:0})or 973pb2565c01%20/%20White%20Arms%20/%20Dark%20Azure%20Hands&category=%5BMinifigure,%20Torso%20Assembly,%20Decor.%5D#T=S&C=1&O={%22color%22:1,%22iconly%22:0})
Star Wars rebel pilots X-wing, W-wing, B-wing, A-wing, etc.
Star Wars rebel pilot helmets X-wing, W-wing, B-wing, A-wing, etc.
Looking for various colored heads, skin tones and various colors Ask
Capes Red and Black (need at least 2 black)
Dark Bluish Grey Jetpacks (Death Watch Mando ones) 64802
Hoods White, Grey, Brown, and Black
Kama Black
Twi'lek headgeaheadpieces Aayla's, but can be interested in others
Also looking for random alien heads Rodian, Calamari, etc.

CMFs/Minifigures
Looking for various CMFs from series 1-17 Ask
CMF Series 20 Viking*, Knight, Piñata Boy, Llama Costume Girl*
Ninjago Movie CMFs Many of them
Incredibles Minifigures* Violet Parr, Elastagirl, Underminer, Screenslaver
Scooby-Doo Minifigures Velma, Scooby-Doo Variants, and Fred
I may be interested in others Ask

Ninjago
I am interested in these two minifigures, but also in just about every Minifigure in the newest lines, shoot me what you have and I can take a look.
Maya njo288
Ray, Dragon Head Emblem njo289

Superheroes
Minifigure Item Number
Talos sh533&category=%5BSuper%20Heroes%5D%5BCaptain%20Marvel%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Mr. Freeze - Shoulder Ice Armor sh319

Star Wars\* There are definitely others not on the list, always shoot me what you have, I never know what I'm missing from the collection.
Army building troops are also fun, troopers and officers.
Minifigure Item Number
Thrawn - or just his torso* sw0811
Commander Wolffe** sw0330
Scout Trooper** sw1007&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Episode%204/5/6%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Senate Comando Troopers sw0614
Scarif Stormtrooper (Shoretrooper) (Captain)** and other Shoretroopers* sw0789%20(Captain)&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Rogue%20One%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0}) and sw0815&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Rogue%20One%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Knights of Ren* Ask
Mandalorian - Death Watch** and Super Commando** sw0296 and sw0494 and sw0495&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20The%20Clone%20Wars%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
First Order Stormtroopers sw0667 or sw0905
First Order Crew/Officers ask
Imperial Recruitment Officer (Chief / Navy Captain) sw0913
Imperial Emigration Officer (Imperial Navy Trooper - Corporal Zuzanu Latt) sw0912
Ree-Yees sw0483
Max Reebo sw0486
Han Solo - Imperial Mudtrooper Uniform sw0925
Gammorrean Guard (Olive Green, Detailed) sw0405
Darth Maul - Printed Red Arms* sw0384
Various Doids/Astromechs Ask
Clone Pilot, Printed Legs sw0609
Clone Trooper sw0541
Clone Trooper Gunner sw0837
501st Legion Clone Trooper sw0445
501st Clone Pilot sw0439
Wolfpack Clone Trooper (Phase 1) sw0331
Wolfpack Clone Trooper (Phase 2) sw0537
Shock Trooper sw0531
Also, I am also interested in Minifigure display frames (Marvel 853611 or Minifigure Display Frame 5005359), other promos, and newer Star Wars/Harry PotteHidden Side sets. Additionally, I'm also looking for Dark Orange parts (plates, wedges, slopes, just ask).

Thanks For Looking! :)

submitted by Happy_Lego_Guy to Legomarket [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 09:55 Happy_Lego_Guy [H] Superheroes, Star Wars, Hobbit/LOTR, & CMFs [W] Commander Wolffe, Thrawn, & More

Hello there, just another trade post from me :) I am specifically looking to trade for Commander Wolffe and Thrawn (although I really only need Thrawn's torso).
If you have any questions regarding the minifigures or if you have something that is not listed on my want list that you want to trade, feel free to ask away.
Album of the Goods

-Have-

Promotional/Poly
Set Item Number
The LEGO Movie 2 Accessory Set blister pack 853865-1
Various Polybags View Picture

CMFs
-Baseplates are not included with CMF's unless they are sealed or you ask for them.-
Minifigure Item Number
Traffic Cop, Series 2 col02-6&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%20%202%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Ocean King, Series 7 col07-5&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%20%207%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Roman Commander, Series 10 col10-3
Barbarian, Series 11 col11-1&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%2011%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Gingerbread Man, Series 11 col11-6
Hiker, Series 16 col16-6&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%2016%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Strongman, Series 17 col17-2
The Mystery Man, Series 17 col17-2
Stitch coldis1&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BDisney%20Series%202%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Dewey coldis2-4&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BDisney%20Series%202%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Pizza Costume Guy (SEALED), Series 19 col19-10
Monkey King (SEALED), Series 19 col19-4
Flash, Jay Garrick (SEALED) colsh-15
Breakdancer, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-2
Pirate Girl, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-5&category=%5BCollectible%20Minifigures%5D%5BSeries%2020%20Minifigures%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Space Fan, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-6
Martial Arts Boy, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-10
Sea Rescuer, Series 20 (SEALED) col20-12
Brick Costume Guy, Series 20 col20-13
80s Musician, Series 20 col20-14

CMFs - Minifigure Only (some may include partial accessories)
-Baseplates are not included with CMF's unless they are sealed or you ask for them.-
Minifigure Item Number
Vampire - Minifigure only Entry - Series 2 col021
Computer Programmer - Minifigure only Entry - Series 7 (includes mug) col108
Scientist - Minifigure only Entry - Series 11 col173
Plant Monster - Minifigure only Entry - Series 14 col215
Skeleton Guy - Minifigure only Entry - Series 14 col221
Clumsy Guy - Minifigure only Entry - Series 15 (includes one crutch) col231
Farmer - Minifigure only Entry - Series 15 col228

Wizarding World
Minifigure Item Number
Jacob Kowalski (w/ Accessories) colhp-19
Professor Flitwick colhp-13
Hermione Granger in School Robes colhp-2
Ron Weasley in School Robes colhp-3
Harry Potter, Dark Blue Zip Up hp153
Harry Potter, Dark Blue Open Jacket, Dark Tan Medium Legs hp175
Ron Weasley, Plaid Hoodie hp154
Harry Potter, Black Suit, White Bow Tie hp184
Ron Weasley, Reddish Brown Suit, Shirt with Ruffle hp185
Cedric Diggory, Black Suit and Bow Tie hp188

Star Wars
These are the minifigures that I readily have available if you have some of my bigger wants (*) I can try and find other Star Wars minifigures in my own collection to trade.
Minifigure Item Number
Barriss Offee - Skirt sw0909
Weazel sw0942
Tobias Beckett sw0941
R2-D2 (Flat Silver head, Dark Blue Printing, Lavender Dots, Small Receptor) sw0527a&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
D-O sw1051
C-3PO sw0700
Silver Protocol Droid (U-3PO) sw0766&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Episode%204/5/6%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Ezra Bridger sw0574
Boba Fett - Pauldron Cloth with Dark Orange Stripe Pattern sw0711
Luke Skywalker (Dagobah) sw0906
Yoda (Olive Green, Belt Pattern) sw0647
Airborne Clone Trooper (Will only trade for bigger wants*) sw0523
Boolio sw1068
Kallus sw0647&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Rebels%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
The Inquisitor sw0622
Jannah sw1088
Supreme Leader Snoke sw0856
Zuckuss sw1020
Coleman Trebor sw0480
Clone Trooper Sergeant sw0438
Clone Trooper Commander sw0481

Superheroes
Minifigure Item Number
Big Figure - Thanos with Medium Lavender Arms sh504
Proxima Midnight sh500
Ultron MK 1 sh169
Iron Man Mark 50 Armor (New w/ hair - Helmet Still Sealed) sh496
Iron Man Mark 45 Armor sh164
Iron Man Mark 43 Armor sh167
Iron Man with Triangle on Chest sh015
Pepper Potts sh068
Agent Coulson sh369
Spider-Man - Black Web Pattern, Red Torso Small Vest, Red Boots sh420
Ant-Man (White Jumpsuit) sh563
Bruce Banner sh408
Black Panther, Claw Necklace sh466
Captain Marvel sh555
Aquaman - Dark Brown Long Hair sh429
Lois Lane - Black Suit sh225
Deadshot sh259
Sinestro sh144
Starfire sh197

The Hobbit/LOTR
Minifigure Item Number
Bilbo Baggins - Suspenders lor029
Bilbo Baggins - Dark Red Coat lor030
Gollum - Narrow Eyes lor031
Aragorn lor017
Frodo Baggins - Dark Green Cape lor028
Gandalf - Dimensions Starter Pack dim001

-Want- (Highest Priority is *)

A lot of the random stuff is for custom purist minifigures that I am making and greatly appreciate trading for these items.
Rando Stuff**\*
Minifigure Item Number
Thrawn's Torso 973pb2565&category=%5BMinifigure,%20Torso%5D#T=S&C=1&O={%22color%22:1,%22iconly%22:0})or 973pb2565c01%20/%20White%20Arms%20/%20Dark%20Azure%20Hands&category=%5BMinifigure,%20Torso%20Assembly,%20Decor.%5D#T=S&C=1&O={%22color%22:1,%22iconly%22:0})
Star Wars rebel pilots X-wing, W-wing, B-wing, A-wing, etc.
Star Wars rebel pilot helmets X-wing, W-wing, B-wing, A-wing, etc.
Looking for various colored heads, skin tones and various colors Ask
Capes Red and Black (need at least 2 black)
Dark Bluish Grey Jetpacks (Death Watch Mando ones) 64802
Hoods White, Grey, Brown, and Black
Kama Black
Twi'lek headgeaheadpieces Aayla's, but can be interested in others
Also looking for random alien heads Rodian, Calamari, etc.

CMFs/Minifigures
Looking for various CMFs from series 1-17 Ask
CMF Series 20 Viking*, Knight, Piñata Boy, Llama Costume Girl*
Ninjago Movie CMFs Many of them
Incredibles Minifigures* Violet Parr, Elastagirl, Underminer, Screenslaver
Scooby-Doo Minifigures Velma, Scooby-Doo Variants, and Fred
I may be interested in others Ask

Ninjago
I am interested in these two minifigures, but also in just about every Minifigure in the newest lines, shoot me what you have and I can take a look.
Maya njo288
Ray, Dragon Head Emblem njo289

Superheroes
Minifigure Item Number
Talos sh533&category=%5BSuper%20Heroes%5D%5BCaptain%20Marvel%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Mr. Freeze - Shoulder Ice Armor sh319

Star Wars\* There are definitely others not on the list, always shoot me what you have, I never know what I'm missing from the collection.
Army building troops are also fun, troopers and officers.
Minifigure Item Number
Thrawn - or just his torso* sw0811
Commander Wolffe** sw0330
Scout Trooper** sw1007&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Episode%204/5/6%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Senate Comando Troopers sw0614
Scarif Stormtrooper (Shoretrooper) (Captain)** and other Shoretroopers* sw0789%20(Captain)&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Rogue%20One%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0}) and sw0815&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20Rogue%20One%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
Knights of Ren* Ask
Mandalorian - Death Watch** and Super Commando** sw0296 and sw0494 and sw0495&category=%5BStar%20Wars%5D%5BStar%20Wars%20The%20Clone%20Wars%5D#T=S&O={%22iconly%22:0})
First Order Stormtroopers sw0667 or sw0905
First Order Crew/Officers ask
Imperial Recruitment Officer (Chief / Navy Captain) sw0913
Imperial Emigration Officer (Imperial Navy Trooper - Corporal Zuzanu Latt) sw0912
Ree-Yees sw0483
Max Reebo sw0486
Han Solo - Imperial Mudtrooper Uniform sw0925
Gammorrean Guard (Olive Green, Detailed) sw0405
Darth Maul - Printed Red Arms* sw0384
Various Doids/Astromechs Ask
Clone Pilot, Printed Legs sw0609
Clone Trooper sw0541
Clone Trooper Gunner sw0837
501st Legion Clone Trooper sw0445
501st Clone Pilot sw0439
Wolfpack Clone Trooper (Phase 1) sw0331
Wolfpack Clone Trooper (Phase 2) sw0537
Shock Trooper sw0531
Also, I am also interested in Minifigure display frames (Marvel 853611 or Minifigure Display Frame 5005359), other promos, and newer Star Wars/Harry PotteHidden Side sets. Additionally, I'm also looking for Dark Orange parts (plates, wedges, slopes, just ask).

Thanks For Looking! :)

submitted by Happy_Lego_Guy to legotrade [link] [comments]


2020.08.23 18:03 Mapuches_on_Fire Has anybody noticed Betty White’s odd accentuations?

He would’ve choked to death if I hadn’t cut his tie with my Girl -SCOUT- knife.
I just saw a cloud that looked exactly like a cotton -BALL-!
Would you like me to pour you a glass, or would you like me to have Sophia come in here and -BRING- you the refrigerator?
Edit: for all you saying that the last one is intentional, I'm fairly certain the joke intended the speaker to accentuate the word 'refrigerator.' You all know the context; Dorothy had asked Sophia to move a couch (it was wicker!) for which she was criticized by multiple people. Sophia later makes a joke about moving a safe in the attic. Then Rose makes this joke:
Dorothy: Oh, honey, do we have any orange juice?
Rose: Sure. Would you like me to pour you a glass, or would you like me to have Sophia come in here and bring you the refrigerator?
The punch line isn't that Sophia would bring her something. Bringing her orange juice wouldn't have been funny. The punch line is the word 'refrigerator.' Read the sentence twice, once the way Betty White says it and once how I believe it was intended to be read.
submitted by Mapuches_on_Fire to theGoldenGirls [link] [comments]


2020.08.22 15:53 HagerEKU [US-KY] [H] Hundreds of Pops [W] Paypal

I have a little of everything for sale here. Take your pick and shoot me any questions. Shipping is $5 for one pop and an additional $2 for each pop after. More pics can be provided. Soft protectors can be added for $1

https://imgur.com/a/xVLk60T

POPs
submitted by HagerEKU to funkoswap [link] [comments]


2020.08.19 22:24 BlueMuffinPaste Outside Context - Chapter One

“An insect that looks like a man?”
The idea wasn’t totally ridiculous. The monsters that dwelled beyond the borders of elf kind were as strange as they were myriad. And make no mistake, the tiny village in which Shialla found herself existed right on the borders of the Renault Kingdom.
Still, the content of the mayor’s request wasn’t what had the adventurer confused. It was the sudden deviation from the posted quest that had brought her and her party to the tiny border hamlet.
“I had thought you had a dragon problem?” Gromir asked from the back of the room, echoing her own thoughts.
The mayor shifted uncomfortably under the dwarf’s glare. “Not necessarily, ser dwarf. The quest posting I penned stated the possibility that our fair village had found a dragon dwelling within its vicinity.
“The reward was for any information that confirmed or disproved its existence. With more to come if the threat proved real and needed removal.”
“A mighty large bounty for what might be nothing.”
“You echo my own thoughts exactly.” The mayor said. “Alas, some of the residents proven most… insistent. Specifically, the individuals who claimed to have first seen the beast as it passed overhead.”
“You sound doubtful,” Shialla noted.
The man shrugged. “While it pains me to doubt the word of any of my fellow villagers, I found their description of the beast queer.”
“An expert on dragons now are you?” Rodrik chimed in from the back, the surly knight’s scorn clear to hear.
Which earned him an elbow to the side from the last member of their party; Sarah hissing quietly about being polite as her cat-like tail swayed side to side anxiously.
Though that response paled in comparison to the mayor’s own.
“I was not always the mayor of this small village, boy. As a young man I served with the good king Reginald in the Eastern Reaches and bore witness to many a beast in that time.”
It was actually kind of impressive, how the man transitioned from tired village mayor to grizzled veteran with but a sentence.
“So what about this dragon struck you as strange?” Shialla interrupted before Rodrik could speak again and get them in even more hot water with a potential client. It wouldn’t be the first time the party had lost coin on account of the disposed noble’s surly tongue.
Turning his gaze back to the mage, the mayor’s eyes softened marginally. “Fair lady, in my experience I have found that, while a two headed dragon does not fully stretch the bounds of believability, the idea of one that flies backwards while continually belching fire does.”
“A dragon that flew backwards?”
“Aye,” the mayor nodded. “I was as - and am - as skeptical as yourself. Only the fact that multiple people claimed to have seen it, and amongst them men and women not prone to lying, gave me reason not to dismiss their fears out of hand. I was willing to err on the side of caution, and thus sent out the quest posting that brought you to our humble village.”
“You speak in the past-tense,” Shialla noted.
The man shrugged. “The initial sighting was many weeks ago and we have seen neither hide nor hair of this supposed beast since. Dragons are many things, but in my experience none of them are subtle. From missing livestock to… people, we would have seen evidence of it if it truly existed by now.”
Shialla couldn’t really fault the man’s logic. As he said, dragons weren’t subtle. Were one dwelling in the forest north of the village, they would know about it by now.
“So we’ve wasted a trip and you’ve wasted your gold,” Rodrik muttered with some finality.
“Not necessarily,” the mayor said, aiming a gimlet eye in the other elf’s direction. “While the initial reason that brought you here may have been little more than hearsay and delusion, a new reason to request outside aid has appeared in the time it took you to get here.”
“This ‘insect-man’.” Sarah stated, the cat-kin’s natural curiosity on clear display.
“Precisely.” The mayor nodded. “And this creature is no figment of an overactive mind, I can assure you. I have seen it with my own two eyes. On more than one occasion. Indeed, it has become something of a common sight these last few days.”
Shialla leaned forward equally curious. While some part of her was disappointed they wouldn’t be slaying a dragon, another part of her was relieved. An even greater part of her still, the scholar that all mages possessed, was curious about this strange new creature.
“Has it attacked?” Gromir asked, the dwarf ever focused on more practical matters. Whether that was because he was a dwarf, or a veteran adventurer, Shialla couldn’t say.
“It has not attacked anyone. It has done little of anything, truth be told. I…” The man trailed off, as if a thought had just occurred to him. “Perhaps someone else might be better situated to inform you of the situation.”
Turning to his wife he said. “Shelly, please could you go and find young Hicks. He’ll be in the tavern at this hour in all likelihood.”
The woman nodded and strode out, leaving the party with little to do but sit in quiet contemplation until she returned.
When she did, she was accompanied by a gangly youth, who by all observations seemed barely old enough to shave. Still, he was clad in the same hodge-podge uniform that they’d seen the village militia wearing when they’d arrived at the sleepy hamlet.
It was a bit strange to her, to see a such a tiny settlement had a standing force of guards, but then again, she supposed that when one was so far from ‘proper civilization’ one had to look after themselves or be overrun by monsters in short order.
Still, it was rather telling of how unsure about the situation the village was that they were spending good coin to hire adventurers rather than relying on themselves to handle the situation.
‘Even if we were originally called here to handle a dragon,’ she thought. ‘A situation that most definitely did warrant outside help.’
“Uh, you called for me sir?” Hicks said, eyes not straying from the band of adventurers. Like most youth, he had something approaching awe in his eyes. No doubt thinking on the stories that permeated small villages like this about the adventuring profession.
All invariably exaggerated, and none dwelling on the much more mundane, or downright depressing, reality of adventuring work and the people that plied it.
“Thank you for coming, lad. Now, I understand Old Gregor charged you with keeping an eye on the beast that has our small community so up in arms.”
The youth nodded, “Oh aye. After it became clear it wasn’t, well, doing anything, the sergeant had me keep watch, you know, rather than have everyone standing on the walls doing nothin’.”
“And what can you tell us about it?”
“Well, uh, I’m not really sure where to start…”
“What does it look like?” Gregor cut in, no doubt familiar with debriefing flustered locals.
“Well, it’s uh, white. Like really white. The shell that is. Between the gaps it’s a sort of orange. Between the gaps in the shell I mean. It’s head is funny too. Like a big shiny golden bowl. It’s not got any eyes I can see… unless the bowl is an eye? And it walks upright like a person!”
The dwarf hummed. “If it truly is blind, that would be a boon. It would make it easy to take it by surprise from range. Though if it’s armored like you said, it might be hard to get an arrow cleanly into those orange spots you mentioned.”
He turned to Sarah, the only archer in the group. “Do you think you could-”
“I don’t think you need to kill it.” Hicks said, flushing as all eyes fell on him. “I mean – apologies for speaking out of turn, ser adventurer. But, uh, I don’t think it means any harm. All it does is watch. I think it’s just curious is all. Couldn’t you just… you know shoo it away?”
The young elf was flushing the right to tips of his ears by the time he finished, but to his credit, he didn’t shy away from the gazes on him. He did… wilt a little, but Shialla couldn’t help the indulgent smile that came to her lips.
Perhaps that was why Gromir was softer than he might have been when he spoke again. “Lad, just because it’s not doing anything now doesn’t mean it’s safe. Monster may not be intelligent like you or I, but they have a low cunning all the same. In all likelihood it’s curious like you said, but only about possible weaknesses in your village’s defenses. Hell, it might just be a scout for a larger horde. Orcs and goblins do it, and if this creature is an insect like we think, it might be relaying information back to some kind of… hive.”
The boy deflated at that, but didn’t back down entirely. “Well if it is, I doubt we’d have too much to worry about. It wandered a bit too close to Mr. Henderson’s tortodile herd the other day, and well, the old male wasn’t too happy. Chased the poor thing halfway across the field.”
Despite herself, Shialla felt some degree of relief at that. Whatever this thing was, if it could be chased off by a particularly ornery tortodile, their group would make short work of it.
Not that they weren’t going to be cautious anyway. As Gromir said, it could be the vanguard for a larger group. In which case it would probably be like dealing with goblins. Easy when they were isolated, but a nightmare when they were part of a horde.
Which was why she wasn’t surprised when Gromir’s next question was about how the creature reacted when threatened. If it had any natural weapons that boy could see? How fast it moved? If it was clumsy or graceful?
Tuning out the rest of the interrogation, she turned to the mayor.
“Well, it seems like we’ll be accepting your request to investigate and, if necessary, slay this creature. As mandated by Guild procedure I am required to inform you that impromptu quests dealing with previously unknown creatures can have variable costs involved, as dictated by the onsite party leader – in this case me.
Should you feel that these costs are unfair or unreasonable, the nearest member of the nobility or ranking member of the Merchant’s Guild is empowered to act as an arbitrator.”
The man nodded with a wince, no doubt thinking about the dent this was going to put in the small village’s treasury.
She smiled. “Though I shouldn’t worry. If this beast is as weak as we think then the cost of slaying it should be no great sum.”
“There it is! Just before lunch like I said. You could set the town bell to it.”
The boy spoke true enough. The creature had emerged from the forest to the north of the village just a few hours after the rise of the sun. About when most field workers would be stopping for lunch.
His description ran true as well. Looking upon the strange creature as it strode across up the hill that overlooked the village, she could think of no more apt description than an insect man.
“Have you ever seen the like of it before, Gromir?”
The old dwarf – who had been forced to indignantly clamber onto a box to see over the palisade – shook his head. “Can’t rightly say I have lass. Tis a queer beast to be sure.”
“Are we sure it’s a monster?”
The pair of them looked over to where Sarah standing, the cat-kin’s ears twitching to and fro as she gazed curiously at the creature. “It looks a little like a knight to me.”
“A knight? Don’t be daft girl.” Rodrik said, the actual knight’s touchy pride no doubt offended by the comparison.
“It’s not daft. I mean, look at it. If you ignore the… head bowl… thing, it looks like a knight in armor.”
“A knight with a hunchback.” Shialla pointed out, gesturing to the thing’s back.
“It could be a backpack.”
“Do you see any straps? I can’t. Buckles or latches either. If this were an elf in queer armor as you suggest, how did he get it on or off?”
Before Sarah could respond, Rodrick cut in. “Besides, what manner of knight would spend their days living in a monster infested forest? Before coming out to stare at bumpkins all day?”
Some of those ‘bumpkins’ happened to be nearby, and looked just as offended as Sarah did at the knight’s words. But no one could deny he had a point. About the creature, not their hosts. She’d have to make a point of apologizing on the man’s behalf later.
“Much as I hate to agree with the blowhard, I’m in agreement with him.” Gromir said. “If it looks like a monster and acts like one, it’s probably a monster.”
While they were talking, the creature had made it to the top of the nearby hill and sat down. At which point it…
“Did it just pull off part of its shell?” Rodrik asked, a hint of disgust coloring his tone.
Sure enough, the creature had pulled a square chunk of… something off its chest, and now seemed to be inspecting it intently.
“…or ‘he’ grabbed a piece of his equipment.” Sarah muttered.
“Would you knock it off with your damned knight theory,” Rodrik said. “How did it even keep it attached? Magic?”
Though even as he said the words, the knight glanced over at Shialla as if to ask that very question.
She shrugged. “There are certainly spells to help hold things in place, but I sensed no magic when the piece detached. Not even enough to form a small cantrip.”
Rodrik looked over at Sarah as if to say ‘see?’
Unfortunately for him, the outspoken cat wasn’t about to give in so easily. “Look, all I’m suggesting is that we try talking to it, before you all start hacking it to bits.”
“Sure, if you’re the one volunteering, lass.” Gromir said.
The cat-kin frowned at that.
For reasons Shialla well understood. Adventurers didn’t get to live to retirement by taking unnecessary risks. For all that frontier songs liked to portray them as… adventurous, the reality was that most members of the adventurer’s guild were incredibly cautious. To the point of paranoia in some cases.
Sure, there were outliers, but they generally didn’t stick around for long for the obvious reasons.
Adventuring was a dangerous business to be sure, but that danger could be lessened significantly with proper preparation. Fighting monsters wasn’t like fighting people. Monsters didn’t adapt or change strategies. They just… were.
So long as you knew what to expect from a it, killing a troll could be as easy as killing a goblin. The only real difference was the amount of preparation needed between the two.
Which was partly why their party were still up here debating the subject, rather than immediately going down there to slay the beast and going on their way.
If it was a monster – and Shialla wasn’t entirely sure it was, even if she hadn’t spoken up yet – then it was in all of their interests to study it extensively before any of them tried to engage it.
“Why don’t we leave a note?”
The sudden words from her own mouth interrupted the ongoing argument between Sarah and Rodrik.
“A note? Please don’t tell me you’re starting to agree with the cat?” Rodrik whined.
Shialla just shrugged. “I don’t know. Which is why I’m suggesting it.”
“Papers not cheap. Nor ink.” Gromir pointed out.
Shalla winced. She’d forgotten that.
Back in the mage’s guild paper had been readily available, and if not cheap, then at least not expensive. Something she’d discovered was most definitely not the case out in the rest of the world. She still had a few sheets of the stuff in her pack – a parting gift from her master - for her research notes, but she was loathe to risk even a single sheet.
“I’ve got a slate and chalk in my pack!” Sarah pointed out. “We can leave them on the hill with a message tomorrow morning. If the knight’s not a monster, he’ll respond, if not, then he’ll just ignore it and I can collect it when it leaves.”
“Are you sure?” While silently relieved she wouldn’t be risking any of her precious paper on the plan she’d spontaneously put forward, Shialla knew that Sarah’s slate and chalk were valuable to her.
The cat-kin had picked them up a few towns back and had been earnestly learning how to read and write from Shialla – and even Rodrik when she could corner him.
The crude writing implements had value to the girl that went beyond just the monetary.
“It’s fine.” The girl said, only the slightest flutter of her tail giving away the lie for what it was.
Glancing over at Gromir, the aged dwarf sighed but ultimately nodded, before turning his gaze back to the creature.
Only Rodrick complained, the knight throwing up his arms as he stomped away. “Fine, you lot can waste your time trying to communicate with the beast. I shan’t be wasting my time on it though. I’ll be in the tavern should you have need of me. My sword arm specifically because that’s all I’ll be extending to this creature.”
Shialla just rolled her eyes at the man, even as Sarah started rooting through her pack. Truth be told, she mostly agreed with him. In all likelihood this was a waste of time. Still, it cost them nothing beyond an extra day or so.
Tomorrow, the creature would ignore the tablet, Sarah’s theory could be put to rest, and they could start thinking about how to go about slaying the bizarre insect creature.
submitted by BlueMuffinPaste to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.08.15 16:05 DistrictCannaReviews Flower and Edibles review from @dccannacrusader

Flower and Edibles review from @dccannacrusader
What's up DistrictOfEnts. I've lurked on this sub for a while now and decided to make an account to review some of the products in the area. I've tried a variety of vendors over the course of my two years of living here, so I feel like I have a good grasp on the DC scene.
Anyways, I wanted to start off by reviewing one of my favorite new Instagram vendors, @dccannacrusader (formally one half of PromocoDC). Since leaving Promoco he's started top shelf edible and flower business ventures I've been really impressed with.
Flower
So far I've tried out four different strains of his, and they've all been up there with some of the highest quality flowers I've bought in DC. Each strain is great on its own, but I've been particularly blown away with the Mandarin Cookies. Since I've been smoking that one the most, I figured I would base my review off that strain.
  • Looks - This has just about everything I want when I pick up flower. The nugs are big, dense, and covered in trichomes and orange pistils. The bud was still fresh and sticky when purchased as well. 10/10 on the looks.
  • Smell - Smell to me is usually the biggest indicator on whether or not I will like the flower, and this one put a smile on my face. This strain smells kinda musky and doughy, and is right up my alley. Definitely the type of smell that fills a room when you open the jar. 9/10 on the smell.
  • Taste/How it smokes - So far I've consumed this strain through my Dynavap, Sticky Brick Jr., and a joint. In both the vapes it tastes fantastic, similar to how it smells. The vapor production is great as well. However, I've definitely had some stronger tasting strains. This one is more subtle and smoother. I'd give it an 8.5/10 on taste.
  • Effects - All of the strains I picked up do the job, but the Mandarin Cookies is just insane. Easily some of the strongest flower I've smoked in DC. I've been smoking just about every day for almost 4 years, and this stuff will put me on my ass. One vape bowl will get me right to where I want to be, and smoking a joint of this stuff will immobilize me. You definitely need to call in the troops to help you finish off just one joint. 10/10.
  • Price - At $400/Oz, this is the biggest disappointment to me. It's a little pricey to be my every day flower, but I'm definitely going to keep some of this around for special occasions. I've had some similar quality stuff in DC for ~$300/Oz from The Happy Capitol.
  • Meetup Experience - The guy who runs the account is super friendly and easy to communicate with. This is what had me return to him from his Promoco days. He seems to be one of the few guys in DC who truly cares about his product and the experience for the customer. He also always throws in some bonus goodies in your bag. With my Oz flower purchase he gave me a large chunk of infused lemon hard candy and a bag of infused sugar. This makes the price point kinda worth it in my opinion. 11/10 on meetup.
Edibles
The Lemon Hard candy and sugar are incredible. The Lemon candy tastes like actual candy and I can't really taste any cannabis. Same goes with the infused sugar. I've added a couple teaspoons to tea and it's been delicious. I have only tried ~two teaspoons of sugar, which should be about 10-30mg of thc. Not a large dose, but perfect to add to a cup of tea before bed. I have no idea how much thc is in the lemon candy, but it's STRONG. On my way home from our meetup I ate a chunk of the lemon candy and just planned to go about my day. Next thing you know I feel like I'm Dave Chappelle in his mushroom bit.
Mandarin Cookies/Girl Scout Cookies
Tenth Planet

Mint Punch
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Girl Scouts Building Girls of Courage, Confidence, and ...

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  3. Girl Scouts of Orange County Voice for Girls 2020 Promise ...
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  5. Girl Scout Bridging Ceremonies
  6. Trash the Trash day - Girl Scouts of Orange County - YouTube
  7. Girl Scouts of Orange County - The Outdoors
  8. Girl Scout - YouTube

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